Paraparaumu is a town in the south-western North Island of New Zealand. It lies in the Kapiti Coast, 55 kilometres north of the nation's capital city, Wellington.
Like other towns in the area, it has a partner settlement at the coast called Paraparaumu Beach, which lies directly opposite Kapiti Island. The two towns form part of the Kapiti Coast District. Together with the nearby Raumati and Raumati South they are among the fastest-growing urban areas in New Zealand, and are major dormitory towns with workers commuting to the cities that make up the Wellington urban area. Inland behind Paraparaumu is the Maungakotukutuku area.
Paraparaumu means "scraps from an earth oven" in Māori: "parapara" means "dirt" or "scraps" and "umu" means "oven". It is commonly abbreviated to "Para-Param", particularly by longer-term residents of European ethnicity, and simply "Pram" by local youth.
Paraparaumu Airport is a popular recreational airfield and hosts the Kapiti Aero Club. Apart from fixed wing and glider training, local helicopter operator – Helipro carries out extensive helicopter pilot training. Air New Zealand has daily flights between the airport to both Auckland and Christchurch.
In the early 1900s the district developed as a series of seaside resorts. In 1940 Paraparaumu airport opened, handling passengers and freight for Wellington. Secondary industry developed at Ōtaki and Paraparaumu.
From the 1950s the more equable climate attracted retired Wellington people and commuters. House building boomed. In 1969 the Coastlands shopping mall opened at Paraparaumu. It was then among the few retail centres allowed to trade on Saturdays, and proved a magnet for the region’s shoppers.
In the early 21st century the Kapiti economy was among the fastest growing in New Zealand. Growth was driven by the manufacturing, building and business services sectors.
Paraparaumu Airport 1949
Paraparaumu Beach is situated to the west of the 'township' of Paraparaumu.
In 1839, the New Zealand Company's leader, William Wakefield, landed at Paraparaumu Beach seeking land for settlement.
Paraparaumu Beach Links Golf Course has become world-renowned. The only course in New Zealand played by Tiger Woods, it is regarded by many as New Zealand's best courses, and is rated number 72 by US Golf Magazine in their world's Top 100.
Paraparaumu Airport is located on the eastern side of Paraparaumu Beach. It is a base for private and charter flights, but also offers some commercial services to destinations around the lower North Island and upper South Island.