Kororipo Pa commands a prominent position on a hill between a bend in the Kerikeri River and the Wairoa Stream. The name ‘Kororipo’ was only used after 1828 and means ‘a whirlpool’, relating to the tidal flow on the inlet below.
Park at the designated parking area in the Kerikeri Basin, 50 metres after passing over the bridge.
Retrace your steps over the bridge, past the Old Stone Store to where the start of the track is signposted on the left.
The track is metalled and even. It climbs gently to the pa, where you can walk over the grassed area to the interpretive panels.
Hongi Hika’s grandfather Auha had ousted the Ngati Kahu from Kerikeri around 1760 and took possession of Kororipo. Its prime location close to abundant fishing grounds and shellfish sites later was enhanced by being close to European ships for trading.
The pa is surrounded on three sides by water and extensive, uncrossable mangrove swamps. A deep ditch and sturdy palisade defended the pa.
The pa was known as Te Wara o te Riki – the inlet of war, following Hongi Hika’s visit to England. He accompanied his friend Reverend Thomas Kendall and collaborated with Professor Lee of Cambridge in clarifying the vocabulary and grammar of the Maori language, which was previously undocumented.
He received many gifts on account of his lively personality and polite demeanour, including a suit of armoured mail by King George IV. The return trip passed through Sydney, where Hongi Hika traded many of his acquisitions for around 300 muskets. On his return to New Zealand, he sent war parties over the upper North Island.
In September 1821 a war party of 50 canoes and hundreds of muskets left Kororipo Pa to raid tribes in the Hauraki Region. Later parties slaughtered tribes in the Waikato, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, East Cape, and Kaipara, all of who had no access to muskets. They enlisted slaves who worked on the productive land in the Kerikeri Basin. The so-called ‘Musket Wars’ continued until 1827, when Hongi Hika was shot (not wearing his suit of armour) and later died in 1828.
Interpretive panels explain how the pa may have looked and functioned, with descriptions of the defence systems and methods of building construction.
North Island ▷ Northland ▷ Kerikeri
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