Te Umu a Tongahake Pā

205 Turuturu Road, Hawera

  • Te Umu a Tongahake Pā, Hawera.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Joanna Barnes-Wylie. Date: 1/06/2006.
  • Te Umu a Tongahake Pā.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Date: 1/08/1981.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 6043 Date Entered 20th June 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Sec 177 PATEA Dist (CT TNB1/614), Taranaki Land District and the archaeological site known as Te Umu a Tongahake Pā (NZAA site Q21/4) thereon, as shown in the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Korēro Committee meeting on 31 May 2018.

City/District Council

South Taranaki District


Taranaki Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 177 PATEA Dist (CT TNB1/614), Taranaki Land District


The Turuturu-mokai complex near Hawera encompasses three sites: Te Umu a Tongahake Pā (New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) Site Q21/4), and Turuturu-mokai Pā (NZAA Q21/3) and Armed Constabulary Redoubt and Memorial (NZAA Q21/328).

This place is widely acknowledged as a site of cultural, historical, social and archaeological significance to both Pakeha and Māori communities. The pā sites have long been recognised as outstanding examples of pre-European Māori earthworks and since the late nineteenth century have been promoted as a tourist destination for visitors to the Hawera District. The Turuturu-mokai Redoubt, constructed near the pā during the Taranaki Land Wars of 1866–1869, was famously attacked by Ngā Ruahine leader Riwha Titokowaru's forces in July 1868. The redoubt was held but at the cost to the Armed Constabulary of ten lives. A monument to those who took part in the engagement has been erected at the site.

The Turuturu-mokai Redoubt, gazetted as a blockhouse site in 1871, was vested in the Borough of Hawera in 1901 so that ‘the fortifications standing thereon may be preserved’. In 1905, Turuturu-mokai Pā was also set aside as a Historic Reserve. The pa site of Te Umu-a-Tongahake was purchased and added to the reserve in July 1936. The entire complex was was returned to the guardianship of the Ngāti Tupaia hapū of Ngāti Ruanui in 2003, who allow access for the general public to visit the site.

Te Umu a Tongahake Pā is situated on the opposite (northern) right bank of the Tawhiti Stream from Turuturu-mokai Pā. This is a traditional single unit, ring ditch pā site, consisting of a roughly oval platform, containing clusters of storage pits defended by a double line of encircling ditch and banks. Although traditional Māori histories pertaining to this site have not been published, the site is generally considered to be closely associated with the nearby site of Turuturu-mokai. It has been stated that the two pā were formerly linked by a tunnel which led from the trenches of Turuturu-mokai and passed beneath the Tawhiti Stream. Day has traced this story to a hearsay account from 1870 and refers to the tunnel ‘as a piece of folklore’ that was ‘repeated by later commentators’. The NZAA site record for this site cites Hawera historian John Houston as the source of the name Te Umu a Tongahake but notes that the name Pūkakariki is also named at this location in an early land plan.

The site of Te Umu-a-Tongahake Pa may also have been reconstructed during the late 1930s, not long after the site was amalgamated into the Turuturu-mokai Historic Reserve. When archaeologist Alistair Buist first recorded the site on the NZAA Site Recording Scheme recording in 1964 he commented that ‘at least it [the site] hasn't been restored as has Turuturu-mokai Pa.’ More recently, Kelvin Day cited earlier correspondence that he believes infers the site was modified in 1936 as part of a scheme to reconstruct Te Umu-a-Tongahake. Day goes on to state that it would appear that the ditches and pits on Te Umu-a-Tongahake were cleaned out as they have a very similar profile to those of Turuturu-mokai.

Today the site remains in reasonable condition. Regular groupings of open pits can be clearly seen laid out on the main platform of the pā and the surrounding defensive ditch and banks remain in good condition. Ngati Tupaia’s kaitiakitanga involves removing a stand of old pine trees and willows from the northwest and northern flanks of the pā, which will ultimately increase the public visibility of the site and its component features.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Ngāti Tupaia

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction

Possible partial reconstruction

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

18th April 2018

Report Written By

Ivan Bruce

Information Sources

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR)

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives

‘Correspondence relative to native disturbances at Patea’, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representative s, 1868, A-08, pp. 1-51

New Zealand Journal of Archaeology

New Zealand Journal of Archaeology

Day, K., ‘Contested Ground: Turuturu-Mokai Pa, Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand’ New Zealand Journal of Archaeology, vol. 29, 2007, pp. 19–37

Ogle and Crosby, 2012

Nigel Ogle and Ron Crosby, A Desperate Dawn: The battle for Turuturu Mokai 18, Tawhiti Museum, 2012.

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 Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand