What’s so great about Te Waitere, what to do and best things to see
Side roads, off the beaten track in the King Country
Te Waitere should be part of a road trip exploring the King Country. It is an area rich in Maori history and early European settlement. One of the first mission stations was established in Te Waitere by Rev Whiteley in 1835. The Te Waitere Boat Club is home to the traditional whale club and has an active Facebook page. You will receive a warm rural welcome. The nearby Piripiri Caves are free to enter and worthwhile visiting.
WHAT TO DO HIGHLIGHTS
- View Mangapohue Natural Bridge, limestone arches spanning the Mangapohue River. Fossil hunters look for limestone bluffs and cliffs where layers of oyster shell fossils are evident to the naked eye
- Te Waitere Boat club … proudly homes traditional Whaleboats which are still used recreationally. Whaleboats have been on Kawhia Harbour for over 100 years
- Nearby Otorohanga offers New Zealand identity in the form of quirky fun outdoor sculptures as part of the townscape, check Six fun family things to do in Otorohanga. Te Waitere to Otorohanga
- Walking and tramping Piripiri Caves, Te Waitere to Piripiri Caves
Walk to a cave entrance with a viewing platform.
- 300 m return return via same track
- 5 min
- Easiest: Short walk
Piripiri Cave offers the chance to soak in the majesty of a cave in one of the few free caves open to the general public in the area.
A short walk takes you up through native bush and past some limestone outcrops, and then descends a short staircase to the cave entrance. A platform at the bottom allows you to stand and marvel at the size of the cave and the fragile ecosystems within.
Duration of walk: 5 – 10 minutes easy boardwalk with a few steps.
Mangapohue Natural Bridge from Te Waitere distance
- View Mangapohue Natural Bridge, limestone arches spanning the Mangapohue River. Fossil hunters look for limestone bluffs and cliffs where layers of oyster shell fossils are evident.
- Long-lived lemon tree
A lemon tree at Te Waitere still producing juicy fruit in the early 2000s is reputed to have been part of John Whiteley’s orchard in the 1840s. It is located near the wharf and surrounded by a wooden fence.
- Albatross point
Surf and turf conflict, ‘When three Te Awamutu surfers took jet skis from Kawhia Harbour out to the little-known surf break off Albatross Point, they caught the attention of locals. The bloke, his 14-year-old son and an old mate heard two shots but initially dismissed it as hunters. The third shot landed in the water metres away from the teenager, and the traumatised trio later told police they saw two people on the bank shouting abuse.’ Nikki Macdonald05:39, Aug 25 2018
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED TE WAITERE?
Te Waitere is a small settlement on the southern shores of Kāwhia Harbour. It was the site of a Wesleyan mission station in the 19th century. Before the missionaries arrived, this area was known as Ahuahu to Māori – Te Waitere is a transliteration of missionary John Whiteley’s surname. Early settlers called the locality Lemon Point because Whiteley planted groves of lemon trees, and the top of the point bears this name. This photograph was taken from the mission site, which is marked by a heritage trail sign and a monument erected by the Historic Places Trust.
BEST TIME TO GO
- Less than 20
Side road exploration, take care on winding roads
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
According to Te Waitere – King Country places Te Waitere was originally known as Ahuahu and later named Lemon Point by the missionary John Whiteley. Lemon trees he planted are still there today…Local Maori later renamed the peninsula Te Waitere (Waitere is Maori for Whiteley) in his honour. Rev Whiteley established a Mission Station in the area in 1835.’ During the mid 1850’s there was extensive trading between Te Waitere and the surrounding district using the harbour as a transport route. It was at Ahuahu that the district’s first Post Office, or perhaps mail station, was established, run by the Mission from 1843 until 1855.
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