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Pauatahanui is a village in New Zealandmarker's North Islandmarker. It is at the far eastern end of the Pauatahanui Inlet, an arm of the Porirua Harbourmarker, north-east of Wellingtonmarker. In local government terms it is part of the Northern Ward of Poriruamarker City. At the 2001 New Zealand census, its population (including nearby wholly rural areas) was 831: 429 males and 402 females. This was a 23.1% increase in population since the previous census in 1996.


Early settlement

After Te Rangihaeata was beaten in the 1846 Hutt Valley Campaign the area became safer as a route from the Hutt Valley via Belmont and Judgeford and on to the north, via Paekakarikimarker to the Manawatu and Wanganuimarker. The road from Wellington reached Pauatahanui in September 1848, and a reliable road to the north as far as Paekakariki was completed by November 1849. Known nowadays as the "Paekakariki Hill Road", it continued to be the main road north until the road bridge was built at Parematamarker in 1939. Access from the Hutt Valley was also upgraded to a road in 1873, and the road that was to become State Highway 58 from Haywardsmarker was established in the 1870s.

Several churches were built, the first in 1856 (demolished around 1910), St Joseph's Catholic Church (1878), and St Alban's Anglican Church (1898).

A community hall was built in 1904. It was demolished in 1966 and replaced.

Environmental preservation

In the early 1970s the development of sections at Whitby on the south of the Pauatahanui Inlet caused noticeable silting and raised community concerns. This ultimately led to a detailed 3-year environmental study in 1975-1977, which was published as a book in 1980. Subsequently the Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve was created, in 1984, in order to preserve the only large estuarine wetland left in the lower North Islandmarker. The wetland reserve is run by the Royal Forest and Bird Society with ongoing efforts to reduce human impact on the environment and to restore damaged areas. The reserve has several hides for viewing birdlife, boardwalks, and some barbecue / picnic areas for visitors.

Pauatahanui School

Pauatahanui School is notable as being one of the very few schools in New Zealand to be over 150 years old. It was established in 1855, originally in an undenominational chapel on the site of Rangihaeata's Pa, and later in the military barracks vacated by the troops. It is now increasing its pupil numbers because it serves the north-east corner of Whitby.

Road links

State Highway 58 skims the southern fringe of the village: to the east it leads to Judgeford, just up the valley, and over the hills to Lower Huttmarker in the Hutt Valley; and to the west it travels along the southern shore of the Pauatahanui Inlet skirting Whitby and through Golden Gate to meet New Zealand's most important road, State Highway 1, at Parematamarker at the mouth of the Inlet.

To the north, the shortest but generally not the fastest route to Paekakarikimarker is the Paekakariki Hill Road mentioned above, serving the fertile Horokiri Valley. Branching off that road just beyond the urban limit is Grays Road, leading to Plimmertonmarker.

Notable buildings

The remaining churches are notable in themselves.

One of the earliest residential buildings still standing is the Taylor-Stace Cottage, which was used as a craft gallery for several years in the late 20th century.

The former community hall (erected in 1967) was converted early this century to become the only cinema in Porirua's north-eastern area.


  1. W. B. Healy, "Pauatahanui Inlet - an environmental study", New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1980. ISSN 0077-9636
  2. Lighthouse Pauatahanui: About Us

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