Topic: The Gate Pā Flag (Pukehinahina)
Many people have seen the Gate Pā flag as since 1996, along with the Union Jack, it has graced the memorial to the European and Māori who died in the New Zealand Wars at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Story researched and written by Debbie McCauley.
Looking wrong? Archived version here.
The flag was situated near the rear of Gate Pā during the battle. As Belich (1998) explains ‘the Māori’s had cunningly placed their red war flag some sixty yards behind their actual position’ (Belich, 1998, p. 183). Robley explains the consequence of this action, ‘For the first two hours fire was directed at the flag-staff when it was found to be placed behind and outside the pā’ (Robley, as cited in Fildes, 1985, p. 384). A story about the Pukehinahina Flag - the Union Jack used by the British at Gate Pa - can be found by clicking here (archived at https://perma.cc/8A7Q-VYJ6).
Many people have seen the Gate Pā flag as since 1996, along with the Union Jack, it has graced the memorial to the European and Māori who died in the New Zealand Wars at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The Gate Pā Flag was chosen to represent Māori both because of the significance of the battle as well as the fact that it features in Robley’s painting (Rose Young, personal communication, August 1, 2011). It comprises a white Christian cross on its left, a 4 pointed white star (ascending Star of Bethlehem) on its right and downward white crescent (new moon) in the centre on a sacred red background. As McLintock (2009) states; ‘One of the most famous Māori rebel flags was that captured at Gate Pā in April 1864’ (para. 4). It constitutes a powerful symbol of identity.
Watercolour portrait of Henare Wiremu Taratoa by Horatio Robley (Alexander Turnbull Library)
by Debbie McCauley (2013).
Belich, J. (1998). The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian interpretation of racial conflict. Auckland, New Zealand: Penguin. (Originally published 1986).
Fildes, H. (1985). Extracts from “Major General H. Gordon Robley: Soldier and Artist.” Retrieved July 23, 2011, from http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WalRobl-t1-back-d1.html
McCauley, Debbie (5 August 2011). Identity and the Battle of Gate Pa (Pukehinahina), 29 April 1864 (Tauranga Memories: Battle of Gate Pa, 1864 kete).
McLintock, A. (2009, April 23). Māori flags. Retrieved July 29, 2011, from http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/1966/flags/6. (Originally published 1966).
This page archived at Perma CC in March of 2017: https://perma.cc/LGP7-GUDT