The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

The vil­lage of Matakana is the heart of the re­gion. The round­about in the mid­dle of town points vis­i­tors to quiet beaches, re­gional parks, winer­ies and coastal walks, but the town it­self is also a des­ti­na­tion. On ar­rival, vis­i­tors to Matakana should take off their shoes, bury their toes in the earth and give thanks to the re­gion’s boun­teous riches. From the lush kauri that at­tracted set­tlers in the mid-1800s, to the or­chards planted when the tim­ber ran out, and the clay that led to the es­tab­lish­ment of one of the coun­try’s favourite ce­ram­ics com­pa­nies, Matakana soil pro­vides the re­gion with a rich eco­nomic base. Ev­i­dence can be seen every week­end at the fa­mous Matakana Vil­lage Farm­ers’ Mar­ket (see Hit the mar­kets page 10). The vil­lage is full of Auck­lan­ders es­cap­ing the city for the day and food­ies stock­ing up on lo­cal pro­duce. The line for the sin­gle ATM ri­vals the queue for coffee but that doesn’t mat­ter. There is no sense of ur­gency here.

Among those who ap­pre­ci­ate a good statue, the King Ge­orge V War Memo­rial in Matakana is fa­mous. Erected in 1919 to com­mem­o­rate lo­cal ser­vice­men who died, it was com­pleted by New Zealand sculp­tor W.H. Fel­don. Sadly, not ev­ery­one ap­pre­ci­ates the Oa­maru-stone struc­ture and good King Ge­orge’s head has dis­ap­peared sev­eral times.

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