Rāwiri Puhirake New Zealand Wars Memorial (1914)

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Rāwiri Puhirake New Zealand Wars Memorial (1914).


This memorial marks the grave of Rāwiri Puhirake who died at Te Ranga on 21 June 1864. Puhirake’s remains were exhumed from the Te Ranga trenches in 1870 (Bay of Plenty Times, 1909, p. 2) and were re-interred at Mission Cemetery. In 1914 an impressive 6 metre red granite memorial (W. Parkinson & Co. Auckland) was erected over his grave. Two concrete steps lead up to the memorial, the base of which is decorated with black and white marble tiles. The unveiling was held on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Te Ranga. Depicted on the top front of the plinth is a Māori taiaha around which is ‘entwined a spray of oak as a symbol of strength’ (Bay of Plenty Times, 1914, p. 5), the apex of which is surmounted by a draped urn. At the bottom a white marble frieze commemorates the Poteriwhi Code of Conduct, depicting Puhirake standing over a mortally wounded Booth whilst Taratoa brings a calabash of water. There is a plaque on another side dedicated to Taratoa; ‘In memory of Hēnare Taratoa killed at Te Ranga June 21st 1864.’ Photo: Debbie McCauley (July, 2011).

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