Jump to content


Coordinates: 38°41′15″S 176°04′10″E / 38.6875°S 176.0694°E / -38.6875; 176.0694
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Taupō-nui-a-Tia (Māori)
Taupō is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 38°41′15″S 176°04′10″E / 38.6875°S 176.0694°E / -38.6875; 176.0694
CountryNew Zealand
IslandNorth Island
Territorial authorityTaupō District Council
Borough status1953
Named forOriginates from Taupō-nui-a-Tia, meaning "great cloak of Tia" in Māori
 • MayorDavid Trewavas
 • Urban
42.05 km2 (16.24 sq mi)
 • District6,970 km2 (2,690 sq mi)
360 m (1,180 ft)
 (June 2023)[1]
 • Urban
 • Urban density630/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code07
Local iwiNgāti Tūwharetoa

Taupō (Māori pronunciation: [ˈtaʉpɔː]), sometimes written Taupo, is a town located in the central North Island of New Zealand. It is situated on the edge of Lake Taupō, which is the largest freshwater lake in New Zealand. Taupō was constituted as a borough in 1953.[2] It has been the seat of Taupō District Council since the council was formed in 1989.[citation needed]

Taupō is the largest urban area of the Taupō District, and the second-largest urban area in the Waikato region, behind Hamilton. It has a population of approximately 26,500 (June 2023).[1] Taupō is known for its natural beauty, with the surrounding area offering a range of outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, skiing, and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of attractions, including the Wairakei Power Station, Huka Falls, and the Tongariro National Park.



The name Taupō is from the Māori language and is a shortened version of Taupō-nui-a-Tia. The longer name was first given to the cliff at Pākā Bay, on the eastern shore of the lake, and means the "great cloak of Tia". It was named for Tia, the Māori explorer who discovered the lake. Māori later applied the name to the lake itself.[3] In 2019 the official name of the town was changed from Taupo to Taupō.[4][5]

Although the English pronunciation "tow-po" (/ˈtp/, NZE /ˈtæʊpaʉ/) is widespread, it is often regarded as incorrect, and the Māori pronunciation, "toe-paw" (/ˈtpɔː/, NZE /ˈtaʉpoː/) is generally preferred in formal use.[6][7][8][9]



In 1868, an armed constabulary post was established in Taupō in order to strengthen communication lines in the central North Island.[10] Hot water pools around Taupō began to attract tourists to Taupō in the late 1870s and early 1880s and hotels were developed to take advantage of this.[11] In the 1890s, rainbow trout were introduced to Lake Taupō and Taupō became a popular town to stay and fish.[11]

A road board was established in 1922 and it was made a borough in 1953.[10] Taupō grew quickly due to the development of the Wairakei geothermal power station, expansion of the timber industry, and farm development between 1949 and 1953. The population of Taupō was 1,358 in 1951, later increasing to 2,849 people in 1956 and 5,251 people in 1961.[11]

Geographical features


Taupō is located on the northeastern shore of Lake Taupō, New Zealand's largest lake, which is itself in the caldera of the Taupō Volcano. The Waikato River drains the lake and runs through the town, separating the CBD and the northern suburbs. The river flows over the spectacular Huka Falls, a short distance north of the town, Taupō is a centre of volcanic and geothermal activity, and hot springs suitable for bathing are located at several places in the vicinity. The volcanic Mount Tauhara lies six kilometres (4 mi) to the east.[citation needed]

Somewhat to the northeast are significant hot springs. These springs contain extremophile micro-organisms that live in extremely hot environments.[12]

The small but growing satellite town of Kinloch, where there is a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, is 20 kilometres west along the lake.[13][14]

View of snow-capped mountains shrouded in cloud, Taupō



Taupō suburbs include:

