Known as Otuihau to local iwi, majestic Whangarei Falls were historically a good eeling area. This use is reflected today in the eel (tuna) marked track signs guiding visitors around and through the falls site and throughout the Hatea River walk.
Archibald Clapham bought the property in the late 1920s, reputedly to prevent the falls being developed into a commercial water mill. In 1946 a local businessmens' association raised the purchase price by public subscription and the property was vested as a public domain. Popular at the turn of the century as a picnic and relaxation spot, public enjoyment of the 26.3 metre falls and surrounding river area hasn't changed!