Hamilton, Waikato Region, North Island, New Zealand

History | Contemporary history | Geography | Western Hamilton suburbs | Eastern Hamilton suburbs | Towns/Suburbs in the Hamilton Urban Area | Economy | Culture

🇳🇿 Hamilton (Kirikiriroa) is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. It is the seat and most populous city of the Waikato region. Hamilton is part of the wider Hamilton Urban Area, which also encompasses the nearby towns of Ngāruawāhia, Te Awamutu and Cambridge. In 2020, Hamilton was awarded the title of most beautiful large city in New Zealand.

The area now covered by the city was originally the site of several Māori villages, including Kirikiriroa, from which the city takes its Māori name. By the time English settlers arrived, most of these villages, which sat beside the Waikato River, were abandoned as a result of the Invasion of Waikato and land confiscation (Raupatu) by the Crown.

Initially an agricultural service centre, Hamilton now has a diverse economy and is the third fastest growing urban area in New Zealand, behind Pukekohe and Auckland. Hamilton Gardens is the region's most popular tourist attraction. Education and research and development play an important part in Hamilton's economy, as the city is home to approximately 40,000 tertiary students and 1,000 PhD-qualified scientists.

History The area now covered by the city was originally the site of several Māori villages (kāinga), including Te Parapara, Pukete, Miropiko and Kirikiriroa ("long stretch of gravel'), from which the city takes its Māori name. Local Māori were the target of raids by Ngāpuhi during the Musket Wars, and several pā sites from this period can still be found beside the Waikato River. In December 2011 several rua or food storage pits were found near the Waikato River bank, close to the Waikato museum.

In 1822, Kirikiriroa Pa was briefly abandoned to escape the Musket Wars. However, by the 1830s Ngati Wairere’s principal pa was Kirikiriroa, where the missionaries, who arrived at that time, estimated 200 people lived permanently. A chapel and house were built at Kirikiriroa for visiting clergy, presumably after Benjamin Ashwell established his mission near Taupiri.

Between 1845 and 1855 crops such as wheat, fruit and potatoes were exported to Auckland, with up to 50 canoes serving Kirikiriroa. Imports included blankets, clothing, axes, sugar, rum, and tobacco. Millstones were acquired and a water wheel constructed, though possibly the flour mill wasn't completed. However, one article said Kirikiriroa flour was well known.

Magistrate Gorst, estimated that Kirikiriroa had a population of about 78 before the Invasion of Waikato via the Waikato Wars of 1863–64. The government estimated the Waikato area had a Māori population of 3,400 at the same time. After the war in the Waikato, large areas of land (1.2 Million Acres), including the area of the present city of Hamilton were attained by the Crown under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863. On 10 August 1864 the government advertised for tenders to build 10 huts and a hospital at Kirikiriroa. Hamilton was settled by the 4th regiment of the Waikato Militia. The 1st Regiment was at Tauranga, the 2nd at Pirongia, the 3rd at Cambridge and the 4th at Kirikiriroa. The settlement was founded on 24 August 1864. Many of the soldier/settlers who intended to farm after the 1863 war, walked off their land in 1868 due to its poor quality. Much of the land was swampy or under water. In 1868 Hamilton's population, which was about 1,000 in 1864, dropped to 300 as farmers left. On 22 December 1875 the first brickworks opened in Hamilton.

The road from Auckland reached Hamilton in 1867 and the railway in December 1877. That same month, the towns of Hamilton West and Hamilton East merged under a single borough council. The first traffic bridge between Hamilton West and Hamilton East, known as the Union Bridge, opened in 1879. It was replaced by the Victoria Bridge in 1910.

The first railway bridge, the Claudelands Bridge, was opened in 1884. It was converted to a road traffic bridge in 1965. Hamilton reached 1,000 people in 1900, and the town of Frankton merged with the Hamilton Borough in 1917. Between 1912 and 1936, Hamilton expanded with new land in Claudelands (1912), Maeroa (1925), and Richmond – modern day Waikato Hospital and northern Melville (1936). Hamilton was proclaimed a city in 1945. In the latter 19th century, the areas of Te Rapa and Pukete were important sites for the kauri gum trade of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, being some of the southern-most locations where gum could be found.

