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Clockwise from top: Aerial view of cityscape; View of Durham Street ; Mount Maunganui from Mauao; Cityscape seen from Welcome Bay
Clockwise from top: Aerial view of cityscape; View of Durham Street ; Mount Maunganui from Mauao; Cityscape seen from Welcome Bay
Tauranga is located in North Island
Location in North Island
Tauranga is located in New Zealand
Location in New Zealand
Country New Zealand
Island North Island
Region Bay of Plenty
Wards Mount Maunganui-Papamoa
Otumoetai-Pyes Pa
Te Papa-Welcome Bay
Settled 1250–1300
Gazetted as a borough 1882
City constituted 17 April 1963
Electorate(s) Tauranga
Bay of Plenty
 • Land 141.91 km2 (54.79 sq mi)
Highest elevation
232 m (761 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 (June 2020)
 • Territorial 151,300
 • Urban
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
3110, 3112, 3116, 3118
Area code(s) 07
Local iwi Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga
Mt Maunganui & Tauranga 2006
View over Greater Tauranga, taken from the top of Mauao

Tauranga is a coastal metropolitan city in the Bay of Plenty region and the fifth most populous city of New Zealand, with an urban population of 151,300 (June 2020) , or roughly 3% of the national population. It was settled by Māori late in the 13th century, colonised by Europeans in the early 19th century, and was constituted as a city in 1963.

The city lies in the north-western corner of the Bay of Plenty, on the south-eastern edge of Tauranga Harbour. The city extends over an area of 141.91 square kilometres (54.79 sq mi), and encompasses the communities of Bethlehem, on the south-western outskirts of the city; Greerton, on the southern outskirts of the city; Matua, west of the central city overlooking Tauranga Harbour; Maungatapu; Mount Maunganui, located north of the central city across the harbour facing the Bay of Plenty; Otūmoetai; Papamoa, Tauranga's largest suburb, located on the Bay of Plenty; Tauranga City; Tauranga South; and Welcome Bay.

Tauranga is one of New Zealand's main centres for business, international trade, culture, fashion and horticultural science. The Port of Tauranga is New Zealand's largest port in terms of gross export tonnage and efficiency. With its mild climate and favourable economic outlook, Tauranga is one of New Zealand's fastest-growing cities, with an 11% increase in population between the 2006 census and the 2013 census, and 19% between the 2013 and 2018 census. Due to its rapid population growth, Tauranga has become New Zealand's fifth-largest city, overtaking Dunedin and the Napier-Hastings urban areas.



The earliest known settlers were Māori who arrived at Tauranga in the Takitimu and the Mataatua waka in the 13th century.

At 9 am on Friday 23 June 1826 the Herald was the first European ship to enter Tauranga Harbour. The Revd. Henry Williams conducted a Christian service at Otamataha Pā.

In December 1826 and again on March 2007 the Herald travelled to Tauranga from the Bay of Islands to obtain supplies of potatoes, pigs and flax. In 1835 a Church Missionary Society mission station was established at Tauranga by William Wade. Rev. Alfred N. Brown arrived at the CMS mission station in 1838. John Morgan also visited the mission in 1838.

Europeans trading in flax were active in the Bay of Plenty during the 1830s; some were transient, others married local women and settled permanently. The first permanent non-Maori trader was James Farrow, who travelled to Tauranga in 1829, obtaining flax fibre for Australian merchants in exchange for muskets and gunpowder. Farrow acquired a land area of 2,000 square metres (12 acre) on 10 January 1838 at Otumoetai Pā from the chiefs Tupaea, Tangimoana and Te Omanu, the earliest authenticated land purchase in the Bay of Plenty.

In 1840, a Catholic mission station was established. Bishop Pompallier was given land within the palisades of Otumoetai Pā for a church and a presbytery. The mission station closed in 1863 due to land wars in the Waikato district.

New Zealand Wars-Tauranga Campaign

The Tauranga Campaign took place in and around Tauranga from 21 January to 21 June 1864, during the New Zealand Wars. The Battle of Gate Pa is the best known.

The Battle of Gate Pa

The battle of Gate Pā was an attack on the well fortified Pā and its Māori defenders on 29 April 1864 by British forces made up of approximately 300 men of the 43rd Regiment and a naval brigade. It was the single most devastating loss of life suffered by the British military in the whole of the Māori Wars. The British casualties were 31 dead including 10 officers and 80 wounded. The Māori defenders abandoned the Pā during the night with casualties estimated at 25 dead and an unknown number of wounded.

