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Wairarapa electorate boundaries used since the 2008 election Wairarapa electorate, 2014.svg
Wairarapa electorate boundaries used since the 2008 election

Wairarapa ( /ˌwrəˈræpə/ ; Māori pronunciation:  [ˈwaiɾaɾapa] ) is a geographical region of New Zealand. It occupies the south-eastern corner of the North Island, east of metropolitan Wellington and south-west of the Hawke's Bay region. It is lightly populated, having several rural service towns, with Masterton being the largest. It is named after its largest lake, Lake Wairarapa.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

North Island The northern of the two main islands of New Zealand

The North Island, also officially named Te Ika-a-Māui, is one of the two main islands of New Zealand, separated from the larger but much less populous South Island by Cook Strait. The island's area is 113,729 square kilometres (43,911 sq mi), making it the world's 14th-largest island. It has a population of 3,749,200.

Wellington Capital city of New Zealand

Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. Its latitude is 41°17′S, making it the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.



Wairarapa is shaped like a rectangle, about 130 kilometres (81 mi) long (from Palliser Bay north to Woodville) and 65 kilometres (40 mi) wide (from the Tararua Range east to the coast). The Ngāti Kahungunu tribe's boundary for the region is similar. Their tribal area begins at Pōrangahau and ends at Turakirae. It is the southernmost of their three rohe (homelands) running down the eastern North Island from Wairoa. For the Rangitāne tribe, Wairarapa is part of a wider homeland that includes Manawatu and Horowhenua.

[1] The north–south divide was reinforced in 1989, when local authority boundaries changed. The new Tararua District Council covers northern Wairarapa and southern Hawke's Bay. Central and southern Wairarapa was divided into three district councils: Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa. The South Wairarapa District Council, based in Martinborough, is the local government authority for areas south of Carterton, encompassing the towns of Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough and the rural areas down to the Hutt. It is separated from Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt cities by the Rimutaka Ranges.. Carterton District Council based in Carterton is the fastest growing area in New Zealand and the Masterton District Council covers areas up to the Tararua District.

Featherston, New Zealand Place in Wellington, New Zealand

Featherston is a town in the South Wairarapa District, in the Wellington Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is at the eastern foothills of Remutaka Range close to the northern shore of Lake Wairarapa, 63 km (39 mi) north-east of central Wellington and 37 km (23 mi) south-west of Masterton.

Upper Hutt City in Wellington, New Zealand

Upper Hutt is a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand, and one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area.

Lower Hutt Place in Wellington, New Zealand

Lower Hutt is a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Administered by the Hutt City Council, it is one of the four cities that constitute the Wellington metropolitan area.

In terms of national politics, after the proportional representation electoral system was introduced in 1996, the Wairarapa electorate expanded to include southern Hawke's Bay.

The area from Mount Bruce north, extending through Eketahuna, Pahiatua, Woodville, Dannevirke, to just north of Norsewood is part of the Tararua District and is in the Manawatu-Wanganui region, because it is in the catchment of the headwaters of the Manawatu River. The river runs westward between the two mountain ranges (Tararua Range to the south and Ruahine Range to the north) via the Manawatu Gorge, to pass through Palmerston North and reach the west coast of the North Island.

Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre

Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre is a captive breeding facility and visitor centre located in a protected forest area on State Highway 2 in New Zealand's Tararua district.

Eketahuna Place in Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand

Eketahuna is a small rural service town, the most southerly in the Tararua District in the Manawatu-Wanganui region of the North Island of New Zealand, but is considered to be in northern Wairarapa. It was called Mellemskov, but was renamed soon after its founding, and was colloquially known as Jackeytown. The 2013 census recorded Eketahuna's population at 441; down from 456 in 2006.

Pahiatua Place in Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand

Pahiatua is a rural service town in the south-eastern North Island of New Zealand with an urban and rural population of over 4,000. It is between Masterton and Woodville on State Highway 2 and the Wairarapa Line railway, 60 kilometres (37 mi) north of Masterton and 30 kilometres (19 mi) east of Palmerston North. It is usually regarded as being in the Northern Wairarapa. However for local government purposes it is in the Tararua District part of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region; which encompasses Eketahuna, Pahiatua, Woodvillle and Dannevirke.

The east coast contains settlements such as Tinui, Castlepoint, and Riversdale Beach, while the main southern rivers drain through or past Lake Wairarapa to discharge into Palliser Bay east of Cook Strait.

