The Matangi area is at the southeast edge of the Waikato District Council – south east of Hamilton City and north of Cambridge Township.
Matangi is located within the Ngati Haua iwi traditional area The natural vegetation of the area would have been mostly mixed bush and the land swampy in parts. As original owners Ngati Haua lost land to government law or sales in this area following the 1860 New Zealand Wars. Over following years dairy farming came to dominate local activity until the 1970s when subdivision of farms for lifestyle blocks began.
Potuwha Paa is located on a hill above the gully area on Tauwhare Road about 1.5 kilometres south of the current Matangi Village. A site of significance to Ngati Haua it is protected by being within the Wally Pollock Reserve. There are a number of other paa sites nearby.
Briarly House, a private home, was built in on part of the Potuwha Paa site in the 1870s. In the 1880s Briarly house was said to be ‘built of heart of Kauri brought from Thames with a verandah on two sides, eleven rooms, and outbuildings at the rear’. The farm had several acres of plantations of coniferous and deciduous trees plus 150 fruit trees around the house at that time.
Matangi Village grew up around the crossroads of road and rail centred on the Matangi Dairy Factory. This factory is evidence of more than 130 years of dairy processing in Matangi. Although no longer a dairy factory the factory site is now a busy home to a large number of small businesses and the buildings and site are undergoing a process of ongoing renovation and development by the owners. Click here for further information
Once a factory and rural farm centre Matangi Village continues to provide a centre for school and community activities and is served by local businesses including a garage, Four Square, takeaway and café. Community facilities include the Matangi Hall, St. David’s church, Jack Foster Reserve, and Matangi School in the village and the Matangi recreational Reserve with Rugby fields and club rooms 3 kilometres from the village on Tauwhare Road.
While residents choose to live in the village and semirural area, the majority of the population travel to Hamilton for education, business or employment. A significant number of people, however, are involved in local service, rural, horticultural, educational, hospitality and specialist businesses some of which provide services for and benefit from being close to the city.
Community Plans and aspirations are recorded in Community Plans prepared in consultation with the community and available on the Waikato District Council website.
2005 – 2015 Matangi Community Plan 2005 – 2015
Waikato District Council is implementing a Heritage strategy that involves identifying, conserving, preserving and communicating local heritage. Matangi falls within the Tamahere/Eureka wards area. Current activity involves development of a website which will provide access and the opportunity for residents to add to the known history of our area.
“The Seven Sisters” – built a hundred years ago
This row of houses, opposite the Jack Foster Reserve, on Matangi Road, were built to be the homes of workers at the ‘Glaxo’ building at the Matangi Dairy factory that opened in 1919. Further along Matangi Road are two similar but larger houses (the Two Brothers?) intended for foremen or managers at the factory.
They were designed by the architect F.C. Daniell, who also designed the “Glaxo building at the Matangi dairy factory, the “Bryant” home at 391 Tauwhare Road, St Andrews Church in Te Aroha Street, Hamilton, and several other buildings. Both the houses and the factory were built from concrete blocks (possibly originally the ballast from ships). The timber work: windows, doors, floors etc. are in rimu or matai.
The immediate area around the Seven Sisters is termed in the Waikato District plan as the ‘Matangi Heritage Precinct’.
‘these houses are protected for their general form, materials, street and side facades. Gable roof, exposed rafter ends, casement windows, door, divided windowpanes, fanlights, wide porch, roof over verandah, window hoods, eaves brackets. Any new buildings in the Matangi Heritage Precinct must be in keeping with the existing heritage buildings.’*