Historic pa and redoubt returned to Waikato-Tainui

  • Maggie Barry
Conservation Arts, Culture and Heritage

The historic site of one of the largest battles of the New Zealand Wars has been returned to iwi ownership as part of the 10th anniversary Koroneihana celebrations for Kiingi Tuheitia.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry formally presented Kiingi Tuheitia with the deed of vesting for Rangiriri Pa and the adjacent Te Wheoro Redoubt historic reserves at a ceremony in Ngaruawahia today.

“Both the pa and redoubt are sites of immense significance for Waikato-Tainui and our shared history as New Zealanders,” Ms Barry says.

“This vesting gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of the New Zealand Wars and early conflicts between the Crown and Maori which marked the formation of our nation.”

Rangiriri Pa and nearby Te Wheoro Redoubt were built during the 1863-64 invasion of the Waikato and were among the first lands confiscated by the Crown during the conflict.

The pa, a strong defensive position garrisoned by Kiingitanga Maori, was attacked on 20 November 1863 by colonial forces. Twelve hours of fighting ended with the surrender of the garrison, at a cost of more than eighty lives and hundreds of casualties

A colonial force left in the area after the battle constructed the Te Wheoro Redoubt, with both sites later becoming historic reserves owned by DOC and managed by Heritage New Zealand.

“The deed of vesting means that Heritage New Zealand and DOC will work together with Waikato-Tainui to ensure the protection of these sites,

“The Crown acknowledged the grave injustice done to Waikato-Tainui during the invasions in the Deed of Settlement signed in 1995 and reaffirmed later in the Kiingitanga Accord agreed in 2009. Through today’s ceremony we give effect to its principles of reconciliation, collaboration and shared respect.”