Otatara Pa Historic Reserve

Springfield Road, Napier, Hawkes Bay

Otatara Pa Historic Reserve encompasses one of the largest pa complexes in New Zealand.

Otatara Pa spans an upper pa (Hikurangi) and a lower pa (Otatara). Today, visitors to the pa can see the remains of terraces, dwelling sites and food storage pits and imagine the lively community that Otatara once was.

The pa complex covers over 40 hectares and is one of the largest and oldest in Hawke's Bay. It was favoured for its strategic location, providing expansive views and access to a range of natural resources. This meant it was regarded by many Iwi as the greatest pa in the district and ownership was strongly contested at times.

Turauwha was a paramount chief in Hawke's Bay, based at Otatara. Around 400 years ago, Taraia led Ngati Kahungunu to Heretaunga where they attacked Otatara. Through occupation, conquest marriage and mana (power, influence), the Iwi expanded to dominate Hawke's Bay and the Wairarapa. Otatara commorates the mana of Turauwha and Taraia and is linked through whakapapa to people and places throughout New Zealand.

In 1973 part of the pa was designated a historic reserve to protect its remaining features. In 1987 management of the reserve was passed to DOC which has continued to add parts of the pa to the historic reserve. Otatara Pa has been registered as a Category 1 Historic Place. This status is given to places of 'special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value' by Historic Places Trust.

Visit Otatara Pa Tours to learn more.

Enjoy the video beloy which provides further insight into the history of Otatara Pa.


Top tip

Take a tour of Otatara Pa Historic reserve with Napier Maori Tours to delve into the history of this sacred site.

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