Kawakawa New Zealand

Ruapekapeka Pa

The battle of Ruapekapeka took place in January 1846 and it was the last battle of the "Northern War".  A force of around 400 Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hine had built large earthern fortifications called a pā, which they had designed to defend against the British strategy and armaments of the day. The Māori warriors were fighting for rights guaranteed to them under Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi). The British forces where there to put down the "native rebellion" that they viewed as a threat to the authority of the Crown. The Māori forces entrenched at Ruapekapeka were continually bombarded by British cannon fire for over a week and the Ngati Hine chief, Te Ruki Kawiti, planned to withdraw from the pa from 8th January. What happens next and why is somewhat in debate. What we do know is that reinforcements arrived in the form of Ngāpuhi tribal chief, Hone Heke and his men. On 10th January, the British officer in charge, Colonel Despard had all his guns in positio…

Kawakawa: The Bay of Islands steam train town

Kawakawa is a truly unique place! The town, which lies to the southwest of Paihia in the Bay of Islands, brims with charm, though its latest claim to fame is somewhat unorthodox. Fans of the famous Austrian designer, Friedensreich Hundertwasser (or public toilets for that matter) may already know the small town of Kawakawa, having been awarded the much coveted Golden Plunger award. The award, given in honour of the Austrian’s only building in the Southern hemisphere, denotes the world’s best public toilets, as voted for by a globe-trotting public! What more could a visitor require? Aside from its decidedly quirky claim to fame, Kawakawa is a quirky little town. The famous steam train which runs through the centre of town every weekend, affectionately known as ‘Gabriel’, is a huge attraction, bringing visitors from around Northland, and further afield, for the most relaxing way to see both Kawakawa and the most beautiful local scenery. Again, this has heralded a claim to …