The city is near the southernmost navigable reach (by the settlers' steam boats) of the Waikato River, amidst New Zealand's richest and now fertile agricultural land that was once largely Raupo and Kahikatea swamp. Beale Cottage is an 1872 listed building in Hamilton East.

From 1985 MV Waipa Delta provided excursions along the river through the town centre. In 2009 Waipa Delta was moved to provide trips on Waitematā Harbour in Auckland, but replaced by a smaller boat. That too ceased operation and the pontoon at Parana Park was removed in 2013. The Delta moved to Taupō in 2012. The former Golden Bay vessel, Cynthia Dew, ran 4 days a week on the river from 2012, but was in liquidation in December 2022.

Contemporary history Hamilton Central, on the Waikato River, is a bustling retail precinct. The entertainment area is quite vibrant due to the large student population. The 2008 Lonely Planet guide states that "the city's main street has sprouted a sophisticated and vibrant stretch of bars and eateries that on the weekend at least leave Auckland's Viaduct Harbour for dead in the boozy fun stakes". Many of the city's venues and attractions are located on the old Town Belt, including Hamilton Gardens, Waikato Stadium, Seddon Park, and the Hamilton Lake Domain.

As of 2016, the city continues to grow rapidly. Development is focused on the northern end of the city although in 2012 the council made a decision to balance the city's growth by approving an urban development to the south. Traffic congestion is increasing due to population growth, though the council has undertaken many road development projects to try to keep up with the rapid growth. State Highway 1 runs through the western and southern suburbs and has a major junction with State Highway 3 south of the city centre, which contributes to congestion. The Hamilton City Council is building a 2/4-lane arterial road, Wairere Drive, through the northern and eastern suburbs to form a 25 km suburban ring road with State Highway 1, which is due for completion in early 2015, while the New Zealand Transport Agency plans to complete the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway by 2019, easing congestion taking State Highway 1 out of the city and bypassing it to the east.

The rapid growth of Hamilton has brought with it the side effects of urban sprawl especially to the north east of the city in the Rototuna area. Further development is planned in the Rototuna and Peacocke suburbs. There has been significant development of lifestyle blocks adjacent to the Hamilton Urban Area, in particular Tamahere, and Matangi.

Geography Hamilton's geography is largely the result of successive volcanic ash falls, plus debris, which swept down the Waikato River in at least two massive floods, created by ash blocking the outlet of Lake Taupō. In its present form the landscape originated around 20,000 years ago (20 ka), after the Oruanui eruption of the Taupō Volcano. The dates given for the eruption vary. A 2007 study said it was between 22.5 and 14 ka. Another in 2004 put it 26.5 ka. After the eruption Lake Taupō rose to about 145 m (476 ft) above the present lake. Around 20 ka. the ash dam eroded and the lake rapidly fell some 75 m (246 ft), creating massive floods. The ash they carried formed the main Hinuera Surface into an alluvial fan of volcanic ash, which extends north of Hamilton and drops about 60 m (200 ft) from Karapiro. The Waikato changed its course from flowing into the sea at Thames at about that time, possibly just because sediment built up. The peat lakes and bogs also formed about that time; carbon dating gives maximum ages of 22.5 to 17 ka. Due to an ice age, vegetation was slow to restabilise the ash, so dunes formed up to 25 m (82 ft) above the local Hinuera surface. The current Waikato valley had cut into the debris by about 12 ka. and was further modified by the 181 AD Hatepe eruption, when again Lake Taupō level fell 34 m (112 ft), generating a 20 km3 (4.8 cu mi) flood, equivalent to 5 years' normal flow in just a few weeks. About 800 years ago aggradation began raising the river bed by about 8 m (26 ft).

