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Edgecumbe facts for kids

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Minor urban area
Country New Zealand
Region Bay of Plenty
Territorial authority Whakatāne District
Ward Rangitāiki
 (June 2023)
 • Total 1,820

Edgecumbe is a town in the Bay of Plenty of the North Island of New Zealand, 15 kilometres to the west of Whakatāne and eight kilometres south of the Bay's coast.

It is the main service town for the agricultural region surrounding the plains of the Rangitaiki River, which flows through the town.

State Highway 2 and the Tāneatua Branch railway line (disused) pass through the town.

The Edgecumbe Dairy Factory, established in 1915, employs 358 people, roughly a fifth of Edgecumbe's total population.


The town is named after the small village of Edgecumbe in Cornwall, United Kingdom, between Penryn and Helston. Edgecumbe was linked with Tauranga and Auckland by rail with the opening of the East Coast Main Trunk Railway and Taneatua Express in 1928. In 1987, a large earthquake centered on Edgecumbe shook the Bay of Plenty, causing widespread damage and causing much of the population to leave Edgecumbe. In July 2004 and May 2005 the town experienced heavy flooding that ruined many homes. In the 2005 flood, the river swelled to within 5 cm of breaching the flood banks that had been put in place seven years prior.

The 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake

The earthquake was a major turning point in the history of Edgecumbe. It measured 6.3 on the Richter magnitude scale and struck the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand on 2 March 1987 just after 1.42 pm. The earthquake was very shallow, being centred approximately 8 km from the Earth's surface. The earthquake was one of the most damaging New Zealand's North Island has experienced in recent decades, with approximately 50% of the houses in Edgecumbe being damaged by the quake. There was extensive damage to a local milk factory, with large storage tanks toppled. Kawerau was another nearby town that suffered damage and Whakatane was also badly shaken. An 80-tonne New Zealand Railways DC class locomotive was thrown onto its side.

The earthquake caused no fatalities; one person died at the time as a result of a heart attack, possibly due to the quake. A foreshock just minutes before had cut the power supply and many people had moved away from heavy machinery and out of their houses. The largest aftershock was measured at 5.2 and struck at 1.52 pm.

A crack 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) long opened in the Rangitaiki Plains near Edgecumbe as a result of the earthquake. It is now known as the 'Edgecumbe Fault'. At one point, the land close to the fault dropped 2 metres (6.6 ft).

The epicentre of the quake was approximately 2.24 kilometres (1.39 mi) south-south-east of the town of Matata, or 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north-north-west of Edgecumbe. The intense ground shaking caused by the earthquake led to a large number of ground surface failures, including sand boils, ridge-top shatters and debris avalanches on steeper slopes. Because of the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake many people left and therefore Edgecumbe's population dropped considerably. Edgecumbe is slowly recovering as it has increased by 21 in the years 2006 to 2013, possibly due to many orchards being affected by PSA.


Edgecumbe is located inland from the coast on the end of the fertile Rangitaiki Plains. The nearby beach is part of Maketu. The volcanic cone of Mount Edgecumbe, 15 kilometres to the south and close to the town of Kawerau, is visible from Edgecumbe.


Fonterra Dairy Factory

Established in 1915, the Edgecumbe Dairy Factory is one of the oldest dairy factories still running in New Zealand. The factory currently employs 358 people, accounting for roughly 1/5 of Edgecumbe's total population.

Edgecumbe College

Edgecumbe College is located at 100 College Rd, Edgecumbe.

Clubs and organizations

The Association Football Club Plains Rangers AFC is based at the Edgecumbe Domain, along with rugby and hockey.

The Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade is located on SH2 and services the township and surrounding area.

Edgecumbe has a long established rugby football club

Kartsport has its Eastern Bay of Plenty track at Edgecumbe


Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 1,626 —    
2013 1,638 +0.11%
2018 1,644 +0.07%

Edgecumbe had a population of 1,644 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 6 people (0.4%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 18 people (1.1%) since the 2006 census. There were 546 households. There were 855 males and 786 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.09 males per female. The median age was 34.5 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 402 people (24.5%) aged under 15 years, 330 (20.1%) aged 15 to 29, 654 (39.8%) aged 30 to 64, and 255 (15.5%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 66.6% European/Pākehā, 46.4% Māori, 3.3% Pacific peoples, 4.7% Asian, and 2.0% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 9.3%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 56.2% had no religion, 28.5% were Christian, 0.5% were Hindu, 0.2% were Muslim, 0.2% were Buddhist and 7.5% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 126 (10.1%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 318 (25.6%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $25,200, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 618 (49.8%) people were employed full-time, 165 (13.3%) were part-time, and 66 (5.3%) were unemployed.


Edgecumbe School is a co-educational state primary school for Year 1 to 8 students, with a roll of 169 as of February 2024.

Edgecumbe College is a co-educational state high school for Year 9 to 13 students, with a roll of 158.

Notable people

  • Eve Rimmer, paraplegic athlete

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