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Whareakeake beach (formerly known as Murdering Beach)

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Dunedin Whareakeake beach historic Maori Pa sites, remote Otago Peninsula beach with a tragic past.

Whareakeake beach (formerly known as Murdering Beach), Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand @certasolutions
Whareakeake beach @certasolutions

Formerly known as Murdering Beach, Whareakeake is a small, secluded, north-facing beach, separated from Long Beach by a high headland. A thriving Māori trading village was based there until a conflict in 1817 with sailors from an European whaling ship led to a massacre of the village’s inhabitants. Artifacts from the time have long been excavated.

Today the remote gold sandy beach is largely home to surfers intent on enjoying the right-handed point break. The tides create shell banks on the beach and together with enormous piles of driftwood this is the perfect place for a winter walk on a remote isolated beach.


Gaze out over the ocean and find your peaceful moment.

The Story of … — Murdering Beach

… What was the reason for the Maoris’ sudden attack on the white men on Murdering Beach, and subsequent attack and counter attacks… It was ascertained that the unfortunate Tucker (sailor) had, in 1811, stolen a preserved head from the natives at Riverton, and had only saved his life from utu or reprisal by the vessel sailing before the theft was discovered. Incidentally this was the first baked head offered for sale in Sydney. Whether Tucker thought that the theft had been forgotten or his offense condoned does not appear, as he had the hardihood to return and claim the friendship of the natives whose kindness and confidence he had outraged on a former occasion.

Whareakeake beach (formerly known as Murdering Beach), Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand @brookescarlett_
Murdering Beach @brookescarlett_

For more information about Dunedin beaches and what to do visiting Dunedin & Otago Peninsula check out Dunedin Travel Guide.



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