Kawhia district, with its beautiful harbour, is part of the fascinating King Country region of New Zealand. Tucked in off the Tasman ocean on the West coast, this historic eco wonderland is an oasis of beauty and has rich Maori history to match. This is where the Tainui waka arrived over 750 years ago, bringing the Tainui People to a harbour teeming with fish and wildlife. They established their main settlement at where Maketu Marae, is still today. Kawhia is considered their spiritual homeland. Although this region was once the hub of Maori activity, it now only accommodates a small population of approx. 650 residents.
The Undiscovered Jewel of New Zealand
Kawhia by the sea, as its usually described, is off the beaten track, so it doesn’t attract the droves of tourists heading for better promoted tourism destinations. Like its neighbor “Waitomo caves”, only 50 Kilometers away. Yet many consider this coastal town as the undiscovered jewel of New Zealand. But I sincerely believe, to really experience the essence of this eco jewel, you need to venture out of its attractive little village, to its pristine surroundings. Like on the harbour, or its ocean-beaches. Miles and miles of the most stunning, blacksands ocean beach you will ever encounter. You will very likely only find your own footprints in the sand.
What Kawhia Is
And it even has natural hotpools which bubble out of the sand at low tide. The waters are reputed to be healing and therapuetic, according to a local resident. He should know, he drove his mom on his four wheeler bike to the pools almost everyday for over 30 years. Another interesting local is “Bevan” a solo dad with young triplet kids. He says his kids rode a pony out to the ocean beach over 200 times, before they were even three years old. Thats what Kawhia is about. Nature lovers, enjoying their natural heritage.
For those seeking more adventurous activities, there are several charter fishing boats who love the chance to showcase their skills. A cruise boat takes visitors out onto its magnificent harbour, or over to the headlands of “Te Maika”- considered to be the “UFO hotspot” of NZ. Close to the wharf is the Restaurant “Kawhia Seafoods”, where legendary fish and chips are served, and the Museum, housed in the former County Council building. As well as offering information on local Maori and European history, it has an interesting collection of treasures, including moa bones, kete and adzes, and a large display on the Kawhia whaleboats, brought here in 1910 by rowing enthusiasts.
Traditional Maori Kai Festival
If you plan to visit in February, the biggest day of year for the district, is its annual: Kawhia Traditional Maori kai (food) festival, held annually on Waitangi weekend. This is the time when thousands converge on this beautiful, coastal village and sample some of the most, delicious, mouth-watering, tasty Maori dishes, probably on the whole planet. Most food preparations are traditional, but for those who just love their “fish-n-chips”, then theres still plenty of that available too. Just the fuel you need to sit back, relax and watch some real choice, Maori culture entertainment.
Source Head Photograph: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/new zealand/