Huriawa Peninsula

Anei Huriawa, e hora nei i raro i te manaaki o tô tâtou kaitiaki a Kahukura
This is Huriawa, resting under the protection of our guardian Kahukura

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He Korero Tawhito mo Huriawa

I kâ râ o mua, ka tû te pâ a te tino rakatira a Te Wera ki ruka i a Huriawa. I tçtahi wâ ka haere mai kç he taua, nâ tçtahi atu rakatira a Taoka, kia whawhai ai i te hapû a Te Wera e noho ana ki reira. Tae atu ki kâ marama e ono ka noho kâ toa a Taoka kei waho i te pâ, kia whakatiki i a Te Wera mâ ki te kai. Engari, kei roto i te pâ he puna wai tûturu, hei oraka mô te hapû a Te Wera.
Ka tukua iho mai ki a tâtou o çnei râ tçtahi kôrero rokonui a Te Wera, e whai ake nei:
Te wero a Taoka
“Me whakatiki koutou ki te wai!”
Te whakautu a Te Wera:
“E kore ai, e kore au e mate i te kai! E kore mâ te matua whakatakoto ki Te Kutu o Toretore, e kore e taea! Engari mâ te matua mate wai, ka mate au!”
I kore a Taoka tôna pîraki i te tae, â, ka tû tonu atu te Pâ a Te Wera

The Story of Huriawa

In days gone by there stood on Huriawa the fortress of the great chief Te Wera. On one occasion there came a force, led by another chief called Taoka, to attack Te Wera’s people who were living there. For six long months Taoka’s warriors besieged the fortress, with the aim of starving Te Wera out. However, within the walls there occurred a dependable fresh-water spring which nourished Te Wera’s people throughout the long seige.

The famous words that Te Wera uttered during this siege have been passed down to us today, as follows:
Taoka’s threat:
“We will starve you out!”
Te Wera’s response:
“Not like that, we will never die of hunger! Nor will we be conquered by your forces gathered outside the gate, you will never succeed! It is only by the power of thirst that we may be overcome!”
Taoka never did get his wish, and Te Wera’s fortress stood firm.


Huriawa is a prominent peninsula on the East Otago coast at the mouth of the Waikouaiti River at Karitâne. Ever since the first footprints of tûpuna Mâori in the Waikouaiti area, Huriawa has been a special place.

Situated as it is within the midst of this abundant mahika kai, Huriawa provided not only a special habitat for the wide diversity of native plants and animals of land and sea, but also a secure refuge for tâkata whenua from attack by other groups. Huriawa’s spectacular landforms, and its central location within this important physical and cultural landscape, have endowed this peninsula with special spiritual significance to Ngâi Tahu. Along with Mt Watkin/Hikaroroa and the Waikouaiti Awa/River, Huriawa is one of the unique landscape features that today still link members of the local hapû Kâti Huirapa to this, their tûrakawaewae. These wâhi tapu are the embodiment of Kâti Huirapa’s tûpuna, and help define their personal and collective identity.

From the early days of European settlement in the area, beginning with the whaling station in 1837, and the farming settlement of Johnny Jones a few years later, the importance of Huriawa Peninsula as a strategic and landscape feature was further emphasised. In later years Huriawa’s value for recreation grew in importance as Karitâne became an increasingly popular holiday destination. This trend continues today, with visitor numbers increasing annually.
Huriawa covers 13.32 ha and comprises Lot 1 of Sections 1 and 2, Block XXIV, Town of Waikouaiti.

Huriawa and Ngai Tâhu

The special relationship of Ngâi Tahu to Huriawa was formally recognised by the Crown at the time of the settlement of the Ngâi Tahu Claims in 1998, when the title to Huriawa was transferred back to Ngâi Tahu, this vesting being subject to a Protected Private Land (PPL) Agreement.
The values for which Huriawa is protected, as outlined in the PPL, are:
• Cultural values, including wâhi tapu and mahika kai
• Conservation values
• Indigenous flora and fauna values
• Landscape values
Under this Agreement public access to Huriawa for these purposes is guaranteed, unless temporally closed for safety or for other similar considerations.

The PPL Agreement outlines the co-management of Huriawa by Te Rûnanga o Ngâi Tahu and the Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai. In effect, most management responsibilities will be carried out by Kâti Huirapa Rûnaka ki Puketeraki and the Coastal Otago Area Office of the Department of Conservation, with reference back to their parent organisations where appropriate, and it is to these two offices that public enquiries regarding Huriawa should be addressed.


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P 03 465 7300


Marae:  520 Apes Road, Karitane, Otago - NZ
Office: 121 Grimness St, Karitane, Otago - NZ