Tapeka Pa is located on top of a steep coastal headland and has some of the most extensive earthworks in the Bay of Islands. The main features of the pa are on a narrow ridge with very steep slopes. These are terraces and structure enclosures separated by large consecutive defensive ditches.
The peninsula has many small sandy bays, which would have been used as canoe landing points and access to the pa.
Māori stories of the pa tell of a young couple that, because of tribal customs were not permitted to be married. In their despair, they leapt off Tapeka Point to their deaths and up until a few years ago, the point was known as ‘Lovers Leap’.
Early French explorer to the bay Marion du Fresne aptly named Tapeka Point, ‘Point of Currents’, given the ‘often treacherous’ swell.
The sheer height of the peninsula makes it an excellent lookout point out to the islands of the bay in the east; to Russell, Paihia and Waitangi in the west; and round towards the black rocks.
Management of the pa began by the Bay of Islands Maritime and Historic Park in 1980 and today it is under the care of the Department of Conservation.
Tapeka Pa is located near Russell in the Bay of Islands. Drive past Russell on Takepa Rd towards Tapeka Beach until the road ends, then follow the track.
The Story of the Bay of Islands Maritime and Historic Park. 1989. Department of Conservation.