  • Wharewaka – has a popular swimming spot for locals and a growing new subdivision along with a large retirement village.
  • Nukuhau – lies north of the Waikato River. To the south-west lies Acacia Bay and to the south lies Taupō town centre.
  • Richmond Heights – lies to the east of Rainbow Point and south of Mountain View. It is home to the Richmond Heights shopping centre.
  • Waipahihi – lies to the north of Richmond Heights. It is home to the Waipahihi Primary School, and the Waipahihi Botanical Gardens.
  • Mount View – lies north of the Taupō CBD
  • Acacia Bay – lies west of Tapuaeharuru Bay
  • Rainbow Point – lies north of Wharewaka and west of Richmond Heights. To the west lies Lake Taupō.
  • Tauhara – lies just north of Hilltop and east of Mount View. Mount Tauhara lies just east of Tauhara. Tauhara is the location of Tauhara primary school, Tauhara College and Tauhara Golf course.
  • Hilltop – lies south of Tauhara. Hilltop is the location of Hilltop School, Taupo Intermediate School, Taupo Hospital, Taharepa shopping centre and Hilltop shopping centre.
  • Taupō CBD
Outer suburbs
  • Five Mile Bay – is located on the east side of Lake Taupō, south of Wharewaka and north of Waitahanui on State Highway 1 just west of Taupō Airport. It is a popular swimming/water skiing beach that is very busy in summer. Five Mile Bay is one of three similar named bays along the lake shoreline, the others being Two Mile Bay and Three Mile Bay.
  • Wairakei – is a small settlement, and geothermal area 8-kilometres north of Taupō.
  • Waitahanui – is a village on the eastern shore of Lake Taupō.



Taupō has an oceanic climate (Cfb). The town is located inland, which results in the accumulation of dry air causing severe frost during winter. However snowfall in Taupō is rare. The summer climate in Taupō is mild with maximum average temperature reaching 23 degrees and a minimum average temperature of 10 degrees.

Climate data for Taupō (1991–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 23.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.3
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 11.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 73.4
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.9 6.3 7.1 8.2 8.8 10.5 11.2 11.7 10.8 10.1 8.7 9.5 109.8
Average relative humidity (%) 76.9 78.5 81.1 83.0 87.1 88.5 88.6 86.1 81.4 80.3 76.4 77.0 82.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 224.3 202.6 179.7 156.3 126.3 96.1 116.5 134.6 140.0 179.6 190.4 204.6 1,950.9
Source: NIWA Climate Data (sun 1981–2010)[15][16]



Taupō is defined by Statistics New Zealand as a medium urban area and covers 42.05 km2 (16.24 sq mi), which stretches from Acacia Bay in the west to Centennial Park in the east and to Taupō Airport in the south.[17] The Taupō urban area had an estimated population of 26,500 as of June 2023, with a population density of 630.20 people per km2. It is the 26th-largest urban area in New Zealand, and the second-largest in the Waikato Region behind Hamilton.[1]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [18][19]

Before the 2023 census, the town had a larger boundary, covering 42.94 km2 (16.58 sq mi).[17] Using that boundary, the Taupō urban area had a population of 23,631 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 2,508 people (11.9%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 2,937 people (14.2%) since the 2006 census. There were 9,000 households, comprising 11,520 males and 12,096 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.95 males per female, with 4,740 people (20.1%) aged under 15 years, 3,849 (16.3%) aged 15 to 29, 10,164 (43.0%) aged 30 to 64, and 4,875 (20.6%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 79.8% European/Pākehā, 24.5% Māori, 3.3% Pacific peoples, 5.7% Asian, and 2.0% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 18.5, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 51.7% had no religion, 34.9% were Christian, 2.7% had Māori religious beliefs, 1.1% were Hindu, 0.2% were Muslim, 0.6% were Buddhist and 1.9% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 2,991 (15.8%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 3,510 (18.6%) people had no formal qualifications. 2,835 people (15.0%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 9,246 (48.9%) people were employed full-time, 3,003 (15.9%) were part-time, and 507 (2.7%) were unemployed.[18]

Individual statistical areas in Taupō (2018 census)[20]
SA2 name Population Dwellings Median age Median income
Acacia Bay 1,653 987 50.8 years $39,600
Bird Area 2,235 1,155 43.3 years $34,900
Brentwood 1,893 891 48.2 years $31,600
Hilltop 2,721 1,236 42.2 years $29,600
Mountview 2,601 1,116 34.8 years $28,900
Nukuhau-Rangatira Park 2,442 1,206 44.6 years $31,700
Richmond Heights 2,328 1,143 37.2 years $32,500
Tauhara 1,803 681 30.4 years $26,400
Taupō Central East 2,439 1,083 35.8 years $25,400
Taupō Central West 405 222 32.1 years $31,100
Waipahihi 2,172 1,125 46.4 years $36,300
Wharewaka 939 726 57.5 years $30,200



