Busy Paraparaumu is the Kapiti Coast's major commercial and residential hot spot. It's a tale of two towns: the main town on the highway, with its deeply unappealing shopping-mall sprawl; and Paraparaumu Beach, with its waterside park and walkway, decent swimming and winning view out to Kapiti Island (island boat trips set sail from here). If you're into craft beer or cars, you're in the right town!
The correct pronunciation is ‘Pah-ra-pah-ra-oo-moo’, meaning ‘scraps from an oven’, which is said to have originated when a Māori war party attacked the settlement and found only scraps of food remaining. It’s a bit of a mouthful to pronounce; locals usually just corrupt it into ‘Para-pa-ram’.