Kaitaia, the largest town situated in the Far North of New Zealand. Kaitai enjoys a subtropical climate, and the region is often called the Winterless North.


General Information

1Kaitaia, the largest town in Northland, is situated in the Far North. of New Zealand. It enjoys a subtropical climate, and the region is often called the 'Winterless North'. Kaitaia is commencement point for bus tours along Ninety Mile Beach, and service centre to the isolated North. Kaitaia makes a good base from which to explore the Far North. Air New Zealand links Kaitaia to Auckland, as well as coach services. A busy farming town, it also supports vineyards and fruit growing - especially avocados. Like most rural towns Kaitaia has its very own annual Agricultural and Pastoral Show (A & P Show), which is over one hundred years old and one of the oldest in New Zealand.
The surrounding areas are home to many skilled craftspeople working in wood, pottery, paint, glass, ceramics, flax, bone and pounamu (greenstone).
Centennial Park Entrance. Kaitaia, Far North, North Island, New Zealand Centennial Park Entrance.
Attractions and Activities
Four wheel drive (4WD) and quad bike tours are popular along the beach, sand tobogganing the giant dunes, as is surfcasting. Tours of Ninety Mile beach and Cape Reinga can be arranged from Kaitaia, making it an ideal base if you are reliant on bus tours, other than the longer trips from the Bay of Islands. Kaitaia has a range of modestly priced independent Hotels, Motels and Backpacker Lodges.

Thirty minutes north is the Wagener Park and Museum at Houhora, with nearby Ahipara providing fishing, boating, swimming, golfing and surfing. The Kauri Festival takes place in September, all over towns in Northland. Two towns in the Far North which host events annually for this festival are Kaitaia and ten minutes up the road Awanui.
Star Gazer sculpture. Kaitaia, Far North, North Island, New Zealand Star Gazer.
The best place to gain a sense of the area is the Far North Regional Museum, with interesting displays of local life and history, and one section of Far North Māori pieces is particularly interesting. Enter under one of the three copies of the 13th century Maori carving, found around 1920 on the outskirts of Kaitaia. This work is an example of the transitional period, during which Polynesian art began to take on Māori elements. Pride of place in the main room goes to the earliest European artefact to be left in New Zealand, a huge one-and-half-tonne anchor, one of the three abandoned by de Surville when he left the north a hurry in 1769.

Māori people make up a large proportion of the population, and strongly influence the local culture. One way to sample the culture is to take a Tell Tale Travel Tour or a visit to the Te Rarawa Marae, just outside Kaitaia. Tours last roughly two hours, though times and itineraries are flexible, and the emphasis is on fostering an understanding of Māori Culture, in particular Marae Protocol, land issues, spiritual concepts of healing, life and death.

In late February one of the biggest shows in the Far North takes place with the Kaitaia A & P Show at the Kaitaia Show Grounds. In early March a Maori arts and food festival is held in Kaitaia, this is two weeks before the annual marathon on Ninety Mile Beach , known as the Marathon - Te Houtaewa 90 Mile Beach Challenge. Kaitaia serves as the event’s base, the marathon is followed by the Te Houtaewa Surf Challenge where six-man waka (canoe) compete in sprints off Ninety Mile beach (90 Mile Beach).
Rugby player sculpture. Kaitaia, Far North, North Island, New Zealand Rugby Player.


Kaitaia has large variety of shops, including cafes and restaurants.

Archaeological evidence shows the Far North was first settled by Polynesian ancestors of the Māori, about 900 years ago. Kaitaia has a long history of Māori occupation and the region still retains a strong Māori flavour today, with many interesting structures and sites. Originally the Māori village at Kaitaia was reached by canoe from Rangaunu Harbour , via the Awanui River . Kaitaia is one of the country’s oldest European towns, with its settling in March 1834, when land for a Mission Station was formally paid for. The regions European history was greatly shaped by the discovery of kauri gum, farming and the arrival of missionaries.
The Ngati Kahu - Ngati Kuri tribes had dealings with Te Rarawa for some decades, before Te Rarawa Chief, Nōpera Pana-Kareao, invited missionaries into the area. Six pa sites once stood on the land that was offered for sale to missionaries. The second signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in April 1840 by 61 chiefs was competed at this Mission station.
Māori cooperated with European building, planting and road making, and grew their own wheat and food crops. Māori owned their own ship The Fairy, and took their produce of wheat and food crops to Auckland by way of this vessel. Before the 1860s Europeans were low in numbers, but from 1870 to 1900 the settlement expanded rapidly, when kauri gum diggers arrived, many whom were Dalmatian.
Kaitaia tri-linqual welcome sign. Far North, North Island, New Zealand Kaitaias Tri-Lingual Welcome Sign.
Dobrodošli’( Dalmation), ‘Welcome’(English) and ‘Haere mai’(Māori) all greet visitors arriving in Kaitaia, in the Far North District.

Maori Translations

1 Kaitaia
Kai - food
taia - neap, of the tide, abundance
        Outer palisade of a pā
2 Houhora
Hou - feather
hora - scatter over a surface
3 Ahipara
Sacred Fire
Good fertile farming land around Kaitaia, combined with the timber and gum industries, and adding the port facilities at Awanui, resulted in the establishment of Kaitaia as the commercial centre for the district. The region is now mainly agricultural and much of New Zealand ’s avocados come from this district, and it also has the New Zealand ’s most northern vineyard. The very first War Memorial erected to commemorate the dead of the First World War was unveiled at Kaitaia on 24 March 1916 , less than a year after the landing at Gallipoli.

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