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This heritage trail traces the rich history of the Waipa region. Included are sites of Maori and European settlements, battle sites, trading posts, and places that have played a significant part in the development of Waipa District.

For ease of use they are listed in two sections. West Waipa and East Waipa. Within this section, the sites are listed as much as possible in the order we might find them travelling north to south.

If we were to cover every Waipa site of historial interest this would become a large book not an easy use guide. Instead the aim has been to cover a broad selection. Historical sites in Te Awamutu and Cambridge have been excluded as these are covered in other publications.


West Waipa / Te Awamutu District

1. Harapepe District

Harapepe was originally settled by the chief Mahunga, a descendant of the occupants of the Tainui canoe. He lived near Te Pahu, a pa at the confluence of Kaniwhaniwha Stream and the Waipa River.

Following the land war in the mid 1860s, Ngati Mahunga land was confiscated and offered to British soldiers (the second company of Forest Rangers under Major Von Tempsky) in one acre residential grants plus 50 acres of farming land. The township of Harapepe was in the vicinity of Corcoran Road near Te Pahu. Difficult farming conditions, lack of funds,roading, and ongoing military requirements led to many leaving their land in search of paid work. A special Act of Parliament was passed to release their abandoned sections for private sale.

The district was largely serviced by boat until the Waipa was bridged at Whatawhata in April 1881 and Te Rore in July 1881. Increased settlement soon followed, but it was Te Pahu that eventually become the dominant township in the district.


2. Stewart Reid Memorial Park

The fertile land of the Ngahinapouri District was first settled by European farmers in 1867. The 2ha Stewart Reid Memorial Park was donated in memory of a son killed while a pilot in World War II. The park is ringed by 35 English trees, each acknowledging the service of a local man in World War II.


3. Homewood

The oldest dwelling in the Waipa District is ‘Homewood’. It stands at the intersection of Hodgson and Rosborough Roads. The original buildings are believed to have been built around 1870 possibly by Isaac Hodgson. Now privately owned, it is a NZ Historic Places Trust Category 2 registered building.


4. Te Rore Landing

Te Rore Landing was about one kilometre upstream of the present Te Pahu/Pirongia Road bridge, the upper most navigable point for river traffic at normal levels. A weekly paddle steamer service carried mail and produce between the landing and the lower Waikato River until 1925. In 1881 the ferry across the river was replaced by a bridge. This in turn was replaced by the present bridge in 1957. In the 1958 flood only the top of the side rails were above the floodwaters.


5. Te Rore

In 1826, Waikato Maori warriors gained revenge for an earlier defeat at Matakitaki (ref 9), by killing the Ngapuhi Chief Pomare and most of his 500 warriors. Pomare had been lured inland by a small party of Waikato warriors, decoys for the main Waikato force. Hence, the name Te Rore or ‘the snare’.

The Te Rore District was the hub for traffic up the Waikato and Waipa Rivers for Maori and European traders. The river remained the main link to Auckland until the rail line between Auckland and Ohaupo was completed in 1878 (the full length of the line to Wellington was not completed until 1908).

Te Rore was also the site of a trading station and hotel. Liquor could be bought at any time, even Sundays, “provided the traveller had travelled over three miles”. It is believed the buildings were burnt down by Maori before General Cameron established his Field Headquarters at Te Rore in 1864.


7. Waiari Pa

A large (7 ha.) pa was once located on the steep sided, flat toped ‘isthmus’ of a large bend on the Mangapiko Stream. Three broad deep transverse ditches divide the isthmus into two platforms. Some say it was an early (c 1750) Ngati Hikairo pa-, abandoned around 1818 when Hikairo moved to Kawhia. Others refer to Ngati Apakura being the occupants. It had been abandoned for some time when, in February 1864, British troops bathing in the narby stream were ambushed by Maori warriors. The skirmish resulted in the death of six British soldiers, while over 30 Maori were killed in the subsequent close-quarters battle. Captain Charles Heaphy became the first British colonial soldier to win the Victoria Cross for his actions during the fighting. Heaphy River and the popular Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park are named after him.


