Discover historic Maori sites on Waewaetorea Island.

Place overview

About this place

Nature and conservation

The island became part of the Maritime and Historic Park in 1980 and today it is under the care of the Department of Conservation.

Conservation work includes pest eradication as part of Project Island Song and a revegetation programme.

History and culture

Māori settlement

Prehistoric Māori thrived in this island environment, which is seen in the density of archaeological sites. Sites on this island are characterised as headland pa, terraces, gardening lines and storage pits.

European settlement

An historic account of Waewaetorea is found in the records of French explorer Marion du Fresne’s expedition to the Bay of Islands in 1772. The French "Plan du Port Marion" tell us that Wawaetorea was where the two ships “Castries and "Mascarin" first anchored.

There are two headland pa worth visiting on this island. The southern one is to the right of Otawake Beach - you can see its deep defensive ditch. You can walk onto the other headland pa near the Orurua blowhole.


The Story of the Bay of Islands Maritime and Historic Park 1989. Department of Conservation.

Getting there

Waewaetorea Island is located in the Bay of Islands. Access is by boat only.

The area north of Waewaetorea Island is a designated rest area for dolphins. Stay away from dolphins and keep marine mammals safe.


Pewhairangi / Bay of Islands Office
Phone:   +64 9 407 0300
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   34 Landing Road
Kerikeri 0230
Postal Address:   PO Box 128
Kerikeri 0245
Back to top