Town servicing a fertile farming and horticultural area, 52 km south of Auckland. Skirmishes in the 1860s Waikato war took place at or near fortified churches at Mauku and Pukekohe East in September and October 1863. The success of pioneering Chinese and Indian growers in the 1920s made Pukekohe the home of the reactionary White New Zealand League (1926) on the one hand, and on the other of the Pukekohe Indian Association.

Meaning of place name
Puke: hill; kohe: native tree. Many of these trees grew in the district.