Mangonui literally means 'large' or 'many sharks'. No one really knows the origin of the name but it most likely came about following a shark fishing expedition that was launched from there. Sitting just at the entrance to the harbour on the South Western side of Doubtless Bay, Mangonui grew from whaling. Its was a busy port in the late 1800's and it is recorded that at any one time there could be up to 30 American whaling ships in the harbour. There are still many fine old buildings to be seen there and they are all an easy stroll along the waterfront of this quiet little town. The Mangonui Fish and Chip shop has also become an institution in itself with many tourists making the pilgrimage to sample their famous fresh fish.