November 2, 2023 Maketu (Day 36)

We explored nearby areas today. Starting with the town that our accommodation sits above, Maketu. A town of under 1500 people (over 65% Maori) has a local, quiet, calm, non-touristy vibe. It sits between the Maketu estuary of the Kaituna river and Okurei Pt., the historic Maori Pa site overlooking the beach. Maketu is the historic landing site of the Arawa, one of the pioneer canoes of the Maori that left their homeland of “Hawaiki” between 800-1000 years ago, and landed in New Zealand or Aotearoa (loosely translated as ‘land of the long white cloud’) as they named it. The Te Arawa confederation of Maori iwi (tribes) and hapu (subtribes) living in the Rotorua and Bay of Plenty areas trace their ancestry from the people of this canoe.

The town is below the line of houses below us. The estuary is the water to the left of the sand spit, the ocean beach is to the right.

We drove down and parked at the only restaurant in town! We strolled the walkway into ‘town centre’ where they have a kids playground, a ‘freedom camping area’ (for self contained campers) and even an exercise area with sturdy simple exercise equipment!

The start of the beach in Maketu.

After checking out the only store in town, a tiny but surprisingly well stocked convenience store (or ‘Dairy’ as they are called here) we continued our tour of the area. We drove backroads for about 15 minutes to the Kaituna Scenic Wetlands Reserve, at the west end of the Maketu estuary, where the Kaituna river empties into the Bay of Plenty.

A fishing dock was built at the edge of the dunes where local families were congregated, camping, swimming, fishing and visiting.

On the right side of the dock kids were playing in the waves, supervised by vigilant parents!

On the left side of the dock the river current fought against the ocean tide, apparently a great spot to fish!

And in the parking area, a really nice toilet!

One Response to “November 2, 2023 Maketu (Day 36)”

  1. Sammy Says:

    Dairy, eh? There was a chain convenience stores where I grew up called Quality Dairy…wonder if the name has an Aotearoa New Zealand influence.

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