Located in the Northland region
IntroductionFrom mangroves to a Maori pa site, Whangaroa in the Bay of Islands offers visitors a number of interesting places to visit. Motukawanui Island is accessed from here.
A stunning area to explore by boat, there are also a number of walks and tramps available. Visit some of the area’s archaeological sites and the memorial for the Rainbow Warrior at Matauri Bay.
Find things to do and places to stay Whangaroa area
With its unique rock formation, the area is very distinctive and a beautiful place to explore by boat.
Pekapeka Bay offers good fishing.
Whangaroa Harbour lies on the east coast, north of Kerikeri. You can access this unique area from the many small roads that branch off State Highway 10.
Dogs, fires and camping are not permitted in the reserves.
Whangaroa is characterised by unique landforms and outstanding scenery. The harbour features spectacular rocky bluffs and prominent ridge systems of eroded volcanoes clad in some of the last diverse coastal conifer/broadleaf/kauri forest in New Zealand.
Pekapeka Bay is a place with spectacular cliffs and rock formations with some fine regenerating forest.
Several threatened plants such as Calystegia marginata, Pimelea tomentosa and Coprosma neglecta spp “Whangaroa” can be found in the area.
The harbour contains small but important areas of mangrove/saltmarsh wetlands and tidal rivers with banded rail and fernbird.
The open coast is characterised by rocky headlands such as the Mahinepua Peninsula, sandy beaches, and the numerous islands of the Cavalli Group. Motukawanui Island, the largest island of the Cavalli group is highly modified but has high restoration potential.
Māori intensively settled the coastline between Whangaroa Harbour and the Bay of Islands befoe European arrival and this is reflected in the 14 archaeological sites recorded in the area.
The features of the different sites reflect a variety of activities, such as gardening, pā sites with terraces where huts and other structures were located, pits for storing crops, shell refuse from past meals.
This coastline offered prehistoric Māori plentiful fishing grounds in relatively sheltered waters and small bays where canoes could be safely beached. Kūmara would have been cultivated on slopes and valleys as well as taro on the stream flats.
The archaeology of Ranfurly Bay consists of a pā on top of high peaks with stone-faced terraces. You can see enormous amounts of midden (shell refuse from past meals) along the Wairakau Track within the reserve indicating the large populations that once lived here.
The Dukes Nose rock outcrop is named this as it bears a strong resemblance to the shape of a head with an aristocratic nose.
Lane Cove Hut was built as a holiday bach for the J.S Lane family in 1922. Lane was a ship builder (TM Lane & Sons), commercial fisherman, farmer and sawmiller.
Kauri milling and ship building are long established industries and one of the last kauri sawmills and shipyards, operated by Lanes & Sons for over a century, can be seen at Totara North.
Burning of the Boyd
Sites associated with early Maori/European contact include the remains of the ‘Boyd’ buried in the harbour mud.
The events surrounding this event delayed further missionary arrivals to New Zealand for years to come. Europeans did not discover the harbour itself until 1807, by Captain Wilkinson of the sealer Star.
A young Maori by the named of Te Aara joined the crew of the Star. On his return to the Whangaroa, this time on board the Boyd, he told his brother, Chief Te Puhi of Kaeo that he had been ill-treated during the voyage.
As a result, the captain of the Boyd and its crew were killed at Te Puhi’s village. The Boyd was then accidentally set on fire and floated out towards Motuwai Island (Red Island) where its remains rest in the mud today.
The effects of this tragedy were felt as far as the Bay of Islands. Chief Te Pahi, friend of missionary leader Samuel Marsden, was attacked at his village in the Te Pahi Islands by several whalers believing that Te Pahi was involved in the Boyd massacre. This was likely to be due to the similarities between his name and Te Puhi’s.
The Rainbow Warrior ship
The Rainbow Warrior lies at rest off Matauri Bay with a memorial on a nearby pā.