Johnsonville, New Zealand

Coordinates: 41°13′25″S 174°48′26″E / 41.22354°S 174.80724°E / -41.22354; 174.80724
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Johnsonville shopping area
Johnsonville shopping area
Coordinates: 41°13′25″S 174°48′26″E / 41.22354°S 174.80724°E / -41.22354; 174.80724
CountryNew Zealand
CityWellington City
Local authorityWellington City Council
Electoral ward
 • Land373 ha (922 acres)
 (June 2023)[2]
 • Total11,810
Railway stationsJohnsonville Railway Station
Ohariu Valley Churton Park Paparangi
Mount Kaukau
Johnsonville–Porirua Motorway, Newlands
Broadmeadows, Khandallah Ngauranga Gorge

Johnsonville is a large suburb in northern Wellington, New Zealand. It is seven kilometres north of the city centre, at the top of the Ngauranga Gorge, on the main route to Porirua (State Highway 1). It is commonly known by locals as "J'ville".


Johnson's clearing[edit]

Johnsonville around 1885

Johnsonville was originally the site of a Māori track from Wellington to Porirua (the Old Porirua Road), and had no indigenous inhabitants prior to European settlement. Vegetation was dense native forest, dominated by tōtara, mixed podocarp trees (notably tōtara and rimu), rātā and hīnau. Johnsonville was settled in 1841 by, among others, Frank Johnson[3] who had purchased a certificate of selection and had drawn the 100 acre 'Section 11 Kinapora (Kenepuru) District'. Initially called 'Johnson's clearing', Frank Johnson built a house by the Johnsonville stream and a timber mill near the center of modern Johnsonville.[4] He quickly denuded the entire Johnsonville area of virgin native forest, with timber sold to help build the nearby town of Wellington. He soon sold his land at a substantial profit, and returned to England by 1858 leaving the environment massively changed, and on which site a farming industry to support nearby Wellington City grew. The Daisy Hill Farm House was built about 1860, and is still standing.

Over the 20th century, farmland slowly gave way to Suburbia, with the first tiny township of Johnsonville steadily growing to become populated principally by a "mid-level" socio-economic strata. Johnsonville was a town by 1896.[5]

1886: the railway arrives[edit]

The opening of the railway to Wellington by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company in 1886 (see Johnsonville Branch and Johnsonville Station) enabled people to commute to Wellington, and the line was electrified with more frequent and faster trains in 1938.[6]

About 1894 stockyards were built in Broderick Road adjacent to the station sidings by Freeman R. Jackson.[7] Stock (cattle and sheep) railed from the Manawatu and elsewhere were driven through the streets and down Fraser Avenue to the Ngauranga abattoir. The suburb got the name "Cowtown",[8] and residents complained about hygiene and noise. So a new siding and stockyard was opened near Raroa station in 1958.

Town Board[edit]

Johnsonville was proclaimed a local board in 1874.[9] From 1881 it was a dependent town district, renamed in 1887 the Johnsonville Town District. In 1908 the Town Board became independent.[3] In 1909 John Rod, Chairman of the Town Board, negotiated for electric power; supplied by the Hutt Valley Electric Power Board and installed in Johnsonville by Norman Heath & Co.[10] The board was active in the 1912-1922 period when gas lighting and drainage were installed and streets kerbed and channeled. In 1912 a water reservoir was built for water supplied from Ohariu Valley, and a new reservoir built in 1922. Drainage installed in 1912 was to a septic tank in Ngauranga Gorge. The septic tank lasted to 1953; when Johnsonville amalgamated with the Wellington City Council in April and the council completed a main sewer to the area. Surrounding areas also joined Wellington; like Raroa, which had been in the Hutt County Council.[11]

The Town Board area was extended to the Hawtrey Estate north of Ironside Road from 1 April 1932, and the board installed some standpipes to fill water buckets.[12]

The population grew from 143 in 1874 to 206 in 1878 and 438 (in 83 dwellings) in 1897. The population almost doubled between 1901 (502) and 1911, and was just over 3000 by 1951. In 1976 it was 9230; a 37% increase 1956-66 and 106% increase 1966–76.[13][14]

Wellington suburb[edit]

A black and white photo of a street in a street in Johnsonville in 1943
A street in Johnsonville in 1943
A black and white aerial view of Johnsonville in 1939
An aerial view of Johnsonville in 1939

The town grew rapidly from 1938 with state houses built on the former Native Reserve between Broderick Road and Fraser Avenue; the first was built in Bould Street.[15] From 1938 to 1956, 329 state houses were built.[16]

