Hikurangi began as a timber milling town in the 1860’s. European settlers lived among the dense bush of rimu, totara and other mature trees. When a road was constructed to Whangarei in 1874, a sawmill was established and timber was able to be taken to Whangarei for further transportation.
Coal was discovered in 1863 while men were digging for gum. The first coal mine, named ‘Keep In Dark’, was opened in 1889 and many other mines followed with the Hikurangi Coal Mining Company being the largest in the district. Gum digging and limestone quarrying were also important economically, but coal mining was the main industry turning Hikurangi into a thriving township with a school, hotel, and blacksmith. Eventually coal became depleted, and the last mine was closed in 1971.
Today Hikurangi is a small township with a strong community spirit, with many social and sporting clubs, a full sized golf course, school, preschools, and a vibrant business community.