Te Ruapekapeka Trust in Northland has welcomed a decision by the Department of Conservation, to commit itself to working alongside tangata whenua, to ensure the future of the historic Ruapekapeka Reserve and Pa.
The reserve north of Whangarei, which was the site of the last battle in 1845-46 between British forces and Maori, is regarded internationally for the quality of engineering design by Maori of trenches, bunkers, stockades and tunnels.
DoC has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with Te Ruapekapeka Trust, which sets out how they will work together to preserve and protect the site.
The trust sees the MOU as a big step forward in co-managing the reserve and the pa site.
Interim chairperson Ripeka Taipari says the signing is the culmination of years of work by many Maori associated with the trust, which was formed in the mid 1990s.
She says the design of the pa was her ancestors ingenious response to European firepower.
Trust secretary Te Raa Nehua says the agreement is a recognition of Te Tino Rangatiratanga and means in practical terms that outside interests such as archaeologists and ground scanners will now have to consult with the trust, whereas in the past they have been able to ignore it.