Ōtātara Pā Historic Reserve

Springfield Road, Napier, Hawkes Bay

Ōtātara Pā Historic Reserve encompasses one of the largest pā complexes in New Zealand.

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

The pā 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 pā in the district and ownership was strongly contested at times.

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

In 1973 part of the pā 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 pā to the historic reserve. Ōtātara Pā 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.

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