The Name of the Bay
Ngā Toko Ono takes its name from six Ngāti Māmoe chiefs. One day whilst fishing two kilometres off Fishermans Bay, a nor’west gale came through and swept the waka out to sea and they were never seen again. The pā was renamed in honour of these six men.
This is believed to be the oldest pā found on Banks Peninsula, although the archaeological evidence is not conclusive as to its exact age. The defences found there are indicative of a later style of construction. However, this could be due to later reconstructions that occurred on the pā site.
Based on a cliff-edge defence system, the 150 metre cliffs of Fishermans Bay form the north-east boundary with extensive earthworks and palisades on the other sides. The interior of the pā was terraced and could have held 25 to 30 dwellings on the site, for a population of 100 to 150 people. No middens were found on the site when excavated however with a cliff boundary this would have been ideal place for disposing of any rubbish.
Ngā Toko Ono
A tradition related from Wharekauri (Chatham Islands) talks about the arrival of a group of people from near the foot of Te Ahu Pātiki (Mt Herbert), who were prevailed upon to give up their fighting and cannibalistic ways by the Wharekauri chief Marupō. It is speculated that the “Ngā Toko Ono” of Fishermans Bay are the same people talked about in the tradition.
- Gordon Ogilvie, Banks Peninsula – Cradle of Canterbury, Government Printer, 2007
- Barry Brailsford, The Tattooed Land (second edition), Stoneprint Press 1997
- Louis Vangioni, Māori Names & Traditions – Points of Interest Around Akaroa Harbour, The Akaroa Mail, 1970