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Otorohanga facts for kids

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Country New Zealand
Region Waikato
Territorial authority Ōtorohanga District
Ward Otorohanga
Electorate Waikato
 (June 2023)
 • Total 3,320
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s) 07

Otorohanga (Maori: Ōtorohanga) is a north King Country town in the Waikato region in the North Island of New Zealand. It is located 53 kilometres (33 mi) south of Hamilton and 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of Te Kuiti, on the Waipā River. It is a service town for the surrounding dairy-farming district. It is recognised as the "gateway" to the Waitomo Caves and as the "Kiwiana Town" of New Zealand. Until 2007, Otorohanga held a yearly 'Kiwiana Festival.'


Otorohanga is internationally renowned for its local Kiwi House. The Kiwi House was the first place in the world where the general public could view a kiwi in captivity. Its visitor numbers have remained constant throughout the years, recording an average of 5,000 per month over 2007–2008. Although Otorohanga is internationally renowned for its Kiwi House, it also has a public library, a swimming complex, a Countdown Supermarket and a 24-hour McDonald's.


In 1986, the town briefly changed its name to "Harrodsville". This was a protest in support of a restaurateur, Henry Harrod of Palmerston North, who was being forced to change the name of his restaurant following the threat of lawsuits from Mohammed Al Fayed, the owner of Harrod's department store in London.

As a show of solidarity for Henry Harrod and in anticipation of actions against other similar-sounding businesses, it was proposed that every business in Otorohanga should change its name to "Harrods". With support of the District Council, Otorohanga temporarily changed the town's name to Harrodsville.

After being lampooned in the British tabloid newspapers, Al Fayed dropped the legal action and Harrodsville and its shops reverted to their former names. The town's response raised widespread media interest around the world, with the BBC World Service and newspapers in Greece, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Canada covering the story.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 2,655 —    
2013 2,625 −0.16%
2018 3,027 +2.89%

Otorohanga had a population of 3,027 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 402 people (15.3%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 372 people (14.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 1,101 households. There were 1,464 males and 1,563 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.94 males per female. The median age was 37.6 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 636 people (21.0%) aged under 15 years, 615 (20.3%) aged 15 to 29, 1,185 (39.1%) aged 30 to 64, and 591 (19.5%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 67.6% European/Pākehā, 40.6% Māori, 2.7% Pacific peoples, 5.6% Asian, and 1.4% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 11.3%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 51.6% had no religion, 32.3% were Christian, 1.7% were Hindu, 0.1% were Muslim, 1.1% were Buddhist and 5.5% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 255 (10.7%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 675 (28.2%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $26,700, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 1,137 (47.6%) people were employed full-time, 363 (15.2%) were part-time, and 87 (3.6%) were unemployed.


Otorohanga School is a Year 1–8 co-educational state primary school. It is a decile 2 school with a roll of 58 as of April 2023.

Otorohanga South School is a Year 1–8 co-educational state primary school. It is a decile 4 school with a roll of 311 as of April 2023.

St Mary's Catholic School is a Year 1–8 co-educational state integrated Catholic primary school. It is a decile 5 school with a roll of 32 as of April 2023.

Otorohanga College is a Year 9–13 co-educational state secondary school and community education centre. It is a decile 4 school with a roll of 296 as of April 2023.


Otorohanga is on the North Island Main Trunk railway line. Otorohanga railway station opened in 1887. The Northern Explorer passenger train stopped in Otorohanga until 2021.

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