Waipu is a small town in Bream Bay, in the Northland Region of New Zealand, with a Scottish heritage. The population was 1,491 in the 2006 Census, an increase of 222 from 2001. A highlight of the town's calendar is the annual Highland Games held at New Year. Just outside the town are the Waipu Caves, which contain a significant population of glow worms.
Waipu was the centre of a significant Presbyterian settlement led by Rev. Norman McLeod, a Presbyterian Minister who led his people from the Highlands of Scotland to New Zealand via Pictou and St. Ann's in Nova Scotia and Australia. Five shiploads containing over 800 settlers arrived at Waipu in the 1850s. For more details about the original European settlers, see the Rev. Norman McLeod entry.
In 1914, a railway branch line from the North Auckland Line was surveyed to Waipu to serve agricultural activity in the area. Construction of the line was delayed due to World War I, but by 1920, 25 men were employed in the construction of formation. However, by 1924, private motor vehicles were becoming more common and railway lines to sparsely-populated rural areas accordingly became less necessary. Due to the lack of significant industrial activity in the Waipu area, the branch line was no longer seen as economic and construction was cancelled before any rail tracks were laid. However, a new railway line, the Marsden Point Branch, is currently proposed for construction and will follow a route similar to that of the abortive Waipu line.
Schools were formed in the Waipu area at Waipu Cove, Bream Tail, Waipu Centre, The Braigh, North River and Waipu Cove. The schools at Bream Tail and Waipu Caves closed before 1930. The remaining schools, and one at Mata north of Ruakaka, were consolidated into Waipu District High School in 1940, which provided both primary and secondary education on a single site on St Mary's Road. Ruakaka School was originally intended to be included in the consolidation, but residents of Ruakaka resisted. In 1956, the secondary department moved to a new site in Argyle Street, although some secondary classes remained at the original site. By the late 1960s, Waipu was the largest District High School in the country and had inadequate facilities. The school was split at the beginning of 1972 to form the new Bream Bay College and Waipu Primary, with the high school shifting to new premises at Ruakaka in 1974. The primary school moved to the Argyle Street site.
- Quickstats about Waipu
- "Auckland’s immigrants: 1853 to 1870". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
- Geoffrey B. Churchman and Tony Hurst, The Railways of New Zealand: A Journey Through History (Auckland: HarperCollins, 1991), pg. 100.
- "Te Kete Ipurangi - Waipu School". Ministry of Education.
- Gordon, Charles MacNeill (Mac) (2002). "Education Always a Priority". Pride of the Lion: Waipu - the People and the Place. pp. 191–227. ISBN 0-473-08890-8.