History of Wairoa

Located between Napier and Gisborne, the lovely riverside town of Wairoa is an ideal starting point for exploring the wider district. 

The town of Wairoa gets its name from the river the runs through the middle of the township “Te Wairoa Hopupu Honengenenge Matangi Rau” which in Maori means “the long water which bubbles, swirls and is uneven”.

The ancestral canoe Takitimu travelled up the river and landed near where the Takitimu marae (meeting house) now sits. The river was an important source of food for the community that grew on its banks.

William Rhodes established a trading station there in 1839, and missionary William Williams first visited in 1841. A permanent mission station was established in 1844. Early settlement in the area included a whaling station and trading post, dealing largely in flax. These establishments offered sufficient income and attraction. Its initial name was Clyde, but this was changed largely to avoid confusion with Clive near Napier and Clyde in the South Island.

In 2014, the district embarked on an ambitious programme of attracting novel and high-tech industry to the district. As a result of these economic development efforts, in 2016, Rocket Lab announced that it was establishing its Orbital Launch Site for its Electron Vehicle on the Mahia Peninsula.