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Happy 50th birthday, Whangarei City!

In 1964 the 20,000th resident of the city was born on 21 May 1964, launching the city into a new era.
Updated: 26/05/2014 3:30 p.m.
Whangarei City's 50th Birthday Celebration at Council Chambers.

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai
cuts Whangarei City’s 50th birthday
cake with the help of Barbara Craft (left),
niece of the mayor at the time ‘city status’
was declared in 1964, Jack Johnson,
and Sue Abbott (right) who shared 
her 50th birthday with the city on
21 May 2014.

​Governor General Sir Bernard Fergusson officially declared the Borough of Whangarei to have achieved ‘city status’, meaning its population had passed 20,000 on 1 October 1964.

The formal declaration took place in Laurie Hall Park, followed by a civic dinner in the Town Hall and a performance of the historical play, ‘Pageant of the Years’, written by three Whangarei citizens: Florence Keene, W.R. Vallance and Eric Blow.

An intense week of ‘City Celebrations’ followed, including parades, flower shows, balls and even a Miss Whangarei City competition. A year of commemorative tournaments, carnivals, exhibitions and shows followed that.

The current Council celebrated 21 May 2014 with a small ceremony in the Council Chambers last week and a much bigger community event is being considered for early November.

Were you involved in the celebrations 50 years ago? We already know where baby 20,000 Raymond Keefe is, but with tournaments, carnivals, exhibitions and shows marking the City’s birthday last year we are sure many people will have much to share.

If you would like to let us know of any photographs or memorabilia you can contact us at or send us a letter to Whangarei District Council, Private Bag 9023, Whangarei, O148. 

You might even like to pop onto our facebook page and share your memories. Opens in a new window.



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