Keyword: #aboutotorohanga

About Ōtorohanga District
Mō te Rohe o Ōtorohanga

How big is the Ōtorohanga District? What is the population? What is the history of the Ōtorohanga District? Read on to find out.


Area (Square kilometres)


Ōtorohanga Area (Square kilometres)


Kāwhia Area (Square kilometres)


Total Population (2018 Census figures)


Ōtorohanga Population


Kāwhia Population


Rural Population


Rateable Properties (1 October 2022)


Non-Rateable Properties (1 October 2022)


Rateable Capital Value (1 October 2022)

District History

Ōtorohanga District is part of the King Country region, known by Maori as 'Te Rohe Potae' - "The Area of the Hat."

The King Country extends along the west coast of New Zealand's North Island from Mount Pirongia in the north to the coastal town of Mokau in the south and stretches inland to Pureora Forest Park and the Waikato River.

  • Early 1860s - After the Maori Land Wars, the Maori Chief Tawhiao and his followers sought refuge in the rugged countryside of the King Country.
  • From 1864 to 1883 - The area was closed off to Europeans except by express permission of Maori.
  • Late 19th Century - Development of the King Country area, which was covered by dense native bush and swamps, commenced. 
  • 1922 - The Ōtorohanga County was formed, which was the predecessor to the current Council.
  • 1956 - The Ōtorohanga County was joined with the northern half of the neighbouring Kāwhia County.
  • 1 November 1971 - The Ōtorohanga County and the urban Borough of Ōtorohanga were united to form a new County of Ōtorohanga.
  • 1979 - The Ōtorohanga County was renamed the Ōtorohanga District Council.

About Ōtorohanga

The Ōtorohanga District is located 50 kilometres south of Hamilton.

The area governed by the Council covers 1976 square kilometres and extends from the Kāwhia and Aotea Harbours on the west coast for a distance of 90 km to the eastern extremity on the Waikato River near Mangakino.

Included within the District are the urban communities of Ōtorohanga and Kāwhia.

Geographically, the District comprises three distinct areas of approximately equal size.

The eastern and western areas have predominantly more hills than the central area, which forms the southern limit of the Waikato Basin.

Ōtorohanga is centrally placed, being within an easy driving distance of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupō and New Plymouth. 

The local economy is primarily based on agriculture, with sheep, beef and dairy farming being the principle agricultural activities.

The town has a population of approximately 3000 and is a service centre for the surrounding rural areas.

Ōtorohanga is the closest town to the world-famous glow worm caves at Waitomo, which generate significant tourist traffic.

Ōtorohanga has good shopping facilities, three modern primary schools and a college, medical facilities and it caters for a wide range of sporting and cultural activities.

About Kāwhia

Kāwhia is a small holiday resort located on the shores of the Kāwhia Harbour, 57 kilometres west of Ōtorohanga via State Highway 31.

Kāwhia has a permanent population of approximately 400, but the population increases to over 2000 at peak holiday periods.

It is the spiritual home of the Tainui people who first settled there 600 to 700 years ago. 

The Kāwhia Harbour covers more than 6000 hectares, with five rivers feeding into it and is a popular and productive fishing spot.

Date of Constitution of District

1 November 1989

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