Local Historic Maori Sites along the Te Henui Walkway
The coastal areas of the Taranaki / Wanganui region were among the most densely settled parts of New Zealand in prehistoric and early historic times. Settlement probably began in about the 14th century and the region experienced a rapid rate of population growth that had probably peaked by the late 18th century. Occupation was widespread by the 16th century with locale communities based on fishing, hunting and gathering, and gardening. Fortifications probably began to be built in about the 16th century and remain a conspicuous feature of the present day landscape.
The Purakau Pa was situated above the present skating rink at the mouth of the Te Henui River. It was known as a whare wanaga (a learning centre) where traditional Maori knowledge in the craft of navigation, waka building, fishing, weaponry and warfare, and their associated karakia (prayers), and waiata tawhito (ancient chants) were taught.
This aerial photo shows the relative position of the three pa sites on the Te Henui Walkway
Click on each link below to visit each Pa site page.
Parihamore Pa (means bare cliff). The maioro (a village defended by ramparts) are still clearly visible suggesting this pa was occupied for a very long time.
Puketarata Pa is located in a natural basin between Pukewarangi Pa and Parihamore Pa. Translated to mean hill of Tarata, this could either relate to a Maori chief who may have lived nearby or be a reference to the attaractive tarata tree or lemonwood (Pittosporum eugenioides). By the late 18th century it was no longer occupied.
Pukewarangi Pa. Little is known of its history but maioro are still accessible and at the top the strategic viewpoint the pa had is obvious. It is believed that the pa was a warehouse of sorts, were food that had been cultivated was stored either in patake (storeroom erected on stilts) or buried in pits.
The Te Ara Puawai O Te Henui Signboards elected September 2012
More information about the Maori history of this area see links below
For more information of Archaeology in the Taranaki region visit http://www.conservation.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/Sfc154.pdf
Te Atiawa Settlement with the Crown
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