Te Kauwhata, a village of nearly 1,500 residents (1,473 – Census March 2013). The township is surrounded by dairy farms, drystock holdings and horticulture. Its newest building is its Waikato District Council library. Originally known as Wairangi, Te Kauwhata grew around a railway station built in the late 1870s.
The first home of the New Zealand wine industry, the Viticultural Research Station was the site of an experimental farm, growing Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling grapes. International viticulturalist Romeo Bragato took over the running of this station in 1901 and five wines produced here won gold medals.
Just south of Te Kauwhata, is the site of one of the fiercest battles of the New Zealand land wars, fought at Rangiriri on 20 November 1863. Maaori built an exceptionally strong paa there, and when the British forces attacked many men lost their lives. Part of the paa site is now a historic reserve.
Te Kauwhata's natural features include Lake Waikare and the Whangamarino wetlands, a significant environmental feature in the north Waikato. Located just north of the township, the Whangamarino wetlands area is the second largest peat bog and swamp complex in the North Island. Established as a Ramsar site in 1989, this wetlands area has been developed further since the late 1990s. It is managed by the Department of Conservation it is the site of the first National Wetland Trail established in New Zealand.