Matamata [ˈmataˌmata] is a town in the Waikato Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is located near the base of the Kaimai Ranges, and is a thriving farming area known for Thoroughbred horse breeding and training pursuits. It is part of the Matamata-Piako District, which takes in the surrounding rural areas as well as Morrinsville and Te Aroha. State Highway 27 and the Kinleith Branch railway run through the town. The town has a population of 7,920 as of June 2018.[1]

Coordinates: 37°49′S 175°46′E
CountryNew Zealand
Territorial authorityMatamata-Piako District
  MayorJan Barnes
63 m (207 ft)
 (June 2018)[1]
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s)07

A nearby farm was the location for the Hobbiton Movie Set in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. The New Zealand government decided to leave the Hobbit holes built on location as tourist attractions, since they were designed to blend seamlessly into the environment. During the interim period filming The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey they had no furniture or props, but could be entered with vistas of the farm viewed from inside them.[2] A "Welcome to Hobbiton" sign has been placed on the main road. In 2011 parts of Hobbiton began to close in preparation for the three new movies based on the first Tolkien novel, The Hobbit.


In the early nineteenth century, the area including and surrounding the present-day Matamata township was part of the territory of the Ngāti Hauā. The Matamata itself was actually located near the present-day settlement of Waharoa, approximately 6 kilometres (4 miles) to the north.

The first European thought to have visited the Matamata area was the trader Phillip Tapsell in about 1830.[3] In 1833 the Reverend Alfred Nesbit Brown visited the area and in 1835 opened a mission near Matamata Pa, but this closed the following year when intertribal warfare broke out.[3] In 1865 Josiah Firth negotiated with Ngāti Hauā leader Wiremu Tamihana and leased a large area of land, including the future site of the town which he named after the pā.[3] Firth constructed a dray road to Cambridge and cleared the Waihou River so that it was navigable by his (small) boats.[3]

Peria, on the outskirts of Matamata, was the scene of the Kīngitanga meeting of 1863.[4][5]

Firth's estate later failed and by 1904 had been wholly obtained by the Crown and was subdivided into dairy farm units[6] to take advantage of the new technology of refrigeration. It became a dependent Town District in 1917, an independent Town District in 1919 and was constituted a borough in 1935.[3] With the re-organisation of territorial authorities in New Zealand in 1989, Matamata became part of the Matamata-Piako District.

Railway station

Matamata was a station on the Kinleith Branch, from 8 March 1886,[9] initially 40 minutes north of the temporary terminus at Oxford and about an hour from Morrinsville.[10] It was 6.03 km (3.75 mi) south of Waharoa, 7.91 km (4.92 mi) north of Hinuera[11] and for a while seems to have become a flag station,[12][13] though it did have a goods shed.[14] It had 2 members of staff from 1913[15] and by 1950 8,868 tickets were sold at Matamata and it transported 42,322 sheep and pigs.[16] It closed to passengers on 12 November 1968,[9] but reopened to serve the Geyserland Express[17] from 9 December 1991 until 7 October 2001.[18]

The station building was replaced in the 1960s[7] and has been the Railside by the Green community centre since 2002,[19] though it is fenced off from the platform.[20] Occasional excursions still use the platform.[21][22]


Matamata is the home of various media outlets, including studios for tvCentral, TV Rotorua and iTV Live, which is unusual for a town of such size.

  • Matamata Chronicle
  • Scene


Matamata is home to the Matamata Swifts soccer team, who compete in the Lotto Sport Italia NRFL Division 1A.


Secondary schools

Intermediate schools

  • Matamata Intermediate

Primary schools

  • Firth Primary School
  • Matamata Primary School

Religious schools

  • Matamata Christian School
  • St Josephs Catholic School

Matamata district schools

  • Hinuera School
  • Te Poi School
  • Te Kura O Waharoa
  • Waharoa School
  • Wairere School
  • Walton School

Notable people

Nearby towns

Smaller towns nearby are:

See also


  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. "Matamata Area Guide". Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  3. 'MATAMATA', from An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 22 April 2009
  4. Peria Topo Map
  5. "Maori Report Of The Speeches At The Meeting At Peria". Press. 3 January 1863. p. 3. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  6. D. B. Waterson. 'Firth, Josiah Clifton', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 18-Sep-2013
  7. "Matamata railway station with the Plantation behind (pre-1919)". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  8. "Matamata-Piako District Plan". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  9. Scoble, Juliet (2010). "Names & Opening & Closing Dates of Railway Stations" (PDF). Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand.
  10. "Page 7 Advertisements Column 4". Te Aroha News. 29 May 1886. p. 7. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  11. Yonge, John Roger; Company, Quail Map (1993). New Zealand Railway and Tramway Atlas. Quail Map Company. ISBN 9780900609923.
  12. "Matamata". 1902. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  13. Representatives, New Zealand Parliament House of (1908). Parliamentary Debates.
  14. "Railway Station Matamata, showing two steam locomotive trains stopped". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  15. "Parliamentary Papers | Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives | 1913 Session I". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  16. "Parliamentary Papers | Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives | 1950 Session I". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  17. "Inter-regional Rail service distances and times". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  18. Miller, Frederic P.; Vandome, Agnes F.; John, McBrewster (14 December 2010). Geyserland Express. VDM Publishing. ISBN 9786134003926.
  19. "home". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  20. "Matamata: New Zealand's re-cycled Station". Phillip Overton. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  21. "Photos – Silver Fern to Matamata". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  22. "Glenbrook to Matamata & Return – Waikato Explorer – RES Excursions – Glenbrook Vintage Railway". Retrieved 31 May 2018.
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