Historical Sites

Historical Sites


Pictured above, Aotearoa Marae

Rewi Alley Cottage

Rewi Alley, well known for his work in China, was a farmer in the Moeawatea Valley, inland from Waverley, in the 1920’s before he went to China.

The house, on private property, was restored in 1989 by the New Zealand Conservation Corp.  Further details about the house can be obtained from the Historic Places Trust.

Access to the house is by public road taking approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes from Waverley.  The first 20 minutes of travel is on a sealed road followed by 40 minutes of winding shell, all weather road.  The final 20 minutes is mostly papa clay road and is generally only fit for four wheel drive vehicles and mountain bikes.  Under very dry conditions it can be possible to get a car through but the road is often very rutted and even a light shower can make the surface slippery.  However, it is a very pleasant and secluded area with wonderful views and the trip is worth while for this alone.

Hawera Water Tower

Hawera has always seemed to have had some association with fire. The name, ‘Te Hawera’ which means ‘the burnt place’, came about many years ago after an incident between two feuding Maori tribes in the area. One tribe surprised the other in the dead of night and burned the village to the ground ensuring there were no survivors – so the area became known as ‘the burnt place’.

With the arrival of European settlers, Te Hawera became shortened to Hawera and the district continued to live up to its name. In 18884 a hotel was razed, in 1888 a large fire destroyed five businesses and in 1912 a particularly disastrous fire destroyed a large proportion of the main street area. This last event resulted in insurance companies demanding better fire fighting capacity for the town. The decision was made to build a water tower and construction began in 1912 and was completed in 1914. In 1932 following Hawera’s 50th Jubilee red neon lights were erected around the top of the tower as a memorial to the pioneers of the district. These neon lights remain today. More recently (2002 – 2004) the water tower underwent a $1 million restoration project to restore the historic landmark and keep it safe.

Cape Egmont Lighthouse

Situated on the most westerly point of Taranaki, the Cape Egmont lighthouse was transferred from Mana Island Wellington in 1881.  The light was electrified by power from diesel generators in 1951 and was later connected to the country’s electric power supply.  The light can be seen for 22 nautical miles in clear weather.

Also at Cape Egmont, in a small picketing enclosure by the lighthouse, is a wooden cross weighing 16 kilograms which was carried from the East Cape to Cape Egmont by an itinerant preacher in 1983.

The lighthouse cannot be climbed but excellent views can be obtained from the hill on which it stands.

Turuturu Mokai fortified pa

Turuturu Mokai reserve is situated on Turuturu Road, Hawera.  There were three pa grouped together and a population of about 400 people.  In the 16th century there was an attack by a neighbouring pa after a tattooing expert had visited Turuturu Mokai, leaving the warriors recovering from their new tattoos.  The name Turuturu Mokai indicated the stakes on which the heads of the slain enemy were mounted to warn prospective attackers of their likely fate.  Those who were not killed in the attacked were taken as slaves.  The pa was left deserted until a tapu lifting ceremony was conducted in 1938.

A company of the 18th Royal Irish built a redoubt near the old pa in 1866.  The redoubt was only small, about 15 square yards.  It fell into disrepair when it was abandoned in 1867, however it was reoccupied and renovated in late 1867.  On 11 July 1868, Titokowaru, leader of the Ngaruahine had his men lead an attack on Turuturu Mokai redoubt where a number of men stationed there were killed.  Two managed to escape and headed towards the Waihi Camp, where halfway there they were met by Major Von Tempsky.  The Major had not believed there was any need for urgency in reaching Turuturu Mokai after seeing flashes in the sky.  Von Tempsky now, however, decided  to head north of the redoubt in an attempt to intercept any retreating enemy.  None of the attackers were caught by Von Tempsky and an attack on Te-Ngutu-O-Te-Manu, the Ngaruahine village was planned by those at the Waihi Camp in retaliation to the attack on the redoubt at Turuturu Mokai. (see information page on Te-Ngutu-O-Te-Manu).

Ngateko (Betty Guard) Island

The first clash between Maori and British troops in New Zealand occurred in South Taranaki in 1834.  The site of the battle was the Kapuni River mouth.  Waimate, Orangituapeka and Warawaranui Pa were situated on the hills of the river mouth and were collectively known as Ngateko.  Recently, the Waimate Pa has also been called Betty Guard Island.

The battle that occurred is known locally as “The Harriet Incident”.  In April 1834 the barque “Harriet” ran around at Cape Egmont.  On board were a whaling party, Betty Guard and her husband, Captain John Guard and their two young children, John and Louisa.  The group made it to shore and salvaged as much as they could from the wreck.  A number of days later a group of local Maori arrived.  Relations between the two groups were friendly until two of the sailing crew decided to try trading gunpowder to the Maori and raped three young girls on their visit to the pa.  Consequently a group from the hapu plundered the salvage of the “Harriet” and fighting broke out.  The Europeans were outnumbered and Mrs Guard and her two children were captured.  Te Atiawa helped the survivors recover a boat and they set sail to Port Nicholson and then to Sydney to garner support for a rescue mission.

