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A view of Whangamata.
The town of Whangamata is sited on the southeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsulamarker in the North Islandmarker of New Zealandmarker. It is located 30 kilometres north of Waihimarker, to the north of the western extremity of the Bay of Plentymarker.

The population of Whangamata was 3555 in the 2006 Census, a decrease of 408 from 2001. In holiday times the population swells considerably: New Year's celebrations fill the town to over 25,000 though this falls soon after New Year's Day.

A number of off-shore islands can be seen from the beach. Hauturu or Clark Island is accessible by wading at low tide and is popular in summer months for rock-pool fossickers and kayakers. Whenuakura, sometimes known as Donut Island, sits about a kilometre east of the southern part of Whangamata beach (Otahu Beach). Tuatara roamed on Whenuakura until fairly recently. Whenuakura Island has a large collapsed blow hole which has formed a small beach inside the island - hence the alternative name.
Whenuakura from Otahu Beach.
The town has two ocean beaches, both of which are extremely safe for swimming and surfing. There is a safe boating harbour at the North end of the town and another estuary at the South end. Both the harbour and estuary provide good swimming for families. 15 minutes drive south of Whangamata is the quietly popular beach Whiritoamarker. Other beaches just north of Whangamata are Onemana and Opouteremarker.

There are a number of clubs, restaurants and hotels, which are able to provide meals, refreshments and entertainment for visitors.

Place name

Shibboleth: People aware of other place names of Māori origin might expect "Whangamata" to be pronounced in a similar way to such names as Waitematamarker and Matamatamarker, where more stress is placed on the penultimate syllable than the final one, leaving the last 'a' as a schwa. These place names rhyme, roughly, with the English word matter. "Whangamata" goes against this rule, and the stress is placed firmly on the final 'a'. The ending thus rhymes (roughly) with the English word guitar.

The name of Whangamata comes from the mata stones (obsidian) which washed up on the beach. Whanga = bay, mata = a hard stone.

Education

Whangamata Area Schoolmarker is a coeducational composite (years 1-15) school with a decile rating of 4 and a roll of 402.

Marina

A controversial marina has been constructed on the Whangamata Harbour. Surfers, environmentalists and Maori have opposed the marina due to the effects upon a major wetland area and the risk to a world-class left hand surf break. An Environment Court hearing stipulated that the Marina could go ahead as long as certain conditions were met. Chris Carter, a former Minister of Conservation, blocked the development but his decision was overturned. The marina opened in November 2009.

See also



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