The track starts at the Springfield Road car park where visitors pass under the carved waharoa (gateway) to enter the pā. As the track heads uphill, you will pass restoration work including palisades and pouwhenua, and archaeological features such as tūāpapa, whare and rua kūmara.
Enjoy the expansive views and reflect on why the site was chosen for its strategic position. Take time to read the story of Ōtātara Pā, depicted by the Turauwha Pou – part of the Te Ara o Nga Tipuna (Pathways of our Ancestors) project.
Continue downhill to Churchill Drive. From here you can exit the reserve or return on the same track to the Springfield Road car park.
Otatara Pā is situated close to Taradale and is signposted clearly. Look out for the palisades on the hill above the Eastern Institute of Technology.
Ōtātara Pā Historic Reserve is one of the largest and most ancient Māori pā sites in Hawke’s Bay. Today the reserve encompasses one of the most outstanding defensive and settlement complexes in New Zealand.
Sites of battles, deaths or burials are considered wāhi tapu (sacred) by Māori. Feel free to wander and look but treat the pā areas with respect. All archaeological and physical features of the pā are protected by law.
Respect our cultural heritage: do not consume food on the pā, and keep to the track. Above all, remember “Toitū te whenua” – leave the land undisturbed.
Auckland is at Level 3 and other regions at Level 2.