Omana Regional Park lies on a gently contoured knoll from which visitors can enjoy expansive views of the inner Hauraki Gulf.
Located south east of Auckland city, between Beachlands and Maraetai, Omana is an ideal family park with a shelly beach offering safe swimming at high tide, picnic areas and barbecues. It has friendly, pet farmyard animals, which are always popular with the kids.
The park has an intriguing name which is a shorthand version of O-Manawatere („the dwelling place of Manawatere“) a Ngai Tai pa site in the park. Ngai Tai tradition records that this ancestor travelled from the Pacific homeland not by canoe, but by gliding over the waves on a Taniwha.‘
Ngai Tai lived here for many generations, and built the O Manawatere pa. The pa is a small rectangular area on the cliff edge with a defensive „ring“ ditch around the tree inland sides. Ngai Tai and members of other Hauraki tribes lived on the park when it was part of William Fairburn’s Maraetai Mission Station which included a small school for Maori from 1837 – 42. Omana was part of the mission farm, developed from 1837. It was one of the region’s first farms. As with the surrounding district, the forest was felled for timber. The area was dug for kauri gum and even prospected for gold and silver. The land continued to be farmed from 1837 until 1970, when the Auckland Regional Council purchased it for a regional park.
The forest is home to native birds such as fantails (piwakawaka), grey warblers (riro riro), tui and native pigeon (kereru). Pukeko, spur winged plover and paradise shelducks (putangitangi) roam around the farmed area of the park. Look out for South Island pied oystercatchers (torea), pied shags (kawau tikitiki) and kingfishers (kotare) on the foreshore and pohutukawa-fringed cliffs.
As well as the large grassy areas and farmland you will find areas of regenerating native forest. Trees such as tanekaha, puriri, taraire, rewarewa, mapou, kowhai and kahikatea are flourishing here.
Source: Auckland Regional Council