Manawahe is a rural area in the central Bay of Plenty. The communit y is bound to the north by the coast and Matata township, and to the south by Lake Rotoma and large DOC reserves, while to the west forested areas separate the Manawahe community from Lake Rotoehu, and to the east by an escarpment which drops onto the Rangitaiki Plains.
The land of Manawahe was formed by a variety of influencing forces. It was shaped by the volcanic activity of Taupo, Kaharoa and Tarawera giving rise to the predominantly pumice soils in the hills. While this provides fertile free-draining soils, it has been the downfall of the Karaponga hydrodam built in 1928 as the highly mobile pumice soils infill the dam continuously. Volcanic activity is also responsible for the formation of Rotoma. In some areas marine sands and fossils can be found- momentos from a time when those soils lay at sea level, before the process of uplift and subsidence raised them into hills. Tarawera River and smaller rivers are responsible for contributing silts to the rich peat soil in the lower reaches of the corridor. Yet another shaping factor is the fault lines that run through the Manawahe hills, the activity of which can be seen as recently as the 1987 earthquake.
This steep to rolling hill country is predominantly used for sheep and beef farming and forestry. There are a few dairy farms on the flatter country. Hunting for pig, deer, possum and rabbits is encouraged by many farmers to control pest populations. Rotoma is a popular spot in summer for swimming, boating, kayaking and other water sport.