Whakatane - Accessible - Accessible/Easy Access Accommodation & Activities
The statue of the lady on the rock at the Whakatane entrance is of Wairaka, daughter of Toroa, captain-navigator of the Mataatua waka. It commemorates her act, when the men were away and the canoe began to drift offshore, when Wairaka (defying the tapu that forbade women to handle a canoe) seized the paddle and brought the waka back to shore crying, ‘Kia Whakatane au i ahau’ – I will act the part of a man.' This cry is the origin of the town's name.
Whakatane's most prominent natural features are Ohope Beach, the sea and White Island, and depending on their capabilities some access travelers will be able to enjoy the usual kinds of water based activities here - fishing, surfing, sailing etc. For the less mobile there is plenty of choice - stopping off at any of the beaches and bays extending all along the coast from the Whakatane Harbour to Ohope and beyond as far as you care to go around the East Cape coastline.
There are cultural activities such as the Whakatane Library, Exhibition Centre and Museum, and Mataatua Wharenui, New Zealand's only repatriated and most-traveled Māori meeting house - home after after more than 130 years away. And great dining choices for seafood lovers. And everyone else.