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.
This Trail site provides an excellent view of the sites of Rangikapiti Pa to the left; and Rangitoto Pa and Moehuri Pa to the right of the Mangonui Harbour entrance
As you stand looking out to the harbour entrance, imagine this ...
From the log of the Barque Eliza
The Barque Eliza, out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, Captained by James Witherall was lying outside Mangonui Harbour on 14 March 1866. The log reports all hands employed in getting ready to take on water.
15 March... strong breezes from the Eastward; the pilot came on board and took our anchor and moved into the Harbour of Mangonui. After the anchor was dropped and the sails were furled the men set to washing the ship down and getting off matter rubbish).
16 - 17 March... all men employed with getting on water and also 859 lbs of potatoes.
Next day, 18 March... all hands onshore except one officer and ships keeper, at sundown sent a boat on shore to pick the men up... all on board except Charlie Milton who was put in irons for beastly behaviour !!
19 March... inspected by CW Dury for the Mangonui Council. Took on whisky and boxes of tobacco.
21 March... ship still lying at anchor at 7 am... found 4 men had run away. At noon in the jail... Matthew Lilly, Alfred L.Stone, George W.Stilwood, Alfred Morse, Charles Hilton were released... By 7 pm all back on board except 6 deserters Adolph Long, Matthew Lilly, Alfred Stone, George Stilwood, Richard Burke, and Alfred Moore.
23 March 1866... One Portuguese boy deserted by swimming ashore at night name "Jack" belong to the island of Flores Azores.
This young man aged 18, Nicholas Maria became a resident of the Mangonui county. He needed money to buy land and make a living so went to the Californian and Thames goldfields. On returning he purchased land in the fertile Oruru valley. He married and had seven children. After having an dray accident which necessitated the removing of his leg, he retired to Tasman Street Mangonui. His obituary states that "Mr Maria was one of the fine old types of pioneer settlers, full of independence and resources, a type which has done much to build up this dominion of ours."
[This description from the Barque Maria's log kindly provided by Yvonne Simms, great-granddaughter of Nicholas Maria.]
Moehuri, an excavated pa site, is located on Butler Point.
Rangitoto Pa is a DOC owned reserve accessible only by water.
Rangikapiti Pa is a DOC owned reserve and can be accessed by vehicle from Rangikapiti Road, off State Highway 10. From the summit, the 360° views of Mangonui Harbour and Doubtless Bay are spectacular. It is a 40 minute walk from the village of Mangonui via Mill Bay Road to the top of Rangikapiti Pa.
Continue up St Andrew's Walkway to viewing point Whakaangi Site 7.