Cambridge, New Zealand

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Kemureti (Māori)
Cambridge is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 37°53′S 175°28′E / 37.883°S 175.467°E / -37.883; 175.467Coordinates: 37°53′S 175°28′E / 37.883°S 175.467°E / -37.883; 175.467
CountryNew Zealand
Territorial authorityWaipa District
 • Total26.67 km2 (10.30 sq mi)
 (June 2018)[1]
 • Total19,150
 • Density720/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
3432, 3434

Cambridge (Māori: Kemureti) is a town in the Waipa District of the Waikato Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Situated 24 kilometres (15 mi) southeast of Hamilton, on the banks of the Waikato River, Cambridge is known as "The Town of Trees & Champions". The town has a population of 19,150,[1] making it the largest town in the Waipa District, and third largest urban area in the Waikato (after Hamilton and Taupo).

Cambridge was a finalist in the 2017 and 2019 New Zealand's Most Beautiful Large Town awards, run by Keep New Zealand Beautiful.[2][3] It was awarded the title New Zealand's Most Beautiful Large Town in October 2019.[4]


Hamilton, Puketaha & Cambridge war memorials

Prior to the arrival of Europeans there were a number of Maori in the vicinity of what would become Cambridge.[5] In the 1850s missionaries and farmers from Britain settled in the area and introduced modern farming practices to local Maori, helping them set up two flour mills and importing grinding wheels from England and France.[citation needed] During the 1850s wheat was a profitable crop but when merchants in Auckland began purchasing cheaper grain from Australia the market went into decline.[citation needed]

The European town of Cambridge was established when the 3rd Regiment of the Waikato Militia were settled there in 1864 following the Invasion of the Waikato. The town was named after Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army at the time.[6]


Cambridge is administered by the Waipa District Council. It is the largest town in the District, but not the seat of the council, which is at Te Awamutu.

Nationally, Cambridge is part of the Taupō general electorate and the Hauraki-Waikato Māori electorate.[7]


Cambridge's main sources of employment and income come from dairy farming, tourism, the equine industry and sport. Dairy farming provides more than one in 10 jobs[8] in the Waipa District. The tourism industry supports 12.7% of jobs in Waipa District.[9] The equine industry provides more than 600 jobs in the Waikato, with many based in and around Cambridge.[10] It is estimated that one in five Cambridge residents work in nearby Hamilton.[11]


Cambridge lies adjacent to State Highway 1, which connects the town with Hamilton in the northwest and Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo in the southeast. Access to Cambridge from the north is via the Cambridge Road and Victoria Road interchanges, and from the south is via the Tirau Road interchange. Prior to the Waikato Expressway extension opening in December 2015, SH 1 ran through the centre of Cambridge.

State Highway 1B leaves SH 1 at the Victoria Road interchange and provides a route north to SH 1 at Taupiri, providing a route north towards Auckland while bypassing Hamilton to the east.

Hamilton Airport, 18 minutes drive from Cambridge, is the nearest airport and provides daily flights to all New Zealand's main centres.[12]

A public bus service connects Cambridge with central Hamilton via Tamahere and Waikato University several times daily.[13]

Cambridge was formerly the terminus of the Cambridge Branch railway, but this closed beyond Hautapu in 1999.


National sports headquarters

Cambridge and nearby Lake Karapiro have become the homes for national sports organisations such as cycling (track, road, mountain biking and BMX), rowing, triathlon and as high performance centres for kayaking and canoeing.[14]


The national Home of Cycling, the Avantidrome, was opened by Prince William and Princess Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on 12 April 2014.[15] In December 2015, Cambridge hosted the 2015–16 UCI Track Cycling World Cup. There are also many cycle and walking tracks that have been purpose built around Cambridge. The Te Awa River Ride[16] currently has two paths open which are excellent for cyclists and walkers. The purpose built track runs from the center of Cambridge out to the Avantidrome and follows the beautiful Waikato river. There is also a wide cycleway running from Leamington to Lake Karapiro Domain which is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

Thoroughbred horse studs

The town is now well known for its Thoroughbred studs and stables, which have produced many champion horses in the sports of racing and show jumping. Cambridge is popularly known as the 'equine capital' of New Zealand.[17] Internationally known thoroughbred studs in the area include:


Lake Karapiro, recognised as one of the premium rowing lakes in the world, is close by, producing several world rowing champions, notably Rob Waddell, Robbie Manson, the Evers-Swindell twins, Georgina and Caroline, Mahé Drysdale and James Dallinger. The 2010 World Rowing Championships were held at Lake Karapiro.

