including East Tamaki

Suburb Specialists

Otara is one of the most well-known suburbs in New Zealand. Unfortunately, it’s not famous for its community spirit, well-attended churches or creative talent – all of which it has in abundance – but for its negative characteristics such as poverty, crime and ill-kept state housing. At the heart of the suburb is the Manukau Institute of Technology and, across the carpark, the Otara Town Centre. Early every Saturday morning that car park transforms into one of Auckland’s liveliest markets, with second-hand curiosities, exotic food from Asia and the Pacific, bargain electronics, and the best and cheapest in fresh produce. A word of warning though. While you’re soaking up the ambience, hold on to your valuables. The largely industrial nearby area of East Tamaki has received a long-overdue makeover with the opening of the water-side reserve and Highbrook Business Park.

Who Lives There?

Otara is predominantly populated by Pacific Islanders and, to a lesser extent, Maori. Recent subdivisions in East Tamaki have brought Indians and Asians into the area. Trying to judge residency by the vendors at the Saturday markets is tricky; many come from further away just to take part in the famous market.

Typical Homes

The classic mid-20th-century state house (three bedrooms, weatherboard-clad) is everywhere in Otara. There are stand-alones, duplexes and multi-unit townhouses. Over in East Tamaki, the homes (brick-and-tile with internal garaging) are slightly larger (with three or four bedrooms) and the sections slightly smaller.

Population Profile


Aged Under 15 Years 34.82%
Aged Over 65 Years 5.65%
European 8.44%
Maori 19.18%
Pacific Peoples 71.67%
Asian 2.13%