Whangaroa Harbour

Rere Bay from the top of Kairara ('The Duke's Nose'). Photo courtesy of Taylor'D Yacht Charters, Florida USA.


What's in a name?

Whangaroa is the name of the harbour; also the name of the small town on the harbour's southern side; and the name of the large area of land surrounding the harbour, formerly known as Whangaroa County.

But it's not the historically correct name for these 3 localities. Somewhere along the way, we lost our 'i'.

The actual name is Whaingaroa. In Maori tradition, the name commemorates the lament "whaingaroa" or "what a long wait" of a woman whose warrior husband had left for a foray to the south.

Today the correct name is honoured by local iwi, who preserve the historic precedent in the name of our runanga, Te Runanga O Whaingaroa.


Note: Whaingaroa is also the Maori name of the harbour on the west coast of Waikato district, known to most pakeha as Raglan Harbour and acknowledged locally in that area's highly effective conservation group, Whaingaroa Harbour Care.


Whatever the spelling, no visit to our area is complete without a visit to the harbour.


Rere Bay, Whangaroa Harbour. Photo courtesy of Tony Foster.


The Harbour


You can visit the harbour two ways - by land or sea.

By sea is the best way to enjoy the harbour's attractions.


Early morning mist in Waihi Bay, Whangaroa Harbour. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Elvidge, Kingfish Lodge.


The Harbour by Sea

"A singular and beautifully romantic place" - Capt R. A. Cruise, HMS Dromedary, 1820.


Since the earliest overseas visitors, superlatives have been used to describe the harbour.

Whangaroa is a large harbour, in which there is a multitude of sheltered bays, with towering volcanic rock outcrops and idyllic sandy beaches.

There is a fleet of yachts, house-boats, and charter fishing boats available to get you out on the harbour.


Kairara, or 'The Duke's Nose'. Pekapeka Bay, Whangaroa Harbour.


A list of charter fishing boats is found on the Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club's website. (Click on the coloured text to open the link). Many are available for harbour tours or a half day fishing charter. Serious anglers may wish to venture outside the harbour to our world famous deep sea fishing grounds in search of big game fish.


If sailing is more your style, there are two yachts available: Whangaroa Yacht Charters and 'Snowcloud'. (Click on the coloured texts to open the links).


For an even more laid-back experience, Whangaroa Houseboat Holidays offers a self-skippered, flat-bottomed house-boat, ideal for gently cruising around the harbour's many sheltered bays and calm waters. Bookings essential. Check it out on www.houseboatrentals.co.nz


The southern shore of Pekapeka Bay, seen from Okahumoko Rock, Whangaroa Harbour.


For more adventurous seafarers, Northland Sea Kayaking specialises in helping you to explore the deeply indented coastline and islands of Whangaroa County, from Matauri Bay and the Cavalli Islands, the Whangaroa Harbour and northwards to Taupo Bay and beyond, including Stephenson’s Island. www.northlandseakayaking.co.nz


If time is tight, the Whangaroa Water Taxi (telephone 027 680 5588) can whizz you to Lane Cove in Pekapeka Bay (in the harbour's western arm) in a matter of minutes. Tony Foster, the water taxi operator, is a botanist and published author and one of the most knowledgeable guides to our harbour's colourful history, unique geology, and endemic plant species. Tony Foster also offers guided bush walks on his website, The Bushman's Friend.


The Department of Conservation cottage at Lane Cove, with Okahumoko Rock beyond. Photo by Tony Foster.


Information for Visitors by Sea

If you are arriving at Whangaroa by sea, first time visitors may be surprised at the narrowness of our harbour entrance - just 200 metres wide. The channel in the harbour entrance is just over 16 metres deep at its shallowest point.

The area of harbour inside the entrance is roughly 12 square kilometres, so an enormous volume of seawater passes through the entrance with each tide. Consequently, at certain times (for instance, half-tide) the tidal current at the harbour entrance can be up to 5 knots (more than 9 kilometres per hour).


The relevant nautical chart is 'Whangaroa Harbour and Approaches' NU Marine Chart NZ 5114 (1:25,000 scale).

The Pickmere Atlas of Northland's East Coast (1974/5 2nd edition) shows Whangaroa Harbour at 1:12,500 scale (page 10). Note: Soundings are in fathoms.