Tinui human settlement in New Zealand

Tinui is a small village approximately 40 kilometres from Masterton, in the Wairarapa, New Zealand. The name comes from the Māori words ti, cabbage tree, and nui, many.

Lake Wairarapa lake in Wellington Region, New Zealand

Lake Wairarapa is a lake at the southern end of the North Island of New Zealand, 50 kilometers east of Wellington. The lake covers an area of 78 km2 (30 sq mi), and at its deepest is 2.5 m (8.2 ft). The lake is the third largest in the North Island, fractionally smaller than Lake Rotorua. The nearest town to the lake is Featherston, which is located five kilometres from its northern shore.The lake forms part of the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Park.

Palliser Bay bay

Palliser Bay is at the southern end of the North Island of New Zealand, to the southeast of Wellington. It runs for 40 kilometres along the Cook Strait coast from Turakirae Head at the southern end of the Rimutaka Ranges to Cape Palliser, the North Island's southernmost point.


The name means "Glistening Waters", and is said to have been applied by an early Māori explorer, Haunui, who saw the rivers and lake from the mountains to the west. During colonial times the region was also known colloquially as The Wydrop. [2]

Māori people Indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand

The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture, with their own language, a rich mythology, and distinctive crafts and performing arts. Early Māori formed tribal groups based on eastern Polynesian social customs and organisation. Horticulture flourished using plants they introduced; later, a prominent warrior culture emerged.

Rangitane and Ngāti Kahungunu were the Māori tribes ( iwi ) in the area when European explorers arrived in the 1770s.

Ngāti Kahungunu Māori iwi (tribe) in Aotearoa New Zealand

Ngāti Kahungunu is a Māori iwi (tribe) located along the eastern coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The iwi is traditionally centred in the Hawke's Bay and Wairārapa regions.

Iwi are the largest social units in Aotearoa Māori society. The Māori-language word iwi means "people" or "nation", and is often translated as "tribe", or "a confederation of tribes". The word is both singular and plural in Māori.

European settlement began in the early 1840s, initially on large grazing runs leased from Māori, and with closer settlement from the 1850s.

On 23 January 1855 the region was hit by the strongest earthquake recorded in New Zealand, which reached Magnitude 8.2 on the Richter Scale. There were five deaths.


The agricultural industries, including forestry, cropping, sheep, beef and dairy farming, are major land users. The area around Martinborough, in the south, is notable for its vineyards and wine, as are the outskirts of Masterton and Carterton. Beer has been brewed at Mangatainoka, near Pahiatua, since 1889. Deer farming is growing in importance.


The region is well served by different transport modes. The State Highway 2, via Rimutaka Hill Road connects the region to Wellington in the south and the Manawatu in the north. The Wairarapa railway line connects the region via the Rimutaka Tunnel to Wellington, and connects with the Palmerston North - Gisborne Line at Woodville. A commuter rail passenger service, the Wairarapa Connection from Masterton to Wellington is operated by Tranz Metro.

Many residents, especially in the southern towns such as Featherston and Greytown, commute to work in Wellington, either by train or over the Rimutaka Ranges by car.


Many of New Zealand's endangered native birds can be seen at the Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, which is just south of Eketahuna.

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

Wellington Region Region of New Zealand in North Island

The Wellington Region is a local government region of New Zealand that occupies the southern end of the North Island. The region covers an area of 8,049 square kilometres (3,108 sq mi), and is home to a population of 521,500.

Carterton, New Zealand Minor urban area in Wellington, New Zealand

Carterton is a small town in the Wellington Region of New Zealand and the seat of the Carterton District. It lies in a farming area of the Wairarapa in New Zealand's North Island. It is located 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) southwest of Masterton and 80 kilometres (50 mi) northeast of Wellington. The town has a population of 5,320, out of a total district population of 9,340.

Masterton Territorial authority in Wellington, New Zealand

Masterton is a large town in the Wellington Region of New Zealand and the seat of the Masterton District. It is the largest town in the Wairarapa, a region separated from Wellington by the Rimutaka ranges. It is 100 kilometres north-east of Wellington, 39.4 kilometres south of Eketahuna, on the Ruamahanga River.

