Tokomaru Bay

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Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand
Tokomaru Bay
Population: 462 (2008)
Territorial Authority
Gisborne District

Tokomaru Bay is a small beachside community located on the isolated East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It is 91 km north of Gisborne, on State Highway 35, and close to Mount Hikurangi. The district was originally known as Toka-a-Namu, which refers to the abundance of sandflies. Over the years the name was altered to Tokomaru Bay.

The two hapu or sub-tribes that reside in Tokomaru Bay are Te Whanau a Ruataupare and Te Whanau a Te Ao Tawarirangi. The ancestral mountain of Tokomaru Bay is Marotiri. The ancestral river is Mangahauini.


The seven-kilometre wide bay is small but sheltered, and was a calling place for passenger ships until the early 20th century. Captain Cook spent time here on his 1769 journey of discovery, and later European settlement included a whaling station. A visit by Missionaries Williams, Colenso, Matthews and Stack heralded the coming of Christianity to the district in 1838 and their crusade proved very successful with the local people.

The area around the bay has long been a Maori stronghold. The nearby pa at Te Mawhai was refortified during the battles between colonials and Maori in the 1860s.

The town's modern prosperity derives mainly from agriculture and forestry, with some tourism. Its population is predominantly Maori, with the area being a stronghold of the Ngati Porou iwi.

The most common occupation in Tokomaru Bay is 'professionals', followed by 'managers' and 'labourers'[1]

Sometimes Southern Right Whales come into bay to calve or rest.[2]

Notable alumni[edit]

Tokomaru Bay was the birthplace of Ngoi Pēwhairangi, famous Maori composer and performance artist, and former All Black, Buff Milner.


  1. ^ "QuickStats About Tokomaru Bay". Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  2. ^ [1] Archived December 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°08′S 178°18′E / 38.133°S 178.300°E / -38.133; 178.300