Western Bay of Plenty (see enlarged map here)spans from Waihi Beach to Pukehina Beach and Otamarakau taking in the Kaituna Catchment, Kaimai and 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:
Te Arawa: which first arrived at Maketu and today forms part of the Te Arawa Coastal & Waitaha Tangata whenua of Western Bay of Plenty | EAST which covers the area inland from Otanewainuku, Te Puke down to Maketu and onto Otamarakau
Tākatimu and Mātaatua: Maori decended from these waka are known as the Tangata whenua of Tauranga Moana which covers fromWaihi Beach to Papamoa
These waka forming part of the original migration from East Polynesia (Hawaiki) to Aotearoa (The Land of the Long White Cloud), today known as Aotearoa | New Zealand.
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
Western Bay of Plenty, East Was first settled by the Te Arawa iwi from the Te Arawa waka. Te Arawa iwi from Te Puke, - Kaituna - Maketu - Pukehina - Pongakawa - Otamarakau and their surrounds are known as 'Coastal Te Arawa'. The eastern area of the Western Bay covers Te Puke, the Kaituna Catchment and on to Maketu down to Otamarakau. It it is an exceptionally rich and fertile catchment. Te Awara carries on over the borders of Western Bay of Plenty into Eastern Bay of Plenty and Rotorua Lakes District.
It is believed that Te Arawa was the first waka to land in New Zealand at Maketu at the mouth of the Kaituna River.
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 Otamarakau and all the way down the coast into Eastern Bay of Plenty.