Topic: British Military at the battles of Gate Pā and Te Ranga (1864)

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This page lists the British Military (including Regiments) that were present at the Battle of Gate Pā (Pukehinahina) on 29 April 1864 and the Battle of Te Ranga on 21 June 1864.

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Awaiting the Order to Advance (1864)

Taken at sunrise on 29 April 1864, the morning of the attack on Gate Pā. General Sir Duncan Cameron (centre right, hands in pockets, leaning against wagon wheel) surrounded by British regulars, local militia and Volunteers. Also named is Corporal Kelly (centre back row, shortest, with big beard). The three men on extreme right are named as Sergeant Hussey, Sergeant Smith and Dr Joseph Henry. Standing next to Cameron is Captain St John (on Cameron's right is a member of the 1st Waikato). Seated on the gun behind Cameron is Captain Hunter. It is claimed that Sergeant Major Kerr is man with bushy beard. A tall Royal Artillery officer in a braided patrol jacket stands left of the general, and Royal Artillery sergeants and gunners are seated at the left. At front centre is Sergeant Major Jackson (1st Waikato) atop a 12 pounder Coehorn mortar, with its bomb shells to the left of it.

Pukehinahina Flag 

1st Waikato Militia

Present at Gate Pā and Te Ranga.

The 1845 Militia Act imposed a duty on all able-bodied men betwen 18 and 65 to train for 28 days annually, and to be available to be called upon to serve in defence of their home district within a 25 mile radius of the local police station. They wore dark blue 'jumpers', blue trousers with a red welt, and blue 'pork pie' forage hats. Instead of the jumper, many actually wore a loose blue shirt that was a lighter shade.  Militiamen used flintlock muskets; weapons that had originally been imported for bartering to Māori.

Gilbert Mair in The Story of Gate Pa states; "By this time the First Waikato Regiment, under Colonel Harington, had arrived at Te Papa, increasing the force there to 2000 men" (p. 12).

Glen writes; The bitter engagement fought at Gate Pa by the Tauranga Field Force on 28- 29 April 1864 included two line infantry regiments – 43rd Royal Artillery and the 68th Naval Brigade, supported by the 1st Waikato. Gate Pa remains one of the best documented battles of the war, however, it is necessary to refocus on the part played in the battle by Australian volunteers, which is not well recorded. Past histories have ignored their presence at Gate Pa and, were it not for a vaguely recognizable brass numeral (1st Waikato Regiment) cap badge worn by two soldiers clearly visible in a photograph allegedly taken early in the morning prior to the attack, their participation may well have gone permanently unnoticed (pp. 160-161).

The First Waikato Regiment were under Lieutenant Colonel Philip Harington [?]  at the Battle of Gate Pa. At the Battle of Te Ranga the 1st Waikato Militia were under Captain Richard Roxborough Moore.

In Australian's at War in New Zealand Frank Glen states; "In June 1864, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Harington, who had replaced Colonel Pitt as commander of the 1st Waikato, landed in Tauranga with a reinforcement contingent of 280 men and instructions that the volunteers undertake garrison duties and eventual settlement on the East Coast" (p. 163).

The Tauranga 1st Waikato Militia New Zealand Wars Memorial erected in Tauranga's Mission Cemetery in 1909 commemorates the 25 colonial and imperial soldiers and sailors from the 68th Regiment, 1st Waikato Militia and Naval Brigade who died at Gate Pā and Te Ranga in 1864 and in during the Tauranga Bush Campaign in 1867.


12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot (‘The Old Dozen’)

In New Zealand from 1860-1866. At Gate Pā they were part of a movable column consisting of 180 detachments of the 12th, 14th, 40th, and 65th Regiments.

Officers of the 12th regiment worn a blue patrol jacket, fastened at the front with concealed hooks-and-eyes, edged all round with flat black mohair braid, with plain black braiding on the collar, and black shoulder cords.


