The Hamilton and Waikato region is culturally and historically significant to both Māori and Pakeha (European New Zealanders).
Many Waikato Māori people trace their ancestry back to the Tainui canoe which arrived in New Zealand about 800 years ago. The region was the site of many Māori pa / fortified villages, and an important centre of early Māori commerce.
The Waikato region was the scene of many significant battles. The fierce tribal warfare that broke out amongst iwi (tribes) in the early 1800s escalated with the introduction of European muskets and weaponry.
As British settlers flooded into the country during the mid-1800s, Māori tribes united to choose a Māori king and form the Kingitanga / king movement. The first king was Waikato chief Pōtatau Te Wherowhero whose descendants continue to assume the role of king or queen.
Hamilton city, in the heart of the region and en route between Auckland and Rotorua, is New Zealand’s fourth largest urban area. The university city, on the banks of the Waikato River, is home to major sporting and agricultural events such as the ITM 400 Hamilton V8s supercar street race and 'Fieldays' - the southern hemisphere's largest agricultural show.
With a strong background in dairying and agriculture, Hamilton also has a reputation as a business hub for creativity and innovation.