PAPAWAI PA, WAIRARAPA
Papawai is one of the few Maori villages yet remaining in New Zealand with any semblance of the old-time stockades. Pa posts, with carved human figures executed late last century, remind us of the old carved pa posts known as Tukumaru, or Tukuwaru, which in defiant attitudes sent forth their message of mute contempt to any enemy who dared assail their ramparts.
On each side of the gateway of Papawai pa is a carved post or pillar, both being more or less identical. These are said to be the work of East Coast carvers. One post, however, is unique in having the shoulder spiral of one of the figures carved with no fewer than six plain volutes. This is most unusual, and as far as we know is the only Maori spiral of its kind. A more typical class of spiral is seen on the shoulders and hips of the figure. These carvings are said to date from the 1880-1890's, and to be the work of two East Coast carvers, but no further details appear to be available.
A remarkable monument at Papawai pa was erected in 1911, to the memory of Hamuera Tamahau Mahupuku, a distinguished chief of Ngati-Kahungunu. This was the work of the sculptor. Mr Nelson Illingworth. The monument is 18ft. high, with a 10ft. base, the outer portion being composed of white marble. Four panels on the sides commemorate great men—Maori and pakeha—who worked for the good of both peoples in the difficult years at the beginning of the present century. One panel,
illustrated here, represents a scene from the signing of the Treaty of Lake Wairarapa, in 1889.
Gateway pillar of Papawai pa, Greytown. J. T. Salmon photo.
Treaty of Lake Wairarapa, 1889—Monument at Papawai pa. Photo W. J. Phillipps.
Carved pa posts, Papawai, Wairarapa. Photos W. J. Phillipps.
Spiral on gateway pillar, Papawai pa, Greytown. Miss L. L. D. Baswell del (after W. R. McKay).