Te Rapa

Te Rapa is a mixed light industrial, large-scale retail and semi-rural suburb to the northwest of central Hamilton, New Zealand that is built on a flat area that was previously the bed of an ancient river, the forerunner to the present Waikato River.

Te Rapa
Northern Te Rapa and dairy factory from Hakarimatas
Northern Te Rapa and dairy factory from Hakarimatas
CountryNew Zealand
Local authorityHamilton, New Zealand
Electoral wardHamilton West
 • Land1,316 ha (3,252 acres)
 (2018 Census)
 • Total294
Rotokauri Horotiu Pukete
Te Rapa
St Andrews
Forest Lake Crawshaw Beerescourt

Stretching in a long, thin north–south axis, Te Rapa is home to many factories including Te Rapa Dairy Factory, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Te Rapa has freight and locomotive depots on the North Island Main Trunk railway.


Te Rapa area unit had these census results -[1]

Year Population Households Median income National median
2001 291 96 $19,700 $18,500
2006 225 123 $19,500 $24,100
2013 339 222 $24,200 $27,900
2018 north 180 63 $29,400 $31,800
2018 south 114 36 $37,300[2]

For the 2018 census there were some boundary changes and north and south are shown above. For comparison, the equivalent 2013 populations were 186 (North) and 120 (South), which is 33 fewer than in the earlier area.[3]

The median age is high at 74.5 and income low, largely because 267 live in meshblock 0908100, where Metlifecare's Forest Lake Gardens Retirement Complex has been built since 2001 and the median age is 79 and income $23,300. In 2001 that meshblock had only 39 residents, with a median age of 34.5.[1]


Post OfficesEdit

There are two Post Shops in Te Rapa, at The Base and at Video Ezy,[4] which, until 2018, was one of the last two in Hamilton renting DVDs, Play Station and videos.[5] It is said that until 2014 it was the last venue for original Sony PlayStation game rentals in Waikato.[citation needed]

There are over 3,000 parking spaces at The Base

The BaseEdit

Before being given by the government to the Tainui tribe in a Raupatu land settlement in 1995, Te Rapa was also the site of a Royal New Zealand Air Force base. The Te Rapa Air force Base was a major Air Force stores depot. The Te Rapa Air force Base closed in 1992.

Te Rapa's shopping area includes The Base, a large scale retail development that opened in 2005[6] at the site of the former air force base. As of 2006, The Base contained the largest branch of The Warehouse in New Zealand. With the addition of the Te Awa building in 2010, The Base became New Zealand's largest shopping mall, and still is, as of December 2011.

Fonterra Factory

Fonterra Dairy FactoryEdit

One of Fonterra's largest dairy factories is to the east of the former SH1 in northern Te Rapa. It started to dry powder in 1967[7] and was officially opened on 20 April 1968 by New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Company,[8] which became part of Fonterra in 2001. A butter, cream and cream cheese plant was added in 1997 another cream cheese line in 2013 and another butter line[7] about 2019.[9]

It collects up to 7,500,000 l (1,600,000 imp gal; 2,000,000 US gal) of milk a day from 1,000 farms.[8] It has around 500 staff, producing roughly 80,000 tonnes a year, including 650 million packets of butter and 33,500 tonnes of cream cheese.[7]

Up to 28,000 m3 (6,200,000 imp gal) of Waikato River water are used in the processing.[8] It is powered by a cogeneration unit, which uses 27 petajoules27 PJ (7.5×1015 mWh) of Genesis gas over 6 years.[10] The chimneys are over 35 m (115 ft) high.[11]

Te Rapa RacecourseEdit

Located in Te Rapa is Te Rapa Racecourse, Hamilton's only remaining horse racing course, and the main racecourse for the Waikato region. It has a symmetrical left-handed track with a circumference of 1788 metres. Facilities and hospitalities include a members' facility and private suites.[12]

Te Rapa racecourse and part of Forest Lake Gardens Retirement Complex


In 1981, this plaque was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II at the Centennial Pools.

Waterworld (also known as Te Rapa Pools) is a Hamilton city council-owned pool complex in Te Rapa. In addition to the main facilities, the venue also includes a range of other options including a spa, sauna and steam rooms as well as an outdoor playground. Rides offered at Waterworld include The Python Hydroslide, the Twister Slide and The Screamer Speedslides.[13] The complex was officially opened in late 1976, 15 years after Hamilton Jaycees suggested a new swimming pool complex in Fairfield Park. The suggestion led to an adopted proposal in 1964 to mark the city's centennial and in 1973 the decision was made to instead build the complex in Te Rapa.[14]

Te Rapa Road is the main road in Te Rapa. It has parking areas either side of the 4-lane road, but sometimes no footpath



Immediately after the invasion of the Waikato, in 1864, there was just a track across the area linking Mangaharakeke (or Manuharakeke) Pā and Kirikiriroa Pā.[15] By 1870 bridges had been built over the streams.[16] An 1875 report said the bridges at Waitawhiriwhiri, Mangaharakeke, Beere's Creek and Hall's Creek, between Ngāruawāhia and Hamilton on the Great South Road, had been replaced, or repaired.[17] Until Mangaharakeke Dr opened in 2012,[18] much of the 1860s road, now known as Te Rapa Rd, was part of SH1.