14th (Buckinghamshire) Regiment of Foot (‘The Old and Bold’)

Arrived in New Zealand from Cork, Ireland, in 1860, and remained until 1867. At Gate Pā they were part of a movable column consisting of 180 detachments of the 12th, 14th, 40th, and 65th Regiments. 


40th (Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot (‘The Excellers’)

In New Zealand from 1860 to 1866. At Gate Pā they were part of a movable column consisting of 180 detachments of the 12th, 14th, 40th, and 65th Regiments.


43rd (Monmouthshire) Light Infantry ('Wolfe’s Own')

The 43rd sailed from Calcutta, India, in September 1863 and were in New Zealand from 1863-1866. They arrived in Tauranga aboard the HMS Miranda.

They built the Monmouth Redoubt which stands on the Taumata-Kahawai cliff on the Tauranga waterfront.

300 of the 43rd Regiment were under the command of Booth during Gate Pā where the colonel and six officers of the regiment were killed, and many officers and men were wounded. Commanded by Lt.-Col. H. J. P. Booth (killed, 30 April 1864) and Lt.-Col. F. H. Synge

Present at Te Ranga under Major Synge. Captain Smith, of the 43rd, gained the Victoria Cross for his gallant conduct at Te Ranga.


50th (Queen's Own Royal West Kent) Regiment ('The Dirty Half Hundred')

In New Zealand between 1863 and 1867. 


65th (Yorkshire North Riding) Regiment of Foot (‘The Royal Tigers’)

The longest serving British infantry regiment serving in New Zealand from 1846 to 1865. At Gate Pā they were part of a movable column consisting of 180 detachments of the 12th, 14th, 40th, and 65th Regiments.

The regiment's official nickname was the "Royal Tigers", earned from their service in India, and the regimental badge. Māori called the regiment the "hickety pips" after the Maori pronunciation of 65th:"hikete piwhete".


68th (Durham) Light Infantry (‘The Faithful Durhams’)

In 1864 the 68th (Durham) Light Infantry (‘The Faithful Durhams’) arrived in New Zealand from Burma. They arrived in Tauranga aboard the HMS Miranda under Colonel Meurant. The 68th built a defensive earthwork at Te Papa known as the Durham Redoubt which was built over in the 1870s to raise the level of Hamilton Street. The redoubt was situated on the modern day area bounded by Durham Street, Hamilton Street, Cameron Road and Harington Street.

Elements of the 68th Regiment took part in both of the battles in Tauranga. The full regiment of 700 men under the command of Colonel Greer played a key role at Gate Pa. Their task was to cordon off the rear of the pa to prevent the defenders from escaping. On the night of 28 April 1864 the regiment waded along the tidal swamps of the Waimapu Estuary and spread out in groups around the south of the pa. When the assault was launched by the 43rd Regiment and Naval Brigade the next afternoon, the 68th Regiment closed up on the pa and tightened the cordon. A group of about 60 Maori tried to escape out the back of the pa but were driven in by the 68th. During the evening the defenders were able to evacuate the pa by slipping through the 68th's cordon in small groups.

At the battle of Te Ranga on 21 June 1864, Colonel Greer was in overall command, and a detachment of the 68th was commanded by Major Shuttleworth. Along with detachments of the 43rd and Waikato Militia they successfully charged the Maori entrenchments and swept the defenders from the position. Approximately 150 Maori were killed in this action.

View of the Officers' mess hut at Tauranga, with officers of the 68th (Durham) Light Infantry in Tauranga (1864). Greer family :Photographs relating to the New Zealand Wars. Ref: PAColl-7806-2-2. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

The above photographs shows the 68th Durham Light Infantry (NCO's at extreme left and right) wearing blue 'jumper' uniforms, differentiated by their different styles of forage cap. The 'jumper' uniform consisted of a loose single-breasted jacket with a pocket in the right breast, made of very dark blue serge. Worn with the dark blue 'pork pie' forage cap with the regimental number in brass on the front (dark green, with the buglehorn badge, for light infantry). Trousers were dark blue with a red welt down the outer seam. The 68th also wore black leather leggings fastened with straps at the side.