Tararua District Territorial authority in Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand

The Tararua District is an area near the south-east corner of New Zealand's North Island that is administered by the Tararua District Council. It has a population of 17,900, and an area of 4,360.56 km². The Tararua District Council was created by the amalgamation of the Dannevirke District Council, Eketahuna County Council, Pahiatua Borough Council, Pahiatua County Council and Woodville District Council in the 1989 local government reforms.

Greytown, New Zealand Place in Wellington, New Zealand

Greytown, population 2,202, is a rural town in the heart of the Wairarapa region of New Zealand, in the lower North Island. It is 80 km north-east of Wellington and 25 kilometres southwest of Masterton, on State Highway 2. It was awarded the title of New Zealand's Most Beautiful Small Town 2017.

Woodville, New Zealand Place in Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand

Woodville, previously known as The Junction is a small town in the southern North Island of New Zealand, 75 km north of Masterton and 25 km east of Palmerston North. The 2013 census showed that 1401 people reside in Woodville.

Wairarapa Line

The Wairarapa Line is a secondary railway line in the south-east of the North Island of New Zealand. The line runs for 172 kilometres (107 mi), connects the capital city Wellington with the Palmerston North - Gisborne Line at Woodville, via Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Masterton.

NZR RM class (Wairarapa) class of 7 New Zealand railcars

The NZR RM class Wairarapa railcar was a class of railcars on New Zealand's national rail network. They entered service in 1936 and were classified RM like all other classes of railcars in New Zealand; they came to be known as the "Wairarapa" class as they were designed to operate over the famous Rimutaka Incline to the Wairarapa region on the Wairarapa Line. They also acquired the nickname of "tin hares" in New Zealand railfan jargon. The first two to be introduced re-used the numbers RM 4 and RM 5 that had previously been used by the withdrawn experimental Model T Ford railcars. The class consisted of six passenger railcars and one passenger-freight railcar. It is often described incorrectly as a class of six railcars.

Wairarapa Bush Rugby Football Union

The Wairarapa Bush Rugby Football Union is the body that regulates rugby union in Masterton, New Zealand. It was formed in 1971 with the amalgamation of the Wairapapa and Bush Unions.

Wairarapa (New Zealand electorate) New Zealand electorate

Wairarapa is a New Zealand parliamentary electorate. It was first created in 1858 and existed until 1881. It was recreated in 1887 and has since existed continuously. In the early years, the electorate was for a time represented by two members. Wairarapa has been held by Alastair Scott since the 2014 election.

Rangitāne Māori iwi (tribe) in Aotearoa New Zealand

Rangitāne is a Māori iwi (tribe). Their rohe (territory) is in the Manawatū, Horowhenua, Wairarapa and Marlborough areas of New Zealand.

Newman railway station railway station

Newman railway station was a station on the Wairarapa Line in the Tararua District area of the Manawatu-Wanganui region of New Zealand’s North Island. It served the small rural community of Newman, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north of Eketahuna. It is accessed via Cliff Road, but is now located on private property.

Pahiatua railway station railway station

Pahiatua railway station is on the Wairarapa Line in New Zealand’s North Island. It was opened in May 1897, shortly before the line was opened to Woodville in December of that year. The station is 1.7 kilometres (1.1 mi) from Pahiatua, in contrast to the original plans for the railway line to run through the town.

Dalefield railway station railway station

Dalefield railway station was a station on the Wairarapa Line that served the small rural community of Dalefield, just south of Carterton in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand’s North Island. It survived for just over a century from when the line opened in 1880 until it was closed in 1981.

Clareville railway station railway station

Clareville railway station was a flag station serving the small settlement of Clareville, north of Carterton in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand's North Island. It survived for nine decades from when it opened in 1880 until closure to all traffic in 1970.

Solway is a suburb in the southern part of Masterton, a large town in the Wairarapa Valley. Solway is the second largest suburb in the town after Lansdowne.

Opaki railway station railway station

Opaki railway station served the small rural village of Opaki, 6 km (3.7 mi) north of Masterton, in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand’s North Island. It was located on the Wairarapa Line between the stations of Masterton and Kopuaranga with vehicular access from Wingate Road.

Eketahuna railway station railway station

Eketahuna railway station was a station on the Wairarapa Line, a railway line that runs through the Wairarapa region of New Zealand's North Island. Located between the stations of Mangamahoe and Newman, it served the small southern Tararua town of Eketahuna and was one of the few attended stations on the northern section of the line.


  1. Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/wairarapa-region/page-2.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. Yerex, David (1991). They Came to Wydrop... ISBN   9781869560249.