Northland Journeys - Wandering with Ancestors

Hokianga Harbour

Step back in time to wander in the footsteps of our ancestors and discover the stories of the people that call this region home.

The story of the Hokianga goes right back to the arrival of the first Polynesian explorers over 800 years ago. The great navigator Kupe and his crew, guided by the stars and currents, travelled thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean, eventually arriving in Aotearoa. His journey inspired the great migration, and descendants of his people are the very same people who tell the stories of this area today.

Many years later, the Hokianga also became home to one of New Zealand’s most moving stories of connection and community with the sinking of the SS Ventnor. Tragically, with the ship sank the remains of almost 500 Chinese goldminers who had died in New Zealand and were being returned home to China. Over the weeks and months following the sinking, the remains began to wash ashore, where they were collected and buried by the tangata whenua (people of the land) Te Roroa and Te Rarawa. The history was passed down from generation to generation, in expectation the Chinese families would return.

In 2007, more than 100 years later, a chance meeting connected the Chinese descendant community with the people of Te Roroa and Te Rarawa and the special bond between the two peoples continues today.

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