Mrs Guard and the children were take to the Waitotara Pa, between the Oaonui and Oaoiti Streams and then to Te Namu.  The HMS Alligator and the schooner “Isabella” arrived off Te Namu in August to rescue the family.  A wounded local chief, Oaoiti, was captured and exchanged for Betty and Louisa.  The pa was then burned and the ships sailed south to rescue John who was being held at Waimate Pa.

The HMS Alligator bombarded the Waimate and Orangituapeka Pa when one of their boats was fired upon.  No blood was shed until an old chief, named Mapiki, carried John down to the beach where a force had landed.  The boy was seized from him and Mapiki was shot.  Firing then broke out and Waimate was taken.  The rescue party re-embarked on 11 October and the pa was burned.

Today the pa are a protected reserve and can be reached following the farm road to the right at the lower end of Inaha Road.  Although access is available to the public, please respect the fact that the road is on private property.

Waihi Redoubt and Cemetery

In a curve of the Waihi Stream, Colonial forces established the Waihi Redoubt as advanced quarters for their campaigns in September 1866.  The redoubt was built partly on the remains of the ancient pa Mangamanga.  Both armed constabulary and kupapa (pro-government Maori) were based there at one time.  Land at the base of the redoubt was set aside as a cemetery for the burial of the dead from military engagements and this contains the graves of the solders killed in the confrontations at Turuturu Mokai and Te-Ngutu-O-Te-Manu.

The cemetery was declared a reserve on 19 July 1883 and until recent years was in use as a local cemetery.

A memorial stone marks the site of the redoubt on Pikituroa Road Normanby.

Ohawe Military Cemetery

In 1907 a local farmer erected a stone in one corner of his property to commemorate those that had fallen in the Battle of Otapawa, 13 January 1866.  A second memorial tablet was added in 1925.  The land was donated to the Crown and the remains of the British soldiers that had been buried close by were re-interred there.  Finally in 1945, after the cliff top military graveyard at Manawapou was found to be eroding into the sea, the last group of remains was transferred to Ohawe Military Cemetery.

Access to the cemetery is from Ohawe Terrace, Ohawe.

Parihaka Pa

In 1879 when surveyors tried to push a coastal road through confiscated land occupied by Te Whiti O Rongomai, they met with a campaign of passive resistance and civil disobedience. Te Whiti encouraged peace, industry and sober habits among his many followers.  They started ploughing confiscated land occupied by settlers and removing survey pegs.  After several months of this, with hundreds of his followers arrested, 1600 strong militiamen marched on to Te Whiti’s pa, Paraihaka, then New Zealand’s most populous and prosperous Maori community.  Even as he was being arrested Te Whiti told the gathered crowd to “…be steadfast in all that is peaceful.”  The pa can be visited by appointment Ph 06 763 8701. For more information check out the Parihaka website www.parihaka.com

Te Ngutu o te Manu

The village of Te-Ngutu-O-Te-Manu (the Beak of the Bird) was an important centre for the Ngaruahine Iwi.  It was the base from which Titokowaru led the Maori campaign against government land confiscation in South Taranaki.  It was from Te Ngutu that the attack on Turuturu Mokai was mounted in July 1868.  The pa, situated in dense bush, consisted of about 58 houses and a large meeting house but it was not a defensive pa.  Instead Titokowaru had created an ambush at Te Maru O Te Whenua, south east of Te Ngutu, in anticipation of an attack from this direction.  He also sited the pa’s economic base, including stock and crops, at a secret site called Raururu, north of Te Ngutu.

Colonel McDonnell was determined to avenge Turuturu Mokai and set out on 10-11 August with 300 men.  Half the troops were sent on a diversionary manoeuvre south of Te Maru, and the other half moved in to the bush to attack Te Ngutu from behind.  Unfortunately they became lost and had to turn back.

A second attack was mounted, in torrential rain on 21 August.  Titokowaru was not expecting an attack in bad weather and Te Maru was undefended.  Te Ngutu was virtually empty and taken by surprise, those few who remained fled into the bush.  McDonnell plundered the empty pa and set fire to the houses and meetinghouse, before retreating.  On returning to the smoking pa the Ngaruahine warriors pursued the retreating troops, inflicting several injuries.  Despite the destruction of the pa, Titokowaru lost only two men while McDonnell lost four and thirteen were injured.

Titokowaru, expecting that McDonnell would be unsatisfied with the August attack, immediately fortified Te Ngutu and placed several hidden defence posts in the surrounding bush.  On 7 September McDonnell set out again for Te Ngutu, with the same plan to attack from behind as on 10 August.  They encountered a small clearing between Raururu and Te Ngutu where two sick children had been isolated, as was the custom.  The adults caring for the children and a nine year old boy were killed.  They then proceeded south to Te Ngutu and came under fire as soon as they came within sight of the pa.  The firing was not from the pa but from the hidden bush defences.  Majors Von Tempsky and Hunter separated to mount an attack on the pa and came under heavy fire.  Von Tempsky, however, lost few men and was unaware of the heavy casualties in the troops behind him.  Then McDonnell gave the order to retreat, Von Tempsky, angrily paced up and down, delaying acting on an order he could not understand, and was shot through the head.  Hunter was also killed.  McDonnell began his retreat.  It was a long, slow process with Titokowaru attacking the rear and half his men having to carry the wounded on stretchers.  A number of troops became separated from the main body and when McDonnell arrived back at Camp Waihi half of his men were still missing.