Speed Limit: The speed of all boats must be no more than 5 knots when the boat is within 200 metres of the shore or a structure (such as a wharf); or within 50 metres of another boat, raft or person in the water; or within 200 metres of another boat or floating structure carrying the Dive Flag.


Waihi Bay, Whangaroa Harbour. Photo courtesy of Tony Foster.


Whangaroa Coastguard is based in Whangaroa Harbour and covers the area from the Cavalli Islands to Doubtless Bay.

Whangaroa Coastguard VHF radio CH84 is linked to Coastguard Northern Region and is manned 24/7.

CH84 should be used for all trip reports and emergencies. CH62 also covers the whole area and is for ship to ship communications and other local maritime uses. Outside the harbour the nowcasting service is available on CH20.

Weather broadcasts on CH 84: 0830; 1230; 1630; 2030 hrs.

Whangaroa Marina can be contacted on CH12 once inside the harbour.


Whangaroa Marina, seen from the hill above the Marlin Hotel. The Marlin Wharf is visible at bottom right.

Photo courtesy of Whangaroa Marina Trust.


Whangaroa Marina has temporary berthage, as well as toilets, showers and laundry facilities. The marina office is located on the floating pontoon at the head of B Pier. The office is open from 08:30 to 09:30 and from 16:30 to 17:30 daily and longer hours during busy times. The manager can be contacted outside these hours on VHF CH12, CH62 or by mobile telephone: 0210 292 7270. 



(Diesel fuel only): Clansman Wharf, Ratcliffe’s Bay. Credit cards, BP fuel card.
Totara North Wharf. Credit cards, Mobil fuel card.


Fresh Water

Available from Whangaroa Coastguard Water Buoy situated in the Eastern Arm: 35º01.18 South, 173º46.07 East. $5 donation, please place in floating bottle.



The harbour has three wharves, two on the Whangaroa (south) side and one on the Totara North (north) side of the harbour: the Marlin Wharf (with pontoon) opposite the Marlin Hotel, Whangaroa; the Clansman Wharf, 450 metres to the north of the Marlin Wharf; and the Totara North Wharf (with pontoon), at the end of Okura Bay Road.

There is a wharf and pontoon jetty at Kingfish Lodge for the use of guests.


Kingfish Lodge - the only way to reach this unique getaway is by boat. Photo courtesy of Kingfish Lodge.


Boat Launching Ramps

There are two ramps for launching trailer boats - one in Ratcliffe Bay, Whangaroa (go past the Clansman Wharf) and the other at the end of Okura Bay Road in Totara North.


Overseas Arrivals

For yachts and other small craft arriving from overseas, you must first report at the nearest Customs port of entry (at Opua) with an Advance Notice of Arrival to Customs at least 48 hours prior to your intended time of arrival in New Zealand territorial waters (12 nautical miles from the coastline). For more information, visit the Customs website: www.customs.govt.nz


The Harbour by Land

To preserve and enhance its scenic beauty, much of the land surrounding the harbour is public conservation land, administered by the Department of Conservation.

There are few roads that offer more than a tantalising glimpse of the harbour. The best way to explore the land around the harbour is by foot.

Walking tracks pass through the conservation areas, to allow the public to reach the remote and unspoiled landscape around the harbour. Parts of these tracks can be challenging for some walkers, as our most scenic topography is characterised by steep volcanic outcrops, but not all the walks require basic rock climbing skills. Abundant regenerating coastal kauri forests offer shade in most places for those who prefer the easier walks.

Whangaroa Community Develoment, in conjunction with the Department of Conservation, has published a handy pocket-sized map guide with scaled topography, showing the various walking tracks around the harbour.



This free guide is available from many Northland i-Sites, or in Kaeo from the 4-Square supermarket; the Whangaroa County Museum; and the FNDC service centre and public library in the old Kaeo Post Office. All are located in Leigh Street, Kaeo.

Click here to download the Whangaroa Walks guide (A4 colour pdf).


One of the most popular walks is to the top of Ohakiri / St Paul's Rock.

Another popular walk, longer but offering more shade, is the Wairakau Stream track to Lane Cove from Totara North.

If you don't wish to return to Totara North by the track, you may arrange in advance for the Whangaroa Water Taxi to collect you from Lane Cove.


