The Plains - flat out and loving it
The Plains Ward is located in the northwest of the Hauraki District and has a population of 6,160 (Statistics New Zealand, 2011).The Hauraki Plains has a unique history. In the early 1900s a huge land drainage programme commenced which saw thousands of hectares of swampland transformed into profitable farmland.
Ngatea is the largest settlement in the Plains Ward and was established in the early 1900s to service the surrounding rural lands. Ngatea developed slowly until the early 1970’s, when the Hauraki Plains County Council set about establishing Ngatea as the administrative center of the Hauraki Plains. Land was acquired to form the Ngatea Domain as the focal point of the town and at the same time land was made available for residential development north of the town.
An increase of through traffic on State Highway 2 now means Ngatea is a busy town servicing the needs of the travelling public. Ngatea is within commuting distance of Auckland, with a number of locals choosing to live in Ngatea and travel to and from work in Auckland each day.
Ngatea boasts Thames Valley’s only artificial surface hockey facility. All recreational needs are catered for within easy distance of the town.
There are a number of smaller settlements spread across the plains including Kaiaua, Kerepehi, Turua, Waitakaruru, Kaihere, Kopuarahi and Patetonga.
The Seabird Coast became part of the Hauraki District in 2010 and was incorporated into the Plains Ward. The Seabird Coast is relatively remote with beautiful scenery and a number of small, tight-knit communities.
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Things to do and see...
Ngatea has a number of lovely cafés and shops as well as some accommodation. There are several key attractions for visitors to enjoy, some of which are listed below.
Ngatea Water Gardens
The Ngatea Water Gardens is set on a beautiful two hectare property with a variety of plants and water features. The Ngatea Water Gardens was designed for all year round viewing, is wheelchair friendly, and has a play area for children. For more information on the water gardens please go to www.ngateawatergardens.co.nz.
To celebrate the start of the new millennium, the Plains community decided to recreate a unique part of the Plains history by constructing a working model of the central span of the original Piako River Bridge (1917-1960). The replica bridge, known as the Millennium Bridge, was built in the Tilbury Reserve adjacent to the original site. The replica is as exact as possible although the tower at six metres high is approximately half the size of the original. Read more about the Millennium Bridge.
The Seabird Coast is located along the western shores of the Firth of Thames and is a popular destination for bird watchers from all over the world. This stretch of coastline is the breeding ground for many types of shorebirds including the New Zealand Dotterel and the Oystercatcher. The Coast also has some excellent fishing spots and is popular with boat owners.
The Seabird Coast is relatively remote with small communities scattered along it and beautiful scenery. The Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre is an excellent place for visitors to the Coast to visit and learn about the shorebirds and other local information. For more information on the Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre please go to www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz.
Rays Rest, which is located not far from the Kaiaua township, provides an area where people travelling in campervans can stopover on their way up or down the Coast.
Each year a number of events take place in the Plains Ward such as the Ngatea Garage Sale which has been running since 1996 and is held annually each October. The Turua Guy Fawkes Gala which is held annually at the Turua Domain and is a night filled with raffles, competitions, food and a fantastic fireworks display. The Kaiaua Seabird Coast Food and Wine Festival is a great event which takes place annually in Kaiaua and is suitable for all ages, with the very best of local cuisine, beer and wine alongside live music and entertainment.
Ngatea - Hauraki Information Centre
Phone: 07 867 7157
Positively Promoting the Plains
Hauraki Plains Health Centre
Phone: 07 867 7521
Address: Dent Street Ngatea
Ngatea Police Station
Phone: 07 867 0650
Address: Orchard West Road, Ngatea