Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty

Tauranga is located at the head of a large harbour which extends along the western Bay of Plenty, and is protected by Matakana Island.Tauranga harbour is a valued recreational haven and one of New Zealand's most popular holiday destinations. The town and headland of Mount Maunganui stand at the entrance to the harbour, five kilometres north of Tauranga. "The Mount", as it is known, is often regarded as a satellite town of Tauranga.The area has been inhabited for at least 600 years with Maori, New Zealand's indigenous people, settling in an area with a pleasant climate, fertile land, and welcoming harbour (the name Tauranga means "sheltered waters" in Maori).

Due to its sheltered position on the east coast, Tauranga enjoys a warm, dry climate. This has made it a popular location to retire to. During the summer months the population swells as the holidaymakers descend on the city. The sunny Pacific Coast of the aptly-named Bay of Plenty offers some of New Zealand's finest beaches for swimming, surfing and other water sports - Mount Maunganui is among the best known beaches in the country.

Much of the countryside surrounding Tauranga is horticultural land, used to grow a wide range of fresh produce for both domestic consumption and export. The area is particularly well known for growing tangelos (a grapefruit / tangerine cross) and kiwifruit. The Port of Tauranga also experiences brisk but seasonal shipping traffic and is a regular stop off for both container ships and luxury cruise liners. The City of Tauranga is home to a population of 110,000 and is the economic hub of the Bay of Plenty region, supporting a wide range of manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and horticultural industries.

Tauranga is home to the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic as well as a branch of the University of Waikato.

State secondary schools include:

  • Tauranga Boys' College
  • Tauranga Girls' College
  • Mount Maunganui College,
  • Otumoetai College
  • Bethlehem College-A christian educational institution for kindergarten, primary and secondary level students
  • State Primary and Intermediate Schools include:
  • Tauranga Intermediate which schools approximately 1152 year 7 & year 8 students and is the largest dedicated intermediate school in New Zealand
  • Otumoetai Intermediate
  • Otumoetai Primary School has a roll of 550 primary-aged students.
  • Te Akau ki Papamoa School a full primary school in Papamoa with 400 students.
  • Tahatai Coast School
  • Papamoa Primary
  • Christian educational institutions in Tauranga include Bethlehem Campus, a college for both children and adults established in 1988; South Pacific Bible College, a Christian preaching and missions school founded in 1982; and Aquinas College, a Catholic college established in 2003.


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The Tauranga Campaign took place in and around Tauranga, from January 21, 1864 to June 21, 1864, during the Maori Wars. The battle of Gate Pa is the most well-known.

The origins of The Tauranga Campaign
This campaign started as a side show to the Invasion of the Waikato, where British Imperial Troops, on behalf of the New Zealand Colonial Government, were fighting a confederation of Mâori tribes known as the King Movement. The Kingites were receiving assistance, both materials and recruits, from many of the tribes in the North Island. In an effort to curb this flow of support the British sent an expedition to Tauranga, a major harbour in the Bay of Plenty, some 100 km east of the conflict in the Waikato.

Their intention was merely to establish a base and adopt a defensive posture. However the local Mâori, Ngai Te Rangi, could not afford to assume that this would always be the case. They responded with threats, insults, abuse, a programme of increasing provocation and then began raiding the British camp. Finally they built a strong Pâ, a fortress or defensive position only 5km from the British camp.

The British commander, Colonel Greer, could not ignore this. It not only restricted his freedom of movement but also limited his control of Tauranga Harbour. He applied to Auckland for reinforcements so he could go on the offensive. His request arrived in Auckland just as the active conflict Waikato ended. The British commander, General Duncan Cameron, had just returned to Auckland where he was experiencing a lot of criticism from the Press and the Colonial government who saw the Waikato Campaign as a failure. True, they had conquered and annexed a lot of territory but this had always been only the unspoken objective. The ostensible reason for invading the Waikato had been decisively beat the Mâori in battle and make an end to the King Movement. This hadn't happened. It seems that Cameron saw in Tauranga a chance to achieve his decisive victory. Whatever the reasons he immediately sailed for Tauranga with his entire reserve bringing the garrison up to 1700 men.

Meanwhile fighting had already broken out nearby. A large contingent of East Coast Mâori , possibly as many as 700 warriors were making their way towards the conflict in the Waikato. The route they chose took them through the territory of a tribe which saw themselves as allies of the Pâkehâ, the Arawa tribe based around Rotorua. Forewarned of this the Arawa chiefs called home their tribesmen, many of whom were working in Auckland or further north. Pausing only in Tauranga to borrow what guns they could from the British, they hastened onward to Rotorua. Four hundred warriors of the tribe were mobilized, they met and held the East Coast Mâori on 7 April in a two day battle on the shores of Lake Rotoiti.

Regions of the Bay of Pleny

Te Puke

Tauranga Websites