Wairarapa Graves Walkway

Great Barrier Island

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Walking Track Category: Short Walks

  • 30 mins one way, easy walking track, no dogs.

    In one of the worst shipwrecks in New Zealands maritime history, about 140 people drowned when the SS Wairarapa hit rocks near Miners Head on 29 October 1894.

    Most of the dead from the shipwreck were taken back to Auckland. But some remain buried on the island in two small cemeteries.

    From the road end follow the signposts to the beach. Turn left and wander along this beautiful beach to Tapuwai Point and grave sites surrounded by picket fence.

    Getting there: The Tapuwai graves can be found at the north end of Whangapoua beach. From the road end follow the signposts to the beach. Turn left and walk along the beach to Tapuwai Point and the grave sites surrounded by picket fence.

    The white picket fences around the graves have been restored and maintained over the years both by DOC staff and the community to replicate the original posts, pickets and rails. Some of the original pickets and corner posts that were constructed in 1894 are still in place today.

    Interpretative ‘headstones’ were erected beside the cemeteries in 1994 to commemorate the centenary of the wreck.

    Photos: Craig Sugden
    Information courtesy of the Department of Conservation.
    Detailed information including current alerts available on the DOC website.

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