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Pukekohe CBD, as seen from above
Pukekohe CBD, as seen from above
Coordinates: 37°12′S 174°54′E / 37.200°S 174.900°E / -37.200; 174.900Coordinates: 37°12′S 174°54′E / 37.200°S 174.900°E / -37.200; 174.900
CountryNew Zealand
RegionAuckland Region
WardFranklin ward
BoardFranklin Local Board
 • Territorial authorityAuckland Council
 • Secondary urban area32.07 km2 (12.38 sq mi)
 (June 2022)[2]
 • Urban
Area code09
Pukekohe East Church

Pukekohe is a town in the Auckland Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Located at the southern edge of the Auckland Region, it is in South Auckland, between the southern shore of the Manukau Harbour and the mouth of the Waikato River. The hills of Pukekohe and nearby Bombay Hills form the natural southern limit of the Auckland region. Pukekohe is located within the political boundaries of the Auckland Council, following the abolition of the Franklin District Council on 1 November 2010.

With a population of 27,000 (June 2022),[2] Pukekohe is the 24th largest urban area in New Zealand, and the third largest in the Auckland Region behind Auckland itself and Hibiscus Coast.

Pukekohe is a rural service town for the area formerly known as the Franklin District. Its population is mainly of European descent, with significant Māori and ethnic Indian and East Asian communities. There are also a notable number of people of South African and Dutch descent. The fertile volcanic soil and warm moist climate supports a large horticultural and dairy farming industry; the Pukekohe long keeper onion is well known internationally.


Pukekohe and the surrounding areas are a section of the South Auckland volcanic field, which erupted between 550,000 and 1,600,000 years ago.[3]

History and culture[edit]

Māori history[edit]

The Māori word puke-kohe means "hill of the kohekohe", New Zealand's native mahogany.[citation needed]

During the period of the Musket Wars of 1807-1843, Northern iwi (tribes) attacked parts of the Auckland area, including Pukekohe. From the 1820s, as a result of these attacks, the resident Māori population who survived, mainly migrated south.[citation needed]

The two main iwi of the area are Ngati Tamaoho and Ngati Te Ata. Waikato-Tainui has a strong presence.

European settlement[edit]

When European settlers arrived, the remnant Māori population initially provided them with food supplies. As the number of settlers grew, the Pukekohe area, which was largely bush covered, was opened up after 1843 and individual farmers purchased small blocks of land which they cleared by hand.

By 1863, the land was still bush covered but with an increasing number of small isolated farms. When Kīngitanga Māori refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown, many Māori moved out of the area, but some remained. A Māori from this area guided the first gunboats through the Waikato Heads and through the shoals of the Waikato River delta to help put down the rebel Kīngitanga uprising.

New Zealand Wars[edit]

A major battle of the 1863 New Zealand Wars was fought at Pukekohe East between 11 armed Pākehā settlers, who were converting the Pukekohe East church into a redoubt and approximately 200–300 Māori, mainly from the Waikato area. Although surprised and severely outnumbered, the settlers held off the Kīngitanga invaders until troops arrived. No settlers were killed or injured while 30 Māori were killed with an unknown number wounded. 6 bodies were found near the church and 24 were later found buried in the bush. The church still exists today and the bullet holes are still visible.

Although there were many other attacks on settlers in Auckland the Māori preferred isolated targets. As most women and children had been evacuated to Auckland city most of those killed were men and teenage boys. Māori were able to hide in the pockets of bush and live off the settlers' goods and livestock. Nearly the entire Pukekohe area was abandoned apart from military outposts. Isolated attacks occurred as late as November 1863 after the Battle of Rangiriri.[4]


Ngā Hau e Whā Marae is located in the Pukekohe area.[5] It is the tribal meeting grounds of Ngāti Tamaoho and the Waikato Tainui hapū of Ngāi Tai and Ngāti Tamaoho.[6]


Pukekohe covers 11.25 km2 (4.34 sq mi)[1] and had an estimated population of 27,000 as of June 2022,[2] with a population density of 2,400 people per km2.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [7]

Pukekohe had a population of 23,904 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 3,378 people (16.5%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 6,636 people (38.4%) since the 2006 census. There were 8,031 households, comprising 11,532 males and 12,366 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.93 males per female, with 5,391 people (22.6%) aged under 15 years, 4,605 (19.3%) aged 15 to 29, 9,951 (41.6%) aged 30 to 64, and 3,960 (16.6%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 70.9% European/Pākehā, 19.8% Māori, 9.0% Pacific peoples, 12.2% Asian, and 2.2% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 24.3, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 46.3% had no religion, 38.0% were Christian, 1.6% had Māori religious beliefs, 3.0% were Hindu, 1.0% were Muslim, 0.5% were Buddhist and 3.0% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 2,973 (16.1%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 3,876 (20.9%) people had no formal qualifications. 3,411 people (18.4%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 9,291 (50.2%) people were employed full-time, 2,439 (13.2%) were part-time, and 792 (4.3%) were unemployed.[7]

