Warkworth, New Zealand

Warkworth is a town on the Northland Peninsula in the upper North Island of New Zealand. It is in the northern part of the Auckland Region. It is located on State Highway 1, 64 km north of Auckland and 98 km south of Whangarei, and is at the head of Mahurangi Harbour.[2][3]

Location of Warkworth, New Zealand
Coordinates: 36°24′S 174°40′E
Country New Zealand
Territorial authorityAuckland Council
Local boardRodney
 (June 2018)[1]
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)

The population was 3,909 according to the 2013 census, an increase of 19.5 percent since the 2006 census.[4]

The Warkworth district is known as the Kowhai Coast, named after the native kowhai tree, and the town's annual Kowhai Festival is one of the largest community festivals in the country, running for around a week in spring.

New Zealand's main satellite communications ground station is located 5 km south of Warkworth.[5]

From 2018 Warkworth is served by hourly buses to Hibiscus Coast Station and less frequent buses to Snells Beach, Algies Bay, Matakana, Omaha and Point Wells.[6] InterCity buses run through Warkworth from Auckland to Kerikeri.[7]


One of the most prominent features of Warkworth is the Mahurangi River, an estuary which runs right through the township, where it then joins the Mahurangi Harbour and flows into the Hauraki Gulf.

On the eastern side of the river is the Mahurangi East peninsula, with the seaside towns of Snells Beach and Algies Bay. It is here that the scenic Kawau Island is found, notable for its historic Mansion House, once the private retreat of Governor Grey.

East of Warkworth and north of Mahurangi East lies the Tawharanui Peninsula, home of the Tawharanui Regional Park and Tawharanui Marine Park. To the north is the town of Wellsford, with the thickly forested Dome Valley lying in between. On the west coast lies the Kaipara Harbour, while to the south is the small historic township of Puhoi and further south the larger town of Orewa.


Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as oceanic (Cfb),[8] but it is rainier in winter.

Climate data for Warkworth, New Zealand
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 23.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 19.5
Average low °C (°F) 15.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 100
Source: Climate-Data.org (altitude: 19m)[8]


The area at the head of the Mahurangi River was known by Māori as Puhinui.[9]

Warkworth, previously known as Browns Mill,[10][11] was founded in 1853 by John Anderson Brown (born Newcastle upon Tyne), who named it after the village of Warkworth, Northumberland, where one of his relatives had taught for many years. In 1853 the government finished surveying the district and began to offer the land for sale. John Anderson Brown purchased 153 acres (0.62 km2) of land and his daughter Amelia purchased a further 81 acres (330,000 m2). He then surveyed the land into allotments where the well known streets such as Lilburn, Alnwick, Neville, and Bertram were named. Six months later in May 1854 the allotments were offered for sale in The New Zealander, an Auckland Newspaper.[11] Bridge House Lodge, established on the site of John Anderson Brown's home next door to the Warkworth Bridge, is the oldest surviving building in Warkworth.[12] Early industry included logging of kauri and other timbers, flour milling and boat-building.

The first portland cement manufacturing works in the southern hemisphere, Wilson's Cement Company, was established near the town in 1884.[11] It closed its doors in 1928 during the depression years. The ruins still remain and the mine is now a popular local fresh water swimming hole.

In 1883 the Masonic Hall was built and up until 1911 served as a public hall until a dedicated building was constructed on the corner of Alnwick and Neville streets. Across the road on the opposite corner the new post office was built the same year and was furnished with a telephone exchange within 12 months of being open.[11][13]

In 1922 Stubbs Butchery first opened and took over the site on Wharf Street that once housed Bowen's Store, the first commercial premises to be built in the 1860s.[11]

At the end of the 1930s came WWII, and although Warkworth escaped the physical devastation it became host to thousands of military men from America. There were 25 military camps which sprung up around the towns farmlands. They carried out exercises prior to being sent to the Pacific Campaigns. They were well received by the community.[14][15]

Warkworth was part of the Rodney District during its existence from 1989 to 2010.


Mahurangi College

Mahurangi College is a co-educational secondary school, teaching students between years 7-13 (form 1-7, grade 6-12), with a roll of 1,300 students and a socio-economic decile rating of 7.[16] It was first built on the current site in 1957, then referred to as Warkworth District High School. It was then renamed Mahurangi College in 1962, with a roll of 210 students at the time. New Zealand yacht designer Bruce Farr was among the first pupils. Mahurangi College first reached the 1,000 pupil milestone in 1998 and as a result the school decided to have an entire staff and pupil photograph taken.[17] Well known All Blacks Zinzan Brooke and Robin Brooke attended the college during the late 1970s early 1980s. Zinzan attended from form 1 in 1976 to the end of form 5 in 1980 and Robin attended from form 1 in 1978 until form 7 in 1984. Cricket twins Hamish Marshall and James Marshall, who represented New Zealand with the Black Caps Cricket Team, also attended Mahurangi College. Both attended from form 1 in 1991 until form 6 in 1996 when they were offered a cricket scholarship to Kings College.[17]

A new auditorium was completed at the end of January 2011. In early January 2012, construction began on rebuilding B-block and a new administration centre.[18] The renovations and constructions were completed mid-2013, and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced on 2 April 2015 that work would begin on a $6.3 million property upgrade at the College.[19]

Warkworth Primary School

Warkworth Primary School is a co-educational primary (years 1-6) school with a roll of 583 students and a socio-economic decile rating of 8.[20]


Mahurangi RFC

Mahurangi RFC is the local rugby club, formed in 1989 as an amalgamation of three strong local rugby clubs: Warkworth, Kaipara Flats and Omaha. There was no formal College Rugby competition and the three Clubs competed against each other for players from the Mahurangi College to play in the Under 15, 16 and 17 age group competitions. The three clubs felt that this arrangement was unsatisfactory for youth development and this provided the impetus for a steering committee from all three clubs to investigate the possibility of amalgamation and to compete in the North Harbour Provincial Union.[21]

Sister towns

Warkworth has several sister towns including:


  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 31. ISBN 1-877333-20-4.
  4. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place  : Warkworth
  5. Engineering Heritage New Zealand; 36.4327292337574°S 174.66740369796753°E / -36.4327292337574; 174.66740369796753
  6. "Warkworth Kowhai Coast Northern Bus Timetable" (PDF). 30 September 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-09-28.
  7. "Warkworth (Auckland) - Bus Timetable // Search Bus Fares From Warkworth (Auckland)". www.intercity.co.nz. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  8. "Climate: Warkworth - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
  9. Historic Heritage Topic Report, Warkworth Structure Plan
  10. (2007). DVD. Warkworth: Majorlook.
  11. Keys. H. J, (1954). Mahurangi - The Story of Warkworth
  12. Bioletti, H. (1996). Warkworth New Zealand. Book 2. Warkworth, New Zealand: Times Colour Print.
  13. Clague, C. (2006). Recollections of Warkworth and Warkworth People. Warkworth and District Museum Society Inc
  14. Bioletti, H. (1993). Tales of the Mahurangi. Warkworth, New Zealand: Times Colour Print.
  15. "Te Kete Ipurangi - Mahurangi College". Ministry of Education.
  16. P. Barlett, personal communication: Mahurangi College Staff, March 19, 2009
  17. "Mahurangi College News - Auditorium Completion". Mahurangi College. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  18. "$6.3M UPGRADE FOR MAHURANGI COLLEGE WARKWORTH". National Party. Archived from the original on 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  19. Counts, Education. "Ministry of Education - Education Counts". www.tki.org.nz.
  20. "History of the Mahurangi Rugby Club". All Teams Ltd.

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