Otorohanga District

Otorohanga District is a territorial municipality in the King Country region of the North Island of New Zealand. It is a mostly rural area, with Otorohanga town being by far the biggest urban area, with a population nearing 3,000. The District was called Otorohanga County from 1971 to 1979.

Otorohanga District
CountryNew Zealand
DistrictOtorohanga District Council
  MayorMax Baxter
  Deputy MayorDeborah Pilkington
  Total1,976 km2 (763 sq mi)
 (June 2018)[1]
  Density5.3/km2 (14/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
WebsiteOtorohanga District

Geography and population

Otorohanga District is located south of Hamilton, west of Rotorua, and northwest of Taupo. It stretches from Kawhia Harbour on the west coast inland to the Pureora Forest Park. Adjacent local government districts are (clockwise from the north) Waikato, Waipa, South Waikato, Taupo, and Waitomo. The district has a land area of 1,976 square kilometres (763 sq mi).[2] It is a mostly rural area, with significant areas of native forest.

The district's population at June 2018 was 10,400.[1] The town of Otorohanga, located at about the centre of the district, is the largest town, with a population nearing 3,000. Other communities include Hauturu, Honikiwi, Kawhia, Maihiihi, Oparau, Otewa, Owhiro, Puketotara, Te Kawa and Wharepuhunga.


After the land wars, the wider area of the King Country was a refuge for Tāwhiao, the second Māori King, and his followers. From 1864 to 1883, pākehā (white settlers) were not allowed into the area unless they had express permission. The district was used for farming from the late 19th century onwards.

The first municipal government, Otorohanga County, was formed in 1922. In 1956, the northern part of Kawhia County and Otorohanga County were amalgamated. On 1 November 1971, Otorohanga Borough was subsumed into Otorohanga County. The Otorohanga District was declared in 1979 by renaming Otorohanga County.[2] It was reconstituted as part of the 1989 local government reforms, with a nearly identical area.[3]


The seat of Otorohanga District Council is in the town of Otorohanga. The council is headed by a mayor, and complemented by seven councillors from five wards. The council wards are Kawhia/Tihiroa (two councillors), Waipa, Wharepuhunga, Kiokio/ Korakonui, and Otorohanga (two councillors).[4] Max Baxter has been the mayor since the 2013 local elections.[5]

The District is entirely within the wider Waikato Regional Council area.[3]


Otorohanga District had a population of 9,138 at the 2013 New Zealand census, an increase of 60 people since the 2006 census. There were 4,731 males and 4,410 females. Figures have been rounded and may not add up to totals.[6] 79.3% were European/Pākehā, 27.2% were Māori, 2.2% were Pacific peoples and 2.4% were Asian.[7]


  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. "About us". Otorohanga District Council. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  3. "Proposal for Ōtorohanga District". New Zealand Geographic Board. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  4. "Otorohanga District Council Elected Members". Otorohanga District Council. Archived from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  5. Leaman, Aaron (14 October 2013). "Business as usual as Baxter takes charge". Waikato Times. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
  6. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place  : Otorohanga District
  7. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place (Cultural diversity) : Otorohanga District
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