Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 5, May 1966

By: Bob Murdock

In a former article I mentioned an ancient swamp Pa near the Piako River.

We shall now consider one which was built on a delta between two creeks in the swamp. It was nature, not Maoris, that built the island on which the palisades were erected.

We first went to look at this Pa site in 1955. It is in the swamp off the main road from Awaiti to the swamp road, Tirohia, and we found it still well preserved. The palisading is evident even though the site is covered with blackberries and willows. We excavated 4 adzes and a few other interesting objects.

The Pa could never have been an all year one because the water level rises far too high. Then why build a Pa there? The reason appears to be because the swamp provided a reliable source of food for the tribe which lived at Tirohia. Eels and birds abounded, as did also great quantities of flax. The Palisades were there to protect the hunters from other hostile Maoris who might be poaching in the swamp. It was essential for a Pa to occupy a strategic position.