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Patea, Taranaki, New Zealand, 12 April 2008.jpg
Aerial photo of Patea
Coordinates: 39°45′26″S174°28′36″E / 39.75722°S 174.47667°E / -39.75722; 174.47667
Country New Zealand
Region Taranaki Region
Territorial authority South Taranaki District
  • Pātea General Ward
  • Te Tai Tonga Māori Ward
CommunityPātea Community
  Territorial Authority South Taranaki District Council
  Regional council Taranaki Regional Council
  Total6.15 km2 (2.37 sq mi)
 (June 2023) [2]
  Density210/km2 (530/sq mi)
The Aotea canoe remembrance arch in Patea Remembrance arch, Patea.jpg
The Aotea canoe remembrance arch in Patea

Patea ( /pɑːˈtɛər/ pah-TAIR) is the third-largest town in South Taranaki District, New Zealand. It is on the western bank of the Pātea River, 61 kilometres north-west of Whanganui on State Highway 3. Hāwera is 27 km to the north-west, and Waverley 17 km to the east. The Pātea River flows through the town from the north-east and into the South Taranaki Bight. [3] [4]


History and culture

Pre-European history

Patea is the traditional final place where some Māori led by Turi aboard the Aotea waka settled, after it was beached at the Aotea Harbour. [5]

European settlement

Patea, called Carlyle or Carlyle Beach for a time by European settlers, was originally nearer the Pātea River mouth than the present town. During the New Zealand Wars Patea was an important military settlement. General Cameron's force arrived at the river mouth on 15 January 1865 and constructed redoubts on both sides of the river. [6]

Patea became a market town when hostilities ended. The first of the sections on the present town site were sold in 1870. A local shipping company was established in 1872, and harbour improvements began. The Marton-New Plymouth railway line via Patea was completed in March 1885. The Carlyle Town Board, created about 1877 to administer town affairs, was succeeded by a borough council constituted on 13 October 1881 under the name Patea. [7]

In the 1920s, Patea was the largest cheese exporting port in the world. The Grader Cool Store received cheese for grading from all over South Taranaki and as far south as Oroua Downs near Himatangi. After grading it was loaded into coastal ships at the grader wharf for transport to Wellington where it was transhipped into overseas ships for export. The port closed in July 1959.[ citation needed ]

Patea Freezing Works

In the early 1880s the predecessor to the Patea Freezing Works was established on the eastern bank of the Pātea River. Cool stores for handling dairy produce followed in 1901 with later additions evolving into what became known as the Patea Freezing Co-Op, South Taranaki's primary employer. Strategic reforms, inefficiencies and nationwide over-processing resulted in closure in September 1982. In February 2008 the derelict buildings suffered severe fires. The damage was extensive and with the health hazard presented by asbestos insulation throughout the freezer walls, the town sought demolition.[ citation needed ]

Patea Māori Club

Patea became known in 1984 as the home of singer Dalvanius Prime and the Pātea Māori Club. Their single, "Poi E", indicated renewed impetus in contemporary Māori popular music. [8]

Recent history

Patea Post Office Patea Post Office, Taranaki, New Zealand, 7 March 2010 (4419404738).jpg
Patea Post Office

Patea has retained a strong community focus and enjoys many services including a well-resourced medical centre, public swimming pool and trust-owned rest home. The town is also the location of Aotea Utanganui - Museum of South Taranaki.

Several kilometres east of Patea is the small community of Whenuakura, where New Zealand golfer Michael Campbell lived as a child. He learned to play golf at the Patea Golf Club, on the cliffs overlooking the Tasman Sea. He crowned his professional career by winning the U.S. Open in June 2005, and three months later the HSBC World Match Play Championship.


The local Wai o Turi marae and Rangiharuru meeting house are affiliated with the Ngā Rauru hapū of Rangitāwhi. [9] [10]

In October 2020, the Government committed $298,680 from the Provincial Growth Fund to reconstruct the accessway to the marae and expand the carpark, creating 8 jobs. [11]


Patea covers 6.15 km2 (2.37 sq mi) [1] and had an estimated population of 1,270 as of June 2023, [2] with a population density of 207 people per km2.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [12]

Patea had a population of 1,191 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 93 people (8.5%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 48 people (4.2%) since the 2006 census. There were 525 households, comprising 609 males and 582 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.05 males per female. The median age was 46.7 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 219 people (18.4%) aged under 15 years, 180 (15.1%) aged 15 to 29, 522 (43.8%) aged 30 to 64, and 270 (22.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 60.5% European/Pākehā, 49.1% Māori, 5.3% Pacific peoples, 2.5% Asian, and 0.5% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 7.8, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 46.3% had no religion, 34.5% were Christian, 5.8% had Māori religious beliefs, 0.8% were Hindu, 0.8% were Buddhist and 1.0% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 69 (7.1%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 345 (35.5%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $19,500, compared with $31,800 nationally. 30 people (3.1%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 306 (31.5%) people were employed full-time, 129 (13.3%) were part-time, and 69 (7.1%) were unemployed. [12]


Pātea Area School is a composite (years 1-13) school with a roll of 181. [13] Until 2005 the school was Patea High School. It became an area school when Patea Primary School closed. [14] The primary school was founded in 1875. [15]

St Joseph's School is a state integrated Catholic contributing primary (years 1-6) school with a roll of 8. [16] The school was established in January 1904. [17]

Both schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of February 2024. [18]

Notable people

Related Research Articles

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  2. 1 2 "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)
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  12. 1 2 "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Patea (222200). 2018 Census place summary: Patea
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  14. "Education Review Report: Patea Area School". June 2006.[ permanent dead link ]
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  16. Education Counts: St Joseph's School
  17. "School History". St Joseph's School. Archived from the original on 23 July 2007.
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