Matauri Bay, Bay of Islands, New Zealand | CruiseBe
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Matauri Bay

Natural sights
beach, swim, sunbath

Matauri Bay is a bay in New Zealand, situated 30 km north of Kerikeri, in Whangaroa county, just north of the Bay of Islands. It has over a kilometre of beautiful white sand and crystal clear water. It is particularly popular in the summer when thousands flock there to stay in the local camping ground which can be seen at the left hand end of the beach in the photo (right).

Some of the first Polynesian navigators to New Zealand landed at Matauri Bay. It was a site of early Maori contact with Europeans, such as with the missionary Samuel Marsden in 1814.

Today Matauri Bay is popular with surfers, divers, fishers and those on holiday. The water is very clear and the fishing can be very good.

Rainbow Warrior

The Rainbow Warrior was given a final resting place near Matauri Bay, at the Cavalli Islands. It has become a living reef, attracting marine life and recreational divers.

The idea was first proposed by the New Zealand Underwater Association. It seemed a fitting end for a ship that had spent its time protecting the marine environment.

It was towed north with a patched hull on 2 December 1987. Ten days later, a crowd of well-wishers looked on as it was given a traditional Māori burial. Now home to a complex ecosystem, the Rainbow Warrior has become a popular dive destination. The local Māori community maintains its guardianship and conservation. In a few years, the Rainbow Warrior became an integral part of the environment it helped protect.


Matauri Bay School is a contributing primary (years 1-6) school with a roll of 94. It opened in 1954.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whangaroa is a full primary (years 1-8) school with a roll of 35. It is a Kura Kaupapa Māori school which teaches fully in the Māori language.

Both schools are coeducational and have a decile rating of 3.

A Māori school was established at Te Ngaere in 1876, but student numbers fluctuated as local people moved to seek an income on the gumfields. In 1890, attendance at the school ceased, and the building was dragged to the top of the hill by a bullock team to make it more accessible. Changing its name to Whakarara School, it remained open until Matauri Bay School replaced it.

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