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Urban area
Extent: N to Pukerua Bay;
W to Cook Strait, Titahi Bay; E to Pauatahanui;
SW to Kenepuru

Territorial Authority
Name: Porirua City
Mayor: Jenny Brash
Extent: N to near Paekakariki;
NE to Transmission Gully; W to Tasman Sea, Titahi Bay; E to Judgeford; S to Belmont Regional Park;
SW to Kenepuru

Land Area: 182.39 km² (70.42 sq mi)
See also: Upper Huttmarker, Lower Huttmarker, Wellingtonmarker, Kapiti Coast
Regional Council
Name: Greater Wellingtonmarker

Porirua is a city in the Wellington Regionmarker of New Zealandmarker, immediately north of the city of Wellingtonmarker, with their central business districts 20 km apart. A large proportion of the population commutes to Wellington, so it may be considered a satellite city. It almost completely surrounds Porirua Harbourmarker at the southern end of the Kapiti Coast. The eastern (Pauatahanuimarker) inlet of the harbour is notable for its world-class estuarine values. The population at the was .


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

In the 19th century a small European settlement grew up, partly because of the need for a ferry across the harbour. At the time a small Māori settlement already existed.

The Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company opened the railway line to Porirua in 1885, linking the city with Wellington. The railway reached Longburn, south of Palmerston North, in 1886, to connect with the Government's lines to Taranaki and Napier. With the acquisition of the company by the government in 1908, the line to Porirua formed part of the North Island Main Trunk railway. The railway contributed much to the growth of Plimmerton and Paremata by making day-trips to the beaches from Wellington's northern suburbs relatively easy. The line through to Porirua was electrified in 1940 following the construction of the Tawa Flat deviation.

In the 1880s and 1890s the Porirua Lunatic Asylum was established on the hill south-west of the village. Following the Mental Defectives Act of 1911, the Asylum became Porirua Mental Hospital.

Originally planned in the late 1940s to become a satellite city of Wellington with state housing, Porirua has grown to a city population approaching 51,000, with state housing no longer in the majority. Major territorial additions to the city were made in 1973 and 1988 as part of the reduction and eventual abolition of Hutt County.

Substantial industrial areas generally west of the city centre were established in the 1960s and 1970s, dominated by the Todd Motors building (later Mitsubishi), prominent in the panorama below.

In 1976 the first McDonald's restaurant in New Zealand opened in the city centre; however the original site closed on 29 April 2009, and the store relocated to Kenepuru Drive.

Suburbs and features

Suburbs include:

Rural localities include Judgeford and Horokiri.

Porirua is largely formed around the arms of the Porirua Harbourmarker and the coastline facing out to Cook Strait and the north-eastern parts of the South Islandmarker. Most of the populated areas of Porirua are coastal: Camborne, Karehana Bay, Mana, Onepoto, Papakowhai, Paremata, Pauatahanui, Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay, Takapuwahia, Titahi Bay and Whitby all have direct access to coastal parks and recreation reserves. Several suburbs without direct coastal access, including Aotea, Ascot Park, Elsdon and Ranui Heights, have substantial portions with good views over the harbour.

Watersports, fishing and other boating activities are popular in the area, well served by a large marina in Mana and Sea Scouts, yachting, power-boating, rowing, and water-skiing clubs. The harbour entrance from Plimmerton or Mana is popular with experienced windsurfers and kitesurfers while beginners find the shallow enclosed waters of the Pauatahanui arm of the harbour a forgiving environment in which to develop their skills. Aotea Lagoonmarker is a popular recreational area on the south-eastern shore of the Porirua Inlet.
Police College chalets above the Aotea Lagoon, with Colonial Knob on the skyline above the city centre (obscured) and Elsdon and Takapuwahia
Porirua is the home of the Royal New Zealand Police Collegemarker, where all police recruits receive some 19 weeks' training.

Just up the road from Aotea Lagoonmarker is Aotea Collegemarker, the secondary school closest to the northern suburbs. Older colleges are Mana and Bishop Viard near the city centre and Porirua in the south-east. Tertiary education is provided by Whitireia Polytechnic, which has its main campus north of the city centre.

Porirua is home to Northern United RFC and Paremata-Plimmerton RFC, two clubs playing in the Wellington Rugby Football Union club rugby competition.

Transport links

State Highway 1 passes north-south through the middle of the city, linking Porirua southwards to Wellingtonmarker and northwards to the Kapiti Coast and the bulk of the North Islandmarker. Porirua is the northern terminus of the Johnsonvillemarker-Porirua motorway (opened progressively from 1950), which forms part of State Highway 1. State Highway 58 links Paremata via Whitby and Pauatahanuimarker with Haywardsmarker in the Hutt Valley to the east.

The North Island Main Trunk railway line passes through Porirua, mostly close to State Highway 1, with six stations inside the city and one on the Wellington City border. Suburban passenger trains run between Wellington and Paraparaumumarker (generally half-hourly except at peak periods), and the Overlander long-distance train between Auckland and Wellington calls southbound but not northbound.

The nearest airports are Wellington Airportmarker to the south (the closest), and Paraparaumu Airportmarker to the north.

Ferry services ran between Paremata and Picton for short periods but appeared unable to compete with Wellington-based services despite the shorter distance.

City Administration

The area is administered by Porirua City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Councilmarker.

The name Porirua was first applied to a council in 1961 when Makara County, to the west of Wellingtonmarker, was abolished, the mostly rural western part becoming the Makara Ward of Hutt County and the rapidly growing eastern urban portion (including Titahi Bay) 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.

On 1 April 1973 large areas to the north-east (and a few elsewhere) were transferred to the city from Hutt County by popular vote. Mana Islandmarker was added to the city at the same time. In 1988 a further addition was the Horokiri riding of the about-to-be-abolished county, containing most of the new Whitby suburb and substantial rural areas.

The city and its council have remained (with changes of personnel and ward boundaries) into the 21st century despite proposals to change the name to "Mana" and several small movements for amalgamation with Wellington.


Councillors and other notable residents

Notable councillors of Porirua have included Whitford Brown (first Mayor); Ken Douglas (trade unionist); Ken Gray (former All Black); Gary McCormick (media personality); Helen Smith (the first member of the Values Party to be elected to local government); and Tutu Wineera (a kaumatua of the Ngāti Toa iwi).

Other prominent residents have included film maker Peter Jackson, All Black Rodney So'oialo, former All Black Jerry Collins, Black Fern Aimee Sutorius, musician Matt Chicoine (aka Recloose), poet Alistair Campbell, golfer Michael Campbell, popstar Rob Arnold and singer/songwriter Ramon Te Wake.

Sister-city relationships


  1. - Recloose - Detroit - Tropical / Techno / Funk -

External links

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