Titirangi sits on the southern side of the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, bordered by Glen Eden, Laingholm and the Manukau Harbour. It is a striking location, irresistible to those who want to make the most of the outdoors and be artistically inspired by the vast and untamed beauty of their surroundings.
This residential suburb is characterised by houses nestled along its winding bush roads. Many homes here are unique in their designs, built to be in harmony with the surrounding native rainforest.
Locals like to refer to the suburb’s quaint town centre as the Village. It services the tight-knit community with everything needed to enjoy the good life away from the bustle of the city, and it ticks off the practical things – there’s a doctors' surgery, dental clinic, primary school, kindergarten, play centre, library, supermarket, fire station, war memorial hall, theatre, arts and crafts shop, art gallery, garden centre, community halls, two banks, post office, restaurants, yoga studio, cafés, a wine shop and takeaway shops.
The Titirangi Village market is held at the Titirangi Memorial Hall from 10 - 2pm on the last Sunday of each month (but the 2nd Sunday of December). Local artists and creators run their own stalls of exquisite, handcrafted works. Edible treats include homemade food, organic coffee, and you can relax and enjoy live folk music from some of Auckland’s best.
The nearest secondary schools are Green Bay High School, Kelston Boys' High School and Kelston Girls' College. Titirangi Primary School has a 10-decile rating and dates back to around 1845.
The Waitākere Ranges Regional Park is the jewel of Titirangi. It consists of more than 16,000 hectares of native rainforest and coastline. The ranges thrive from a high rainfall, and reservoir areas supply much of Auckland's water. There are 250km of walking and tramping tracks including the Hillary Trail, with access to black sand beaches, waterfalls, rocky outcrops and giant kauri trees – some as old as 1,500-2,000-years-old, native insects, bats and birds such as the fantail, tui and kereru. The infamous West Coast beaches form a chain of unrelenting surf and rugged cliffs of untamed beauty, with the most well-known being Piha, Whatipu, Karekare, Bethells and Muriwai – each with its own attractions and secrets.
The Arataki Visitor Centre provides visitors with everything they need to know about the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and its conservation. Carvings created by local iwi Te Kawerau a Maki mark the entrance, with displays and park rangers on hand to provide advice on tracks and weather conditions.
For inspiration of a different kind, Titirangi Golf Club is worth a try – consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's top courses and Auckland's #1 course. It was designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie – one of the world’s best, who was also responsible for the Augusta, Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne courses.
The Lopdell Precinct gives the region a creative heart, providing an art and cultural hub for the area. Three buildings make up the precinct: The Treasure House, Lopdell House and the six-level Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery. Te Uru’s modern building was purpose-built as part of Lopdell House’s extensive renovations, and opened in 2014.
The Treasure House has had many uses over the years - art classes, community hall, and, currently, costume hirage. But it began in 1926 as a museum of Kauri gum, Maori artifacts and handicraft that one Frank Peat had devoted his life collecting.
Whatever road you take, Titirangi really is on the fringe of heaven. Settle into the bush and enjoy the sounds and smells of the native rainforest. Participate in local creative events with like-minded and inspirational people. Drive or tramp along forested roads and trails with panoramic views of the city, east and west coasts. Titirangi has something to excite all the senses and will continue to evolve, surprise and delight many generations to come.
Early Maori recognised the value of the land, close to the abundant Manukau Harbour and west coast beaches. The tangata whenua of the Waitākere region were the Nga Oho, though later known as the Te Kawerau a Maki through wars, defeats and intermarriages. Evidence of rich Maori heritage remains in the wider Waitākere area. Many pa sites are respected, including Whakaari at Piha’s Lion Rock, and The Watchman at Karekare.
