Nestled between Tauranga Harbour and the Pacific Ocean, Matakana Island offers a unique experience. Perfect for swimming, surfing, and fishing on the beach.
The island has been continuously populated for centuries by Māori tribes mostly associated with Ngai Te Rangi.
The history of Matakana Island details the early Maori who lived on the island. The story of Matakana Island is fascinating and is a treasure trove. Although its population has reduced over the years, it will always remain and play an important role in the history of the Bay of Plenty in the North Island of New Zealand.
The island is made up of two distinct parts, a farmland on the inner harbour and pine forest-covered coastal land exposed to the Pacific Ocean. The Inner harbour is made up of 2023ha of farm and orchard land. The coastal land exposed to the Pacific Ocean is made up of 4047 ha of forest.
Today, the residents of Matakana are mostly associated with the Ngai Te Rangi. The main marae is called Opureora. The hapu are Ngai Tuwhiwhia and Ngati Tauaiti.
The residents of Matakana have strong cultural values, practices and knowledge. Over half of their population speak Te Reo Maori.
The island’s long, white sandy beach is popular with surfers. Surfers can either catch a water taxi from Mount Maunganui or paddle to the island across the mouth of Tauranga Harbour. A powerful north-easterly swell on a high tide produces great sand barrels. Well known for its beach breaks.
Matakana’s surf side is a nesting site for a large number of seabirds, including the endangered New Zealand dotterel. Some other sea birds you may see will be the Pied Shag and the Oystercatcher. These birds often find themselves on the beach of Mauao in Mount Maunganui.
This island can be seen from most points around the Tauranga Harbour. From Mauao to Pilot Bay, and Sulphur point through to and past Otumoetai. The Tauranga Harbour provides great fishing out and around Matakana Island. Some of the best fishing in the Bay of Plenty, if not New Zealand.
The island itself is very narrow, and spans from Mount Maunganui to Bowentown. Matakana Island is 20 kilometres (12 mi) in length but rarely more than 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) wide. A lot of the island consists of a pine forest with a long flat, white sandy beach on either side.
If you are looking for something different to do, this island will provide you with that experience.