Waitangi Regional Park
Energise on the coast ...
Waitangi Regional Park extends around 5 kilometres along the coast between Awatoto and Haumoana, and is haven for wildlife and sportspeople alike.
The Park has significant cultural, historic and biodiversity values and the Ātea a Rangi Star Compass is a popular feature in the northern part of the park. The park covers an area of 300 ha and is where a number of our rivers meet the sea - Tukituki, Ngaruroro and Tutaekuri Rivers, Karamū Stream-Clive River as well as Grange and Muddy Creeks.
This part of the coast is an important ecosystem. Fish breed here and migrate between the ocean and the rivers. Resident and migratory bird species such as the white heron, royal spoonbill, godwits, and gannets roost on the gravel banks and feed here. Seals often come inshore.
Within the park, there are opportunities for plenty of recreational and sporting activities - fishing, whitebaiting, rowing, waka ama, kayaking, dog walking, running, cycling, horse riding, jetboating & water skiing, jetskiing and kite surfing. Just outside the park, on the northern side near the fertiliser works, a model aeroplane club operates.
To protect the birdlife, dogs are only permitted to be within the park on the lead.
Look for the Hawke's Bay Regional Parks and Open Spaces brochure at i-sites and other visitor centres.
Where is Waitangi Regional Park?
Because the park stretches along the coast, there are a number of access points and parking areas for vehicles:
- At Waitangi (northern) - from State Highway 2 , approximately 10 minutes drive from both Hastings and Napier, takes you to Ātea A Rangi Star Compass and Waitangi Estuary. Parking.
- At Clive - through the Evers-Swindell Reserve for the cycle trail, BMX track, horse trail and boat ramp. Parking
- At East Clive - Ferry Road and Richmond Road parking areas give you foot access to the beach and wetland. Parking.
- At Haumoana - Access to the Tukituki river mouth is through Domain Road carpark.
Cycle/walk - The Hawke's Bay Trails run through the park to Clifton, and connects with Hastings, Napier and Pākōwhai Park. See Google map below.
The Ātea a Rangi Star Compass stands right on the edge of the coast.
This dramatic circle of pou (posts), stones and a whaharoa (gateway) has been developed by the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust and installed through 2017.
Local carvers have created the pou, representing the points of the compass. They worked with the Regional Council's open spaces team to enhance this important historical part of the coast.
Information signs at the star compass display information on:
- the navigation skills and tools of ancient Māori who navigated the oceans to arrive here and settle (PDF)
- the historical significance of this area
- the natural richness of the area.
Important Information for Tourism Operators
In 2017, Ātea a Rangi was constructed as one of several elements in the Waitangi Estuary enhancement at Waitangi Regional Park. The overarching objective of the enhancement is to promote respectful use of the Waitangi estuary.
Ātea a Rangi was the idea of Te Matau-a-Māui Voyaging Trust who subsequently partnered with HBRC to deliver the project.
Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust was then established to administer and maintain Ātea a Rangi under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Regional Council, who maintains the space on an ongoing basis for the community to enjoy.
It is appropriate that Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust is acknowledged and/ or consulted with by tourism operators.
- Fishing - walking access only in many places
- Cycling Trail and BMX track at Clive
- Horse-riding trail
- Model airplane club
- Ātea a Rangi Star Compass and Historic Site
- Heritage Trails site
Before you go
- The local people really value the wildness of this coastal park and its historic significance - please respect them by taking away your rubbish.
- The community especially want to protect the nesting areas of birds and the protective beach crest from erosion. So public vehicle access is not permitted along the coast at East Clive between the Tukituki Estuary and the Ngaruroro River mouth at Awatoto. You may walk through but take care where you put your feet and do not disturb birds or seals.
- Enjoy the water sports and fishing in safety but take note be aware that Hawke's Bay Navigation Safety Bylaws apply in the rivers and restrict activities to specific zones in the Waitangi Estuary-Clive-Ngaruroro.
- There are no toilets within the park itself (however they are at Evers-Swindell Park in Clive)
- The parking areas can be remote so please lock your vehicle and take valuables with you.
The Story of the Park
The area around Waitangi Regional Park is rich in culture, history and nature - PDF.
Fittingly, the northern end has been transformed into a gateway icon for Napier and Hastings communities and you can view this video to see what has been done in this scenic space.
Waitangi ranks within the top 10 wetlands in the region that require protection and enhancement as determined by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. This area provides a variety of wetland and coastal habitats that support a significant population of bird species. It connects with the nearby Tukituki Estuary. The restoration of some of the wetland areas now is helping to provide habitats for seabirds, water fowl, fish, insects and plants along this coastline.
The estuary initially linked the Ngaruroro and Tukituki river mouths and in the late 1800’s a small ferry boat transported people and goods across the rivers. Significant changes have occurred since then as a result of storms and coastal erosion. The construction of the Heretaunga Plains Flood Control Scheme in the 1960 and 70s further altered the wetlands. Numerous stopbanks and pump stations were constructed along these rivers and Muddy Creek south to the Tukituki River to provide flood protection and drainage to extensive areas of land between Napier and Hastings. While this was important for the economic development of Hawke’s Bay, it did help to destroy an extensive wetland system over this area which is now being restored.