Whangaroa Harbour is a jewel amongst the bays that encircle the surrounding coastline. The area is steeped in history – from the times of first Maori settlement to whaling, early missionary settlement, Kauri gum digging, logging and milling. The harbour is narrow and deep and early settlers recognised the usefulness of a port which was so close to the kauri spars and timber they needed for sailing ships. One of New Zealand’s earliest shipyards was at Totara North.
Fishing is almost a religion around these parts! The Whangaroa township is known as ‘the Marlin Capital’ of New Zealand. The Whangaroa Big Game Fishing Club, situated over the water’s edge in the township, has an outstanding display of fishing memorabilia. Game fishing in the harbour dates back to 1925 when both Captain L.D. Mitchell and Zane Grey weighed in fish and were the founding members of the club.
The wider Whangaroa area encompasses all of the smaller bays from Taupo Bay around to Matauri Bay including Matangirau, Tauranga Bay, Mahinepua, and Wainui. The main occupational groups for this area are agriculture and fisheries.