With the exceptions of the many low hills such as those around the University of Waikato, Hamilton Lake, Beerescourt, Sylvester Road, Pukete and to the west of the city, and an extensive network of gullies, the terrain of the city is relatively flat. In some areas such as Te Rapa, one old path of an ancient river can be traced. The relatively soft and unconsolidated soil material is still being actively eroded by rain and runoff.

In its natural state, Hamilton and environs was very swampy in winter with 30 small lakes connected to surrounding peatlands. Hamilton was surrounded by 7 large peat bogs such as Komakorau to the North and Rukuhia and Moanatuatua to the South, as well as many smaller ones all of which have now been drained with only small remnants remaining. The total area of peat bog was about 655 km2. Early photos of Hamilton East show carts buried up to their axles in thick mud. Up until the 1880s it was possible to row and drag a dinghy from the city to many outlying farms to the North East. This swampy, damp environment was at the time thought to be an ideal breeding ground for the TB bacillus, which was a major health hazard in the pioneering days. The first Hamilton hospital was constructed on a hill to avoid this problem. One of the reasons why population growth was so slow in Hamilton until the 1920s was the great difficulty in bridging the many arms of the deep swampy gullies that cross the city. Hamilton has 6 major dendritic gully complexes with the 15 km long, 12 branch, Kirikiriroa system being in the north of the city and the southern Mystery creek-Kaipaki gully complex being the largest. Others are Mangakotukutuku, Mangaonua and Waitawhiriwhiri.

In the 1930s, Garden Place Hill, one of the many small hills sometimes referred to as the Hamilton Hills, was removed by unemployed workers working with picks and shovels and model T Ford trucks. The Western remains of the hill are retained by a large concrete wall. The original hill ran from the present Wintec site eastwards to the old post office (now casino). The earth was taken 4 km north to partly fill the Maeroa gully adjacent to the Central Baptist Church on Ulster Street, the main road heading north.

Lake Rotoroa (Hamilton Lake) began forming about 20,000 years ago. Originally it was part of an ancient river system that was cut off by deposition material and became two small lakes divided by a narrow peninsula. With higher rainfall and drainage from the extensive peat land to the west, the water level rose so the narrow peninsula was drowned so forming one larger lake. To the north the lake is 8 m deep and in the southern (hospital) end 6 m deep. The old dividing peninsula, the start of which is still visible above water on the eastern side, is only 2 m below the surface.

Western Hamilton suburbs Beerescourt; Bader; Crawshaw; Deanwell; Dinsdale; Fitzroy; Forest Lake; Frankton; Glenview; Grandview Heights; Hamilton Central; Hamilton North; Hamilton West; Livingstone; Maeroa; Melville; Nawton; Peacocke; Pukete; Rotokauri; St Andrews; Stonebridge; Te Rapa; Temple View; Thornton; Western Heights; Whitiora.

Eastern Hamilton suburbs Ashmore; Callum Brae; Chartwell; Chedworth Park; Claudelands; Enderley; Fairfield; Fairview Downs; Flagstaff; Hamilton East; Harrowfield; Hillcrest; Huntington; Magellan Rise; Queenwood; Ruakura; Riverlea; Rototuna; Silverdale; Somerset Heights; St James Park; St Petersburg.

Towns/Suburbs in the Hamilton Urban Area Cambridge; Te Awamutu; Ngāruawāhia; Taupiri; Horotiu; Horsham Downs; Huntly; Gordonton; Ōhaupō; Ngāhinapōuri; Te Kowhai; Whatawhata; Tamahere; Matangi; Tauwhare; Rukuhia; Kihikihi.

Economy Education and research are important to the city—Hamilton is home to two institutes of higher education, the University of Waikato and the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec). Research at the Ruakura research centres have been responsible for much of New Zealand's innovation in agriculture. Hamilton's main revenue source is the dairy industry, due to its location in the centre of New Zealand's largest dairying area.

Hamilton annually hosts the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek, the southern hemisphere's biggest agricultural trade exhibition. Mystery Creek is the country's largest event centre and hosts other events of national importance, such as Parachute Christian Music Festival, the National Car Show and the National Boat Show.

