Ruapekapeka Pā

Ruapekapeka Pā, based about 20km southeast of Kawakawa, was the site of a historic battle in 1846.

A wooden post carved with Māori designs standing tall in a green grass field5 years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, disagreement over its interpretation turned into an armed uprising. The ensuing conflict between British colonial forces and northern Māori in 1845 and 1846 culminated in the battle of Ruapekapeka Pā, where some 400 Māori warriors fought against 1600 British soldiers and their Māori allies.

The pā was built by the Ngāti Hine chief Te Ruki Kawiti and employed innovative methods of design and construction to ensure the protection of its occupants from rifle and artillery fire. These defences included intricate tunnels, rifle pits, trenches and formidable palisades.

The British were so impressed by the innovation that they later adapted them to European warfare methods.

Today, Ruapekapeka Pā is considered one of New Zealand’s best-preserved battlefields. Ditches and bank defences, a cast iron cannon and earthen defences are still visible.

Te Ruapekapeka Trust received $2 million from Kānoa - Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding will also cover the installation of a number of pou at the pathway’s entrance located on State Highway 1, which leads to the pā site. This pou is intended to draw in visitors. Funding will also support the investment in a number of story-telling components that will lift the quality of the visitor experience and attract a larger number of tourists.

The funding is from a $20 million Provincial Growth Fund allocation to support historic sites of national importance. The investment aims to help tell our shared history, support Māori development, provide a unique tourism activity and strengthen economic recovery.

Construction works at Ruapekapeka Pā are ongoing.

Find out more about other historic sites of national importance.