skip to main content

Waitangi Regional ParkTe papa rēhia ā-rohe o Waitangi

Waitangi Regional Park extends around 5 kilometres along the coast between Awatoto and Haumoana, and is haven for wildlife and sportspeople alike, and is the location for the Atea a Rangi star compass.

Come alive on the coast

On the coast between Awatoto and Haumoana, Waitangi Regional Park links the Tukituki, Ngaruroro and Tūtaekurī Rivers, the Karamū Stream-Clive rivers and coastal reserves. The park covers an area of 300 hectares along 5km of a narrow strip of coastline.

This part of the coast is an important ecosystem. The birds you might spot include white heron, royal spoonbill, godwits, and gannets. You might also smell or spot a seal or two, when they come inshore.

The lower parts of the rivers are popular for fishing, whitebaiting, rowing, waka ama, kayaking, jet boating, jet skiing, and kite surfing.

The Waitangi Estuary area was an early arrival site for both Māori and pākehā. The Star Compass, Ātea a Rangi, symbolises the navigational skills of early settlers. On Waitangi Day, 6 February, a popular festival on the Clive River features a re-enactment of the arrival of the first European settlers.


The story of the park

The area around Waitangi Regional Park is rich in culture, history and nature.

Fittingly, the northern end has been transformed into a gateway icon for Napier and Hastings communities. Watch our video to see what has been done in this scenic space.

Video: Waitangi Regional Park Estuary Enhancement

Waitangi ranks within the top 10 wetlands in the region that require protection and enhancement, as determined by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. The area provides a variety of wetland and coastal habitats that support a significant population of bird species. It connects with the nearby Tukituki Estuary. The restoration of some of the wetland areas now is helping to provide habitats for seabirds, water fowl, fish, insects and plants along this coastline.

The estuary initially linked the Ngaruroro and Tukituki river mouths and in the late 1800’s a small ferry boat transported people and goods across the rivers. Significant changes have occurred since then as a result of storms and coastal erosion.   The construction of the Heretaunga Plains Flood Control Scheme in the 1960 and 70s further altered the wetlands. Numerous stopbanks and pump stations were constructed along these rivers and Muddy Creek south to the Tukituki River to provide flood protection and drainage to extensive areas of land between Napier and Hastings. While this was important for the economic development of Hawke’s Bay, it did help to destroy an extensive wetland system over this area which is now being restored.

Ātea a Rangi Star Compass         

The Ātea a Rangi Star Compass stands right on the edge of the coast. 

This dramatic circle of pou (posts), stones and a whaharoa (gateway) has been developed by the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust and installed through 2017. 

Local carvers have created the pou, representing the points of the compass. They worked with the Regional Council's open spaces team to enhance this important historical part of the coast.

Information signs at the star compass display information on:

  • the navigation skills and tools of ancient Māori who navigated the oceans to arrive here and settle (PDF)
  •  the historical significance of this area
  • the natural richness of the area.

Read more about the enhancement project in our fact sheet Waitangi: Restoring Mana.


waitangi icons

  • Ātea a Rangi Star Compass and Historic Site
  • Walking and boardwalks through wetlands
  • Wildlife
  • Watersports
  • Fishing - walking access only in many places
  • Cycling Trail and BMX track at Clive
  • Horse-riding trail
  • Model airplane club
  • Heritage Trails site - Farndon Heritage Trail.
Waitangi Regional Park


Across the road from the star compass entry is the Horseshoe Wetland which is home to many wading birds.  Access is from the carpark, under the bridges and along the stopbank. 

A new wetland has been constructed which was finished in 2019. A partnership approach is funding the construction - project partners are Te Wai Mauri Trust (which has obtained Te Wai Māori funding), Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc, Napier Port and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council which is managing the project. The new 15 hectare wetland (currently un-named) will provide even more habitat for fish, birds and whitebait spawning in this highly valuable biodiversity 'hot spot' area.

Where is Waitangi Regional Park?

Because the park stretches along the coast, there are a number of access points and parking areas for vehicles:

  • At Waitangi (northern) - from State Highway 2 , approximately 10 minutes drive from both Hastings and Napier, takes you to Ātea A Rangi Star Compass and Waitangi Estuary.  Parking is available.
  • At Clive - through the Evers-Swindell Reserve for the cycle trail, BMX track, horse trail and boat ramp. Parking is available.
  • At East Clive - Ferry Road and Richmond Road parking areas give you foot access to the beach and wetland. Parking is available.
  • At Haumoana - Access to the Tukituki river mouth is through Domain Road carpark.   

Cycle/walk - The Hawke's Bay Trails run through the park to Clifton, and connects with Hastings, Napier and Pākōwhai Park. 

Before you go

  • The local people really value the wildness of this coastal park and its historic significance - please respect them by taking away your rubbish.
  • The community especially want to protect the nesting areas of birds and the protective beach crest from erosion.  So public vehicle access is not permitted along the coast at East Clive between the Tukituki Estuary and the Ngaruroro River mouth at Awatoto.  You may walk through but take care where you put your feet and do not disturb birds or seals. 
  • Enjoy the water sports and fishing in safety but take note be aware that Hawke's Bay Navigation Safety Bylaws apply in the rivers and restrict activities to specific zones in the Waitangi Estuary-Clive-Ngaruroro.
  • There are no toilets within the park itself (however they are at Evers-Swindell Park in Clive)
  • The parking areas can be remote so please lock your vehicle and take valuables with you.

Commercial and Tourism

Parts of this regional park are wāhi tapu, sacred and of significance to tāngata whenua and europeans.

Please contact Hawke's Bay Regional Council to request approval to use this site.

Any of the following activities require the consent and approval of the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust and the Regional Council:

  • Filming
  • Photography
  • Drones
  • Tours - either educational or tourism

For information on educational tours of the Ātea and surrounding area, visit

Videos about the Waitangi Regional Park journey


Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Hawke's Bay Regional Council - / +64 6 835 9200 /