Historic site: Green Point Area/Komanga Rautawhiri Pa

"One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say."

- Will Durant.

Komanga or Green Point is about 3 km south of Titahi Bay. It is accessible by a coastal walk from Titahi Bay to Open Bay. Please note that Green Point is on privately owned land and, for this reason and because of its cultural significance, it should be respected by those visiting it.

Map showing Green Point area in relation to other heritage sites in Titahi Bay.
Map showing Green Point area in relation to other heritage sites in Titahi Bay.

Kupe's landing at Komanga Point

Image showing View of Green Point.
View of Green Point.
Photo taken by Sam Price, 2009.

Kupe landed at Komanga Point during the 10th Century as it was sheltered from the North-westerlies by Mana Island. He left behind his anchor stone, Te Punga o Matahorua, which was later moved to where Ngati Toa Domain now is. The stone can now be seen in Te Papa. The landing site was later occupied by Ngati Ira, who built a significant headland pa called Komanga Rautawhiri. The site had a favoured position in terms of its strategic location overlooking Raukawa (Cook Strait).

Whanake and Tamairangi

In the early 1800s this pa was the principle home of the Ngati Ira chief Whanake and his wife Tamairangi. It is said that Tamairangi was a celebrated beauty and very tapu. When she travelled from village to village, she was never allowed to walk, for her male attendants always carried her (Smith, P. 1880). For this reason, places within Komanga Rautawhiri would be tapu.

After the 1800s the pa was a popular visiting spot and sheltering area for ships. After the battle of Tapu-te-ranga pa, Tamairangi fled Komanga Rautawhiri and the pa was occupied for a short time by Ngati Tama who tried to move into the Paremata area under the chief Te Kaeaea. But Ngati Tama were eventually driven back around the coast to Ohariu by Toa Rangatira and Ngati Raukawa (Ballara, A. 1990).

Description of the pa by Elsdon Best

During the time Ngati Toa occupied the site, Elsdon Best (1929) described Komanga Rautawhiri as one of the few fortified pa in the Porirua area. His description of the pa is as follows:

"At bridge point, known as Komanga Rautawhiri to the Maori, such a point rises in a knoll at its seaward extremity and this knoll is the second pa we have to describe. It is defended by a small scarp on its landward side, facing the low neck, which scarp would be surmounted by a stout pallisade work, or stockade, and this latter defence would doubtless be continued round the outer edge of the summit of the knoll. The summit area has been flattened in so far as the protruding rock would allow, but it is an area that is extremely limited. The sites of three huts are yet discernible on the summit, as also another half-way down the northern slope of the mound."

Use of the pa after 1839

The missionary Henry Williams visited the settlement in 1839 when the Rangatira of the pa was Te Rangi Takarore. Komanga-Rautawhiri continued to be occupied throughout the 19th century. In 1840 it was estimated that 60 people of Te Atiawa descent lived there and in 1851 some 45 people were recorded in the 'New Zealand Journal'.

During the 1960s to 1980s the area came under the spot-light as iwi tried to protect Komanga Rautawhiri from the sewer outfall. The effect of the outfall on the burial ground and Kupe's landing area was a source of conflict between the tribes and local government. The burial ground covers about two acres of the area.

Te Korohiwa ("Coalheavers")

Image of Tom Wilson.
Tom Wilson.
Photo from Pataka Museum Collection, at Porirua Library ref P.1.33.

Te Korohiwa, known to the whalers as "Coal Heavers", was a small station on the mainland halfway between Komanga Point and Titahi Bay. It was established in 1837 and used in conjunction with the adjacent Mana Island station. Te Korohiwa was later bought and operated by Thomas Wilson, who later owned a hotel in Pauatahanui.

Two whaleboats were based at Te Korohiwa. Thomas Ellison, formerly from the whaler Caroline, was one of the first tradesmen at Te Korohiwa. In 1840 Thomas Boulton, while attempting to land in heavy surf, was drowned at the station. It is not known when this station ceased operating but in 1847 it is recorded that eight men and one boat produced 10 tonnes of oil and eight hundredweight of baleen.

Onehunga Bay was also used as a processing point where whale carcasses were beached for flensing. Whale bones can still occasionally be found on the beach today.

Continue to Te Pa o Kapo or return to Titahi Bay.