Short-tailed bats Mystacina tuberculata were widespread throughout the forest that dominated prehuman New Zealand, but extensive deforestation has restricted them to scattered populations in forest fragments. In a previous study, the species’ intraspecific phylogeny was investigated using multiple mitochondrial gene sequences. Six phylogroups were identified with estimated divergences of 0.93–0.68 Ma. In the current study, the phylogeographical structure and demographic history of the phylogroups were investigated using control region sequences modified by removing homoplasic sites. Phylogeographical structure in the North Island was generally consistent with an isolation-by-distance dispersal model. Coalescent-based analyses (i.e. mismatch distributions, skyline plots, lineage dispersal analysis and nested clade analysis) indicated that the three phylogroups found in central and southern North Island expanded before the last glacial maximum, presumably during interstadials when Nothofagus forest was most extensive. Genetic structure within a central North Island hybrid zone was consistent with range expansion from separate refugia following reforestation after catastrophic volcanic eruptions. Phylogeographical structure in the South Island was consistent with southern populations originating during rapid southward range expansion from refugia in northern South Island following postglacial reforestation of the South Island 10–9 kya.