Topic: 2013 Gate Pa Lectures

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At St George’s Church, local military historian Cliff Simons shared the tale of Gate Pa – the first of a free series of lectures on the site’s history in summer 2013 – to celebrate the next year’s 150th commemorations of two battles crucial in the establishment of the fledgling town of Tauranga. This article was written by Luke Balvert and was published by Sunlive Media on 14 January 2013 ( and is reproduced here with their permission.

About 200 people attended historian Cliff Simon’s lecture on the battle of Gate Pa at St George’s Church yesterday afternoon. Photo by Daniel Hines.

In 1864, at the end of the Waikato War, Tauranga iwi and the British Army with the Royal Navy faced off in two significant battles: Gate Pa and Te Ranga.

The British were decisively defeated at Gate Pa but the tables were turned at Te Ranga, where about 160 Maori were killed.

The aftermath of the battle saw large confiscations of Maori land and the establishment of Tauranga.

Cliff says he is overwhelmed by the turn out and admits there has been great interest in regards to the battle.   

Cliff shared the battle’s story, explaining what happened during the battle and the aftermath at the church which now sits on the site of the Battle of Gate Pa.

St. George’s Anglican Church vicar John Hebenton says these events reverberate down through time and still have an effect on the life of the city today.

“This is an amazing opportunity to learn what really happened on that day, from the mouth of a local historian.”

The second lecture will take place next Sunday from 2-4pm. Cliff will also speak about the Treaty of Waitangi on Sunday, February 3 from 2-4pm.

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