Ngā Tohuwhenua Mai Te Rangi: A New Zealand Archeology in Aerial Photographs
Hawke's Bay coast
Hawke's Bay coast
Two major pā sites of the coastal plain north and west of Napier, Heipipi and Ōtātara, are key traditional sites marking the incursion of Ngāti Kahungūnu into Hawke's Bay. Kahungūnu himself originally lived in Opotiki and then later near Waerenga ā Hika on the Gisborne plains. His departure from there, his settlement at Maungakahia on the Māhia Peninsula, and the eventual arrival of his descendants in Hawke's Bay are well detailed in a notable body of tradition. 8 Ngāti Kahungūnu attacked the local people at Heipipi and Ōtātara, the latter initially occupied by descendants of Awanuiarangi. Eventually it was held by Taraia, of Ngāti Kahungūnu.
Pōhaturoa, a Ngāti Kahungūnu pā attacked by Nga Puhi and allied Urewera forces in 1826
The Wairoa River once ran in the broad bend to the right, sweeping down to the left, but eventually broke through by the Te Reinga Falls (left of centre). The pā is on the top of the prominent hill right of centre, and is defended primarily by the steep cliffs of the old river bed. Left of the bridge is the confluence of the Ruakituri (left) and Hangaroa Rivers. The view is to the north.
A vertical aerial photograph of the area of the Ōtātara Historic Reserve, lying at the point where the Tūtaekurī River (bottom) leaves the hill country and spreads out over the Hawke's Bay plains. The photograph was taken in the early winter (hence the strong shadows) of 1949. The reserve actually contains two pā: Ōtātara proper, which no longer exists having been quarried away (the commencement of the quarrying can be seen at lower right), and Hikurangi, the large terraced summit. The now-destroyed pā used natural defences from the river-cut cliff, at bottom. The site complex is one of the largest single settlements known in New Zealand, matched in size only by the larger northern volcanic cone pā and some of the pā in the Waikato, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty or East Coast.
Hikurangi from the south-east
The terrace scarps had useful defensive functions, and possible defensive ditches may be obscured by subsequent erosion. Very large raised-rim pits have been dug on all the ridges. The foreground pits are up to about 8 m long by 3 m across.
Kohukete, a pā lying above an enclosed valley about 3 km inland from the Ahuriri Lagoon, Napier
The pā occupies the lightly sloping crest of a broad ridge. There appear to be few distinct transverse defences on the ridge line itself, although there are some distinct defensive scarps at centre. West of the prominent fence line, the crest of the ridge has been cultivated at some period, obscuring the features there. At the very head of the steepest western slopes are distinct lengths of ditch and bank. They are relatively unusual if defensive, and may be ditch and bank fences. If so, the suggestion is that the crest of the ridge may have been ploughed with horses at some stage, perhaps for an early-season potato crop. At the highest point of the pā is a sinuous curve of clearly defensive ditch and bank, obscured by stock damage around the fence line. The pā is about 300 m long and has a total defensive perimeter of about 700 m. The view is to the north.
In the south of the Hawke Bay coastal strip near Cape Kidnappers, there are further pā on the ridges and small platforms created on uplifted marine terraces. In the inland river valleys here are small areas with raised-rim pits, indicating gardening nearby. The pā, Tiromoana, on the Maraetōtara River near Te Awanga, occupies a sloping point created by gullies at the edge of part of the high terrace. It had spectacular surface evidence including a housefloor, raised-rim pits and lines of depressions marking the perimeter palisade line, and was excavated in 1974-75 under the direction of Lady Fox. 15 She opened several of the storage pits and terraces, cut trenches through two lines of ditch and bank defence, and excavated a major housefloor lying outside the inner defensive line. The site is probably late pre-European in age. In the immediate vicinity, there are other small areas of the high terrace with raised-rim pits showing prominently. From this point out to Cape Kidnappers, there are few pā, probably because of the lack of suitable landing places. However, south of Cape Kidnappers on low hills adjacent to the beaches there are numerous pā.