The rugged unspoiled beauty of Karekare beach attracts visitors all year round.
The raging surf has a dangerous reputation and is treated with caution by swimmers.
The imposing cliffs around the estuary tell a sinister tale.
Reputedly haunted by the souls of the late 17th-century iwi Te Kawerau a Maki, who settled in the area building a pa named Te Kaka Whakaara.
The valley was planted with kumara and shellfish gathered from the black sand.
In early 1825 the Ngapuhi tribe from the north of north, attacked Karekare besieging the pa. The warriors fought bravely but had no defence against the muskets of the attacking tribe.
The women, elders, and children were sheltered in the large cave above the beach known as Wharengarahi and were smoked and burnt out, the attacker’s setting fire to manuka brush and lowering it from above.
The only survivors of the carnage was a sole warrior who escaped by climbing down the north face of the cliff.
Karekare was given a new name after this episode, Mauaharanui – the place of the great wrongdoing.