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District overview

Te Tirohanga Whaanui o te Takiwaa

Ngaruawahia 0015

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District snapshot
People in the Waikato district
Natural features and climate
Economy and industry


District snapshot

The Waikato district covers more than 400,000 hectares (418.893ha). It borders Hamilton City from the north, east and west. There are 2,422 kilometres (km) of roads which you can travel on throughout the district. The information below outlines an overview of our district and briefly profiles who lives here, our economy, industry and education.

Check out our district's economic profile on the Open Waikato website, Open Waikato has a wealth of background information on the Waikato district, whether you're building or developing here; thinking of moving here; or wanting to know about businesses, industry, current projects and developments, case studies, demographics, land values, migration, population and other future projections for the district or a specific area within it.

See land and property for more details on processes, consents and property reports; planning and development; building and renovating; and information on rates in the Waikato district.

See our District Plan and Waikato district ward maps - and use our Maps Online tool - to find out more about the Waikato district.

People in the Waikato district


Nearly 40 per cent of New Zealand's total population lives within a 150km radius of the Waikato district. However, the number of people living within the district itself (81,473 - NIDEA, 2020) is not high compared to other similarly-sized districts in New Zealand. (See population projections and 
statistics  - University of Waikato's National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis: and Statistics NZ). 


The median age of residents is 37.6 years (same as NZ average). We have a smaller number of people aged over 65 and a larger number of people aged under 15 than the nationwide average. So currently, we have a greater need for services and facilities for the younger members of our community, but in the long term there will be an increase in demand for those services from those above 65.


The Waikato district has low numbers of Pacific Island (4.2 per cent) and Asian people (5.8 per cent), but a much larger than average proportion of Maaori (26.4 per cent). 76.8% of people in the Waikato district consider themselves to be European. The district's urban wards have much higher percentages of Maaori than its rural wards.


Waikato-Tainui holds a unique status as tangata whenua of the Waikato region. Find out more about iwi in our district

Towns and communities

Our key towns are Raglan, Huntly, Ngaaruaawahia, Tuakau and Te Kauwhata. Smaller settlements include Gordonton, Matangi, Tamahere, Meremere, Port Waikato and Pookeno. 

Natural features and climate

The Waikato district is rich in natural resources, wilderness reserves, natural resources, native bush reserves, lush farmland, stunning west coast beaches, community history and culture. Our Council works alongside the Waikato Regional Council in protecting our environment – find out more about what we’re doing and what you can do, too.

One of the stars in our district’s crown is the mighty Waikato River, which threads its way through the region from Taupo to Port Waikato. Waikato District Council shares the management and preservation of this unique resource with iwi Waikato-Tainui under a Joint Management Agreement (JMA) which we co-signed in 2010.

Our temperate climate and central location makes the Waikato district an ideal lifestyle choice. We have a moderate level of annual rainfall, ensuring excellent growing conditions year round. The maximum temperature averages 13.5 degrees Celsius in July and 24.2 degrees Celsius in February. View today’s forecast for the Waikato and New Zealand.

Economy and industry

Dairy farming and mining are the backbone of this region. Another activity is aggregate and sand extraction and we are also known for our industries, education, adventure tourism and events. 

Our district is also right in the heart of what's called the 'Golden Triangle' – a zone formed by Auckland, Bay of Plenty and the Waikato region which generates the bulk of the nation' economic activity. 

The ongoing development of the Waikato Expressway and other roading projects in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty have the potential to contribute significantly to growth and connection with these areas and also within and around our district by making the movement of both goods and people quicker and easier.

Find out more about what the Waikato District Council is doing to support our economic development.


The district has a median level of income of $34,700 (Census, 2018). The diversity of the district shows differing results when comparing the rural wards with urban wards. A high number of people receive their income from the agriculture and fishing industries, which reflects the district’s rural nature.

There are moderate levels of home ownership in the Waikato district with 55.8 per cent (Census, 2018) of permanent residents owning their own property.


The Waikato district has many primary and secondary schools in rural and urban areas. Hamilton offers two tertiary institutions, The University of Waikato and Wintec (the Waikato Institute of Technology). The rapidly growing university campus offers over 12,000 students (domestic and international) a broad range of study options, including all of the traditional academic subjects and disciplines. Wintec, an employment-oriented tertiary institute, has hundreds of courses from certificate to degree level.