On the north facing slopes of Long Lookout Point, Little Akaloa (Hakaroa) sits the coastal pā of Panau. Sited on a terrace edge overlooking the sea this long occupied pā is an excellent example of coastal pā established to take advantage of marine and forest resources and extensive gardens.
Panau has been occupied intermittently over a 500 year period. The predominant period of occupation was from the early sixteenth century through to early nineteenth century.
A rich source of archaeological material has been excavated at Panau. It has had a long occupation and interesting history. Many artefacts unearthed are now part of the collections housed at Okains Bay Māori and Colonial Museum in a nearby bay.
The Kai Huānga feud
Like other peninsula pā, Panau had an association with the Kai Huānga feud period when there was much turmoil amongst Ngāi Tahu hapū (sub-tribe). As a large pā, Panau’s population was enlarged with an influx of refugees from other parts of the peninsula.
Te Maiharanui raids Panua Pā
Te Maiharanui (of Akaroa) sought to avenge an insult by two hapū members who had put on the cloaks of two slain Peninsula chiefs. The chiefs, Hape and Te Puhirere, had been ambushed and killed on the way to the siege of Kaiapoi. This was an insult not to be tolerated, so in 1830 Te Maiharanui raided the Panau pā killing many of the inhabitants there.
The final chapter for the Pā
In 1832 members of Te Rauparaha’s raiders slaughtered or enslaved survivors from the fall of Ōnawe in Akaroa harbour, who had sought refuge at Panua Pā. It is thought that other “treasure” was buried to prevent it falling into the hands of the raiders and to this day has been unrecovered.
The charred remains of palisades found at the site are a poignant reminder of those who once lived there.
- Gordon Ogilvie, Banks Peninsula – Cradle of Canterbury, Government Printer, 2007
- Barry Brailsford, The Tattooed Land, Stoneprint Press, 1997
- Te Maire Tau and Atholl Anderson editors. Ngāi Tahu A Migration History, Bridget William Books, 2008
- Chris Jacomb, Panau — The Archaeology of a Banks Peninsula Māori village, Canterbury Museum, 2000
- Louis J. Vangioni; with supplementary notes by D. J. C. Pringle, Old Maori place names around Akaroa Harbour, Akaroa : Akaroa Mail, 1967