Kaukapakapa is a town in the North Island of New Zealand. It is situated in the Rodney district and is around 50 kilometres (31 miles) northwest of Auckland. State Highway 16 passes through the town, connecting it to Helensville about 12 km (7.5 miles) to the south-west, and Araparera about 14 km to the north. The North Auckland Line also passes through Kaukapakapa. The Kaukapakapa River flows from the town to the Kaipara Harbour to the west.[1][2]

Coordinates: 36°36′58″S 174°29′29″E
Country New Zealand
Territorial authorityAuckland Council

"Kaukapakapa" is a Māori name meaning "to swim with much splashing".[3] The town is commonly known to the locals in its shortened form "Kaukap".[4]

The population of Kaukapakapa and the surrounding district was 2,922 in the 2013 census, an increase of 438 from 2006. The population of Kaukapakapa township itself was 444, a decrease of 6.[5]


European settlement of the area began in 1860, when the Government bought land from local Māori.[6] A small number of settlers arrived from England and Scotland, and a Methodist church was built in 1872. A monthly boat service operated between Kaukapakapa and the northern Kaipara from 1863.[7] The population of the area was 311 in 1881. The town developed split between the northern and southern banks of the river. Although roads connected the town to Riverhead, Tauhoa and Helensville by the early 1880s, they were of poor quality, and most access was by the river.[8] The roads were still mostly unmetalled in 1920.[9]

The kauri timber industry was responsible for developing the area, with logs floated down the Kaukapakapa River to the Kaipara Harbour, where they were loaded onto ships for export. Gum-digging (beginning in 1873-74 and continuing until at least 1914)[10] and flax processing (in the 1880s)[11] were also significant early industries. A shipyard operated from 1864 and into the 1880s.[12]

The North Auckland railway line reached Kaukapakapa in 1889.[13] A creamery was built next to the railway station to service the developing dairy industry.[14][15]

Genesis Energy has proposed to build a gas-fired power station near Kaukapakapa. The proposal is opposed by the Kaukapakapa Residents & Ratepayers Association and Kaipara Forest and Bird.[16]


Kaukapakapa School is a coeducational full primary school (years 1-8), with a decile rating of 8 and a roll of 263.[17] The school celebrated its 125th reunion in 1998.[18]

Kaukapakapa also has two early learning institutions: The Kaukapakapa Pre-School, located near the primary school, and a Playcentre located in Macky Road. (Established in 1976) [19]


Kaukapakapa's only local publication dedicated to Kaukapakapa news and events is the Kaukapakapa Kourier, a free newsletter delivered to local residents by post and also available online in PDF format.[20]

Notable people


  1. Peter Dowling (editor) (2004). Reed New Zealand Atlas. Reed Books. map 11. ISBN 0-7900-0952-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. Roger Smith, GeographX (2005). The Geographic Atlas of New Zealand. Robbie Burton. map 34. ISBN 1-877333-20-4.
  3. Reed, A.W. (1996) The Reed Dictionary of Mǎori Place Names: Te Papakupu Ingoa Wǎhi Mǎori a Reed (3rd ed.). Reed Books: Auckland, New Zealand
  4. "Kaukapakapa Travel Guide". Jasons Travel Media.
  5. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place  : Kaukapakapa Rural 2013 Census QuickStats about a place  : Kaukapakapa
  6. Ryburn, Wayne (1999). Tall Spars, Steamers & Gum. Auckland, N.Z.: Kaipara Publications. p. 25. ISBN 0-473-06176-7.
  7. Ryburn, p. 30.
  8. Ryburn, pp. 49-50, 86-87, 89.
  9. Ryburn, pp. 187-188.
  10. Ryburn, pp. 42, 201.
  11. Ryburn, p. 139.
  12. Ryburn, pp. 43-44, 138.
  13. Ryburn, pp. 83-84.
  14. Ryburn, p. 62.
  15. "Kaukapakapa". Helensville Museum. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
  16. Thompson, Wayne (22 August 2008). "Parties warming up on power station hearing". The New Zealand Herald.
  17. "Te Kete Ipurangi - Kaukapakapa School". Ministry of Education.
  18. "Jubilees & reunions - Kaukapakapa School". Education Gazette New Zealand. 77 (13). 3 August 1998.
  19. "Playcentre Details Kaukapakapa". Archived from the original on 2015-01-26.
  20. "Kaukapakapa Kourier".

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