Mangawhai prepares for massive population boom as Northland region continues to grow

A popular holiday hotspot north of Auckland is preparing itself for a massive population boom.

Mangawhai, located in Northland's Kaipara District, has traditionally been attractive to surfers and beachgoers - but that's now changing.

"It used to be extremely busy over Christmas and New Year and then sleepy for the rest of the time. Now it's manic the whole time," resident Colin Leech told Newshub.

Northland is the fastest-growing region in New Zealand. In Mangawhai, the population has more than doubled since 2006 and now sits at more than 10,000 people.

Local Daniel Hawes has seen the growth first-hand after relocating to Mangawhai a few years ago.

"We've got a lot of interesting people moving into town, who have a lot of different skill sets," he said.

The population of Mangawhai doubles over the summer, with its beach serving as a primary attraction. The population of the region as a whole is expected to expand by more than 15,000 people over the next two decades.

The population boom is said to be due to a combination of Auckland's rising house prices and retirees moving north. Now, it's retirees looking to boost the economy.

Mangawhai resident Jim Wintall is behind the town's new heritage hub. It boasts old classrooms and a church - all kept in original condition. 

Across town, Colin Gallagher has another attraction in mind. The skatepark is already drawing international visitors, and he has big plans for its development.

"We're trying to finish off our facility here so the local skaters can train and get selected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics," Gallagher said. 

Leech is determined to recreate a wharf for visitors, similar to the historic Mangawhai wharf built in 1880.

"It gives really good access to the harbour, particularly for young people," he said.

The locals say they are willing to donate their time to a place they love and are adamant they don't mind sharing - even if it is with a few Aucklanders.