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For the electorate see Raglan (NZ electorate)
Location of Raglan in New Zealand

Raglan is a small beachside town located 48 km west of Hamilton, New Zealand on State Highway 23.

According to the 2006 New Zealand Census the population of Raglan was 2,637. [1]



The Raglan area has been inhabited for at least 800 years and was originally known by Maori as Whangaroa “the long pursuit”. To avoid confusion with another place of the same name, Whaingaroa was later adopted to avoid confusion. The current name of Raglan was adopted in 1858 in honour of Fitzroy Somerset, 1st Lord Raglan, who was the commander of British forces in the Crimean War at the time.

The first Europeans to settle in the area were the Rev James and Mary Wallis who were Wesleyan Missionaries that local Maori embraced and welcomed in 1835[2]. European settlement including large scale conversion of land to pasture commenced in earnest almost 20 years after the mission in the mid 1850’s after a large sale of land by Chief Wiremu Neera Te Awaitaia.

The local Raglan economy was supported initially by flax and timber exports, these were followed by farming and dairy which are still the mainstays of the area. Tourism and the arts are also significant contributors to the current economy.


Raglan is associated with Whaingaroa Harbour (also known as Raglan Harbour) on the west coast of the Waikato region in New Zealand's North Island. The harbour runs 12 km inland from the entrance, for the most part is less than 2 km wide, and is the northernmost of three large inlets in the Waikato coast.

Southwest of the township stands the extinct volcano of Mt Karioi. According to Māori legend the Karioi was a jilted Māori Princess who, upon discovering that love was lost, lay down and rests until this day.

The area is also home to the popular tourist destination, Bridal Veil Falls, which is located 20 kilometres southeast of the township.

Surf Breaks

Raglan is best known for its surf. Eight kilometres from the Raglan township is a series of surf breaks including Indicators, Whale Bay, and Manu Bay. Manu Bay was featured in the 1966 movie The Endless Summer.

Indicators is a left hand point break that breaks for up to 600m, from 2 to 10 feet+ (Hawaiian scale). It is a long-walled, fast wave with occasional barrels, particularly on the low tide. It picks up a lot of swell and is very consistent. On big days the wave can link up with the next break called Whale Bay.

Whale Bay is a left hand point break that breaks up to 200m in length, from about 2 to 8 feet+. It has two sections, an inside hollow section up to about 4 feet that breaks very close to the rocks, and an outside, slower section from 4 feet up. It has been rumoured by locals to link up with the next break further down-Manu Point-but only on very large swells, making a potential ride of up to 2 km from the top of Indicators, which locals say has only been achieved once.

Manu Point is a left hand point break which works from 2 to 10 feet+, breaking over 300m. It has alternate hollow and wall sections, occasional barrels, and is usually about 2/3 the size of Indicators.

Vortex Bay is a soft peak east of the boat ramp that sometimes breaks on low tide when the swell is too large for the main three points.

There is also a beach break further down from Manu Point. Ruapuke is another beach break well to the west around the point.

Raglan has hosted a world championship surfing event at Ruapuke beach and is home to a learn-to-surf school.


Visual artists hold the annual Raglan Festival of Art in the Raglan Town Hall and the Raglan Old School Art Centre. Fabric artists show their creations in the biennial ArtoWear competition. For Matariki there are displays of Māori art. Local art is on display in the Show Off Gallery, Kanuka Design, local cafes and the Raglan Old School Arts Centre. The Arts Centre is in a 19th century heritage building, the former Raglan School.


There's a live music scene in Raglan, supported by the International Soundsplash Eco Reggae Festival which ran yearly in summer on the Wainui Reserve, between 2001 and 2008, attracting some of the biggest names in roots, reggae and dub, as well as local acts[3].

The Musicians' Club have open-mic nights at the Town Hall supper room on the last Thursday of each month. There is also an open-mic happy hour once a month at the Old School Arts Centre.

The New Zealand reggae band Cornerstone Roots was formed in Raglan.

The Australian a cappella folk singer/songwriter Samantha Star has also made Raglan her home.


External links

Coordinates: 37°48′S 174°53′E / 37.8°S 174.883°E / -37.8; 174.883



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