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Oakura is located in Taranaki Region just outside of New Plymouth
Coordinates: 39°7′3″S 173°57′16″E
Country New Zealand
District New Plymouth District
• Total 1,380
Oakura (officially Ōakura) is a small township in New Plymouth District, Taranaki, in the western North Island of New Zealand.
It is located on State Highway 45, 15 kilometres south-west of New Plymouth. Okato is 12 km further south-west.
The Oakura River flows past the town and into the North Taranaki Bight. To the south is the Kaitake Range, part of Egmont National Park.
The population of Oakura was 1,380 in the 2013 census, an increase of 21 from 2006.
Oakura is well known for its beach—Oakura Beach. One of only three beaches along the west coast of New Zealand which is north facing, in 2007 it became one of the first Blue Flag accredited beaches in Oceania.
Only two others—Fitzroy and East End beach in nearby New Plymouth—received the same award that year.
As of 2010, Oakura Beach has retained its blue flag status.
The Oakura River (and therefore Oakura township itself) was named after the female ancestor Akura-matapū of the Kurahaupō waka.
Oakura-matapu was the original name of the river, and it literally means “Belonging to Akura-matapū”.
Akura was married to Okorotua. Ngāti Tairi hapū hold mana whenua in Oakura.
Ngāti Tairi belongs to the larger descent group of Ngā Mahanga a Tairi.
Ngāti Tairi and Ngā Māhanga a Tairi are a part of the tribe Taranaki.
Ngāti Tairi retains their take ahi-kā (rights of ownership) through the marae Oakura Pā beside the south side of the Oakura River. People have been living in the area of Oakura for hundreds of years.
When war broke out in 1860, Ngāti Tairi as part of Nga Mahanga and Taranaki joined in the offensives against the British.
The nearby Tapuae ridge (north of Oakura) was a continual site of conflict.
On 4 May 1863, a party of about 40 Māori warriors ambushed a small military party on a coastal road west of the town, killing nine of the 10 soldiers.
The revenge attack on the military party, escorting a British defaulter to New Plymouth for trial, reignited hostilities in the Taranaki War.
Amenities and Services
South Road (better known as Surf Highway 45) is Oakura’s main street, and most local businesses and services are situated around here.
Aardvark Works Digital Marketing and Online Advertising Agency relocated from the main city to service the province. Specialising in Google maps SEO and digital display advertising or banner ads.
Features and attractions
Apart from its well-known beach, Oakura’s main attraction is Butlers Reef. A bar and music venue that has showcased many renowned New Zealand and international acts.
Other places of interest include the township’s three parks – Matekai, Corbett and the Shearer Reserve.
Five minutes drive south-west is Lucy’s Gully, a famous beauty spot in the Kaitake ranges.
Ringcraft Moana is a manufacturing jewellery business with showroom, garden and an extensive pearl collection of abalone pearls.
The Wavehaven, on Surf Highway 45 just south of Oakura, offers accommodation and access to surfing beaches.
Once a year Oakura’s artists are opening up their studios to the public in a two-weekend event. The Oakura Arts Trail can be found online 
Koru Pā is a historic reserve and pā situated 3 km south-east of Oakura township.
Oakura is thought to be one of the first Māori settlements in Taranaki.
Oakura Playcentre is a registered Early Childhood Facility that caters to children from ages 0 – 6 years.
It is licensed for 3 mornings a week; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Playcentre philosophy is based on child-initiated play and recognises the parents as the first and best educators of their own children.
Playcentre families receive a unique early childhood experience with opportunities for whānau/families to learn together.
- Ruhira Matekai (also known as Lucy Stevens) was a well-known Māori woman who lived in Oakura in the 19th century. Lucy’s Gully and Matekai Park are named after her.
- Professional surfer Paige Hareb is from Oakura.
Dye, Stuart (7 July 2007). “Tornado victim: ‘I thought we were going to die'”. The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
“Blue Flag Beaches”. Blue Flag. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
“Police Media Release”. New Zealand Police. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
“About” Thewavehaven.co.nz. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
“Māori Maps”. maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
“Historic Koru Pa”. Department of Conservation. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
“Directory of Schools – as at 3 April 2019”. New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
125th jubilee of Oakura School and districts, 1866-1991 : souvenir booklet. 1991.
“Lucy’s Gully”. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
“NZ teen makes surfing history”. Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
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