Oblique 3-D view of Hokianga Harbour and surrounding area
North Head sand dune, viewed across the harbour
Have a play with big balls, the Koutu Boulders

The Hokianga area surrounds the Hokianga Harbour in the Northland region of the North Island of New Zealand. It is sparsely populated and has many little clusters of houses in a very rural setting. The density of population is less than one per square kilometre. A good place to relax and chill out.

The icon for the Hokianga is the kauri tree. 75% of all kauri are in the Hokianga, which has four protected kauri forests: Waipoua in the south-west, Omahuta to the north-east, Warawara in the north-west and Puketi in the east.


Other destinations


Its full Maori name is Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe, the returning-place of Kupe, the legendary Polynesian discoverer of New Zealand 800–1,000 years ago. The entrance to the beautiful harbour is guarded by two headlands that legend tells are the taniwha who accompanied Kupe to this country. The North Head is called Niniwa and the South Head is Arai-te-Uru. The eleven rivers that feed the Hokianga are the paths their children made.

The population is 6,000–7,000 of whom 60% are of Maori descent, Te Rarawa iwi in the north, Ngapuhi iwi in the south. Many people are descendents of early European settlers as well as being able to trace their Maori ancestry back to Rahiri.

The remoteness of the Hokianga, combined with a lack of investment in the region, gave it a reputation as being one of the most poverty-stricken parts of the country. This neglect caused the area to remain pristine, unspoilt, untouched and untamed.

The climate is sub-tropical: bananas, figs and peaches grow wild. Horticulture is gradually making a come-back after years of neglect.

There are many arts-related activities from country and western music to film and book festivals, kapa haka and jazz.

Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust runs the hospital and the health system which includes district nurses in nine clinics, a dental service and other services such health promotion. The Trust is elected by the community and the doctors work for salaries. On a per capita basis, it is the most efficient and effective health service in the country.

Get in

From Dargaville drive 54 km northwards on State Highway 12 (SH 12) past the Waipoua Forest info spot. The Hokianga starts at the parking for Tane Mahuta.

From Kaikohe drive westward on State Highway 12. After about 9 km you will drive into a basin, which is where the Hokianga starts.

From the Bay of Islands, Fullers GreatSights operate daily tours to the Hokianga and Waipoua Forest.

Get around

There is no public transport in the Hokianga. To explore, you need a vehicle or boat. A vehicle ferry crosses the harbour between Rawene and Kohukohu.


A visitor to Waipoua Forest sprays disinfectant on her shoes to reduce the spread of kauri dieback disease.
Wairere Boulders, a prime landmark of Hokianga and a world unique natural phenomenon
Canyon eroded out of sand dune, forming the northern part of the Hokianga Heads



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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 05, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.