Whangaroa Town

The township of Whangaroa is a small settlement, home to just a few hundred permanent residents and one store, a pub and the Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club. Whangaroa township has two wharves, a boat ramp and a marina and an additional wharf and boat ramp are found on the north side of the harbour at Totara North, so the harbour is well appointed to service the fleet of pleasure and commercial fishing boats that are attracted to its sheltered waters.


Whangaroa town with St Paul's Rock / Ohakiri (213m / 698 feet) towering above it.



According to Maori traditions, the waka Mahuhu-ki-te-rangi explored the Whangaroa harbour during early Maori settlement of New Zealand. The area was settled by descendants of Te Mamaru and Mataatua waka crews (circa 1350 AD).


Despite its enormous size, the harbour was not discovered by European sailors until relatively late. Perhaps because the harbour's narrow entrance is obscured by Mahinepua /Stephenson's Island lying off its coast, the harbour passed undetected by Captain James Cook on all 3 of his voyages to New Zealand, despite his staying at the Cavalli Islands in 1769, only a few nautical miles away.


In 1791, just 22 years after Cook's first voyage, the first whaling ships (initially American) started operating from Doubtless Bay and their numbers steadily increased from the early 1800's.


The first European ship to call at Whangaroa harbour was the seal ship The Star in 1807, commanded by Captain Wilkinson, who took on board a young Maori chief from Kaeo, named Te Ara or 'George'.


In 1808 Whangaroa was visited by the General Wellesley and the brig, Commerce. The Commerce was commanded by Captain Ceroni and on board her was the Bay of Islands chief Te Pahi. They called at Whangaroa harbour on their way to Port Jackson (Sydney). There is some evidence that on the wake of this visit an epidemic occurred that killed many Whangaroa Maori, including a chief, "Kaitoke". It is recorded that during his visit, Captain Ceroni had delighted in showing off his chiming pocket-watch to Maori aboard his ship, but after one demonstration, he accidentally dropped the watch in the harbour. Maori believed this musical timepiece to contain an evil atua or a curse and the cause of the outbreak.


A Late 18th Century English Pocket Watch with painted dial, showing a woman waving to a British Ship.


The Boyd Incident

In December 1809, the next ship, a 395 ton brigantine named the Boyd, under the command of a Captain John Thompson, arrived from Port Jackson (Sydney, New South Wales) seeking a cargo of kauri spars. Three days after the arrival of the Boyd in Whangaroa, almost all of her crew and passengers were dead.


"L'Enlevement du Boyd par les Nouveaux Zélandais"  Engraving by Louis Auguste Sainson, published in Paris 1826.


Although the Boyd already had a profitable cargo, the intention was to take on kauri spars for the Cape of Good Hope, Whangaroa being selected as the port of call. One of the ship's passengers was the young Whangaroa chief Tara (Te Ara) also known as 'George', returning home after his stay in Port Jackson.

After dropping anchor in the harbour, Whangaroa Maori offered to show the captain and his officers some excellent kauri timber. The locals led the ship's party in their boats up the Kaeo river for several miles till they approached the conical hill, Pohue-nui on which stood the pa of Te Ara's people, the Ngati-Uru. It was near here that Captain Thompson and his group were attacked and killed. Later, a war party left Kaeo to return to the Boyd and dispatch the remaining members of the crew. In fading light, these Maori gained easy access aboard the Boyd, as they rowed the ship's boats and were dressed in the uniforms of the slain officers. The attackers killed more of the crew. In the subsequent confusion, a spark fell into a barrel of gunpowder and, with a tremendous explosion, the ship was destroyed.


'The Blowing Up of The Boyd' by Louis John Steele & Kennett Watkins, 1889.


The reason often given for the attack is that the young chief, Te Ara or 'George', returning from Port Jackson aboard The Boyd, was tied to the capstan for several hours and threatened by Captain Thompson with flogging for allegedly concealing a carpenter's axe under his cloak. Other reports maintain that Te Ara became ill or was unable to comply with orders to work his passage home and was denied food for several days. These grave offences against the mana of a chief were intolerable to Maori and required utu or vengeance.

Another less-known reason, given to William Williams, a missionary from Paihia, is that it was not the ill treatment of Te Ara that caused the massacre, but the outbreak of fatal disease resulting from the visit of Ceroni's ship and the curse of his pocket-watch.


Whatever the reason, the result of the Boyd incident was a sharp drop in the numbers of ships visiting Whangaroa and the Bay of Islands to almost none, as news of the tragedy spread around the globe.


