October 31,1769 Captain James Cook in “Endeavor” travelled around East Cape, some distance from the shore Lieutenant Zachariah Hicks sighted a bay. Wharekahika Bay sometimes referred to as Hicks Bay – the name Captain Cook gave the splendid area as Lieutenant Hicks made the discovery from the deck of the HMS Endeavor.
In January of 1834 a group of slaves returned from Northland after having been converted to Christianity. The original St Barnabas Church was built in the 1860s and then in April 1974 it was destroyed during a severe southerly storm. In 1979 it was replaces by the present St Barnabas which stands in the marae grounds. Traditional Maori decorations adorn the interior while the building has a blend of modern and traditional architecture
Transport Directions: from the Pacific Coast Highway follow highway Hwy 35 to Hicks Bay at Te Araroa. The lighthouse can be reached by a short 25 minute drive on East Cape Road to the car park. Here you will embark a short 700+ step climb to the lighthouse, well worth it for the views at the top. The site is open, the tower is closed to the public. From the lighthouse, you can look out onto East Island, the original location of the Lighthouse. The Road clings to the coastline where there are numerous sandy beaches just metres away.