Catherine Cove

This area has an unfortunate and not misplaced reputation concerning wind and poor holding. This bay is often used because of its convenience for an overnight stop, when travelling to and from Tasman Bay.

In bad weather, however, the anchorage is not recommended and it is better to use Kapowai or Deep Bay in N sector winds.

The Remarkable Cone on D’Urville Peninsula shown on the chart is now scrub covered and may not be as remarkable as legend has it.

The anchorage in Cherry Tree Bay, on the western side, should be viewed with a sceptical eye. The bay is a natural wind funnel and is only satisfactory if anchored close to the shore in certain places.

The holding is very poor, being a mixture of sand and gravel. A fisherman (pick) anchor will provide the most satisfactory holding, but many experienced skippers have dragged here in strong wind conditions.

In bad NW conditions boats have reported more secure holding by burying anchors in the north-western shore, near the head of the bay.

Anchoring close to the ‘remarkable’ cone is sheltered form E to SE winds, but should be used with caution in strong conditions.

This position can also be used in NW to N to E winds, as the wind tends to lift above the anchorage but is very uncomfortable to anchor on a lee shore. 

Most moorings are found in Kia Ngawari Bay where Catherine Cove lodge is located.

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The origins of the bay’s name are obscure. In early records it is often referred to St Katherine’s Cove. It has been suggested the bay may have been named by religious seamen visiting the area.1

The bay was sighted by Captain James Cook in 1770 and Captain Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville in 1827 but neither gave it a name. Cook climbed the nearby peak, now known as Remarkable Cone and looking down on the cove noted evidence of an abandoned Māori settlement. Captain d’Urville also recorded this village.2

Slightly inland from the cove is the settlement of Haukawakawa or Marsden. Haukawakawa means chilly winds, said to be like the bitter peppery taste of the shrub, kawakawa. The settlement was renamed Marsden in 1929 by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) after they established a community there.3

From the 1890s an association between Ngāti Kōata, the local iwi or tribe of D’Urville Island and the LDS has existed. This connection was formed by the 1893 marriage of a local woman, Wetekia Ruruku to John Arthur Elikington by the President of the New Zealand LDS Mission, William Thomas Stuart. Shortly thereafter, LDS Elders came out to D’Urville Island and baptised local people.

Wetekia Ruruku Elkington was a highly regarded member of the community. She was fluent in Te Reo Māori and English, acted as local midwife, had a vast knowledge of the sea and was considered a local prophet.4 In fact, the highest peak on D’Urville Island, Attempt Hill, has been awarded the alternative name, Maunga Wetekia in her honour. 5 Some of the decedents of this couple remain a large LDS family in New Zealand.6


1. Olive Baldwin, Story of New Zealand’s French Pass and d’Urville Island (Plimmerton: Fields Publishing House, 1979) 129.
2. I. W. Keys, “The Cultural Succession and Ethnographic Features of D'Urville Island”, The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 69 (1960), accessed April 24, 2018,
3. Baldwin, French Pass and d’Urville Island, 130.
4. Hilary Mitchell and John Mitchell, Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka: a History of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough: Volume 2: Te Ara Hou – the New Society (Wellington: Huia, 2007), 111.
5. Baldwin, French Pass and d’Urville Island, 129.
6. Mel Whaanga, “A Significant Step in LDS Church History in New Zealand”, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, accessed May 5, 2018,

Exposed to N sector winds
Deep (>10m) | Mid (5-10m)
Type of beach
Gravel | Sand
Anchor recommendation
A fisherman (pick) anchor will provide the most satisfactory holding, but many experienced skippers have dragged here in strong wind conditions.
Swimming | Fishing
Rocks/reef/sand bank warnings
Rocks at the end of Rock Point
5 or less