Back in the mid-1800s Matakana was a bustling riverside village popular with boat builders. Steamships delivered settlers and their farm produce from the Matakana River Wharf to Auckland for sale, and butter was collected from the Matakana Dairy factory. During this time there was a flax factory and the first sawmill was built. According to JadeRiverAHistoryoftheMahurangi by R H Locker, boatbuilder George Sharp, who settled at Matakana in 1866, would row to Auckland once a month until he built a sailing lugger which he named ‘Rownomore’. Times change, and 120 years later the village was a sleepy country town with a few shops, a hall, church, small meat works and a timber mill. But over the past eight years the village has had a resurgence in popularity with families moving into the area, the development of a shopping and cinema complex, and the popular Saturday Farmer’s Market open from 8am to 11am. Work has begun on the village’s iconic toilets beside the roundabout. The design, by teenager Steffan Haan has been described as a ‘public artwork and a usable sculpture’. Concrete will soon be sprayed on to the plywood forms and an oxide worked into the finishing plaster coat to avoid the need for repainting. The village is about 7km from Warkworth and there’s plenty of other attractions in the area including wineries and restaurants, Morris and James pottery, and Omaha Beach.
NEW LOOS: Work has begun on the hull-like toilet block at Matakana Village.