Historic Ruapekapeka Pā, located outside of Whangarei, will receive a digital makeover with the launch of the Ruapekapeka website on 21 February 2014.
Ruapekapeka is the site of the last battle in the north (1845-46) where Te Ruki Kawiti built what he hoped would be the final answer to the overwhelming firepower of the British.
Ruapekapeka is a site of national and international importance, and is one of the largest and most complex pā in New Zealand. Ruapekapeka was awarded the Green Flag in late 2013, symbolising international tourism excellence.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Te Ruapekapeka Trust will launch the website this week (21 February), which is the latest stage of a major restoration project that began in 2002 and has included new interpretation signage, tracks, erection of a waharoa (carved gateway) and construction of a new carpark.
The website combines oral and visual history, digital recreations of the pā, smartphone content to access while visiting, and the opportunity for people to submit their own stories to the site.
"The website is an exciting opportunity to share our national heritage with the world. The very real and personal stories of Te Ruapekapeka are shared on the website by our elders and the opportunity for others to contribute adds to the historical conversation of Te Ruapekapeka. I am particularly excited by the prospect of connecting with a younger audience for they are the future. Now the rich history of Te Ruapekapeka is recorded and will never be lost to the memory of time," says Peeni Henare, Te Ruapekapeka Trust Chairman.
"As well as enhancing and bringing to life the historic aspect of the site, technology has allowed us to create a better visitor experience for people.
Smartphone users will be able to scan QR codes while visiting and experience digital recreations of the historic areas, watch videos, view images and look at overviews of the battle", says Andrea Booth, DOC Services Manager Whangarei.
This work has been accomplished with the close co-operation and support of the Ruapekapeka Pa Management Trust, representing the descendants of the Pa-builder Kawiti, and iwi of Ngati Manu, Ngati Kahukuri, Ngati Hau, Ngati Hine, Te Kapotai and Ngapuhi Nui Tonu, and DOC.
A panui is extended to members of the public for the official launch of the Ruapekapeka website on Friday 21 February, 9:00 am at the Old Library, Whangarei.
The website and onsite QR codes will be available to view from 21 February.
Green Flag Award
The Green Flag Awards were established in the United Kingdom in 1996 to recognise and reward parks and green spaces that meet a set of eight criteria including sustainability, conservation and heritage, community involvement, and marketing. Green Flag status lasts one year, and each site is reassessed annually to determine whether it will retain its flag.
All archaeological sites are protected under the Historic Places Act 1993.
It is an offense to destroy, damage or modify sites without an Authority from the Historic Places Trust.