Events In History

Only town and major rural service centre in northern Hawke’s Bay, between Gisborne and Napier. Wairoa was originally a Māori settlement. The ancestral canoe Tākitimu travelled up the river and landed near where the Tākitimu meeting house now sits. The river was an important source of food for the community that grew on its banks. William Rhodes established a trading station there in 1839, and missionary William Williams first visited in 1841. A permanent mission station was established in 1844. Early European squatters ran sheep and traded flax. The town site (then called Clyde) was purchased by the government in 1864 and sections were sold to settlers in 1866. Members of the Māori Pai Mārire (Hauhau) faith arrived in the district around the same time and Wairoa became a colonial military base. In the twentieth century, Wairoa was constrained by its isolation and reliance on rural industries vulnerable to economic downturns.

Meaning of place name
Wai: river or stream; roa: long. One of the most common names in the country. Was called Clyde for a short while, following the vogue of naming Hawke's Bay settlements after figures involved in the Indian Mutiny.