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Bulls, New Zealand facts for kids

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Minor urban area
Bulls Town Hall
Bulls Town Hall
Country New Zealand
Region Manawatū-Whanganui
Territorial authority Rangitikei District
Ward Southern
 • Total 6.70 km2 (2.59 sq mi)
 (June 2020)
 • Total 2,150
 • Density 320.9/km2 (831.1/sq mi)

Bulls is a small town north west of Palmerston North on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is in a fertile farming area in the Rangitikei District at the junction of State Highways 1 and 3 about 135 kilometres (84 mi) north of Wellington. According to a June 2020 Statistics New Zealand estimate, Bulls has a population of 2,150 inhabitants.

Recent marketing makes puns with the name, for example, "New Zealand gets its milk from Bulls" or the sign for the local police station "Const-a-bull".


Bull in Bulls
Wooden bull in Bulls

The town is named after James Bull, who founded the town and owned the first general store there. The town was originally called Bull Town, but this was changed to Clifton and then renamed back to Bulls at the urging of Sir William Fox.


The eastern end of the State Highway 1 bridge over the Rangitikei River south-east of the town collapsed suddenly in 1973 while being crossed by a bus. No-one was killed and the collapsed part was rebuilt.

The former Lake Alice Psychiatric hospital is 8 km north of Bulls, the hospital closed in 1999. Lake Alice was a large contributor to the Bulls and Marton economy.

Military presence

Many Air Force personnel from RNZAF Base Ohakea used to live in Bulls however in recent years a number of defence houses are being sold to civilian buyers which has seen a steady decline of serviceman from the area.

In 2017 it was announced that the Republic of Singapore Air Force is looking at establishing a permanent F-15 fighter jet training base at Ohakea with an estimated presence of 500 Singaporian personnel. Ohakea and surrounding areas such as Bulls and Feilding would see a significant increase in military families and personnel to the area.

Sister city

The town's sister city is Cowes, England.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 1,731 —    
2013 1,590 −1.21%
2018 1,935 +4.01%

Bulls, which covers 6.70 km2 (2.59 sq mi), had a population of 1,935 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 345 people (21.7%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 204 people (11.8%) since the 2006 census. There were 693 households. There were 972 males and 963 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.01 males per female. The median age was 32.2 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 477 people (24.7%) aged under 15 years, 426 (22.0%) aged 15 to 29, 759 (39.2%) aged 30 to 64, and 276 (14.3%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 78.1% European/Pākehā, 27.3% Māori, 7.8% Pacific peoples, 3.1% Asian, and 2.6% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 14.9%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 54.1% had no religion, 33.0% were Christian, 0.6% were Hindu, 0.2% were Muslim, 0.3% were Buddhist and 3.9% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 144 (9.9%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 321 (22.0%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $31,000, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 747 (51.2%) people were employed full-time, 171 (11.7%) were part-time, and 60 (4.1%) were unemployed.


Bulls has two co-educational state primary schools for Year 1–8 students.

Bulls School was established in 1867 and is the oldest school in the Rangitikei District; it has a roll of 173 as of July 2016.

Clifton School, which opened more recently on the southern end of the township, has a roll of 154.

Notable people

  • Chris Amon, former Formula One driver between 1963–1976
  • Travis Banks, professional wrestler
  • Ormond Wilson, politician
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