Puhihuia and Ipu Pakore

Two stories exist about the origin of the name “Te Ipu Pakore” (the broken gourd or calabash), which relate to two locations, one in Mt Eden, one in Grey Lynn named after a battle over the Mt Eden site . . .

1. Enfield Street

Near the rail over-bridge on Enfield Street, off Mt Eden Rd, is the site of a spring that was the principal water source for the nearby Maungawhau (Mount Eden) Pā and—for that reason, perhaps—a wāhi tāpu (sacred site). It was named Ipu Pakore for the ambush of two women returning to the pā from fetching water during the raids of the famed warrior, Kāwharu. The spring is commemorated in the name of an adjacent road, “Water Street,” now no more than a lane, as the spring is no more than a swampy patch behind the Horse & Trap tavern.

Te Ipu Pakore

It was here that Puhihuia, a highborn daughter of Te Waiohua (Te Wai-o-Hua, a confederation of Tāmaki hapu united under Te Hua Kai Waka), after whom the summit road on Mt Eden is named, met her lover Ponga, of Ngāti Kahukoka from Āwhitu, before they eloped across the Manukau Harbour to escape the opprobrium his lower social status brought upon her parents. The lovers escaped across the harbour to his home pā, pursued by an avenging taua.


The war that would inevitably have ensued between the iwi was avoided when Puhihuia faced a series of duels. She defeated her opponents and the taua returned to Maungawhau, accepting her choice of a husband. (John White, Ancient History of the Maori, vol. 4, 1889, online at “Ponga and Puhuhuia”; Grey’s version is also online).


Arthur Adams (“Puhihuia,” The Collected Verses of Arthur H. Adams [Melbourne: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1913] 27-33) paints her differently:

Puhihuia Arthur Adams

2. Arch Hill

The ridge that became Arch Hill may have been the site of a celebrated battle in 1730: the Broken Calabash Attack, when Ngāti Whātua-o-Kaipara attacked Waiohua. Ngāti Whātua hoped to take the Ipu Pakore spring. The paramount chief of Waiohua, Kiwi Tāmaki, was killed and they abandoned the pā for a last stand at Mangere. Ngāti Whatua killed the warriors, took the morehu women as wives and established mana whenua over Tāmaki Makaurau.


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