Coordinates: 39°25′46″S 174°8′58″E / 39.42944°S 174.14944°E / -39.42944; 174.14944
Country New Zealand
Region Taranaki
District South Taranaki District
Population (2006)
  Total 372
The Kaponga Logo
Mount Egmont taken from a residential home in Kaponga

Kaponga is a small town in the southern part of the Taranaki region of New Zealand. It is known as "The Gateway to Dawson's Falls" on Mount Taranaki/Egmont. Kaponga is located inland from Manaia and Eltham, and is on the main road connecting Eltham to Opunake. Opunake is 26 kilometres (16 mi) to the west and Eltham is 13 km to the east. Auroa lies to the south-east. Manaia is 15 kilometres (9 mi) south of Kaponga.[1][2]

The population was 372 in the 2006 Census, an increase of 21 from 2001.[3]


The small town of Kaponga was settled in 1882, and has strong Swiss connections.[4] Some of the first settlers in the area were Swiss, and in 1952, the Taranaki Swiss Club was formed.[5]

The town was once a much larger town than it is today: with many stores. There are only a few shops now, including the Kaponga Dairy, the 4 Square (supermarket), a bed-and-breakfast (Constable Cottage), veterinary services (Coastal Veterinary Services Ltd), RD 1 (another rural supply business) and the Kaponga Hotel (bar). It is also home to a garden of national significance, Hollard Gardens.[6]

There are many other businesses working in and around the village, mainly relying on the booming dairy industry. The Kaponga and surrounding community has a South Taranaki District Council LibraryPlus, which provides a full library service and Council related services. These services include being able to register your dog, pay your rates or inquire about obtaining a building permit. The LibraryPlus also has two APN computers, offering free internet and Skype to the public.


Kaponga School

Kaponga School is a school with a decile rating of 4 and a roll of 135.[7] The school was founded in 1891.[8] In 2005, Kapuni and Mahoe schools closed and merged into Kaponga School.[9]

St Patrick's School

St Patrick's School is a state integrated Catholic school with a decile rating of 5 and a roll of approximately 30 students.[10] St Patrick's started in 1921 with lessons held in the local church. It moved into its own building in February 1922.[11]

Both are coeducational full primary schools, covering years 1-8.


  1. Peter Dowling (editor) (2004), Reed New Zealand Atlas, Reed Books, map 34, ISBN 0-7900-0952-8.
  2. Roger Smith, GeographX (2005), The Geographic Atlas of New Zealand, Robbie Burton, map 96, ISBN 1-877333-20-4.
  3. Quickstats about Kaponga
  4. "Kaponga Travel Guide". Jasons Travel Media.
  5. For the history of this society, see Gut, Theresa; Gut, Werner (2006), Made in Switzerland - for Kaponga, Eltham, [N.Z.]: Taylormade Productions.
  6. See Hollard gardens, Kaponga, Taranaki, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (N.Z.), 1985.
  7. Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Kaponga School
  8. Kaponga School Centennial Committee (1991), Kaponga School centenary, 1891-1991, Kaponga, N.Z.: The School?, ISBN 0-473-01432-7
  9. "Mergers, Closures and New Schools, January 2005 - December 2005" (XLS). Education Counts.
  10. Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: St Patrick's School, Kaponga
  11. "Our History". St Patrick's School.

Coordinates: 39°25′S 174°08′E / 39.417°S 174.133°E / -39.417; 174.133

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