Taupō is a tourist centre, particularly in the summer, as it offers panoramic views over the lake and to the volcanic mountains of Tongariro National Park to the south. It offers a number of tourist activities including sky diving, jetboating, parasailing, and bungy jumping.[21]

Taupō services a number of surrounding plantation pine forests including the large Kaingaroa Forest and related industry. A large sawmill is sited approximated 3 km to the north east of the town on Centennial Drive.[citation needed]

Taupō is surrounded by seven geothermal power stations including the historic Wairakei geothermal power station a few kilometres north of the town.[citation needed]

Taupō has a McDonald's with a decommissioned Douglas DC-3 attached to the store. The fast food outlet has seating inside the plane's structure.[22]



The Taupō district council provides local government services for Taupō.[23] Taupō is part of the Taupō electorate and the current member of parliament (as of 2023) is Louise Upston.



The Taupō museum is located in the centre of the town on Story Place. It has displays including about the Ngāti Tūwharetoa, a Wharenui (Māori Meeting House) which was carved locally between 1927 and 1928, a moa skeleton and a caravan filled with local memorabilia from the late 1950s and early 1960s. There are also displays about volcanos and art galleries.[24]

Sports and recreation


Regular sporting events in Taupō include Ironman New Zealand, the Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge and the Great Lake Relay (established in 1995).[25][26] The Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge has about 5,000 riders.[27] The Oxfam Trailwalker has been held in Taupō several times.[28][29] In 2006 Taupō was also the location of the off-road motorcycle event FIM International Six Day Enduro.[citation needed]

Mountain biking


The International Mountain Bicycling Association has designated the mountain biking trails at Bike Taupō as a silver-level IMBA Ride Center.[30] Ride Centers are the IMBA's strongest endorsement of a trail experience.[31]



Taupō is home to the Taupo Golf Club which has two courses: the Tauhara golf course[32] and the Centennial course. Other golf courses located near Taupō include the Kinloch Club Golf Course and the Reporoa Golf Club.[33]



Taupō is home to the Taupo International Motorsport Park. It has a full international-standard racing circuit.[34]

Swimming pool


The AC Baths is a swimming pool complex located at 26 AC Baths Avenue. Facilities include two 25-metre lane pools, an outdoor leisure pool with two toddler areas, a sauna, two hydroslides and four private thermal mineral pools.[35]

One of the main streets of the Taupō CBD, with the Taupo Domain on the left



Taupō has four high schools: Tauhara College, Taupo-nui-a-Tia College, Māori immersion Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whakarewa i Te Reo ki Tuwharetoa and state integrated Lake Taupo Christian School. It also has Wairakei, St Patrick's, Waipahihi, Hilltop, Mount View, Taupō and Tauhara primary schools, and Taupo Intermediate School.

Infrastructure and services




Taupō is served by State Highway 1 and State Highway 5, and is on the Thermal Explorer Highway touring route. All three highways run concurrently along the Eastern Taupō Arterial, which was built in 2010.[36]

Taupō is one of the few large towns in New Zealand that have never had a link to the national rail network, although there have been proposals in the past.[citation needed]

Taupō Airport is located south of the township. Scheduled services to Auckland and Wellington operate from the airport.[37]



Taupō first received a public electricity supply in 1952, with the commissioning of the Hinemaiaia A hydroelectric power station south of the town. The town was connected to the national grid in 1958, coinciding with the commissioning of Wairakei geothermal power station north of the town.[38] Today, Unison Networks owns and operates the electricity distribution network in Taupō.[39]

Natural gas arrived in Taupō in 1987. First Gas operates the gas distribution network in the town.[40]

Taupō's fresh water supply is drawn from Lake Taupō. Prior to 2013, there were two separate fresh water systems serving the town: the Lake Terrace system serving the town north of Napier Road, and the Rainbow Point system serving the southern suburbs. In 2013, the Lake Terrace treatment plant was upgraded and the two systems were amalgamated. Acacia Bay has its own dedicated fresh water system.[41]



The local newspaper Taupō Times is owned by Stuff.[42] Digitisation of the Taupō Times from 1952 was undertaken in a partnership between The Preserving Local History and Educational Trust and Taupō Museum and Art Gallery.[42]

Notable people


Twin cities


Taupō is twinned with:[43]