Railway sidings at Te Rapa with Forest Lake suburb in the background

The North Island Main Trunk was extended through the area in 1877, when Te Rapa railway station opened. Te Rapa is the northern end of the section to Palmerston North, electrified in 1988. A locomotive depot and marshalling yard incorporated the Racecourse station site. There is also a concrete sleeper factory at Te Rapa.[19]

Te Rapa Racecourse stationEdit

Te Rapa Racecourse opened near the south-west end of the course[20] on 15 October 1924 and may have formally closed, except for transport of horses, on 7 July 1934, with final closure in late 1967.[21] However, although the first excursion seems to have been advertised in October 1924,[22] the last was in November 1943,[23] when wartime restrictions closed racecourses. It seems to have been used only by freight and excursion passenger trains on race days. Aerial photos show that the site of the station[24] and an area to the north was later used for the marshalling yard[25] and then the locomotive and freight depot.[26]

Aerial view of Te Rapa hump yard in 1972
Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Te Rapa
Line open, station closed (due to reopen 2020)
  North Island Main Trunk
New Zealand Railways Department
Line open, station open


Crawford Street depotEdit

Fonterra's Crawford St depot is linked by rail to local dairy factories at Te Awamutu, Morrinsville, Waitoa, Hautapu, Waharoa, Lichfield and Tīrau.[27] It sends about 33,000 containers of milk powder and cheese a year for export via the Port of Tauranga. An automated cool store was added in 2009[28] to handle about 235,000 tonnes a year.[29]

Te Rapa Marshalling YardEdit

The yard replaced Frankton goods yard[30] and opened on 10 January 1971. It had a hump for shunting,[21] which used Westinghouse retarders[31] and 31 sidings.[32]


Te Rapa Primary School has been the local primary school since 1906.[33]


  1. ^ a b "2013 Census map QuickStats about a place". archive.stats.govt.nz. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  2. ^ "2018 Census place summaries | Stats NZ". www.stats.govt.nz. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  3. ^ "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  4. ^ "PostShop/Kiwibank Locator". www.nzpost.co.nz. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  5. ^ "KIDS DVDS, FAMILY DVDS , ACTION ,DRAMA, XBOX GAMES CONSULS, PLAY STATION, GAMES BLURAY EVEN THE SHELVING - Neighbourly Beerescourt, Hamilton". www.neighbourly.co.nz. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  6. ^ Mark Smith (2012). Ngaruawahia 1980-2010 A Brief History. Lions Club of Ngaruawahia Incorporated Charitable Trust. ISBN 978-0-473-21930-7. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Fonterra builds value-add capacity at Te Rapa to meet Chinese demand". Fonterra. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Te Rapa celebrates 50 years". Fonterra. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  9. ^ Opening the Gates at Te Rapa, retrieved 5 April 2020
  10. ^ "Contact extends Fonterra electricity supply at Te Rapa, will buy Genesis gas". NBR. 11 July 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Application to renew existing consents (Various) At Te Rapa, Hamilton" (PDF). Waikato Regional Council. November 2018.
  12. ^ NZ Racing Retrieved December 2011
  13. ^ Hamilton Pools - Facilities Archived 2012-04-26 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved December 2011
  14. ^ "Hamilton Suburbs I Te Rapa Information Kit". Waikato Times. Hamilton Public Library. 14 October 1976.
  15. ^ "Historical Maps Collection - Map of part of the Waikato River No.2". digital.liby.waikato.ac.nz. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Historical Maps Collection - Sketch map of the Waikato District". digital.liby.waikato.ac.nz. 1870. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Public Works Statement, by the Minister for Public Works, The Hon. Edward Richardson". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 3 August 1875. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  18. ^ "New length of Waikato Expressway now open to traffic". www.nzta.govt.nz. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Concrete sleeper factory opens". www.voxy.co.nz. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  20. ^ "New Zealand Herald Page 10". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 18 February 1924. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  21. ^ a b Juliet Scoble: Names & Opening & Closing Dates of Railway Stations in New Zealand
  22. ^ "New Zealand Herald Page 20". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 22 October 1924. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Auckland Star Page 10". paperspast.natlib.govt.nz. 13 November 1943. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Survey Number: SN525". Retrolens. 3 December 1948.
  25. ^ "Survey Number: SN8268". Retrolens. 1 December 1983.
  26. ^ "Te Rapa Rd". Google maps. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Waikato freight rail link reopens". 14 September 2006. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  28. ^ "PRESENTATION OF HAMILTON'S ECONOMY" (PDF). Hamilton City Council. May 2015.
  29. ^ "Fonterra opens New Zealand's largest cool store". www.infonews.co.nz. 10 September 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  30. ^ Parliamentary Debates. House of Representatives. 1967.
  31. ^ Representatives, New Zealand Parliament House of (1970). Parliamentary Debates.
  32. ^ "Survey Number: SN2553 Run Number: B Photo Number: 6". Retrolens. 3 December 1972.
  33. ^ Te Rapa Primary School Website Archived 2012-07-30 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 37°45′28.16″S 175°14′45.17″E / 37.7578222°S 175.2458806°E / -37.7578222; 175.2458806