Topic: Matakana Island (Tauranga)

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Story on Matakana Island by Jinty Rorke.

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Matakana Island protects the sheltered waters of Tauranga’s inner harbour.  It extends for some 25 kilometres from the narrow and less used northern entrance opposite Te Kura a Maia, Bowentown Heads, to the south eastern entrance to the port of Tauranga opposite Mauao (Mount Maunganui).

Matakana and Rangiwaea Islands top left. Matakana and Rangiwaea Islands top left

The main island is divided into two parts.  An elevated area of fertile soil where most of the inhabitants live bulges out into the inner harbour opposite the Omokoroa peninsula.  It is protected from the sea by the long, low, sandy part of the island, which has supported a forest of exotic pines since the 1920s.

Archaeological deposits have been found on the islands, which indicate that large complex settlements formerly existed there.

Although the population has decreased in recent years, Maori families live on the island, making a living by farming, horticulture, or working at the timber mill on Hunter’s Creek.  The main marae is called Opureora. The hapu are Ngai Tuwhiwhia and Ngati Tauaiti.  The first purchase of land on Matakana Island was by Auckland sea captain William Daldy in 1869.

Matakana can be reached by vehicular ferry from Omokoroa.  A barge also runs daily from Sulphur Point to a wharf on the south eastern side of the island serving the timber mill.

Rangiwaea is accessible from Matakana at low water.  It consists mainly of horticultural blocks run by the Maori owners.  It is of similar geological formation to the “bulge” of Matakana.  The marae on Rangiwaea are Rangiwaea (Whanau a Tauwhao) and Oponui (Te Ngare).

Mauao in the foreground with Matakana Island behind. Mauao in the foreground with Matakana Island behind


Auckland University, Auckland Uniservices. Archaeological survey of Matakana Island Forest Compartment 20, Stands 2,3,4& 5. Preliminary report. Auckland, University of Auckland, 1994

Gullery, Michael. Land alienation since 1868 on Matakana Island and its impact on an island community Auckland, University of Auckland, 1993

Murray, Heeni J. Matakana Island. Tauranga, Te Iwi o Matakana, 1990

Stokes, Evelyn.“Matakana and Rangiwaea: a report on an island community” in Tauranga Moana. Hamilton, University of Waikato, 1980

Woodley, Suzanne. Matakana Island. Wellington, Waitangi Tribunal, 1993

Further information is available through the Tauranga City Libraries’ New Zealand Room.

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Matakana Island (Tauranga)

City:Tauranga, New Zealand