It is difficult to think of Patea without also recalling the outstanding Patea Maori Club and its chart topping single “Poi-E” which swept to popularity in 1982 and is still arguably one of the country’s favourite contemporary Maori songs. 

Patea has a rich Maori and European history which is well documented in the South Taranaki District Museum (Aotea Utanga nui) in the main street of the township.  The replica of the Aotea canoe at the western entrance to the town commemorates the settlement of Taranaki by Turi and his hapu, who travelled from Hawaiiki to Kawhia and then overland to Patea. 

Today Patea has retained a strong community focus and enjoys many services.  Nearby Carlyle Beach and Mana Bay are popular for their excellent fishing, boating and surfing and visitors to the area will enjoy beautiful, wild, rugged scenery that is typical of the South Taranaki coast.  The beach and river offer a boat ramp, scenic lookouts and walkways.  The shopping centre has supermarkets and a butcher, cafes, dairies and hotels and includes a well resourced medical centre, pharmacy, public swimming pool and trust owned rest home. 

Things to see and do while visiting Patea:

Patea Beach Motor Camp

Patea Beach Motor camp is situated on Patea beach river mouth. A welcoming place where campers, travellers and visitors can share and enjoy the beauty of this special piece of New Zealand. Patea motor camp provides tidy and well maintained camp sites and chalets where you can park a caravan, pitch a tent or pull in with a camper van. Patea Motor Camp offers sites with electricity and the freedom to use the facilities in the camp. 

Lake Rotorangi Walkway

Takes you across the spillway and dam and through virgin bush filled with tawa and hinau.  A feature of the walkway is a grove of black beech or tawhairauriki, which flower in a burst of brilliant red in October and November. 

Patea River Historic Walk

The Patea River Historic Walkway heads from Patea Beach and follows the river up to York Street, with several interesting historical sites along the way.  The walk can be started at either end and if you finish at the beach you can enjoy a meal using one of the free electronic barbecues in the picnic area.  Toilets are available at the beach.  If entering the walkway from the York Street entry, there is a steep climb which can be muddy and slippery in wet weather

Rural Swimming Pool

Located on Stafford Street, Patea. The Community pool is open from early December to mid March.

Aotea Utanganui - Museum of South Taranaki

Perhaps the most important archive of district information, articles and pieces, the South Taranaki District Museum is on the main road through Patea. The central section of the museum is the oldest colonial building in South Taranaki. It was built in 1869 and housed Taplin and Muir's General Store at the time of the first government sale of town sections in 1870. The museum offers a rich and varied history of the area. Make sure you stop in when you come to town!

Patea Heritage Buildings

South Taranaki i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

For great advice, service and friendly tourist information wherever you are in the region, please phone or visit the i-SITE Visitor Information Centre in Hawera.  All South Taranaki libraries also offer visitor and tourist information throughout the working week and display boards are kept up to date with community notices and events. 

Address:  55 High Street (PO Box 5), Hawera

Telephone:  06 278 8599

Fax:  06 278 6599               

Open Hours:

Monday-Friday 8.30 am-5.15 pm

Weekends and Public Holidays 9.30-4 pm (December-April), 10 am-3 pm (May-November)