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Wairakei
Rural locality
The Craters of the Moon, a steamfield close by, created by the use of geothermal energy changing the underground pressure situation.
The Craters of the Moon, a steamfield close by, created by the use of geothermal energy changing the underground pressure situation.
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Country New Zealand
Region Waikato
Territorial authority Taupo District
Ward Taupō-Kaingaroa
Population
 (2018)
 • Total 510
Postcode(s)
3332

Wairakei is a small settlement, and geothermal area a few kilometres north of Taupo, in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand, on the Waikato River. It is part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone and features several natural geysers, hot pools. boiling mud pools, and the Wairakei Power Station, a major geothermal electric power generating station.

The station was the second large-scale geothermal facility worldwide, and was commissioned in 1958. It was listed in the book 70 Wonders Of The Modern World published in 2000 by Reader's Digest to record The Eventful 20th Century.

Dragon's Mouth geyser at Wairakei ATLIB 313207
Dragon's Mouth geyser

The settlement, referred to as Wairakei Village, was constructed to house the workers of both the power station and the neighbouring Aratiatia hydro power station.

Demographics

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 1,092 —    
2013 1,152 +0.77%
2018 1,236 +1.42%

The statistical area of Wairakei-Broadlands, which at 410 square kilometres is much larger than the town, had a population of 1,236 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 84 people (7.3%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 144 people (13.2%) since the 2006 census. There were 387 households. There were 648 males and 588 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.1 males per female. The median age was 31.9 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 315 people (25.5%) aged under 15 years, 261 (21.1%) aged 15 to 29, 555 (44.9%) aged 30 to 64, and 105 (8.5%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 74.8% European/Pākehā, 36.7% Māori, 4.4% Pacific peoples, 3.6% Asian, and 1.9% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 12.9%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 64.1% had no religion, 22.3% were Christian, 1.2% were Hindu, 0.2% were Muslim, 0.2% were Buddhist and 3.4% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 75 (8.1%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 210 (22.8%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $32,700, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 516 (56.0%) people were employed full-time, 138 (15.0%) were part-time, and 51 (5.5%) were unemployed.

Wairakei Village had a population of 510 in the 2018 census, an increase of 57 since 2013. There were 270 males and 240 females. 246 people (48%) identified as Māori.

Education

Wairakei School is a co-educational state primary school, with a roll of 268 as of July 2016. The school opened in 1959.

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