8. Alexandra Racing Club

Founded by the Waikato militia in 1866, the Racing Club is one of the oldest in New Zealand. Now home of the Pirongia Golf Club, the venue still hosts the annual and popular Boxing Day Races.


9. Matakitaki Pa

There were once Maori settlements and fortified pa- by the confluence of the Waipa River and Mangapiko Stream and on the high level terraces of this 13 ha site. It was one of the largest and strongest of the fortified pa in the Waipa Valley.

In February 1822, a Ngapuhi war party, armed with muskets, left Northland for the Waikato. The Waikato tribes, at this time without firepower, sought refuge at Matakitaki. A one sided, bloody battle followed with hundreds of men, women and children dying in the stampede to escape the musket fire.


10. Pirongia Village

In 1864, Lt. General Cameron, Commander of the British Army set up a military base on the banks of the Waipa, with the idea of making it the capital of the region. Originally named Alexandra, it was settled by soldiers of the 2nd Waikato Militia Regiment. The Militia was disbanded in 1867 and replaced by the Armed Constabulary, led briefly by former Forest Ranger, Gustavus Von Tempsky. The Constaulary role was to guard the Aukati (confiscation) line – essentially the boundary between the confiscated Waikato lands and the Maori occupied King Country.

Alexandra became ‘Pirongia’ in 1896 due to confusion with its namesake in Otago. Although strategically positioned at the upper navigable reaches of the Waipa, it never grew to the extent envisaged.


11. Alexandra East Redoubt

By April 1864, the Waikato War was all but over, but dispossessed Maori were still seen as a threat by European settlers and soldiers. To protect the frontier a series of military settlements were set up in strategic locations including Alexandra (now known as Pirongia). Two redoubts were built here, one on either side of the Waipa River and in June the 2nd Waikato Regiment, took up residence in the Alexandra East Redoubt while Von Tempsky’s Forest Rangers occupied the Western redoubt on the western bank. Soon afterwards the surrounding land was surveyed and given to the soldiers. Alexandra East Redoubt is now managed by Waipa District Council.


12. Alexandra Armed Constabulary Redoubt

This is the best preserved of the surviving defensive redoubts in New Zealand. It was bult more than four years after the end of the Waikato War, to replace the Alexandra East Redoubt (see 11). In 1868 the fortification consisted of simple earthworks raised around St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, which was located on this site. In 1871 the Government purchased the site for an Armed Constabulary camp. The church was shifted into the town and the present redoubt built on the hill a year later.

In May 1886, the Armed Constabulary left Alexandra and the redoubt was abandoned. A second St. Saviour’s Church was built in 1900 and occupied the redoubt site until shifted to Waikeria in 1959. In 2000 the church returned to Pirongia and is now the Pirongia Historic Visitor Centre. The redoubt is managed by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.


13. Mt Pirongia

Pirongia Mountain (959m) is the dominant landmark in the Waipa Valley. Long before European settlement, Pirongia was a part of Maori mythology. Pirongia was regarded as the father figure and the smaller volcanic cone, Te Kawa, was the daughter of a union between Pirongia and Taupiri. Pirongia is said to have been named by Kahupeka a third generation descendant of Rakataura. On ascending Pirongia, she spent time anointing herself the scented leaves of Rangiora. From this experience the name ‘Pirongia–te–Aroaro–o–Kahu’ (the scented presence of Kahu) was derived.

Pirongia Forest Park, managed by the Department of Conservation, has excellent walking opportunities from short, easy strolls to more time consuming and energetic summit tracks.


14. Mangapouri Mission Station

The first mission station in the district, at the junction of the Waipa and Puniu Rivers, opened on 23 August 1834. It was run by Church of England missionaries James Stack and James Hamlin along with their families. Martyn Hamlin, the first European baby in the Waikato, was born here on June 1836.

