Waitara Heritage Trail

The Waitara Valley has a rich and sheltered history, with the countryside scattered with evidence of fortifications reflecting a period of human occupation over many hundreds of years.

With European settlement in North Taranaki occurring from 1841, conflict began to arise over the colonists attempt to gain land for cultivation. This culminated in the first Taranaki Land War in 1860-61. The town (then known as Raleigh) came into being, with Borough status achieved in 1904 when the name reverted to Waitara.

A good starting point is Marine Park, then you follow the stop bank to West Quay.

Points of Interest

A Te Roimata O Te Atiawa

This stone commemorates Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitaake a paramount chief of Te Atiawa at the time of the first Taranaki Land War in 1860-61.

The Bridges of Waitara

Bridging the Waitara River was a major challenge in early settler days but in 1871 the first pile of a bridge was driven in.

Carved Panels

Ten carved panels are located on the boardwalk representing the flora and fauna of Waitara.


This stone is dedicated to the many workers who (since 1880) have worked in the meat processing plant originally near this site.

Waitara Pill Box

The Home Guard (formed during World War II) used this to defend the area of coast between Waipapa Stream to Waiongana River.

The Works Wharves

In the 1890s two small wharves were built to service the growing freezing works industry.

Railway Signal Box

This originated in Stratford but was brought to Waitara in 1960 to serve as a club house for the Waitara Boating Club.

River Fords

These were utilised by travellers in the early days of settlement.

Hurirapa Pa

This was the only Pa of four in the district that was not destroyed in the early days of the first Taranaki Land War.

The Return Port

In 1848 Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitaake and followers returned home to occupy four new Pa on the western side of the River.

The Waitara Blockhouse

Kuhikuhi pa was erected here in 1848 but destroyed in 1860 to build a blockhouse at the beginning of the first Land War. The harbour pilot’s house and signal box (c. 1880) still remain here.


Originally built as a village before 1700, Pukekohe was defended by ditches, banks and palisades.

Rose Garden

This garden commemorates the late Mr Bob Donaldson for his long service to Waitara as a borough councillor.

The Railway

The New Plymouth – Waitara Railway was opened in 1875 to link New Plymouth with the nearest sheltered port.

Memorial Cenotaph

This monument commemorates the 78 servicemen from Waitara District who fell in the two World Wars.

Aorangi Pa

For several hundred years a fortified pa and settlement occupied this bluff.

West Quay

New wharf development, toilets, playground.