Helensville is a town in the North Island of New Zealand. It is sited 40 kilometres northwest of Auckland, close to the southern extremity of the Kaipara Harbour. State Highway 16 passes through the town, connecting it to Waimauku 16 km to the south, and Kaukapakapa about 12 km to the north-east. Parakai is 2 km to the north-west.

Coordinates: 36°40′47″S 174°26′58″E
Country New Zealand
Territorial authorityAuckland Council
 (June 2018)[1]

The Kaipara River runs through the town and into the Kaipara Harbour to the north.[2][3] The population was 2,643 in the 2013 Census, an increase of 111 from 2006.[4] Helensville is also the name of an electorate seat in the Parliament of New Zealand. The current member for Helensville is Chris Penk.

Early history

The area around Helensville was originally called Te Awaroa, meaning "The long path" or "The long river valley". The first European settlers in the district were Scottish timber millers named McLeod but who had actually come from Nova Scotia to New Zealand. John McLeod built a house which he named "Helen's Villa" in honour of his wife, and the name soon became that of the surrounding settlement.

Initial development of the town was around the kauri milling industry, but by the start of the 20th century dairying was becoming of increasing importance. It was also becoming somewhat of a tourist centre, owing to the presence of hot springs 3 km to the west of the town at Parakai.

A lot of the early history of Helensville is described in the book Men Came Voyaging written by Colleen Sheffield, who lost her life in a bus accident before the book was completed.

Local government

Helensville had a local government like other suburbs of Auckland at that time. The local government was called Helensville Borough Council, which started in 1947 and merged into Rodney District Council in 1989, eventually being amalgamated into Auckland Council in November 2010.

Mayors during Helensville Borough Council

During the 42-year existence of Helensville Borough Council, it had eight mayors:[5]

Name Term
1 Reg Screaton 1947–1950
2 Herbert Onslow Strong 1950–1953
3 Charles S. West 1953–1956
4 Lionel M. T. Wotton 1956–1961
5 Arthur B. West 1961–1968
6 G. C. Russell 1968–1974
7 George A. Smith 1974–1986
8 Eric J. Glavish 1986–1989


Although it is no longer a forestry or dairy centre, the town is still a tourist attraction, largely because of its many historic buildings, the hot springs at Parakai and the Parakai Aerodrome, and its proximity to Auckland. It has also seen positive effects from the nearby wine producing region around Kumeu, 20 km to the south. There are also an increasing number of lifestyle blocks in the area.


Kaipara College is a secondary (years 9-13) school[6] with a roll of 828[7] as of March 2019. The school began as Helensville District High School in 1924, and changed its name to Kaipara College in 1959.[8]

Helensville Primary School is a full primary (years 1-8) school[9] with a roll of 487[7] as of March 2019. It was founded in 1877.[10]

Tau Te Arohanoa Akoranga is a satellite campus of the state-integrated Kingsway School, offering a Christian-based education.[11]

All these schools are coeducational.


Helensville railway station is on the North Auckland Line but the station has been closed since 2009.[12]

With the cessation of the passenger train service the only public transport between Helensville and central Auckland is by buses to and from Westgate in west Auckland then transfer to another bus route 110 to central Auckland. At rush hours an express bus operates to Downtown.


  1. "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-18 (2017 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. Peter Dowling (editor) (2004). Reed New Zealand Atlas. Reed Books. map 11. ISBN 0-7900-0952-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. Roger Smith, GeographX (2005). The Geographic Atlas of New Zealand. Robbie Burton. map 34. ISBN 1-877333-20-4.
  4. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place  : Helensville
  5. "Timeline of Auckland mayors". Auckland Council Archives. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  6. Education Counts: Kaipara College
  7. "Directory of Schools - as at 3 April 2019". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  8. "Kaipara College - ISSCC". International Student Services Center Corporation. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  9. Education Counts: Helensville Primary School
  10. "Helensville Primary School". Helensville Primary School. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  11. "Head of School Welcome". Kingsway School. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  12. "Calls for rail to ease congestion in Auckland's north-west". Stuff.co.nz. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2018.

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