kids encyclopedia robot

Northland Region facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Northland Region

Te Tai Tokerau
Northland landscape at Parua Bay
Northland landscape at Parua Bay
Our Northland - together we thrive
Location of Northland Region
Country New Zealand
Seat Whangārei
 • Type Regional council
 • Body Northland Regional Council
 • Total 13,789 km2 (5,324 sq mi)
 • Land 12,507.89 km2 (4,829.32 sq mi)
 (June 2020)
 • Total 194,600
 • Density 14.113/km2 (36.552/sq mi)
A map showing population density in the Northland Region at the 2006 census

The Northland Region (Māori: Te Tai Tokerau) is the northernmost of New Zealand's 16 local government regions. New Zealanders sometimes refer to it as the Winterless North because of its mild climate all throughout the year. The main population centre is the city of Whangārei, and the largest town is Kerikeri. At the 2018 New Zealand census, Northland recorded a surprising population growth spurt of 18.1% since the previous 2013 census, placing it as the fastest growing region in New Zealand, ahead of other strong growth regions such as the Bay of Plenty (2nd with 15%) and Waikato (3rd with 13.5%).


The Northland Region occupies the northern 80% (265 kilometres) of the 330 kilometre-long Northland Peninsula, the southernmost part of which is in the Auckland Region. Stretching from a line where the peninsula narrows to a width of just 15 kilometres a little north of the town of Wellsford, Northland Region extends north to the tip of the Northland Peninsula, covering an area of 13,940 km2, a little over five per cent of the country's total area. It is bounded to the west by the Tasman Sea, and to the east by the Pacific Ocean. The land is predominantly rolling hill country. Farming and forestry occupy over half of the land, and are two of the region's main industries.

Although many of the region's kauri forests were felled during the 19th century, some areas still exist where this rare giant grows tall. New Zealand's largest tree, Tane Mahuta, stands in the Waipoua Forest south of the Hokianga Harbour.

The western coast is dominated by several long straight beaches, the most famous of which is the inaccurately named 88 kilometre-long stretch of Ninety Mile Beach in the region's far north. The slightly longer Ripiro Beach lies further south. Two large inlets are also located on this coast, the massive Kaipara Harbour in the south, which Northland shares with the Auckland Region, and the convoluted inlets of the Hokianga Harbour.

The east coast is more rugged, and is dotted with bays and peninsulas. Several large natural harbours are found on this coast, from Parengarenga close to the region's northern tip, past the famous Bay of Islands down to Whangarei Harbour, on the shores of which is situated the largest population centre. Numerous islands dot this coast, notably the Cavalli Islands, the Hen and Chickens Islands, Aorangaia Island and the Poor Knights Islands.

The northernmost points of the North Island mainland lie at the top of Northland. These include several points often confused in the public mind as being the country's northernmost points: Cape Maria van Diemen, Spirits Bay, Cape Reinga, and North Cape. The northernmost point of the North Island is actually the Surville Cliffs, close to North Cape, although the northernmost point of the country is further north in the Kermadec chain of islands. Cape Reinga and Spirits Bay do, however, have a symbolic part to play as the end of the country. In Māori mythology, it is from here that the souls of the dead depart on their journey to the afterlife.

Northland is New Zealand's least urbanised region, with 50% of the population of 171,400 living in urban areas. Whangarei is the largest urban area, with a population of 56,400 (June 2016s). The region's population is largely concentrated along the east coast. During the five-year period up to 2006, Northland recorded a population growth of 6.0 percent, slightly below the national average. Northland includes one of the fastest growing towns in New Zealand, Mangawhai, which is expanding rapidly due to residential and subsequent commercial development.

# Communities with more than 1,000 people 2014
1 Whangarei (city) 54,400
2 Kerikeri 7,110
3 Kaitaia 5,580
4 Dargaville 4,780
5 Kaikohe 4,370
6 Ruakaka 2,916
7 Paihia 1,880
8 Mangawhai 1,665
9 Taipa-Mangonui 1,800
10 Moerewa 1,600
11 Waipu 1,490
12 Hikurangi 1,420
13 Kawakawa 1,400


The region of Northland has a sub-tropical oceanic climate with warm humid summers and mild wet winters. Due to its latitude and low elevation, Northland has the country's highest average annual temperature. However, as with other parts of New Zealand, climate conditions are variable. In summer, temperatures range from 22 °C to 26 °C, occasionally rising above 30 °C. In winter, maximum temperatures vary between 14 °C and 20 °C.

Ground frosts are rare due to the region being encircled by the moderating Pacific and Tasman waters; however, light frosts do occur infrequently around Dargaville in the lowlands. The hottest months are January and February. In January 2009, excessive sunlight hours and below-average rainfall resulted in the region being declared a drought zone.

Typical annual rainfall for the region is 1500–2000 mm but varies at different altitudes. Northland has an average of 2000 sunshine hours annually. Winds are predominantly from the southwest. Occasionally in summer, the region experiences stormy conditions from former cyclones which generally become much weaker once they leave tropical latitudes.


