A Masterton landowner from a Maori family that for hundreds of years has lived at the same site near the town - Mangaakuta - is still pushing to correct a wrongly-spelt road sign pointing the way to his ancestral home.

Warren Reiri , 72, Rangitane o Wairarapa and Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, is the second youngest of the eight children of the late Hone and Ruby Reiri, who raised their family at the former Mangaakuta Pa site on Johnstone St just before the road curves toward Homebush east of Masterton.

Mr Reiri senior had in 1977 erected a memorial cairn, in partnership with then Masterton County chairman Russell Smith, that marks the site of Mangaakuta Pa.

According to a Wairarapa Times-Age report on the unveiling of the memorial on December 3 that year, Mr Reiri, then 78, said the pa was founded about 1840 before the Te Ore Ore and Papawai marae.


The land the pa stood on was sited between the Makoura and now-dry Mangaakuta streams and Mr Reiri senior, who named his farm at the site after the pa, had spoken to the newspaper of his pakeha mother arguing with his father about selling the land, which she vehemently opposed.

"My mother told me never to sell this land and I haven't," Mr Reiri senior told the newspaper.

"My father, my grandparents lived there. They have passed on. I am the last one to have a personal link with the pa. I want my grandchildren to remember the place."

The original owners of the Mangaakuta land upon which they built the pa, where the Namana and Witinitara whanau also lived, were descended from several hapu including Ngati Te Kai, Ngati Te Hina, Ngati Te Uma, Ngai Tamahau, and Ngati Whatui.

Mr Reiri senior had suggested Mangaakuta as a name for Makoura College, which was at first named Makora, a word he did not recognise that in 1990 was corrected to Makoura, with which he was familiar.

Mr Reiri junior took over from his father the 8ha block of land, where he in turn raised his family. He spoke to the newspaper after Mangaakuta Pa last week made headlines yet again in the Wairarapa Times-Age.

Aratoi Museum had in August won at auction two James Bragge photographs of Mangaakuta Pa from the 1870s. The images, a sever gelatin photo and a carte de visite original, show a group of Maori children and adults at the site.

Mr Reiri said he owned a copy of one photo and his father had told him the people in the images were relatives, including Mr Reiri junior's great grandfather and great grandmother, great-uncles and great-aunties.

He had approached the newspaper about the correct spelling of Mangaakuta, which had been spelt incorrectly with a hyphen in a road sign still standing at the intersection of Johnstone St and Colombo Rd.

"I went up to the council and told them about the spelling mistake within the last five years but nothing's changed. It would be good to see it made right after all this time."

Mr Reiri junior said his father told him Mangaakuta means "where two streams meet" but he remained unsure of the translation himself.

Council spokesman Sam Rossiter-Stead said the council Maori liaison advisor Hoani Paku had yesterday checked out the signage and a new amended sign was immediately ordered.

Mr Rossiter-Stead said the new sign would be in place before Christmas and he apologised for any offence caused.