Te Wairere Falls

Te Wairere Falls is a 20-metre waterfall on the edge of Kerikeri that was forgotten from the 1940s to around the 2010s. It is on the Wairoa Steam in a strip of native forest on the south side of the town. It had been known and even popular, but eventually, the development of the surrounding land as orchards covered up the access, and it disappeared from public view. Then, in 2015, Vision Kerikeri and local community groups reestablished track access and the waterfall was “rediscovered”. Like other waterfalls in the region, the waterfall drops over a basalt platform laid down by the 2 to 10-million year old Kaikohe-Bay of Islands Volcanic Field.

Before European settlement, the Wairoa Stream was part of an established Māori track from Kerikeri Basin to Waimate North. The route featured in the Flagstaff War of 1845 when a 400-strong detachment of colonial troops transported cannons and supplies from Onewhero Bay to Waimate North. From there, they launched an attack on Hone Heke's pa near Lake Omapere. After falling into disuse, this historical track was rediscovered by settlers who came to establish orchards during the late 1920s. Two swimming holes on the stream were popular among early orchard workers. Until the onset of World War Two, the stream and its walkway served as the town's favoured recreational area. It even features in Fiona Kidman's book "Mandarin Summer," a fictional account of the Kerikeri's early scandals.

Today, the quickest way to the waterfall is from Kerikeri Inlet Road, south of the town centre. It takes about 10 minutes on a sometimes rough track. Look out for the side track to a minor waterfall as well. You can also walk the ancient trail from Koropiro Heritage Reserve immediately south of the Stone Store or take another option from Cobham Road.

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