Many Maori had retreated here from traditional lands in the Waikato due to raids by northern tribes. However, the mission closed in 1836 when the Nga-ti Pou people returned to their original homes and a local tribe threatened the missionary safety. The Mangapouri Mission monument is on private land.


15. Mangatoatoa Pa

A grove of trees marks the site of this pa, constructed in the late 1700s in a bend of the Punui River. The pa- site was never captured despite attacks by a number of famous warrior chiefs including Te Waharoa and Te Rauparaha.


16. Kakepuku

Kakepuku (450m) is one of a series of five ancient volcanoes known as the Alexandra Lineament. The others are Karioi, Pirongia, Te Kawa and Tokanui.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans the large fortified area on the mountain’s summit was known as Hikurangi (the arch of the sky). It was large for a Waikato Pa- (over 4000 m2) though only some of this was defended. However, according to an early Land Court record, Hikurangi was never conquered in battle. It was probably used until the late 1700s or early 1800s. It was abandoned when Governor Hobson climbed to the summit in 1842.

Once stripped of forest, it is now regenerating helped by an enthusiastic community conservation group. It is administered by the Department of Conservation and Waipa District Council.


17. Kihikihi Township

In the early 1800s this village was a Nga-ti Maniapoto headquarters with a small cluster of thatched houses surrounded by cultivated fields and peach trees. After British forces occupied Te Awamutu and Rangiaowhia in 1864, they moved swiftly to occupy Kihikihi where they looted and burnt Rewi Maniapoto’s meeting house. The village was then surveyed into 400 one acre sections and a large redoubt was constructed for the military force.

The Forest Rangers, under Major Jackson, were granted town sections in Kihikihi plus farm allotments at nearby Rangiaowhia. When Rewi Maniapoto was pardoned in 1881, the Government built a house for him in Kihikihi where he lived until his death in 1894. A monument to Rewi Maniapoto was also donated by Sir George Grey (located adjacent to SH3).


18. O-rakau

The famous battle centred around Orakau Pa- proved to be the last in Waikato. Between 31 March and 2 April 1864, 1,200 British and colonial soldiers attacked 300 Maori led by Chief Rewi Maniapoto. Despite a courageous stand, over 150 Maori died with many more wounded. The battle is famed for the refusal of Maori defenders, both male and female, to surrender when given the opportunity by General Cameron.


19. Yarndley’s Bush Reserve

Yarndley’s Bush (14 ha), is the largest kahikatea stand in the Waikato. Kahikatea or white pine, once widespread in much of lowland New Zealand, was a preferred timber for boxing export butter since it gave off very little odour.

Now a scenic reserve administered by Waipa District Council, Yarndley’s Bush has a raised boardwalk and viewing platform to enable visitors to view ground cover and under storey forest tiers, without damaging the vegetation. Walking access to the Reserve is available from Ngaroto Road.


20. Hingaka-ka Battle Site

The battle of Hingaka-ka- was fought about 1803 along the narrow ridgeline between a much larger Lake Ngaroto to the north and extensive wetlands which adjoined the Mangapiko Stream to the south.

Pikauterangi, a Nga-ti Toa chief from Marokopa, considered he had been highly insulted over a fishing arrangement. He called on most of the tribes in the southern and eastern regions of the North Island to join him in annihilating not only Maniapoto, but all Waikato tribes. Approximately 1,600 Waikato warriors assembled to await the 7,000 strong army of Pikauterangi as it advanced from Otorohanga. Using superior tactics and an intimate knowledge of the country side, the Waikato Maori defeated Pikauterangi and his great army. The red feathered cloaks of the fallen chiefs gave rise to the name Hingaka-ka- (the fall of the parrots). The large loss of life and resulting tapu over the area influenced settlement of the area for many years.


21. Taurangamirumiru Pa

This hilltop pa-, visible from Paterangi Road between Sing and Bowman Roads, was the ancestral home of Ngati Apakura from the beginning of the 16th Century and remained so for three centuries. The adjoining Lake Ngaroto and lowland forests provided a rich source of food and building materials. It was here that Waikato and Nga-ti Maniapoto, along with their allies, assembled for the Battle of Hingakaka (ref 20).