Manufacturing and retail are also important to the local economy, as is the provision of health services through the Waikato Hospital. The city is home to New Zealand's largest aircraft manufacturer, Pacific Aerospace, which manufactured its 1,000th aircraft in August 2009, and previously Micro Aviation NZ which manufactured and exported high-quality microlight aircraft. It also has its largest concentration of trailer-boat manufacturers such as Buccaneer. Hamilton is also the home of Gallagher Group Ltd, a manufacturer and exporter of electric fencing and security systems. Employing 600 people Gallagher has been doing business in Hamilton since 1938. Hamilton is also home to Vickers Aircraft Company, a startup aircraft manufacturer making a carbon fibre amphibious aircraft called the Wave.

Recent years have seen the firm establishment of the New Zealand base of the British flight training organisation L3. L3 trains over 350 airline pilots a year at its crew training centre at Hamilton Airport. Tainui Group Holdings Ltd, the commercial arm of the Waikato tribe, is one of Hamilton's largest property developers. The Waikato tribe is one of the city's largest landowners. Tainui owns land at The Base, Centre Place, The Warehouse Central, University of Waikato, Wintec, the Courthouse, Fairfield College, and the Ruakura AgResearch centre. The Waikato tribe is a major shareholder of the Novotel Tainui and the Hotel Ibis.

It has developed the large retail centre The Base in the old Te Rapa airforce base site which was returned to Tainui, following confiscation in the 1860s, as part of a 1995 Treaty of Waitangi settlement. In mid-2010, The Base was further expanded with Te Awa Mall complex stage 1. Many large retailers such as Farmers and other nationwide speciality chains have located at Te Awa. In 2011 a further stage was opened, with cinemas, restaurants, shops and an underground carpark.

The city's three major covered shopping malls are Centre Place (formerly Downtown Plaza) in the CBD, Chartwell Shopping Centre and most recently Te Awa at The Base. After Farmers Hamilton moves from its existing site on corner of Alexandra and Collingwood streets into the redeveloped Centre Place in late 2013, each major mall will have the department store as an anchor tenant.

The western suburb of Frankton is home to a smaller shopping centre and long-standing local furniture and home department store Forlongs. There are many other small suburban shopping centres or plazas, often centred on a New World or Countdown supermarket, such as in Rototuna, Hillcrest and Glenview.

Culture In 2004, Hamilton City Council honoured former resident Richard O'Brien with a life-size bronze statue of him as character Riff Raff, of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in his space suit. The statue was designed by Weta Workshop, props makers for The Lord of the Rings films. It stands on the former site of the Embassy Cinema, where O'Brien watched science fiction-double features. Several Māori Pa have been part restored at Pukete, Hikuwai and Miropiko along the banks of the Waikato River.

The city is host to a large number of small galleries and the Waikato Museum. The latter includes Te Winika, one of the best-preserved waka taua (Māori war canoe) from the pre-colonisation era. It is also home to one of the country's premier experimental black box theatres, The Meteor Theatre.

Hamilton, Waikato Region, North Island, New Zealand 
<b>Hamilton, Waikato Region, North Island, New Zealand</b>
Image: Adobe Stock boyloso #210279777

Hamilton is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.

Hamilton has a population of over 176,500 people. Hamilton also forms the centre of the wider Hamilton metropolitan area which has a population of over 241,200 people. Hamilton is the #376 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 1.9071 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores.

To set up a UBI Lab for Hamilton see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Hamilton has links with:

🇨🇳 Chengdu, China 🇺🇸 Sacramento, USA 🇯🇵 Saitama, Japan 🇨🇳 Wuxi, China
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | GaWC | Hipster Index

Antipodal to Hamilton is: -4.72,37.788

Locations Near: Hamilton 175.28,-37.7882

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Antipodal to: Hamilton -4.72,37.788

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🇪🇸 Antequera -4.563,37.019 d: 19928.5  

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