Anaura Bay sunset

Image: Malcolm Peacey | Creative Commons


Camp on a beautiful beach or walk up to panoramic views of Anaura Bay on the track nearby.

Place overview


  • Camping
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Anaura Bay area

About this place

Nature and conservation

The scenic reserve has 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.

History and culture

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 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 alterations 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.

Getting there

Turn off SH35 onto Anaura Road, about 67 km north of Gisborne. The campsite is a further 8.7 km on this road. 

Anaura Bay is north of Tolaga Bay and south of Tokomaru Bay.


Turanganui-a-Kiwa / Gisborne Office
Phone:   +64 6 869 0460
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   63 Carnarvon Street
Gisborne 4010
Postal Address:   PO Box 668
Gisborne 4040
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