Township on a narrow peninsula in the middle of Hokianga Harbour. At first it was a timber centre, and in the early 1800s a mill and shipyards were established. In 1826 there was an unsuccessful settlement organised by the New Zealand Company. Historic buildings include the last house of James Reddy Clendon, who was US consul at the Bay of Islands in the 1830s. He was a witness to the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, a member of the first Legislative Council from 1841–44, and a magistrate from 1850. George McCall Smith, an archetypal backblocks doctor, developed Hokianga’s unique health service, centred on Rāwene Hospital which he headed from 1914 to 1948.

Meaning of place name
A story ascribed to Johannes C. Andersen tells of a dying chief who asked to be carried from his village to the top of the ridge so that he might, for the last time, watch the sun set. As the sun slipped below the horizon he murmered, 'Wene te ra', translated as The sun is dead (or dying).