Individual statistical areas
Name Area
Population Density
(per km2)
Households Median age Median
Pukekohe North West 4.78 4,674 978 1,542 32.0 years $28,300[8]
Anselmi Ridge 7.53 2,448 325 855 45.7 years $35,900[9]
Pukekohe West 2.21 4,980 2,253 1,509 31.4 years $28,500[10]
Cape Hill 0.72 1,551 2,154 480 34.7 years $44,300[11]
Rosa Birch Park 0.79 2,082 2,635 768 43.6 years $29,500[12]
Rooseville Park 1.35 2,562 1,898 864 35.7 years $39,100[13]
Cloverlea (Auckland) 2.38 2,412 1,013 867 42.8 years $36,100[14]
Pukekohe Central 2.94 369 126 153 36.2 years $29,400[15]
Pukekohe Hospital 0.73 1,653 2,264 609 40.7 years $34,400[16]
Buckland 8.62 1,173 136 384 40.7 years $37,200[17]
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800

Local government[edit]

Pukekohe had a local government just like other suburbs of Auckland at that time. The local government was called Pukekohe Borough Council, which started in 1912 and merged into Franklin District Council in 1989, eventually being amalgamated into Auckland Council in November 2010.

The mayors of Pukekohe Borough Council were:

  • 1912–1912 William Dunn
  • 1912–1915 C. K. Lawrie
  • 1915–1919 Henry Greathead Rex Mason
  • 1919–1921 C. K. Lawrie
  • 1921–1935 John Routly
  • 1935–1938 C. K. Lawrie
  • 1938–1941 John Routly
  • 1941–1950 Maxwell Rae Grierson
  • 1950–1963 S. C. Childs
  • 1963–1974 C. W. J. Lawrie
  • 1974–1989 Max R. Short

Since 2010, the Franklin Local Board represents local government in the area. The local board is one of 21 local boards across Auckland. The current Councillor is Bill Cashmore who is also the Deputy Mayor. Local MP is Andrew Bayley, National Party.


Pukekohe High School is a secondary school (years 9–13) with a roll of 1763.[18] The school opened in 1921 as Pukekohe Technical High School, and was renamed to Pukekohe High School in 1948.[19]

Pukekohe Intermediate School is an intermediate school (years 7–8) with a roll of 742.[20] The school opened in 1966[21]

Pukekohe East School, Pukekohe Hill School and Valley School are contributing primary schools (years 1–6) with rolls of 152, 593 and 487 students, respectively.[22][23][24] Pukekohe East School opened in 1880.[25] Pukekohe Maori School opened in 1952 and was renamed to Pukekohe Hill School in 1966.[26] Valley School opened in 1966.[27]

Pukekohe North School is a full primary school (years 1–8) with a roll of 296.[28] 79 percent of the roll are of Māori heritage,[29] and some classes are taught in the Māori language.[30] The school opened in 1957, although the official opening was in 1958.[21]

KingsGate School and St Joseph's School are state integrated full primary schools (years 1–8) with rolls of 123 and 304 students, respectively.[31][32] KingsGate is an interdenominational Christian school. It opened in 1996.[33] St Joseph's is a Catholic school which opened in 1923.[34]

Parkside School is a special school with a roll of 153.[35] It provides education for students with special needs up to the age of 21.[36]

Tamaoho School is a contributing primary school which opened in 2021.[37]

All these schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of July 2022.[38]

A significant number of kids leave the area by school bus to attend Kings College, Sacred Heart College, St Kentigern’s, Hamilton Boys HS, Baradene, Hauraki Plains College, St Peter’s Collegiate and Strathallan College.


Pukekohe Park Raceway is a motorsports and horse-racing facility. Opened in 1963, this circuit is famous for having hosted the New Zealand Grand Prix 29 times between 1963 and 2000, as well as the V8 International (a round of the V8 Supercars championship) between 2001 and 2007. The V8 Supercars event was moved to Hamilton for five years, but returned to Pukekohe in 2013.[39]

ECOLight Stadium is home of the Counties-Manukau Steelers.

Pukekohe is home to Pukekohe AFC who compete in the Auckland Football Federation/Northern Football Federation Conference League, and Pukekohe High School football teams.[citation needed]

Bledisloe Park Sports Centre (overlooking Bledisloe Park grounds) is home to both Pukekohe AFC and Pukekohe Metro Cricket Club. The sports centre is managed by the Bledisloe Park Society Committee.

Auckland Metropolitan Clay Target Club, is a Clay target shooting club located just outside of Pukekohe, Offering casual target shooting to competitions.

