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Settlement 13 km south of Whakatāne, at the junction of the Whakatāne and Waimana rivers. The government bought and subdivided land in the district in the 1880s. The township, known then as Ōpouriao North, was laid out in 1896. It was supposed it might eclipse Whakatāne. The town was renamed Tāneatua in 1920. In 1928 it became and remained the railhead for the Bay of Plenty sector of the East Coast main trunk line. In more recent years, with Whakatāne more easily reached and farm production static rather than growing, the population has declined. In reference to the tribe that occupies the Urewera region, Tāneatua is known as ‘the gateway to Tūhoe’.

Meaning of place name
Tāneatua, ancestor of Urewera iwi, was tohunga of the Mataatua canoe and settled in this district.