22. Lake Ngaroto

At 90 ha, Lake Ngaroto is the largest of several peat lakes in the Ohaupo District. It was formed around 19,000 years ago, after the Waikato River abandoned its original course through the Hinuera Valley to the Firth of Thames and flowed into the Waikato basin. The diversion caused vast quantities of river silt and gravel to pour into the Waikato lowlands blocking the mouths of valleys. Water built up behind these new barriers creating lakes. Peat forming plants dominated the vegetation that grew around the lakes and as the peat built up it influenced water conditions and colour (peat releases tannin which stains water brown) – hence the term ‘peat lake’.

A number of pa were once found around Lake Ngaroto. Some were probably seasonal fishing camps and two man-made island pa- sites are still visible (now high and dry since the lake level was lowered). In 1936 Uenuku, a hugely significant and ancient taonga, was found in the lake. Uenuku will be back on display later this year at the Te Awamutu Museum.

A grassed area, a launching ramp for sail and row boats, and circular walking track around the lake are available to visitors.


23. Lakes Rotomanuka and Serpentine (Rotopiko)

These two lakes are located between Ohaupo and Te Awamutu. Rotomanuka, sometimes known as Horseshoe Lake, is the oldest and deepest (8.7 m) of the 17 peat lakes in the Waipa District. The surrounding land has been drained and the water table lowered to improve grazing leaving the lake divided into two. Lake Serpentine is one of the least modified and has high natural values.

Both lakes were used for food gathering by Maori and there is evidence of swamp pa- near the shores. Rotomanuka was also popular with early European settlers for boating and swimming.


24. Ohaupo Township

The ridge on which Ohaupo township sits separates the two great peak bogs of Rukuhia to the west, and Moanatuatua to the east. An important Maori trail linked Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) to Otawhao (Te Awamutu) and on east to Pukekura and west to Te Rore.

Later it became a military route. It was thought secure until two orderlies were ambushed by 30 armed Maori and only just escaped alive. Then in 1864 a large party of Maori crossed from Maungatautari and ambushed Major J.C, McNeil and his escort. Major McNeil was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in the skirmish. The event prompted General Cameron to have a redoubt built to protect the military road.

By the late 1880s, Ohaupo was a thriving township and the main farming centre for the Waikato. It was also famed for having one of the largest sale yards in the southern hemisphere. Ohaupo School opened in 1869 and the railway reached the town in 1878. The original post office opened in 1879 and closed in 1988; it was relocated and is now a private residence near the Narrows Bridge.


25. Narrows Gorge and Bridge

The ‘Narrows’ is an entrenched gorge on the Waikato River some 8 km upstream of Kirikiriroa – now Hamilton City. The site was strategically important to Waipa tribes and pa- built on both sides of the river guarded this valuable transport corridor. Downstream of the bridge is the large pa known as Nukuhau.

The Narrows bridge, built in 1940, was one of the earliest in New Zealand to use reinforced concrete girders supported by an arch. The bridge, which has a New Zealand Historic Places Trust Category 2 rating, replaced an earlier one, built of wood in 1879.


26. Rukuhia

In the late 1800s the Rukuhia area was owned by James Williamson and Alfred Cox, a Member of Parliament, and run as one large farming estate. In 1878 the North Island Trunk railway was built right through the swampy estate on land ‘provided’ by the land owners. Access between Rukuhia and Hamilton was improved with the building of the Narrows Bridge in 1879 (see item 25). The Rukuhia Cheese and Bacon Factory opened 5 years later, but burned down in 1886 in one of the numerous peat swamp fires.

The Department of Agriculture purchased 120 hectares of Rukuhia for market gardens to supply the armed forces in the Pacific during World War II. After 1945 it became a Government Soil Research Station.


