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Town on the Northern Wairoa River, 58 km south-west of Whāngārei. Like other Northern Wairoa settlements, Dargaville thrived as the kauri trees fell and the mills hummed. Dalmatians (Croatians), as well as locals and new arrivals from Britain, were drawn to the district. Logs and timber were carried down the Wairoa River by ships of up to 3,000 tons which braved the Kaipara Harbour bar before making the journey to Onehunga, ports further south, and across the Tasman Sea to Australia – the biggest market. The timber and gum industries waned after 1920 but were replaced by farming, particularly dairying. Dargaville grew steadily until the 1960s, when the population stabilised. Named the ‘kūmara capital’ it is the country’s principal centre of kūmara (sweet potato) production.
Meaning of place name
Dargaville is named for the Australian merchant Joseph Dargaville, who in 1872 bought the 80-ha Tunatahi block from the Ngāpuhi chief Parore Te Āwhā and others.