This area of the site is to be used to build a history of Karekare. Initially
we have created a brief history but intend to expand this to be more detailed
and include oral histories collected from Karekare residents. If you have
any stories or pictures to include in this section, please email email@example.com
The earliest inhabitants of the Karekare valley were people known
as the Ngaoho who lived in the area for 300 years from the 13th century.
IN the late 17th century the Maori tribe of Te Kawerau a Maki settled
in the area building a pa on the Watchman which was called Te Kaka Whakaara.
They planted the valley with kumara, gathered shellfish from the headlands
and fished from the rock ledges. In early 1825 the Ngapuhi tribe from
the north of north, attacked Karekare besieging the pa. The warriors fought
bravely, but had no defence against the muskets of the attacking tribe.
The women, elders and children were sheltered in the large cave above
the beach known as Wharengarahi and were smoked and burnt out, the attacker's
setting fire to manuka brush and lowering it from above. Karekare was
given a new name after this episode, Mauaharanui - the place of the great
wrongdoing. The only survivors of the carnage was a sole warrior who escaped
by climbing down the north face of the cliff.
logging and tramways
Brothers John and Silas Shaw with their wives and 24 children were
the first Europeans to live in the valley then known as Karkare. The came
in 1845 clearing the bush for grazing and cutting a steep bridal path
up to the ridge, now used for the main road into the valley. In 1881,
the Shaws were bought out by Charles Murdoch, the owner of a sawmill in
the Pararaha valley to the south. He extended the tramway which ran south
to the Manakau harbour at Whatipu in order to extract the logs; the iron
spikes from this tramway can still be seen today on the south rocks. Dams
were built high in the ranges were logs were collected and then flushed
down the valleys in the spring to the Karkau sawmill at the near the waterfall.
In 1886 after the Shaw farmhouse burnt down, Murdoch built a grand new
home from kauri planks and planted extensive gardens and orchards.
Charles and Maria Farley bought the property from Charles Murdoch
in 1900. The property was modified, extended and named "Winchelsea"
by Maria Farley after her childhood home on the Sussex coast in England.
In the early 1900's, the first tourists started to visit Karekare staying
at "Winchelsea House" as it accommodated those who wanted to
stay in Karekare. The trip by horse-coach from the train station at Waikumete
took all day on horrendous roads but the accommodation at Karekare was
luxurious. It even had electricity power using a flume built by the Farleys,
10 years before Auckland had electric lights. The Farleys built the tennis
court and took visitors on scenic flights over the island landing the
tiny planes on the beach. The pilots were Wally and Dudley Badham, grandsons
of the Farleys. "Winchelsea House" is now registered with the
Historic Places Trust, is fully restored and is available as a holiday
or rental home.
by Alan Moore
Beach Races History
The first of these race days was in 1985 and they have now become a bit of a Karekare
institution. It is a strictly non-commercial event, nothing is sold for personal profit, all the
money raised goes to the groups who organise the event.The emphasis is on fun for all
the family - a memorable and different day at the beach
always a very special fun family day, lots for the kids to do, home made food to buy, a
sausage sizzle, the excitement of horses racing on the sand, sweepstake betting for a
flutter on the horses, pony rides, children's races. It is all in a good cause, profits from
the day go solely to local organisations - the school, the surf club and environmental
by Caroline Grove