In the 1960s, the first shopping mall in the Wellington region was built in Johnsonville.[17]


Johnsonville, comprising the statistical areas of Johnsonville West, Johnsonville North, Johnsonville Central and Johnsonville South, covers 3.73 km2 (1.44 sq mi).[1] It had an estimated population of 11,810 as of June 2023, with a population density of 3,166 people per km2.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [18]

Johnsonville had a population of 11,106 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 870 people (8.5%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 1,866 people (20.2%) since the 2006 census. There were 3,942 households, comprising 5,394 males and 5,712 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.94 males per female, with 2,211 people (19.9%) aged under 15 years, 2,202 (19.8%) aged 15 to 29, 5,349 (48.2%) aged 30 to 64, and 1,350 (12.2%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 61.2% European/Pākehā, 9.8% Māori, 5.9% Pasifika, 30.3% Asian, and 3.8% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 36.7, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 43.9% had no religion, 37.3% were Christian, 0.4% had Māori religious beliefs, 5.2% were Hindu, 2.1% were Muslim, 2.1% were Buddhist and 2.9% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 3,381 (38.0%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 885 (9.9%) people had no formal qualifications. 2,271 people (25.5%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 4,890 (55.0%) people were employed full-time, 1,176 (13.2%) were part-time, and 387 (4.4%) were unemployed.[18]

Individual statistical areas
Name Area
Population Density
(per km2)
Households Median age Median
Johnsonville West 1.18 3,369 2,855 1,149 36.7 years $42,800[19]
Johnsonville North 0.89 3,243 3,644 1,113 34.8 years $41,600[20]
Johnsonville Central 0.95 2,802 2,949 1,056 34.5 years $35,800[21]
Johnsonville South 0.71 1,692 2,383 624 37.1 years $39,000[22]
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800


A view of houses in Johnsonville
Johnsonville, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, New Zealand
Houses in Johnsonville

Johnsonville has a modestly large commercial infrastructure and is self-sufficient in many ways; it has a shopping mall, two supermarkets, library and a community hub.[23]

Public transport[edit]

A blue and yellow train at Johnsonville Railway Station in 2007
A train at Johnsonville Railway Station in 2007

Johnsonville is a reasonably large residential and commercial suburb. Johnsonville Station is the northern terminus of the Johnsonville branch line of the Tranz Metro electric passenger service to central Wellington, with an adjacent bus stop for several routes known as the Johnsonville Hub. Johnsonville supports a large commuter population. Housing is spread around the shopping hub in the centre and extends out to the base of Mt Kaukau to the west, and out across the hill towards the suburb of Newlands to the south-east.

Keith Spry Pool[edit]

Keith Spry pool is an indoor 25 meter heated pool with a diving pool, toddler pool, spa, and sauna: opened in June 1982.[24] The pool is run by Wellington City Council. In June 2013, work started on a $6 million revamp of the facilities which expanded the complex by 50 percent, adding a new learn to swim pool, replacing the roof and expanding the changing rooms. In 2019, Keith Spry Pool and Johnsonville Library was brought under the wings of Waitohi Hub.[25]

Alex Moore Park[edit]

Alex Moore park is a sporting ground located on Broderick Road / Moorefield Road. The grounds host football, rugby, cricket, softball and athletics. The facilities include an artificial cricket surface, changing rooms and club house. The Alex Moore Park Development Project is planning a $6 million sports centre on the site that will replace disparate and outdated sports clubrooms with a centralised gym, meeting rooms and function area.[26]

Johnsonville Community Centre[edit]

The Johnsonville Community Centre is located on the corner of Frankmoore Avenue and Moorefield Road and provides community services including education, Citizens Advice Bureau, support groups and youth groups. The building is owned by the Wellington City Council and was opened in 1995[27] after significant investment and fund raising by local community groups.

Regional planning[edit]

As a part of the Northern Growth Management Plan from Wellington City Council, there exists a proposal to redevelop Johnsonville's main precinct into the "Johnsonville Town Centre".[28] This plan recognises Johnsonville as Wellington's most economically important commercial and population hub outside the city centre. The plan recommends the creation of a unique and identifiable Johnsonville culture around the triangular precinct - bounded by Johnsonville Road to the east, Broderick Road to the south and Moorefield Road to the west.