Early European settlers also recognised the land’s potential but took a different approach. They began logging and milling timber, kauri gum digging, and then harvesting flax from the 1830s. Masterpieces remaining from this period include the Oratia Folk Museum (north-west of Titirangi), which was an early settler’s cottage built out of kauri between 1855 and 1870. And Rose Hellaby House on Scenic Drive, with its beautiful grounds and an antique shop, provides stunning panoramic views of Auckland. These early settlers tried farming and living off the land once it was cleared. However, the landscape proved unsuitable for farming in the long term and these areas have mainly reverted to bush and now do what they do best – provide water catchment for Auckland.
New industry was sought and Titirangi put its name in the hat as a tourist destination by the end of the 19th century, mainly attracting day-trippers from Auckland. Punters were enticed by tea rooms and accommodation, transported by coach or boat (road conditions making the latter the more comfortable option).
The 1920s and 30s brought new roads and telephone lines, and the population slowly grew. Lopdell House, once known as Hotel Titirangi, still stands as a nod to this era. Unfortunately, upon opening it was promptly nicknamed ‘the pub with no beer’, as it wasn’t granted a liquor licence. Designed in Spanish Mission style, it had accommodation for 63 guests with fully carpeted rooms, a tearoom, restaurant, a cabaret with a ‘rubber sprung dance floor’ to dance the night away, and an iconic rooftop terrace. It was sold to the Ministry of Education in 1942, before being bought by the Waitemata City Council in 1983. It has since been the arts and cultural centre for West Auckland and houses Deco Eatery, The Titirangi Theatre (which puts on at least four productions a year), The Upstairs Art Gallery (to promote art locally) and 11 other small businesses.
Titirangi is colourful and artistic, with an abundance of creative thinkers. Whether it’s street art, public sculpture, art galleries or resident artists – it’s all there to help you feel inspired!
One particular landmark is the prominent sculpture at the roundabout connecting Titirangi Road, Atkinson Road, Kohu Road, Scenic Drive and Huia Rd. It is iconic to the area, though not short on controversy. It was designed by student artist-jeweller Lisa Higgens and erected in 1993. Originally intended to last for five years, it was made permanent and, perhaps as a compromise, the original pink colour was toned down in 2009 to teal green.
Many artists call Titirangi home, including singer/songwriter Tim Finn, author Maurice Shadbolt, and potter Len Castle.
One of New Zealand’s foremost painters, Colin McCahon, lived in French Bay with his family between 1953 and 1960. It was here that he produced some of his most famous works. The home, now owned by the McCahon House Trust, houses “a small museum with big stories to tell”, according to the website. The trust has preserved the home, which hosts chosen artists in residence during the year.
With over 130 stalls featuring arts, crafts and produce plus live music the Sunday markets have become an integral part of Titirangi culture.
Located in the Spanish mission styled Lopdell House and site of the original Titirangi Tearooms, Deco Eatery offers classic Middle Eastern fare in an elegant space with stunning views out to the Manukau Harbour.
The park covers more than 16,000 hectares of native forest and coastline and includes 250km of walking and tramping tracks, beaches, breathtaking vistas, spectacular rocky outcrops, waterfalls and cliffs.
The Arataki Visitor Centre is the gateway to the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. The Park Rangers here will help you make the most of your visit. They know the latest track and weather conditions and the directions to the best places in the Park.
The stunning West Coast beaches form a chain of unrelenting surf and rugged cliffs of untamed beauty.The most well known are Piha, Anawhata, Whatipu, Karekare, Bethells and Muriwai -each with their own attractions and secrets.
With a wide grassy expanse for picnics, a great kids playground, high tide swimming and low tide exploring, it is a fantastic beach with something for everyone just minutes from the village.
Located within an award-winning, purpose-built building in Lopdell Precinct. Te Uru Gallery presents a diverse programme of contemporary exhibitions, events and activities, including art, craft and design.
Henry Atkinson, born in 1838, donated a large part of his Waitakeres land to Auckland City Council. The statue originally stood on Mt. Atkinson but after vandals stole the nose, it was removed and relocated outside Lopdell House.