'The Burning of The Boyd, Whangaroa Harbour 1809' by Walter Wright, 1908. Courtesy of Auckland City Art Gallery.


News of the Boyd incident shortly reached the whaling fleet moored at nearby Kororareka (Russell) in the Bay of Islands. The news rumoured that there were some survivors.


There were four survivors: they were Mrs Ann Morley; her babe in arms; the ship's boy, Thomas Davis; and a two year old child named Betsy Broughton. In local Maori oral histories, the survivors of the massacre were spared the same fate of the rest of the crew and passengers because Ann Morley and Thomas Davis had shown kindness to 'George' Te Ara after his ill-treatment by the captain. There may have been more survivors, had the locals heeded the pleas for lenience from a visiting Bay of Islands chief named Te Pahi.


After the news reached Kororareka, Captain Alexander Berry, a merchant who was trading with the whaling fleet in Russell, arrived by boat a few weeks later to collect the survivors. Upon his return to the Bay of Islands, Berry's account of the incident portrayed Te Pahi's role in the massacre in an unfavourable light, with the tragic result that in March 1810, the crews of five whaling ships attacked the Rangihoua village of Te Pahi. The whalers shot and wounded Te Pahi, (who later died of his wounds) and murdered at least 60 (some accounts say over 200) of his innocent tribes-people. Another reason for this murderous act of retaliation is attributed to Te Ara's father being called Te Puhi, whose similar sounding name may have led to Te Pahi being tragically confused with him.


After the Boyd


Visits by European ships increased again after 1814 when Reverend Samuel Marsden with the chiefs Ruatara and Hongi Hika visited Whangaroa and returned safely. The purpose of their visit was to settle tensions between Whangaroa and Bay of Islands tribes, which had escalated after the Boyd tragedy.


One of the first ships to resume visits to Whangaroa harbour was the HMS Dromedary in 1820, captained by Richard Alexander Cruise.


The Dromedary called to obtain kauri spars and stayed in the harbour for 5-6 months. Trade flourished during this time, with European crews supplying biscuits, axes, hatchets, saws, spades, hoes and other iron tools, to such an extent that Dr Fairfowl, the surgeon aboard the Dromedary, noted that "they (the Maori) became over-stocked and indifferent to the items". In exchange, Maori provided the Europeans with pigs, potatoes, cabbages, turnips, peas and fish. With this increase in demand for foodstuffs, ground had to be cleared for planting and fires were lit that got out of hand, so much that Captain R. A. Cruise reported the whole country "in a blaze".


The Whangaroa harbour had much to commend it as a place for ships to visit. It had bountiful timber supplies, fresh water, and a population capable of developing food resources for trade. As Captain R. A. Cruise remarked, it was also "One of the finest harbours in the world, the largest fleet might ride in it, and there is not a wind from which it is not sheltered". Adding to his description of Whangaroa harbour's practical aspects, he went on to call it "a singular and beautifully romantic place".


'Tetoro, Chief of New Zealand' drawn from life by R. Read in 1820, and included by Captain R. A. Cruise in his 'Journal of a Ten Months' Residence in New Zealand'  - published in London in 1823

Dr. T. M. Hocken, the noted authority on New Zealand history, states that 'Tetoro' was, in fact 'Titore', the prominent Ngapuhi chief.


From 1820 onwards, using their mission station at Kerikeri as a base, the Anglican missionaries James Kemp and John King made regular visits up the coast to Whangaroa, calling at Tapuaetahi, Te Tii Mangonui, Taronui, Takou Bay, Waiaua, Wainui Bay, and Pupuke. These visits continued throughout the 1820's and 1830's.


In 1823, The Wesleyan Church established New Zealand's first Methodist mission station, named Wesleydale, on the banks of the Kaeo river. The Reverend Samuel Leigh and his wife Catherine, Rev William White, Nathaniel Turner, John Hobbs, James Stack and Luke Wade were the mission's first inhabitants.

The mission had to be abandoned in 1827 when against his orders, warriors from Hongi Hika's war party raided the station. A large conical stone cairn, visible across the paddocks from the main road to the north of Kaeo, marks the site today.



