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Dargaville

Dargaville is a town in the North Island of New Zealand. It is situated on the bank of the Northern Wairoa River in the Northland region. The town is located 55 kilometres southwest of Whangarei.The population was 4,251 at the 2013 Census, a decrease of 204 since 2006 and 282 from 2001.It is noted for the high proportion of residents of Croatian descent. The area around it is one of the chief regions in the country for cultivating kumara and so Dargaville is known by many locals as the Kumara Capital of New Zealand.HistoryThe town was named after timber merchant and politician Joseph Dargaville (1837–1896). Founded during the 19th-century kauri gum and timber trade, it briefly had New Zealand's largest population.The area became known for a thriving industry that included gum digging and kauri logging, which was based mainly at Te Kopuru, several kilometres south of Dargaville on the banks of the Northern Wairoa river. The river was used to transport the huge logs downstream to shipbuilders and as a primary means of transport to Auckland.GeographyDargaville also has the longest unbroken stretches of sand beach in New Zealand, and is largely drivable from one end to the other. This beach is home of the famous local shellfish delicacy called the toheroa, which was over-harvested in the 1950s and 1960s causing the population of the shellfish to decline enough that public gathering of the shellfish is now prohibited.
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