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Town 62 km east of Hamilton. Some houses were built near the Matamata railway station, completed in 1885, but settlement did not really grow until Josiah Clifton Firth’s huge estate passed to the Crown and was subdivided in 1904. At the heart of a rich dairying area, Matamata developed as a rural service centre. Horticultural blocks and horse studs were established nearby. Engineering and construction businesses were also set up from the 1920s. Access to ports via the Kaimai Railway Tunnel has helped Matamata prosper. A concrete tower built by Firth in 1882 as a defensive work in case of Māori attack is now a central feature of the Firth Tower Museum on the outskirts of Matamata
Meaning of place name
Lit: headland, referring to the nearby pā of Te Waharoa, which stood above a swamp.