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Major new feature on Waikato region in Te Ara – Encyclopedia of New Zealand

A significant new feature on the Waikato region will be launched at the Waikato Museum on 31 May.

Written by Te Ara Managing Editor Nancy Swarbrick, who grew up in Hamilton, this exhaustive entry covers the region’s turbulent history, the region’s status as an economic powerhouse, agricultural, horticultural and industrial development in the region, and its proud cultural history.

The world’s only hot soda geyser, the corrugated-iron capital of the world, the McGillicuddy Serious Party, Fieldays, Hobbiton, Mooloo, New Zealand’s largest inland nature reserve, Raglan’s left-hand break, and a film clip of the Sweetwater Festival all feature in a new entry on the Waikato region in Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

“The Waikato entry shows what an important economic driver the region has become to New Zealand. As New Zealand’s fourth-largest city, Hamilton is also a significant centre of research, education, health and innovation.”

“The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Te Ara website is a widely accessed resource for comprehensive and reliable information about New Zealand, its people, places and history. The Waikato entry will be an invaluable resource for schoolchildren, their parents, those interested in the region, and local and international visitors to the Waikato.” Te Ara General Editor Dr Jock Philips said.

It contains numerous video clips, audio, interactive resources and an exhibition of images on Flickr (a web-based photo sharing community) contributed by the local community.

Interesting facts in the entry include:

  • Māori were using Huntly coal long before Europeans arrived.
  • After the land wars, most Maori-owned land in western Waikato was confiscated under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863.
  • The region has around 30 per cent of New Zealand’s wetlands, including the Whangamarino Wetland, covering 7,290 hectares between Meremere and Te Kauwhata.
  • One of New Zealand’s oldest anarchist communes, Beeville, was sited near Morrinsville between the late 1920s or early 1930s until 1973
  • Hamilton has been New Zealand’s fourth-largest city since the mid 1970s
  • The Waikato is New Zealand’s foremost dairy-farming region
  • Famous stud stallion Sir Tristram and double Olympic equestrian event winner Charisma both came from Waikato studs.
  • The Waikato River hydro dams belonging to Mighty River Power produce around 12 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity, and the Huntly power station generates about 17 per cent.
  • Fieldays is the largest such event in the southern hemisphere.

The full entry is available on and can be accessed through the ‘Places’ theme off the main page.

It will be launched by local MP Tim Macindoe at the Waikato Art Museum, Hamilton, at 5.30pm on 31 May, on behalf of the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Christopher Finlayson.

Updated on 30th July 2015