Historic Waewaetorea Island Recreation Reserve

Māori settlement

Prehistoric Māori thrived in this island environment, which is seen in the density of archaeological sites. Sites on this island are characterised as headland pa, terraces, gardening lines and storage pits.

European settlement

Waewaetorea Island.
Waewaetorea Island

An historic account of Waewaetorea is found in the records of French explorer Marion du Fresne’s expedition to the Bay of Islands in 1772. The French “Plan du Port Marion” tell us that Wawaetorea was where the two ships “Castries and “Mascarin” first anchored.

DOC's work

The island became part of the Maritime and Historic Park in 1980 and today it is under the care of the Department of Conservation.

Conservation work includes:

  • Pest eradication as part of Project Island Song
  • Re-vegetation programme

Waewaetoria South Beach looking towards Urupukapuka and Motukiekie.
Waewaetoria South Beach looking
towards Urupukapuka and Motukiekie

Visiting Waewaetorea Island

There are two headland pa worth visiting on this island, the southern one is to the right of Otawake Beach - you can see its deep defensive ditch. You can walk onto the other headland pa, which is near the Orurua blowhole.

Getting there

Waewaetorea Island is located in the Bay of Islands - access is by boat only.


The Story of the Bay of Islands Maritime and Historic Park 1989. Department of Conservation.

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