History and museums, Natural sights
Paihia is the main tourist town in the Bay of Islands in the far north of the North Island of New Zealand. It is located close to the historic towns of Russell and Kerikeri, 60 kilometres north of Whangarei. Missionary Henry Williams named the mission station Marsden's Vale and eventually the Paihia became the accepted name of the settlement.
Nearby to the north is the historic settlement of Waitangi, and the residential and commercial areas of Haruru Falls/Watea are to the west. The port and township of Opua, and the small settlement of Te Haumi, lie to the south. The population of Paihia was 1770 in the 2006 Census, a decrease of 69 from 2001.
Henry Williams and his wife Marianne settled in Paihia in 1823 and built the first church in New Zealand there the same year. William Williams and his wife Jane joined the Paihia mission in 1826. Bishop William Grant Broughton (the first and only Bishop of Australia) visited the Paihia mission in 1838 and performed several firsts in New Zealand including the first Confirmation and Ordination ceremonies.
In December 1832 the first mention of cricket being played in New Zealand was recorded by Henry Williams. In 1835 a game of cricket was witnessed here by Charles Darwin, in December 1835 while the Beagle spent 10 days in the Bay of Islands.
In 1835 William Colenso set up the first printing press in New Zealand at Paihia.
In 1850 the mission closed and Paihia declined to a very small settlement by 1890.
St. Paul's Anglican Church, completed in 1925, is the fifth church built on the site. It is constructed of stone quarried from the Pukaru locality, near Kawakawa and timber from near Waikare. The triptych stained glass windows above the pulpit were commissioned by the Williams Family Trust in commemoration of Sir Nigel Reed for the 175 year family reunion and installed by the artist in 1998. The windows, titled Te Ara O Te Manawa (Pathway of the Heart) are 4 m2 in total size.
In 1926 a road was constructed to Puketona on the main road from Kawakawa to Kerikeri (now State Highway 10) leading to an increase in tourism in the 1930s.
Paihia School is a coeducational full primary (years 1-8) school with a decile rating of 4 and a roll of 168.
Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as oceanic (Cfb), but it is rainier in winter.