|Territorial authority||Matamata-Piako District|
|o Mayor||Jan Barnes|
|Elevation||63 m (207 ft)|
|Population (June 2018)|
|Time zone||UTC+12 (NZST)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+13 (NZDT)|
Matamata  is a town in the Waikato Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is located near the base of the Kaimai Ranges, and is a thriving farming area known for Thoroughbred horse breeding and training pursuits. It is part of the Matamata-Piako District, which takes in the surrounding rural areas as well as Morrinsville and Te Aroha. State Highway 27 and the Kinleith Branch railway run through the town. The town has a population of 7,920 as of June 2018.
A nearby farm was the location for the Hobbiton Movie Set in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. The New Zealand government decided to leave the Hobbit holes built on location as tourist attractions, since they were designed to blend seamlessly into the environment. During the interim period filming The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey they had no furniture or props, but could be entered with vistas of the farm viewed from inside them. A "Welcome to Hobbiton" sign has been placed on the main road. In 2011 parts of Hobbiton began to close in preparation for the three new movies based on the first Tolkien novel, The Hobbit.
In the early nineteenth century, the area including and surrounding the present-day Matamata township was part of the territory of the Ng?ti Hau?. The Matamata p? itself was actually located near the present-day settlement of Waharoa, approximately 6 kilometres (4 miles) to the north.
The first European thought to have visited the Matamata area was the trader Phillip Tapsell in about 1830. In 1833 the Reverend Alfred Nesbit Brown visited the area and in 1835 opened a mission near Matamata Pa, but this closed the following year when intertribal warfare broke out. In 1865 Josiah Firth negotiated with Ng?ti Hau? leader Wiremu Tamihana and leased a large area of land, including the future site of the town which he named after the p?. Firth constructed a dray road to Cambridge and cleared the Waihou River so that it was navigable by his (small) boats.
Firth's estate later failed and by 1904 had been wholly obtained by the Crown and was subdivided into dairy farm units to take advantage of the new technology of refrigeration. It became a dependent Town District in 1917, an independent Town District in 1919 and was constituted a borough in 1935. With the re-organisation of territorial authorities in New Zealand in 1989, Matamata became part of the Matamata-Piako District.
Matamata was a station on the Kinleith Branch, from 8 March 1886, initially 40 minutes north of the temporary terminus at Oxford and about an hour from Morrinsville. It was 6.03 km (3.75 mi) south of Waharoa, 7.91 km (4.92 mi) north of Hinuera and for a while seems to have become a flag station, though it did have a goods shed. It had 2 members of staff from 1913 and by 1950 8,868 tickets were sold at Matamata and it transported 42,322 sheep and pigs. It closed to passengers on 12 November 1968, but reopened to serve the Geyserland Express from 9 December 1991 until 7 October 2001.
The station building was replaced in the 1960s and has been the Railside by the Green community centre since 2002, though it is fenced off from the platform. Occasional excursions still use the platform.
Matamata is the home of various media outlets, including studios for tvCentral, TV Rotorua and iTV Live, which is unusual for a town of such size.
Smaller towns nearby are: