Welcome to Otorohanga sign

At Otorohanga District Council (ODC) we believe that ‘small is good’.

With just over 40 staff, and based in an attractive rural location, ODC’s friendly, professional team takes real pride in their work and provide quality and timely service as well as sound advice to its customers.

District History

Otorohanga District is part of the King Country region, known by Maori as 'Te Rohe Potae' - "The Area of the Hat."

It extends along the west coast of New Zealand's North Island from Mount Pirongia in the north to the coastal town of Mokau in the south and stretches inland to Pureora Forest Park and the Waikato River.

  • Early 1860s - After the Maori Land Wars, the Maori Chief Tawhiao and his followers sought refuge in the rugged countryside of the King Country.
  • From 1864 to 1883 - The area was closed off to Europeans except by express permission of Maori.
  • Late 19th Century - Development of the King Country area, which was covered by dense native bush and swamps, commenced. 
  • 1922 -  The Otorohanga County was formed, which was the predecessor to the current Council.
  • 1956 - The Otorohanga County was joined with the northern half of the neighbouring Kawhia County.
  • 1 November 1971 - The Otorohanga County and the urban Borough of Otorohanga were united to form a new County of Otorohanga.
  • 1979 - The Otorohanga County was renamed the Otorohanga District Council.

The District Today

About Otorohanga

The Otorohanga District is located 50 kilometres south of Hamilton.

The area governed by the Council covers 1976 square kilometres and extends from the Kawhia and Aotea Harbours on the west coast for a distance of 90 km to the eastern extremity on the Waikato River near Mangakino.

Included within the District are the urban communities of Otorohanga and Kawhia.

Geographically, the District comprises three distinct areas of approximately equal size.

The eastern and western areas have predominantly more hills than the central area, which forms the southern limit of the Waikato Basin.

Otorohanga is centrally placed, being within an easy driving distance of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo and New Plymouth. 

The local economy is primarily based on agriculture, with sheep, beef and dairy farming being the principle agricultural activities.

The town has a population of approximately 3000 and is a service centre for the surrounding rural areas.

Otorohanga is the closest town to the world-famous glow worm caves at Waitomo, which generate significant tourist traffic.

It has good shopping facilities, three modern primary schools, a college, medical facilities and caters for a wide range of sporting and cultural activities.

Otorohanga has good shopping facilities, three modern primary schools and a college, medical facilities and it caters for a wide range of sporting and cultural activities.

About Kawhia

Kawhia is a small holiday resort located on the shores of the Kawhia Harbour, 57 kilometres west of Otorohanga via State Highway 31.

Kawhia has a permanent population of approximately 400, but the population increases to over 2000 at peak holiday periods.

It is the spiritual home of the Tainui people who first settled there 600 to 700 years ago. 

The Kawhia Harbour covers more than 6000 hectares, with five rivers feeding into it and is a popular and productive fishing spot.

Area and Population

Area (Square kilometres)

1,976

Population (2013 Census figures) 

9,138

Communities

Area

Population

Otorohanga

507ha

2,514

Kawhia

161ha

339

Rural

196,932ha

6,285

Totals

197,600ha

9,138

Valuation

Rateable Properties (No. of)

4899

Non-Rateable Properties (No. of)

298

Rateable Capital Value

$4,148,253,825

Date of Last revision of Values

1 August 2016          

Date of Constitution of District

1 November 1989

2013 Census

For further information on the Otorohanga District 2013 Census, please visit: Statistics New Zealand Website