Papatoetoe is a suburb in Auckland, New Zealand. One of the larger suburbs of the area commonly known as South Auckland, it is located to the northwest of Manukau Central, and 18 kilometres southeast of Auckland CBD. Papatoetoe has the unofficial title of Auckland's Little India, with 40 percent of the suburb's population being of Indian ethnicity according to the 2018 census. Papatoetoe is a Māori name, which can be loosely translated as 'undulating area where the toetoe is the predominant feature',Papatoetoe Community Board Meeting, 28 June 2010
(from the 2006 Census Profile, Manukau City Council. Accessed 2011-02-02.)
making it named after the 'Prince of Wales's feather' (or toetoe / toi toi), which grew abundantly in the swampy parts of the region. Owing to some confusion over the spelling, the area was known as Papatoitoi for many years.


Early history

People have lived in the Papatoetoe area for almost the entire time of human settlement in New Zealand. For both the original Māori and the first English settlers, the Papatoetoe area was handily near the narrowest points between Auckland's two great harbours, where waka could be ported over land. It was also rich in fertile soil. Inlets run from Papatoetoe eastward to the Waitematā Harbour and westward to the Manukau Harbour. Thus for travellers past and present the routes south to the Waikato River and the north to the Auckland isthmus – Tamaki-makau-rau (Tamaki coveted by many) – have always been through Papatoetoe.

History since World War II

The area's main population growth occurred after World War II, when many returning service men received housing in the area. By 1980, population growth had mostly ceased and remained stagnant throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, however a significant increase in population occurred after 2006 due to high rates of immigration and changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan allowing more intensive infill housing on large sections.

Papatoetoe Historical Society

Papatoetoe Historical Society was established in 1988 with the aim to gather the historical artifacts and information from the Papatoetoe district. The collection held includes a collation of information on Local Body members, schools as they developed, the origin and meaning of street names, women of the district (book available), people of the surrounding farming district, newspaper cuttings and information on local organisations. The society has also developed an archive collection which includes photographs, books, booklets, plans and posters. These collections can be viewed at the Papatoetoe Historical Society museum which is housed in the old Papatoetoe Council works depot at 91 Cambridge Terrace, Papatoetoe. In 2012, Papatoetoe celebrated 150 years of civic life. The Papatoetoe 150 was initiated by the Papatoetoe Historical society to increase awareness of history and promote community organisations.

Local government

Papatoetoe Borough Council was established in 1946, and was succeeded by the Papatoetoe City Council in 1965. In 1989, it amalgamated with other local councils to form Manukau City Council, which eventually was subsumed by Auckland Council in November 2010. The old Papatoetoe City Council building is at 91 Cambridge Terrace, Papatoetoe.

List of mayors


Papatoetoe, comprising the statistical areas of Grange, Papatoetoe North, Dingwall, Aorere South, Papatoetoe West, Papatoetoe Central, Papatoetoe East, Papatoetoe South West, Papatoetoe South, Puhinui North and Puhinui South, had a population of 43,599 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 5,361 people (14.0%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 9,411 people (27.5%) since the 2006 census. There were 11,469 households. There were 22,248 males and 21,354 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.04 males per female, with 9,288 people (21.3%) aged under 15 years, 12,051 (27.6%) aged 15 to 29, 18,405 (42.2%) aged 30 to 64, and 3,852 (8.8%) aged 65 or older. Ethnic groups were 19.8% European/Pākehā, 12.7% Māori, 29.1% Pacific peoples, 50.1% Asian, and 2.1% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities). Papatoetoe has a significant Indian population, with 17,409 people (39.9%) identifying as Indian at the 2018 census. The proportion of people born overseas was 51.6%, compared with 27.1% nationally. Although some people objected to giving their religion, 17.9% had no religion, 36.4% were Christian, 18.2% were Hindu, 6.4% were Muslim, 2.3% were Buddhist and 13.8% had other religions. Of those at least 15 years old, 6,060 (17.7%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 6,120 (17.8%) people had no formal qualifications. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 17,913 (52.2%) people were employed full-time, 4,278 (12.5%) were part-time, and 1,593 (4.6%) were unemployed.


