In fact, the region always was the set of important events through history.
Just outside Paihia, visitors can still look up the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. This treaty played an important role on New Zealand's history as it is considered to be the founding document of New Zealand as a nation!
It was signed in 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Maori chiefs from the North Island. It established a British Governor of New Zealand, recognized Maori ownership over their lands and gave the Maori the rights of British subjects.
Not surprisingly the treaty is still involved in controversy.
First, the English and Maori versions have significant differences in content.
Second, as usual, the Westerns seemed not to always fulfill their part of the agreement.
Although it was high season (January 2015) and there was a considerable amount of tourists in town we've always found the place quite relaxing. It was easy for us to get away from the crowd and find ourselves a quiet spot.
In Paihia, we could enjoy the beach, go trekking on the bush (we've learned that in NZ "forest" stands for a planted area of trees and "bush" stands for an area of wild and native trees ) or even swim next to a waterfall!
Walking through the bush, its vegetation, so unusual to us, impressed us, but the sounds of all the new unknown birds were just mesmerizing. The surrounding bush of Paihia is also the habitat of the kiwi which can't be easily spotted as it is a quite shy nocturnal animal.
We also went for a hike that led us to the Hururu Falls, just a few kilometers upstream from the Waitangi River mouth. On the way there we came across one very special habitat: the mangrove. The mangrove trees grow near the coast and are adapted to the rush conditions created by tides, waves and the salt water and terrain. It was very beautiful!
When we found ourselves on a busy road without sidewalk, quite unpleasant for pedestrians, a car just stopped next to us and this nice elderly sir offered us a ride. It just happened that he was heading to town to pick up his wife and grandchildren. In just two days, that actually happened again, when we weren't even looking for a ride!
"Come along, will you?" they said with an inviting smile.
There is still nice people on this world!...