Waitara is a town in the northern part of the Taranaki Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Waitara is located just off State Highway 3, 15 km northeast of New Plymouth. Its population was 6312 in the 2013 Census, an increase of 24 from 2006.
Waitara was the site of the outbreak of the Taranaki Wars in 1860 following the attempted purchase of land for English settlers from its Māori owners. Disputes over land that was subsequently confiscated by the Government continue to this day.
The commonly accepted meaning of the name Waitara is "mountain stream", though Maori legend also states that it was originally Whai-tara—"path of the dart". In 1867 the settlement was named Raleigh, after Sir Walter Raleigh. It reverted to its former name with the establishment of the borough of Waitara in 1904.