Parua Bay is a locality and bay on the northern side of the Whangarei Harbour in Northland, New Zealand. Whangarei is 19 km to the west, and Whangarei Heads are 10 km to the south east, with Munro Bay between the two. The western head is called Manganese Point, and the eastern is Reserve Point. The Nook is a small bay just to the north of Reserve Point.
The bay is sheltered and about 4 km wide, with about one kilometer between the headlands. The central bay has deep water, but there are wide intertidal zones around the coast. Motukiore Island is just inside Manganese Point and joined to it by a causeway at low tide, although the only practical access is by water. The contours of a defensive pā on the island are still clearly visible.
Solomon's Point divides the bay into two. The point is named after the Māori chief Horomona-Kaikou.
The population was 1,941 in the 2006 Census, an increase of 255 from 2001.
Raro-ngaua was a pā on the eastern side of the Parau Bay entrance in the early 19th century. In 1821 or 1822, this pā was attacked by a group of Ngāti Paoa and Waikato warriors, as part of the Musket Wars.
In 1838, Thomas Stewart Scott and two partners bought land on the western side of the bay and set up a shipbuilding yard. The Governor Fitzroy, a schooner of about 43 feet (13 m), was one of the ships built here. Manganese ore lay in lumps on the point to the south of the shipyard, then known as Te Waro but now called Manganese Point. The ore was sold in 1844. In 1849, a hydrographic survey was made of Whangarei Harbour by Captain Lort Stokes in the paddle-steamer HMS Acheron. He named Parua Bay "Bad Maori Bay" and Manganese Point "Annoyance Point".
By the mid-1850s, three were four European families living in a small settlement on the western side of the bay. The Government purchased 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) at Parua Bay in 1858, and the land was subsequently settled by people mostly under the "Forty Acre Scheme" which gave a parcel of 40 acres (16 ha) to any settler older than 18 years, subject to a few conditions.
An Irish surveyor called James Irwin Wilson settled in the Nook in 1858, and fell in love with Joanna Munro, the daughter of a Nova Scotian settler from Munro Bay. Her father, John Munro, was unhappy that Wilson had bought land that he wanted, and opposed their union. The pair tried to elope but were caught. A second elopement was successful and they married in Auckland. John Munro eventually accepted the marriage, and one of James' brothers later married Joanna's sister.
- Peter Dowling (editor) (2004). Reed New Zealand Atlas. Reed Books. pp. map 8. ISBN 0-7900-0952-8.
- Roger Smith, GeographX (2005). The Geographic Atlas of New Zealand. Robbie Burton. pp. map 28. ISBN 1-877333-20-4.
- Parkes, W. F. (1992). Guide to Whangarei City and District. pp. p28–30. ISBN 0-473-01639-7.
- Quickstats about Parua Bay
- Pickmere, Nancy Preece (1986). Whangarei: The Founding Years. p. 4.
- Pickmere, pp 25-26
- Pickmere, pp 119-120
- Pickmere, p 50
- Pickmere, pp 68-9, 78
- Pickmere, p 78
- "Te Kete Ipurangi - Parua Bay School". Ministry of Education.