The Hokianga Harbour has a fascinating history - both Māori and European. Explore the small settlements of the Hokianga on your way around Northland.
Te Hokianga-Nui-A-Kupe marks Kupe’s influence within the history of the Ngāpuhi tribe. Many iwi (Māori tribes) trace their ancestry back to the legendary Polynesian explorer Kupe who, with his people, voyaged far across the southern ocean to find New Zealand. The people of Hokianga claim Kupe’s waka first landed on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour.
The Hokianga Harbour is found on the west coast of Northland in the North Island. Hokianga is easily accessible from Auckland and other towns in the area.
You can find Hokianga:
Drive through mighty forests and along golden coastlines, stopping to explore the top things to do in Hokianga.
If you approach the Hokianga region from the south you'll have the opportunity to drive through the Waipoua Forest, home of Tāne Mahuta, New Zealand's largest Kauri tree. Experience the ancient forest with Footprints Waipoua(opens in new window) and local Māori guides. Learn how the forest plays an important role in the lives of local Māori and the eco-system.
Manea(opens in new window), on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour, shares the stories and traditions of the great ancestor, Kupe. Experience a 75-minute multisensory journey of guided storytelling – through large scale artworks, film, performance, digital interaction, and the spectacular Hokianga environment.
Captain your very own Jet Ski along the historic Hokianga Harbour with Awesome Adventures Hokianga(opens in new window). Follow experienced guides as they tell the stories of each settlement along the way with a combination of land and sea spots.
The Opononi(opens in new window) Takeaway is known for the perfect kiwi experience of Fish n Chips on the beach. Indulge in the New Zealand famous Opo Burger on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour looking across to the magnificent sand dunes on the northern side.
As the sun sets on the northern side of the harbour, enjoy a cold beverage while embracing Northland's warmth, on the deck of The Heads Hokianga,(opens in new window) located in the twin settlement of Omapere(opens in new window).
With its magnificent sand dunes on the northern side of the harbour, the Hokianga is one of New Zealand's better-kept secrets. Slide down the huge mountains of sand on bodyboards to experience the thrill-seeking activity of sandboarding. Hokianga Express Charters(opens in new window) transports visitors from the Opononi wharf across to the sand dunes daily.
The Hokianga's largest town is Rawene, New Zealand’s third oldest European settlement and the home of the historic Clendon house. The mangrove boardwalk makes a great stroll. From Rawene a vehicular ferry provides a connection to the other side of the harbour and the settlement of Kohukohu.
Soak in the epic coastal views of Ārai Te Uru Nature Reserve. With a large picnic area and viewing platform, the reserve showcases the stunning, widespread scenery of the Hokianga Harbour.
On the upper reaches of the Hokianga Harbour, Horeke is home to the Horeke basalts, the Wairere Boulders, and the Mangungu Mission House.
Explore the Hokianga on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail. Coastal views, wetlands, native forest and rolling farmland can all be enjoyed on this coast-to-coast ride between the Bay of Islands and the peaceful Hokianga Harbour.
Between Koutu and Kauwhare, the area's on the south shore of the harbour, are the Koutu Boulders. Commonly known as concretions, the boulders reach 3 metres in diameter and height.
Near the settlement of Horeke is a natural phenomenon known as the Wairere Boulders. Amassed along a valley floor, this stream of huge rocks and boulders is 1.5 kilometres long. At first glance, the rocks appear to be limestone formations, but they are actually basalt. The fluting on the boulders is caused by acids leaching from the kauri forests that used to exist in the area.
The people of Hokianga recount that Kupe’s waka first landed on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour. Upon his arrival, he named the harbour Te Puna i te Ao Marama. The name Te Hokianga Nui A Kupe came about in the ceremonial ritual cementing Kupe’s return to his homeland of Hawaiki. At the end of the ritual, Kupe voiced his final words “Hei konei raa e Te Puna i te Ao Marama, ka hoki nei ahau, e kore ano ahau e hoki anga nui mai.” Farewell, the Spring of the World of Light, for I now return (home) from whence I will never return again.
The name Te Hokianga Nui a Kupe was born from Kupe’s immortalised words and actions. Today the name Hokianga is respectfully used. Generations after Kupe returned to Hawaiki, his descendants retraced his legendary voyage across the ocean to settle on the shores of the Hokianga. The traditions and stories of Kupe live on today in the many cultural traditions, practices and rituals still observed by his descendants.