New Zealand


Porirua is a city in New Zealand, centred 20 km north of central Wellington. The city completely surrounds Porirua Harbour, part of which has world-class estuarine values. It is at the southern end of the Kapiti Coast, yet has considerable links with the Wellington urban area to the south-west, such as being included in "Wellington" for Met Service weather forecasts and having far more of its people employed in Wellington than on the Kapiti Coast. The estimated population of Porirua in 2004 was 50,000.


Main article: History of Porirua

The name "Porirua" is of Maori origin. It is possibly a variant of "Pari-rua" ("two tides"), a reference to the two arms of the Porirua Harbour. It was the name given in the 19th century to a land registration district that stretched from Kaiwharawhara (or "Kaiwarra") (on the north-west shore of Wellington Harbour) northwards to and around Porirua Harbour. A road climbing the hill from Kaiwharawhara towards Ngaio is still called "Old Porirua Road".

In the 19th century a small Maori settlement existed, and a small European village grew up, partly because of the need for a ferry across the harbour. Late in that century the Porirua Mental Hospital was erected on the hill south-west of the village.

Originally planned in the late 1940s to become a satellite city to Wellington with State housing, Porirua (formally created a city in 1965) has grown to a city population expecting soon to reach 55,000. Major territorial additions to the city were made in 1973 and 1988 as part of the reduction and eventual abolition of the Hutt County.

Suburbs and features[]

Suburbs include Aotea, Ascot Park, Camborne, Cannons Creek, Elsdon (named after writer Elsdon Best), Hongoeka Bay, Kenepuru, Okowai, Onepoto, Papakowhai, Paremata, Pauatahanui, Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay (where film-maker Peter Jackson grew up), Ranui Heights, Takapuwahia (originally a Ngati Toa settlement), Titahi Bay, Waitangirua, and Whitby. Rural localities include Judgeford and Horokiri.

Off the coast is Mana Island, a government-owned revegetation and wildlife area free of predators, where numerous endangered species are increasing their populations.

Porirua is also the home of the Royal New Zealand Police College, where all police recruits receive some 19 weeks' training.

Until a recent merger, Porirua's tallest (13-storey) occupied building was the headquarters of Wrightson Ltd, one of the country's oldest rural servicing companies with origins going back to the 1860s.

City administrative area[]

Local government in the area is shared by Porirua City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. The name "Porirua" was first applied to a local government council in 1961 when Makara County to the west of Wellington was abolished, the mostly rural western part becoming the Makara Ward of Hutt County and the rapidly growing eastern urban portion becoming the Borough of Porirua. Four years later, the population was officially estimated at over the 20,000 threshold then necessary for Porirua to be declared a city and it was formally proclaimed one.

On 1 April 1973 large areas to the north-east (and a few elsewhere) were transferred to the city (by popular vote) from Hutt County, and Mana Island, which had not been under county control, was added too. In 1988 a further addition was the Horokiri Riding of the about-to-be-abolished county, containing most of the new Whitby suburb, the village of Pauatahanui, and substantial rural areas.

The city and its council have remained into the 21st century despite a couple of proposals that the name be changed to "Mana" and several small movements for amalgamation with Wellington City.

Councillors and other notable residents[]

Notable councillors of Porirua have included:

  • Whitford Brown (first Mayor)
  • Ken Douglas (trade unionist)
  • Ken Gray (former All Black)
  • Garry McCormick (media personality)
  • Helen Smith (the first member of the Values Party to be elected to local government)
  • Tutu Wineera (a kaumatua of the Ngati Toa iwi)

Other prominent residents have included poet Alistair Campbell, golfer Michael Campbell, film-maker Peter Jackson, Charles Masina ("Jimmy" the face of Fanta), and singer/songwriter Ramon Te Wake.


A growing central business district with industry on the fringes helps the city move towards more self-sufficiency in employment.

Average household income is the fourth-highest in the country.


