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Township 128 km north of Gisborne. It is adjacent to the Waiapu River, which was bridged at nearby Rotokautuku in 1916. It became the ‘capital’ of Ngāti Porou territory once the road became the main link between the coast and Gisborne in the 1920s, and remains the principal service town for the coast north of Tokomaru Bay. The district was home to politician and statesman Sir Āpirana Ngata and Victoria Cross winner Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu.

Meaning of place name
At first it was known simply as the Cross Roads. In 1913 it was named Ruatōrea (more correctly Rua-a-Tōrea, the storage pit of Tōrea), but was altered to the current spelling in 1925.