Book Excerpt – Tapairu

In 1972 the Waipawa Golf Club purchased sixty acres of Tapairu land for $2856 to form their new golf course. This money was later put to use at the Pa for maintenance of the meeting house and other essential repairs.

Most of the fine big wooden houses have gone now, having been left empty for so long they finally succumbed to the elements.

Now in 1989 just two families are still in residence – the Mehas and the Whites.

Monthly church services are still held in the interdenominational Church of the Brazen Serpent.  The church is served by the Waipatu Moteo Pastorate from Hastings.

However there has been a revival of the tiny Pa of Mataweka further along the road. This is on the ancestral land of the Hutanas and Hemmingsens. At present with a grant from the Historic Places Trust the little meeting house is being rebuilt, an exact replica of the original.


Hawke’s Bay was comparatively quieter than a lot of the North Island throughout the Maori Disturbances of the 1850’s and 60’s.

August 1857 saw a quarrel that had been brewing for a considerable time between the two chiefs, Te Hapuka and Te Moananui, boil over into outright hostilities near Whakatu. This incident made the settlers decidedly uneasy and an appeal was lodged with the Government for a contingent of Imperial Troops. As a direct result a detachment of the 65th Regiment was despatched, arriving in Napier in February 1858.

Around 1860 a stockade was erected on the Ruataniwha Plains, referred to as the Waipawa-Mate Stockade for reason of its location in the vicinity of the Waipawa-Mate Stream. The stockade actually sat on a rise on the left of Stockade Road next to the late W. Mitchell’s home.

It is unsure whether soldiers from the 65th Regiment were dispatched to Ruataniwha. But definitely the 14th Regiment were stationed there. In fact a tunic button bearing the number fourteen with an embossed tiger and the words Waterloo and India were found early in the century at Ruataniwha as well as a silver shilling with the date 1835.

By October 1866, a detachment of forty-five men were stationed at the stockade.

It appears the men at the stockade had other qualities other than those of soldiering. In June 1866, a ball was held to celebrate the opening of the new school at Hampden (Tikokino). As there were insufficient gentlemen to provide all the ladies with partners, a messenger was dispatched to the stockade to secure the services of the Mounted Constabulary. By all accounts the ladies paid dearly for the pleasure, the cost being 10/- per gentleman!


Hawke’s Bay’s peace was disturbed in 1866 when a band of Hau Haus arrived at Napier. This occurrence was enough to alarm even the most complacent. Particularly worried were those settlers in the outlying areas with very little in the way of protection. The early settlers went about their lives outwardly calm, with brave hearts and nerves of steel, and young Waipawa was no exception.

Railway sign in Maori, situated at entrance to original Pa C.1935. it reads ‘Stop. Look out for the steamer’. Photo courtesy of M. Robertson.


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Excerpt from unknown book


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Book excerpt

Creator / Author

  • M Robertson


  • W Mitchell

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