Waikanae is a town of 10,500 people located about 55 km north of Wellington. It is bordered in the west by the coast on the Tasman Sea, in the east by the foothills of the Tararua Range and to the south by the Waikanae River. There is no specific identifiable natural northern border, although most housing ceases about 3 km north of the river.
There are about 4,500 houses which are the principal dwellings for their occupiers and about another 500 which are secondary dwellings.
The name means “waters of the yellow eyed mullet”.