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Town of the Month (Part I)

by Kerry Meadows-Bonner

Famous for its long keeper onions, former champion rally car driver, Possum Bourne and its sports facility, Park Raceway, Pukekohe is a vibrant town with a rich melting pot of diversity, culture and plenty of things to see and do.

Founded in 1880 with large areas of volcanic land, Pukekohe’s main rural activity is market gardening known for its large vegetable growing industry and is one of the only areas in the Auckland region that can grow produce all year round, thanks to its rich, fertile soil.

With a population of over 26,000 (since June 2020) Pukekohe is the 24th largest urban area in the country and the third largest in the Auckland region. It’s a sizable self-sufficient country town with a big focus on small businesses and community spirit. With its proximity to Auckland city only 40 minutes away and 1 hour 10 minutes to Hamilton, it makes it an ideal location to live, work and play.


As a major centre for motorsports and equestrian events there is no shortage of entertainment on any given month.

For any petrol head or car loving enthusiasts, Pukekohe Park Raceway is home to V8 super cars, D1NZ drifting and regular Open Testing days making it a go to spot for spectators on a fun day out. In addition, there are plenty of other car related events like Rebel Round up held every year in February celebrating everything old and cool from Petrolhead classic car shows, vintage markets, food stalls trade stands and historic sports cars demo racing on tracks.

Another favourite that attracts locals is the Franklin Auction Counties Cup days and Christmas at the Races events, also held at Pukekohe Park Raceway and also home to its industry leading Thoroughbred Training Centre that can cater up to 190 horses and is home to the Auckland District Apprentice Jockey school.


With a proud presence in club and school rugby, Counties Manukau has a proud tradition of winning teams and athletic abilities thanks to its diverse community. With some of the best facilities in the wider Auckland Counties area, Pukekohe is home to its Colin Laurie fields local rugby club and its Navigation Home Stadium where you can catch a game with its usual tenants, the Counties Manukau Rugby Union Steelers.


If you’re after something a bit more leisurely then Pukekohe has no shortage of great food and even better coffee. For a quick in and out or on the go bite to eat with giant portions and great value for money you can’t beat The Flour Mill on Seddon Street and if you’re after something more hearty with quirky décor and plenty of banter, you can’t beat Kaos café. If something more organic and contemporary if more your thing, you can’t beat Town Mouse, a family friendly popular spot for weekend brunch that not only does great coffee every single time but uses plenty of local produce. And if you’re simply after a great coffee and more of a catch up with friends, you can’t go past Pukekohe’s Local Coffee Roasters. The perfect spot to soak up the sun outside, watch the world go by and even take home some of their outstanding coffee blends.


If dinner or drinks if more your thing, then Pukekohe has you covered there too. Hearty gastro pubs like The Longkeeper and Good Home are just some of many establishments using fresh local produce including our very own long keeper onions for mouth watering dishes. If you fancy more meatier options, then Pukekohe is also home to American style slow and low BBQ at Blue Ox Babe and steakhouses, Bazza’s Steakhouse, Johnny’s Steakhouse and Lonestar with the latter three serving a nice variety of cocktails too.


If you need something to do to burn off all those extra calories Ed Street and The Longkeeper is always home to some great live music to dance the rest of the night away, or why not try your hand at Ten Pin Bowling at Pukekohe’s Cosmopolitian Club. If you’re after some daytime activities, then try and conquer the infamous five summit walk and cycle track around Pukekohe. If that’s all too much and you want something a bit easier then go catch the latest flick at Cinema 3, a family favourite for a day or night out or take a drive up to Pukekohe Hill where you’ll be greeted with scenic views of Pukekohe and afar.

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elocal Digital Edition – January 2021 (#238)

elocal Digital Edition
January 2021 (#238)