Have church, will travel
Matakana has two churches. As well as St Leonard’s Anglican Church, which celebrated its centenary in 2014, the St Andrews Presbyterian Church, built in 1895, once stood further along Matakana Valley Road where the patisserie recently opened.
It was barged down the Matakana River to a Salvation Army camp at Snells Beach in 1992 only to return up river in 2007 when the camp closed.
The church, which is made of kauri and still has its original kauri pews, is now located at the Matakana Country Park.
Origins of a name
The origin of the name Matakana is a little vague, but in an interview in 2010, Matakana identity Errol Jones said a very old Maori man told her that the word was originally Matakino, meaning raw or smelly.
Apparently, early Maori used to dry fish, particularly shark, on flax lines tied between two poles at Sandspit and the place became known as the place of “stinking fish”.
Today, the drying fish have long gone (thank goodness!) and Matakana is a town that prides itself on making available food that is ‘fresh and local’.