About The District

​​Ruapehu is one of New Zealand’s largest districts by land area but with one of the smallest permanent population counts made up of many small, diverse and geographically spread out rural communities.
It has an area of 6,730 square kilometers and ​a stable resident population​ of around 13,000 but this increases dramatically with visitor numbers. 

The district is landlocked, and contains the western half of the Tongariro National Park, a duel world heritage location, including most of Mount Ruapehu and the western sides of Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro, as well as part of the Whanganui National Park. The district is also home to the world famous Raurimu Spiral on the North Island Main Trunk railway line.

The Ruapehu District offers unlimited opportunities as a region in which to live, work or visit.
Blessed with spectacular scenery, the Ruapehu District has a magnificent range of attractions and things to do and, as such, offers an unparallelled lifestyle.

The Ruapehu District has a diversity of small communities each quaintly unique and each with their own individual charm. Ruapehu's historic towns & villages are steeped in pre-european and colonial history and provide access to the multitude of nature based and adrenaline fuelled activities the District has to offer. 

In the north of the District lies Taumarunui at the confluence of the Whanganui and Ongarue Rivers and Ruapehu's largest township. In the centre of the district is National Park Village which sits next to the World Heritage Tongariro National Park and Whakapapa Village which sits within the Park at the base of Mt Ruapehu on the northern side.

In the south sits Waiouru the southern gateway to Ruapehu and home to a large army base and the National Army Museum. Nearby Ohakune sits at the base of the western side of Mt Ruapehu and access to the Turoa ski field. Neighbouring is historic Raetihi established in 1893 and the smaller community of Pipiriki on the banks of the Whanganui River. The southern section of the infamous Desert Road section of State Highway 1 runs through the east of the district, from Waiouru to Rangipo.

Ruapehu's towns and villages offer amazing lifestyle opportunities and are being discovered by people seeking relief from the pressures of big city life.​

Ruapehu has well developed farming, forestry, manufacturing and visitor industries, offering many employment and investment opportunities. The local communities are extremely entrepreneurial and, along with Council, are focused on achieving and maintaining sustainable development within the District.

Local governance

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) has its head office in Taumarunui with a second office in Ohakune and a small service centre in Raetihi. Ruapehu District Council was established in 1989, replacing the former Taumarunui Borough Council, Taumarunui County Council and part of the Rangitikei County Council.

The council is made up of 12 elected councillors​ including a mayor and deputy mayor. The district is also served by two Community Boards (Waimarino-Waiouru and National Park) and a Ward Committee (Taumarunui-Ohura) with the same functions and powers as the Community Boards.

Local iwi and hapu have further input into local governance through the Ruapehu Maori Council which acts as an advisor to Council and has some delegated authority.

Future vision

Our vision for Ruapehu aims to drive District growth through initiatives that improve the economic, environmental, social and cultural wellbeing of our local communities while protecting our environment. For anyone considering living or investing in Ruapehu the district offers an enviable lifestyle, easily accessible from major cities and airports, with affordable real estate and good schools.

Whether you are looking for a rewarding career opportunity, a holiday with a difference, a change from big city pressures or a great place to raise a family - we encourage you to take time with family and friends to experience what the Ruapehu District has to offer.

Growth opportunities

In July 2015 Council along with iwi, industry, local and central government welcomed the release of the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Growth Study.

The Study identified key growth opportunities for the region and the strategic areas that will require leadership and reform to enable these opportunities.

Since then the implementation of the Growth Study recommendations has been implemented under a regionally driven programme called Accelerate25.​ Ruapehu has been actively involved in the Accelerate25 programme including being the lead agency for unlocking regional tourism opportunities.

Ruapehu is also actively engaged with unlocking government funding to support infrastructure investment as well as ensuring that the views of rural NZ are taken into account in nationally strategic issues such as the reform of the 3 waters area.

Council is committed to being an active part of the regional leadership that will be required to successfully enact the Study recommendations.  If you would like more detail on Council's economic development stratgey and how we can assist anyone looking at investment opportunities in the district please email or contact Council.


Page reviewed: 22 Jul 2020 4:10pm