There are a lot of things that make and have made Kawakawa unique in itself. One of those would be the way the town ship was planned ....... it wasn't!!!!
Kawakawa was just plonked there, moved up the road from Taumarere when coal deposits were found in the hills around 1840. Originally the township was established on the hills and then moved down onto the flat where it is now. The Memorial Library Museum has extensive and interesting historical records of the town up until the current day.
Another unique feature resulting from the coal mining days was the train track running thru the middle of town on the same road as vehicles or horses back in the old days. Unfortunately the train has been of the tracks the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is endeavouring to get the tracks and train cleaned and fixed up for tourism and local uses. The track goes from Kawakawa to Opua (deep water harbour, 15km's).
Kawakawa is also the name of a medicinal plant that flourishes in the region, the plant has a few uses mainly for cleansing and pain relief. Health shops now market the plant in various forms including as a tea.