Matakana Island

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Matakana Island
Matakana Island-2863.jpg
Matakana Island as seen from the top of Mount Maunganui
LocationBay of Plenty Region
Coordinates37°35′S 176°05′E / 37.583°S 176.083°E / -37.583; 176.083Coordinates: 37°35′S 176°05′E / 37.583°S 176.083°E / -37.583; 176.083
Total islands5
Area60.7 km2 (23.4 sq mi)
Length20 km (12 mi)
Width3 km (1.9 mi)
Highest elevation18 m (59 ft)
Population183 (2018 census)
Pop. density4.2/km2 (10.9/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsMaori
Matakana Island Aotearoa New Zealand from the North

Matakana Island is located in the western Bay of Plenty in New Zealand's North Island. A long, flat barrier island, it is 20 kilometres (12 mi) in length but rarely more than 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) wide. The island has been continuously populated for centuries by Māori tribes that are mostly associated with Ngāi Te Rangi.

The island has two distinct parts: 5,000 acres (2,023 ha) of farm and orchard land on the inner harbour, (where most of the population lives) and 10,000 acres (4,047 ha) of forest-covered coastal land exposed to the Pacific Ocean. A smaller island, Rangiwaea Island, is located just offshore from Matakana's southern coast.

As of the 2013 census, the island has a population of 255 people, up from 225 people in the 2006 Census.[1] This makes Matakana Island the third least populated area in the Western Bay of Plenty. There are only 90 inhabited dwellings.[2] Most persons living on the island belong to the Ratana Church or the Catholic Church,

History and culture[edit]

Recent history[edit]

Between 1993 and 1999 the ownership of Matakana Island's 10,000 acres (4,047 ha) forest and freehold land was in dispute. The case Arklow Investments Limited and Christopher Wingate v I.D. MacLean and others was appealed the New Zealand High Court to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.[3]


Matakana Island has three marae affiliated with Ngāi Te Rangi hapū. Kutaroa Marae and its Tauaiti meeting house are affiliated with Ngāti Tauaiti. Opureora Marae and its Tuwhiwhia meeting house are affiliated with Ngāi Tuwhiwhia and Ngāti Tauaiti. Te Rangihouhiri or Oruarahi Marae and its Te Rangihouhiri meeting house are affiliated with Ngāi Tamawhariua.[4][5]

In October 2020, the Government committed $4,871,246 from the Provincial Growth Fund to upgrade Te Rangihouhiri Marae and 11 other Ngāti Awa marae, creating 23 jobs.[6]

There is also two marae sites on neighbouring Rangiwaea Island belonging to Ngāi Te Rangi hapū. Rangiwaea Marae and its meeting house, Te Haka a Te Tupere, are a meeting place for Ngāi Tauwhao. The Oponui Marae site, which was dismantled between the 1980s and 2007, was traditionally a meeting place for Te Ngare.[4][7]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [8]

Matakana Island had a population of 183 at the 2018 New Zealand census, a decrease of 72 people (-28.2%) since the 2013 census, and a decrease of 42 people (-18.7%) since the 2006 census. There were 78 households. There were 87 males and 96 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.91 males per female. The median age was 40.6 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 33 people (18.0%) aged under 15 years, 33 (18.0%) aged 15 to 29, 81 (44.3%) aged 30 to 64, and 36 (19.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 13.1% European/Pākehā, 95.1% Māori, and 1.6% Pacific peoples (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 3.3%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 27.9% had no religion, 32.8% were Christian and 29.5% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 18 (12.0%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 33 (22.0%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $20,100, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 54 (36.0%) people were employed full-time, 36 (24.0%) were part-time, and 3 (2.0%) were unemployed.[8]


Matakana Island and Tauranga Harbour, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand - View from Mauao (Mount Maunganui)

The island protects the entrance to the Tauranga harbour and stretches from Bowentown to Mount Maunganui.[9] Matakana Island is largely covered with pine trees although some land is cleared for the residents. Matakana Island has a relatively small population density of 4.2, though still more than the West Coast(1.3 as of the 2006 Census).[10] The island is the third largest by area associated with the North Island, or the fifteenth largest within New Zealand waters.

The island's long, white sandy beach is popular with surfers. Surfers can either catch a water taxi from Mount Maunganui or paddle to the island across the mouth of Tauranga Harbour (depending on weather conditions). Matakana's surf side is a nesting site for a large number of sea birds, including the endangered New Zealand dotterel.[11] In 2007 the New Zealand Fisheries Management Research Database recorded and estimated that there were 325 sting rays inhabiting the estuarial waters between Matakana Island and Rangiwaea Island.


Te Kura o Te Moutere o Matakana is a co-educational Māori language immersion state primary school for Year 1 to 8 students,[12] with a roll of 36 as of March 2021.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Census 2006". Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
  3. ^ "Arklow Investments Limited and "Christopher Wingate v I.D. MacLean and others" (PDF). Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. 1 December 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". Te Puni Kōkiri.
  5. ^ "Māori Maps". Te Potiki National Trust.
  6. ^ "Marae Announcements" (Excel). Provincial Growth Fund. 9 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Tauwhao-Te Ngare Trust Cultural Values Assessment" (PDF). Boffa Miskell Limited.
  8. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Matakana Island (190800). 2018 Census place summary: Matakana Island
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Te Kura o Te Moutere o Matakana Ministry of Education School Profile". Ministry of Education.
  13. ^ "Te Kura o Te Moutere o Matakana Education Review Office Report". Education Review Office.

External links[edit]