Ruapekapeka was the site of the last battle of the Northern
War, where 400 Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hine warriors stood against a British force of 1600.

Our warriors built a pā (fortification), cleverly adapted to the armaments of European warfare. But they were outnumbered four to one, with no heavy artillery. The British had plenty – canons to rockets, and blasted the pā for days, eventually breaching the palisades.

To British consternation, Ruapekapeka was not a besieged castle, full of terrified women and children to be defended at any cost. Our chief, Kawiti had deliberately chosen a location that had no strategic value. The purpose was simple: draw the enemy in, cause them a great deal of trouble, and leave when necessary.

The British had taken (or were given) an empty pā in the middle of nowhere.

Partnership between the Crown and the hapū in recent years ensures that Ruapekapeka is now protected, and the site’s values and history are promoted for future generations.

An app is downloadable for self-guided tours, with koha (contribution) to the visitor centre. A fully guided 3-hour tour with our kaumatua (elder) is also possible upon request.  


Te Ruapekapeka

Max Lloyd 
+64 27 553 1041