From Academic Kids

The Wairarapa is a district or subregion of New Zealand occupying the south-eastern corner of the North Island, east of Wellington and south-west of Hawke Bay. It is lightly populated, having several rural service towns, with Masterton being the largest.



The area contains parts of the local government regions of Wellington, Manawatu-Wanganui, and Hawke's Bay. The region currently has little official status as an entity, divided totally between these three regions.

The area south of Mt. Bruce is in the Wellington Region and is always known as Wairarapa or in some circles, the 'Wairarapz'. It contains Masterton District, Carterton District, and South Wairarapa District. It is separated from Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt cities by the Tararua Ranges in the north and the Rimutaka Ranges (also known as the Rimutakz) in the south.

The district's northern borders are vague, and there is some overlap with southern Hawke's Bay. Part of the reason is that the area was settled from both the north and the west and has been the subject of several reorganisations of local government.

The area to the north of Mt. Bruce, extending through Pahiatua and Woodville to about Dannevirke, is called the Tararua (with a district council of the same name) and is in the Manawatu-Wanganui region, because it is in the catchment of the headwaters of the Manawatu River. The river runs westward between the ends of two mountain ranges (Tararua, already mentioned, to the south and the Ruahine Ranges to the north) via the Manawatu Gorge to pass Palmerston North and reach the west coast of the North Island.

The east coast contains settlements such as Tinui, Castlepoint, and Riversdale, while the main southern rivers drain through or past Lake Wairarapa to discharge into Palliser Bay east of Cook Strait.


The name means "Glistening Waters", and is said to have been applied by an early Maori explorer, Huanui, who saw the rivers and lake from the mountains to the west.

Rangitane and Ngati Kahungunu were the Maori tribes (iwi) in the area when European explorers arrived in the 1770s.

European settlement began in the early 1840s, initially on large grazing runs leased from Maori, but with closer settlement from the 1850s.

On January 23, 1855 the region was hit by the strongest earthquake ever recorded in New Zealand, which reached Magnitude 8.1 on the Richter Scale. There were five deaths.


The agricultural industries, including forestry, cropping, and sheep and dairy farming, are major land users. The area around Martinborough, in the south, is renowned for its vineyards and wine, while beer has been made at Mangatainoka, near Pahiatua, since 1889. Deer farming is growing in importance.

Many residents, especially in the western towns such as Featherston and Greytown, commute to work in Wellington, either by train (which has used the Rimutaka Tunnel since 1955) or over the Rimutaka Ranges by road.


Many of New Zealand's endangered native birds can be seen at the National Wildlife Centre at Mt. Bruce, which lies just south of Eketahuna.

The real New Zealand?

Eketahuna is considered by some to be the epitome of rural New Zealand towns.

Famous people born in the Wairarapa

See also

External links


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