For at least 500 years Maori lived along the Abel Tasman coast, gathering food from the sea, estuaries and forests, and growing kumera (sweet potatoe) on suitable sites. Most occupation was seasonal but some sites in Awaroa estuary were permanent. The Ngati Tumatakokiri people were resident when, on 18 December 1642, the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman anchored his two ships (the Heemskirk and Zeehan) near Wainui in Mohua (Golden Bay), the first European to visit Aotearoa – New Zealand. He lost four crew in a skirmish with the local people and soon moved on. Permanent European settlement began around 1855.
Permanent European settlement began around 1855. The settlers logged forests, built ships, quarried granite and fired the hillsides to create pasture. For a time there was prosperity but soon the easy timber was gone and gorse and bracken invaded the hills. Little now remains of their enterprises.
Concern about the prospect of more logging along the coast prompted a campaign to have 15,000 hectares of crown land made into a national park. A petition presented to the Government suggested Abel Tasman’s name for the park and it was duly opened in 1942 – the 300th anniversary of his visit.
The park’s boundary excludes the estuaries and seabed but in 1993 the Tonga Island Marine Reserve was created along one part of the Abel Tasman coast. Like a national park, all life in the reserve is protected.
Glossary Of Maori Place Names
This is a list of a few words that commonly form part of Maori place names so that you can easily break the words down and work out there meaning.
|awa||river or valley||iti||small||nui||big|
|roto||lake||whenua||land or country||maka||branch stream or tributary|
|o||place of||rangi||sky, heaven||papa||flat|
|maia||brave, bold, capable, confident||matariki||stars||koura||crayfish, rock lobster|
It is relatively easy to break place names down to work out their mean, for example;
Kaikoura on the east coast of the south island is made up of 2 words, kai (food) and koura (crayfish).
Marahau is also made up of 2 words, mara (garden) and hau (windy).
Weather / Climate
Our region consistantly boasts the most sunshine hours annually in New Zealand with over 2200 hours a year.
The beginning of September through to the end of November are regarded as our spring months. Temperatures average 17C (63F) during the day but may get as warm as 26C (79F). Night temperatures may fall as low as 7C (45F). All the plants and trees are in their maximum growth stages with magnificent colours and flowers everywhere. This is regarded as our shoulder season and though there are fewer people around we still recommend booking your accommodation in advance.
The beginning of December through to the end of February are regarded as our summer months. Temperatures average 22C (72F) during the day but may get as warm as 26C (79F). Night temperatures may fall as low as 13C (55F). Long sunny days with plenty of time to enjoy the beaches, swimming and enjoying warm evenings wining and dining. This is the peak season for our region and bookings for accommodation and activities is essential.
From the beginning of March through to late May is our Autumn months and it is one of the best times to visit our area. Temperatures average 18C (64F) during the day and at night temperatures may fall as low as 8C (46F). Its still warm enough for most outdoor activities such as sea kayaking (with many mirror calm days), tramping or cycling and the settled weather makes it easy to plan holiday itineraries. This is regarded as our shoulder season and though there are fewer people around we still recommend booking your accommodation in advance.