Whangarei Heads is a locality and promontory on the northern side of the Whangarei Harbour in Northland, New Zealand. Whangarei is 29 km to the north west, and Ocean Beach is 8 km to the south east, with Taurikura between the two. Mount Manaia rises to 420 m to the east. Immediately to the west is McLeod Bay, which is about 2 km long. The McDonald sandbank lies a few metres offshore at low tide. The promontory to the south of the settlement consists of a hill, Mount Aubrey, and a small gravel beach about 200 metres wide, Reotahi Bay.
Gilbert Mair purchased the entire peninsula - everything south of a line running from McLeod Bay to the Pacific Coast, about 10,000 acres (40 km2) - from the Māori Chief Te Tao, in 1839. He intended to resell it to Captain Bernard, but the latter was lost with his ship. The Chief Te Tirarau claimed compensation of three horses because his ancestor had had blood spilt on the land, but settled for two horses in 1844. The government review of the land purchase in 1844 awarded Mair only 414 acres (1.68 km2), but Mair had sold his interest in the land to John Logan Campbell. Campbell pursued his claim to the remainder of the land.
A group of settlers from Nova Scotia, led by the Rev. Norman McLeod, settled at McLeod Bay in about 1855 although the ownership of the land had not been settled. In 1861, Campbell received the right to buy 1,800 acres (7.3 km2) at 10/- an acre, and was granted 910 acres (3.7 km2) which he sold to the Nova Scotians.