27. Pukerimu

Pukerimu was a landing place for General Cameron and the British Army early in 1864. To protect the landing, redoubts were constructed on either side of the river before the troops marched on Orakau (see item 18) for what turned out to be the last battle of the Waikato Land War.

In 1871 a Wesleyan Methodist Church was built near the present cemetery and a school was built in 1876. In the early 1880s it also served as a post office with mail arriving twice a week from Ohaupo. Because of its close proximity to Cambridge, there was little demand for these services and they were shifted to nearby Kaipaki.


28. Dairy Factory – Fonterra

The Cambridge Co-operative Dairy Company was formed in 1901 taking over from the former cheese and bacon factory of Watt and Hally. The site has undergone considerable change and expansion and in 2001 became part of the Fonterra Dairy Co-operative.


29. Te Miro

In 1916 the Te Miro estate was purchased by the Goverment to resettle World War 1 servicemen. In 1918, 3,360 hectares were balloted for 40 hopeful farmers. Although development of the settlement was initially slow, subsequent milestones included the erection of a sawmill, a school in 1920, and a post office in 1921. The Te Miro Hall opened in 1956.


30. Rewehetiki Pa

Wiremu Tamihana (‘the kingmaker’) was the chief of Ngati Haua and lived at Rewehetiki Pa. It was to here that George Graham made his journey to persuade Tamehana to make peace with General Carey at Tamahere in 1865. Rewehetiki was also where King Tawhaio (the second Maori king) established a meeting house for his Maori Parliament. In 1886 the settlement had a flour mill and its own policeman whose duties included charging 10/– from those wanting to shoot game across the Confiscation Line.

A fire destroyed the meeting house in 1908, together with the throne and the crown of the late King Tawhaio. Today, a cemetery (urupa) among the poplars on the opposite side of the road, is the only visible sign of past occupation.


31. Sanatorium Hill – Pukemako

In 1868 Daniel Thornton, whose family owned woollen mills in Russia, purchased 4,000 hectares from Nga-ti Haua, for growing wheat. Although Daniel Thornton died unexpectedly on a business trip to England, his widow and children returned to New Zealand in 1890 to build their dream home on the top of Pukemako which overlooks Cambridge and today adjoins Maungakawa Scenic Reserve.

Part of the property was sold to the Government for £4,000 in 1902, to establish the first open-air sanatorium for tuberculosis (TB) sufferers in New Zealand. Te Waikato Sanatorium opened in December 1903. During World War One (1914 –1918) the sanatorium was used for convalescing servicemen and in 1922 it closed and most buildings were demolished or removed.


32. Monavale

A large portion of the Moanatuatua peat bog was purchased by Edwin Walker and Thomas Douglas in 1868. Between 1869 and 1870 accessible areas were drained for conversion to farmland. In 1874, about the time when the Cambridge – Te Awamutu road across the southern extremities of the peat bog was completed by the Armed Constabulary, the property was split up. The northern block was purchased by C.C. Buckland who built the impressive Monavale homestead in 1910. It is now owned by the Torchbearer Trust Bible School Group.


33. Moanatuatua Peat Bog Scientific Reserve

Once spreading over 8,500 ha, the Moanatuatua peat bog was the second largest bog of its type in the Waikato. Today only 114 ha, of the original peat forming plant communities remain. This area has been protected as a Scientific Reserve and supports the rare giant cane rush Sporadanthus ferrugineus and various other restiad (bog) plant species.


34. Roto–O–Rangi

Roto o rangi was once a vast swamp / lake complex lying to the south of Moanatuatua (ref.33). It was drained by Edwin Walker and Thomas Douglas in the late 1860s. In their quest for land, they also tried to lease land over the Aukati (Confiscation) Line which upset some Maori and led to the murder of a farm worker in 1873. Although a redoubt was built in anticipation of more trouble, Sullivan’s was the last death linked with the New Zealand Land Wars in the region.

A flax mill was erected in the Norwegian Road area in 1869 by two Norwegians. It was powered by an undershot water wheel but lasted only two years due to E.B. Walker’s drainage work.


