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Pukekohe
Secondary urban area
Country New Zealand
Region Auckland
Territorial authority Auckland Council
Local board Franklin
Area
 • Urban
87.09 km2 (33.63 sq mi)
Population
 (June 2023)
 • Urban
27,400
 • Urban density 314.6/km2 (814.9/sq mi)
Postcode
2120
Area code(s) 09
Pukekohe east
Pukekohe East Church

Pukekohe is a town in the Auckland Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Located at the southern edge of the Auckland Region, it is in South Auckland, between the southern shore of the Manukau Harbour and the mouth of the Waikato River. The hills of Pukekohe and nearby Bombay Hills form the natural southern limit of the Auckland region. Pukekohe is located within the political boundaries of the Auckland Council, following the abolition of the Franklin District Council on 1 November 2010.

With a population of 27,400 (June 2023), Pukekohe is the 24th largest urban area in New Zealand, and the third largest in the Auckland Region behind Auckland itself and Hibiscus Coast.

Pukekohe is a rural service town for the area formerly known as the Franklin District. Its population is mainly of European descent, with significant Māori and ethnic Indian and East Asian communities. There are also a notable number of people of South African and Dutch descent. The fertile volcanic soil and warm moist climate supports a large horticultural and dairy farming industry; the Pukekohe long keeper onion is well known internationally.

History

Pukekohe was part of the Auckland area attacked during the musket war period 1807-1843 by Northern tribes. From the 1820s as a result of these attacks the resident Māori population who survived mainly migrated south. When European settlers arrived the remnant Māori population initially provided them with food supplies. As the number of settlers grew, the Pukekohe area, which was largely bush covered, was opened up after 1843 and individual farmers purchased small blocks of land which they cleared by hand. By 1863 the land was still bush covered but with an increasing number of small isolated farms. When Kīngitanga Māori refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the crown many Māori moved out of the area but some remained. A Māori from this area guided the first gunboats through the Waikato Heads and through the shoals of the Waikato River delta to help put down the rebel Kīngitanga uprising.

A major battle of the 1863 Land Wars was fought at Pukekohe East between 11 armed settlers, who were converting the Pukekohe East church into a redoubt and approximately 200–300 Māori rebels,mainly from the Waikato area. Although surprised and severely outnumbered, the settlers held off the Kīngitanga invaders until troops arrived. No settlers were killed or injured while 30 Māori were killed with an unknown number wounded. The church still exists today and the bullet holes are still visible.

Although there were many other attacks on settlers in Auckland the Māori preferred isolated targets. Rebels were able to hide in the pockets of bush and live off the settlers goods and livestock. Nearly the entire Pukekohe area was abandoned to the rebels apart from Military outposts. Isolated attacks occurred as late as November 1863 after the Battle of Rangiriri.

Function

Pukekohe is a rural service town for the area formerly known as the Franklin District. It has a population of 31,400 (June 2018), mainly of European descent, with significant Māori and ethnic Indian and East Asian communities. There are also a notable number of people of South African and Dutch descent. The population growth from 2007 to 2008 was 2.2 percent.

The fertile volcanic soil and warm moist climate supports a large horticultural and dairy farming industry. The Pukekohe long keeper onion is well known internationally.

The small community of Buckland is on the south-east side of Pukekohe, between Pukekohe and Tuakau, and adjacent to the boundary with the Waikato region. Buckland has an historical hall and a primary school.

Transport

Pukekohe railway station is on the North Island Main Trunk Railway and is the southernmost station of the Auckland rail network, at the end of the Southern Line. The portion of the line between Papakura and Pukekohe is not electrified, so diesel shuttles connect Pukekohe with electric trains at Papakura. In July 2017, it was announced that the purchase of battery-powered electric trains had been "agreed in principle" by Auckland Council and that an all-electric service would be operational in 2019 (provisionally, subject to conditions), four years after completion of the rest of the region's electrified rail network. However, the purchase of battery-powered trains did not proceed. In 2020, the government announced funding to extend electrification from Papakura to Pukekohe.

There are several loop bus services serving central Pukekohe and also connecting to the western and southern townships of Patumahoe, Waiuku, Tuakau and Port Waikato. There are no bus services north of the town (beyond Paerata) and none at all serving travel to the east.

