Väike-Maarja municipality is situated on the Pandivere Heights in the southern part of Lääne-Viru County and borders on Vinni, Laekvere, Torma (Jõgeva County), Rakke, Koeru (Järva County), Järva-Jaani (Järva County) and Tamsalu municipalities. 3 km to the west of Väike-Maarja lies the 100m-wide Vao valley. It is flanked by a chain of hills and eskers, the highest peak of which is Ebavere Hill (146m). Geologically Väike-Maarja is located in the centre of the vault of the heights, the base rock of it being Tamsalu limestone stratum. The central part of the Pandivere Heights is the largest area in Estonia for forming ground water.
The municipality was formed on the territory of the former Väike-Maarja village council (soviet) in December 1991. It is approximately of the same size as the former Vao municipality. The villages of Aavere, Pikevere, Varangu, Raigu and Pudivere were added to the present-day municipality, but Põdrangu, Metskaevu, Sauevälja and Loksa do not belong to it any more.
The area of the municipality is 457.81 km2 and it had a population of 4961 on 01January 2012. On the territory of the municipality are three bigger villages: Väike-Maarja (1868 people), Simuna (434) and Kiltsi (241) and 33 smaller villages: Vao (381), Triigi (298), Ebavere (142), Avispea (123), Pandivere (102), Avanduse (108), Eipri (82), Käru (96), Liivaküla (78), Pikevere (87), Müüriku (68), Määri (68), Koonu (71), Ärina (63), Aburi (54), Hirla (36), Äntu (51), Raigu (46), Pudivere (41), Võivere (45), Kännuküla (53), Kurtna (35), Aavere (38), Raeküla (41), Orguse (42), Nõmme (20), Varangu (28), Rastla (25), Nadalama (28), Uuemõisa (18), Kärsa (16), Imukvere (14) and Vorsti (8).
Since ancient times people have cultivated land and reared cattle on the fertile lands of the Pandivere Heights. In 1913 there were 13 manors (landed estates) and 425 farms on the territory of Vao municipality, in 1939 there were 840 farms. At present there are 118 km2 of cultivated land and 135 km2 of woodland on the territory of the municipality.
The main branches of economy are agriculture, commerce, services, transport, building, processing industries and wood industry. All investments for developing the area are welcome.