Topic: Ohuki Land Dispute, Matāpihi, Tauranga (1856-1859)
The Ohuki Land Dispute at Matāpihi in Tauranga between Ngāi Tukairangi and Ngāti He lasted for three years. In early 2017 contractors working on widening the side of State Highway 29a in Matāpihi to install a safety median barrier uncovered a trench which was part of Tukiata Pā which was used as a defensive position during the Ohuki Land Dispute. Work stopped on the site so that archaeologists could examine the area.
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The Ohuki Land Dispute at Matāpihi in Tauranga was between Ngai Tukairangi and Ngāti He. It lasted for three years from 1856 to 1859.
Rawiri Puhirake, who was to later lead Tauranga Moana iwi during the Battles of Gate Pā and Te Ranga, led Ngai Tukairangi against Ngāti He in the Ohuki Land Dispute at Tauranga from 1856 to 1859.
In 1859 Julius von Haast completed a sketch of the defences of Tukiata Pā during the Ohuki Land Dispute. A woodcut of this sketch later appeared in Hochstetter's New Zealand. It shows a terrace, cannon, flagstaff, casemates, ramparts, trenches, a double row of palisades and a passage:
In early March 2017 contractors working on while widening the side of State Highway 29a in Matāpihi to install a safety median barrier uncovered a trench. Work stopped on the site and archaeologists were called in to examine the area. The 40m-long site was investigated by archaeologist Sian Keith. As well as uncovering kumara pits, within the trench itself were found part of a slate pencil, some musket balls, and flakes of obsidian.
The trenches uncovered in 2017 were likely built early than the Ohuki Land Dispute, probably during the musket wars of the early 19th century to protect a weak point between the three pa in the area. This pa would have formed part of a string of defensive positions along the harbour.
Bentley, Trevor (2013). Tribal guns and Tribal Gunners (p. 125).
Hochstetter, Ferdinand von (1867). New Zealand: Its Physical Geography, Geology and Natural History (pp. 440-445).
Kahotea, Des (1983). The Interaction of Tauranga Hapu with the landscape. (Thesis, University of Auckland).
Matheson, Alister (May 1989). Tapsell's Big Guns (Historical Review, v.37 n.1:p.1-11).
Radio New Zealand (2017 March 3). 'We expected to find kumara and fire pits... we did not expect this'.
Rorke, Jinty (1990). Rawiri Puhirake (Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, accessed 22 March 2017).
Sunlive (2017 March 3). Historic find on Matapihi roadside.
Sunlive (2017 March 6). Trench discovery halts works.
Waatea News (2017, March 8). Trench find highlights strategic value of Matapihi.
This page was arcvhied at perma cc April 2017 https://perma.cc/9prz-de4w