Story: Engineering

Ruapekapeka pā

Ruapekapeka pā was the site of Northland’s last battle between British troops and the Māori tribe of Ngāpuhi, in 1846. The fieldworks surrounding fortified were sometimes formidable – Māori were New Zealand’s first military engineers. This plan of Te Ruki Kawiti’s pā at Ruapekapeka in 1845–46 was based on sketches by military officers. Kawiti’s ingenious adaptation of traditional pā design to absorb artillery fire included a nest of tunnels, rifle pits and trenches, and it was surrounded by a large palisade. The pā withstood a heavy bombardment. The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand recognises the pā as a site of national engineering significance.

Using this item

Auckland City Libraries - Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Reference: NZ Map 3555

Permission of Auckland City Libraries Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Matthew Wright, 'Engineering - Engineers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 September 2022)

Story by Matthew Wright, published 11 Mar 2010