Western Bay of Plenty (see enlarged map here)spans from Waihi Beach to Pukehina Beach and Otamarakau taking in the Kaituna Catchment, Kaimai, the Wairoa River and Tauranga City. Mauao (Mt Maunganui) sits at its heart.
The region covers 212,000 hectares of coastal, rural and urban areas, much of which is considered as Taonga, meaning a natural treasure. This region is steeped in New Zealand Māori and colonial history, culture & heritage and is New Zealand's fastest growing region today.
The earliest known settlers to the Western Bay of Plenty in the 13th century were Māori from the following waka:
Tākatimu came first with its peoples evolving into Ngāti Ranginui today.
Mātaatua came first into the Whakatane region whose peoples migrated west to form what we know as Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Pukenga iwi today:
Te Arawa: which first arrived at Maketū and today forms part of the Te Arawa Coastal & Waitāha Tangata whenua of Western Bay of Plenty | EAST which covers the area inland from Ōtanewainuku, Te Puke down to Maketu and onto Ōtamaraka
European Settlement At 9.00 am on Friday 23 June 1826 The Herald was the first NAMED European ship to enter Tauranga Harbour, 'Tauranga' meaning 'safe harbour', albeit it is well known that other ships carrying Europeans arrived earlier than this. Read more here
Tauranga Moana - Western Bay of Plenty, west The western area of the Western Bay of Plenty district, which includes Tauranga City, is known as Tauranga Moana (Waihi Beach / Bowentown to Pāpamoā) and was first occupied by the iwi of
Tauranga City Tauranga city sits remarkably in the centre between east and west and this is landmarked by MAUAO or Mt Maunganui - or 'The Mount' many call it. MAUAO can be seen from Waihi Beach down to Ōtamarakau and all the way down the coast into Eastern Bay of Plenty.