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Ngā Ara Tipuna

We worked with Tamatea hapū, Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea and Central Hawke’s Bay District Council on Ngā Ara Tīpuna, officially launching February 2022.



Ngā Ara Tipuna interprets the site of Pukekaihau Pā, a thriving Māori settlement from the 1600s until the 1830s, and a set of other pā and wetland sites across Waipukurau and Takapau.

Pukekaihau Pā

The Pukekaihau Pā site is today Hunter Memorial Park, in central Waipukurau. At the foot of the hilltop pā we built a whare kōrero structure. This is a place where school groups, tours and all visitors to the park are welcome to gather.

Local carver Conrad Nepe Apatu designed whakairo to ornament the whare, and the Locales team collaborated with him to laser-cut the patterns as intricate multi-layered Corten steel.

Inside the whare, two large recreations illustrate in rich detail what Pukekaihau Pā and the wider Waipukurau-Takapau landscape might have looked like during the 1600s.

Hapū representatives worked with students from local schools to install palisading on the hillside, replicating a section of the formidable defences that would have once encircled Pukekaihau Pā.

Two lookouts contain illustrated panels that direct the visitor’s gaze to significant features of the top of the hill and the landscape the pā overlooks – and ways these lands have changed since the times of the tīpuna.

Te Hohou I Te Rongo - Cultivating Peace

This 3.6m tall gateway welcomes visitors to the peak of the Pukekaihau Pā site. Te Hohou I Te Rongo is a combination of traditional and modern Māori design. The stylised figures encompass the history of Pukekaihau pā, coming together in a hongi (to press noses) — the ultimate act of cultivating peace.

Self-Guided Tour

Sculptural pou at Pukekaihau Pā and seven other sites across Waipukurau and Takapau mark these as places of cultural and natural significance. As well as interpretative text, the pou feature local carvings and whakataukī.

In addition to acting as prompts for hapū-led cultural tours, the pou invite visitors to learn more about the sites by using the self-guided mobile phone tour. Fully bilingual, the mobile tour showcases oral history videos on the importance of these places, mau rākau performances, and historical reenactments from hapū representatives of all ages.

Centrally located at the Waipukurau Railway Station, an ideal place to start the self-guided mobile tour, are 3D landscape maps. These help visitors locate sites of interest across the rohe.

Storytelling Website

Complementary to the mobile phone tour, which is designed to be used while standing on the land, is a story-rich website: to be explored from home or the classroom.

The website features audiovisual timelines of the history of the rohe and its vibrant present.

An interactive of Pukekaihau Pā allows users to engage with aspects of daily life on the pā circa 1600. Another interactive, of the Waipukurau-Takapau rohe, enables users to zoom in on places of interest across the wider area: pā and mahinga kai sites, and the waterways and forests that once covered this region.

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