Puketarata Pā

Hendrie Street, Welbourn, New Plymouth

  • Puketarata Pā.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5968 Date Entered 20th June 1985


Extent of List Entry

Sec Y New Plymouth Town Belt SO 2640 (CT TN59/80; NZ Gazette 1982, p.4253), Taranaki Land District

Clarify extent: Extent includes the land described as Sec Y New Plymouth Town Belt SO 2640 (CT TN59/80; NZ Gazette 1982, p.4253), Taranaki Land District, and the archaeological site known as Puketarata Pā (NZAA P19/149) thereon, as shown on the location map appended to the notification letter dated 20 June 1985.

City/District Council

New Plymouth District


Taranaki Region

Legal description

Sec Y New Plymouth Town Belt SO 2640 (CT TN59/80; NZ Gazette 1982, p.4253), Taranaki Land District


Puketarata Pā, located on the banks of the Te Henui Stream in New Plymouth, was part of a complex of strategically important Te Ātiawa pā within Ngāti Te Whiti’s rohe. This pā, sometime known as Pukeiti Pā, has archaeological and traditional significance connected with Māori settlement of the area. It also has historic importance because it is an early example of attempts to preserve New Zealand’s historic heritage, under the Scenic Preservation Act 1903.

Te Ātiawa hapu occupied the area in and around what became New Plymouth for generations before European settlement began. Puketarata Pā is in a strategic location along Te Henui Stream and together with nearby Parihamore (Category 2 historic place, List No. 5969) and Pukewharangi Pā, these fortified settlements formed a defensive network in the late eighteenth century.

European settlement in New Plymouth began in earnest when New Zealand Company settlers arrived in 1841. The pā site was later surveyed as part of the Town Belt – an area which functioned as a transitional zone between the town and rural areas. The Scenery Preservation Act 1903 was New Zealand’s first legislation targeted at protecting historic sites. S. Percy Smith, a Taranaki local and Polynesian Society chair, was the Scenery Preservation Commission’s inaugural chair. In 1906 Puketarata Pā was among the first group of places formally protected by being made a scenic reserve under the Act and was fenced soon after to help ‘prevent its destruction’.

Smith described the pā in 1908 as ‘another excellent specimen of a fortified pa, still in good preservation’. In 1962 the site was said to feature ‘a hill with a single ditch and bank on all sides’. The discernible earthworks of this small ring ditch pā include perimeter ditches, terracing and pits. The platform is covered with vegetation.

The pā is a feature within Te Ara Puawai o Te Henui Walkway, a recreation route connecting aspects within the city’s Māori and early settler cultural and historic landscape, including Te Henui Vicarage, Category 1 historic place (List No. 892). In recognition of Puketarata Pā’s importance to iwi, under the terms of the 2014 Treaty of Waitangi Settlement an overlay classification was placed on the pā’s Historic Reserve which involves Te Ātiawa in the management of the site.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Pā in use

1906 -
Pā fenced

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

21st June 2017

Report Written By

Karen Astwood

Information Sources

Journal of the Polynesian Society

Journal of the Polynesian Society

Smith, S. Percy, ‘History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast’, Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 17, No.4, 1908, pp.184, http://www.jps.auckland.ac.nz/document.php?wid=721&action=null, accessed 2 June 2017.


‘Scenery Preservation Commission’, NZHistory (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/scenery-preservation/scenery-preservation-commission, updated 20 Dec 2012.

Best, 1927

Best, Elsdon, ‘Puke-Tarata Pa’, The Pa Maori, Whitcombe and Tombs, Wellington, 1927, p.215, http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz//tm/scholarly/tei-BesPaMa-t1-body-d5-d1-d11.html, accessed 12 Jun 2017.

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.