Northland Region covers 12,507.89 km2 (4,829.32 sq mi) and had an estimated population of 194,600 as of June 2020, with a population density of 16 people per km2.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1991 126,786 —    
1996 137,052 +1.57%
2001 140,133 +0.45%
2006 148,470 +1.16%
2013 151,689 +0.31%
2018 179,076 +3.38%
2021 197,900 +3.39%
Kauri Te Matua Ngahere
Mature kauri tree (Agathis australis)

Northland Region had a population of 179,076 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 27,387 people (18.1%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 30,606 people (20.6%) since the 2006 census. There were 64,257 households. There were 88,701 males and 90,375 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.98 males per female. The median age was 42.6 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 37,620 people (21.0%) aged under 15 years, 28,836 (16.1%) aged 15 to 29, 77,595 (43.3%) aged 30 to 64, and 35,025 (19.6%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 73.1% European/Pākehā, 36.0% Māori, 4.2% Pacific peoples, 3.9% Asian, and 1.7% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 15.8%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 49.7% had no religion, 35.6% were Christian, 0.6% were Hindu, 0.2% were Muslim, 0.5% were Buddhist and 5.6% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 20,622 (14.6%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 30,210 (21.4%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $24,800, compared with $31,800 nationally. 16,284 people (11.5%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 60,396 (42.7%) people were employed full-time, 21,138 (14.9%) were part-time, and 7,380 (5.2%) were unemployed.

Māori refer to Northland – and by extension its Māori people – as Te Taitokerau (the northern tide) and Māori language and traditions are strong there. Major tribal groups include Ngāpuhi, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Kurī and Ngāti Whātua. Several of these tribes form a loose association known as the Muriwhenua.

Approximately one third of the region's population are Māori; the majority of the remainder is of European lineage. Compared to the rest of the country, Pacific Islanders are under-represented in Northland. Although most of the region's European population are British (as is true with the rest of the country), certain other ethnicities are represented as well. These include a sizeable Croatian community from the Dargaville area north, particularly around Kaitaia.

Largest groups of overseas-born residents
Nationality Population (2018)
England 8,607
Australia 3,429
South Africa 1,923
India 1,365
United States 1,059
Philippines 1,014
Netherlands 957
Germany 909
Scotland 804
Fiji 729

Urban areas

Northland is New Zealand's least urbanised region, with 50% of the population of 194,600 living in urban areas. Whangārei is the largest urban area of Northland, with a population of 54,400 (June 2020). The region's population is largely concentrated along the east coast, due to the west coast being more ragged and less suitable for urbanisation.

Urban area Population
(June 2020)
 % of region
Whangārei 54,400 28.0%
Kerikeri 7,850 4.0%
Kaitaia 6,300 3.2%
Dargaville 4,960 2.5%
Kaikohe 4,820 2.5%
Ruakākā 2,830 1.5%
One Tree Point 2,650 1.4%
Mangawhai Heads 2,440 1.3%
Moerewa 1,850 1.0%
Hikurangi 1,760 0.9%
Opua 1,660 0.9%
Paihia 1,660 0.9%
Kawakawa 1,610 0.8%
Ngunguru 1,230 0.6%
Haruru 1,150 0.6%
Waipu 1,160 0.6%


Kerikeri historic buildings
Kerikeri, Bay of Islands. Stone Store at left, St James at rear, and the Mission House on the right, the country's oldest surviving building.

According to Māori legend, the North Island of New Zealand was an enormous fish, caught by the adventurer Māui. For this reason, Northland sometimes goes by the nickname of "The tail of the fish", Te Hiku o Te Ika.

Northland iwi claim that Kupe made landfall at the Hokianga (although others claim this was at Taipa) in the northwest of Northland, and thus the region claims that it was the birthplace of New Zealand. Some of the oldest traces of Māori kainga (fishing villages) can be found here.

If the Māori regard the region as the legendary birthplace of the country, there can be no doubt that it was the European starting-point for the modern nation of New Zealand. Traders, whalers and sealers were among the first arrivals, and the gum and timber of the mighty kauri trees brought more colonisers.

Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands can lay claim to being the first permanent European settlement in New Zealand, and contains many historic buildings, including the Stone Store, New Zealand's oldest extant building.

The nearby settlement of Waitangi was of even more significance, as the signing place of New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi between the Māori tribes and the British Crown, on 6 February 1840.


The subnational gross domestic product (GDP) of Northland was estimated at NZ$7.86 billion in the year to March 2019, 2.6% of New Zealand's national GDP. The regional GDP per capita was estimated at $42,104 in 2019, the lowest of all New Zealand regions. In the year to March 2018, primary industries contributed $984 million (13.1%) to the regional GDP, goods-producing industries contributed $1.59 billion (21.2%), service industries contributed $4.30 billion (57.1%), and taxes and duties contributed $645 million (8.6%)

A231, Northland, New Zealand, fence on sheep farm, 2007
Fence on a sheep farm

The region's economy is based on agriculture (notably beef cattle and sheep), fishing, forestry, and horticulture. Northland has 4,423 hectares (10,930 acres) of horticultural land as of 2017. Significant crops include avocadoes, kumara, kiwifruit, citrus fruit and olives.

Extensive forests are a feature of the Northland landscape. For this reason wood and paper manufacturing industries also make a large contribution to the region's economy. The railway system, which once ran as far north as Donnellys Crossing, has been historically important for the transport of timber via Dargaville to Auckland.

Northland is a favourite tourist destination, especially to the Bay of Islands and the historic town of Kerikeri. Diving and fishing are also popular visitor activities, especially around the Bay of Islands and the Poor Knights Islands.

Northland is home to New Zealand's only oil refinery, located in Marsden Point, a town, close to Whangārei across the harbour. New Zealand's natural fuel resources in Taranaki account for a little under half of the refinery's intake, with the rest coming predominantly from the Middle East. The nearby Marsden A thermal power station originally utilised heavy oil from the refinery for electricity production, but no longer does so.

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Región de Northland para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Famous Hispanic artists
Alma López
Juana Martinez-Neal
William Villalongo
Teresita Fernández
kids search engine
Northland Region Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.