Anaura Bay Scenic Reserve


Anaura Bay Scenic Reserve. Photo: C Rudge.
Anaura Bay Scenic Reserve

Anaura Bay Scenic Reserve covers an area of 225 hectares of steep bush and regenerating native vegetation. It provides a magnificent view of the bay, which is one of the loveliest beaches on the East Coast. The reserve is comprised of mixed broadleaved forest, notable for its large puriri trees. There is also a wealth of native birdlife to be seen and heard in the reserve.



About the seventeenth century Tautini, a grandson of famous Hauiti from Uawa, lived at Toiroa, a pa on the Nuhiti Ranges between Anaura and Tokomaru Bay. Tautini's wife was called Hinetamatea after whom the meeting house at Anaura is named.

There are two islands, Motuoroi and Motuhina. Motuoroi, the larger, stands in Anaura Bay, while Motuhina is in Marahea Bay - Nuhiti. In early times Motuoroi was inhabited by people who were skilled in the art of working greenstone brought from the South Island.

Motuhina in Nuhiti Bay once abounded with mutton birds. There was a time when wheat was grown at Nuhiti and Anaura.

On 21 October 1769, Captain James Cook in the Endeavour entered Anaura Bay to be welcomed by Maori in their canoes. Cook and his men were given a cordial reception by local chiefs and where able to fill their casks with water from Hawai Stream where there is now a plaque to record this event.

Historically Anaura Bay is important as it is the first place a comprehensive written description of Maori horticulture was undertaken. The men on board the Endeavour were astonished by the neatness, regularity and extent of the gardens seen in the area and recorded them thus:

"But the cultivations were truly astonishing... surpass any idea we have formed of them. The ground is completely cleared of all weeds - the mold broke with as much as much care as that of our best gardens. The sweet potatoes are set in distinct little molehills which are arranged in some straight lines".

At this time the area was called Waipare and between two and three thousand people lived in this district.

Heavy bush covered the area except for the large gardens on the lower sheltered slopes of the beach front and flat lands close to the bay.

Anaura and Nuhiti headlands provided lookouts for the local whaling station on the sheltered southern side of Mawhai Point.

Waipare homestead built in the 1880's is a fine example of a typical large East Coast station homestead. The kauri timber in kitset form was shipped from Auckland and brought ashore by raft to be assembled on site. The homestead remains basically in original condition except for alternations carried out in 1902 and 1912.

The present road to Nuhiti, which begins at Waipare Stream, is near to the old coach and bullock track which led over the headland.


Anaura Bay is located 85 kilometres north of Gisborne.


Child/family friendly activities Child/family friendly activities

Child/family friendly

The Anaura Bay Walkway is within this reserve and suitable for family outings.  It has a great view as you walk up the hill from the track entrance nearest the DOC campsite.

Tracks and walks

Anaura Bay Walkway begins and ends in the reserve. The track traverses part of Hikurangi Forest Farms Te Marunga Forest and takes approximately 2 hours to complete.


Find out more

Learn more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for East Coast places


Turanganui-a-Kiwa / Gisborne Office
Phone:      +64 6 869 0460
Full office details