Historic Te Araroa pa is excavated and mapped

It was the site of a major battle in the 1860s. Students are helping to map it.

It was the site of a major battle in the 1860s. Students are helping to map it.

KORERO: Heritage NZ senior archaeologist Pam Bain has a korero with students from Te Waha o Rerekohu Area School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti about how archaeology can assist in learning history, during a project mapping Hungahungatoroa Pa near Te Araroa this week.
HISTORIC MAPPING: A joint project between the Department of Conservation, Heritage NZ and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou to map Hungahungatoroa Pa near Te Araroa resumed this week. Heritage NZ surveyor James Robinson (centre) uses special equipment that allows him to accurately gauge the contour and size of the feature to assist with drawing, while Department of Conservation ranger Joe Waikari observes. Picture by Trudi Ngawhare

A PROJECT to excavate and map a historic Ngati Porou pa near Te Araroa that was the site of a major battle in the 1860s resumed this week.

Work to map Hungahungatoroa Pa, in Karakatuwhero Valley, on a spur of Pukeamaru, began in 2010. This week a team of archaeologists from Heritage New Zealand, Department of Conservation staff and students from Te Waha o Rerekohu Area School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti started mapping the pa’s archaeological features including musket trenches, artefacts and kumara pits.

The pa was the last line of defence for Ngati Porou Hauhau, who adopted the Maori religious movement Pai Marire, founded in Taranaki, which rejected Christianity and British colonisation.

The Hauhau Wars raged in the 1860s, when government forces and Ngati Porou who had pledged allegiance to the crown, moved to drive Hauhau from pa sites in Gisborne and on the Coast. The Hauhau finally fortified themselves at Hungahungatoroa. It was a fortified stronghold, regarded as impregnable, settled deep in the bush and surrounded by cliffs.

The government force, led by Lieutenant Biggs and Ropata Wahawaha, was relentless in its attack and eventually about 500 Ngati Porou Hauhau were compelled to surrender. The survivors taken were made to swear allegiance to the Queen and the 16 chiefs were shipped to the Chatham Islands for imprisonment. They later escaped in 1868 with the infamous Te Kooti Rikirangi Te Turuki.

British domination ensured that there would be no further rebellion.

“It was a sad time of civil war with family against family,” says Hal Hovell, a Department of Conservation ranger of Ngati Porou descent based in Te Araroa. “Little is told of Hungahungatoroa, maybe as a time best forgotten by the whanau of that time, due to such deep family hurt.”

The mapping project partners DoC with Heritage NZ and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

“Heritage NZ brings the expertise to accurately draw the features and give us an idea of the living and defence of the pa,” Mr Hovell says.

Heritage NZ will provide the completed pa drawing to the whanau, hapu and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

“It provides a window into our past so our generations can learn about Ngati Porou history and warfare, and look to continually mend the hurt of the past,” Mr Hovell says.

DoC brought in Land Information NZ, who engage rangatahi with mapping technology, to deliver an education programme introducing online mapping tools — not only in pa mapping but other curriculum topics. Heritage NZ senior archaeologist Pam Bain said it was great to have students from Te Waha o Rerekohu Area School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti learning how archaeology can assist in learning history.

“Tumuaki Campbell Dewes was able to share stories from what he had researched to help piece evidence together. It was such a privilege to be a part of it.”

Hungahungatoroa is the first of 36 pa sites from East Cape to the Pukeamaru Ranges to be mapped and is protected as part of the Pukeamaru Scenic Reserve. The local maunga Whetumatarau, also a key historic pa site, already holds Maori reservation status as a place of historic and scenic interest.

The community plan is to map the rest of the 36 pa so they can all be included with the Historic Reserve status.

“It is great to have all the experts with our local knowledge joining forces to get a look into our rich history,” Mr Hovell says. “We will not always have the experts available to come up the Coast, so the vision in involving our tamariki and community is to give the tools to continue mapping our pa and stories.”

A PROJECT to excavate and map a historic Ngati Porou pa near Te Araroa that was the site of a major battle in the 1860s resumed this week.

Work to map Hungahungatoroa Pa, in Karakatuwhero Valley, on a spur of Pukeamaru, began in 2010. This week a team of archaeologists from Heritage New Zealand, Department of Conservation staff and students from Te Waha o Rerekohu Area School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti started mapping the pa’s archaeological features including musket trenches, artefacts and kumara pits.

The pa was the last line of defence for Ngati Porou Hauhau, who adopted the Maori religious movement Pai Marire, founded in Taranaki, which rejected Christianity and British colonisation.

The Hauhau Wars raged in the 1860s, when government forces and Ngati Porou who had pledged allegiance to the crown, moved to drive Hauhau from pa sites in Gisborne and on the Coast. The Hauhau finally fortified themselves at Hungahungatoroa. It was a fortified stronghold, regarded as impregnable, settled deep in the bush and surrounded by cliffs.

The government force, led by Lieutenant Biggs and Ropata Wahawaha, was relentless in its attack and eventually about 500 Ngati Porou Hauhau were compelled to surrender. The survivors taken were made to swear allegiance to the Queen and the 16 chiefs were shipped to the Chatham Islands for imprisonment. They later escaped in 1868 with the infamous Te Kooti Rikirangi Te Turuki.

British domination ensured that there would be no further rebellion.

“It was a sad time of civil war with family against family,” says Hal Hovell, a Department of Conservation ranger of Ngati Porou descent based in Te Araroa. “Little is told of Hungahungatoroa, maybe as a time best forgotten by the whanau of that time, due to such deep family hurt.”

The mapping project partners DoC with Heritage NZ and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

“Heritage NZ brings the expertise to accurately draw the features and give us an idea of the living and defence of the pa,” Mr Hovell says.

Heritage NZ will provide the completed pa drawing to the whanau, hapu and Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

“It provides a window into our past so our generations can learn about Ngati Porou history and warfare, and look to continually mend the hurt of the past,” Mr Hovell says.

DoC brought in Land Information NZ, who engage rangatahi with mapping technology, to deliver an education programme introducing online mapping tools — not only in pa mapping but other curriculum topics. Heritage NZ senior archaeologist Pam Bain said it was great to have students from Te Waha o Rerekohu Area School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti learning how archaeology can assist in learning history.

“Tumuaki Campbell Dewes was able to share stories from what he had researched to help piece evidence together. It was such a privilege to be a part of it.”

Hungahungatoroa is the first of 36 pa sites from East Cape to the Pukeamaru Ranges to be mapped and is protected as part of the Pukeamaru Scenic Reserve. The local maunga Whetumatarau, also a key historic pa site, already holds Maori reservation status as a place of historic and scenic interest.

The community plan is to map the rest of the 36 pa so they can all be included with the Historic Reserve status.

“It is great to have all the experts with our local knowledge joining forces to get a look into our rich history,” Mr Hovell says. “We will not always have the experts available to come up the Coast, so the vision in involving our tamariki and community is to give the tools to continue mapping our pa and stories.”

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Heni Porter - 1 year ago
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