2010-10-25 18:27


Getting there
Whangarei is well served by scheduled airline flights from Auckland and several regional airports.

It is also possible to drive there from Auckland, Whangarei is just 160km or two hours north of there, along the State Highway One.

Once there, excellent local bus services will take you around the city, or cycling is a good option as it's not particularly big.

Getting to the stadium on match days will be simple too, with the Events Centre located an easy 15-minute walk (1.5-kilometres) from the central city.

Useful Links

Northland Events Centre

Famous sons
Ian “Kamo” Jones, All Black lock (1992 - 1998)

Whangarei, is the northernmost city in New Zealand and the regional capital of Northland Region. It is a developing, modern and vibrant city in the centre of a district of fertile farmlands, orchards and forest, plus a stunning harbour and coastline with some of New Zealand's finest beaches.

Legend has it that famed Polynesian navigator Kupe was the first person to see Whangarei Harbour’s dramatic headlands, while on his way back to Hawaiiki after discovering Aotearoa (New Zealand) around 950 AD. Oral history suggests that around 50 years later the forebears of Northland’s Ngapuhi Tribe  arrived on the west coast at Hokianga, and local Maori history points to many more migrations in many more canoes soon after 1000 AD.

Modern, science-based archaeological research has found settlement sites dating back to around the year 1200.

What is certain is that enough people arrived from eastern Polynesia to form viable communities that had similar social structures.  Throughout the Whangarei district there remains evidence of these first settlers, often in the form of terracing for their fortified Pa (village) sites and piles of slowly eroding shells and charcoal deposits where they feasted on the region’s abundant shellfish.

Captain Cook passed by the harbour in 1769, and managed to net over 160 bream, prompting him to name the harbour Bream Harbour, but the Maori name has persisted - one explanation for the harbour’s full name – Whangarei Terenga Paraoa  -  is “the swimming (gathering) place of whales”  which can be further interpreted as “the meeting place of chiefs”.  History tells of chiefs high in the hills calling up the whales, which were then stranded as the tide went out, leaving the locals to yield what they could from the mighty animals.

In the late 1800s Whangarei became bi-cultural with extensive settlement by both catholic and protestant families, mainly from Great Britain.  Today the district is a typical multi-cultural South Pacific society.

The Northland Region, and Whangarei has a spectacular coastline, with a number of islands from which tourists can dive and explore – most notably the Poor Knights, where, whether exploring underwater caves, photographing rare sponges, swimming with giant stingrays or just snorkeling about in the colourful beauty near the surface, there is a magical quality about the dive.

Long extinct volcanoes, and abundance of flora and birdlife, and a laid back lifestyle make Whangarei a must-see for tourists to the 2011 Ruby World Cup.

Whangarei is home to the Northland rugby team, a professional side competing in the ITM Cup, the highest level of provincial rugby in New Zealand. They play out of Okara Park, the largest stadium in the region, which is also hosting two matches during Rugby World Cup 2011.

Whangarei also has an excellent Field Hockey facility, often hosting international matches between the New Zealand Black Sticks and various international opposition.

Northland is also represented at the highest national domestic level in Golf and Field Hockey. Northland has had reasonable success in field hockey of late, with several players from Northland being selected for the Black Sticks.

Whangarei Heads. (Getty)


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