The rural town of Katikati was founded by settlers from Ulster in Ireland, but the district was populated by Maori long before Europeans arrived. The volcanic soils and sunny climate were as suitable then for kumara as they are today for kiwifruit and avocados.
In recent years, Katikati has called itself the ‘mural town’. More than 35 works of art in and around the main street - murals, sculptures and carvings - pay homage to the town's early Maori and pioneer residents, and its timber milling and farming heritage. There is also a magnificent tribute to the men and women who left the district to fight in overseas wars. You can pick up a mural guide map from the information centre.
Katikati is also home to a 'Haiku Pathway', boasting the largest collection of Haiku’s outside of Japan.
The local museum documents the growth of the town with photographs and displays of artefacts. Boutique arts and crafts galleries and, in harvest time, roadside stalls overflowing with fresh produce, are a delightful distraction.
Between Katikati and the city of Tauranga is Te Puna, where you can turn right and drive up to the Minden Lookout. At 286 metres above sea level, this viewing point delivers unobstructed views along the Bay of Plenty coast and out to sea, over orchards, farmland, hill country and the suburbs of Tauranga.