35. Trecarne

This private home was built in 1877 and was the residence of Richard and Margaret Reynolds and family. The privately owned house and stables have a Historic Places Trust Category 2 classification.


36. Pukekura Butter Factory

In November 1886 Henry Reynolds and neighbouring farmers churned the first butter under the Anchor brand. The now famous anchor image was developed by Reynolds after seeing an anchor tattoo on a labourer’s arm. By 1888 Reynolds and Co were exporting 13 tonnes of butter to England. Most of the original factory was pulled down in 1981 leaving only a storage shed.


37. Trelawney

In the latter half of the 19th century a number of blocks of military grant land were bought and amalgamated into the Trelawney estate by Francis Hicks. He introduced many new farming practices to the Waikato including wire fences, topdressing and heavy stocking of sheep to control regrowth of fern.

In 1930 Mr Seton Otway bought the land, retained the name ‘Trelawney’, and began what is now New Zealand’s oldest commercially operated thoroughbred horse stud. Champion sires Foxbridge and Alcimedes sired outstanding progeny including a number of Melbourne Cup winners.


38. Te Tiki O Te Ihingarangi

A 16th Century Ngati Haua pa site. It was occupied by the Chief Wiremu Tamihana (Tamehana) when General Cameron’s British troops came up against it in 1864. When Tamihana eventually abandoned the pa the Waikato Land War was effectively over. As the pa stood on the confiscation line, the Third Waikato Militia subsequently built a redoubt on the site and called it ‘The Crow’s Nest’.


39. Lake Karapiro

Construction of the Karapiro Hydro–Electric Station started in 1940 but with manpower, material and machinery shortages during World War II, it was not finished until 1947. It was the third and lowest station built on the Waikato River and generates 90 MW.

The 7.7 square kilometre lake extends 24 kilometres to Arapuni and is very popular for water sports. Lake Karapiro was the venue for the 1978 World Rowing Championships and Karapiro Domain is the headquarters for Rowing New Zealand. It also hosred the Rowing World Cup in 2010.


40. Battle of Taumatawiwi

Around 1830, Ngati Haua defeated Ngati Maru warriors on this site. The former lived in the Maungakawa hills east of Cambridge, while the latter lived on Maungatautari in a strongly fortified pa called Haowhenua. Fearing their dead would fall into enemy hands Nga-ti Haua burnt them on a pyre of rocks near the Waikato River (in front of the present day rowing facilities in Karapiro Domain). Later Nga-ti Maru left Maungatautari and returned to the Thames area.

As the water level of Lake Karapiro rose in 1947 after the building of the power station, the sacred rocks were submerged. Following an agreement with Iwi, the rocks were removed for the 1978 World Rowing Championships and relocated. One rock is now at the Maungatautari Marae and others at the memorial site at the Karapiro Domain.


41. Te Wera A Te Atua

The Reverend Alfred Brown established a mission on this site in 1838. It was run by Maori while Brown visited three or four times a year from his base at The Elms in Tauranga. The settlement was surrounded by wheat fields and gardens. Today, the mission site is marked by a totara and an oak tree planted during a religious commemoration in 1941.


42. Maungatautari Mountain

Maungatautari Mountain formed 1.8 million years ago when the Waikato Basin was volcanically active. Now the 3,400 hectare bush–clad reserve is one of the jewels of Waipa’s natural heritage.

The mountain,te maunga, is of great spiritual significance to iwi and three marae are positioned around it. In recent times the forested cone has been enclosed by a 47km long predator proof fence to create a predator free ecological island. In late 2005, kiwi returned to the slopes of Maungatautari for the first time in a century. This happened with the mountain gaining ecological island status and the commitment of the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust.

There are two public access points to the Reserve. The southern access is via Tari Road, Pukeatua and the northern access is via Hicks Road, Maungatautari. There are a network of short tracks with information signs as well as the summit track which traverses the mountain taking approx 6 hours.

