Topic: 100 Years of Peace: With you in spirit - Sir Bernard

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I am indeed sorry that my absence on a visit to New Zealand's Island Territories makes it impossible for me to be present in person at the celebrations, said the Governor-General, Sir Bernard Fergusson, in a message to the Gate Pa Centenary Committee. This article appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times on Monday, 27 April 1964, and is reproduced here with their permission.

I shall certainly be with you all in spirit on that hallowed and historic ground, said Sir Bernard.

"During this decade fall the centenaries of several battles of the Maori Wars.

One might think that those unhappy days of misunderstanding between Maori and Pakeha would be better forgotten then celebrated.

Yet it would be sad indeed if either Maori or Pakeha were to forget the virtue and the gallantry of their forebears, or the sacrifices which they made in the causes in which they severally believed.

And there were acts of gallantry at Gate Pa, such as that of Heni te Kiri-karamu, that brave and compassionate woman, which must never be forgotten.

It is a measure of our kotahitanga, our complete union, in which we have lived together for so long, and are living together today, that we can join with pride and without rancour in recalling the sad events of April 29, 1864.

The Battle of Gate Pa has a special interest to me for three reasons.

First, the great-nephew of Lieutenant-Colonel H. G. Booth (who was mortally wounded while commanding the 43rd Light Infantry in the battle) is an old friend of mine: he is Colonel Philip Booth of the same regiment, now living in retirement in Herefordshire in England.

Secondly General Sir Duncan Cameron, the Comander-in-chief at the time, belonged to my own regiment, The Black Watch: his descendant and namesake, Captain Duncan Cameron is a serving officer in that regiment today.

Thirdly, a cousin of my mother's, Captain Charles Mure of Caldwell, of the 43rd Light Infantry, was among the officers killed in the battle and is buried in the cemetary at Tauranga.

I paid pilgrimage to his grave as a boy in 1926, and again in May 1963."

- Sir Bernard Fergusson.

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