Hongi Hika wanted to take command of the Whangaroa harbour and make it a popular anchorage for visiting ships. With Hongi's advance in 1827, some of the local Maori inhabitants of the area fled immediately; others were driven off. But Hongi himself was the chief casualty - a ball from a musket, the weapon he had helped introduce, passed through his chest during a skirmish on the Hokianga in late January 1827. He died from infection of his bullet wound at his home at Pupuke, near Whangaroa, on 3rd March 1828.


In 1833, an ex-convict and herdsman for the Church Missionary Society's missions in Kerikeri and Waimate, called William Spikeman, travelled to Kaeo with William Parrott, the stone-mason who built the Stone Store in Kerikeri, together with their wives. They bought about 40 acres of land from chief Ururoa for the price of "two double-barrelled guns and cash and goods worth £44". After the brief residence of the Wesleydale missionaries, the Spikemans and the Parrotts became Whangaroa's first European settlers. According to one of their first visitors, Ralph Hodgskin, their intention was to become sawyers and to fell "as much kauri timber and saw it into planks as would load a small vessel, and then send it to Sydney for sale". Hodgkins continues: "They had nearly completed a snug little cottage on an eminence within 200 yards of, and facing the (Kaeo) river - all excepting the front of their dwelling, sheltered by the forest and its lofty trees. In such a wild and secluded spot resided these two families; no native hut within a quarter mile; seldom seeing the face of a European, except that of the missionary, who frequently visits the place to preach and instruct the natives in the neighbourhood".


Thomas Laslett - 'The native village of Ki-ho, New Zealand, with the original Mission House of W White (-?) of the Wesleyan Missionary, 1823'. 1833 Pen & ink on paper, in a notebook or diary, 180 x 230mm.


Hodgskin points out that, although the two families were living within a mile of where the crew of the Boyd lost their lives, the Maori were very friendly towards them. He continues, "I often visited these two families and always experienced the utmost kindness and hospitality". One day


he asked Parrott whether he was contented, and was given a vivid picture of the settler's life: There were pigs, potatoes and vegetables on the property, pigeons and ducks could be easily shot, and fish could be bought for a trifle. If flour or tea were required, a Maori would go to the Bay of Islands for them, at the cost of a little tobacco. A far cry from the eternal mutton and damper of the Australian bush.


Thomas Laslett - 'Paetu, Wangaroa, NZ. Encampment of part of the crew of HMS Buffalo on the border of a Kauri forest, 1833'. Pen & ink on paper, in a notebook or diary, 180 x 230 mm.


A few years later, in 1838, Spikeman and Parrott were joined by another settler, the lay missionary, James Shepherd, who had purchased a large area of land on the southern shores of the harbour, including the spot where Whangaroa township resides. Shepherd built himself a house on Touwai Bay and became active in furthering the Anglican Mission in these parts (see Tauranga Bay - Matangirau). James Shepherd named his Anglican mission Waitangi - not to be confused with the Governor's house and Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands.



In 1840 more Europeans arrived, with the permanent settlement of William Powditch, John and Sarah Hayes, William Baker, and Henry Snowden. Some of these early settlers had bought land in the vicinity in earlier years and now came to stake their titles.

In the same year, the Roman Catholic Church established a mission at Otawhiri Point, between Saies and Totara North. This mission was named Epiwania, after its first service on 6th January 1840 - the feast day of Epiphany and the twelth day after Christmas.

Today the mission is located a few kilometres to the southwest on the main road at Waitaruke, where a cluster of houses has grown around a school and a church called Hato Hohepa te Kamura (Saint Joseph the Carpenter). A large white wooden cross marks the original site of the Roman Catholic mission at Otawhiri Point.

The two prominent rocky outcrops on opposite sides of the channel between Whangaroa and Totara North, Ohakiri and Hopekako, are more commonly known today as St Paul's and St Peter's, in reference to their obvious dome shapes and as a nod to the nearby protestant and catholic missions on their respective sides of the harbour.


The immigrant ship Lancashire Witch arrived in 1865 with more settlers and progress commenced in the timber and kauri gum industries. The harbour's easily accessible and plentiful stands of kauri timber attracted many enterprising men. Shipbuilding began in 1872 when Lane and Brown erected yards at Totara North. Milling was carried on by Christie & Wiggins and, later, by the Kauri Timber Co. whose premises  once occupied 3 acres of the foreshore and had 14,000 square feet under roof at Mill Bay (between the Boyd Gallery and the marina). So much kauri was milled from around the harbour that at one point it was possible to walk from Whangaroa township to Totara North atop the trunks of floating logs waiting to be milled.



