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Historic Golden Bay

Historic Golden Bay

Maori and European history of Golden Bay.

European History

When Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed into New Zealand waters and came upon this ”large and highly elevated land”, he was looking for a great southern continent.

For centuries many had imagined such a land mass in the southern ocean between Australia and South America. The voyage was organised by the Dutch East India Company, looking for opportunities to expand its wealth.

Maori History

Today, the iwi of Golden Bay are Manawhenua ki Mohua Ngati Tama, Ngati Rarua and Te Atiawa.

In earlier times this area witnessed waves of Maori invasion and settlement long before the arrival of European immigrants. Ngati Tumata Kokiri were thought to have been here for several hundred years before being displaced by Ngati Apa.

In 1828 the migration of North Island iwi to the South Island took place.

Clifton Cemetery and Reserve

5 min to cemetery, with option for longer walk back to Pōhara beach.
A peaceful and shady place for a wander and picnic, perfect for small children. This historic cemetery is a site of great significance for Māori and Pakeha, with upwards of 150 people buried in both marked and unmarked graves, in amongst the trees. Located at the western end of a low-lying sandspit across the Motupipi Estuary, the council reserve is also home to the Tākaka Golf Course, with a walking/cycle trail.

Map: Click here

Farewell Spit Tours

Ride the Red Bus - Gannet Colony Tour, Lighthouse Tour and Wader Watch.

Locally owned and operated for more than 65 years. Farewell Spit is a Nature Reserve and Wetland of International Importance.

Come with us and find out why, while you feel the sun on your face, the breeze in your hair and the sand between your toes. Departure times are set by the tide so bookings are essential.


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Golden Bay Visitor Centre
22 Willow Street
Takaka 7110
New Zealand

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