Events In History


An early missionary and linguist, William Williams later came to criticise the government's dealings during the New Zealand Wars.

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Holiday town 23 km south-east of Kerikeri. Well sited on the inner reaches of the Bay of Islands, it has a rich history. The Church Missionary Society established a mission in 1823 (following one at Kerikeri in 1819), and set up New Zealand’s first printing press in 1835. The mission closed in 1850 and by 1890 there were a mere handful of houses and a church in the settlement. The holiday town dates from the 1930s. The restored Treaty House at nearby Waitangi was an attraction, and a road built from Ōpua made the town much easier to reach from the south. After the Second World War it became particularly popular with Aucklanders, and rivalled Russell (still reached mainly by ferry) in size.

Meaning of place name
The popular belief is that when selecting a locality for a CMS mission station, the Rev. Henry Williams was impressed by the tranquil bay and exclaimed in a mixture of Maori and English, 'Pai here!', meaning 'Good here'. This explanation seems to good to be true. Originally called Marsdens Vale.