THE ANATOMY OF a pā is similar wherever you go. Sites were chosen atop hills or on headlands, the obvious advantage being an early sighting of approaching foes allowed time to prepare for combat.

This selection of the most spectacularly-located and best preserved sites not only gives the walker magnificent views, but also a human dimension to the landscape.

1 Ruapekapeka Pā, Northland Easy / 20min

Ruapekapeka Pā was the last stronghold in the alliance between Ngapuhi chiefs Hone Heke and Kawiti.

The pā took 600 people two months to build and was the most formidable and sophisticated ever constructed. Today it has been thoughtfully preserved and lavishly interpreted with a series of explanatory panels, detailing the mechanics

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