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Whakapirau (Māori)
Main St in Wellsford
Main St in Wellsford
Wellsford is located in New Zealand Auckland
Coordinates: 36°17′45″S 174°31′24″E / 36.29583°S 174.52333°E / -36.29583; 174.52333Coordinates: 36°17′45″S 174°31′24″E / 36.29583°S 174.52333°E / -36.29583; 174.52333
CountryNew Zealand
Territorial authorityAuckland Council
 (June 2021)[1]
 • Total2,160
0900, 0977, 0975, 0972, 0974, 0973

Wellsford (Māori: Whakapirau) is a town on the Northland Peninsula in the northern North Island of New Zealand. It is the northernmost major settlement in the Auckland Region, and is 77 kilometres northwest of the Auckland CBD.

Wellsford is close to a narrowing of the Northland Peninsula caused by an arm of the Kaipara Harbour on the west coast extending inland for 20 kilometres from the body of the harbour, stretching to within 15 kilometres of the east (Pacific Ocean) coast.

It is a major regional centre, being located at the junction of State Highways 1 and 16, almost halfway between Auckland and the Northland city of Whangārei. It is the rural service town for the local areas of Tauhoa, Tapora, Wharehine, Port Albert, Te Hana, Tomarata, Te Arai, Whangaripo and Pakiri.

History and culture[edit]

European settlement[edit]

In the early 1860s English settlers arrived, establishing themselves at Port Albert, on the Kaipara Coast about 10 kilometres west of Wellsford. These settlers called themselves the Albertlanders, after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort. They were a "breakaway group from the Anglican Church looking for a new world".[2] However, not many of the settlers arrived at Port Albert and the ones who did found it difficult to make a living. The majority of the Albertlanders moved inland, to more fertile areas in the region. As a result, Wellsford was founded.[3]

According to local tradition, the name Wellsford is an acronym based on the surnames of the first families who settled in the region. The names were Watson, Edger, Lester, Levet, Simpson, Foster, Oldfield, Ramsbottom and Dibble.[3]

Wellsford was part of the Rodney District during its existence from 1989 to 2010.


The local Ōruawharo Marae is a traditional meeting ground for Te Uri o Hau and the Ngāti Whātua hapū of Ngāti Mauku and Ngāti Tahuhu.[4] It includes the Rangimārie meeting house.[5]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [6]

Wellsford had a population of 1,929 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 216 people (12.6%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 258 people (15.4%) since the 2006 census. There were 654 households. There were 984 males and 948 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.04 males per female. Of the total population, 447 people (23.2%) were aged up to 15 years, 384 (19.9%) were 15 to 29, 777 (40.3%) were 30 to 64, and 327 (17.0%) were 65 or older. Figures may not add up to the total due to rounding.

Ethnicities were 79.5% European/Pākehā, 24.4% Māori, 5.3% Pacific peoples, 6.1% Asian, and 1.7% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 17.3, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 50.4% had no religion, 36.5% were Christian, and 6.4% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 135 (9.1%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 381 (25.7%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $25,400. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 681 (46.0%) people were employed full-time, 213 (14.4%) were part-time, and 66 (4.5%) were unemployed.[6]


Rodney College is a secondary (years 9-13) school with a roll of 391 students.[7] Wellsford School is a full primary (years 1–8) school with a roll of 397 students.[8] Rodney College's Board of Trustees was dismissed in August 2008 and a Ministry of Education commissioner appointed.[9] By 2016, the college was performing well.[10]

Living Way Christian School closed at the end of 2018 due to falling rolls.[11]

Wellsford, Tauhoa, Pakiri, Tapora and Mangawhai Primary Schools all cater for students from year 1–8, and collectively contribute to the annual in take of roughly 80 year 9 students at Rodney College.

All the schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of March 2021.[12]


Being a rural town, sport plays a big part in Wellsford's day-to-day life with rugby, soccer, netball, cricket, tennis and athletics being amongst the more popular sports played. The Wellsford Golf Club is popular among the locals and also houses squash courts. Rollerskating, archery and bowling, (indoors and outdoors) are also available, while equestrian is also popular in the area.[13]


  1. ^ "Population estimate tables - NZ.Stat". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  2. ^ Taylor, Phil (14 October 2006). "How not to rob a bank, paragraph 5". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 March 2008.
  3. ^ a b McClure, Margaret (13 July 2012). "Auckland places - Kaipara Harbour and kauri towns". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  5. ^ "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  6. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Wellsford (110500). 2018 Census place summary: Wellsford
  7. ^ Education Counts: Rodney College
  8. ^ Education Counts: Wellsford School
  9. ^ "Commissioner for Rodney College". Rodney Times. 23 September 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
  10. ^ "Rodney College - 16/06/2016". Education Review Office. 16 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Falling roll forces Living Way to close". Localmatters. 15 October 2018.
  12. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  13. ^ Sports groups and clubs. Retrieved 16 March 2013.

External links[edit]