The sleepy rural town of Kawhia enjoys a beautiful location at the edge of the large and sheltered Kawhia Harbour.

Kawhia is the spiritual home of the Tainui people, whose waka (canoe) landed here in the 14th century from the Maori homeland of Hawaiki. The canoe is buried on a grassy knoll above the local marae, with two stones marking its stern and prow. The town's museum, housed in the historic Kawhia County Building near the wharf, has some interesting photos and information about the early Maori and European settlers. From here, you can walk along the waterfront to the Maketu Marae, with its ornately carved meeting house (permission is required to enter). Just beyond Kawhia lies the rolling surf and black sand dunes of Ocean Beach, which draw holidaymakers during the summer.

Geographic Location

Kawhia Harbour - West coast of central North Island


550, swelling to over 3000 during summer


Humid summers and mild winters; moist winds bring rainfall throughout the year.


Summer: 24 - 28°C
Winter: 17 - 22°C

Average rainfall