OPENING HOURS: Monday – Friday 10am-4pm, Weekends and public holidays 10am-2pm

Monday – Friday 10am-4pm, Weekends and public holidays 10am-2pm

$ FREE ADMISSION   24 Victoria St, Cambridge , NZ | CONTACT

You Are Here:

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Cambridge Town
  4. /
  5. Districts

Cambridge Town

Learn about the history of town and its districts, schools and roads over the years.

View more


Backbone of the Borough (From The News and Theatre Courier' 12 August 1936)

'In 1864 Cambridge was but a military settlement consisting of a handful of weatherboard buildings, a store or two, and that is all; the district beyond the settlement in its virgin state of tea-tree and wild scrub with the bush-clad hills beyond. No roads, no farms, no smiling countryside - the Waikato River providing the principal outlet. Today residents are justly proud of their town and borough with all its commercial and residential facilities. Yes the borough has progressed and that progression has been made solely possible by the development of the districts that surround it.'

The farming districts around Cambridge have always been very important to the development of the town. Initially the 50 acre soldier allotments of 1864 were to be a barrier between the Maori King Country and the city of Auckland. The districts of Pukerimu, Pukeroro and Pukekura were elevated ('puke' means hill) and these farms were quickly brought into production by the new settlers. 'Bruntwood' was the name of the homestead of William Muir Douglas and it was farmed successfully with wheat crops and fat cattle for the Auckland market. Fen Court was the estate of T Every Maclean who, with the backing of the Bank of New Zealand, drained and farmed many acres of swamp. His land holdings also covered Whitehall and Horahora. Robert Fergusson's 'Gorton Estate' covered most of Karapiro. Richard Parker started to drain Roto-o-rangi and E B Walker drained the Moana Tua Tua swamp at Monavale. When the depression hit at the end of the 1800s the banks called in their loans. They then cut these estates into small farms and, with dairy farming becoming viable, the districts boomed. One estate now accommodated about 30 families and more schools were established. Each district also built a creamery where cream was taken to be made into butter and cheese. The Cambridge Dairy Co-op's factory at Hautapu has grown from this very lucrative industry. If you have any further information that can be added to this record please contact the Cambridge Museum.  


Maori history tells of a chief, Koroki from whom has descended the Ngatihaua tribe which subsequently occupied the Maungakawa hills and fought under Te Waharoa. Following a defeat of the Ngatihaua by the Arawa Tribe,…



With the invasion of the Waikato by the British in 1863/64 Cambridge and districts were cut up to provide farms for the soldiers of the 3rd Waikato Militia. Under the Chief Surveyor, Charles Heaphy, there were at…



Hautapu, Pukeroro, Bruntwood (From ‘The News and Theatre Courier’ 12 August 1936) ‘Closer settlement has proceeded apace in these districts during the past quarter of a century. The names that will always be linked are…



Karapiro Settlement (From The News and Theatre Courier’ 12 August 1936) ‘It was in 1904 that the Gorton Estate of 8,000 acres was taken over by a syndicate and cut up for settlement. Among the…



Leamington (From ‘The News and Theatre Courier’ 12 August 1936) ‘The Leamington Town district has been equally as long established as Cambridge for in the Land War days the military was camped on both sides…



Maungakawa Settlement (From The News and Theatre Courier’ 12 August 1936) ‘In the eighteen sixties the Maungakawa Maori Settlement was one of the largest of its kind in the Waikato having a population of several…



The New Zealand Government offered Captain Martin Krippner a commission with the Waikato Militia and asked him to form a company out of his newly arrived countrymen. He recruited all the single men and five…


Pukekura and Maungatautari

Pukekura and Maungatautari (From ‘The News and Theatre Courier’ 12 August 1936) ‘Time was when cultivation was chiefly limited to portions of Pukekura nearer Leamington, but as the years have passed the older residents have…


Pukerimu – Kaipaki

Pukerimu – Kaipaki (From ‘The News and Theatre Courier’ 12 August 1936) ‘Pukerimu and Kaipaki can lay claim to be among the oldest settled portions of the Cambridge district. Following the cessation of active hostilities…



The Roto-o-rangi district was once a lake and the name means ‘The Lake of Heaven’. When Europeans arrived in 1864 the area was drained and today it is rolling farmlands. The last death relevant to…


Taotaoroa District

Taotaoroa (From The News and Theatre Courier’ 12 August 1936) ‘Born in the Taotaoroa district, as the son of one of the original settlers, Mr Bruce has many vivid personal recollections of the early days.…


Te Miro

In 1916 the Government purchased James Taylor’s 12,000 acre Te Miro property for soldier settlement. Except for 2,000 acres of run-down pasture on the top terrace, known as ‘the old race course’, the block was…



Whitehall’s Beginnings (From ‘The News and Theatre Courier’ 12 August 1936) ‘About the year 1876 Mr George Giles, father of Harry Giles of Monavale, took up a section near the Maori Settlement. He built a…