Sites are indicated by Heritage Trail markers. Some of these provide information at the site itself. All have a site number and a QR code which can be scanned to provide further information.
The Trail is three kilometres in length and accessible by foot or vehicle. The average time it takes to walk the Trail is one-and-a-half hours. Walkers are advised to take the St Andrew’s walkway to access sites and enjoy the spectacular views from above Mangonui. Please be aware that Mary Hassett Street (formerly known as Grey Street West) and Tasman Street are very steep.
The development of the Mangonui Heritage Trail would not have been possible without the inspiration of Neva Clarke McKenna. Much of the historical information offered on this trail is derived from her book "Mangonui - Gateway to the Far North" published by the Northland Historical Publications Society Inc. in 1990. The Trail itself is based on Ms. Clarke McKenna's Historical Mangonui Walk outlined in her books, "Doubtless Bay" and "Discovering Northland’s Past".
The Polynesian navigator Kupe visited this area about 900 AD in the canoe Mamaru. On a return trip, the Mamaru brought the chiefs Te Parata and Tumoana; ancestors of the Ngati Kahu. Later, another canoe, the Ruakaramea, was guided into a harbour by a shark. Its chief, Moehuri, named the harbour Mangonui, which means 'large shark'.
Mangonui was known as a safe harbour for whaling vessels by the late 1700s and, in 1831, the first European settler arrived.
By the mid 1800s Mangonui was a centre for whalers and traders; the saw milling, flax and gum industries were flourishing. In the 1900s these industries declined; roads replacing the sea as the main transport route and Mangonui became a much quieter place.
At the time these three cottages were built, Beach Road was the link from Mangonui (via Mill Bay) to Coopers Beach.
WRATHALL COTTAGE, built by Mr W. Nicholson, has housed three generations of the Wrathall family and remains in their ownership. Stephen Wrathall, arriving in Mangonui during the 1830s, was one of the earliest European settlers in this area.
PENNEY COTTAGE, which is still a private residence, was in the ownership of the Penney family for 80 years. Edward Penney first came to Mangonui in 1848 as a Police Sergeant with Magistrate W. White.
BARRETT COTTAGE is a well preserved cottage whose early history has been lost. This is still a private residence.
Walkers can cross the road here (with extreme caution) to access St Andrew's
Walkway and viewing point- Pas and Harbour Entrance Site
6, viewing point Whakaangi Site
7, St Andrew's Anglican Church Site
8 and Mangonui School Site
9 overlooking Mangonui. Sailors' Grave Site
5 can then be viewed after Site 9.
Vehicles proceed along Beach Road to Mary Hassett Street and turn left. Sailors' Grave Site 5 is at the top of the hill. Alternatively take a side diversion around Mill Bay following the blue logo signs.