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Cowes Bay is between Days Bay and Arran Bay at the eastern end of Waiheke. This end of the island was the first to be settled by European immigrants from the mid-1800s. Innes Parrez was the first owner of Cowes Bay. As a 13-year-old boy from Portugal, Parrez was rescued by Joseph Hodgson in the Hauraki Gulf; "Innez", as he gave his name, told of the mistreatment aboard a ship from the captain and crew. He and another boy jumped ship but the other boy drowned. This was in the 1850s (no official date).
He owned the Bay from 1865 to 1906 and built the hotel (about 1890) and also operated the Post Office there from 1886. The area became very popular and in the early 1900s became the site for the Auckland Anniversary Regatta. Paul Monin's book Waiheke Island - A History has photos of Cowes Bay with steamers tied end-on-end and against each other, having carried the crowds from Auckland for a day of boat racing and family fun.
Currently Cowes Bay is famous for being one of the most expensive properties available in New Zealand, valued currently around 30 million dollars.