About Tawa and What to Do in Tawa


Tawa doesn't claim to be a top tourist destination, and it's not. Nevertheless it can be a nice place to visit, being a fine example of "middle class suburbia", one of the best urban areas in New Zealand in which to live and bring up a family. With its fair share of both the young and the elderly, it contains a good cross-section of society, both in socio-economic terms and ethnic makeup. Housing ranges from the lower-priced and a small amount of state housing through to a number of million-dollar properties on the outskirts. Most are somewhere in the middle.

A total of around 14,000 people call Tawa home. Around 72% regard themselves as NZ European/Pakeha, and the other 28% don't. The next 10 biggest groupings or nationalities, based on how people classified themselves in the 2006 Census, are Maori (8.7%), British (4.5%), Indian (3.4%), Samoan (3.3%), Chinese (3.2%), South African, Cook Island Maori, Filipino, Sri Lankan, and Dutch.

Tawa has a lot of recreational facilities and plenty to keep most people occupied. It's also only 7-8 minutes drive to Johnsonville to the south or Porirua to the north, and 10-15 minutes to the nearest beach. And it's ideally located for jumping on the train to travel 12-15 minutes to the Stadium in Wellington for a big sports match or, from the Wellington railway station, wherever else one wants to go to in 'town'. The bus service is good in parts.

To see an article from The Dominion Post about life in Tawa, click here.
To see what various Tawa people think about Tawa, click here.


There is a variety of shops in the town centre, lining both sides of the Main Road. None are big stores other than Tawa's central supermarket, New World. There is a Countdown supermarket located at "Takapu Island", at the suburb's southern entrance. The DressSmart outlet (mostly clothing stores), located at the southern end of the Main Road, attracts shoppers from elsewhere in Wellington as well as locals.

A number of takeaway shops (fish & chips and more) line the Main Road, as well as a Subway. There are a few bakeries/coffee shops, and there's a choice of three or four "middle-of-the-road" restaurants for dining in, some of which have received very favourable reviews. For McDonald's, Burger King or KFC, one drives 7-10 minutes to Johnsonville or Porirua.

Tawa has squash courts, badminton courts, rugby clubrooms, soccer clubrooms, hockey clubrooms, softball clubrooms, as well as a swimming pool, skateboard park and BMX track. Other sports and recreational groups including dancing schools and indoor bowling clubs are listed on this site here.

There are more than ten parks including Willowbank which is one of the nicest for miles around with a children's playground, picnic tables, a picturesque stream, and a sampling of native bush. It's big enough for a kick around of the ball but not a fully-fledged sports match.

Bush walks:
There are three distinct areas for a walk through the bush, short but quite pleasant.

There is a lot of enjoyable walking to be done in and around Tawa, through the parks and reserves, along the roads, through several walkways, both on the flat and on the hills. For a walk (or a drive) past pleasant 'middle class' housing that isn't at all pretentious (just plain nice - forgive the oxymoron), try Oriel Ave in Redwood, Tawa's southwest corner, or Woodman Drive on the eastern hills, although the southern end of Woodman Drive is newer and more expensive.

Nearby countryside:
Takapu Valley is only a few kilometres long but definitely rural territory with a narrow, somewhat winding road. Nice for a walk (allow an hour or more), a bike ride or a drive.

Tawa has eight schools including Tawa Intermediate and Tawa College. Both of these are renowned for their musical excellence (amongst other things). The College has an enviable record academically, and the girls' barbershop choir 'Maiden Tawa' won the nationwide Young Women's Chorus Finals six years in a row in the early 2000s.

Tawa is possibly unique with its biennial Tawa Schools & Music Festival which involves a choir of around 600 schoolchildren (primary, intermediate and college) along with 100 adults singing on one night in September at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington - a festival which is world famous in Tawa!

In addition to the dozen churches mostly on or near the Main Road, Tawa has another eight or more church congregations which meet weekly or fortnightly, three in the Community Centre. Six of those eight are specific ethnic groups.

A comprehensive index and list of Tawa photos is available here: Index.

Bucket Tree Motor Lodge
Wellington Bed & Breakfast
Various holiday houses in Tawa