Welcome! Haere Mai!

Today people come from all over the world to enjoy the stunning views of the harbour and sand dunes, to walk in the forest and see the two largest Kauri trees in the world, for cycling, sandboarding, swimming, fishing, short and long walks, and more. You will soon feel relaxed in our small communities of friendly people. Although the Hokianga is only about an hours drive from The Bay of Islands and three and a half hours from Auckland, you will feel like you’ve left the cares of the city behind.

Absorb the history of this area - according to tradition, Kupe, the legendary Polynesian navigator and explorer, settled in Hokianga in approximately 925 AD, after his journey of discovery from Hawaiiki aboard the waka (canoe) named Matahorua. When Kupe left the area, he declared that this would be the place of his return.  Being one of the first places of European settlement in New Zealand some 200 years ago there is a rich history from these times.

Tane Mahuta

Tane Mahuta, ‘King of the Forest’ is the largest Kauri tree in the world and is approximately 2000 years old. It is only a few minutes walk from the road.
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Hokianga Harbour mouth

The Hokianga Harbour is unique in many ways, not least for the stunning 150m high sand dunes which frame the north side of the entrance to the harbour.

Tamatea Marae Motuti

The Hokianga is rich in both Maori and European history and culture and is viewed by many as the first chapter of the New Zealand story.

Te Hokianga - a harbour with a history; guarded at the sea by sandbars and solid rock; a seascape of luminous dunes and tides.

It is a beautiful place. If you come by SH 12 from the south you travel through the ancient kauri forest of Waipoua, a stunning reminder of the depth and dignity of Northland’s native bush.

Hokianga was named after the celebrated Polynesian navigator Kupe, the founding father of Maori lore and leaver of legends and landscapes bearing names. The harbour starts at Arai Te Uru, ancestral mother of eleven sons, each a valley leading to the tidal stream, a gathering of rivers merging as a sweep of currents and flows of colour and form.

Over time, the Tangata Whenua, the ‘people of the land’, shaped the surrounding hills with pa sites and gardens creating a vast homeland reaching into the mountainous heart of Northland.

It was a haven fiercely protected, yet shared amongst generations of Maori for centuries, until the first Europeans were welcomed for barter and trade in the early 1800’s. It is a long time since fleets of waka stirred the water; the sailing ships are well and truly gone; but the Hokianga ferry still makes her graceful way across the tides, showing off the handsome harbour for all to see.

These days, along the waterfronts and hidden in the hills, small towns and communities offer the traveller insights into the quieter side of life. It is a glimpse of something precious; a living past, splendid in a wilderness of great beauty.

Lindsay Charman