The Greenwood Guide to New Zealand
Northland, New Zealand

Culture and History in Northland, New Zealand

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Kerikeri Art and Craft Trail

Bay of Islands - Kerikeri

Arts & crafts

Known as the ‘cradle of the nation’ Kerikeri is another of NZ’s little enclaves famed for its artsy, slightly alternative way of life. I guess it's the backdrop of lush, verdant pastures, orchards and forests and its proximity to the Bay of Islands (though nicely set back from the tourist bustle) that draws the artistic crowd. Whatever it is, there are plenty of local painters, potters, wood-carvers and designers on this art and crafts trail to visit and watch at work. These trails are great ways to get your bearings on a place and to meet some local faces.

Kerikeri Art and Craft Trail
  • Contact: Keri Copy Centre, Kerikeri
  • Tel: 09-407-3034
  • Fax: 09-407-3036
  • Email: lynda@kericopycentre.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Studio Opua

Opua

Arts & crafts

Just opening when I passed through Opua, Matthew (a celebrated New Zealand ceramicist himself) is making a collection of local art and designware. He objects to the description 'eclectic' (as I recollect, he preferred 'random'), but I think it suits this gallery and workshop perfectly. New Zealand’s burgeoning young talent is represented here, and Matthew’s involvement means that the selection on display is varied and challenging. Most pieces are for sale should your heartstrings be irretrievably caught.

  • Prices: HI Matthew can we have some basic prices please? thanks Charlotte
  • Contact: 1 Beechy Street, Opua, Bay of Islands
  • Tel: 09-402-7375
  • Email: m@online.gen.nz
  • Web: www.online.gen.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Gumdiggers' Park & Ancient Buried Kauri Forest

Waiharara

Cultural tours

A four-minute detour on the way to Cape Reinga brings you here, and unless you are an awful lot more informed than me, I can guarantee it will be an instructive experience. Dalmatian gumdiggers? Kauri gold? Gum spears? Tattoos and linoleum? Nope, I had no idea either, but this is a fascinating insight into an almost forgotten part of New Zealand's heritage. There is also a gecko trail, and an onsite shop selling locally crafted kauri artefacts.

Gumdiggers' Park & Ancient Buried Kauri Forest
  • Prices: Adult $10; child $5; family pass $25 (2 adults + 2 or more kids); under 8s are free.
  • Contact: Heath Road, Waiharara, RD1 Awanui
  • Tel: 09-406-7166
  • Email: info@gumdiggerspark.co.nz
  • Web: www.gumdiggerspark.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Paihia Matariki Festival

Paihia

Festivals

The Matariki Festival shows off art, food and Maori skills in a bonanza of events that take place throughout June. I happened upon it too late to be able to attend any of the festivities, but I longed to be at the traditional Maori kite-making workshop, the celestial navigation tour complete with tales of the ancestors, and of course the celebration of local food! Dates, times and places change yearly.

  • Tel: 09-402-7932
  • Email: godsiff@xnet.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Culture North - Treaty of Waitangi Sound and Light Show

Bay of Islands - Paihia

Music & theatre

You’re in ‘birth of the nation’ territory up here and you can watch history unfold before your very eyes and on the ground where it took place. Kupe’s first landing, the meeting of the Maori and European cultures and the signing of New Zealand’s founding document are all brought to life in these stunning evening productions. Maori culture, story-telling and live drama are combined with impressive lighting and sound effects in their unforgettable, atmospheric visions of the past.

Culture North - Treaty of Waitangi Sound and Light Show
  • Prices: $55 pp for 2 hrs. Includes pick-up transport.
  • Contact: Waitingi Treaty Grounds, Waitingi, Bay of Islands - Paihia
  • Tel: 09-402-5990
  • Fax: 09-402-9301
  • Cel: 021-1006-001
  • Email: culturenth@xtra.co.nz
  • Web: www.culturenorth.co.nz
  • Updated: 31/01/2008

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Northland Highlights

  • Explore the secluded bays, long white beaches, velvet-green rolling hills and sleepy fishing settlements of the Whangarei Heads. This is one of the most beautiful, and gladly, least visited parts of Northland.
  • Dive or snorkel the fantastic Poor Knights Islands, go inside the biggest sea cave you'll ever see and round off the day with a pizza in Tutukaka's quiet harbour.
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