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Ōpononi & Ōmāpere
Opononi wharf
Opononi wharf
Ōpononi & Ōmāpere is located in Northland Region
Ōpononi & Ōmāpere
Ōpononi & Ōmāpere
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
 • Total678
Opononi beach

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

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.[2]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [3]

The statistical area of Waipoua Forest, which is much larger than the Opononi-Ōmāpere settlement area at 278 square kilometres, stretches from the Hokianga south coast to the boundary with Kaipara District. It had a population of 1,215 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 180 people (17.4%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 96 people (8.6%) since the 2006 census. There were 504 households. There were 579 males and 633 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.91 males per female. Of the total population, 222 people (18.3%) were aged up to 15 years, 162 (13.3%) were 15 to 29, 516 (42.5%) were 30 to 64, and 318 (26.2%) were 65 or older. Figures may not add up to the total due to rounding.

Ethnicities were 58.8% European/Pākehā, 57.3% Māori, 3.7% Pacific peoples, 2.0% Asian, and 0.7% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 9.1, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 42.5% had no religion, 44.4% were Christian, and 4.7% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 123 (12.4%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 219 (22.1%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $18,800. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 270 (27.2%) people were employed full-time, 195 (19.6%) were part-time, and 72 (7.3%) were unemployed.[3]

Opononi had a population of 252 in the 2018 census, an increase of 48 since 2013. There were 108 males and 141 females.

Ōmāpere had 426 people in 2018, an increase of 63 over 2013. There were 192 males and 231 females.[4]


European settlement[edit]

The first European settler in the Ōmāpere 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 Ōmāpere. 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 Ōmāpere. 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 Ōmāpere began to be used more frequently and became Ōmāpere 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 Ōmāpere 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:[5]

  • 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.[6]

In October 2020, the Government committed $470,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund to upgrade Pakanae Marae, creating 11 jobs.[7]


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 127 students.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b "Hokianga district". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  2. ^ "1000 Māori place names". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 6 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Waipoua Forest (102900). 2018 Census place summary: Waipoua Forest
  4. ^ "Age and sex by ethnic group (grouped total response), for census usually resident population counts, 2006, 2013, and 2018 Censuses (urban rural areas)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  6. ^ "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  7. ^ "Marae Announcements" (Excel). growregions.govt.nz. Provincial Growth Fund. 9 October 2020.
  8. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  9. ^ Education Counts: Opononi Area School

External links[edit]