Whangaroa is one of the oldest areas of New Zealand. The history of Whangaroa dates from the early 1800s when it was a whaling base.
A sheltered harbour between Mangonui and the Bay of Islands on the east coast, Whangaroa Harbour is a drowned river system, which explains the peculiar surrounding rock structures. The township is dominated by a pinnacle known as St Paul, with a twin, St Peter, facing it across the water. At the head of the harbour are extensive mangrove swamps. A quiet, beautiful location surrounded by farms, with popular ocean beaches nearby, there is little indication of its turbulent and busy early years.
In December 1809 the sailing ship Boyd anchored in Whangaroa Harbour to pick up a cargo of timber spars. It was boarded by a group of Maori, who massacred its crew and passengers in retaliation for the captain's mistreatment of a young chief, Te Ara (also known as George). In the attack the ship caught fire and sank in the harbour, where it still lies.
Whaling ships visited as early as 1805, but ceased for 10 years after the massacre of the crew of the sailing ship Boyd by Maori in 1809. The chief Hongi Hika died at Whangaroa in 1828. In 1840 settlers arrived and the Catholic mission at Whangaroa was set up. Whangaroa Harbour became a centre for timber, gum and ship-building in the last three decades of the 19th century. In the early 1900s it was a whaling base for a time.
The main route north, developed in the 1960s, bypassed the settlement. Today it serves locals, and those involved in yachting, big-game fishing and diving.
The township on the Kaeo River, which flows into the Whangaroa Harbour about 4 km to the north-west is named after the kaeo, a freshwater shellfish found in the river. Kaeo was the site of Wesley-Dale, New Zealand's first Wesleyan Mission station, established by Samuel Leigh and William White in 1823. The station was abandoned after a raid by warriors of Ngapuhi chief Hongi Hika.
Information cited from Whangaroa County Community Web site (http://whangaroa.co.nz/History.cfm)
Whangaroa is a popular tourist destination and offers a wide range of accommodation options:
- Whangaroa Motels
- Whangaroa Hotels
- Whangaroa Bed and Breakfasts
- Whangaroa Campsites and Holiday Parks
View more Whangaroa Accommodation options.
Useful Whangaroa Links
To help plan your Whangaroa holiday choose from the main categories below: