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Tararua District
Territorial authority
Tararua District.svg
Country New Zealand
Region Manawatu-Wanganui
District Tararua District
Formed 1989
Area
 • Total 4,360.56 km2 (1,683.62 sq mi)
Population (June 2016)
 • Total 17,600
 • Density 4.036/km2 (10.454/sq mi)
Time zone NZST (UTC+12)
 • Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
Postcode(s) Map of postcodes
Website Tararua District

The Tararua District is an area near the south-east corner of New Zealand's North Island that is administered by the Tararua District Council. It has a population of 17,600 (June 2016), and an area of 4,360.56 km². The Tararua District Council was created by the amalgamation of the Dannevirke District Council, Eketahuna County Council, Pahiatua Borough Council, Pahiatua County Council and Woodville District Council in the 1989 local government reforms.

The district's northwest boundary runs along the top of the Ruahine Range; its south-east boundary is the Pacific Ocean. The catchment of the Manawatu River generally defines the north and south extremities. The catchment is also the reason the majority of the district is in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region, although traditionally many of the people of the district regard themselves as living in either Hawke's Bay (in the north) or Wairarapa (in the south).

Towns and regional government

The district's chief town is Dannevirke, settled by immigrants from Denmark in the 19th century. It is also the centre for a Community Board. Other towns (from south to north along the main valleys) include Eketahuna and Pahiatua, which have their own Community Boards, and Woodville, Ormondville, and Norsewood. Near the coast are Pongaroa, Herbertville, Akitio, and Alfredton.

While the vast majority (98.42% by land area) of Tararua District is part of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region, a small triangle of rural land (1.58% by land area) north of the Owahanga River in the southeast of the district is part of Wellington Region. According to the 2006 Census this area, known as Mara, has only 3 residents (down from 12 in 1996 and 2001).

"Forty-Mile Bush"

When Europeans settled the area, it was almost entirely forested and was called "Forty-Mile Bush". Industrious clearance has made it a busy pastoral district, although the region close to the Pacific coast is still sparsely populated. The original name lives on in that of the local National Provincial Championship rugby union team, Wairarapa-Bush.

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