By the 1880's, Whangaroa had become one of the most prosperous and well populated parts of Northland. The growing economy and population attracted more commerce. In 1885, to service the increased opportunities for trade and settlers,  the steamship SS Clansman started her weekly passenger, freight and postal service between Mangonui, Whangaroa and Auckland.


The Clansman at Clansman Wharf, Whangaroa. Circa 1910.


The Clansman's service ended in 1932 when road and rail transport had been developed and improved sufficiently to make her no longer competitive. A bronze plaque, mounted on a boulder next to the Clansman wharf in Whangaroa, commemorates her "47 years of faithful service and outstanding contribution to the development of the North".


In the early 1900's, Sea Sick Bay, just inside the south head, was used as a whaling base by Norwegians and 20 years later, Ranfurly Bay on the north head served the same purpose.


In 1933 a fish and shellfish processing company called Zealandia Packing Co was set up on Otawhiri Point at Totara North. Because of the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression, this business easily attracted at least 70 investor workers and soon received large orders from overseas. 2 years later the unscrupulous company directors disappeared with all the cash, leaving the workers and business insolvent. The entire operation had been a scam. More on this story can be found by reading the excellent article by Gwyneth Frear: http://thisistheplace.org.nz/index.php?option=com_kttw&view=storydetails&story_id=445&Itemid=28


During World War 2, fears of invasion by the Japanese prompted the construction of coastal defenses around the harbour entrance. Whangaroa Harbour could be of immense strategic value to an invading fleet, so the defenses were substantial and built and operated by both the army and the navy. Large gun emplacements guarded the harbour entrance on the south head and a series of radio-controlled mines were moored in the passage inside the entrance. The army's 9th Heavy (Coast) Regiment built a barracks to maintain the 6 inch calibre gun on the south head and the navy were in charge of the mines from their station at Matakaraka Bay, near Tatahi (the Haystack).



In 1961 the Ministry of Works completed the new State Highway 1  through the Mangamuka Gorge, linking Okaihau (north of Kaikohe) to Kaitaia, diverting much Kaeo road traffic inland, and thus began the area's slow but steady decline as an important stop on the main north-south land route.


To learn more about the rich history of Whangaroa, we highly recommend a visit to the Whangaroa County Museum and Archives Society in Leigh Street, Kaeo. 

Visit their website by clicking on this link: http://whangaroamuseum.weebly.com


Accommodation at Whangaroa


There are many accommodation options in Whangaroa, including a camping ground, a hotel, motels, baches, bed & breakfasts, and luxury lodges.

Click on the coloured headings to open a link to the accomodation providers.


Coastal Chalet Suites is a guest-house with 3 self-contained luxury suites of various sizes. www.coastalchaletguesthouse.co.nz


Fantail Point is a 3 bedroom house available for holiday rentals.


Kent Street is an architect-designed modern 3 bedroom house.


Kent St, Whangaroa is an affordable 3 bedroom cottage.


Kingfish Lodge. This water access-only lodge, conference centre and restaurant has just had a major revamp by its proud new owners, Jeremy and Jacqui. www.kingfishlodge.co.nz


The Marlin Hotel. There has been a hotel catering to guests at Whangaroa on this site since 1885. www.marlinhotel.co.nz


Ota Point Whangaroa is a one bedroom self-contained unit overlooking Waitapu Bay.


Pacific Harbour Lodge has 6 spacious apartments and a large (3 double bedroom) house overlooking the harbour. www.pacificlodge.co.nz


Sunseeker House is a 3 bedroom holiday house on Old Hospital Road, Whangaroa.


Sunseeker Lodge is a self-catering hostel with a fully furnished lodge, 2 apartments and backpackers accommodation. www.sunseekerlodge.co.nz


Waimanu Lodge has 2 luxury self-contained suites with magnificent views over the harbour. www.waimanulodge.co.nz


Whangaroa Bed & Breakfast offers friendly, comfortable accommodation in a home-like atmosphere. Ph: +64 9 405 1247. Email: r.khayes@xtra.co.nz


Whangaroa Harbour Holiday Park is a camping ground with tent and caravan sites and cabins beside the upper reaches of the harbour. +64 9 405 0306. For more information, click here.


Whangaroa Lodge Motel. 8 Church Street, Whangaroa (overlooking the marina).

