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Tikapa is a locality in the Gisborne Region of New Zealand. It is located at the mouth of the Waiapu River and north of Ruatoria. In 1952 the community numbered 156, predominantly Māori.[1] There are several houses still standing, many of which have been left abandoned. On a hilltop resides the Pokai meetinghouse opened in the late 19th century. Alongside the marae is the Pohatu dining room, and over the paddock is the cemetery, Hinekopeka Urupa.

Pokai meetinghouse, Tikapa, New Zealand

On the road heading toward the coast of Tikapa, is a small hilltop cemetery called Taumata. It is said that this is the place where Manuel José was buried after his death. He was a Spanish whaler who in the early part of the 19th century was persuaded to stay in the Waiapu Valley by tribal chiefs. One of the chiefs gave away his five daughters to Manuel, and thus produced over 10,000 descendants today.[2][3]

Tikapa Valley was also to be the site of a school in the mid 19th century, to cater for children who were living at Tikapa. However, Sir Apirana Ngata offered to place the school further inward the valley towards Waiomatatini, where it was built and remained there until it closed in the 1970s. However, Tikapa remains an isolated wonder, hidden beyond the outbacks of the East Coast.


  1. ^ Dollimore, Edward Stewart (1952). The New Zealand Guide. H. Wise. p. 732. 
  2. ^ "Paniora go back to source of their Spanish roots", Aug 14, 2012, Rotarua Daily Post
  3. ^ "Spanish royals invited to Manuel Jose family reunion", Murray Robertson, Nov 26, 2015, Gisborne herald