Kaikohe is the central pivotal point of the Twin Coast Discovery Route and described by the symbol of the wheel as the Hub of the North, New Zealand.
1 Kaikohe is situated midway between the Bay of Islands and the 2 Hokianga Harbour placing it in an excellent strategic position in the centre of the province of Northland. Being only one hour from the two main centres of Whangarei and Kaitaia., it is the central pivot of the 'Twin Coast Discovery Route', and described by the symbol of the wheel representing the 'Hub of the North'. The town is situated on the slopes of a volcanic hill and surrounded by many former 3pa sites. To the west of the town is Kaikohe Hill, rising 300 metres above sea level giving imposing views of Hokianga Habour with its sand dunes, and of Mount 4Hikurangi (625 metres). Situated six kilometres north of Kaikohe is Lake 5Omapere, five kilometres long and two to three metres deep, on the left of the road, is the dome-shaped hill Mount Putahi, a sacred burial place. The district supports a variety of farm activities including steep, cattle and dairy farming and market gardening.
Shopping is well catered for with various national chain retailers, variety and furniture shops, garden centres, hardware, stationers, sports equipment, computerware, farm machinery supplies along with automotive services. These plus a variety of second hand shops and three supermarkets make Kaikohe a one stop shopping town.
Historically the town is the shopping and service centre for a farming, horticultural, and forestry community. Banking facilities include National Bank, Westpac, ASB and BNZ. Dining is well provided for with a variety of cafes and takeaways.
The Pioneer Village is an excellent place to visit and is located on Recreation Road in Kaikohe. The Village covers several acres with typical historic buildings of the era, such as a General Store, Jail, Fire Station and Mill. One noteable building being New Zealand's oldest Courthouse.
6Ngāwhā Springs, just five kilometres east of Kaikohe is the only high temperature geothermal field in New Zealand outside of the Taupo Volcanic Zone. Ngawha Springs is a health resort and offers a variety of mud pools to soothe away your worries. There are eight pools, each with a different, but natural, chemical makeup. Each of these pools are reputed to have a separate healing function.
'New Zealand's best kept secret'.
North of the town are the native forests of Puketi and Omahuta which are the largest continuous tracts of Kauri in Northland. This joint forest has become a santuary for the Kauri and Kokako, an extremely rare native bird. If you want ot try your hand at bird watching or simply enjoy the forest, there are several walks avaliable starting from Manginangina Kauri Walk (15 minutes) to the Waipapa Track (two days).
Kaikohe's newest icon, the largest plough in New Zealand is located at the eastern entrance to Kaikohe. This plough was used for creating drains across swampland. It was pulled by a large track laying vehicle similar to a WWII Bren Gun Carrier with a mounted winch. This winch carrier could work its way across the swamp, anchor itself, and then proceed to pull the plough through with a wire rope leaving behind it a deep serviceable drain.
The popular Memorial Park provide tree shaded picnic table areas and children's playgrounds for the enjoyment of families. The Kaikohe Library Square and playground houses the public toilets, painted with scenes of times gone by.
Celebrating Ngapuhitanga on Northlands Anniversary Weekend at Lindvart Park Kaikohe, the Ngapuhi Festival staged. An annual event it is a family event featuring local and international acts, food, merchandise, local crafts, organic produce, Ngapuhi stories and their histories. In mid January the Kaikohe A&P Show at the Ngawhai Showgrounds happens. It is a yearly event where farming, business and family meets, and there is entertainment for everyone.
Kaikohe was first populated by the Ngā Puhi people moving eastward from Hokianga Harbour along an old Māori track linking east and west. It is the home land of Hone Heke Pokai, the Chief involved in the Northland wars. Originally the Māori village was called Opango, but in the 1800s the village was raided by a hostile tribe and the survivors subsisted among the Kohekohe groves on Tokareireia (Kaikohe Hill). After this incident, the village became known as Kaikohekohe, which was later abbreviated to Kaikohe. The last of the kohekohe trees on Tokareireia remained until the late 1920s at the head of a gully running away below Takeke Road just past the railway bridge. Erosion gradually undermined the tree and it slipped away during heavy rain.
After the flagstaff incident at Russell, Hone Heke retired inland to Lake Omapere where he built a pa called 7Te Kahika, as he was anticipating an attack by the British. This was the site of the first battle and the British were defeated. The district was the scene of fighting of bloody battles during the Northland Land Wars. A small church at 8Ohaeawai, nine kilometres northeast of Kaikohe, marks the site of a battle in 1845 between local Māori (led by Hone Heke), and British troops in which the British were again defeated. St Michael's Church which marks the battle site has fallen British soldiers buried in the grounds of this historic Church.
The war chief, Hone Heke settled in Kaikohe after warring in the north had finished. In 1840s Rawiri Taiwhanga is credited with being the first Māori commercial dairy farmer, and has a park in town dedicated to him.
In 1845 the first European settler arrived, being the Reverend Richard Davis sent to establish a mssion in Kaikohe. In the 1880s Europeans lured by the trade in Kauri gum established the settlement of Kaikohe, and by 1890 eight european families were living there. by the early 1890s, Kaikohe had a Blacksmiths, Wheelwright, General Store, Saddler, Boot and Shoe Maker and had become the Commercial Centre for the Gum Trade.
In 1927 Kaikohe became an independent Town District.