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.
Ngati 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 in 1841.
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 depression.
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.