War in Tauranga 1864

A DigitalNZ Story by National Library of New Zealand Topics

The New Zealand Wars | Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa campaign in Tauranga is best known for the notable British Army loss at Gate Pa. However, this victory for local Ngāi Te Rangi was short-lived and confiscation of their whenua proceeded after their significant defeat at Te Ranga and the loss of their leader, Rāwiri Puhirake. SCIS no. 1966017

social_sciences, arts, english, history, health, Māori, technology

Gate Pa, Tauranga.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Battle of Te Ranga

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Surrender of the Tauranga natives at Te Papa.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Te Ranga battle site, Tauranga

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga

IMG_5727

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

IMG_5632

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Monument to Rāwiri Puhirake

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

IMG_5729

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

War in Tauranga - War in Tauranga

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Tauranga naval NZ Wars memorial

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Scene in the pits, Gate Pah

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Camp Te Papa, Tauranga.

University of Otago

Tauranga in 1864

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Officers' mess hut, Tauranga

Alexander Turnbull Library

Te Ranga NZ Wars memorial

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Pene Taka Tuaia

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The attack on Gate Pa

“The fire of the guns, howitzers, and mortar was continued with short intermissions until 4 pm.” Lt-General Duncan Cameron to Sir George Grey in a dispatch. It was the greatest bombardment in the New Zealand Wars. From daybreak, eight hours of intense shelling preceded the assault on Gate Pā on 29 April 1864. Who could survive such shelling and any who did – wouldn’t they be utterly demoralised? Well no. The 250 or so Māori in Pukehinuhinu not only survived the concentrated bombardment, they were ready and waiting. When Gate Pā was stormed by the 3rd Regiment and the Naval Brigade they met withering fire from Ngāi Te Rangi muskets and tupara (shotguns.)

Gate Pa, Tauranga soon after attack...1864

Auckland Libraries

Hēnare Taratoa and the Code of Conduct

“On taking possession (of the pa), Lieutenant-Colonel Booth and some men were found still living, and, to the credit of the native, had not been maltreated; nor had any of the bodies of the killed been mutilated.” Dispatch by Lt-General Cameron to Sir George Grey. It was the preacher and teacher, Hēnare Taratoa who formulated a code of conduct that set out the behaviour for Māori fighting at Gate Pā in 1864. For example Rule 1 read that: If wounded or (captured) whole, and butt of the musket or hilt of the sword be turned to me (he) (British soldier) will be saved. True to their word, the night after the battle some Māori fighters tended to the wounded British troops left behind in Gate Pā.

[Artist unknown] :[Wiremu Henare Taratoa offers water to Lieutenant-Colonel Booth, 1864. 1860s?].

Alexander Turnbull Library

The aftermath of Gate Pa and Te Ranga battles

Low-level warfare continued after battles at Gate Pa and Te Ranga, as British troops and kaupapa destroyed local Māori papa kainga and crops. Raupatu was severe. Eventually, almost 300,000 acres of land was confiscated from Tauranga Moana mainly from iwi who fought at Gate Pā and Te Ranga. Today Ngāi Te Rangi retains just 2 percent of their original rohe.

Surrender of the Ngaiterangi after Te Ranga

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Tuaia, Pene Taka - Biography

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Hēnare Taratoa

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Gate Pā

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

General Cameron at Gate Pā

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Redoubt built on the site of Gate Pa

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Puhirake, Rawiri - Biography

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Surviving Gate Pa

Just what was it like to be under a British bombardment? Heni Pore who survived the battle of Gate Pā recounts that Māori in Gate Pā were holding a religious service and were on the last blessing when the first shell fell around daybreak. It didn’t fall on the service instead she said it went “right into our hangi…and the next moment we saw the potatoes we had scrapped flying high in the air, all over the place.”

Jane Foley, a.k.a. Heni Pore

Services to Schools

Troops depart for Tauranga

William Fox, Colonial Secretary and Native Affairs Minister, ordered British troops to Tauranga in early 1864. Endorsed and actioned by General Cameron, the reasoning was that this would stop any reinforcements and logistics from Tauranga Moana iwi reaching Kingitanga in the Waikato who were then fighting British troops. For local Māori the arrival of troops was justifiably unreasonable, (especially when the harbour was blockaded, and British troops constructed 2 redoubts) and they began to prepare for the inevitable conflict. Apart from the battle at Matatā, the first major engagement was at Pukehinahina (Gate Pā) followed by the equally disastrous (for Ngāi Te Rangi) Te Ranga battle.

Auckland. 20 April, H.M. Ships Esk and Falcon embark the troops for Tauranga.

University of Otago

The Battle of Gate Pa

Services to Schools

Waitaha settlement

Services to Schools

Key figures

Services to Schools

Captain John Charles Hamilton

Mid 1864, a reporter from the New Zealander visited the graveyard at Te Papa, Tauranga. He commented on the graves, of British troops who had fallen at the Battle of Gate Pā. In describing one in particular the reporter noted that the officer had “sprung upon the parapet on reaching the Pā, shouting, “ Follow me, men!” and was promptly shot through the head. This was Captain John Charles Hamilton, naval commander of the Esk, one of many officers who died at the Battle of Gate Pā. In fact, of the nine British officers that attended a dinner the night before the battle only one survived. The city Hamilton was named after Captain John Charles Hamilton despite the fact he never visited it.

Graves of Officers who fell at the Gate Pah [sic]

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Plan of Gate Pā

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Gate Pa battle

As planned Māori fighters at Gate Pa held their fire (so that British troops would think the Pā deserted or that Māori had mostly been killed in the bombardment.) They waited in silence until the soldiers were in close range then Rawiri gave the order ‘Puhia!’ (fire!) After that there was furious and terrible hand-to-hand combat fighting. Māori fighters fired their muskets and shotguns, then used their tomahawks, mere, or the butt ends of their guns to drive back the British troops. Within ten minutes the British assault party suffered 100 casualties. Then they fled.

Gate Pā battle

Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage