Moa Point Road, Tarakena Bay, Wellington

  • Rangitatau.Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: TELPortfolio, Newtown, Wellington.. Date: 8/04/2006.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 6158 Date Entered 2nd June 1994


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land known as Pt Sec 3 SO 35920 (NZ Gazette 1991, p.1684), Wellington Land District and the archaeological site known as Rangitatau (R27/55) thereon (refer to the map attached to the Archaeological Site Land Title Form for more information).

City/District Council

Wellington City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 3 SO 35920 (NZ Gazette 1991, p.1684), Wellington Land District


Setting: Situated on the western headland above Tarakena Bay, west of the Te Poti Stream, south end of Miramar Peninsula, Wellington, and directly above the coast road.

Archaeological Features: Headland pa site, linked to the hinterland by a narrow ridge, but naturally defended on remaining three sides by steep natural cliffs. Deeply scarped terraces are present on the southeast side.

Supporting Evidence : This site was regarded as a Ngai-Tara satellite pa of the main Ngai-Tara pa of Te Whetu-Kairangi, further north on the Peninsula. Rangitatau Pa was traditionally the home of Tuteremoana (direct descendent of Tara), and had Raukawa as its principal house. (Best 1918, p.9; 1918; p.174). Christie (1943) visited the locality in 1899 and confirmed this position as being that of Rangitatau, noting a charred pallisade post in position on the headland. This was evidence of the later traditional sacking and burning of' the pa by raiders under Tuwhare about 1819-20, when it was held by Ngai Ira (Christie 1943). Rangitatau was regarded as the defensive citadel for the adjacent Poiti pa (a stockaded village of the Ngati Ira (cf Adkin 1959, p.67) which was also sacked. The site was marked on the map by Best et al, (1916).

Condition of Site: In grass, moderately well preserved, except that the upper northern, narrow connecting ridge and scarp is being damaged by trail-bikes. (The adjacent site of Poito no longer visible). Site was originally incorporated in the Fort Dorset military reserve, but this part of the reserve was transferred to Lands & Survey in the 1960s.

Assessment: Rangitatau pa is the best surviving pa and archaeological site in the Wellington urban area, and the most worthy of preservation. It is easy to access, and although small, is impressive with deep terrace scarps and it offers a stimulating view over Tarakena Bay and across the Wellington Harbour entrance, and also towards the South Island. It is a site for which some traditional history is known; this adds to its historical interest in addition to its archaeological value.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical and associated iwi/hapu/whanau


Te Atiawa (Wellington)

Construction Dates

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

28th February 1983

Report Written By

I W Keyes

Information Sources

Adkin, 1959

GL Adkin, 'The Great Harbour of Tara', Wellington, 1959

Journal of the Polynesian Society

Journal of the Polynesian Society

E. Best, The Land of Tara and they that dwelt therein, 1918, vol. 27 (2), pp.1-25 and vol 27(5), pp.165-177; H. Christie, 'Rangitatau Pa', 1943, vol. 52, pp. 202-203

Other Information

Information in this report is from the citation prepared for the NZHPT Archaeology Committee at the time of the registration.

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.