Tel +64 9 405 0022  www.whangaroalodgemotel.co.nz


Boat & Fishing Charters at Whangaroa


Whangaroa is world famous as a base for deep sea big game fishing. There are many highly-skilled and experienced boat captains competing for your custom, should you wish to try your hand at landing a big fish.

To get a glimpse of some of these mighty creatures on land, visit the Marlin wharf during the summer months to see the almost daily haul of record-breaking marlin, tuna, mahimahi and sharks being weighed there, or visit the Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club next to the wharf and view some of their mounted trophy fish adorning the clubroom's walls.


The Boyd Gallery operates a charter boat booking service, or alternatively, you can contact the boat skippers directly via the Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club's website:



Artists at Whangaroa

As well as the depictions of the Boyd incident above, the harbour has attracted many painters, photographers and even the occasional poet, eager to capture our inspiring natural landscape.

The following is an incomplete chronological survey of some of these works.


Charles Heaphy - 'Wangaroa Harbour'. Watercolour, 130 x 205 mm. 1840. Courtesy of the Fletcher Collection.


Charles Heaphy - 'Entrance of Wangaroa, North - The scene of the Boyd Massacre'. 1840. Pen & ink drawing, 28 x 40 cm. Courtesy of Auckland War Memorial Museum.


The artist, explorer, soldier (and the first NZ recipient of the Victoria Cross), Charles Heaphy sailed to Kaipara, Hokianga and Whangaroa harbours shortly after his arrival in Wellington from London in late 1839. The ship he depicted in his views of the harbour at Whangaroa is most likely the Tory, on which he was a passenger and was en-route to the Chatham Islands.

It is likely that Charles Heaphy drew the unknown artist's view of James Shepherd's Anglican mission house, 'Waitangi' at Touwai Bay, now in the National Library of New Zealand collection, as shown on this website's Tauranga Bay page.


Richard Taylor - 'WNW from the hill above Shepherd's Mission'. Dated Nov 13, 1841. Pencil on paper, 85 x 145mm.

The prominent rock outcrops above Waihi Bay in the central background are known as 'The Twelve Apostles'.


John Kinder - 'The Cupolas of St Peter & St Paul, Wangaroa, Dec. 29 1858 - Scene of the blowing up of the Boyd'. Watercolour, 207 x 345 mm. Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.


Kinder's watercolour view is painted from Waitangio or Fergusson Point, in the  upper reaches of the harbour. The panoramic drawing below is also sketched from the west, with St Paul's / Ohakiri prominent on the right.


John Kinder - 'Panorama of Whangaroa Harbour' 1858. Pencil on paper, 98 x 455mm.


Charles Blomfield - 'Whangaroa, showing Taratara and figures in a canoe'.  1879. Oil on canvas, 437 x 681 mm.

Collection of the Alexander Turnbull Library.


Charles Blomfield - 'In Whangaroa Harbour' c.1880-89. Oil on canvas, 375 x 440 mm.


Eden Bleazard - 'Taratara Mountain, Whangaroa Harbour'. 1884. Oil on canvas, 156 x 229 mm.

Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.



Albert Aldis - 'Okahumoko Bay, Whangaroa'. 1888. Oil on canvas, 734 x 1040 mm.

Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.


Charles Blomfield - 'The Mountain's Crown, Kauri Forest, Whangaroa'. 1918. Oil on canvas, 508 x 762 mm.

Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.


Daniel Manders Beere - 'Coastal Road, Whangaroa'. Photograph, ca1890's

This old photograph shows the road around the shore behind St Paul's / Ohakiri, leading from Whangaroa to Kaeo.


The cliff stronghold referred to in the above painting by Colonel Boscawen is most likely Okahumoko in Pekapeka Bay. From the New Zealand Gazette, published in 1927.


This image shows St James' Church, Whangaroa (left) and the old schoolroom (right) with St Paul's Rock behind.

Eric Lee-Johnson 'Whangaroa'. 1950. Ink & watercolour, 580 x 390 mm.

Courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.


Stanley Palmer - 'Ohaururu - Whangaroa'. 2004. Engraving, 632 x 926 mm. Courtesy of International Art Centre.


Brian Dahlberg - 'On the Seventh Day - Whangaroa Harbour'. Oil on board, 550 x 900 mm.

Courtesy of International Art Centre, Auckland.