Snells Beach is a small coastal town in the north of Auckland Region in the North Island of New Zealand. It is situated on the eastern coast of the Mahurangi Peninsula and its namesake beach faces east across Kawau Bay to the scenic Kawau Island, where the historic mansion house is located, once the private home and land of the Governor Gray. The nearest town is Warkworth, 8 km to the west.
The Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, an outdoor gallery showcasing contemporary sculpture amongst native trees, palms, birdlife and green pastures, is located at the western entrance of Snells Beach. Snells Beach contains the Rodney District’s regional television broadcaster Family TV and the Mahurangi Shopping Centre. To deal with problems involving drinking in public places, Snells Beach has an overnight liquor ban from nine o’clock in the evening until six o’clock in the morning during the daylight saving period each year.
Cornish miner James Snell arrived in Kawau in 1854 and bought Snells Beach. The beach had been known as Long Beach. Dalmatian immigrants would live in tents on the beach and dig for kauri gum when the tide was out. Maori called Algies Bay 'horahora wai' meaning encroaching waters. Scottish immigrant Alexander Algie and wife Mina, née Deerness, bought the land near Martins Bay, where his brother Samuel had settled in 1867. The family had a boarding house on the beach during the late 1890s but it had closed by 1941. A metal road was built along the eastern peninsular in the 1930s.
The Mahurangi Peninsula was the setting for the 2001 New Zealand film Rain, starring Sarah Peirse and Marton Csokas. The population was 3,234 in the 2006 Census, an increase of 177 from 2001. In 2011, after co-winning the Cancer Foundation's SunSmart video competition, students of Warkworth Primary School were given the opportunity to meet people from Huhu Studios in Snells Beach to see what making a film involves. In late 2011, the Snells Beach branch of New Zealand retail store The Warehouse donated a huge Christmas tree for Warkworth's Christmas Parade. In 2012, the Snells Beach library was marked for closure, leaving many residents bewildered and angry. In 2013, water from Snells Beach was needed for Warkworth's water supply.
Snells Beach Primary is a coeducational contributing primary school catering for years 1-6. It opened in 2009. The initial roll is about 260, but it is expected to grow to eventually accommodate 500 students. Mahurangi Christian School is a coeducational full primary (years 1-8) school with a decile rating of 8 and a roll of 109. The school is state integrated.