Arai te Uru Heritage Walk

Arai te Uru Heritage Walk

Arai Te Uru Recreational Reserve

Your Nature Guide

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Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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approx 800 m return | 15 minutes return

Arai-te-uru is the name given to the South Head of Hokianga Harbour. A walk with pa site remains and pretty views.


From the eastern end of Omapere, turn into Signal Station Road. The unsealed road leads to a parking area from where the start of the track is signposted

The turn off to Signal Station Road and Arai Te Uru Recreational Reserve is clearly signposted from State Highway 12. You see a large Transit sign on a sharp hairpin bend just up the hill from Omapere. The entrance sign to the reserve is 2km down the metalled road. There is also a “no camping” sign. Grassy terraces provide sheltered picnic sites and wonderful views up the harbour away from the prevailing westerly winds. The metalled road ends at a formed area for turning and car parking.


The track is metalled, even and signposted. It performs a loop around the South Head of Hokianga Harbour.

There is a further 10 minute-return walk from the carpark, which winds down a grass bank on a well-formed track to a beach at the base of the hill.

Arai te Uru Heritage Walk leads out to the Signal Station Point on the southern head of the Hokianga Harbour. The walk out to the point takes 5 – 10 minutes and has a small loop giving an alternative return back. The vegetation is predominantly flax, manuka, bracken, cabbage trees and pines. One minute from the carpark, the walkway down to the western coast (start of the Hokianga Kai Iwi Coastal Tramping Track) intersects the track, go straight ahead as directed on the sign. Veer right (to the eastern side of the track) at the wooden railing and you find a bench seat and a spectacular view up the Harbour.

The track follows the railing around the top of the cliffs. It then enters tall manuka and suddenly opens out at the headland and grassed lookout. Here, a few remnants of the old signal station still stand. The remains bring to mind visions of the days when sailing ships traded in and out the Harbour. Due to a decline of shipping and trading in the Hokianga the station was closed in 1951.

You can take a loop track to return to the car park, which takes you on the western side of the head and joins the main track at the start of the wooden railing.

Polynesian History

Arai-te-uru is the name given to the South Head of Hokianga Harbour. According to Maori mythology, Niua, at the North Head, and Arai-te-uru were two taniwha Kupe left to guide the returning waka of Ngatokimatawhaorua and Mamari many years later.

European History

In 1838, John Martin bought the headland and constructed a signalling mast on the point to help guide ships over the treacherous bar, which has claimed over 20 vessels. His farmhouse was located 2 miles away on the hill and was painted white to act as a navigation marker.

In 1867 the Marine Department was established and the original flagstaff was modified to incorporate a cross arm, which carried discs indicating the state of the tide. In 1898 a white light was added.


Feature Value Info


DOC Northland

Central government organisation


North IslandNorthlandHokianga


  • Walking
  • Free


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DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

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Cymen Crick

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