Story: Northland places

Page 12. Waipoua and middle Northland

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Waipoua Forest Sanctuary

Locality on the Waipoua River within the Waipoua State Forest, 55 km north of Dargaville on State Highway 12.

Proclaimed a 9,105-ha forest sanctuary in 1952, it is now managed by the Department of Conservation. It is one of the few remnants of kauri forest to have survived extensive clearing and milling during the 19th century, when kauri timber was needed for ships’ spars and building. The Waipoua Forest contains one of the largest remaining kauri trees, Tāne Mahuta (lord of the forest). It is about 51 m high, with a girth of 14 m. The sanctuary also has populations of kiwi, kōkako, and kauri snails.

Trounson Kauri Park

Forest park of 577 ha, 36 km north-west of Dargaville. It was developed from a 30-ha site covered in kauri trees, gifted to the nation by James Trounson in 1919. It is now managed as a ‘mainland island’ by the Department of Conservation, with intensive pest control to allow the recovery of native plants, birds, bats, and kauri snails.

Middle Northland

Broad zone within the bounds of state highways 1 (between Brynderwyn and Pakaraka) and 12 (which follows a west coast route between those two junctions).

Māori associations

Early Māori seldom traversed this zone, which lay between hapū (sub-tribe) settlements. However, many of its summits are often referred to in oral traditions – for instance Tangihua, Tūtāmoe and Te Tarahi o Rāhiri (near Kaihu). This last peak is named for the ancestor Rāhiri, of Ngāpuhi.


Methodists had a mission station at Tangiterōria from 1836 to 1853. In the latter half of the 19th century and into the 20th much of the kauri was felled. But the soils are not very fertile and the land has only been farmed over extensive areas. Small settlements – Twin Bridges, Pakotai, Tītoki, Ararua, Ōkahu, Maungakaramea, Waiōtira and others – survive along winding gravel roads. These link the farms to the state highways, to local service centres such as Maungatapere, and to the bigger towns of Kaikohe, Dargaville and Whangārei.

How to cite this page:

Claudia Orange, 'Northland places - Waipoua and middle Northland', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 13 June 2024)

Story by Claudia Orange, published 12 Dec 2005, updated 1 May 2015