The Pukehina Spit was formed by a rising sea level, casting
up sand over a shallow valley, now occupied by the Waihi Estuary
some 40,000 years ago.
The Western Bay of Plenty district has a long history of
Maori living in the area. Tangata Whenua in the area are intrinsically
associated to the Takitimu waka, Te Arawa waka
and Mataatua waka. Hapu and iwi of today are direct
descendants of voyagers on these renowned canoes.
Whakahemo are descendants from the two wakas of the 'Great
Migration" of 1340 AD, Te Arawa and Takitumu.
Ngati Makino are hapu of Ngati Pikiao who settled in Otamarakau
There are numerous archaeological sites scattered throughout
the district as a result of long term Maori occupation.
In 1880, Te Puke was established by George Vesey Stewart.
He advertised for British farmers and entrepreneurs to acquire
land and establish farms in the area.
In 1881 the first colonial settlers arrived in Tauranga
from Ireland, Scotland and England.
In the early 1890's Mr SH MacDougall took up 5,500 acres
in the area.
Pukehina Flaxmill began operating in 1926 with flax sourced
from the surrounding land. Workers were paid 8 - 10 shillings
a ton. It closed a few years later, but in 1933 it became
the cookhouse for 70 Government relief workers during the
Until purchased for development from Maori owners, the spit
was just a sandy wasteland with a few wandering farm animals;
a wild area.
In the 1950's the Weekly News carried sales adverts for quarter
acre beach sections in Pukehina, which could not be found
on any contemporary map.
Beach sections were generally a 10% deposit for a windswept
sandhill with dirt road access, no power, or water and if
you could find the boundary pegs you were lucky! So started
the beach-bach era when building permits were just an option
in the minds of buyers and all manner of habitats were erected.
Back in the day! Pukehina Spit 1955.