Kia ora: Pukehina

Elisabeth Easther discovers good things in a small package

Pukehina Beach. Photo / BPT
Pukehina Beach. Photo / BPT

Origin of name: "Puke" means hill and "hina" means grey or grey-haired, so one could assume Pukehina means "grey-haired hill" - but Hina is also the personification of the moon. If you know how the name originated, please let us know.

Population: Six-hundred permanent residents, with a massive increase over summer.

Location: Three hours' drive from Auckland, 109km from Hamilton, 35km from Tauranga and 40 minutes from Rotorua and Whakatane. The new eastern arterial route, under construction, will make some trips faster.

Town slogan: It's too small for a slogan.

Town mascot: It's too little for one of those, too.

Most prominent industry: The two dairies, the campground, farming and fishing. And the other main business is First National Real Estate, owned and run by the aptly named Joy.

Source of pride: The uncrowdedness - it's an untouched corner of the world.

Town competition: The BOP Coast 'n' Country Cycle Challenge from Mt Maunganui to Whakatane (and vice versa in alternate years) goes through Pukehina, and the kids' leg starts here.

Best reason to stop: The beach. It goes for miles - 6km to be precise.

Best place to take the kids: The estuary is safe and there are hours of entertainment to be had playing in the sand and mud, or kayaking, floundering and fishing.

Best place to get a drink: The Hippy Pippy. You can play pool there, too.

Best place to eat: Both of the dairies do fish 'n' chips very well.

Best flat white: Both dairies also serve coffee - you be the judge.

Vital information: Mr Whippy makes regular appearances.

Best bakery: If you're thinking about moving to Pukehina, maybe you could open one.

How cool is this? There are two tennis courts, and you can buy a key for the season that costs only $15. There's an awesome BMX track, too.

Best walk: From Pukehina to Rogers Beach at low tide. It's about three hours there and back, with big cliffs on one side, and there's a pohutukawa tree along the way with a tyre attached, if you fancy a swing.

Best view: Anywhere on the beach where you can look out to White Island and Motiti, and across to Little Waihi.

Best park/playground: The park by the surf club has great equipment, and the swings are facing the waves.

Check out: The Pukehina Fishing Club has heaps going on, but be careful, or you may get hooked.

Did you know? On Friday nights there are drinks down at the volunteer fire station as well as quick-fire raffles.

Wildlife: There are dotterels and oystercatchers near the estuary where there's a special fenced-off area for them. You may also see herons, ducks, geese, tui and shags. And the jungle drums beat very efficiently when dolphins, orcas or sharks pay a visit, so everyone can enjoy their beauty.

Safety warnings: Swim between the flags because it is a pretty vigorous beach.

Visitors say: You can get a beach house for as little as $250,000 and sections for just $160,00.

Locals say: If you catch more than three crayfish, you need to give at least one to your neighbour.

Bach owner Tene McGrath was reluctant to spill the beans in case too many people found out about Pukehina's charms, but we have ways of making people talk.

- NZ Herald

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