The photo on the right is of Ruapuke (to right) from Houchens Rd, Te Mata. On a fine winter's day (this was August 2010) Ruapuke residents can look over Aotea Harbour to a rugged and uninhabited coastline and, beyond, the snow-capped peak of Mt. Taranaki, 150 km away (right top – hard to distinguish from a cloud).
The introduction to 'Ruapuke' says, "The greater part of the Ruapuke District is of a sandy loam, and at one time carried a large population of Maoris, as is evidenced by old pas, great heaps of shells, whare [house] sites and numerous kumara storage pits. When the first Europeans arrived the sandy country was covered with patches of light bush, with a big proportion of Karaka, Puriri, and Cabbage trees. The balance was covered with Tauhinu, Teatree, Flax and Fern. The clay portion of the district, (inland and on the slopes of Mt Karioi) was in heavy bush." The archaeological map shows over 40 sites in the area. European settlers arrived from the 1850s.
Ruapuke had a school from 1877 till 1954. It has been replaced by a school bus.
Until the 1990s the beach largely remained unknown, used by local residents and a few surfing and surfcastingfishing enthusiasts. International surfing competitions such as the Billabong (clothing) Pro and the Rip Curl Pro are now held at Ruapuke beach, providing conditions oblige.