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 building was erected on piles over the waters of Mangonui Harbour in 1907 by Mr R T Wrathall. The store was located adjacent to the old Mangonui Wharf. The old Mangonui Wharf, built in 1877 but later demolished, was the port of call for the Northern Steamship Company’s passenger vessel the Clansman. The Clansman operated between Auckland and the Far North from 1884 until 1931.
The building housed a dentist’s surgery and a variety of small shops until 1910 when Mr Alex McKay moved his general store operations here from the Wharf Store across the road. It has retained its function as a general store over the years as well as providing private accommodation
Either rejoin the beginning of the Heritage Trail by crossing the road
to Mangonui Courthouse Site
Visit Butler Point Whaling Museum, 1840s House and Gardens Site 23. To get there:, take State Highway 10 for 6kms south of Mangonui and turn left on Hihi Road. Follow the signs to Butler Point turnoff (6km down Hihi Road on your left at the roundabout).
Butler Point is open strictly by appointment only. Charge applies. Phone 0800 MUSEUM.