Most of them returned several days later under the leadership of local settler, James Livingstone.  In all government forces lost at least 15 men and 42 were injured.  Titokowaru lost only three.

The victory was the first in a series for the Maori forces under Titokowaru.  They began a campaign to the south that saw them advance as far south at Kai Iwi, with decisive victories at Moturoa and Wairoa.

Today, Te-Ngutu-O-Te-Manu is a reserve on Ahipaipa Road, north of Okaiawa.  Its peaceful bush setting belies its history and the only reminder of the past is a memorial statue to Major Van Tempsky and the other colonial soldiers who died in 1868.  The reserve has a camping ground, tennis court and bush walks.

Te Namu pa

It was at Te Namu in 1833 that a small Taranaki force held off a large taua of Waikato and other northern tribes.  The besieged force was led by Wiremu Kingi Matakatea, who possessed the only musket in the pa, which by all accounts he put to good effect.  After some weeks the northern force failed in a final assault on the pa and fell back northwards, losing many men to the closely following Taranaki.

A year later, in 1834, Te Namu faired less well against the HMS Alligator and the schooner ‘Isabella’.  The two vessels arrived to rescue Betty Guard and her daughter Louisa (see information page on Ngateko) who were being held at the pa.  A wounded chief, Oaoiti, was captured and exchanged for the pair and then the pa was burned.

Te Namu is a surprising small pa for one of such historical significance.  Doubtless some of it has been lost to the sea but the cemented boulders of the headland on which its stands have probably withstood severe erosion.  The pa stands 20 metres above the tidal platform and 6-8 metres triangular occupation platform has many underground food storage pits, especially along the margins, dug in hard and rocky ground with wood and stone tools.  At the foot of the pa is a small urupa and there are also graves on the pa above.  Please respect these.  Do not enter the burial ground or go onto the pa itself.

Te Namu can be found at the northern end of Opunake, down the end of Wilson Road, towards the sea.  Walkway access to the historic pa is well signposted just beyond the cemetery on your right.  An easy walk of 500 metres brings you down to Otahi Stream above which stands the pa.

Turi's Canoe/Aotea Waka

Turi’s Canoe/Aotea Waka is Patea’s central landmark and is situated in Egmont Street.  A model of the Aotea Canoe, it commemorates the settlement of the area of Patea by Turi and his hapu, who travelled from Hawaiiki to Kawhia and then travelled around the coast to settle at Patea.  The canoe is 16.5 metres long and 1.5 metres wide.

The figures in the canoe represent Turi, his wife Rongorongo with her baby son on her back, Turi’s son Turanga-i-mua, Turi’s brother and five other men.

Manaia Redoubt

There is a touch of irony in the fact that the Manaia Redoubt was built in times of peace rather than in times of war.

The passive resistance of the Parihaka chief, Te Whiti, and his followers was new to European settlers.  Their answer to this intangible threat was to build a series of redoubts in the area, both to house troops and to provide a safe haven for local residents should Te Whiti’s passive resistance turn to open war.  One of these was the Manaia Redoubt.

On 23 September 1880, Colonel MJ Roberts received instructions from the Native Minister to establish a force of 80 Armed Constabulary men on the right bank of the Waiokura Stream at Manaia.  A disused pa site named Te Takahe was chosen for the fortifications and when completed the redoubt had a capacity for housing 160 men.  All the timber was pit sawn in the bush by members of the company.  The Armed Constabulary occupied the redoubt for about two years and eventually left the town when the threat of hostility was sufficiently reduced.  The local volunteer force, the Waimate Mounted Rifles, maintained the redoubt for a time but the structure eventually became unnecessary and three of the buildings were removed.

In about 1885 orders were issued for the demolition of the frontier redoubts but the Manaia Redoubt was preserved at the request of the locals.  The two blockhouses that remain today represent the last of the frontier posts on their original sites and, apart from minor repairs and the addition of concrete floors, are original structures in everyway.  While they give a good idea of the style of frontier defence they must be imagined as being supplemented by a solid plank stockade, deep ditches and parapets.  The double walls of the blockhouses were originally filled with gravel to make them bullet-proof.  A notable feature is the design of the look holes.  They were carefully made by the constabulary carpenters, measuring five by seven inches on the inside but narrowing to three by two and a half inches on the outside and were able to be closed off by sliding shutters.  On the seaward side of the redoubt overlooking the main entrance, the wooden tower stood 35 feet high, ascended by a staircase inside.  It blew down in a storm and was replaced in 1912 by the concrete replica that stands today.

The Manaia Redoubt can be found on Bennett Memorial Drive in Manaia