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This article is about the New Zealand village. For the Greek city, see Athens.
Ātene, Whanganui River, c. 1890. Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns.

Ātene is a former village located 35 kilometres (22 mi) up the Whanganui River from Whanganui. Originally called Warepakoko,[1] then Kakata,[2] it was renamed by the missionary Richard Taylor in the 19th century as a Māori transliteration of Athens. It was the home of the hapū Ngāti Hineoneone of the iwi Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi.[3] A small meeting house called Te Rangi-i-heke-iho, restored by carver Bill Ranginui,[4] is all that remains.[5]

The hill next to Ātene, Puketapu, was once on a peninsula almost completely surrounded by a meander of the Whanganui River; centuries ago the river broke through the neck of the peninsula, connecting the two bends and cutting off the meander.[6] In the 1960s, a hydroelectric dam was proposed at Ātene, because the meander could have been reinstated while the dam was being constructed.[7] A hydroelectric dam would have flooded the river as far back as Taumaranui, and the project was abandoned.[8] While investigating the possibility of a dam, the Ministry of Works built a road in 1959 along the ridgeline overlooking Puketapu. The road is now an 18 km walking track, the Ātene Skyline Track.[9]


  1. ^ Walton, A. (1994). "Settlement Patterns in the Whanganui River Valley, 1839–1864" (PDF). New Zealand Journal of Archaeology. 16: 123–168. 
  2. ^ Best, Elsdon (1 January 1900). "Te Awa Nui a Rua (The Whanganui River)". New Zealand Illustrated Magazine. 1 (4): 51. 
  3. ^ Beaglehole, Diana (20 March 2014). "Whanganui places: River Settlements". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Marae on the Whanganui River". Whanganui River Maori Trust Board. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Ātene (Kakata)". Māori Maps. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Atene Skyline Track: Whanganui National Park, Whanganui region". New Zealand Department of Conservation. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  7. ^ Super Sites for Education in Wanganui. Atene Tracks: Whanganui National Park (PDF). New Zealand: Department of Conservation. p. 6. 
  8. ^ "Atene Viewpoint Walk & Atene Skyline Track - Lonely Planet". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  9. ^ Ātene Skyline Track and Viewpoint Walk. Whanganui: New Zealand Department of Conservation. October 2013.