Visit the home of 'Poi E'

Recent film Poi E: The Story of our Song has been taking the world by storm, being named the ‘Kiwi feel-good movie of the year’ with its world premiere at the 2016 New Zealand International Film Festival. 

The song and film captures the vitality and pride of Taranaki's Patea after the town’s largest employer, the freezing works, closed down in 1982.

Following the song’s release in October 1983, it reached number-one in the New Zealand charts by March 1984.

The Patea Maori Club who performed the song even rose to fame in the United Kingdom, playing at the London Palladium, the Edinburgh Festival and even giving a Royal Command Performance.

So for a town that inspires nations, what is there to explore?

Five things to see and do in Patea:

Aotea Utanganui Museum of South Taranaki.

While this museum has some of the oldest wooden artefacts on display in New Zealand, it is also home to a 3.5 million year old fossilised baleen whale jawbone, found encased in a large rock on a nearby beach.

The museum also brings to life many of the colourful and sometimes tragic stories of South Taranaki including the Taranaki wars. Definitely worth visiting!

Tutunui’s Garden by Kim Jarrett

This piece of public art was originally created for the 2006 Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival (now called the Powerco Taranaki Garden Spectacular) by well-known landscape designer Kim Jarrett.

The story behind the whale skeleton-looking artwork comes from the Pacific Islands. Tinirau was a powerful chief with a pet whale called Tutunui. When Tinirau had a son, a priest called Kae was called to perform the birth ceremonies and was fed a morsel of flesh from the whale. Enjoying the taste a little too much, Kae killed Tutunui after getting a ride home over the sea, and ate him. Chief Tinirau found out and put Kae to death.

The moral of the story is to not covet someone else’s goods or destroy another person’s property. 

Explore Patea’s History

Learn about Patea’s turbulent history and follow the lower end of the Patea River through pastures and pine forest to several points of interest dating back to the 1860s. A series of signs containing historic photographs and illustrations from award-winning New Zealand botanical artist Audrey Eagle tell the stories of the wool store wharf, Patea Port, Wai o Turi Marae, Dawsons Redoubtm Haere Hau Pa and more.

Lake Rotorangi Walkway

Lake Rotorangi Walkway loops the southern end of the longest man-made lake in New Zealand. The walkway crosses an 82m high Patea dam and features stunning views, parakeets, podocarp and Manuka forests and traditional Maori carvings.

Find a shipwreck at Mana Bay

Mana Bay follows the theme of all Taranaki beaches, offering a wild west coast with sparkling surf and warm black sand. The sand is rich with iron, coming from the volcanic rocks of Mt Taranaki.

As you stroll down Mana Bay, you will come across the remains of the shipwreck S.S Waitangi in the sand. Patea was once home to a busy port that exported cheese, meat, wool and flax. The S.S Waitangi transported meat until it crashed into rocks in 1923. Once hidden to passers-by, high seas and strong winds recently exposed the rusted frame of the ship once again.