Durham Precinct: Locals Serving Locals in Ngāruawāhia

Locals Serving Locals in Ngāruawāhia

Since we first opened our doors in 2018, the kaupapa for Durham Precinct has been to provide a space for local business owners and entrepreneurs to work together, and to connect by becoming a destination in the heart of Ngāruawāhia. We seek to welcome visitors with open arms, and to enrich their experiences in the area.

Through our community of business owners, we want to help showcase and preserve Ngāruawāhia’s stunning environment, rich culture, and historical importance, all of which are integral parts of our town’s fabric.

We’d like to take the opportunity to let you know more about Durham Precinct, who we are, what we believe in, and what we’ve got to offer visitors to Ngāruawāhia.

Showcasing the people of Ngāruawāhia

Fourteen different businesses (and counting) currently call Durham Precinct home. Our local population is reflected in the DNA and ownership of the businesses located in our hub.

Our people and community are at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve at Durham Precinct, and it’s our goal to help them thrive.

Letting local entrepreneurs blossom

Being located so close to the Waikato River, the Waipa River, and the incredible Hākarimata Ranges and Walkway, giving people a space to eat, drink, and recharge is important - all of this is available at The Marketplace.

The Marketplace offers a variety of different culinary options and experiences for visitors, fronted by our friendly and experienced local vendors.

Kopai and Claudia from Phat Pattie love their spot as part of The Marketplace - and emphasise that they want “every customer to feel like they are whānau”. The couple first opened their business in 2019, and they take pride in offering environmentally conscientious burgers, made with local produce and ingredients that are fit for all diets.

While Jodi - the owner of Sister Six - has taken the opportunity to convert her formerly mobile business into a permanent (and very popular) fixture at the Precinct. She says she’s “incredibly excited about seeing the opportunities evolving” in the space.

See what all the buzz is about, and learn more about our different merchants at The Marketplace on our website.

But it’s not all about eating and drinking here! Wander further up Durham Precinct and you’ll find a restored shoe factory which is now the gorgeous Hākarimata Boutique, owned and operated by Suzanne Mahu.

The Boutique offers arts and crafts made by members of the local community, with Suzanne’s goal being “to create a space that people can come and enjoy, and celebrate the uniqueness that Ngāruawāhia has to offer.”

Making Waikato’s cycling trails accessible to all

One of the Waikato’s most popular activities is the Te Awa River Trail - a 70km cycle way alongside NZ’s longest river, from Ngāruawāhia in the North to Lake Karapiro in the South.

We’re lucky enough to work with River Riders, operated by Dan and Dee Tairaki, who provide rental push bikes and e-bikes to enable people to explore the Te Awa River Trail. Dan and Dee’s decision to introduce e-bikes into the Waikato River region have helped make the trails more accessible for people from all walks of life, making sure we all have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful natural environment.

Exploring the history and culture of Ngāruawāhia

Ngāruawāhia is rich in Māori history and landmarks. We’re home to Tūrangawaewae Marae, a nationally significant marae, which is the headquarters for Te Kiingitanga (the Māori King Movement).

This history is part of the fabric of our town. Every year for the past 126 years, Tūrangawaewae Marae hold a March regatta, where waka compete and are on display on the Waikato River. The event attracts huge crowds of people from across the country to enjoy the cultural experience.

From February 20th, we’ll be working with a brand new business - Te Puna Wai Walking Tours - who will help visitors learn about the history and culture of Ngāruawāhia, from the perspective of a local.

Owned and operated by Matutaera Herangi, the walking tours will include information about local history, culture, significant landmarks, and personal stories from Matutaera’s own whānau, who have lived in the area for the past six generations.

Matutaera says “it’s an opportunity for people to learn and understand about where they really are, the significance of Ngāruawāhia and Waikato, Turangawaewae Marae, and Kiingitanga”.

“The tour really tells the story of the trials and tribulations of our whānau across generations. A story of redemption - having it all, losing it, creating it again.”

Inspiring our local community

When speaking about Te Puna Wai Tours, Matutaera’s purpose and vision is one that’s shared by all of us here at Durham Precinct:

“We want to inspire our local people to create futures for their families and for future generations, through understanding what their purpose is, based on where they come from and who they actually are.”

Historically, Ngāruawāhia has been a bustling township, essential to the region and supported by many thriving Māori and Pākehā businesses. We’re looking to support our local community’s entrepreneurial spirit, by providing them with the opportunity to showcase our town and provide outstanding experiences to our visitors.

Durham Precinct is located at 2/8 Durham Street, Ngāruawāhia. For opening hours, check with the merchant you’re hoping to visit. All details can be found at durhamprecinct.co.nz


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