Te Hunoke

Te Hunoke Road, Omapere

  • Te Hunoke, NZ Archaeological Site O06/104.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 1/06/2006.
  • Te Hunoke. Image courtesy of www.quickmap.co.nz/.
    Copyright: Quickmap.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 6719 Date Entered 2nd June 1994


Extent of List Entry

Extent comprises the land described as Lot 2 DP 321491 (CT 85736), North Auckland Land District and the site known as Te Hunoke thereon.

City/District Council

Far North District


Northland Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 321491 (CT 85736), North Auckland Land District

Location description

Located near Te Hunoke Road, via State Highway 12.


Te Hunoke (NZAA Site Record No. O06/104) is a narrow ridge-top on the southern side of the Hokianga Harbour.

The prominent hill on which Te Hunoke is sited was named long before the pa was built there. Several hundred years ago Tohe, a tupuna of Te Roroa, travelled from Muriwhenua to Maunganui Bluff, naming many places as he went. These included several places near the southern entrance of Hokianga Harbour, from where he climbed a prominent spur that he named Te Pikinga o Tohe (‘the ascent of Tohe’) and then a hill he named Pakia. On reaching the top of the hill near Pakia, he observed that what had seemed a small hill (‘hunoke’) was actually a big hill and thus he named it Te Hunoke.

Little is known about Te Hunoke after Tohe’s visit, until the eighteenth century when the strategic spot was used by Te Roroa as a lookout during fighting with Ngati Ruanui of Whangape. From Te Hunoke, Te Roroa could observe their enemies moving in and out of Whangape harbour to the north, and a pa seems to have been established at Te Hunoke in this period. The small site was not suitable for permanent settlement but, being located atop a steep hill with natural defences, Te Hunoke was well-adapted to its role as a lookout and defensive pa.

In the late eighteenth and into the early nineteenth century, southern Hokianga became an area of conflict as Ngapuhi groups expanded their territory in the area, as did Te Roroa, who had a close relationship to Ngati Pou and other sections of Ngapuhi. Ngati Korokoro and Ngati Wharara are Ngapuhi groups who became associated with Te Hunoke in this period, whereas Te Roroa/Ngati Pou have earlier associations with the location. Early in this period of conflict the Te Roroa tupuna Paekoraha was charged with upholding Te Roroa interests at Te Hunoke (and Waiwhatawhata to the south).

More widespread conflict in the early nineteenth century saw Te Roroa drawn into extensive fighting, firstly on the side of Ngapuhi but, on occasion, also alongside Ngati Whatua to the south, with whom they are also closely connected. In about 1807 a Ngapuhi taua was defeated by a combined Ngati Whatua and Te Roroa force at Moremonui (south of Hokianga). Hongi Hika, later to emerge as the pre-eminent Ngapuhi war leader, survived Moremonui. On his return from England in 1821, well-armed with newly acquired muskets, Hongi began to avenge Moremonui and other take. Ngati Pou and Ngati Whatua were particular targets of his animosity, and Te Roroa suffered heavily through their close associations with these groups.

Amongst Hongi’s decisive early victories was an attack on Te Hunoke that was part of his campaign against Ngati Pou/Te Roroa. He had first tried to attack Whiria pa in southern Hokianga, but was fooled by a ruse of Te Hukeumu (of Te Hikutu, Te Roroa, and Ngati Pou) into believing Whiria was defended by many musket-armed warriors, when Te Hekuemu was actually the sole chief there and had the only musket. Hongi then turned to attack Te Hunoke, where Tuohu of Te Roroa and Ngati Pou, who had fought at Moremonui, was killed by Hongi. In what was a heavy defeat for Te Roroa and Ngati Pou, only one warrior, the wounded Hakaraia Te Manu, escaped from Te Hunoke, to which Te Roroa did not return.

Ngati Korokoro and Ngati Wharara subsequently predominated in southern Hokianga, controlling the expanding timber trade there in the 1820s, and the trading of goods and early settlement associated with that trade. In the 1870s, the land around the pa was passed through the Native Land Court as Te Hunoke block, the title to which was awarded to seven tribal representatives whose affiliations were predominantly Te Roroa, Ngati Pou, and Ngati Korokoro. This mixed ownership reflects the extent to which, in such a 'borderlands' area, tribal groups became likened to the mange-mange vine; being, 'all inextricably tied together, both by tupuna and intermarriage.'

In the early twentieth century, the land was partitioned and sold off piecemeal as the surrounding area became farmland. The relatively well preserved remains of Te Hunoke have the potential to provide knowledge about a critical period in New Zealand history, just prior to the expansion of Pakeha settlement of Hokianga, when musket warfare significantly changed the scale and conduct of Maori warfare.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

3rd November 2011

Report Written By

Bruce Stirling

Information Sources

Archives New Zealand (Wgtn)

Archives New Zealand (Wellington)

Crown Grants Register Auckland [April-June] 1870, ABWN 8090 Acc W5274 148 R.73.A , folio 237; Northern Minute Book No. 2, pp.189 and 192; Northern Minute Book No.44, p.21 [Archives New Zealand Micro 2861]; Northern Minute Book No.29 pp. 40-45 [Archives New Zealand Micro 3809]

Auckland University

Auckland University

Manuka Henare, Hazel Petrie, and Adrienne Puckey, ‘“He Whenua Rangatira” Northern Tribal Landscape Overview’, Mira Szaszy Research Centre, University of Auckland/CFRT, 2009.

Ballara, 2003

Ballara, A., 2003. Taua: 'musket wars', 'land wars' or tikanga?: warfare in Maori society in the early nineteenth century, Penguin Books, Auckland.

Crosby, 1999

R. D Crosby. The Musket Wars, a history of inter-iwi conflict 1806-45. Reeds Publishing (NZ) Ltd 1999.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Hongi Hika 1772-1828’, updated 7 April 2006

Waitangi Tribunal

Waitangi Tribunal Report, www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz

Te Roroa Report 1992, Report ID=7DF6E15E-2C4D-4DD0-9E60-50A88FFB48A9

Williams, 1999

David Williams, 'Te Kooti tango whenua': the Native Land Court, Huia Publishers: Wellington, 1999.

Auckland Museum Library

Auckland Museum Library

Pene Haare Ngakuru, ‘Nga Pakanga o Ngapuhi’, Battle No. 11, Te Hunoke against Tuohu’ (translated by Jennifer Curnow), 1923. MS 89/116. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library.

Cloher, 2003

D. Cloher, Hongi Hika Warrior Chief, Viking, Auckland, 2003

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is avaialable from the Northland Area office of the NZHPT.

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.