Introducing Paihia & Waitangi
The birthplace of NZ (as opposed to Aotearoa), Waitangi inhabits a special, somewhat complex place in the national psyche – aptly demonstrated by the mixture of celebration, commemoration, protest and apathy that accompanies the nation’s birthday (Waitangi Day, 6 February).
It was here that the long-neglected and much-contested Treaty of Waitangi was first signed between Maori chiefs and the British Crown, establishing British sovereignty or something a bit like it, depending on whether you’re reading the English or Maori version of the document. If you’re interested in coming to grips with NZ’s history and race relations, this is the place to start.
Joined to Waitangi by a bridge, Paihia would be a fairly nondescript coastal town if it wasn’t the main entry point to the Bay of Islands. If you're not on a tight budget, do yourself a favour, get on a ferry and get thee to Russell, which is far nicer.
There are some good walks in the area, including an easy 5km track that follows the coast from Opua to Paihia.
Paihia & Waitangi destination guides
Bay of Islands and Hole in the Rock Scenic Helicopter Tour
Get bird’s-eye views of Cape Brett and the Hole in the Rock on a Bay of Islands scenic helicopter tour from Paihia. Take in the stunning scenery of the main group of islands; view the iconic natural landmark, Hole in the Rock; and pass over the historic townships of Russell, Paihia and Waitangi.
New Zealand Encompassed
It dosen’t look so big on the map, but New Zealand is positively massive once you’re there in person. This comprehensive 24-day trip—our longest in this part of the world—delivers the most immersive NZ experience possible.