Ahipara is a town and locality in Northland, New Zealand at the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach, with the Tauroa Peninsula to the west and Herekino Forest to the east. Ahipara Bay is to the north west. Kaitaia is 14 km to the north east,[1] and Pukepoto is between the two.

Coordinates: 35°10′17″S 173°9′12″E
CountryNew Zealand
RegionNorthland Region
DistrictFar North District

The population was 1,065 in the 2013 Census, a decrease of 57 from 2006.[2]

Iwi, Marae & Hapū

Ahipara is located within the rohe (tribal area) of Te Rarawa, and has strong affiliations to the iwi.[3]

Ahipara hosts three marae affiliated with Te Rarawa hapū:[4][5]


Pre-European settlement

The name comes from the Māori language words ahi, meaning fire, and para, a large fern, and can be translated as "a fire at which para was cooked". Prior to the late 18th century, the area was called Wharo, which means "stretched out". That name originated when the chief Tohe ordered a slave to measure the distance the tide had receded, by counting the number of arm-spans from the high water level.[9]

European settlement

The area was popular with kauri gum-diggers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[10] The Ahipara Gumfields Historic Reserve is to the south of the town.

Shipwreck Bay (Te Kōhanga in Māori), at the southern point of Ahipara Bay, contains a number of wrecks visible at low tide.[11]

Ahipara Bay was once well known for its toheroa shellfish, but gathering these is restricted due to their near-extinction.[12][13]


Ahipara and Shipwreck Bays are popular surfing spots.[14] The area featured in the 1966 surf movie The Endless Summer. Shipwreck Bay has been reported as one of the best left hand surf breaks in the world.[15] See also: Surfing in New Zealand.

Ahipara is on the Te Araroa Trail.


Ahipara School is a coeducational full primary (years 1-8) school with a decile rating of 3 and a roll of 241.[16] It was founded in 1872 as a mission school, and moved to its present site in 1901.[17]

Ahipara Sandhoppers Early Childhood Centre has been operating on the grounds of the Ahipara School for over 20 years.[18] Ahipara Sandhoppers has received recognition for their environmental initiatives.[19]


Ahipara has a number of coastal care groups, including the Ahipara Komiti Takutaimoana (for present and future sustainable use and protection of the Kaimoana/seafood) and Ahipara Community CoastCare (protection and restoration of the dune environment).[20]


  1. "Northland places". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  2. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place  : Ahipara
  3. Te Rarawa
  4. "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  5. "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  6. Korou Kore Marae: Tūrangawaewae o Ngāti Moroki
  7. Te Rarawa, Roma Marae
  8. Te Rarawa Iwi: Wainui Marae
  9. A W Reed (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. p. 5. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4.
  10. "The Kauri Gum Industry". ahipara.co.nz. 2004. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  11. "Top of the North - Ahipara". Destination Northland. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  12. "Aquaculture Bill Submission". Ahipara Online. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  13. Orange, Claudia (2 March 2009). "Northland places - Aupōuri Peninsula". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  14. Discover New Zealand - A Wises Guide (9th ed.). Wises Publications. 1994. p. 1.
  15. "Shipwreck Bay". surfingatlas.com.
  16. Education Counts: Ahipara school
  17. "Ahipara Primary School - School Description" (PDF). Archived from the original (pdf) on 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  18. "Ahipara Sandhoppers Early Childhood - ERO Report".
  19. "Ahipara youngsters lead the way". Predator Free NZ Trust.
  20. "Coastcare group profiles". Northland Regional Council.
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