Papatoetoe Town Centre

In early 2009 planning began to revitalise the town centre in the St. George Street area. The plan envisaged new apartment buildings and nearby sports facilities bringing more business to the area, which had struggled due to competition from shopping malls.

Hunter's Corner

Hunter's Corner has become a popular shopping area for shoppers of Indian origin. Hunter's Corner accounts for 60 retail outlets of which about 40 have some form of Indian flavour. Hunter's Corner used to be a notorious area for prostitution in the early 2000s due to it being relatively safer compared to similar town centres in South Auckland, however prostitution has largely disappeared in recent times after strong opposition from local residents.

Hunters Plaza

The Hunters Plaza shopping mall opened in 1991 and was upgraded in 2015. It features 47 stores, including Kmart and Countdown.


Papatoetoe contains two train stations within the suburban limits. These include the Papatoetoe Train Station situated in Old Papatoetoe and Puhinui Train Station situated on Puhinui Road. Both the Eastern Line and the Southern Line services both train stations. During peak times there is a train approximately every 5 minutes heading towards Britomart. It takes approximately 30 minutes from Papatoetoe Train Station into Britomart. The Puhinui Station Interchange is currently undergoing an upgrade. It will form the main connection between Auckland Airport and Auckland City, as well as forming a connection with Manukau. Auckland Southern Motorway and Southwestern Motorway connect Papatoetoe with Auckland City and Manukau. Southwestern Motorway interchanges are on Puhinui Road to the south and Massey Road in Mangere East to the north. The Southern Motorway interchange is on East Tamaki Road.


Association football

Papatoetoe is home to Papatoetoe AFC who compete in the Lotto Sport Italia NRFL Division 1A. Papatoetoe is home to Papatoetoe United who play from the sports complex on Great South Road and are affiliated with Auckland Football Federation.


Papatoetoe is home to the Papatoetoe Cricket Club who play in the Auckland Cricket Championship.

Rugby league

Papatoetoe is home to the Papatoetoe Panthers who are affiliated with the Auckland Rugby League.

Rugby union

Papatoetoe Rugby Football Club was established in 1946 and plays home matches at the Papatoetoe Sport Complex on Great South Road.


Papatoetoe is home to two tennis clubs, Papatoetoe Tennis Club located at Papatoetoe Sports Complex and Sunnyside Tennis Club located in the Sunnyside Domain. Both clubs are affiliated to Auckland Tennis. Sunnyside Tennis Club was formed originally as Puhunui Tennis Club in 1955.


Primary education

Papatoetoe has five primary schools in its zone: *Holy Cross School is a Catholic full primary school (years 1–8) integrated with the state system. Founded in 1953, it has a roll of . *Papatoetoe Central School is a state contributing primary school (years 1–6) with a roll of . Founded in 1857, the school moved to its current site in 1872. *Papatoetoe East School is a state contributing primary school (years 1–6). It was established in 1958 and currently has a roll of . *Papatoetoe South School is a state contributing primary school (years 1–6). It has a roll of . *Papatoetoe West School is a state contributing primary school (years 1–6) which opened in 1949. It has a roll of . In addition, Papatoetoe North School, Puhinui School and South Auckland Seventh-day Adventist School could be considered to be in Papatoetoe. Papatoetoe has one intermediate school: *Papatoetoe Intermediate School is a state school for years 7–8 with a roll of . Kedgley Intermediate is on the boundary of the Papatoetoe area.

Secondary education

Papatoetoe has two secondary schools: *Papatoetoe High School.is a state secondary school (years 9–13) with a roll of . *Aorere College.is a state secondary school (years 9–13) with a roll of . All these schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of

Notable people

*Douglas Al-Bazi, refugee from Iraq *Barry Crump – Author, poet *Ricki Herbert – Soccer player – Played National Level for the All Whites and is their current coach. Also played for New Zealand in Soccer World Cup Finals 1982 *Trevor Meale – Cricketer *Gary Troup – Played club cricket in Papatoetoe going on to represent New Zealand 1976 – 1986 *Heather Matthews (née Thompson) – Silver Medalist 1978 Commonwealth Games (3000 m). MBE – Services To Sport, Papatoetoe Sports Person of the Year. *Tyree Tautogia – Part of highly successful rap group ''Smashproof'' *David Dallas – Hip Hop Artist *Phil Goff – Mayor of Auckland, Former Labour Party Leader, Foreign and Defence Minister, lived in Papatoetoe and attended Papatoetoe High School *David Shearer - Former Labour Party Leader, lived in Papatoetoe and attended Papatoetoe High School *Ish Sodhi - NZ Cricketer, lived in Papatoetoe and attended Papatoetoe High School *Kyle Jamieson - NZ Cricketer, lived in Papatoetoe https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/kyle-jamieson-india-vs-new-zealand-1st-test-6280125/


