Pawarenga is a small town and farming locality on the south-eastern shoreline of the Whangape Harbour, Far North District, New Zealand.


General Information

1Pawarenga is a small town and farming locality on the south-eastern shoreline of the 2Whangape harbour, Far North District, New Zealand, at the mouth of the estuary of the 5Rotokakahi River. Site of one of the great Pās (fortified village) of Northland. In common with all the west coast inlets the wild surf has created a bar while inside the hills provides protection on three sides, leaving the western barrier dune to keep out the Tasman Sea. The settlement is 22 kilometres south-west of Broadwood, on the south-eastern shoreline of the Whangape Harbour, and nestled in a beautiful valley. The area is relatively undeveloped and home to a large number of Māori families and their whanau. The church, marae, and school are all closely linked and the residents of the settlement are proud of their Māori Catholic heritage.

Attractions and Activities

The Golden Stairs Walkway takes its name from the spectacular display of Kowhai flowering in spring. The walkway commences just past Pawarenga along the eastern shores of the entrance to Whangape harbour. Access is also obtained from 3Mitimiti, along the beach. The track is easy to follow as it travels along the ridge, providing views inland and over the coastal slopes of the 4Warawara forest. Spectacular views up and down the coast are also afforded. The Whangape Harbour mouth is accessible via two main trails. One through the Golden Stairs from Pawarenga south to the headlands of Whangape Harbour. The other is a 20 km track from Mitimiti through the Warawara Forest to Pawarenga. You will experience flora and fauna and the natural beauty of the untouched land. You could either walk the track or take a guided horse trek. Warawara forest adjacent to Pawarenga is special for the creatures and plants that live there. Rated second in Northland rankings, it is home to the provinces only population of Rifleman (bird) - the countrys northernmost. Weighing in at a minscule 6 grams and measuring just 80mm, it is the smallest of New Zealand birds. The Riflemaen are so small they are in greater danger of seccumbing to the cold than larger birds. Born blind, naked and totally dependent on their parents for food, Riflemen chicks require a cosy nest to grow up in. Master nest builders, Riflemen choose a ready-made cavity such as small knot hole in which they weave an outer structure of tightly twined twigs and straw. Inside this they place a layer of coarse feathers followed by an inner layer of down feathers. Kiwi still survive there as do Kaka and long-tailed bats.
Maori Mythology

The narrow entrance into Whangape Harbour can be seen from Pawarenga, a small Māori settlement on the southern shore of the harbour. The clouds mist on a bleak summer day brings to mind visions of the local Māori legend of Raetea the dragon taniwha and an octopus named
Te Wheke.

View of the narrow entrance to Whangape Harbour from Pawarenga. Far North, North Island, New Zealand
The narrow entrance into Whangape Harbour can be seen from Pawarenga.
Maori Translations

1 Pawarenga;
Pawa – smoke
bird snare
         part of a rat trap
renga – be full
     particles of a meal
  scattered about.
Whanga - stretch of water, bay
pe - crushed
3Mitimiti - shallow water
4Warawara - the spirit forest
Roto - lake
kakahi - freshwater shellfish

The Māori people of this region are Te Rarawa. Te Rarawa unlike most other iwi (tribe) do not descend from on ancestor or one waka (canoe). The name is given to a collective group of hapu (sub-tribes). Te Rarawa originates from three important waka. From the Ngātokimatawhaorua waka, Kurahaupō waka and both relate to the Tinana waka. The origins of Te Rarawa were at Hokianga, where the famed explorer Kupe landed and later returned to Hawaiki.
One of Pawarenga's favourite daughters was Dame Whina Cooper who was born in the Hokianga of Te Rarawa descent. Dame Whina Cooper inspired the famous 1975 march from the Nga Puhi area to Wellington, to protest the loss of the Māori land rights. The grand gesture was a unifying demonstration of passive resistance as people of many backgrounds joined her march (hikoi).



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