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The Whangaparaoa Peninsula is a suburban area about 25 km north of Auckland, New Zealand. It had 30,672 residents in 2013, many of them in the eponymous town of Whangaparaoa on its southern side. It is part of the Hibiscus Coast. The area is populated largely by retired Aucklanders and “weekenders” who may swell the numbers to many thousands in the holiday season. However, many residents commute from this area to the Auckland CBD for work both via the Gulf Harbour ferry and the Silverdale Bus Station.
The Kawerau hapū Ngāti Kahu traditionally inhabited the peninsula, prior to the arrival of Europeans. Ngāti Kahu's major focuses of settlement were around Te Haruhi Bay and Army Bay. A waka portage existed between Tindalls Beach and Matakatia, allowing travellers to bypass the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, who otherwise would have needed to travel around the entire peninsula.
Whangaparaoa Peninsula was purchased by the government in 1853, after which settlers began developing the land for grazing. Ngāti Kahu continued to live on the land until the 1890s. The Shakespear family acquired many of the landholdings, and farmed the area until 1967, when they sold their land to the Auckland Regional Council, who established the Shakespear Regional Park at the far end of the peninsula.
The peninsula is in the northern North Island, close to the base of the North Auckland Peninsula. The Māori language name Whangaparāoa means "Bay of Whales", and pods of orca and dolphin are regularly spotted in the waters off the peninsula. The peninsula is mostly urbanised and is in the Northern Auckland Zone of the Auckland urban area, as defined by Statistics New Zealand. Since 2010, it has been part of the Albany Ward and the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board of the Auckland Region.
Until relatively recently a sparsely inhabited rural area, it is now populated with a large retired community, along with young families and couples, the city lying 25 kilometres to the south. The suburb of Gulf Harbour, four kilometres from the tip of the peninsula where the Gulf Harbour Country Club is located is one of the last suburbs to be developed and is quickly increasing in population.
Auckland's Northern Motorway (State Highway One) was extended to Orewa at the end of the 1990s, reducing journey time into the city and making it more popular for commuters. The proposed Penlink road (including a bridge over the Weiti River from Stanmore Bay to Stillwater) would provide a quicker route between the peninsula and central Auckland.
The peninsula stretches east for 11 kilometres into the Hauraki Gulf, to the north of East Coast Bays. Tiritiri Matangi Island is three kilometres off its eastern tip. The town of Whangaparaoa is on the southwestern shore, and is regarded as the start of the Hibiscus Coast.
The New Zealand Defence Force owns part of this area. The base has been used as a resettlement camp for refugees, such as in 2001 when 130 refugees lived there. As of February 2020[update] it was being used to quarantine New Zealanders who left Wuhan, China during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past twenty years a township has developed on the high land above Stanmore Bay and at the proposed Penlink intersection, including a shopping centre, a movie theatre, a bowling alley, a library and community centre. While the area was once relatively remote, the shopping facilities, including two supermarkets, have made living on the extremities of the peninsula more convenient, especially as the central city is now approximately 45 minutes away during off-peak periods.
Coast Plaza is located on the peninsula. It has 350 carparks and a new food precinct has been developed , including Countdown and a new brewery gastropub and event center called PARAOA BREWING CO an iconic local place to dine and dance. Coast plaza also boasts a cafe named At 719 that offers classic Korean fried cheese and a popular new bar named the Beer Spot which teams up with different food trucks each week among other awesome new eats.
The peninsula is home to the Silverdale Seahawks rugby union and also Hibiscus Coast Raiders rugby league, that are a part of Auckland Rugby League and compete in the Fox Memorial Championship. The peninsula is also home to football (soccer) club Hibiscus Coast AFC, which competes in the Lotto Sport Italia NRFL Division 2.
Hibiscus Coast is served by Auckland Transport bus routes operated by AT Metro to destinations including Hibiscus Station and central Auckland. Ferries operated by Fullers360 run between Gulf Harbour and central Auckland daily, and to Tiritiri Matangi.
Whangaparaoa College is the main college. It was formed from Hibiscus Coast Intermediate School in 2005, and first had all years 7 to 13 attending in 2009. Other schools:
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