Manawatū Estuary

The Manawatū Estuary is of immense historical, cultural, spiritual and traditional significance to Rangitāne O Manawatū. 

Rangitāne O Manawatū southern Rohe is the southern side of the Manawatū River across from Foxton Beach.  The Manawatū Estuary and the Foxton Beach area, originally named Okatia (after the spirit that created the Manawatū River) was heavily seasonally occupied and used by Rangitāne O Manawatū.  Kurahaupo tohunga and Rangitāne O Manawatū ancestor Hau Nui a Nanaia named the Manawatū River after his heart sank in becoming disillusioned in not being able to cross the wide river on his travels down the coast to find his wife, Wairaka.

The Manawatū River mouth has been recognised for the abundance of wetland birds, such as the bar-tailed godwit, lesser knot and golden plover, which are migrants from Arctic breeding grounds; others such as the wrybill, South Island pied oystercatcher, royal spoonbill and banded dotterel, migrated to the Foxton Estuary and wetlands from elsewhere in Aotearoa-New Zealand.  It was known throughout Rangitāne O Manawatū that the first travellers to New Zealand followed the migratory paths of the godwit, lesser knot and other migratory birds.

The saltmarsh area of the Manawatū Estuary at Foxton continues to be valued as an important site as the vegetation is representative of pre-European conditions, featuring rushes (used for weaving) and succulent herbs.

The sand country of the west coast adjacent to Te Awahou was formed by the combined perpetual forces of water and wind.   The Te Awahou District was significant as it was renowned for its eels.  Other shell-bound and finned forms of kai moana were also plentiful: tohemanga, pipi, cockles, tuangi, tuatua, surf crabs and clams, kahawai, freshwater and salt water patiki as well as  shark.  All would certainly have been eaten, according to the season and availability of fish stocks as Rangitāne O Manawatū managed and sustained their fishery resources for generations.

The primary areas used by Rangitāne O Manawatū were Te Wharangi (fishing station and waka mooring), Te Waka Puni (kainga and waka mooring) Whirokino (waka crossing and Pa) and Mikihi (resource gathering area).  Rangitāne O Manawatū never lost control of these sites or the Manawatū River. 

Significant Sites



Te Waka Puni Waka mooring
Orua-rongo Kainga
Puru-rarauha Kainga
Te Rerenga-o-hau Kainga
Whakaripa Kainga
Whirokino Kainga
Te Papa Ngaio Pa



Te Wharangi Pa
Wai-Pipi-O-Maihi Dune
Nga Totara Fossil forest
Manawatu River
Mikihi Stream
Okatia Beach

As Rangitāne O Manawatū develop their capacity they look forward to the future and the time when they are fully engaged in upholding the principle of kaitiaki over the Manawatū coastline.