Notable people

  • Bill Birch, MP—was a long-time resident
  • Peter (Possum) Bourne, Rally driver
  • Leslie Comrie, astronomer and pioneer in mechanical computation
  • Andy Dalton, resident and All Blacks captain
  • Simon Doull, cricket representative and radio personality
  • Peter Fa'afiu, diplomat, global director of Amnesty International
  • A. J. Hackett, entrepreneur who popularised bungee jumping
  • Madonna Harris, resident and sportswoman
  • Liam Lawson, F2 Racing Driver raised in Pukekohe
  • Jonah Lomu, All Black, born in Pukekohe, educated at Wesley College
  • Rex Mason, mayor and MP
  • Mick Peck, award-winning magician and entertainer
  • Malietoa Tanumafili II, Samoan Head of State—educated at Wesley College
  • Allan Wilson, molecular biologist—grew up in the area

Demographics

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 16,299 —    
2013 19,485 +2.58%
2018 22,731 +3.13%

Pukekohe comprises the statistical areas of Pukekohe North West, Anselmi Ridge, Pukekohe West, Cape Hill, Rosa Birch Park, Rooseville Park, Cloverlea (Auckland), Pukekohe Central and Pukekohe Hospital. These areas include Paerata but do not include Buckland. These statistical areas had a population of 22,731 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 3,246 people (16.7%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 6,432 people (39.5%) since the 2006 census. There were 7,647 households. There were 10,944 males and 11,781 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.93 males per female, with 5,145 people (22.6%) aged under 15 years, 4,383 (19.3%) aged 15 to 29, 9,423 (41.5%) aged 30 to 64, and 3,783 (16.6%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 70.4% European/Pākehā, 20.0% Māori, 9.3% Pacific peoples, 12.4% Asian, and 2.2% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 24.6%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 45.9% had no religion, 38.2% were Christian, 3.1% were Hindu, 1.0% were Muslim, 0.5% were Buddhist and 4.8% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 2,823 (16.1%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 3,693 (21.0%) people had no formal qualifications. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 8,790 (50.0%) people were employed full-time, 2,286 (13.0%) were part-time, and 768 (4.4%) were unemployed.

Sports

Pukekohe Park Raceway is a motorsports and horse-racing facility. Opened in 1963, this circuit is famous for having hosted the New Zealand Grand Prix 29 times between 1963 and 2000, as well as the V8 International (a round of the V8 Supercars championship) between 2001 and 2007. The V8 Supercars event was moved to Hamilton for five years, but returned to Pukekohe in 2013.

ECOLight Stadium is home of the Counties-Manukau Steelers.

Pukekohe is home to Pukekohe AFC who compete in the Auckland Football Federation/Northern Football Federation Conference League, and Pukekohe High School football teams.

Bledisloe Park Sports Centre (overlooking Bledisloe Park grounds) is home to both Pukekohe AFC and Pukekohe Metro Cricket Club. The sports centre is managed by the Bledisloe Park Society Committee.

Auckland Metropolitan Clay Target Club, is a Clay target shooting club located just outside of Pukekohe, Offering casual target shooting to competitions.

Puni Mountain Bike Track located at the Puni memorial park, is has roughly 6–7 km of sweet flowing singletrack, to some good dirt jump lines to a primo pump track, Sunset Coast BMX and the Puni rugby club are also located at Puni memorial park.

Education

Pukekohe High School is a secondary school (years 9–13) with a roll of 1850. The school opened in 1921 as Pukekohe Technical High School, and was renamed to Pukekohe High School in 1948.

Pukekohe Intermediate School is an intermediate school (years 7–8) with a roll of 703. The school opened in 1966

Pukekohe East School, Pukekohe Hill School and Valley School are contributing primary schools (years 1–6) with rolls of 144, 549 and 476 students, respectively. Pukekohe East School opened in 1880. Pukekohe Maori School opened in 1952 and was renamed to Pukekohe Hill School in 1966. Valley School opened in 1966.

Pukekohe North School is a full primary school (years 1–8) with a roll of 318. 79 percent of the roll are of Māori heritage, and some classes are taught in the Māori language. The school opened in 1957, although the official opening was in 1958.

KingsGate School and St Joseph's School are state integrated full primary schools (years 1–8) with rolls of 187 and 303 students, respectively. KingsGate is an interdenominational Christian school. It opened in 1996. St Joseph's is a Catholic school which opened in 1923.

Parkside School is a special school with a roll of 160. It provides education for students with special needs up to the age of 21.

Tamaoho School is a contributing primary school which opened in 2021.

All these schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of April 2023.

A significant number of kids leave the area by school bus to attend Kings College, Sacred Heart College, St Kentigern’s, Hamilton Boys HS, Baradene, Hauraki Plains College, St Peter’s Collegiate and Strathallan College.

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