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Eltham, New Zealand


Eltham, New Zealand

Eltham is located in Taranaki Region
Country New Zealand
Region Taranaki
District South Taranaki District
Population (June 2015 estimate)[1]
 • Total 2,010
Postcode 4322
The town centre of Eltham

Eltham is a small inland town in South Taranaki, New Zealand, located 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of the city of New Plymouth and southeast of the volcanic cone of Mount Taranaki/Egmont. Stratford is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) north, Kaponga 13 km west, and Hawera is 19 km (12 mi) south. State Highway 3 runs through the town.[2][3]

Eltham is South Taranaki's second largest town. Population was 1980 in the 2006 Census, a decrease of 120 from 2001.[4]

Eltham is known as the cradle of the Taranaki dairy industry (the co-operative system in particular), and for being the one place in New Zealand that manufactured rennet which is important in cheesemaking.[5] It was also the first place to export butter to England.[6]

Settlement began in Eltham in the 1870s with blocks of densely forested land being taken up mainly to the north of Mountain Road. A profusion of sawmilling companies cleared the district which when grassed was found to be ideal for dairy farming.[7] In 1884, the year Eltham was declared a town district, settlers, mainly from England, arrived there and the town had a population of 25. Eltham was declared a borough in 1901, and became part of South Taranaki District with the local body amalgamations of 1989.


  • Industry 1
  • Famous people 2
  • A famous first for Eltham 3
  • Scenic attractions 4
  • Eltham's rivers 5
  • Local administration 6
  • Education 7
  • For more information 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The town's main industry is cheese production, with much of Mainland Cheese's specialty range such as feta and camembert being produced in the Bridge Street factory.

Other cheese products such as the processed cheese used in many burgers are produced at the company's Collingwood Street site, formerly occupied by the Taranaki Co-operative Dairy Company's milk powder plant, but now extensively remodelled.[8]

Cheese has been used as a central symbol of the town, and to reinforce this view, the town's water supply tank was painted to represent a large block of cheese in 2002.

Eltham's other significant industry is the Riverlands (formerly J. C. Hutton's) freezing works, which has a satellite plant in Bulls, in Manawatu. Both plants can process up to 1250 head of cattle daily.

Famous people

A famous first for Eltham

High Street (which runs through the centre of town - as part of State Highway 3 connecting Stratford, Ngaere, Normanby and Hawera) and Bridge Street (which heads westward towards Kaponga and joins State Highway 45 near Opunake), were the first tar-sealed roads in New Zealand.[20]

Scenic attractions

Near Eltham, South Taranaki, New Zealand.

Eltham is also the gateway to Lake Rotokare, a scenic, natural lake surrounded by native bush (to the east of the town), and to the man-made Lake Rotorangi.

Eltham's rivers

The two main watercourses which run through Eltham itself are the Mangawharawhara Stream, and the Waingongoro River.

The Mangawharawhara Stream runs to the east of the Main Trunk railway line, flows under the central business district via a culvert, and on past Eltham School and the Eltham Golf Club to the south of the town.

The Waingongoro River forms a western boundary to the town itself, flowing through the Presbyterian Church campsite (in the town's northwest) and Taumata Park (the town's main camping area and sports ground - in the western part of the town) and winding itself southwestward to meet the Tasman Sea at Ohawe Beach, near Hawera.[21]

Local administration

Eltham and the surrounding community enjoys a full library and council service (coming under the aegis of the South Taranaki District Council, based in Hawera). Services provided include being able to register your dog, pay your rates or inquire about obtaining a building permit. The LibraryPlus is also a NZ Post agency. Other services include a Tot Time for the under 5s and regular ‘coffee and blog’ meetings for locals to learn about new technologies in a friendly environment. The LibraryPlus also has three APN computers, offering free internet and Skype to the public.


Eltham School is a coeducational full primary school (years 1-8), with a decile rating of 3 and a roll of 186.[22] The school was founded in 1886.[23]

For more information

For more information on the history of the town, the Eltham & Districts Historical Society is located on the corner of Bridge and York Street (in the former Westpac building). The society has both historical and current information, including documents and photographs of Eltham and the surrounding area.


  1. ^ "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2015 (provisional)".  
  2. ^ Peter Dowling (editor) (2004), Reed New Zealand Atlas, Reed Books, map 34,  .
  3. ^ Roger Smith, GeographX (2005), The Geographic Atlas of New Zealand, Robbie Burton, map 97,  .
  4. ^ Quickstats about Eltham
  5. ^ See The New Zealand Co-operative Rennet Company Limited, Eltham, 50th jubilee, 1916-1966, Hawera, [N.Z.]: n.p., 1966 
  6. ^ "Eltham Travel Guide".  
  7. ^ See Davis, Brian Newton; Dollimore, Edward Stewart. ELTHAM.' From An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara - The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, updated 18-Sep-2007"'". Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  8. ^ The Taranaki co-operativewas formed in 1965 when the  
  9. ^ Bruce, David. "'Ronald Syme: Taranaki's Forgotten Son.'". Retrieved 2007-12-31.  Brief biography from the Taranaki Daily News 14 June 2003, centennial year of his birth.
  10. ^ Brian Muller at
  11. ^ Bryce Robins at
  12. ^ Geoff Old at
  13. ^ Roger Urbahn at
  14. ^ Roth, Herbert Otto. CHONG, Chew.' From An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara - The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, updated 18-Sep-2007"'". Retrieved 2007-12-30.  Roth notes that the establishment of the Eltham Co-operative Dairy Company in 1892 marked the "beginning of the end" for Chew Chong's pioneering dairy empire: because the co-operative could afford to pay its suppliers better. Also see the co-operative's jubilee history noted under Business History in the "Further Reading" section."
  15. ^ Ng, James. Chew Chong 1827-1844? - 1920.' Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007."'". Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  16. ^ Internet Movie Database,
  17. ^ Internet Movie Firearms Database,
  18. ^ Newcastle Falcons,
  19. ^ Rugby Network,
  20. ^ See the books of Henry Andrews: Andrews, Henry J. (1959), The history of Eltham, New Zealand: cradle of the dairy export industry, Eltham, [N.Z.]: Eltham Borough Council  and Russell Standish: Standish, Russell (1984), Eltham: one hundred years, Eltham, [N.Z.]: Eltham District Centennial Committee 
  21. ^ Roth, Herbert Otto. CHONG, Chew.' From An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara - The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, updated 18-Sep-2007"'". Retrieved 2007-12-30.  Roth notes that it was on the banks of this river that Chew Chong set up his "Jubilee" factory in 1887.
  22. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi - Eltham School".  
  23. ^ Carncross, Claude (1961), Eltham Public School, 1886-1961: souvenir booklet, 75th jubilee, Easter 1961, Eltham Public School Jubilee Committee / Eltham Argus 

External links

  • South Taranaki District Council
  • Eltham School website

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