The mighty fortress of Hakikino sits atop a rocky spur that rises up from the Te Apiti valley in Waimārama, Hawke's Bay.

Hakikino was one of several battlements along the tranquil Waimārama coastline that was originally part of the greater Rangitane area.

For over 200 years, Hakikino protected a thriving community of several thousand people from potential invaders. But in the early 16th Century, the fortress was breached by the people of Kahungunu. Their mission was to capture the aristocratic and high born Rangitane princess by the name of Hinengatiira, and marry her off to the noble son of the invading Kahungunu chief. Today, all of the people of Waimārama are descended from this fateful marriage.

The Current 21st Century Hakikino Project and Reserve

Hakikino is on ancestral lands passed on from generation to generation, and now a part of a family farm. The owners, indigenous people themselves, often made the area available so Waimārama people could visit and reconnect with their ancient heritage. But access was difficult and often dependent upon the weather.

Waimārama resident Robert MacDonald manages the farm on behalf of his family. He recommended that the sacred ancestral lands be placed under covenant with the Department of Conservation for the creation of Hakikino Reserve. The farm owners graciously agreed. In addition, they facilitated the building and staffing of a tree nursery which will produce the seedlings to replant the Reserve area back into native bush.

Robert had been known to say that 'The only way to keep Hakikino and the history of the area safe was to make its existence known, and expose it to the world. In this way it would not be forgotten.' It was with this in mind that he turned his hand to the creation of Waimārama Māori Tourism (WMT).

WMT's mission is to share the ancient history and traditions of the Waimārama people so that others might gain insight and understanding of the traditional ways of life and the rules by which Maori live. The business strategy includes creating meaningful employment for the community and providing training in tourism and related industries. The Hakikino Project is for the benefit of the community and future generations.

Visit Waimārama Māori Tours to learn more about Hakikino.