Today's Cambridge reflects the many stages the town has been through, from providing a safe haven for Maori in pre-colonial days to the modern town that brings together the best of town and country life.
Before European settlers came to the Waikato, a number of Maori pa (fortifications) were built in the area, at sites such as Tamahere, Maungatautari, Horotiu and four at Maungakawa.
One pa was built on land where a children's playground is now based in Thornton Rd.
The town began as 'Camp Cambridge' in 1864 during the Invasion of Waikato by British troops who wanted to establish a garrison beside the Waikato River.
The Maori King, Tawhiao, was recorded as saying: "Alexandra (now known as Pirongia) is my stronghold, Cambridge is my wash basin, Ngaruawahia is my footstool." For the troops and European settlers, Cambridge became a market town, servicing those who were establishing farms.
As the town grew, and Maori and Pakeha came to live together, the area prospered as the fertile soils that had attracted those early settlers became critical to the local economy. The land and a helpful climate today helps produce champion racehorses, all manner of food crops and happy cows whose milk is turned into dairy products exported all over the world.
Cambridge was formed because of its critical location on the Waikato River. Today, its central location and ease of access to other main centres remains a key to its success as a hub for events, visitors who want to enjoy local attractions and day trips further afield and residents who enjoy all it's got to offer.
The Cambridge Museum website has maps of a number of local walks with landmarks described. These walks guide you through different aspects of local life - a Business Walk, A Tour of Churches, the Cambridge Domain, Leamington, Waikato River and the Suburbs Walk. The i-SITE Information Centre can provide a map.