Matakana Island


About Matakana Island

Matakana Island is a long, flat barrier island 20km in length and no more than 3km wide. The island has been continuously populated for centuries by a number of Māori tribes that are mostly associated with Ngai te Rangi.

The Island has two distinct parts - 2023ha of farm and orchard land on the inner harbour (where most of the population lives) and 4047 ha of forest-covered coastal land exposed to the Pacific Ocean.

Population: 255, as at the 2013 Census.
Location: Matakana Island forms the sand barrier between Tauranga Harbour and the South Pacific. It stretches from Bowentown to Mount Maunganui.

Over half the population speaks Te Reo Māori, which indicates a strong connection with cultural values, practices and knowledge. The kohanga reo, kura and marae actively support the use of te reo Māori.

Matakana Island has a number of unique social, cultural and natural environmental features that are treasured by the local residents, both Māori and non-Māori:

  • Cultural: There is a high percentage of Māori residents on Matakana Island most of whom are tangata whenua
  • Social: Tangata whenua represent a tight knit community with a strong sense of identity due largely to the island's isolation and the residents' shared whakapapa. The Matakana Island 'way of life' is one of self reliance and self sufficiency
  • Environmental: Matakana Island is a special place for indigenous species and is of national importance for the NZ Dotterel and Katipo spider and numerous other species. It is New Zealand's only "raised sand barrier island" and is a nationally significant geological site.
  • Economic: Matakana Island offers limited employment opportunities which have become more acutely constrained following the closure of the mill and the downturn in forestry. Due to technological advances in milling it is unlikely that such an operation will ever return to the Island.

Key Projects

Matakana Island Ferry

Ramp widening is taking place at both the Omokoroa and Opureora ferry terminals to be able to accommodate a new ferry barge, which is 1.5m wider than the current ferry.  The new ferry will allow for two truck and trailer units, while the current ferry is only wide enough for one. Capacity will be significantly improved to accommodate current and future traffic growth. The ferry is being built by 'Shipco360' in Whangarei and is expected to be in service by July.

Matakana Island Jetty

Council is working through a consultation and design process with Matakana Islanders to replace the wharf/jetty at Opureora, which has reached the end of its life. The timing of the jetty's replacement will be after the ferry terminal ramp widening has been completed prior to July.​ 

Page reviewed: 05 Apr 2017 9:11am