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Commercial Street (State Highway 60), the main street of Tākaka
Commercial Street (State Highway 60), the main street of Tākaka
Tākaka is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 40°51′15″S 172°48′25″E / 40.85417°S 172.80694°E / -40.85417; 172.80694Coordinates: 40°51′15″S 172°48′25″E / 40.85417°S 172.80694°E / -40.85417; 172.80694
CountryNew Zealand
Territorial authorityTasman
 (June 2020)[1]
 • Total1,390
Time zoneUTC+12 (New Zealand Standard Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (New Zealand Daylight Time)

Tākaka is a small town situated at the southeastern end of Golden Bay, at the northern end of New Zealand's South Island, located on the lower reaches of the Tākaka River. State Highway 60 runs through Takaka and follows the river valley before climbing over Tākaka Hill, to Motueka (57 km away) linking Golden Bay with the more populated coast of Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere to the southeast. The town is served by Takaka Aerodrome.

Onetahua Kōkiri Marae is located in Tākaka. It includes Te Ao Marama wharenui (meeting house) and it is a marae (meeting ground) for Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu and Te Atiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui.[2][3]


From 1853 to 1876, Tākaka was administrated as part of the Nelson Province. Sawmilling was an important business for Takaka in the 1870s. The Takaka tramway was built in 1880. Prior to that time timber was transported to the port by teams of bullocks which would often leave the main street of Takaka looking like a rutted bog.[4] After flooding in 1904 did significant damage to the tramway, it was sold in 1905 and the locomotive, rolling stock and rails were shipped to Onehunga by sea.[5][6]

Takaka contributed soldiers to the Boer War, the First World War and the Second World War with 1, 44 and 25 respectively dying in each conflict.[7]

In June 2005, much of the town was temporarily evacuated after fire swept through Tākaka's biggest industrial complex, a dairy factory. There were fears that volatile chemicals stored at the plant might explode, leading to the release of poisonous gases, which later proved to be unfounded.

In July 2020, the name of the town was officially gazetted as Tākaka by the New Zealand Geographic Board.[8]


The area around Tākaka Hill has a cave system, including New Zealand's deepest vertical shaft, Harwood's Hole.

Tākaka and Golden Bay are known for rock climbing, particularly around the area of Paynes Ford. This area is situated about 20 minutes walk from Tākaka and has over 200 bolted climbs. The most famous climb is 1080 and the letter G because of its unique "no-hands-rest" at the top and its views of Golden Bay.

The town is also known for Te Waikoropupu Springs (colloquially known as Pupu Springs).

The antipode of Tākaka is the town of Coriscada, Portugal.


Takaka is one of the warmest locations in the South Island, due to its northerly position and maritime influences from the Golden Bay. Because of the hills in the Kahurangi National Park to the south-west of Takaka, the town receives substantially less rainfall than the West Coast. Takaka's location on the leeward side of these hills allow the wind to become warmer and drier as it flows down towards the town, allowing an average of 22 days a year to exceed 26.7 °C (80 °F). On the contrary, being a few kilometres inland, cold air can settle over Takaka on winter mornings, resulting in an average of 17.2 frosty days per year.

Climate data for Takaka, 15 m
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 22.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.3
Average low °C (°F) 12.2
Average rainfall mm (inches) 86.2
Source 1: [9]
Source 2: [10]


Farming, sawmilling, limestone quarrying and tourism are major local industries. The area around Tākaka is mineral-rich, with gold, iron ore, copper, silver and asbestos all found locally, although not all in commercially viable amounts.

