Tuakau is situated on flat land in the Lower Waikato Valley, and 2 miles from the bridge over the Waikato River that gives access to Port Waikato and other Lower Waikato settlements. The North Island Main Trunk railway runs through the town. The main Auckland-Hamilton highway passes 5 miles east of the town. Tuakau is 38 miles south of Auckland by road and 35 miles by rail. By road Pukekohe is 5 miles north-west, and Hamilton 52 miles south-east.
Tuakau is a servicing and distributing centre for a district well suited for several kinds of intensive farming. The rural activities include sheep and dairy farming, market gardening, fruitgrowing, and poultry farming. Within half a mile of the borough is an engineering works and factories producing builders, supplies and concrete products. Industries in the town include butter manufacturing, the preparation of bonedust, fertiliser, and by-products of boiling-down works, poultry dressing and egg grading, general engineering, joinery, and the making of lingerie.
Tuakau was founded in 1840. It was originally a flax milling centre with a convenient landing place on the nearby Waikato River. During the Waikato War (1863-64), a small fort armed with a heavy gun was built on a bluff overlooking the landing, this earthwork being called Alexandra Redoubt. Colour-Sergeant E. McKenna, who was stationed at Alexandra Redoubt, won the Victoria Cross during an engagement with the Maoris who had sacked Camerontown, an army depot about 5 miles down stream. A monument on the site of Alexandra Redoubt, which is now an historic reserve, commemorates those who served in the Maori Wars. Tuakau was created a town district in 1914 and became a borough in 1955.
The meaning of the name is obscure.
POPULATION: 1951 census, 1,069; 1956 census, 1,326; 1961 census, 1,524.
by Brian Newton Davis, M.A., Vicar, St. Philips, Karori West, Wellington and Edward Stewart Dollimore, Research Officer, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington.