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Whangaroa

Whangaroa is a locality on the harbour of the same name in Northland, New Zealand.

Whangaroa is 8 km north-west from Kaeo and 35 km northwest from Kerikeri. The harbour is almost landlocked and is popular both as a fishing spot in its own right and as a base for deep-sea fishing.

The harbour was the scene of one of the most notorious incidents in early New Zealand history, the Boyd massacre. In December 1809 almost all the crew and 70 passengers were killed as utu (revenge) for the mistreatment of the son of a local chief who had been in the crew of the ship. Several days later the ship was burnt out after gunpowder was accidentally ignited. Relics of the Boyd are now in a local museum.

In June 1823 Wesleydale, the first Wesleyan mission in New Zealand, was established at Whangaroa.

On 16 July 1824 on a voyage to Sydney from Tahiti, the crew and passengers of the colonial schooner Endeavour (Capt John Dibbs) stopped in Whangaroa Harbour where the Wesleyan mission was located. An altercation with the local Māori Ngāti Pou hapū (subtribe) of the Ngā Puhi) iwi resulted in the Whangaroa Incident where the Endeavour was boarded by Māori warriors and the crew menaced. The situation was defused by the timely arrival of another Māori chieftain, Ngāti Uru chief Te Ara. The incident was initially described by Rev. Tyerman as a mostly a problem of cultural differences, but in later years the story became a perilous cannibal adventure that defined the Māori (to European readers) as barbarian savages.

In February 1827, the famous Ngā Puhi chief Hongi Hika was engaged in warfare against the tribes of Whangaroa. Acting contrary to the orders of Hongi Hika some of his warriors plundered and burnt the Wesleyan mission. The missionaries, Rev Turner and his wife and three children, together with Rev. Messrs, Hobbs and Stack, and Mr Wade and wife, were 'compelled to flee from Whangarooa (sic) for their lives'. They were conveyed by ship to Sydney, NSW.

During a skirmish Hongi Hika was shot in the chest by one of his warriors. On 6 March 1828 Hongi Hika died at Whangaroa.