. Eltham .

The sleepy little town of Eltham has a village like atmosphere and is the home of some major employers. Rugby, Athletic & Golf are a few of the many clubs in the area.

Major employers in the 2000s were the ANZCO Foods Riverlands beef-processing plant and Fonterra’s Mainland factory, which manufactured specialty cheeses and processed and packaged products from the company’s other sites.

A 17.8-hectare lake 12 km east of Eltham, set in the 230-hectare Rotokare Scenic Reserve. In 2007 a pest-proof fence was built around the reserve and a programme was planned to re-introduce endangered native birds, reptiles and invertebrates.


Eltham was named after a village in Greenwich, England. Although european settlers began occupying nearby rural land from the late 1870s, the town was only established in 1884. Local businessman Charles Wilkinson had a major impact on the town both economically and politically.


In 1887 Chinese merchant Chew Chong established the Jubilee dairy factory, one of New Zealand’s first alongside the Waingongoro Stream, and in 1916 the New Zealand Co-operative Rennet Company was founded in the township.


Eltham is a small inland town in South Taranaki, located 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of the city of New Plymouth and southeast of the volcanic cone of Taranaki Maunga (Mount Taranaki/Egmont). Stratford is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) north, Kaponga 13 km west, and Hawera is 19 km (12 mi) south. State Highway 3 runs through the town.



Eltham is South Taranaki's second largest town. Population was 1970 in 2020, 1935 in the 2018 census 1941 in 2013 and 1980 in the 2006 Census.


Average temperature 12°C
Average rainfall 1609mm

Eltham Primary School small

Eltham School




Eltham School is a coeducational full primary school (years 1-8), with a decile rating of 3 and a roll of 139. The school was founded in 1886.

lake rotokare

Lake Rotokare



Lake Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a stunning 230 hectare forested hill-country catchment with extensive wetlands and 17.8 hectare natural lake. Located just 12 kms east of Eltham, Lake Rotokare is a place of national significance. The Reserve is surrounded by an extensive predator proof fence which has created a pest-free sanctuary providing diverse habitats from the lake itself to the wetlands, swamp forest and bush. 

Mature tawa, rewarewa and mahoe dominate the forest which is home to tui, bellbird, keruru, grey warbler, and North Island robin, plus a variety of other bird species. The lake edge habitat consists of raupo, flax, and pukatea/kahikatea swamp forest – home to notable fauna such as fernbird, spotless crake, also eels and banded kokopu in the streams and lake.

Boating, water-skiing and kayaking are popular pursuits on the lake, although power craft are excluded from the lake from May to November to provide a peaceful refuge for birdlife. There is a is a 4.2 km bush walk around the Lake. Dogs are prohibited in the reserve at all times


Lake Rotorangi


Lake Rotorangi is the largest lake in the region of Taranaki. The  reservoir was created in 1984 by the damming of the Patea River.

Lake Rotorangi was formed in 1984 as a reservoir for generating electricity. The lake was formed by building an 80-metre high earth wall dam near the end of Ball Road in South Taranaki District. The dam created then filled the Patea river valley for a distance of about 46 kilometres to make the longest reservoir of its type in New Zealand.

The  Patea Dam is owned by Trust Power and rated at 31 MW output (115 GWh per annum). Patea is operated as a peaking station. With around one week's storage capacity, the station generates electricity over periods when electricity prices are highest. It is also a public camping ground, used in the summer time for various water sports.