Ōkiwi Bay

Ōkiwi Bay is the first of three small beach and holiday hamlets accessed from the road that links State Highway 6 to French Pass. It is 23 km along Rongo Road, then Croisilles Road and takes about 30 minutes to drive.

The bay is an inlet from Croisilles Harbour, which, in turn, connects to Tasman Bay / Te Tai-o-Aorere. There are only 80 permanent residents, but there is a commercial campsite, and the population expands significantly during holidays. The beach is attractive and provides safe swimming and easy boat access.

The name means place of the kiwi and predates European settlement. Post Treaty of Waitangi, Ngāti Koata iwi’s main settlement was at Whangarae, a bay northwest of Ōkiwi on the other side of Goat Hill. Otherwise, the forest-clad area only became accessible with the opening of a sawmill in the 1890s and the leasing of 3,200 acres of Maori land to supply lumber. This resulted in a track to the Rai Valley in 1895, and by 1904, the bay was a holiday destination.

The bay is also known for the discovery of a unique patu in 1957. The style was similar to those from the Chatham Islands, east of Canterbury in the Pacific Ocean, resembling a European mace, but is considered to be of local origin.

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