Tauranga today

Under the Local Government (Tauranga City Council) Order 2003, Tauranga became legally a city for a second time, from 1 March 2004.

In August 2011, Tauranga received Ultra-Fast Broadband as part of the New Zealand Government's rollout.

List of suburbs

Bellevue, Bethlehem, Brookfield, Gate Pa, Greerton, Hairini, Judea, Kairua, Matapihi, Matua, Maungatapu, Motuopuhi Island (Rat Island), Motuotau Island, Moturiki Island, Mount Maunganui, Ohauiti, Omanawa, Oropi, Otumoetai, Papamoa, Papamoa Beach, Parkvale, Poike, Pyes Pa, Tauranga Central, Tauranga South, Tauriko, Te Puna, Waikareao Estuary, Waitao, Welcome Bay.


Tauranga is located around a large harbour that extends along the western Bay of Plenty, and is protected by Matakana Island and the extinct volcano of Mauao (Mount Maunganui). Ngamuwahine River is located 19 kilometres southwest of Tauranga.

Situated along a faultline, Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty experience infrequent seismic activity, and there are a few Volcanoes around the area (mainly dormant). The most notable of these are White Island and Mauao, nicknamed "The Mount" by locals.

Tauranga is roughly the antipode of Jaén, Spain.


Tauranga has an oceanic or maritime temperate climate. It can also be described as subtropical due to high summer humidity.

During the summer months the population swells as holidaymakers descend on the city, especially along the popular white coastal surf beaches from Mount Maunganui to Papamoa.

Climate data for Tauranga (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 24.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 19.4
Average low °C (°F) 14.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 76.0
Humidity 74.4 77.7 77.7 80.4 83.3 85.5 84.1 81.9 77.4 75.2 73.4 74.8 78.8
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 6.4 7.0 8.0 8.4 8.6 10.9 11.5 11.8 10.4 10.3 9.1 8.2 110.4
Sunshine hours 261.5 217.3 214.0 183.9 165.3 135.4 151.0 173.4 174.1 212.7 224.2 232.7 2,345.6
Source: NIWA Climate Data


In 1976 Tauranga was a medium-sized urban area with a population of around 48,000. However, the completion of a harbour bridge in 1988 brought Tauranga and The Mount closer (they amalgamated in 1989) and re-energised the economies of both parts of the enlarged city. By 1996 Tauranga's population had grown to 82,092 and by 2006 it had reached 103,635.

In 2008 Tauranga overtook Dunedin to become the sixth-largest city in New Zealand by urban area, and the ninth largest city by Territorial Authority area. With continuing growth it has now surpassed the Napier-Hastings area to become New Zealand's fifth-largest city.

Tauranga City covers 141.91 km2 (54.79 sq mi) and had an estimated population of 151,300 as of June 2020, with a population density of 1066 people per km2.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 103,881 —    
2013 114,789 +1.44%
2018 136,713 +3.56%

Tauranga City had a population of 136,713 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 21,924 people (19.1%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 32,832 people (31.6%) since the 2006 census. There were 50,442 households. There were 65,868 males and 70,845 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.93 males per female. The median age was 40.4 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 27,564 people (20.2%) aged under 15 years, 23,235 (17.0%) aged 15 to 29, 58,938 (43.1%) aged 30 to 64, and 26,979 (19.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 81.7% European/Pākehā, 18.2% Māori, 2.9% Pacific peoples, 7.6% Asian, and 2.1% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 21.7, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 50.8% had no religion, 35.5% were Christian, 1.0% were Hindu, 0.3% were Muslim, 0.5% were Buddhist and 5.2% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 21,570 (19.8%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 18,957 (17.4%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $31,600, compared with $31,800 nationally. 17,493 people (16.0%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 51,591 (47.3%) people were employed full-time, 16,233 (14.9%) were part-time, and 3,753 (3.4%) were unemployed.

Largest groups of overseas-born residents
Nationality Population (2018)
England 7,902
India 2,832
South Africa 2,694
Australia 2,598
Philippines 1,113
South Korea 1,068
Scotland 963
China 828
United States of America 801
Netherlands 699
Individual wards (2018 boundaries)
Name Area (km2) Population Density (per km2) Households Median age Median income
Mount Maunganui-Papamoa Ward 60.98 49,785 816 18,666 40.3 years $33,300
Otumoetai-Pyes Pa Ward 41.07 46,302 1,127 17,079 42.4 years $32,600
Te Papa-Welcome Bay Ward 33.07 40,626 1,228 14,697 38.3 years $28,800
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800

The city hosts five major head offices – Port of Tauranga, Zespri International, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd, Trustpower and Craigs Investment Partners (formerly, ABN AMRO Craigs).

