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Papamoa History
At least since the time of the Takitimu waka, the western Bay of Plenty has been an abundant food basket. The evidence for this lies here at Papamoa, where a nationally significant pa complex straddling ignimbrite (volcanic) hill country once watched over fertile coastal dune plains and rich coastal fisheries. If radiocarbon dating is correct, settlement began on the plain about the year 1400. For the next 300 years the people prospered, harvesting their crops and fisheries, occupying and abandoning sites in accordance with the kumara cycle and soil fertility. Today’s subdivisions and sprawl are oozing their gimcrack way over an ancient palimpsest of kainga, garden soils and swamp pa.
But look to the hills. Here, as elsewhere in the North Island, Maori fortified their settlements as competition for resources intensified. The Bay of Plenty still has fine examples of ancient hill forts at Maunganui, Mangatawa and Papamoa. The Papamoa Hills offered good views in all directions at an inevitable point of inter-tribal tension between Ngai Te Rangi and Arawa. Archaeologists have located about 60 sites pits, terraces and, of course, pa. Pa range from a massive 7 ha (Wharo pa) down to 0.15 ha. The oldest was begun some time after 1460 and they were all built by 1700. The scientists have given them number-names that make them sound like U-boats, but the two largest pa also have proper names. The largest, Wharo (U14/166,167), on the spine of a ridge with three ‘limbs’ on side spurs, has nine separate defended units. Karangaumu (U14/238), probably the earliest and full of large storage pits, has eight defended units. It sits atop the summit of Papamoa Hill and may have been rebuilt at least once. At the other end of the scale, little U14/1660 occupies a knoll on a ridge below Karangaumu.

This sprawling cultural landscape is more important than its individual components. Here on the coastal plain and along the rolling hillsides of Papamoa is the record of the lengthy evolution from Polynesian colonists to the Maori who would encounter European society. Late in 2000, in the face of the threat posed by soaring land values and development pressure, local authorities conditionally approved the creation of a regional park in the Papamoa Hills to continue to tell that story to future generations. The Papamoa Hills Regional Park (Te Rae-o-Papamoa) opened officially in 2004 and two years later a conservation plan was published to guide its future use

WELCOME TO PAPAMOA BEACH NEW ZEALAND
Papamoa is now one of the fastest growing areas in New Zealand due to the increase in popularity of coastal communities, close proximity to Tauranga and recent local shopping developments. Once a small and tight knit community, many of Papamoa's sweeping paddocks have been swallowed up by urban development.