Seabird Coast
Kaiaua Marae
Shellbank at dusk
Seabird Coast Birds on Beach
Waharau-Bill & Inika
Seabird Coast Sign
Tapapakanga Beach

The Eastern Hunua Regional Parkland bordering Tikapa Moana has historical association with the earliest period of human settlement in the Auckland Region. Most of its human history involves Maori habitation (mainly in the coastal zone) dating back to the 14th century. The two tribal groups of the western shore of Tikapa Moana, Ngati Paoa and Ngati Whanaunga, currently maintain an active marae at Kaiaua. The long Maori occupation of the Seabird Coast is punctuated with numerous significant archaeological sites and beautiful Maori place names. The entire coastline from Tapapakanga (now a regional coastal park) to Pukorokoro (Miranda, the principal shorebird roosting area)) is known as Wharekawa (meaning home to abundant natural resources, mainly seafood). When the Arawa waka (ocean-going canoe) arrived in the area, a safe passage ceremony was held on an island which was named Tikapa (channel island). This was later combined with the word for sea (moana), and from then on Tikapa Moana has been the traditional name for the whole Hauraki Gulf region around today’s Auckland.

During this time the Tainui canoe also voyaged around the southern shores of Tikapa Moana and moored near our place, designating this part of the coast Waihihi, which comes from the Tainui place of origin in their ancestral Hawaiiki. The two tribes (iwi) of what we now call the Seabird Coast are part of the Marutuahu confederation inhabiting mainly the shores of Tikapa Moana. There are many legends about the abundance of fish and shellfish in this part of Tikapa Moana, and the significance of sacred species such as the migratory godwits, the great schools of stingrays, the sharks coming close to shore for pupping and rearing their young, and the whales and orcas frequently seen feeding and frollicking in the rich, calm waters, and the eels which were a staple food of the early Maori.

Today the Seabird Coast is a popular destination for naturalists who come to observe the great flocks of migratory shorebirds, often roosting on the unique, world-renowned shell ridges of the Miranda Chenier Plain, as well the international coastal Ramsar site that is home to such abundant bird life, and the Hunua Parklands (encompassing 17,000 hectares of regenerating native forest crisscrossed with pristine streams and walking tracks). It also is extremely popular with recreational fishers who come here to catch the plentiful snapper and kahawai. Sea kayakers and cyclists are also frequent visitors to the Seabird Coast, and the natural hot springs set in the open coastal space at Miranda is a significant year-round attraction.

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