Ninety Mile Beach, New Zealand
Ninety Mile Beach, official name Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach, is on the western coast of the far north of the North Island of New Zealand. It stretches from just west of Kaitaia towards Cape Reinga along the Aupouri Peninsula. It begins close to the headland of Reef Point, to the west of Ahipara Bay, sweeping briefly northeast before turning northwest for the majority of its length. It ends at Scott Point, 3 miles (5 km) south of Cape Maria van Diemen.
Ninety Mile Beach is a misnomer because it is actually 55 miles (90 km) long. Several theories have been advanced for the name, the most common stemming from the days when missionaries travelled on horseback, when on average a horse could travel 30 miles (50 km) in a day before needing to be rested. The beach took three days to travel therefore earning its name, but the missionaries did not take into account the slower pace of the horses walking in the sand, thus thinking they had travelled 90 miles (140 km) when in fact they had travelled only 55. Another theory is that the beach was named during the time that New Zealand was converting metric system from the imperial system. The theory goes that the people had not adjusted to the metric system fully so when the beach's length was measured as 90 kilometers, people called it 90 miles instead amidst the confusion. The Māori name for the beach, Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē, was added to create the official fullname of the beach as part of the government's Treaty settlement with Te Aupōuri iwi, who will take part in the management of the beach with other Iwi.
In 1932 the beach was used as the runway for some of the earliest airmail services between Australia and New Zealand. It is officially a public highway and sometimes used as an alternative road to State Highway 1 north of Kaitaia, though mainly for tourist reasons, or when the main road is closed due to landslides or floods.
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