Proudly standing as one of Aotearoa’s most well-known bilingual towns, Ōtaki is a soul-warming mixture of traditional taonga, mahi toi, manaakitanga, locally sourced kai, and fishing, hunting and horse trekking - real outdoor experiences - on its doorstep.
A small town with a long history and strong Māori identity
Since the early 19th century, the area has been home to Māori of the Ngāti Raukawa iwi who migrated from the Kāwhia area from about 1819, under the leadership of the chief Te Rauparaha. Today, Otaki is home to Te Wānanga o Raukawa - a tikanga Māori tertiary education provider, and the town is working hard to become bi-lingual.
You can explore Māori heritage including the oldest Māori Anglican church in New Zealand, Rangiatea Church, by taking a self-guided walking tour of important Māori heritage sites on the Pipi Trail. You can pick up a Pipi Trail leaflet at the library on Main St in Ōtaki or at the small Ōtaki Museum where you can also discover the town's history.
The Māoriland Film Festival attracts thousands of people to this showcase of indigenous films from New Zealand and around the world. Over the past six years, the festival has grown to be the largest presenter of Indigenous screen content in the Southern Hemisphere with a year-round programme of events.
Māoriland Film Festival
68 Main Street, Otaki
For five days every year, Ōtaki is home to the largest Indigenous Film Festival in the southern hemisphere. The ninth Māoriland Film Festival will be held June/July 2022 to coincide with Matariki - the Māori New Year.
Films by Indigenous storytellers from all over the world are presented at Māoriland Film Festival - a film festival for anyone interested in travelling or seeing the world through someone else's eyes.
At Māoriland you will be transported around the globe to where the stories of places and people will intrigue and amaze. Enjoy films, art, emerging technology, industry workshops and kōrero and more! Meet the filmmakers and join the circle of Indigenous cinema.
Nau mai haere mai - we’ll see you there!
Toi Matarau Gallery at Māoriland Hub
Māoriland Hub, 68 Main Street, Ōtaki
Toi Matarau Gallery contains spectacular examples of indigenous art across a multitude of forms. Welcoming to all, the gallery is based in one of the oldest buildings Ōtaki which has recently been lovingly refurbished
At Toi Matarau the artist is part of a Māori collective encompassing disciplines both traditional and contemporary. It is a space where the art of tamariki is proudly displayed alongside some of the most venerated Māori artists. With ever-changing displays and exhibitions, Toi Matarau is a must-visit for all.
Shop 'til you drop
Ōtaki is known for the amazing shopping on offer both in the outlet stores on SH1 and in boutique stores in the village. For a different taste of culture, the town boasts an unusually high number of art galleries including Artel and the Old Courthouse Gallery on SH1 and the Tote Modern Gallery at the racecourse around the corner. There are also many artists in the area who open their studios to share their art.
As well as retail stores, the Ōtaki area has a number of fruit and vegetable markets where you can purchase fresh seasonal produce, delicious preserves, sweet treats and even grab a coffee. Take the kids and pick your own strawberries, apples, chillies and more when they are in season! Penray Gardens and Manakau Market are just two of the properties that have been serving the Kāpiti Coast community and continue to make the healthy delicious stuff affordable.
One of the two Surf Lifesaving New Zealand patrolled beaches on the Kāpiti Coast, in the summer months Ōtaki Beach is not only fantastic for families, but it is also popular with surfers, sea kayakers, SUP boarders and boaties.
Well known for the variety of swells the beach gets due to it being north of Kapiti Island the conditions vary from glassy, flat swimming conditions to wind-swept waves. It is an ever-changing beach that offers something for everyone.
Every February Ōtaki Beach hosts the iconic Ōtaki Kite Festival when the whole beach comes alive with colourful kites, market stalls, entertainment and families galore.
Facilities next to the Surf Club include: car parking, toilets, changing rooms, BBQs and picnic tables.
At the South end of Ōtaki Beach, the stony Ōtaki River mouth and estuary area is a popular spot for surf casting and provides spectacular views from the ocean to the mighty Tararua Ranges. Walkers, horse riders and intrepid cyclists can travel the almost 7km trail from the Ōtaki River to the Ohau River in the north. Alternatively, walk upriver following the 5.4km Ōtaki River trail - you're sure to find a great swimming spot along the way!
Ample horse float parking is available along Marine Parade at the end of Rangiuru Road.
Get out and about
Kids will love Haruātai Park with its pump track, swimming pool and outdoor splash pad! The estuary at the beach is also a great, easy place for children to catch their first fish.
There are many trails on offer in the area that cater to all levels of experience as well as for walkers, cyclists and equestrian users. Check out Chrystalls Bend, Ōtaki Forks and Ōtaki River walks for examples of the best around! For a list of trails in the area head to Find Your Wild
Hiking or cycling not your thing? Established in 1901, Ōtaki Golf Club is the oldest golf club on the Kāpiti Coast. The club welcomes new members and caters for visiting groups as well as casual players wanting to take advantage of one of the cheapest rounds of golf on the Coast.
The Ōtaki-Māori Racing Club not only regularly hosts race meets but is also a venue for a number of really great events from Farmers Markets to Family Fun days. The club has enjoyed a long, colourful and successful history since its establishment in 1886. You don't have to be a racing enthusiast to enjoy the races at this beautiful course - they also offer kids entertainment, top-notch food carts, music, and much more! So bring the kids and grandparents along for a great day out, throughout the year.
202 Waitohu Valley Road, Ōtaki
The perfect wedding venue for a small, intimate wedding with your family and friends for up to 50 people.
Trinity Farm is a 10-acre rural property in Otaki just 2km from SH1. It has a 3-acre beautiful country garden and a purpose-built character barn.