Mount Maunganui main beach in Tauranga, New Zealand
Mount Maunganui Main Beach in winter, with 'Leisure Island' in the background

Arts and culture


A wide variety of faiths are practised, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism and Judaism. There are many denominations of Christianity including Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Baptist and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).


The National Jazz Festival takes place in Tauranga every Easter, with dozens of live acts, great food and excellent wine.


New Year celebrations at the Mount in Mount Maunganui are one of Tauranga's main events, bringing people from all around the country.

In 2014 Tauranga City Council granted permission for an annual Sikh parade to celebrate Guru Gobind Singh's birthday. 2500 people took part in 2014, while in 2015, the number increased to 3500.


Abaconda park-1
McLaren Falls Park, on the outskirts of Tauranga

Tauranga has a large stadium complex in the Bayfair suburb, Baypark Stadium, rebuilt in 2001 after a similar complex closed in 1995. It hosts Speedway events during summer and rugby matches in winter.

Tauranga is also the home of football (soccer) club Tauranga City United who compete in the Lotto Sport Italia NRFL Division 2.

Tauranga is the home to two rowing clubs – Tauranga Rowing Club in Memorial Park and Bay of Plenty Coast Rowing Club at the picturesque Wairoa River. Both clubs have had successful NZ representation over the years.

Tauranga has an all weather outdoor athletics ground at Tauranga Domain.

City facilities and attractions

Greater Tauranga is a very popular lifestyle and tourism destination. It features many natural attractions and scenery ranging from popular beaches and harbour environments to lush bush-clad mountains with waterfalls and lakes.

Mt Maunganui Beach 2006
View of Mount Beach, with Mauao in background

Cultural attractions include the Tauranga Art Gallery, which opened in October 2007 and showcases local, national and international exhibitions in a range of media. On the 17th Avenue, the "Historic Village on 17th", recreates a historic setting with original and replica buildings from early Tauranga housing arts and gift shops.

Aviation interests are well served with the Classic Flyers Museum and the Gyrate Flying Club where you can experience flying a modern gyroplane; the "motorbike of the sky".

A Panoramic view of Mount Maunganui from Moturiki Island at night with milkyway setting in the background

Tauranga has many parks: one of the largest is Memorial Park, and others include, Yatton Park, Kulim Park, Fergusson Park and the large Tauranga Domain. The Te Puna Quarry Park has become a regional attraction, known for being converted from a disused quarry into a community park.

Due to the temperate climate, outdoor activities are very popular, including golf, tramping (hiking), mountain biking and white water rafting. The Bay of Plenty coastline has miles of golden sandy beaches, and watersports are very popular, including swimming, surfing, fishing, diving, kayaking and kitesurfing. Tourists also enjoy dolphin-watching on specially run boat trips.

The coastal suburb Papamoa and neighbouring town Mount Maunganui are some of the more affluent areas around Tauranga. The region's beaches attract swimmers, surfers, kayakers and kitesurfers throughout the year.

Tauranga has many outlying islands and reefs that make it a notable tourist destination point for travelling scuba divers and marine enthusiasts. Extensive marine life diversity is available to scuba divers all year round. Water temperatures range from 12 degrees Celsius in winter to 22–24 degrees Celsius in summer. Tauranga houses two professional dive instructor training centres, training NAUI, PADI and SSI dive leader systems.


Tauranga City Council is currently responsible for approximately 530 km of roads, 700 km of footpaths, cycle ways and access ways.

Tauranga City Council also has a bit of work under way with their Transportation and Roads strategy. Their aim for the future to change current travel behaviour from a focus on private cars to more sustainable modes such as buses, cycling and walking.


Tauranga Airport is served by several airlines offering flights to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as well as some regional destinations within New Zealand. Sunair is based in Tauranga, operating a fleet of light aircraft. Sunair operates from Tauranga Airport to Whangarei, Claris, Whitanga and Motiti Island.


Tauranga train bridge
Tauranga railway bridge

Tauranga is located on the East Coast Main Trunk Railway.


Main transportation in the city is provided by the BayBus, with twelve routes servicing the city's population. Bay Hopper buses depart the central stops in Tauranga's CBD, Ohauiti, Mount Maunganui and Bayfair every 15 minutes, with the routes to Papamoa and Greerton half-hourly. Bee cards were introduced for fares on 27 July 2020.

