Pukerangiora Historic Reserve

Pukerangiora Historic Reserve

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


Deep Nature

FREE MAP - The best of 21 nature guidebooks on one map.

Online Maps

FREE Header

Deep Nature NEW

Author Marios Gavalas, Rankers and hundreds of contributors bring you a free web map to help you get lost (and find yourself) in Aotearoa's nature.


1 km return | 30 minutes return

These are some of the most impressive pa remains in Taranaki and are especially interesting for the military sap near the lower end of the pa.


In Brixton, 2 km east of the junction of SH3 and SH3A and 3 km west of Waitara, turn into Waitara Road and follow it 7 km to the parking area on the left.


A network of informal tracks explore the well preserved remains of the pa.

Straight ahead leads to the defensive ditches and raised ridges, which would have formed the defences for the pa. A lookout over the high banks of the Waitara River shows how the site would have been impregnable from an attack on this front. Many women and children lost their lives by jumping over this cliff during attacks from Waikato Tribes in the 1820s and 1830s.

A track left from the carpark leads down through paddocks to the other levels of the pa. A stile by the bottom entrance of the pa is by the military sap, which is best viewed from above during your descent. The visible ditch follows the treeline alongside the road.

Some of the tracks in the reserve are uneven and the long grass can be wet.

Polynesian History

These are some of the most impressive pa remains in Taranaki and are especially interesting for the military sap near the lower end of the pa.

In the early 1820s Te Atiawa and Waikato forces laid siege to Taranaki based Amiowhenua taua at Pukerangiora, but were unsuccessful in taking the pa. 10 years later the Waikato tribes again descended, this time with muskets in a successful invasion of Pukerangiora. After a three month siege from Taranaki forces in retaliation, many Te Atiawa died of starvation, the remainder being slaughtered on escape. The Waikato warriors then move to Otaka Pa at Ngamotu before returning north.

By the 1860s the old Waikato and Taranaki forces had joined in alliance against the British troops. Under the command of General Pratt, who was trying to assume Pukerangiora, the soldiers used a military technique known as sapping. By digging a deep trench towards the pa, protected by a series of eight earth redoubts, their hope was to protect themselves from enemy fire until close enough to the palisade to throw mines or bombs. After several weeks the offensive was abandoned when a truce was called and the Waikato tribes headed back north at the end of the First Taranaki War. A short section of the sap still survives in the lower paddock and, although difficult to see, there are also the remains of Maori rifle pits.


Feature Value Info


DOC Taranaki

Central government organisation


North IslandTaranakiNew Plymouth


  • Walking
  • Free


No written reviews!

Can you contribute? If you've experienced Pukerangiora Historic Reserve then please and write a review.

DOC Managed

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 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner