At the southern end of Hahei Beach Te Pare Historic Reserve encompasses the remains of two prominent Ngati Hei pā sites. A nearby spring and the remains of several midden suggest the site was a good location for both freshwater and shellfish.
The two pā offered protection to the Ngati Hei people against frequent attacks from Ngati Whanaunga, Ngati Tamatera and Ngapuhi. However, many of these attacks led to considerable loss of life and enslavement.
The steep cliffs made for a well
Hereheretaura Pā is perched on the tip of the headland and surrounded by steep cliffs. The cliffs, coupled with a ditch and bank on the landward side, created a very good defensive position. You can still see the remains of the ditch and bank, several terraces, storage pits, and the living platforms.
DOC has repaired the outer earthworks bank, and formed a staircase on to the pā to prevent damage to the midden deposits on the slopes below the terraces.
Hahei Pā is on the ridge above the track leading to Hereheretaura Pā. Steep cliffs on the south drop down to a bay, while on the north side seven terraces fan out around the main platform. Unlike Hereheretaura Pā defensive earthworks appear to have been minimal.
Te Pare Pā. The terraces are still visible
The site is located at the southern end of Hahei Beach. Turn off SH25 between Coroglen and Whenuakite. Before entering Hahei, turn right onto Pa Road. The start of the track is signposted at the end of the road.
A 15 minute walk takes you through an ancient pohutukawa grove to the pā sites. The views from the headland are spectacular, stretching for miles up and down the coast.