Story: Bay of Plenty places

Page 14. Urewera lowland settlements

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Settlement 13 km south of Whakatāne, at the junction of the Whakatāne and Waimana rivers. In 2013 the population was 786.

The government bought and subdivided land in the district in the 1880s. The township, known then as Ōpouriao North, was laid out in 1896. It was supposed it might eclipse Whakatāne – the Whakatāne Agricultural and Pastoral Association was first established at Ōpouriao North in 1907. The town was renamed Tāneatua in 1920. In 1928 it became and remained the railhead for the Bay of Plenty sector of the East Coast main trunk line.

In more recent years, with Whakatāne more easily reached and farm production static rather than growing, the population has declined. Tāneatua’s unemployment rate stood at 20.2% in 2013 (8.6% for the region). But with average monthly rentals in the towns at around two-thirds of the national average, the less well-off could make their income go further.

In reference to the tribe that occupies the Urewera region, Tāneatua is known as ‘the gateway to Tūhoe’. Anamata, a Tūhoe education provider, is located in the town – and just beyond there is an asparagus packing plant.

Rūātoki North

Tūhoe settlement on the Whakatāne River where it emerges from the mountain ranges into farmland, 10 km south of Tāneatua.

Farming in Rūātoki benefited from the land development programmes of Apirana Ngata in the 1920s and 1930s. There are a number of meeting houses, among them Rongokarae. The Rūātoki school, Te Wharekura o Rūātoki, teaches mainly in Māori language. In 2003 the school was overall winner of the national primary schools kapa haka (traditional performing arts) competition.


Farming locality along with nearby Nukuhou North. The town is 14 km south-east of Tāneatua. In 2013 the population was 576.

From the late 1860s much of the land was leased or purchased from the Māori owners and farmed by Europeans. From 1885 it was known as the Waimana estate. The estate was subdivided in 1907, and many present-day local families are the descendants of settlers from that time.

Waimana also has a strong Māori presence: Tataiahape was the site of Waitangi Tribunal hearings into the Tūhoe claim in November 2003. The township of Waimana has, with improved roads, lost business to Whakatāne, but it still has a few stores, and a craft outlet stocked with local wares.

How to cite this page:

Malcolm McKinnon, 'Bay of Plenty places - Urewera lowland settlements', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 April 2024)

Story by Malcolm McKinnon, published 5 Dec 2005, updated 1 Jul 2015