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The Battle of Haowhenua c.1834
Location: Opposite 216 Te Waka Road, Te Horo
Haowhenua was one of the biggest inter-tribal battles in the southern North Island. In 1834, Ngāti Ruanui and Taranaki iwi, in particular Ngāti Tupaea and Ngāti Haumia hapū, arrived in the Ōtaki district in the migration called Te Heke Hauhaua.
An over-population of the area led to insufficient food and other resources. Tawake, a Te Āti Awa chief, was caught stealing food by Ngāti Raukawa and was killed. The main body of Te Āti Awa marched north to avenge his death, and engaged Ngāti Raukawa, their former allies, near the fortified Rangiuru Pā close to the Ōtaki river mouth. Ngāti Raukawa, led by their chief Te Rauparaha, was besieged for many months in Rangiuru.
Te Rauparaha sent a message to specific northern tribes asking for help, which enabled him in return to besiege Te Āti Awa in nearby Paakaakutu Pā. Te Āti Awa retreated to Haowhenua, south of the Ōtaki river. Prolonged fighting with muskets around the pā followed, with neither side gaining any advantage. Many important chiefs on both sides were killed.
Finally, peace was made and marriages were arranged to seal the peace, the tribes dispersed, and new tribal boundaries were drawn from Manawatū to Pukerua Bay.