Tokoroa (Maori: Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere) is the third-largest town in the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand and largest settlement in the South Waikato district. Located 30 km southwest of Rotorua, close to the foot of the Mamaku Ranges, it is mid-way between Taupo and Hamilton on State Highway One. Its 2006 census population was 13,600, a significant decline from the 2001 figure of 14,950. Other notable South Waikato settlements are Putaruru, Tirau and Arapuni.
It is traditionally recorded that one of the great fighting chiefs of the Ngati Kahupungapunga, Tokoroa by name, was slain by Ngati Raukawa during the siege of Pōhaturoa, a volcanic plug adjacent to Atiamuri, 27 km south of Tokoroa on the main Taupo highway. It is probable that some early surveyor applied the name Tokoroa as a tribute to the old chief's memory. The name Tokoroa first appeared on the early maps of the 1860s, although this was for an area 50 km north east of today's Tokoroa.
Tokoroa is one of the most recent towns in New Zealand history. It was first developed around 1925 by the Matarawa land company as a potential farming area followed by residential development in 1948.
Early pioneer farming family history details hardship for those whom first farmed Tokoroa as the soil had serious deficiencies that became known as "bush sickness" later found to be cobalt deficiency.
Tokoroa was then developed as a residential satellite for Kinleith Mill, New Zealand Forest Products Limited's integrated timber, pulp and paper mill at Kinleith, 8 km south of Tokoroa. In 1948 the town boasted a population of 1,100. By the time NZFP began to downscale its operations at Kinleith in the 1980s, Tokoroa had a population of 18,000 - just 2,000 below the number necessary to be proclaimed a city. In recent years however, the downscaling at Kinleith and in other industries has resulted in a drop in population, and only 13,600 people resided in Tokoroa as of 2006.