The city is also a waypoint for bus travel between cities, with the Bay Hopper, and Intercity having a daily schedule.

Sister cities


Much of the countryside surrounding Tauranga is horticultural land, used to grow a wide range of fresh produce for both domestic consumption and export. There are many kiwifruit and avocados orchards as well as other crops.

The Port of Tauranga is New Zealand's largest export port. It is a regular stop for both container ships and luxury cruise liners.

Tauranga NZ7 3481-82 - 46361933804
Abaconda Tauranga-Boat Sunrise
Tauranga harbour
Abaconda ocean-2
Picturesque sunrise over the Tauranga harbour

Tauranga's main shopping mall is Bayfair, in Mount Maunganui. Most of the city's shopping centres are located in the suburbs. They include Fraser Cove, Tauranga Crossing, Bethlehem Town Centre, Palm Beach Plaza, Fashion Island, Bayfair Shopping Centre, Bay Central and Greerton Village.

Tauranga has the following business innovation centres

  • The Kollective
  • Newnham Park

The following companies have their head office in Tauranga:

  • Ballance Agri-Nutrients
  • Brother NZ
  • C3 Limited
  • Craigs Investment Partners Ltd
  • Dominion Salt
  • Genera Biosecurity
  • Kiwi Bus Builders
  • Port of Tauranga
  • Shuzi New Zealand Limited
  • Tidy International
  • Trimax Mowing Systems
  • TrustPower
  • UNO. Magazine
  • Zespri International


Tauranga is home to the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership, made up of:

  • Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
  • The University of Waikato
  • Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

The organisations currently share two main campuses, but are planning a new central campus. Stage 1 is expected to be open in 2017, catering for 500 but with capacity for 700, which will cost $67.3 Million.

Tauranga's secondary schools are:

  • Tauranga Boys' College, with about 1850 boys.
  • Tauranga Girls' College, with over 1500 girls.
  • Otumoetai College, with around 1900 students.
  • Bethlehem College, a state integrated Christian school offering kindergarten and Year 1–13, with around 1500 students.
  • Aquinas College a state integrated coeducational Catholic school founded in 2003 for Years 7–13, with around 800 students.
  • Mount Maunganui College, a co-educational secondary school, with over 1500 students.
  • Papamoa College, co-educational secondary school opened in 2011 for years 7 – 13.
  • Te Wharekura o Mauao, a co-educational wharekura-ā-iwi total immersion Māori secondary school for Years 7–13, founded in 2010, with around 200 students.
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kura Kōkiri, a co-educational kura kaupapa Māori total immersion school for Years 1–13, founded in 2000, with around 140 students.

ACG Tauranga, the city's first fully private school, offers pre-school to Year 12.

There is also a Rudolf Steiner School in Welcome Bay, catering for birth to 12-year-olds.

Notable residents

  • Corey Anderson – international cricketer
  • Trent Boult – international cricketer
  • Tyler Boyd – footballer
  • Peter Burling – America's Cup helmsman and Olympic medallist
  • Sam Cane – international rugby player
  • Bob Clarkson – former Member of Parliament and property developer
  • Dame Lynley Dodd – award-winning author and illustrator, principally known for her children's picture books featuring Hairy Maclary and his friends
  • Mahé Drysdale – Olympic rower
  • Tim Balme – actor, director
  • John Bracewell – international cricketer
  • Simon Bridges – MP for Tauranga; former Leader of the New Zealand National Party
  • Moss Burmester – Olympic swimmer
  • Tony Christiansen – former Paralympics, FESPIC Games and World Games medallist, professional speaker and Tauranga City Councillor
  • Dame Susan Devoy – former World Squash Champion
  • Daniel Flynn – international cricketer
  • Hilda Hewlett – pioneer aviator
  • Gunnar Jackson – professional middleweight boxer
  • Jess Johnson – artist
  • Tanerau Latimer – former international rugby player
  • Tony Lochhead – footballer
  • Todd Muller – MP for Bay of Plenty; former Leader of the New Zealand National Party
  • Richard O'Brien – author of The Rocky Horror Show (spent his formative years here)
  • Phil Rudd – drummer for AC/DC
  • Andrew Stevenson – Olympic rower, Double World Champion Rower, NZ 1982 Sportsman of the Year
  • Sir Gordon Tietjens – Coach of the New Zealand national rugby sevens team
  • Kane Williamson – international cricketer

Images for kids

See also

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