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Kawhia Harbour
Kawhia Harbour is a drowned river valley system on the Tasman Sea coast west of Hamilton. The harbour entrance is guarded by a large sand bar - a feature of many harbours along the western coasts of New Zealand. The black sand ocean beach is pounded by ocean swells; the inner harbour is vast and tranquil.

On the northern shore of the inner harbour is the final resting place of Tainui, the migration canoe from which the Waikato Maori claim descent. Two large upright stones mark the stern and prow of the buried canoe.

With a population of around 650, the town of Kawhia functions mainly as a holiday resort; harbour tours and fishing are the major attractions. Kawhia also has New Zealand's most southern stand of kauri trees.

Many visitors are drawn to Kawhia for a hot swim. At Te Puia Beach, geothermally heated water rises up through the sand. Between low and mid-tide you can scoop out a hot pool and enjoy a seaside soak.

Recently, children on a fossil hunt discovered the fossilised remains of a giant penguin in a sandstone platform near Te Waitere in the Kawhia Harbour. When it was alive, about 40 million years old, the penguin would have stood about 1.5 metres tall.