Puni Mountain Bike Track located at the Puni memorial park has roughly 6–7 km of sweet flowing singletrack, to some good dirt jump lines to a primo pump track,[40] Sunset Coast BMX and the Puni rugby club are also located at Puni memorial park.


Franklin County News is the local newspaper distributed twice weekly to homes in Pukekohe and surrounding towns, including Waiuku and Tuakau.[41]

The Post Newspaper issues almost 22,000 copies weekly on a Tuesday within Franklin and Tuakau and is based in Waiuku.

In 2015, the online events calendar and photo news Franklin Life NZ was launched.

In 2013, the film Mt. Zion was released in New Zealand, portraying Māori life in 1970s Pukekohe.


Pukekohe railway station is on the North Island Main Trunk Railway and is the southernmost station of the Auckland rail network, at the end of the Southern Line. The portion of the line between Papakura and Pukekohe is currently closed for electrification until 2024 after which electric trains will run directly to Pukekohe from the Auckland CBD. A rail replacement bus is currently running between Papakura and Pukekohe while the line is closed. In July 2017, it was announced that the purchase of battery-powered electric trains had been "agreed in principle"[42] by Auckland Council and that an all-electric service would be operational in 2019 (provisionally, subject to conditions), four years after completion of the rest of the region's electrified rail network. However, the purchase of battery-powered trains did not proceed. In 2020, the government announced funding to extend electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe.[43]

There are several loop bus services serving central Pukekohe and also connecting to the western and southern townships of Patumahoe, Waiuku, Tuakau and Port Waikato. There are no bus services north of the town (beyond Paerata) and none at all serving travel to the east.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Subnational population estimates (RC, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2022 (2022 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2022. (regional councils); "Subnational population estimates (TA, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2022 (2022 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2022. (territorial authorities); "Subnational population estimates (urban rural), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2022 (2022 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2022. (urban areas)
  3. ^ Hayward, Bruce W. (2017). Out of the Ocean, Into the Fire. Geoscience Society of New Zealand. pp. 207–211. ISBN 978-0-473-39596-4.
  4. ^ The Journal of William Morgan.p78,80,83,85,89.N Morris Editor. Auckland City Council.1963.
  5. ^ "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  6. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  7. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Pukekohe North West (165300), Anselmi Ridge (165400), Pukekohe West (165500), Cape Hill (165600), Rosa Birch Park (165700), Rooseville Park (165800), Cloverlea (Auckland) (165900), Pukekohe Central (166000), Pukekohe Hospital (166100) and Buckland (166200).
  8. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Pukekohe North West
  9. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Anselmi Ridge
  10. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Pukekohe West
  11. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Cape Hill
  12. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Rosa Birch Park
  13. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Rooseville Park
  14. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Cloverlea (Auckland)
  15. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Pukekohe Central
  16. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Pukekohe Hospital
  17. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Buckland
  18. ^ Education Counts: Pukekohe High School
  19. ^ "Pukekohe High School Roll of Honour". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 17 February 2017.
  20. ^ Education Counts: Pukekohe Intermediate
  21. ^ a b "Pukekohe Heritage Survey: Appendix 2: Timeline" (PDF). Auckland Council. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  22. ^ Education Counts: Pukekohe East School
  23. ^ Education Counts: Pukekohe Hill School
  24. ^ Education Counts: Valley School
  25. ^ "Our Principal's Message". Pukekohe East School. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  26. ^ Hilladmin (11 April 2013). "Heritage of Pukekohe Hill School". Slides 2, 12.
  27. ^ Parminter, Alice (1 November 2016). "Valley School gets set to celebrate 50 years". Franklin County News.
  28. ^ Education Counts: Pukekohe North School
  29. ^ "Pukekohe North School - 16/06/2020". Education Review Office. 16 June 2020.
  30. ^ "Nau Mai Haere Mai". Pukekohe North School. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  31. ^ Education Counts: KingsGate School
  32. ^ Education Counts: St Joseph's School
  33. ^ "KingsGate School - 19/08/2019". Education Review Office. 19 August 2019.
  34. ^ "School History". St Joseph's Pukekohe. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  35. ^ Education Counts: Parkside School
  36. ^ "None". Parkside School. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  37. ^ Education Counts: Tamaoho School
  38. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  39. ^ Pukekohe, nzherald.co.nz; accessed 30 March 2015.
  40. ^ "Puni Park". 12 May 2012.
  41. ^ Franklin County News
  42. ^ "Auckland Council agrees to buy 17 battery-powered and electric trains for Pukekohe line". The New Zealand Herald. 26 July 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  43. ^ Jane Paterson (29 January 2020). "Govt's $12b infrastructure spend: Rail, roads and DHBs the big winners". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  44. ^ "Pukekohe man first Pacific Islander take top spot at Amnesty International". 29 August 2019.
  45. ^ "Pukekohe's Liam Lawson wins $50,000 SpeedSport Scholarship". Stuff. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2022.

External links[edit]