Rugby Union

Cambridge is home to two clubs, Hautapu Sports Club, founded in 1903, and Leamington Rugby Sports Club, founded in 1897.


Cambridge is home to Cambridge FC who were the 2017 and 2015 Waikato Bay of Plenty Premiership champions,[18] and Waipa Sports Club of the Year in 2014 and 2015.[19]


Cambridge and the surrounding district is host to many sporting, cultural and trade events. More than 120,000 visitors attend the National Agricultural Fieldays[20] every June at the Mystery Creek Events Centre between Cambridge and Hamilton.

Every summer, Lake Karapiro hosts the Waka Ama Sprint National Championships and the hydroplane racing as part of the New Zealand Grand Prix Circuit. In February, the Keyte Watson Polo Tournament takes place at Leamington, Cambridge. Every March, Cambridge holds its four-day Autumn Festival and in December, a Christmas Festival (including a town parade) takes place.[21]

Cambridge's local annual event is the Battle of the Bridges, a rugby and netball competition between the two sports clubs in Cambridge, Leamington and Hautapu, however the trophy is awarded to the winning team in the rugby match. The event takes place in August each year. The first ever match between the two sides, in 2013, ended in a 0–0 draw.[22]


Switch FM is a local radio station.

Cambridge also has two local newspapers, Cambridge News[23] and the Cambridge Edition.[24]

There is also a lively Facebook page that is used to share and request information and resources.[25]


The town has several primary schools. The local intermediate school is called Cambridge Middle School and caters to students in Years 7-10.[26] The local high school is called Cambridge High School and caters to students in Years 9-13. There is also a private school, St Peter's School, located just outside the main town.[27]

Notable residents[edit]

Past or present residents include:

Cambridge was also the birthplace of All Black Sir Colin Meads KNZM MBE; George Albert Tuck (1884–1981), a notable New Zealand builder, soldier and diarist; artist Frances Irwin Hunt 1890–1981) and educationalist Blanche Eleanor Carnachan, MBE, (1871–1954).


  1. ^ a b "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (final)". Statistics New Zealand. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Our town a beautiful finalist". Cambridge News. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Beautiful Awards 2019". Keep New Zealand Beautiful. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Cambridge awarded with title of most beautiful large town in New Zealand". Waikato Times/Stuff. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Maoritanga - Cambridge New Zealand". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  6. ^ Parker, Eris. "Military – Third Waikato Militia". Cambridge Museum. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Find my electorate". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Dairy farming provides more than a tenth of all Waipa jobs". Cambridge Information Centre. Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  9. ^ "New statistics highlight tourism value to Waikato region". Hamilton and Waikato Tourism. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Cambridge is "Equine Capital of New Zealand"". Cambridge Information Centre. Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  11. ^ "The People of Cambridge". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Getting around". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Busit!: Cambridge 20". Waikato Regional Council. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Canoe Racing High Performance Centre set for Karapiro". NZ Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  15. ^ "History of the Avantidrome". Home of Cycling Charitable Trust. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "About Cambridge". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Reds clinch the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership title". Cambridge Football Club. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  19. ^ "History of Cambridge FC". Cambridge Football Club. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  20. ^ "National Fieldays". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  21. ^ "Annual events". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  22. ^ Smith, Jeremy (20 August 2013). "Teams battle out a scoreless draw". Cambridge Edition.
  23. ^ "Local News and Sports - Cambridge News". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "The Cambridge NZ Grapevine - Info Sharing Group". Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Cambridge Middle School | Waipa | New Zealand". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Home | St Peter's Cambridge". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Football Fern makes triumphant return to where it all began". Cambridge Football Club. 16 September 2019.
  29. ^ "Allyson Gofton's 'Drug Baron's Mansion'". Stuff. 2 May 2019.


  • Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4.

External links[edit]