Whakatane is a town in the eastern Bay of Plenty Region in the North Island of New Zealand, 90 km east of Tauranga and 89 km north-east of Rotorua, at the mouth of the Whakatane River. Whakatane District is the encompassing territorial authority, which covers an area to the south and west of the town, excluding the enclave of Kawerau.
It has an urban population of 19,000, with another 15,300 people living in the rest of the Whakatane District. Of the 34,300 people (June 2014 estimate) in the District, around 40% have Māori ancestry. The District has a land area of 4,442.07 km² (1,715.09 sq mi). Whakatane District was created in 1976.
Whakatane forms part of the parliamentary electorate of East Coast, represented by Anne Tolley of the New Zealand National Party. It is the main urban centre of the Eastern Bay Of Plenty sub-region; incorporating Whakatane, Kawerau, and Opotiki, the Eastern Bay stretches from Otamarakau in the west, to Cape Runaway in the north-east and Whirinaki in the south. It is the seat of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, chosen as a compromise between the region's two larger cities, Tauranga and Rotorua.Whakatane was affected by the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake.
The town's main industries are diverse: forestry, dairy farming, horticulture, fishing, tourism and manufacturing are all well-established. There is a paper mill and a newspaper press. Whakatane is also home to Aotearoa Breweries, makers of Mata beer. White Island is a popular destination for day cruises. Whakatane is also used as a base for many tourists who wish to explore other activities in the surrounding region. Popular tourist activities include swimming with dolphins, whale watching, chartered fishing cruises, surf tours, amateur astronomy, hunting, aviation and bushwalking.
Whakatane is home to the regional radio station One Double X - 1XX - one of the first privately owned commercial radio stations on air in New Zealand in the early 1970s.