The two redoubts at Te Pōrere contain earthworks built by the Maori prophet and warrior Te Kooti. They were the scene of the last major engagement of the New Zealand Wars in October 1869. The redoubts are an example of the Māori adaptation of British military construction techniques.
The government forces attacked a rifle pit and lower redoubt before advancing on the upper redoubt. This was taken relatively quickly, but Te Kooti managed to escape into the nearby bush. The battle of Te Pōrere resulted in 41 casualties - 37 of Te Kooti's supporters were killed, whilst the government forces only suffered four losses.
Just outside the northern boundary of Tongariro National Park, the site is both a Maori and a historic reserve and has been administered by Heritage New Zealand since 1959.
The upper redoubt is a 15 minute walk from the carpark, but is an urupā (burial site) so visitors are requested to respect that and not visit if it is not necessary.