Dargaville is on the wild west coast at the top of the Kaipara harbour. For a short time, in the 1860s, it was the most populous settlement in the Dominion. The mighty kauri tree attracted early European Settlers to this part of the country, mainly people of Dalmatian descent. Many of the original families are still in the area. Takiwira (the not commonly used Maori name) is situated on the bank of the Northern Wairoa River, 55 kilometres by road southwest of Whangarei. In the 1890s it was re-named after local timber merchant and politician Joseph McMullen Dargaville.