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Opononi & Omapere
Opononi wharf
Opononi wharf
Opononi & Omapere is located in Northland Region
Opononi & Omapere
Opononi & Omapere
Coordinates: 35°30′45″S 173°23′25″E / 35.51250°S 173.39028°E / -35.51250; 173.39028Coordinates: 35°30′45″S 173°23′25″E / 35.51250°S 173.39028°E / -35.51250; 173.39028
CountryNew Zealand
RegionNorthland Region
DistrictFar North District
 • Total414
Opononi beach

Opononi and Omapere are dual settlements on the south shore of the Hokianga harbour in Northland Region, New Zealand.[1] State Highway 12 runs through Opononi and Omapere.

The combined population of Opononi and Omapere was 414 in the 2013 Census, a decrease of 63 from 2006.[2]

The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage gives translations of "place of [a] crooked fishing post" for Ōpononi and "place of cutty grass" for Ōmāpere.[3]


European settlement[edit]

The first European settler in the Omapere area was John Martin, who arrived in the Hokianga Harbour in 1827. In 1832 Martin purchased land on the flat area, along the beach at Omapere. In 1838 Martin extended his land purchase to the Hokianga Harbour's South Head, where he established a signal station to guide ships crossing the challenging harbour entrance. The signal station remained in operation until 1951.

In 1869, a bush licence was granted to Charles Bryers at Omapere. In the mid 1870s, a liquor licence was then given to the establishment called the 'Heads'. This later became the 'Travellers Rest'. By 1876 the farm of John Martin had become the township of Pakia. It was home to a hotel, two stores, several houses and a school house. The name Omapere began to be used more frequently and became Omapere by residents agreement in 1874.

In 1855, John Webster, who had arrived in New Zealand in 1841, bought 700 acres of rough land at Opononi and established a homestead and pastoral farm which he developed into a showplace, entertaining vice-royalty several times. He also built a wharf, gum-store and a trading store. In 1894, Webster put the house and farm on the market. The store and gum store were taken over by Alfred Sprye Andrewes who later converted the gum store into a two storey hotel.

20th century[edit]

The Opononi Post and Telephone was opened in 1892 and operated until 1989. The road between Opononi and Omapere was developed in the mid 1930s leading to ribbon development. In 1959, a fire destroyed the Opononi Hotel and Opononi Store.

Opononi became famous throughout New Zealand in the summer of 1955 and 1956 due to the exploits of a dolphin called Opo.[1]


The area has three marae affiliated with the Ngāpuhi hapū of Ngāti Korokoro, Ngāti Whārara and Te Poukā:[4]

  • Pākanae Marae and Maraeroa meeting house
  • Kōkōhuia or Ōmāpere Marae and Te Whakarongotai meeting house (also affiliated with Ngāti Te Pou)
  • Waiwhatawhata or Aotea Marae and Te Kaiwaha meeting house.[5]


The first school was the Pakia Native School which opened in 1874 under the Native School Act. In 1912 the school was renamed Omapere. Opononi did not have a school of its own and children either went to Pakia/Omapere School, or after it opened in 1909, to Pakanae School. In 1974, the newly built Opononi Area School replaced both.

Opononi Area School is a coeducational composite (years 1-15) school with a roll of 146 students.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b "Hokianga district". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  2. ^ 2013 Census QuickStats about a place : Omapere and Opononi
  3. ^ "1000 Māori place names". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 6 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  5. ^ "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  6. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 3 April 2019". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ Education Counts: Opononi Area School

External links[edit]