Mangakino, New Zealand, Australia
Year1946latitude: -38° 22'
longitude: 175° 46'
Planning organizationMinistry of Works
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)Ernst Anton Plischke
Design organization
Inhabitants1,250 (2006)
Target population
Town website
Town related links, lage.htm

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy
Situated at the North Island of New Zealand, on the banks of the Waikato River, mangakino is planned by the Ministry of Works. Base for the construction of a chain of five power stations on the Waikato River, the village was built to be a semi-permanent town. Small villages were also built - by Mangakino inhabitants - at Maraetai, Waipapa, Whakamaru and Atiamuri to house the permanent work force that was to run the power stations. The Maraetai and Waipapa villages were later disbanded, the houses removed, and the land converted back into forestry and farmland. Only the disintegrating roads now tell about their former existence. Whakamaru and Atiamuri remained close-knit little communities and function as satellite cities both for permanent residents and holidaymakers.

Mangakino was laid out with shopping centre, hospital, hall, and cinema. The original Mangakino house had three main rooms with a separate kitchen, a washhouse, and a bathroom. Later versions got larger windows. Engineers arriving in 1946 together with dam-builders from a score of nations pushed the town's population to 5500. But following the progressive completion of the dams and the completion of Maraetai II, people started moving out en masse, leaving nearly half of the 1,100 standard wooden houses empty. Homes either decayed or were uprooted, moved off the land and trucked to new projects or uses and southern streets converted back into farmland. By 1961 the amount of houses had been reduced from the originally 1,100 to 600.

Though the town was shrinking, some of the population wished to stay, and in 1951 the Mangakino Township Incorporation was formed to deal with land matters and later administrate leases for the sections. By 1970 the Ministry of Works had completely withdrawn, and Mangakino was governed by the Taupo County Council, now called Taupo District Council.

Today Mangakino has stabilised at around 1250 inhabitants. It is a multicultural city serving a mixture of tribes, and 40% of the residents being Maori. Many homes a used only for holidays. The city has a minimum of jobs and trainee opportunities, and a school roll of 200. The median income of people is $10,900, compared with $18,500 for all of New Zealand, and the unemployment rate is 21,4% compared with 7,5% for all of New Zealand (Statistics NZ 2001). In 1999 the public image suffered as the local constable got murdered by a young burglar. Investment being made to renew infrastructure - provide a skate board park, improve footpaths, and build a $500,000 replacement community centre. After more than 15 years Mangakino has got public transport again, the bus driving three days a week.

Aranne Donald, heritage advisor for the Historic Places Trust, has said that Mangakino is the most intact example of infrastructure made for public works staff, and claimed that it could easily be the location for a film set in the New Zealand of the 1950s. The Trust suggested the Taupo District Council to consider to preserve the town's special character.


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