Waitangi Regional Park
Along the coast between Awatoto and Haumoana, Waitangi Regional Park is a haven for wildlife and sportspeople alike. The Park links a significant chain of river and coastal reserve areas which have ecological and biodiversity values.
Dogs on-lead only.
Resident and migratory bird species include white heron, royal spoonbill, godwits, and gannets. Seals often come inshore. Visitors are asked to take care stepping off tracks and trails or on the gravel banks as birds are roosting or nesting.
The lower reaches of the rivers are popular for fishing, whitebaiting, rowing, waka ama, kayaking, jetboating, jetskiing and kite surfing.
Atea A Rangi Star Compass
Driving along this part of the coast you will easily see Ātea a Rangi Star Compass standing on the edge of the coast. This circle of pou (posts), stones and a whaharoa (gateway) has been developed by the Atea a Rangi Educational Trust, working with the regional council's open spaces team to enhance this important historical part of the coast.
Information signs at the star compass explain the navigation skills and tools of ancient Māori who navigated the oceans to arrive here. The first Europeans to arrive in Hawke's Bay also visited or landed here.
The estuary is in a stunning public location but unfortunately the site has also suffered from long term inappropriate vehicle activity, rubbish dumping and camping.This new project will transform Waitangi Estuary to a worthy gateway between the cities of Napier and Hastings. Vehicle access will be limited while the entrance road is formed, the car park and celestial compass constructed, garden beds and platforms laid for the first four carved pou. See more about the enhancement project here in our video here.
Where is Waitangi Regional Park?
Waitangi Regional Park is a long coastal park between Napier and Hastings and covers an area of 300 ha where numerous rivers meet the sea - Tukituki, Ngaruroro and Tutaekuri Rivers, Karamu Stream/Clive River plus Grange and Muddy Creeks.
You can get there on State Highway 2 that runs through part of the wetland estuary, approximately 10 minutes drive from both Hastings and Napier. There are various access points - the Ātea A Rangi Star Compass entry is on the northern (Napier) site, at Clive there is access through the Evers-Swindell Reserve, various parking areas at East Clive and at Tukituki at Haumoana. See Google map below.
A great way to see the park is on one of the many Hawke's Bay Trails that run right through it.
- Ātea a Rangi Star Compass and Historic 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. Therefore public vehicle access is not permitted along the coast at East Clive between the Tukituki Estuary and the Ngaruroro River mouth at Awatoto. You are welcome to walk through but take care where you put your feet and do not disturb birds or seals.
- Enjoy their water sports and fishing in safety but take note 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 (the nearest is at Evers-Swindell Park in Clive)
- The parking areas can be remote so please take care - lock your vehicle and take valuables with you.
More about Waitangi Regional Park
The historic part of Waitangi Regional Park at Awatoto has been transformed into a gateway icon for Napier and Hastings communities to enjoy. Check out this video to see more about 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.
Because of the presence of rich natural resources (birds, fish and plants) the area has always been important to Maori and was the site of a Pa in the 1800’s. This was washed away in 1897. At the reserve by the Waitangi Estuary entrance you can see the memorial marking the site of William Colenso’s Mission Station.
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.