Located in the Western Bay of Plenty, near Te Puke, Pāpāmoa Hills Cultural Heritage Regional Park is a 182-hectare property explored and enjoyed by thousands of visitors each month.

The summit is 224 metres above sea level and offers sweeping views of the Bay of Plenty coastline. There are several tracks through the park which can be used to enjoy the views and explore the numerous archaeological features and many ancient pā sites.

Historical and cultural significance

The Pāpāmoa Hills are among the most significant historical and archaeological landscapes in Aotearoa New Zealand situated in an area with a density of features and number of iwi who date back to the arrival of the Arawa canoe around 1350.

The park is a culturally rich area, with visible evidence of historical Māori occupation and links to Maketū, (Mauao) Mount Maunganui, Tauranga Moana and further afield. Māori from many iwi have long understood the strategic importance of the Pāpāmoa Hills with their commanding position over the surrounding coastline.

There are 1,630 individual archaeological features recorded within the park. Predominantly the features are terraces/tuku and platforms/papatahi, pits, middens and defensive earthworks such as ditches/maioro. The number of archaeological features present in such a small area is very unusual for New Zealand and reflects why it is necessary to protect these sites, and also tell the story of this important cultural landscape.