Corners of Waimakariri: Kaiapoi Pa

080712 Kaiapoi Pa #1

Kaiapoi Pa, in Preeces Road, Waikuku, is an important site for the Ngai Tuahuriri hapu of Ngai Tahu.

Given the name as the place where food was brought from afar (as the poi swings around the hand), the local area was rich in resources in its own right: the sea, the Rakahuri (Ashley River), forests and wetlands were all close by, all with their own kinds of food resources.  Pounanmu was brought here from the West Coast for working.

In the early 1830s, conflict with Te Rauparaha’s Ngati Toa iwi brought Te Rauparaha here on two occasions.  On the second, he managed to breach the pallisades and Kaiapoi was razed.

Today you can see a memorial erected since that time, but, more importantly, the uneveness of the ground indicating the sites of pallisades and buildings.  Willows in the distance mark the edge of the wetlands that once surrounded the pa on three sides.

The pa is located on the northern edge of Pegasus.  Exacavating for the new town has revealed further evidence that this was an important area of occupation before the arrival of Pakeha.

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