Dairy factory[edit]

The Takaka Fonterra Dairy Factory (2021)

There is also a small Fonterra factory located in the township of Tākaka that produces skim milk powder.[11] There are 83 dairy farms supplying the factory. It can process about 525,000 l a day into skim milk powder.[12] Cream is produced as a by-product. This is shipped to the Clandeboye factory for further processing.[13] The $80 million Takaka dairy factory was damaged by a fire in 2005. More than 60 firefighters battled the fire, which was caused by contractors completing welding work.[14] It has subsequently been rebuilt.[15] In 2009, it was reported that it employed nearly 50 staff and contributed $3 million in wages to the local economy.[16]


In 2006, Takaka had a population of 1152, growing to 1236 in 2013 and 1335 in 2018.  The median age of the residents in 2018 was 47 years old. In terms of ethnicity, 94.8% of residents identified as European, 10.8% identified as Maori and 12.6% identified as of Maori descent. The majority of residents were born in New Zealand (81.1%). Many residents identified with no religion (64.5%) while a sizeable minority (24.9%) identified as Christian. Only 43.4% of residents were in full-time employment. The median income was $24,800 with 8.1% earning over $70,000.

In 2018, there were 558 occupied private dwellings and a further 42 unoccupied private dwellings.[17]


Golden bay High School (2021)

Golden Bay High School is a co-educational state intermediate and high school for Year 7 to 13 students,[18][19] with a roll of 334 as of March 2021.[20]

There are two primary schools for Year 1 to 6 students: Takaka Primary School,[21][22] with a roll of 155,[23] and Central Takaka School[24] with a roll of 36.[25]

There is also a primary school in nearby Motupipi.[26]

Golden Bay Museum[edit]

Interior photo of the Golden Bay Museum (2021)

The Golden Bay Museum is located in 73 Commercial Street. It has displays on Abel Tasman's 1642 voyage which visited Golden Bay and Golden Bay's industrial past and a pilot whale skeleton. The museum building was opened on 15 October 1990. It is owned by Tasman District Council who provide an annual grant to run the museum.[27]

Labyrinth Rocks park[edit]

Limestone archway in the Labyrinth Rocks Park, Takaka (2021)

The Labyrinth Rocks park is located on Scott Road. It is a two hectare park of limestone rock formations and native bush. The canyons have a maze-like quality and there are trails that run through them and link them all. There are a number of short tunnels and archways. Entrance was free in 2021.[28][29]

Paines Ford swimming hole[edit]

The still water of one of the swimming holes at Paines Ford

Paines Ford (also known as Paynes Ford) is a swimming hole and rock climbing spot on the confluence of the Waingara and Takaka rivers.[30] An easy trail from the carpark follows the route of a tramline, that existed to haul timber out of the surrounding forest in the early 1880s, to a number of swimming holes surrounded by limestone rock formations.[31] The entrance and carpark is located at 1886 Takaka Valley Highway SH60, which is 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of central Takaka.

Notable buildings[edit]

Masonic lodge[edit]

Golden Bay Masonic Lodge 144 (2021)

The Masonic lodge was originally built as a cinema in 1926 outside the town boundary, as for reasons unknown, a cinema was not permitted in the town. It was a popular addition to the town before being sold in 1937 and became the Masonic lodge. The Collingwood Lodge and the Takaka Lodge merged in 1972 became the Golden Bay Lodge No 144.

Golden Bay theatre[edit]

The Golden Bay theatre was opened in May 1927. Electricity became available in 1929 with a petrol engine used prior to this to provide power. When television arrived, theatre numbers declined and it was used for other public functions. In 1978 it was converted into a cafe and art gallery.

The Golden Bay theatre, now a cafe (2021)

Bank of New Zealand[edit]

Bank of New Zealand building, Takaka (2021)

The Bank of New Zealand first engaged in business in Takaka in 1884 based in a local hotel. The bank moved into the premises pictured in 1915. The building was built out of reinforced concrete supplied by the Golden Bay Cement Company. Gas lighting was initially used and this was replaced with electric lighting in 1930. The bank survived the Murchison earthquake of 1929 without any structural damage. In 1983 floods entered the bank but did little damage. The building is currently used as an art gallery.

Golden Bay Electricity Board building[edit]

Golden Bay Electricity Board building (2021)

On this site in Commercial Street was originally a blacksmith. In 1929, the Golden Bay Electricity Board opened the building and occupied it until 2000. It is now occupied by the Department of Conservation.[32]

Telegraph Hotel[edit]

Telegraph Hotel, Takaka (2021)

The Telegraph Hotel was built over 100 years ago.[33]

Church of the Epiphany[edit]

Church of the Epiphany Takaka (2021)

The Anglican church of the Epihany is situated on Commercial Street. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Nelson in 1884. It was built from locally sawn matai and totara timber. A bell tower was added in 1900 and by 1960 the timber was covered in stucco. The bell tower was replaced in 1966 and the church was extended in 2002.[34]

Sacred Heart Catholic Church[edit]

The Church of the Sacred Heart, Takaka (2021)

The Church of the Sacred Heart was built using locally sourced marble in 1917.[35] The church requires structural strengthening to bring it up to the building code requirements and has not been used since 2011.[36]

St Andrew's Presbyterian Church[edit]

St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Takaka (2021)

St Andrew's is located on Commercial Street, Takaka.

Eureka boarding house[edit]

Eureka Boarding House, Takaka (2021)

The Eureka boarding house was built in 1906. A milk bar was added to the front of the building in the 1950s. It has since been modified further to provide more shop frontage.[37]


  1. ^ "Population estimate tables - NZ.Stat". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  3. ^ "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  4. ^ Signage in Commercial Street, Takaka detailing the history of the tramway (2021)
  5. ^ "Search the List | Waitapu Road Tramline | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  6. ^ "The Tramway and the First Bridge at Paynes Ford | NZETC". nzetc.victoria.ac.nz. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  7. ^ Takaka War Memorial, Commercial Street, Takaka. Cited 2021
  8. ^ "Notice of approved official geographic names" (PDF). New Zealand Gazette. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
  9. ^ "Climate-data.org – Climate Data for Cities Worldwide". openstreetmap.org. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  10. ^ "Weatherbase". CantyMedia. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Big dry a big earner for region". Stuff. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  12. ^ Malthus, Nigel. "Down to the sea in barges". ruralnewsgroup.co.nz. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  13. ^ Malthus, Nigel. "Down to the sea in barges". ruralnewsgroup.co.nz. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Welding caused milk factory fire, inquiry finds". NZ Herald. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Fonterra to begin rebuilding Takaka factory". NZ Herald. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  16. ^ "Big dry a big earner for region". Stuff. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  17. ^ "2018 Census place summaries | Stats NZ". www.stats.govt.nz. Retrieved 30 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Golden Bay High School Official School Website". gbh.school.nz.
  19. ^ "Golden Bay High School Ministry of Education School Profile". educationcounts.govt.nz. Ministry of Education.
  20. ^ "Golden Bay High School Education Review Office Report". ero.govt.nz. Education Review Office.
  21. ^ "Takaka Primary School Official School Website". takakaprimary.school.nz.
  22. ^ "Takaka Primary School Ministry of Education School Profile". educationcounts.govt.nz. Ministry of Education.
  23. ^ "Takaka Primary School Education Review Office Report". ero.govt.nz. Education Review Office.
  24. ^ "Ministry of Education School Profile". educationcounts.govt.nz. Ministry of Education.
  25. ^ "Education Review Office Report". ero.govt.nz. Education Review Office.
  26. ^ "Motupipi Primary School Ministry of Education School Profile". educationcounts.govt.nz. Ministry of Education.
  27. ^ "Our story |". Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Best things to see and do in Takaka". NZ Herald. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  29. ^ "Walks in Golden Bay, choose a walk to suit you". www.goldenbaynz.co.nz. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  30. ^ "Drifting through Golden Bay's waters". Stuff. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  31. ^ "Paines Ford Tramline Track". www.doc.govt.nz. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  32. ^ Signage in Commercial Street. Heritage Golden Bay Inc Installed 2015 Cited 2021
  33. ^ "Challenging times at the local". Stuff. 31 January 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  34. ^ Signage outside the church. Heritage Golden Bay inc. published 2015. Cited 2021
  35. ^ specified, Not (1 January 1917). "Church of the Sacred Heart, Takaka". Church of the Sacred Heart, Takaka | Items | National Library of New Zealand | National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  36. ^ "TAKAKA". Our Lady of the Bays. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  37. ^ Signage in Takaka. Heritage Golden Bay Inc. Published 2013. Cited 2021