The first major newspaper to centre on the area was the Kapi-Mana News, which was started by a resident of Paremata, Gladstone Hill, on 9 November 1949 and (now owned by a conglomerate) remains the largest weekly paper circulating in the area.

The other main weekly started in the 1970s, based in Cannons Creek, named Te Awa Iti (the little creek). The enthusiasts (such as Don Polly) who started it eventually succumbed to big business; it is now owned by a conglomerate and named Porirua City News.

There is a local FM radio station.

Create or visit more subpages about aspects of the city and its surroundings[]

  • Porirua:Watercooler -- for a question/answer/sounding
  • Actors and actresses -- list your favourites
  • Attractions -- not just the water!
  • Authors -- who's writing what? - (who got the Prime Minister's Award for Poetry in 2005?)
  • Beach resorts -- for picnics, surfing, snorkelling, cricket, ...
  • Children's activities -- Don't forget "our future"
  • Climate -- know what temperatures and precipitation to expect when visiting
  • Culture -- art, dance, music, literature, not always covered in other categories but can be linked
  • Current events -- annual festivities and others coming up or just happened
  • Cycling -- the best routes, the clubs, the gripes
  • Downtown -- your local mall as well as the CBD
  • Ecology -- what makes the place attractive and how well it is doing
  • Education -- pre-school to tertiary
  • Elections
  • Entertainment -- sit and watch or listen - when, where, whom?
  • Equestrian -- from Pony Club branches to the grown-up riders at Battle Hill and elsewhere
  • Food and drink -- the staff of life and a whole lot more gastronomic delights
  • Health -- gyms, hospitals, fresh air, ...
  • Help wanted -- need a local to pitch in for a few hours or days?
  • History -- more about the name, the tangata whenua (and the people they dispossessed), and pakeha developments
  • Mana Island -- photogenic outlier and tuatara paradise?
  • Maori -- matters concerning the indigenous race (tangata whenua) and their supporters
  • Museums -- Pataka, Police College, and the rest
  • Music -- sound it out
  • Organisations -- Lions, netball, soccer, gardening, residents' associations, ...
  • People -- 50,000 now, and a few thousand past residents worth mentioning
  • Pioneers -- Te Rauparaha and hundreds who came after, with names like Bradey, Prosser, and Mungavin
  • Places -- twenty suburbs (which deserve a page each - see above), inlets, regional parks, Maara Roa, ...
  • Rentals -- the sky's the limit
  • Services -- help with budgeting or laundry or gardening or redecoration
  • Stories -- tell us about people, landmarks, and locations
  • Sustainability -- recyling, repairing, reuse
  • Swap -- real transferables
  • Theatre -- comes under "culture" but worth its own page here
  • Transportation -- moving through and around (but don't leave yet!!)

Calendar for the current year[]

(Add items to any day by editing the page in the normal wiki way; see Help:Calendar for detail.)

{{#calendar: title=Porirua }}

External links[]

Territorial Authority Districts of New Zealand
Auckland | Hamilton | Tauranga | Napier | Palmerston North | Porirua | Upper Hutt | Lower Hutt | Wellington | Nelson* | Christchurch | Dunedin | Invercargill
North Island: Far North | Whangarei | Kaipara | Thames-Coromandel | Hauraki | Waikato | Matamata-Piako | Waipa | South Waikato | Otorohanga | Rotorua | Waitomo | Taupo | Western Bay of Plenty | Whakatane | Kawerau| Opotiki | Gisborne* | Wairoa | Hastings | Central Hawke's Bay | New Plymouth | Stratford | South Taranaki | Ruapehu | Wanganui | Rangitikei | Manawatu | Tararua | Horowhenua | Kapiti Coast | Masterton | Carterton | South Wairarapa
South Island: Tasman* | Marlborough* | Buller | Grey | Westland | Kaikoura | Hurunui | Waimakariri | Selwyn | Ashburton | Timaru | Mackenzie | Waimate | Waitaki | Queenstown-Lakes | Central Otago | Clutha | Gore | Southland
Territory: Chatham Islands
*unitary authorities

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