|Territorial authority||South Waikato District|
|Population (2013 census)|
|Time zone||NZST (UTC+12)|
|• Summer (DST)||NZDT (UTC+13)|
Tirau (Māori: Tīrau[a]) is a small town in the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand, 50 kilometres southeast of Hamilton. The town has a population of 690 (2013 census).. In the Māori language, "Tīrau" means "place of many cabbage trees."
Tirau is a major junction in the New Zealand state-highway network. Just south of the township is the intersection of State Highway 1 and State Highway 5, where traffic from Auckland and Hamilton on State Highway 1 split to go either to Rotorua on SH 5, or continue along SH 1 to Taupo and beyond to Napier, Palmerston North and Wellington. State Highway 27 splits off State Highway 1 in the north of the town, providing a route north to the Coromandel Peninsula and an alternative route to Auckland, bypassing Hamilton.
Tirau is primarily a farming town but in recent years has begun to exploit the income that comes from being at a major road junction.
In the 19th century, Tirau, then Oxford, was originally planned as a large-scale city for the Waikato, however plans were changed after the entrepreneurial Rose family bought up large areas of land in the region, with the intention of making large returns when it came of high demand. Oxford later became a rural service town, and changed its name to Tirau in 1896.
In 1991, local business man Henry Clothier took advantage of the town's relatively cheap real estate and high traffic volume by opening an Antique shop in the former Rose Bros. grocery store building. Many other businesses followed suit off the back of his success throughout the 1990s until today. Tirau has built a reputation as a shopping destination for antiques, collectibles and other niche items. In 2005/06 the South Waikato District Council is working, on behalf of the Tirau Ward, in conjunction with the community, to develop a concept plan for Tirau's future. This project is taking the success of Tirau's transformation over the past decade and linking it with the requirements of the Local Government Act 2002 new emphasis on the four well-beings, social, economic, environmental and cultural.
Oxford railway station opened on 8 March 1886, 133 mi 60 ch (215.2 km) from Auckland and 30 mi 60 ch (49.5 km) from Morrinsville, where the Kinleith Branch is crossed by Okoroire Rd The line was extended 6 mi 77 ch (11.2 km) south to Putaruru and Lichfield on 21 June 1886. 563 passengers bought tickets in 1894, 330 in 1895 and 308 in 1896, when the main import was coal and the main exports timber and sheep. It was renamed Tirau on 8 March 1886 and closed to passengers on 12 November 1968 and to goods on 29 March 1981. The station had a small platform building, a goods shed and a water tower.
The town is now a well known tourist stop-off, and is characterised by many art works created out of corrugated iron. The church and many of the shops feature corrugated iron sculptures and two large buildings are completely made from this material; the information centre which is shaped like a giant dog, and the neighbouring sheep and ram building - earning Tirau the title of "Corrugated Capital of the World".
The Castle, a large toy museum on the town's southern limits which opened in 2000, can clearly be seen when heading towards the township from Rotorua or Taupo. The Tirau dairy factory is New Zealand's only producer of lactalbumin, a key ingredient in the production of sports supplements.
Tirau Primary School is the sole school in Tirau. It is a contributing primary school (Years 1–6) and has 118 students as of February 2018.
The nearest secondary school is Putaruru College, 8 kilometres (5 mi) south of Tirau, in Putaruru.
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- South Waikato District Council
- Local Government Act 2002
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- Scoble, Juliet (2010). "Names & Opening & Closing Dates of Railway Stations" (PDF). Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand.
- "Tirau, South Waikato District". natlib.govt.nz. 1965-01-01. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
- Tirauinfo: Local Attractions
- Wilkie, Kelsie (20 October 2016). "Corrugated iron sheep and ram buildings in Tirau for sale". Stuff.
- "Tirau". Fonterra. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "Find my electorate". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- "Directory of Schools - as at 14 March 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
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