Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 28, September 1984
RAUPA PA Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 28, September 1984
By IRENE HUGHES
Several members of the Paeroa Historical Society visited the site of the Raupa Pa whilst excavation work was being carried out.
The site of Raupa Pa and nearby village of Waiwhau appear to have been occupied as early as 1600 A.D. The Pa, situated at the junction of the Waihou and Ohinemuri Rivers lay at a critical point of access to the Coromandel to the north, Bay of Plenty to the south and Waikato to the west.
Because of growing gun threat by the Ngapuhi, who had made an unsuccessful attack on Totara Pa around 1819, the Marutuahu tribes went up river in the vicinity of Cambridge and set up 13 fortified strongholds, blocking the river. The river Pa could have been a useful outwork.
Samuel Marsden reported that when he visited Raupa in 1820, he and his party were given hospitality and accommodation. He noted Raupa as a promising site for a mission station.
The site was rediscovered in February of last year when earthmoving equipment, clearing the river berm, uncovered some large middens or rubbish dumps containing shells and ash. Work stopped immediately and a preliminary investigation in April revealed that the area was the site of Raupa Pa.
The excavation work is being undertaken by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the Auckland University Archaeological Society and the Hauraki Catchment Board. A group of the Auckland University Archaeological Society spent several weeks of the Christmas holidays, 1983, digging for information.
We were able to see the situation of 3 ditches, several post holes and middens. From their observations, archaeologists will be able to determine the layout of the Pa - which areas were used for eating, sleeping and working - where the defences and the middens were plotted. It is largely a matter of keeping one step ahead of the bulldozer.
With the completion of the river bank work, all traces of this Pa and the nearby village will be gone forever. As a memento, we have in the Paeroa Museum, one complete half shell and four pieces of hangi stones.