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The small township of Pongaroa lies in the Tararua District, in the southeast of the North Island of New Zealand - 110 kilometres southwest of Hastings and 200 kilometres northeast of Wellington. The nearest town is Pahiatua, 50 kilometres to the west. Popular Akitio Beach is 30 kilometres to the east. The township straddles Route 52, a road between Masterton and Waipukurau.

Pongaroa village has a population of about 100, with the surrounding farms bringing the total population to about 300.

Pongaroa is serviced by Pongaroa School, Pongaroa Cafe and General Store, Pongaroa Hotel, and Pongaroa Farm Centre.

As a rural community, Pongaroa relies on community spirit and on the local community-development organisation "Pongaroa The Way To Go". Dedicated people have been central to improvements in the area - such as the installation of public toilets, the establishment of a freedom campsite and the enhancement of the village centre.

Pongaroa is also the location of the New Zealand Centre for Equine Psychology and Behaviour, and Wildside Farm environmental education retreat,