Bush Walk & AncientMaori Pa
1.5 hr return
Walk through a piece of regenerating Kauri bush that encloses a pre-colonial historic Maori Pa that is estimated to be more than 250 years old.
The Bush entrance is in the Paparoa village green a few minutes from the Hotel. The walk crosses the river and is easy and flat beside some paddocks, following the river with views back to the village and the Hotel. There is a lovely sheltered grassy picnic spot just before the track rises up to the pa site. (20 mins) Easy gentle walk.
To climb up to the pa site takes about 20 minutes at a moderate grade. It’s easy to make out the archeological structure of the Maori pa site and fortifications on the top of the ridge in the bush beside the track. The forest is beautiful and regenerating with wonderful nikau palms and kauri trees. A loop means you can either walk back down to Paparoa or continue through the bush to a boardwalk the crosses a mangrove estuary which then joins a track by the Cutter Bridge that leads back to Paparoa.
It will take about 40 minutes to reach the top of the Pa site and the whole walk takes about 1.5 hrs and the paths are well maintained and signposted.
For those with limited mobility or young kids it is possible to enjoy a flat and easy walk to the bottom of the pa site from Paparoa (20mins) with a lovely flat grassy picnic area at that point or drive to the entrance on the Pahi road and walk towards the forest and enjoy the boardwalk across the estuary. (20mins)
The Maori Pa Site is well preserved and at least 250 years old.
Historians and local Maori have not been able to identify the people who inhabited this particular pa site and there are dozens of kumara pits easily seen from the walking tracks even though the bush has grown up around them. The steep slope provided a natural defensive position running down to the river which would have provided a good route for trade and harvesting the rich seafood resources of the Kaipara. It’s not that hard to imagine Maori all those years ago growing kumara, catching eels and paddling waka down the river to the harbour to fish, get oysters and trade with other tribes.
The living terraces and kumara pits cover about 400msq. which suggests that more than 300 people could have found refuge on the pa site during times of warfare. There are several large kumara pits on the flats which would have been close to gardens and middens which have been excavated and reveal a diet of kumara, taro, eel, flounder and other fish plus native birds.
Thank you! The preservation of this historic site was made possible by the Pow and Roach families who protected the bush areas and covenanted them with with Queen Elizabeth National Trust. The walkway was developed by the Lions Club of Paparoa who maintain the site with the assistance of many volunteers.