Whangarei is the northernmost city in New Zealand and the regional capital of Northland Region. It is part of the Whangarei District, a local body created in 1989 to administer both the city proper and its hinterland from the former Whangarei City, Whangarei County and Hikurangi Town councils. The city population was estimated to be 56,400 in June 2016, up from 47,000 in 2001. The wider Whangarei area had an estimated population of 85,900 in 2015.
The Whangarei urban area is spread throughout the valleys of the surrounding area and has several suburbs: Kamo, Springs Flat, Tikipunga, Three Mile Bush, Otangarei, Mairtown, Regent, Kensington, and Whau Valley lie to the north of the city. South and west of the city centre are Morningside, Raumanga, Maunu, Horahora, Woodhill, and the Avenues, and to the east are Riverside, Sherwood Rise, Onerahi, and Parihaka.