The modern day Pa site was a formidable pallisade with extensive earthworks they were Military engineering at its finest -in fact a copy of a scale model was sent to the house of commons on the UK shame it was not remembered up to World war 1. The British Army awarded themselves 15 Victoria crosses for storming Pa sites. When the British Army attacked the Pa site at Ruapekapeka they used the large 12 Pounder Armstrong Gun
The British Army would pound the Pa site all day although Warriors were well hidden within the Earthworks. The only possible way the British Army could overcome a Pa site was to listen to their Maori Kupapa officers as British technology was blunted. The Pa site was made up of several layers the Pekerangi was the outmost stockade that was elevated. at each corner were Elevated platforms called Pourewa. The Pa site took intio consideration factors like Watersupply,escape routes,bomb shelters. If attackers got past the Pekerangi the defenders could withdraw back to the next palisade of defence and rarely did any attacker get past all three defences.
Often the British Army would attack a pa site and be repulsed several times suffering from heavy casualties. after the Pa had served it’s purpose and inflicted enough casualties , Maori would abandon the Pa giving the British Army a demoralizing victory if that’s what you call it. Pa sites were disposable to Maori as they could reconstruct another 20 km away. They were often used as objectives for British commanders although weakly manned the commanders would not realize their flanks were often surrounded. Maori chiefs knew that British Commanders were very much about objectives and a disposable Pa site gave the British Army something to charge at. Great generals like Hone Heke, Te Raupraha, Titokawaru were masterful battlefield tacticians and strategists and just because they didn’t attend Sandhurst military academy does not take away from their Military prowess. Modern day military’s don’t rate Maori military engineering but a modern day Pa site would still be just as effective as it was 150 years ago.