Views from southern headland

Gulf at your feet

From the walk along the southern headland of Matiatia Bay you get a great view of the two sides of Matiatia Bay – and out beyond to the inner islands of the Hauraki Gulf.

“Mokemoke Pā situated at the northern entrance to Matiatia bay is a powerful, conspicuous remnant of Ngāti Paoa’s history on the island. It was a strategic defensive outpost for the western portion of Te Huruhi prior to the introduction of the musket. The pā is relatively small, and supported the people of Matiatia Bay in times of warfare. Mokemoke Pā is a sentinel that watches over the Bay and its environment.”

- Morehu Wilson, Ngāti Paoa

Anchor yourself

It is a Māori custom to anchor yourself to your sense of place and belonging, by identifying lines of power leading to significant landmarks.

Significant points of the Ngāti Paoa compass within the Hauraki Gulf are visible from here. They are numbered according to the accompanying image.

1. Motuihe – with two significant Ngāti Paoa pā sites. Later a quarantine station, then POW camp, now a Department of Conservation campsite.

2. The Matiatia Channel – source of kai moana (food from the sea), a rich fishing ground since the first arrival of people.

3. Rangitoto – the volcano that came out of the sea about 600 years ago.

4. Whetūmatarau – the ‘many-pointed star’, the southern headland guarding Matiatia bay, is the only bit of land around here still in Māori ownership.

5. Motutapu – with ancient links to Arawa, Ngāti Tai, Ngati Whatua and Ngāti Paoa peoples, an ancient, non-volcanic island, with archeological evidence of moas, Haast’s eagle, NZ raven, tuatara, seals.

It was somehow overlooked when the Alisons purchased Māori blocks for the farm. A Māori family trust still owns this significant and valuable bit of land.

6. Whangaparaoa - Shakespear Regional Park is at the end of this peninsula. It contains an open sanctuary where wildlife is protected by a predator-proof fence.

7. Rakino – a fertile small island, now home to a very small community. Once the place where Māori displaced by the Waikato War, were exiled.

8. Kawau – a large island, once the home of New Zealand Governor Sir George Grey, and now a boaties' haven.

9. Mokemoke – meaning ‘to stand alone’ is the northern headland, once a pā (fortified site)

10. The Noises – Otata (the biggest), Motuhorupapa, Ahahaha are Māori names for islands in this group. The current name for these small islands comes from noisette, meaning ‘hazelnuts’ in French. The name was given to them by the French explorer Dumont D'Urville in 1827, and (obscured, to the right) Hauturu/Little Barrier Island – an extraordinary ecological sanctuary, where pre-European ecosystems are preserved.

Best place for the views

A 15 minute walk through the bush, up from the ferry terminal - or a five minute stroll from the car park lookout on Nick Johnstone Drive.