Explore tiny coastal settlements and secluded beaches in Te Araroa and the East Cape.

Te Araroa is a rural Māori community that is best known as the birthplace of Sir Āpirana Ngata (1874–1950), an influential politician and Māori leader. It is the largest of a handful of small towns along the East Cape, a remote costal region on the eastern-most point of the North Island.  


Tairāwhiti Gisborne
Te Araroa Te Waha o Rerekohu, Tairāwhiti Gisborne

St Mary's Church

Inside the conventional-looking St Mary’s Church in Tikitiki is a spectacular interior, featuring traditional Māori carvings, tukutuku (woven panels), and kōwhaiwhai (ornamentation). At its centre is a large stained-glass window depicting Jesus on the cross with two Māori soldiers at his feet. The soldiers’ presence serves a poignant reminder that the church was built as a memorial to Māori soldiers who tragically lost their lives in World War I. Entry is by gold coin donation.

East Cape Lighthouse

A visit to the historic East Cape lighthouse is worth the effort of climbing the 700 steps it takes to get there. The views from New Zealand’s eastern-most tip are spectacular and there’s a short bush walk around Haupara Point that leads to excellent rock fishing. Note, check with Maritime New Zealand(opens in new window) before you go. Access to the East Cape lighthouse can close due to severe weather events. 

Te Waha o Rerekohu 

Te Araroa is home to one of the country’s oldest pōhutukawa trees. Te Waha o Rerekohu, the Māori name for the tree, blooms with spiky red flowers at Christmas and is thought to be 600 years old.

Whangaparāoa/Cape Runaway

This remote spot at the northern tip of the cape has played a small role in New Zealand's maritime history. It is where the Te Arawa, a Polynesian explorer, landed when he first reached New Zealand 800 years ago. It was later named Cape Runaway by Captain James Cook, who received a less-than-warm welcome form local Māori when he approached the cape in 1769. Today, it is a popular place for fishing, diving, and whale spotting.


Tairāwhiti Gisborne
35 Eat Street , Tairāwhiti Gisborne

Te Araroa offers basic amenities, including a general store, medical centre, petrol station, and EV charging stations.  

Visit Kai Kart Café(opens in new window) for barista coffee and some of the country’s best fish and chips. Or if you’re a fan of burgers, try 35 Eat Street(opens in new window)

Getting there

Te Araroa is 175 km north of Gisborne city, between the towns of Tokata and Awatere. 

Find activities in Tairāwhiti Gisborne

Where to next?