Story: Auckland places

Page 2. Whangaparāoa

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2013 population: 285

Waiwera hot springs and beach are at the mouth of the Waiwera River, 48 km north of Auckland. The full name, Waiwerawera, means very hot water. Robert Graham developed New Zealand’s first tourist spa here from 1848. At his property, Wenderholm, on Waiwera spit, he established a garden of exotic trees and planted the largest pōhutukawa grove in 19th-century New Zealand. The property became Auckland’s first regional park in 1965.


Settlement on the upper reaches of the Pūhoi River, 6 km south of Warkworth. It was founded by Captain Martin Krippner from Staab in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. He encouraged fellow Bohemians to join him on land granted by the provincial government. The settlers felled 7 million superfeet (16,520 cubic metres) of kauri and developed dairy farms on the cleared land. The Puhoi Valley Cheese Company was founded in 1983, and employs about 100 people.

Up the boohai

The first group of Bohemian settlers in Pūhoi in 1863 faced extreme hardship, and had to live on the shoots of nīkau palms and gifts of food from the Ngāti Rongo people. Their isolation led to the Kiwi phrase ‘up the boohai’ (a corruption of ‘Pūhoi’) meaning ‘the back of beyond’.


Town 40 km north of Auckland on the ‘Hibiscus Coast’. The extension of Auckland’s northern motorway has made Ōrewa one of the fastest growing settlements north of the city. Although Ōrewa is now attracting more families, its population is older and less ethnically diverse (91% European in 2013) than the rest of Auckland.

On the Waiti (Wade) River, 5 kilometres south-west, is the historic township of Silverdale, now a factory outlet centre.

Whangaparāoa Peninsula

Large peninsula jutting into the Hauraki Gulf 25 km north of Auckland. The town of Whangaparāoa lies on its southern side. The easy lifestyle and high number of rest homes have made Whangaparāoa a retirement haven. The peninsula’s most luxurious development is the Gulf Harbour Marina and country club, where the World Cup of Golf was held in 1998. The Shakespear family’s farm at the eastern end was purchased and opened as the Shakespear Regional Park in 1967.

Tiritiri Matangi Island

Small island and open bird sanctuary 4 km east of the Whangaparāoa Peninsula. Kawerau and Ngāti Paoa people were drawn there by the shark-fishing grounds. Since Tiritiri was added to the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park in 1971, volunteers have planted 250,000 pōhutukawa and other native plants. Bird life has flourished, with rare birds including takahē, brown teal, saddleback, stitchbird and kōkako.

Tiritiri attracts 20,000 visitors a year. The 20-m Tiritiri lighthouse (1864) and surrounding buildings form the best preserved lighthouse complex in New Zealand.

How to cite this page:

Margaret McClure, 'Auckland places - Whangaparāoa', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 July 2024)

Story by Margaret McClure, published 6 Dec 2007, updated 5 Aug 2016