The Bay of Islands, formerly known to Maori as Ipipiri, which translates as ‘many places’, was used by several iwi (tribes) from as early as the 10th century.
Permanent settlements are not thought to have appeared until the 13th century. Kororareaka, or ‘sweet little penguin’, now known as Russell, and Keri Keri are perhaps the best known of these settlements that were established long before Captain Cook – the first European to visit the area - named the Bay of Islands in 1769.
Whalers and missionaries followed and as European presence grew in the area, conflict inevitably ensued.Today, however, the area is a laid back and friendly haven for tourists and locals alike.
The Bay is home to many places of both Maori and Pakeha (European) historical importance with Russell (New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement), Okiato (New Zealand’s first capital) and Waitangi (scene of the signing of New Zealand’s most important legal document the Treaty of Waitangi) being among the three most significant.