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Oakura

Oakura is a small township in New Plymouth District, Taranaki, in the western North Island of New Zealand. It is located on State Highway 45, 15 kilometres south-west of New Plymouth. Okato is 12 km further south-west. The Oakura River flows past the town and into the North Taranaki Bight. To the south is the Kaitake Range, part of Egmont National Park.The population of Oakura was 1,380 in the 2013 census, an increase of 21 from 2006.The Oakura Messenger (TOM) is a monthly publication delivered to all letterboxes in the area. It began in October 2000.On 5 July 2007 the town was hit by a tornado, which damaged 60 houses.Oakura is well known for its beach—Oakura Beach. One of only three beaches along the west coast of New Zealand which is north facing, in 2007 it became one of the first Blue Flag accredited beaches in Oceania. Only two others—Fitzroy and East End beach in nearby New Plymouth—received the same award that year. As of 2010, Oakura Beach has retained its blue flag status.The Oakura River (and therefore Oakura township itself) was named after the female ancestor Akura-matapū of the Kurahaupō waka. Oakura-matapu was the original name of the river, and it literally means "Belonging to Akura-matapū". Akura was married to Okorotua. Ngāti Tairi hapū holds mana whenua in Oakura. Ngāti Tairi belongs to the larger descent group of Ngā Mahanga a Tairi. Ngāti Tairi and Ngā Māhanga a Tairi are a part of the tribe Taranaki. Ngāti Tairi retain their take ahi-kā (rights of ownership) through the marae Oakura Pā beside the southern side of the Oakura River. People have been living in the area of Oakura for hundreds of years.
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