The first recorded European to enter the Hokianga Harbour arrived in 1819. By the 1830's the area was the heart of New Zealand's timber industry - the harbour was a busy port with often seven vessels tied up at once.
Here on the northern shore, the Hokianga Harbour splits into two rivers, the Mangamuka branching inland to the northeast and the Waihou leading towards the east past Mangungu, Horeke and Rangiahua (all historic areas).
Where the river divides is a small island called Motiti which was painted by Augustus Earle, a European artist who spent several months in New Zealand. He visited the Hokianga in 1827.
"we were sailing up a spacious sheet of water, which became considerably wider after entering it; while majestic hills rose on each side .... looking up the river we beheld various headlands stretching into the water and gradually contracting its width, 'till they became fainter and fainter in the distance and all was lost in the azure of the horizon".