About UsA brief history of the village
Long story short
Himatangi Beach is a small coastal community in the centre of the largest sand dune geographical feature in New Zealand. It has a long sandy beach accessible to vehicles. Its coastal climate differs from the Manawatu with more sunshine hours, less rain and higher temperatures. Himatangi has a population of around 430 residents swelling to several thousand in the summer months. Its population is varied with artisans, commuters, first home buyers, weekenders and retired, all living together in a homogenous mix. Situated on the west coast of North Island New Zealand, this beach services Palmerston North, Feilding and the entire Manawatu.
Our HistoryThe oldest known inhabitants of the Himatangi area are the Rangitane people, believed to have settled in the Manawatu region around 500 years ago…..
The PresentWe always have projects on the go, the best way to find out what being developed in the village is by following the Community Committee…
A Look at our history
The oldest known inhabitants of the Himatangi area are the Rangitane people, believed to have settled in the Manawatu region around 500 years ago. Rangitane tradition says the name Himatangi was derived from a legend about a famous warrior chief, Matangi, who fished up and killed a taniwha (water monster) responsible for eating his relatives. The taniwha lived in a lake near the present village of Rangiotu – 19 kilometers from Himatangi Beach. The verb Hi (to fish) was added to create the name Himatangi. The coastline, which later became known as Himatangi Beach, was a seasonal gathering place for Maori who camped there specifically to catch and eat fish and shellfish. Leaving the shell in piles called middens they created a fascinating archeological record of what the area once looked like. Oven stones and charcoal have been found among the hundreds of middens known to exist behind the first two rows of sand dunes, where the beachline sat in the 1800s. The oldest known middens can be found near a series of lagoons 4 kilometers inland, indicating where the beachline was 500 years ago. At 20 kilometers wide, the Himatangi sand dunes make up New Zealand’s largest sand country area and they are getting wider. The beach is slowly moving westward (seawards) due to sand being brought in by strong currents and westerly winds that characterise the coastline. The dunes were once covered by a variety of stabilising native grasses and vegetation. However, following the 1850s when European settlers began grazing them, the native grasses slowly disappeared. This created problems for Robert Wilson and Kenneth Dalrymple who, in the first half of the last century, owned and farmed huge tracts of land along the Himatangi coastline. In 1910 they decided to drain the swampland around Lake Kaikokopu, to give them improved grazing for their stock. The stream they cut is the same stream that white baiters flock to each year and in a further twist, it was Robert Wilson who introduced the marram grass still being planted to stabilise the Himatangi sand dunes. By the early 1900s the name Himatangi was applied to all land between Manawatu River and State Highway 1, plus the junction off SH1 and the road to Palmerston North known as Himatangi corner. The name Himatangi was also adopted by Palmerston North detective Ted Barling who around 1935 purchased 650 acre of sand country from Dalrymple and 200 acres of beachfront from Wilson. Determined to build a beach resort, Barling drew up his original plans in 1941, which included a two and a half mile access road from Himatangi corner. He planted a reserve of 25,000 pine trees and land was set aside for a Surf club building, a children’s playground, tennis courts, the store and many other amenities that remain today. As Barling sold off his land, the village slowly took shape but the fact it was built on pure sand has created problems. In the 1990s the Himatangi Beach sand dunes were so big they threatened houses. Dramatic pictures taken at the time show sand build-up pressing against the door of one property. Whose responsibility it was to deal with the problem was not clear but after several years discussions Manawatu District Council and the New Zealand Army agreed to move and level tons of sand. Volunteers living in the village continue to help Manawatu District Council implement a planting program, which both parties believe will have highly beneficial and long term spin-offs for the community as a whole. Apart from stabilizing the dunes, the trees and mix of plants (provided by the Council) being established along the beach front will slowly transform Himatangi Beach in to a picturesque beach settlement.