Community and social groups[edit]

Johnsonville has a number of community groups including:

  • The Johnsonville Club
  • Johnsonville Community Centre (next to Keith Spry pool)
  • Johnsonville Lions & Rotary
  • Johnsonville Community Association (Inc.)[29]



Johnsonville Shopping Centre consists of 500 carparks and 70 shops, including a Countdown supermarket.[30]


School enrollment zones[edit]

Johnsonville is within the enrollment zones for Onslow College, Newlands College, St Oran's College, Raroa Normal Intermediate and Johnsonville School.[31]

Secondary education[edit]

Johnsonville is home to the co-educational high school Onslow College. It has a roll of 1370 as of April 2023.[32]

Primary and intermediate education[edit]

Johnsonville has one intermediate school and several primary schools:

  • Raroa Normal Intermediate[33] is a state intermediate school with a roll of 618.[32]
  • Johnsonville School is a contributing state primary school with a roll of 306.[32]
  • St Brigids School is a contributing state-integrated Catholic primary school with a roll of 287.[32]
  • West Park School is a contributing state primary school with a roll of 309.[32]

Nearby suburbs[edit]

The residents of nearby suburbs such as Churton Park, Grenada Village, Newlands, Khandallah, Ngaio, Raroa and Broadmeadows also use Johnsonville's facilities - especially for shopping at the Johnsonville Shopping Centre.[citation needed] While many of these centres have new supermarkets, the range of shops available in Johnsonville is a major attraction to the wider district.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bremner, Julie (1983). Wellington's Northern Suburbs 1840-1918. Wellington: Millwood Press. pp. 80–86. ISBN 0-908582-59-5.
  • Bremner, Julie (1987). Wellington's Northern Suburbs 1919-1945. Wellington: Millwood Press. ISBN 0-908582-80-3.
  • Kenneally, Joseph & Betty (1981). Johnsonville Yesterday: An Album from the past (3 ed.). Wellington: Colonial Associates. ISBN 0-9597585-1-8.
  • Meyer, R. J. (Bob) (1990). Up in the Hills: a history of Johnsonville. Wellington: Northern Suburbs Community Newspaper Trust. ISBN 0-473-00925-0.
  • Pearson, David G. (1980). Johnsonville: Continuity and Change in a New Zealand Township (Studies in Society 6). Sydney: George Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-86861-281-2.


  1. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Population estimate tables - NZ.Stat". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  3. ^ a b Chapman, Katie (6 January 2010). "Story of a suburb: Johnsonville". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  4. ^ Jackman, Amy (28 March 2014). "Look what Frank Johnson started". The Wellingtonian. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Johnsonville, 1896". Cyclopedia of New Zealand. 1896.
  6. ^ Bremner 1983, p. 43.
  7. ^ Bremner 1983, p. 80.
  8. ^ Pearson 1980, p. 30.
  9. ^ "Johnsonville Local Board and Johnsonville Town Board meeting minutes, and committee meeting minutes". Archives Online. Wellington City Council. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  10. ^ "Johnsonville Improvements". Dominion. Vol. 2, no. 562. 17 July 1909. p. 6. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  11. ^ Kenneally, Joseph & Betty (1981). Johnsonville Yesterday: An Album from the past. Wellington: Colonial Associates. pp. 9, 10. ISBN 0-9597585-1-8.
  12. ^ Meyer 1990, p. 59.
  13. ^ Pearson 1980, pp. 19–32.
  14. ^ Meyer 1990, p. 25.
  15. ^ Bremner 1987, p. 74.
  16. ^ Pearson 1980, p. 27.
  17. ^ Maclean, Chris (13 July 2012). "Wellington places - Northern suburbs". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Johnsonville West (248400), Johnsonville North (248600), Johnsonville Central (248900) and Johnsonville South (249200).
  19. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Johnsonville West
  20. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Johnsonville North
  21. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Johnsonville Central
  22. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Johnsonville South
  23. ^ "Waitohi - Johnsonville Community Hub". Kōrero mai | Wellington City Council.
  24. ^ Meyer 1990, p. 89.
  25. ^ Rangi, Stephanie (20 June 2013). "Work on J'ville pool under way". The Wellingtonian. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  26. ^ Jancic, Boris (2 April 2013). "$6m Johnsonville sports centre planned". The Wellingtonian. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  27. ^ "About Us". Johnsonville Community Centre. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  28. ^ "Johnsonville Town Centre Plan". Wellington City Council. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  29. ^ "Johnsonville Community Association (Inc.)". Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  30. ^ "Johnsonville Shopping Centre Malls". Stride Property.
  31. ^ "eLearning Schools Search". Ministry of Education.
  32. ^ a b c d e "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  33. ^ "Raroa Normal Intermediate". Retrieved 23 February 2015.

External links[edit]