43. Horahora Power Station

Beneath the waters of Lake Karapiro, beside Epworth and Finlay Park camps, are the remains of the Horahora Power Station. It was built between 1910 to 1913 by the Waihi Gold Mining Company at the Aniwaniwa Rapids to power the Victoria Battery at Waikino and the Martha Mine in Waihi. Although small (6.3 MW) by today’s standards, it was the largest single power development in New Zealand at that time. It was later upgraded to 10.3 MW to meet the rapidly growing electricity needs of the Waikato, including Cambridge, Hamilton and Thames.

The Horahora Hydro Village was a thriving community for 37 years with homes, school, hall and tennis courts. The station was submerged in 1947 after the Karapiro Power Station was built and Lake Karapiro filled.


44. Arapuni Dam

A contract was let in 1924 to a private engineering firm for the construction of this hydro-electric power station on the Waikato River. In 1927 the Government took over the contract and in 1929, the first Government-built hydro power station on the Waikato River went into production generating 15 MW. The powerhouse was extended in 1934 to house four more generators. Two were commissioned in 1938 when Arapuni supplied more than half of the North Island’s electricity needs, while the remaining two were added in 1946 to increase capacity to 100 MW.

The 64 metre high dam was built across the former Paturuahine Gorge, forming lake Arapuni, a 13.7km long lake popular for fishing and water sports.


45. Pukeatua

Two large holdings of 520 hectares and 4,000 hectares were purchased from Maori in the 1890s. These two estates were subsequently purchased by the Crown in 1907 for closer settlement and were surveyed into 33 farms forming the Tautari settlement.

In 1908 the farms were sold by ballot and a central position for the village planned. It was named Tautari but changed to Pukeatua with the opening of a post office in 1912. Pukeatua is the peak opposite the school and translated means ‘The Hill of the Gods’.


46. Kahuwera Pa

The south–western slopes of Maungatautari were first settled by the Tainui in the 16th century. The remains of a well formed pa near to the Arapuni Road is Kahuwera, a classical outline of a hilltop pa- with deep, wide ditches.


47. Hairini Battle Site

The day after the battle at Rangiaowhia (22 February 1864) about 400 warriors returned from Paterangi and began digging in on Hairini Ridge, about one kilometre west of Rangiaowhia. General Cameron attacked before the defensive work had progressed too far. Pounded by fire from Armstrong guns and backed by troops and cavalry, the Maori troops dispersed. Possibly Maori treated this as a rearguard action to enable them to get their people, guns and ammunition out of the area, but it enabled the British to take complete control of this rich food bearing district.


48. Rangiaowhia

In pre European times, this was an important centre for the people of Ngati Apakura and Ngati Hinetu. After 1800 they turned their hand to the European style of farming and many acres of corn and wheat were cultivated and peach orchards developed. The produce was transported to Te Rore and then to Auckland via the Waipa and Waikato Rivers.

During the invasion of the Waikato, Rangiaowhia became an important food supply base for Maori. Recognising its strategic importance, British and colonial troops bypassed the heavily fortified Paterangi Pa- and attacked Rangiaowhia in February 1864.

At the time the village was mainly occupied by old men, women and children who put up a spirited defence but were driven out with lives being lost. Following the battle, most of the village was destroyed and a redoubt built in the present domain surrounding the hall. The land was surveyed in 1865 and allocated to men of the First Company of the Forest Rangers stationed at Kihikihi.

A school, which stood near the hall, opened in 1874 and closed in 1939. The school house was built around 1900 and still stands beside the school site. The hall was built on the domain in 1907. The cemetery to the north of St Pauls was once the site of a Catholic mission station and church.


49. St Paul’s Church

St Paul’s Anglican church is the sister church to St John’s in Te Awamutu. Like St John’s, it was thought to be designed by the Reverend John Morgan. Building started in the early 1850s with a £100 grant from the Central Committee of the Church Missionary Society. It came into use in 1856 (two years afer St John’s) and had its spire added in 1858. The church has a category 1 classification from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.