Town 19 km north-west of Hamilton. Ngāruawāhia has been an important Māori settlement for centuries. In 1858 the first Māori king, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, was crowned there, establishing his headquarters on a point between the confluence of the Waikato and Waipā rivers. Ngāruawāhia was occupied by troops after the battle of Rangiriri in November 1863, and was settled by Pākehā in 1864. The first annual Ngāruawāhia Regatta, featuring Māori cultural activities as well as waka (canoe) races, took place in the early 1890s.

Meaning of place name
Ngāruawāhia’s name comes from a 17th-century love story. Te Ngaere, a Waikato chief, and Heke-i-te-rangi, a Ngāti Maniapoto woman, eloped. When their tribes were reconciled at a great feast, Te Ngaere began the festivities by saying, ‘Wāhia ngā rua’ (break open the food pits). Renamed Queenstown and then, in 1870, Newcastle, the town became Ngāruawāhia again in 1877.