Kerikeri, the largest town in the Far North District of the North Island of New Zealand, is a popular tourist destination about three hours drive north of Auckland, and 80 km north of Whangarei. It is often described as the Cradle Of The Nation, being the site of the first permanent mission station in the country, and it has some of the most historic buildings in the country.A rapidly expanding centre of sub-tropical and allied horticulture, Kerikeri lies at the western extremity of the Kerikeri Inlet, a northwestern arm of the Bay of Islands, where fresh water of the Kerikeri River enters the salty Pacific Ocean. Kerikeri (airport) is located at . According to the 2001 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings, the resident population was 4,878, an increase of 16.3 percent since the 1996 census. Results from the 2006 census indicate that the population is still growing rapidly, with an increase of 20 percent to 5,856.It is a far cry from the village established by New Zealand's pioneering missionaries. They called it Gloucestertown, or Gloucester Town, but neither name endured. The Māori word Kerikeri is correctly pronounced almost as Keddi Keddi, or even Kiddee Kiddee, but the town's name is generally pronounced Kerry Kerry.Kerikeri was the first place in New Zealand where grape vines were planted. Samuel Marsden planted 100 vines on September 25, 1819 and noted in his journal that New Zealand promised to be very favourable to the vine. The plough was first used in New Zealand at Kerikeri, by Rev. J. G. Butler, on 3 May 1820.