The town, originally intended on being built by the Waikato River, serves to support local farming, and is the residence of many employees of New Zealand Steel at Glenbrook. Tuakau has a history of Land Wars, as seen at the Alexandra Redoubt, and further information can be seen at the Tuakau Museum, run by volunteers of Tuakau and surrounds.
The main primary school is Tuakau Primary, where Sir Edmund Hillary was educated. Harrisville Primary, at the top of Harrisville Hill, and at the other (northern) end of Tuakau,is another historic school - in the region named after Catain Harris. Tuakau College is the intermediate and high school. The major town nearby is Pukekohe. Smaller nearby towns include Onewhero and Pokeno. In April 2012, a zookeeper at the Whangarata Zoo (now closed) was killed by a 39-year old African elephant.