Church at the Timber Museum
|District||South Waikato District|
|• Territorial Authority||South Waikato District Council|
|• Regional Council||Waikato Regional Council|
|• Parliamentary electorate||Taupō|
|Time zone||UTC+12 (NZST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+13 (NZDT)|
Putāruru is a small town in the South Waikato District and the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island. It lies on the western side of the Mamaku Ranges and in the upper basin of the Waihou River. It is on the Oraka Stream 65 kilometres south-east of Hamilton. State Highway 1 and the Kinleith Branch railway run through the town.
The town gets its name from a historic event which occurred nearby. Korekore a granddaughter of Raukawa, the founder of the Ngāti Raukawa iwi, was murdered by her husband Parahore. Her servant Ruru witnessed her murder and escaped into the forest where he hid and waited for Parahore and his men to give up their pursuit of him. The place where he exited the forest was named "Te Puta a Ruru" or "the exit of Ruru". This was eventually shorted to Putāruru.
History and culture
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There were several Māori settlements in the Putaruru district in pre-colonial times. Ngāti Raukawa is the main tribe or iwi in the area and Ngāti Mahana is the hapū (subtribe) within Putaruru. During Te Rauparaha's migration to the Cook Strait area in the 1820s, many Ngāti Raukawa people moved from these settlements to Rangitikei and Manawatu localities, and others followed after the Siege of Ōrākau in 1864. Te Kooti and his followers were pursued through the district early in 1870 by a force under Lt-Col. Thomas McDonnell.
The Patetere Block, containing the future town site of Putaruru, was acquired from the Māori in the 1860s. In the early 1880s large areas in the Putaruru district came into the possession of the Patetere Land Company, and from 1883 much of this land passed into the hands of the Thames Valley Land Company. Roadmaking commenced in the late 1880s, but the railway, begun by the Thames Valley and Rotorua Railway Co., was the most important factor in the progress of settlement in the area.
The line reached Oxford (Tīrau) on 8 March 1886 and Putaruru and Lichfield, 5 miles (8 km) further south-east, on 21 June 1886. In 1889 the Putaruru-Rotorua section was begun, and was completed on 8 December 1894. The station had a refreshment room and a bookstall and the railway yard had a turntable and handled much livestock, as well as timber. In the 1920s a Railway Board investigated the feasibility of a line of about 28 mi 60 ch (46.3 km) to Arapuni and Te Awamutu. The station closed to passengers on 12 November 1968 and freight on 10 December 2002, though it was served by the Geyserland Express from 1991 to 2001.
The first settler in the district bought his section in 1892.
In the 1880s Putaruru consisted of little more than a hotel and a blacksmith shop. In the early 1900s the Taupo Totara Timber Company acquired bush blocks north and north-west of Lake Taupo and erected a mill at Kopokorahi, near the present Kinleith (Tokoroa). A bush tramway was constructed linking that mill with the Mokai Mill, 51 miles (82 km) south-east of Putaruru. By 1905 logs were transported to Putaruru via this line, and by 1908 passengers and goods. The dismantling of this line began in 1944 but in 1946 the Ministry of Works purchased it and in 1948 it began rebuilding the 18 miles (29 km) between Putaruru and Kinleith as a New Zealand Government Railways branch line to serve the new Kinleith Mill for pulp and paper production. This was completed on 6 October 1952.
Exotic afforestation was begun in the district some time after 1910 by a land and timber company with an outlet to the Hamilton-Rotorua railway near Pinedale. Commercial tree planting with Pinus radiata took place between 1924 and 1928 on the Pinedale Block. Milling began in 1940–41 and by 1951 the area had been cut out and replanted. Larger areas further south were planted in 1924 for future milling and to provide the raw material for pulp and paper manufacture. The town of Putaruru was surveyed in 1905 and on 18 December an area of 50,987 acres (206 km2), which had been acquired from the Thames Valley Land Co. by the Crown and included town allotments in Putaruru and Lichfield, was opened by ballot.
The history of the local timber industry is preserved in the New Zealand Timber Museum.
Much of the land in the Putaruru district suffered from a cobalt deficiency, which made farming practically impossible, but since 1935 measures have been taken to restore fertility, and farming has expanded. Putaruru was created a town district in 1926, and on 1 July 1947 it was constituted a borough.
The Putaruru area has two marae, affiliated with the hapū of Ngāti Raukawa:
- Mangakāretu Marae and Ngā Hau e Maha meeting house are affiliated with Ngāti Ahuru
- Whakaaratamaiti Marae and Korōria meeting house are affiliated with Ngāti Ahuru and Ngāti Mahana
|The population figures before 2006 may be for slightly different boundaries.|
Putāruru had a population of 4,314 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 369 people (9.4%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 384 people (9.8%) since the 2006 census. There were 1,626 households. There were 2,088 males and 2,229 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.94 males per female. The median age was 44 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 888 people (20.6%) aged under 15 years, 684 (15.9%) aged 15 to 29, 1,740 (40.3%) aged 30 to 64, and 1,005 (23.3%) aged 65 or older.
Ethnicities were 73.8% European/Pākehā, 34.8% Māori, 3.3% Pacific peoples, 4.6% Asian, and 1.4% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).
The proportion of people born overseas was 13.0%, compared with 27.1% nationally.
Although some people objected to giving their religion, 48.5% had no religion, 36.2% were Christian, 0.7% were Hindu, 0.5% were Muslim, 0.6% were Buddhist and 5.1% had other religions.
Of those at least 15 years old, 297 (8.7%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 1,041 (30.4%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $23,600, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 1,371 (40.0%) people were employed full-time, 450 (13.1%) were part-time, and 201 (5.9%) were unemployed.
The area around Putāraru, which cover 556 square kilometres including Arapuni, Waotu and Lichfield, had a population of 2,373 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 150 people (6.7%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 135 people (6.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 840 households. There were 1,173 males and 1,200 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.98 males per female. The median age was 35.7 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 552 people (23.3%) aged under 15 years, 456 (19.2%) aged 15 to 29, 1,092 (46.0%) aged 30 to 64, and 273 (11.5%) aged 65 or older.
Ethnicities were 87.6% European/Pākehā, 18.7% Māori, 2.1% Pacific peoples, 2.7% Asian, and 3.2% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).
The proportion of people born overseas was 13.5%, compared with 27.1% nationally.
Although some people objected to giving their religion, 53.0% had no religion, 35.4% were Christian, 0.4% were Hindu, 0.3% were Buddhist and 1.9% had other religions.
Of those at least 15 years old, 243 (13.3%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 378 (20.8%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $38,300, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 984 (54.0%) people were employed full-time, 333 (18.3%) were part-time, and 45 (2.5%) were unemployed.
All these schools are co-educational. Rolls are as of November 2020.
- Grant Fox (born 1962), former All Black
- Honey Hireme (born 1981), former New Zealand rugby player
- Glen Mitchell (born 1972), Olympic cyclist
- Lorraine Moller (born 1955), Olympic athlete
- Gareth Morgan (born 1953), economist, philanthropist
- Wayne Smith (born 1957), former All Black and former All Black coach
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