Welcome to Mangawhai
Various Māori tribes inhabited the area before the 1660s, when Ngāti Whatua became dominant. In 1807 Ngāti Whatua defeated Ngāpuhi in a major battle, letting the survivors escape. One of them was Hongi Hika, who in 1825 returned, armed with muskets obtained from Europeans. The ensuing bloodbath all but annihilated Ngāti Whatua and the district became tapu (sacred, taboo). British squatters moved in and were rewarded with land titles by the government in the 1850s. Ceremonies were only performed to lift the tapu in the 1990s.
These days Mangawhai is benefiting from improved traffic links with Auckland, and new housing subdivisions are expanding the spread of the area. Down on the surf beach, though, it's still a quintessential laid-back New Zealand beach town.