A glassy lake, streams full of trout, vast native forests, rolling farmland and country villages - these are what make Mangakino something special. Tranquil Mangakino, beside beautiful Lake Maraetai, is a friendly community where people come for everything from wakeboarding to relaxation.
Located in the heart of the North Island in the Taupo District, Mangakino borders the western shores of Lake Maraetai on the Waikato River. Surrounded by water, forest and farmland, Mangakino is a great place for both peace and tranquillity and adventure.
The town and greater area have the facilities and space for biking, boating, kayaking, wakeboarding, fishing and hiking.
The Waikato River Trails are perfect for mountain biking and tramping enthusiasts or for those seeking a leisurely stroll through beautiful native bush.
Mangakino and Whakamaru have beautifully scenic lakes on offer, a result of the hydro dams which themselves are spectacular structures to see. The lakes are a popular venue for jet boating, wakeboarding, water-skiing, kayaking and other water activities.
There is free lakeside camping at the Mangakino Recreation Reserve, located in Mangakino township on the edge of Lake Maraetai at the end of Lake Road.
Pureora Forest Park is close by and boasts a number of impressive bush walks. You can stand at the exact centre of the North Island and also visit New Zealand's largest totara tree.
Mangakino (also known as Mango by the locals) is a great location from which to base your holiday, as nearby holiday attractions in Taupo, Turangi and Tongariro and Tongariro National Park are less than an hour away.
The Crown acquired the Wairarapa Lakes from Ngati Kahungunu in 1896, and for this they were later given land that is now present-day Mangakino in 1915. At that time it was native bush, pumice, barren, unoccupied and unfarmed.
After the Karapiro Dam was finished, workers moved on to the next dam construction site, which was near Mangakino. The Crown, under the Public Works Act, reacquired an area at Mangakino to build a hydroelectric station and temporary township to house the construction workers. It was only meant to be a temporary town under the planned dams were completed. Work on the damns continued through to the 1960s, with villages at Whakamaru, Waipapa, Maraetai and Atiamuri also popping up to house the associated workforce. Waipapa and Maraetai have since been disbanded.
Whakamaru and Atiamuri remain close-knit little communities set in picturesque surroundings; their handy proximity to the larger urban centres makes them popular for both permanent residents and holidaymakers as satellite villages.
Mangakino's population decreased after the completion of the dams, and is now home to about 900.
In 2001, the Mangakino Township Incorporation obtained approval through the Maori Land Court to legally change the title of the majority of residential sections in Mangakino from Maori land to General title. They then put Mangakino's 500+ leasehold sections on the market as a single purchase.
In July 2002, the majority of the town's sections were sold to MV Properties of Pukekohe. A stipulation of the tender was that residents would be given the first opportunity to purchase their perpetually-leased sections. The land valuations that had been exceedingly low for decades, then skyrocketed. Some locals chose to freehold their homes immediately, empty sections without current leases were sold on the open market. Many residents continue to remain perpetual leaseholders.