Known as ‘the winterless North’ for its subtropical climate, Northland’s expanses of white sandy beaches, great fishing and scenic locations like the Bay of Islands all combine to make it a popular place for visitors. Northland is particularly rich in Māori tradition, having welcomed the canoes of the first explorer Kupe around 800 years ago. Today, around a quarter of Whangarei’s population identify themselves as Māori. The warm climate and safe harbours also drew the first European settlers, and Paihia, an hour north of Whangarei, was New Zealand’s first seat of government. New Zealand’s founding document, Te Tiriti (The Treaty of Waitangi) was signed just outside Paihia in 1840.