Hamilton or Kirikiriroa meaning long stretch of gravel in Maori is a city in the North Island of New Zealand that is located on the banks of the Waikato River and has a population of 176,500. It is New Zealand’s fourth most populated city. The city was named after John Fane Charles Hamilton, the commander of HMS Esk who was killed in the battle of Gate Pa, Tauranga.
65% of the population have European/Pākehā heritage, 25% are Māori and 18.5% from Asia. The proportion of people born overseas was 27%, compared with 27.5% nationally. 47% followed no religion while 37% were Christian.
Two of New Zealand’s Prime Ministers were born in Hamilton: Jacinda Ardern the current Prime Minister and the former Prime Minister, Helen Clark.
Education and research are major contributors towards the city’s economy as it houses 40,000 tertiary students and 1,000 PhD scientists.
Past and Present
In 1867 a road was built from Auckland to Hamilton and a railway connecting the two cities was commissioned in 1877. The first traffic bridge, the Union Bridge, was opened in 1879 and was replaced by Victoria Bridge in 1910.
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. Beal Cottage, one of the oldest surviving homes is listed as an Historic Reserve on the Historic Places Trust. It was constructed in 1872 by one of Hamilton’s first European settlers, Dr Bernard Beal and was used as a surgery, family residence and registry office.
Hamilton Central, the city’s retail precinct, located on the banks of the Waikato River is a bustling hub and a hangout for the large student population that reside here. The main street is vibrant with bars and eateries and according to 2008’s Lonely Planet guide it leaves Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour for dead on weekends.
Hamilton has an oceanic climate with cool winters with temperatures dropping as low as -3 degrees centigrade. Fog and frost are common during winter, but snow is rare. Hamilton is one of the foggiest cities on earth, but the fog burns off by noon due to the sunshine. Summers can be warm and humid with temperatures rising to around 28 degrees centigrade. The humidity is high and is similar to tropical climates like Singapore. The city receives a considerable amount of precipitation amounting to around 1,100 mm for over 125 days of the year. With nearly 2,000 hours of sunshine yearly, the region is fertile. Because the inland is in a depression, surrounded by hills and mountains the area has the lowest average wind speed. The climate will appeal to most people who wish to relocate here.
The city has two universities: The University of Waikato and the Waikato Institute of Technology. The Research Centres at Ruakura have been responsible for New Zealand’s agricultural innovation. A large percentage of Hamilton’s revenue is generated from the dairy industry. The city hosts the National Agricultural Field Days at Mystery Creek Event Centre. Mystery Creek holds the southern hemisphere’s largest agricultural trade exhibition annually. It is also the venue for other national events like the Parachute Christian Music Festival, the National Car Show and the National Boat Show.
The city is also home to New Zealand’s largest aircraft manufacturer, Pacific Aerospace and to trailer boat manufacturers like Buccaneer. Hamilton is also home to Vickers Aircraft Company, a startup aircraft manufacturer that makes carbon-fibre amphibious aircrafts.
The city’s three major shopping malls are Centre Place (formerly known as Downtown Plaza) in the CBD, Chartwell Shopping Centre and Te Awa at The Base. The Base is New Zealand’s second largest shopping centre with over 7.5 million visitors each year to its 190 stores. The western suburb of Frankton has a smaller shopping centre as well as Forlongs, a long-standing local furniture and home department store.
The city’s attractions include Hamilton Gardens, Waikato Stadium, Seddon Park and the Hamilton Lake Domain. Hamilton Gardens is the region’s most popular tourist attraction which hosts the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival each year. Other attractions include Hamilton Zoo, the Waikato Museum, the Hamilton Astronomical Society Observatory, the Arts Post art gallery, and the SkyCity casino. Just 20 minutes’ drive away is Ngāruawāhia, the location of Turangawaewae Marae and the home of Māori King Tuheitia Paki.
State Highway 1 runs through the western and southern suburbs and intersects at a major junction with State Highway 3 south of the city centre.
Hamilton has buses linking the CBD to most of its suburbs and an Orbiter service linking many of those suburbs to each other as well as to suburban shopping centres, the hospital, and university.
Hamilton’s station is in Frankton at the junction of the East Coast Main Trunk line (ECMT) and the North Island Main Trunk line (NIMT). A daily commuter train service to Auckland known as Te Huia was recently re-introduced to cater to the needs of the locals.
Schools, Universities and Amenities
The city’s three main tertiary institutes; the University of Waikato, Waikato Institute of Technology and Te Wananga o Aotearoa have over 40,000 students.
As well as state and private primary, intermediate and high schools, it also offers several Kura Kaupapa Māori language primary schools.
The city has seven secondary state schools: Rototuna High School in Rototuna, Fairfield College in Fairfield, Hamilton Boys’ High School in Hamilton East, Hillcrest High School in Silverdale, Melville High School in Melville, Hamilton Girls’ High School in the central city, and Fraser High School in Nawton. Both Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools offer boarding facilities. A new state secondary school was opened for the Rototuna residents. There are also numerous state-integrated Catholic primary schools throughout the city. Sacred Heart Girls’ College and St John’s College are the integrated Catholic high schools for girls and boys respectively. Southwell School is a private co-educational Anglican primary school. Waikato Diocesan School for Girls is an integrated Anglican high school. St Paul’s Collegiate School is a private high school for boys. All three Anglican schools are both boarding and day schools. Hamilton Christian School is a private coeducational non-denominational Christian school.
Waikato Hospital with 600 beds and a staff of approximately 2,500 located between Melville and Hamilton West is Hamilton’s public hospital. There are two major private hospitals in Hamilton City; Braemar Hospital and Southern Cross Hospital. Hamilton also has two private primary maternity hospitals: Waterford Birth Centre and River Ridge East Birth Centre.
If you wish to move to this city, to fraternise with Hamilton’s elite or just relocate because it provides education, entertainment, transport and more, this city might be just the place to move to. Call Grace Removals on 1300 723 844 to avail yourself of the best removalists in Australasia. Grace has over 100 years’ experience relocating and moving people across the world. Grace will make your move as seamless as possible whether it is locally or internationally. Our services are exceptional and our pretty competitive – call to find out how we can help.