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Arataki Visitor Centre

  The Arataki Visitor Centre is on Scenic Drive between Titirangi and Waiatarua. It is an iconic building, designed by architect Harry Turbott, and opened in the 1990s. The most striking aspect of the building is the central pou, representing the ancestors of the iwi of the Waitakere Ranges, Te Kawerau a Maki. This is  [ Read More ]

Graeme Murdoch brief history of West Coast

This document was prepared by Graeme Murdoch to describe the Human Heritage of the Bethells/Te Henga area in preparation for a Local Area Plan for that area. While it is primarily focused on that area, much of this history is relevant to the Piha area. backgroundrpt-part2-humanheritage

Know your Piha 1 – Te Pona Whetu

This distinctive hill at North Piha, visible opposite the North Piha Campers Club at the back of the Marawhara Walk,  has a name.   It is Te Pona Whetu, or the knuckle of Ngawhetu. Ngawhetu was the son of Maki, the eponymous ancestor of Te Kawerau a Maki. At a fight on North Piha beach, Ngawhetu injured  [ Read More ]

Pita Turei explains taniwha

In The Aucklander 14 July Piha resident Pita Turei explained the meaning of taniwha in the Maori cultural world. Pita is currently working on a show called Taniwha! due to open at the Auckland Museum on 16 July. The notion of taniwha has come into prominence after Auckland Council Independent Maori Statutory Board member, Glenn  [ Read More ]

New pou for Arataki visitor centre

      A  newly carved 12 metre pou was today unveiled by Kiingi Tuheitia at the entrance to the Arataki Visitor Centre in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Parkland today (6 May).   Carved by John Collins and Sunnah Thompson from fallen kauri from the Waitakere Ranges, this pou represents the ancestry of Te Kawerau  [ Read More ]

New pou installed at Te Ahua Point

Early Thursday morning (21 April), a small group gathered at Te Ahua Point, Mercer Bay, to unveil a pou marking the importance of this site to Te Kawerau a Maki. The site was inhabited over a long period and was a sanctuary and defensive position for the iwi. Recent archaeological excavation has shown that this is  [ Read More ]

Te Kamaka

This large pohutukawa grows out of the top of a large rock and has sent soots down into the soil beneath to sustain it. To Te Kawerau a Maki the rock with the tree on it was sacred and was known as Te Kamaka. It is a rare example of a named tapu tree in the  [ Read More ]

History of Piha through its Maori names

Te Piha talk   Graeme Murdoch held his audience spellbound when he shared his immense knowledge of the Maori history of Piha at Barnett Hall in November 2008. Emulating the oral tradition of telling stories, Graeme explained the many stories of Piha through its places names. He stressed that there was not one Maori occupation  [ Read More ]

Mercer Bay

Mercer Bay is to the south of the Piha between The Gap and Karekare. It sits at the bottom of precipitous cliffs, the highest in the Auckland region in this area, and access down these is only for the brave and fit. It can also be accessed from the seawards by swimming but once again,  [ Read More ]

The Gap

The Gap is a low point between Taitomo Island and cliffs where waves come crashing through, providing a spectacular sight in big surf. At low tide a pool is created called the Blue Pool, a favourite place for children and adults to swim and as the tide comes in, to be buffeted by surges of  [ Read More ]

Clues about the ancient inhabitants of Te Ahua Pa

A recent archaeological dig at Te Ahua pa (Q11/61) above Mercer Bay found a plethora of artefacts and materials that add to our knowledge of how Maori lived around Piha in the mid to late 15th century. The dig was carried out by Auckland Regional Council and Auckland University and volunteer archaeologists as a condition  [ Read More ]

Maori settlement at Piha

Te Kawerau a Maki are the iwi or Maori tribe of the West Coast. The main Te Kawerau settlements were on the coast and large areas were cleared of forest to grow crops and so that settlements could be better defended. There were a number of Kawerau pa (fortified village) sites on the headlands in  [ Read More ]