From Huntly, you can drive south on either side of the Waikato River to Ngāruawāhia. This modest town below the Hakarimata Range is both scenic and historic.

The government victory at Rangiriri led directly to the occupation of Ngāruawāhia, the capital of Kīngitanga, bringing this stage of the New Zealand Wars to a close. King Tāwhiao and his followers retreated into Ngāti Maniapoto territory (which then became known as the King Country).

Kīngitanga and their allies were effectively left to self-govern until a settlement allowing government access to the region was reached in the early 1880s. In the meantime, the central Waikato was captured by government forces and the confiscation of 500,000 hectares and sale to settlers reshaped the region. Despite these events, Ngāruawāhia continued to be the focal point for government interaction with Kīngitanga and Tainui.

In Ngāruawāhia, visit the Point which sits between the confluence of the Waipa and Waikato rivers. It is both a beautiful and historic location with several excellent panels and sculptures. Just behind the Point is the centre of Kīngitanga, marked by a stunning polished metal sculpture in front of the Turangawaewae House and one of the most historic locations in the North Island.

The Point is also the start of Te Awa River Trail. This runs over 20 kms along the Waikato River to the south end of Hamilton and can be accessed from multiple locations for walking and cycling.

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