Walk to Mapoutahi Pā along Purakaunui Bay beach

Image: John Barkla | DOC


Walk to Mapoutahi Pā along a sandy beach in Purakaunui Bay.

Track overview

3 km return via same track

Walking and tramping

45 min Easy: Walking track

Dog access

Dogs on a leash only

About this track


From the gravelled end of Osborne Rd in Purakaunui Bay walk 1.2 km on the sandy and unformed road to the beach.

Head left to the steps that lead up Mapoutahi for good coastal views from the 18th century Māori pā site.

Getting there

From Port Chalmers turn left onto Borlases Road, right onto Blueskin Road, right onto Heyward Point Road then left onto Purakaunui Road. Follow the road to Purakaunui Inlet onto Osborne Road.

From Waitati follow Shortcut Road to Blueskin Road, turn left onto Heyward Point Road, then left onto Purakaunui Road. Follow the road to Purakaunui Inlet onto Osborne Road.

History and culture

Te Wera, the Chief of the Kai Tahu, had a pā at Huriawa. After an unsuccessful siege of Huriawa by his feuding uncle, Taoka, from Pukekura (Taiaroa Head), an ally of Te Wera's, Te Pakihaukea, shifted to Purakanui and relocated Mapoutahi Pā.

When Taoka arrived in mid-winter to beseige Mapoutahi Pā he found the pā well defended and impenetrable. However, on one particularly wild night Te Pakihaukea's guards put dummies in their places so they could retreat to the warmth of a fire. Taoka discovered the ploy and the pā was stormed and most of the inhabitants massacred.

The pā fell into disuse, and today many of the terraces can still be seen, although the edges have become less distinct through time.


Dunedin Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 474 3300
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   dunedinvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   50 The Octagon
Postal Address:   PO Box 5244
Moray Place
Dunedin 9058
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