By car from New Plymouth
Head south from New Plymouth along Surf Highway 45 for 61.8 kms taking 51 minutes depending on traffic.
By car from Hawera
Head north from Hawera along Surf Highway 45 for 43.5 kms taking 34 minutes depending on traffic.
Pickerings Motors runs a bus service Monday morning and Friday afternoon only.
Monday morning pick up and return
Pick up opposite the Opunake Post Office at 6.30am. Arriving at Ariki Street Bus Depot, via Taranaki Base Hospital then out to Fitzroy, at 7.40am. Returning to Opunake, via Fitzroy and Taranaki Base Hospital, at 8am.
Friday afternoon pick up and return
Pick up opposite the Opunake Post Office at 2.45pm. Arriving at Ariki Street Bus Depot, via Taranaki Base Hospital then out to Fitzroy, at 3.55 pm. Returning to Opunake via Taranaki Base Hospital at 4pm.
Map of Opunake
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The Opunake & Coastal News is published every Thursday fortnight. To advertise or place an article - phone/fax 06 761 7016. After hours phone 06 761 8206.
Opunake or “Opunaki” as
it was once known was a clearing hacked out of
dense bush that had migrated down from the steep
slopes of Mt Taranaki.
More notably was Te Namu Pa at the northern tip of the bay beside the clearing and Matakaha, a village on the southern headland at the mouth of the Waiaua River.
I have taken these notes from “The Clearing” written by Mrs Kate Mickelson, QSM, a lady born and bred in Opunake. Mrs Mickelson has kindly allowed me to quote from her book and I will continue this story with snippets, in her well written words instead on my humble attempt.
“Until 1865 there was no European settlement from Tarataimaka to Patea, and apart from a strip of land along the coast the country was covered by beautiful dense forest, right to the centre of the North Island.
There were many clearings, mostly near river mouths, which were occupied by Maori pas. Perhaps the most famous of all was Te Namu, consisting of two palisaded fortifications at the north-western boundary of Opunake, one at the mouth of the Otahi River, and the other at the opposite end of Te Namu Bay.
Te Namu Pa was presided over by Wiremu Kingi Matakatea, and the hapu consisted of some 400 men, women and children.
Before the turn of the century flax mills were operating at both the Otahi and Waiaua Rivers. Good men earned five shillings a day and boys earned two shillings and sixpence. The township was first surveyed by Mr O. Carrington in 1868.
By 1869 when war with the Hauhaus in South Taranaki had ended, the population of Taranaki was estimated at 4,000. Hawera, Normanby, Stratford, Inglewood and Eltham were not yet on the map, but Opunake was a year old and showing signs of becoming a progressive settlement.”
Kind thanks to the late Mrs Kate Mickelson, Q.S.M for allowing me to quote from her book, 'The Clearing.'.