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Turangi Regional Info

Turangi is a small town on the west bank of the Tongariro River, 50km south-west of Taupo on the North Island Volcanic Central Plateau of New Zealand.

It was built to accommodate the workers associated with the Tongariro hydro-electric power development project, and their families. The town was designed to remain as a small servicing centre for the exotic forest plantations south of Lake Taupo and for tourists. It is well known for its trout fishing. The major hapu of the Turangi area is Ngati Turangitukua. The Turangi area covers some 2273 km², and is located close to the edge of the Kaimanawa Ranges and 10km north of the stretch of State Highway 1 known as the Desert Road.

The streets around Turangi in autumn are lined with 'brilliant' foliage. Built on the banks of the Tongariro River, Turangi and its surrounding countryside offers challenging hunting, fishing, mountain biking, hiking or leisurely bush walks, white water rafting, kayaking, sightseeing and much more.


Maori settlement
The area was settled by the people of Ngati Tuwharetoa, descendants of those who had originally settled in the Kawerau area. The major Tuwharetoa migration occurred from about the 16th Century with a war party under command of Turangitukua who engaged in a number of battles against earlier inhabitants of the Taupo, Rotoaira and Kaimanawa area. Following these battles a variety of settlements were established in the area with major pa established on the cliff overlooking the Tongariro River and at Waitahanui on the Tongariro Delta. Another important settlement was at Tokaanu.The people who eventually become known as Ngati Turangitukua associate mainly with Waitahanui pa. From here they established a number of homesteads along both sides of the Tongariro River and its tributaries. including houses along the main highway to Taumarunui (now Hirangi Road). In 1910 construction of a wharepuni begun which eventually became the Hirangi Marae complex.

Non-Maori settlement
The first Europeans reached the Turangi area in the 1830s, however it was not until the 1850s that European settlement occurred with the construction of a Mission Station at Pukawa.

In the 1880s and 1890s brown and rainbow trout were introduced into the lake and rivers of the area. A small fishing camp was established at Taupahi on the Tongariro river bank (now Taupahi Road) and a number of European fishermen camped here. In the 1920s two prison farms were opened at Rangipo and Hautu because of the isolated nature of the area. It was also during this period that the Morar family arrived, migrants from India, who settled in the area establishing a store in Tokaanu. By 1960 the population was about 500.

Tongariro River
The world-famous Tongariro River runs through the middle of the town. The town calls itself "The Trout Fishing Capital of the World". Features in surrounding area:

  • Thermal activity
  • Hydro
  • Trout management
  • Forestry
  • Fishing
  • Tourism
  • Rafting
  • Kayaking
  • Golfing
  • Tramping
  • Mountain biking
  • Sister city, Kitashiobara, Japan
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