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Te Kuiti
Minor urban area
Te Tokanganui-A-Noho meeting house in Te Kuiti, 1917
Te Tokanganui-A-Noho meeting house in Te Kuiti, 1917
Country New Zealand
Region Waikato
Territorial authority Waitomo District
 (June 2023)
 • Total 4,680

Te Kuiti is a town in the north of the King Country region of the North Island of New Zealand. It lies at the junction of State Highways 3 and 30 and on the North Island Main Trunk railway, 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Hamilton. The town promotes itself as the sheep shearing capital of the world and is host to the annual New Zealand National Shearing Championships.

Te Kuiti is approximately 80 km south of Hamilton and 19 km south-east of Waitomo. The area around Te Kuiti, commonly known as the King Country, gives its name to the Heartland Championship rugby team based in Te Kuiti.


Te Kuiti is approximately 80 km south of Hamilton and 19 km south-east of Waitomo. The area around Te Kuiti, commonly known as the King Country, gives its name to the Heartland Championship rugby team based in Te Kuiti.


Te Kuiti is the Maori name given to the area. In its original form of "Te Kuititanga", it literally means "the valley", "the squeezing in" or "the narrowing".


Te Kuiti Rail Station
Te Kuiti Rail Station
Meadsville aka Te Kuiti
During Rugby World Cup 2011, Te Kuiti capitalised on its famous resident, All Black legend Sir Colin Meads, and briefly renamed itself Meadsville.

The "Shearing Capital of the World" contains the world's largest shearer, seven metres high. On 1 April 2006 the largest sheep show in the world took place here, with more than 2000 sheep.

Te kuiti shearer statue
Statue celebrating the shearing industry in Te Kuiti
Te kuiti nz
Te Kuiti viewed from the south-west as SH3 climbs out of the town.

The carved Te Tokanganui-A-Noho Meeting House was gifted to the local Maori people (Ngāti Maniapoto) by Te Kooti, the most famous Maori Rebel leader of the 19th century. He was given sanctuary by the Chiefs of Maniapoto against the white colonial Government of New Zealand and under Maniapoto's protection carved one of the most famous and important late 19th century spiritual house in the north island.(as mentioned above). This House is central to Te Kuiti's historical foundation, also referred to as the epicenter of the Rohe Pōtae.. "King Country"...In 1881 the last frontier was open to colonial settlers.

The Tatsuno Japanese Garden is at the southern end of the main street.

The Mangokewa reserve located 5 km south of Te Kuiti is a popular attraction for rock climbers, hikers, picnic goers, swimmers and trout fisherman in the region.

A 'Revitalisation Project' for the NZHPT Category II listed Te Kuiti railway station was started in 2014 to provide for arts and crafts groups, an education centre, youth projects, historical displays and a meeting room. The Rail Heritage Trust describes the station as, "the finest remaining example of a standard class B station"


Limestone deposits and water have created the Waitomo Caves, northwest of the town, one of New Zealand's most-visited tourist locations. The town itself is located in a valley with many rich limestone deposits. The Manga-o-Kewa Stream runs through the valley and is a tributary of the Waipā River. Te Kūiti's hinterland consist mainly of farmland and limestone quarries. The land surrounding Te Kūiti has steep hilly relief which reflects the nature of the North King Country region. The climate of Te Kūiti is wet during the winter and dry during the late summer with an average of 1,450mm of rainfall each year.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2001 4,374 —    
2006 4,494 +0.54%
2013 4,257 −0.77%
2018 4,572 +1.44%

Te Kuiti, comprising the statistical areas of Te Kuiti West and Te Kuiti East, had a population of 4,572 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 315 people (7.4%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 78 people (1.7%) since the 2006 census. There were 1,611 households. There were 2,241 males and 2,331 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.96 males per female, with 1,041 people (22.8%) aged under 15 years, 894 (19.6%) aged 15 to 29, 1,872 (40.9%) aged 30 to 64, and 768 (16.8%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 51.7% European/Pākehā, 55.2% Māori, 5.6% Pacific peoples, 5.7% Asian, and 1.3% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 11.4%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 50.2% had no religion, 32.7% were Christian, 1.1% were Hindu, 1.0% were Muslim, 0.5% were Buddhist and 5.8% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 318 (9.0%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 1,047 (29.7%) people had no formal qualifications. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 1,566 (44.4%) people were employed full-time, 561 (15.9%) were part-time, and 195 (5.5%) were unemployed.

Individual statistical areas
Name Population Median age Median income
Te Kuiti West 2,598 38.2 years $24,500
Te Kuiti East 1,974 35.1 years $23,500
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800


Te Kuiti is the home of the Waitete Rugby Football Club and the King Country Rugby Union, both of whom are based at Rugby Park. The famous Colin Meads spent the entirety of his career with both Waitete and King Country. The town also has an association football club, Te Kuiti Albion Football Club, who play in the Deacon Shield tournament. They play their home games at Centennial Park where there is a small clubroom. The club colours are yellow and black striped shirts and black shorts.


Te Kuiti has six schools:

  • Te Kuiti Primary School is a state primary school, with a roll of 327.
  • Pukenui School is a state primary school, with a roll of 140.
  • Centennial Park School is a state primary school, with a roll of 58.
  • St Joseph's Catholic School is a Catholic state integrated primary school, with a roll of 63.
  • Te Kuiti High School is a state secondary school, with a roll of 300.
  • Te Wharekura o Maniapoto is a state Māori immersion school, with a roll of 126.

All these schools are co-educational. Rolls are as of February 2024.

Notable people

  • Ross Beever, geneticist and mycologist.
  • Rodney Bell, contemporary dancer
  • Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Jim Bolger held the local electorate of King Country.
  • All Black Kevin Boroevich
  • Walter Broadfoot (1881–1965), cabinet minister for the National Party, was first deputy mayor and then mayor of Te Kuiti (1923–1935)
  • Kim Chambers, marathon swimmer.
  • World Champion Sheep Shearer David Fagan
  • Kerri-Jo Te Huia, champion sheep shearer
  • Murray Kidd, Former rugby union coach for the Irish national team (1995–1997).
  • Tony Martin, Australia-based comedian and author
  • All Black Sir Colin Meads lived in Te Kuiti. The auction of his farm in 2008 caused nationwide interest. A statue of Meads was unveiled in the town centre during the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, also drawing national interest, and Meads was present and spoke at the unveiling despite battling cancer, which he died from two months later.
  • Colin Meads's brother Stanley Meads also lived in Te Kuiti.
  • Les Munro, the last surviving pilot from the Dambusters air raid, was mayor for some years and has a street named in his honour.
  • Ruth Park, author
  • Kevin Proctor - Gold Coast Titans, Rugby League player
  • Diggeress Te Kanawa, a tohunga raranga (master weaver) of Ngati Maniapoto and Ngati Kinohaku descent
  • Rob Waddell, Olympic gold-medalist rower

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