*Murals in Old Papatoetoe :*"Picnic Scene" by Ron van Dam (near Wallace Road corner) :*"Papatoetoe General Store" by Christine Trout (Papatoetoe Mall) :*"Bottle O" by Christine Trout (Papatoetoe Mall) :*"Cameos" by Claudia Pond-Eyley (near Town Hall) :*"Old Papatoetoe Logo" by Ron van Dam (near Shirley Road) :*"St George St – 1930" by Merv Appleton (Rangitoto Road) *Historical cemeteries at Manukau Memorial Gardens and St John's Presbyterian Church. *Historic landmarks including :*Old Railway Station :*Cambria House and associated historic gardens (Puhinui Road) :*Old Children's home (now in Wyllie Road)


Papatoetoe municipalities' publications *''Papatoetoe City Council Statement of Objectives for Second District Scheme Review'', 1981 *Smytheman, Ivy F. and Tonson, Albert E. (1962). ''Our first hundred years: an historical record of Papatoetoe'' Books *''Auckland Provincial Handbook'' 1925–1926 *Davidson, Janet (1984). ''The PreHistory of New Zealand'', Auckland: Longman Paul. *Gadd, Bernard (1987). ''The City of Toetoe – A History of Papatoetoe'', Auckland
The Dunmore Press
(pbk.). *''New Zealand Yearbooks'' (1906 ff.). Wellington: Government Printer. *Oliver, William Hosking and Williams Bridget R. (eds) (1981). ''The Oxford History of New Zealand''. Wellington

*Scholefield, G.H. (1940). ''A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography'', Wellington: Government Printer. *Sedal, Venia Iris (1982). ''A Brief History of Otahuhu'', Otahuhu Borough Council. *Searle, Ernest Johns (1981). ''City of Volcanoes, a Geology of Auckland'', Auckland: Longman Paul. *Tonson, Albert E. (1966). ''Old Manukau'', Auckland: Tonson. *Williams, Herbert William (1971). ''A Dictionary of the Maori Language'', Wellington: Government Printer. Booklets, pamphlets and reports *A Century of Witness, St John's Church Papatoetoe, 1854–1954 *Kiwanis Club of Papatoetoe, New Zealand District, 1971–81 *Lawlor, I. (1981). Puhinui Excavation Report
University of Auckland
*Papatoetoe and District R.S.A. Annual Reports. *Papatoetoe Association Football Club Inc, Silver Jubilee 1959–1984 *Papatoetoe Central School, Jubilee Commemorative Magazine 1857–1952 (1982), Auckland: Woodward Publications. *Papatoetoe District School Reunion, 106th Anniversary, 1962. *Papatoetoe District Cricket Club 1906–2006 *Papatoetoe Fire Brigade 1928–1979 *Papatoetoe Methodist Church, Jubilee Souvenir, 1912–1962 *Simmons, D., (1980). The Creation Myth and the Origin of Auckland's Volcanoes
Auckland Institute and Museum
*Sims, A. (1983). History of the Papatoetoe Light Opera Club. *Sullivan, A. (1973). A site survey of lower Pukaki Creek
University of Auckland
*Sullivan, A. (1975). Checklist of archaeological sites at Crater Hill, Papatoetoe, Paper no 37, Anthropology Department
University of Auckland
Newspapers *''The Courier'' newspapers *''Papatoetoe Gazette'' *''Papatoetoe Independent'' *''Papatoetoe News''

External links

Auckland Council
held in Auckland Libraries' heritage collections. {{Authority control Category:Suburbs of Auckland Category:Populated places in the Auckland Region Category:Red-light districts in New Zealand