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Subnational population estimates (RC, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (regional councils); "Subnational population estimates (TA, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (territorial authorities); "Subnational population estimates (urban rural), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (urban areas)
  2. ^ "Taupo". Encyclopedia of New Zealand (1966).
  3. ^ Wikaira, Martin (1 March 2017). "Ngāti Tūwharetoa – The journeys of Ngātoroirangi and Tia". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Taupō". New Zealand Gazetteer. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Over 800 Māori place names made official". TVNZ. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  6. ^ Bartlett, Hannah (12 September 2019). "The right way to pronounce Tauranga, Taupo and other butchered place names". Stuff. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Wellington student's 'Toe Paw' video helps out Kiwis who reckon they can't pronounce te reo Maori". Stuff. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Rotorua pronunciation needs attention according to new online tool". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  9. ^ "Māori language gets its own app". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
  10. ^ a b McKinnon, Malcolm (25 May 2015). "Volcanic Plateau places – Taupō". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  11. ^ a b c "'TAUPO', from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 1966. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  12. ^ Oliverio, Angela M; Power, Jean F.; Washburne, Alex; Cary, S. Craig; Stott, Matthew B.; Fierer, Noah (1 August 2018). "The ecology and diversity of microbial eukaryotes in geothermal springs". ISME Journal. 12 (8): 1918–1928. doi:10.1038/s41396-018-0104-2. PMC 6052046.
  13. ^ "Kinloch Golf Club | Taupo New Zealand | 18 Hole Course". www.kinlochgolf.co.nz. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  14. ^ McMillan, Cameron (8 November 2023). "Kinloch golf course: I don't think there's a tougher course in New Zealand". NZ Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  15. ^ "Climate data and activities". NIWA. Archived from the original on 20 May 2024. Retrieved 20 May 2024.
  16. ^ "Climate Data". NIWA. Retrieved 2 November 2007.
  17. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 26 April 2024.
  18. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Acacia Bay (188300), Brentwood (Taupo District) (188400), Nukuhau-Rangatira Park (188500), Taupo Central West (188600), Tauhara (188700), Taupo Central East (188800), Mountview (188900), Bird Area (189000), Hilltop (Taupo District) (189100), Waipahihi (189200), Richmond Heights (189300) and Wharewaka (189400).
  19. ^ "Koordinates".
  20. ^ "2018 Census place summaries | Stats NZ". www.stats.govt.nz. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Adrenaline & adventure in Taupo". Love Taupo. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  22. ^ www.lovetaupo.com, Love Taupo |. "McDonald's Taupo". www.lovetaupo.com. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  23. ^ "Taupō District Council". www.taupodc.govt.nz. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  24. ^ "Displays – Taupō District Council". www.taupodc.govt.nz. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  25. ^ "IMNewZealand". Ironman. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  26. ^ "Taupo Great Lake Relay – Event Promotions". Event Promotions. 24 June 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  27. ^ "Welcome – Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge". Cycle Challenge. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Oxfam Trailwalker in New Zealand Search". Eventfinda. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  29. ^ "Past Events". Oxfam Trailwalker. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  30. ^ "Introducing the 2012 Model Trail Awards Winners; International Mountain Bicycling Association". Imba.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  31. ^ "Pocahontas State Park to Develop Regional Biking Center – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Outdoor Recreation In Richmond And Central Virginia". Richmond.com. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  32. ^ www.lovetaupo.com, Love Taupo |. "Taupo Golf Club – Tauhara Course". www.lovetaupo.com. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  33. ^ www.lovetaupo.com, Love Taupo |. "Golf in Taupō". www.lovetaupo.com. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  34. ^ "Taupo". RacingCircuits.info. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  35. ^ "AC Baths – Taupō District Council". www.taupodc.govt.nz. Retrieved 13 November 2023.
  36. ^ "Taupo reflects on bypass road success | NZNews | Newshub". 3news.co.nz. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  37. ^ "Sounds Air Flying Wellington to Taupo". Great Lake Taupō. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  38. ^ "Hinemaiaia Power Scheme". www.trustpower.co.nz. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  39. ^ "Unison's history". www.unison.co.nz. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  40. ^ "The New Zealand Gas Story". Gas Industry Company. December 2016. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  41. ^ "Asset management plan – Water" (PDF). Taupo District Council. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  42. ^ a b "Taupō Times". Preserving Local History and Educational Trust. Retrieved 22 March 2024.
  43. ^ "Taupō District Friendship and Sister Cities – Taupō District Council". www.taupodc.govt.nz. Retrieved 17 August 2023.