The regiment left New Zealand in 1866.

A direct link between the Durham Light Infantry and the New Zealand Infantry Regiment goes back to the fighting in Borneo in the early 1960s where both regiments served consecutively. The New Zealand Infantry Regiment adopted the Durham Light Infantry’s stable belt which is bottle green with two thin red stripes. The belt is still worn by all regular infantry soldiers in New Zealand.

As a result of the re-organisation of the British Army the Durham Light Infantry Regiment no longer exists, although there is still a regimental association of former members.


70th (East Surrey) Regiment ('Glasgow Greys')

The Regiment were in New Zealand from 1863 to 1866. A flying column under the command of Brevit-Lieut.-Colonel Ryan was present at Gate Pa (Daily Southern Cross, 3 January 1866, p. 5).


Royal Artillery: C Battery, 4th Brigade

'C Battery, 4th Brigade Royal Artillery, arrived at Auckland on the 4th. March, 1861, under the command of Captain Mercer; the battery mustered 220 of all ranks, with 180 horses, which were brought from Sydney by Captain Watson and Veterinary surgeon Anderson, R.A.' New Zealand Herald (23 June 1866, p. 5)

About 50 members of the Royal Artillery: C Battery, 4th Brigade were present at the Battle of Gate Pā. 

Their uniforms consisted of a navy blue jacket with navy pants with a red welt down the outer seam.

They wore the blue 'jumper' uniform consisting of a loose single-breasted jacket with a pocket in the right breast, made of very dark blue serge. Trousers were dark blue with a red welt down the outer seam. Worn with the dark blue 'pork pie' forage cap with a yellow band. 

Officers wore a loose blue patrol jacket with black braiding around the edges, on the cuffs and back seams, and in rows across the front ending in trefoil loops.


Royal Marines

Royal Marines and sailors combined to fight on land.

On 26 April 1864 600 sailors and Royal Marines were disembarked from HMS Harrier, Curacoa, Esk and Miranda.


Royal Navy

The Royal Navy made a significant contribution to British firepower at the Battle of Gate Pā with HMS Harrier, Curacoa, Esk and Miranda. Around 420 of the Naval Brigade took part. A Naval Brigade of 429 officers and men from  a flotilla of Australia Squadron ships including HMS Curacoa, Esk, Falcon, Harrier and Miranda had also been assembled under Commodore Sir William Wiseman .

Sailors often served as artillerymen.

HMS Miranda was captained by Captain Jenkins.

General Cameron arrived at Tauranga on 21 April in HMS Esk, and established his headquarters at Te Papa. HMS Falcon, as well as the Esk, brought reinforcements. One 110-pounder Armstrong gun and two 40-pounder Armstrong guns, along with 14 smaller artillery pieces, were unloaded from HMS Esk and taken to within firing distance of the Gate Pa.

A detachment of the Naval Brigade from the warships “Miranda,” “Esk,” and “Falcon,” under Lieutenant Hotham (afterwards Admiral), joined the 68th; and the forces in rear were disposed so as to cut off the Maoris' retreat. 



Cowan, James (1955). The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume I: 1845–1864.

Glen, Frank (2011). Australians at war in New Zealand.

Knight, Ian (2013). The New Zealand Wars 1820-1872.

Mair, Gilbert (1926). The Story of Gate Pa, April 29th 1864 [Reprinted by the Bay of Plenty Times Ltd in 1937 & 1964. Reprinted by Cadsonbury Publications in 2010. Reprinted by Tauranga Charitable Trust in 2014].

McCauley, Debbie (5 August 2011). Identity and the Battle of Gate Pa (Pukehinahina), 29 April 1864 (Tauranga Memories: Battle of Gate Pa, 1864 kete).

Simons, Cliff (personal communication).


How to cite this page: McCauley, Debbie (2013). British Military at the battles of Gate Pā and Te Ranga (1864). Retrieved from (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation: (McCauley, 2013)


This page archvied at Perma CC in February of 2017;

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British Military at the battles of Gate Pā and Te Ranga (1864)

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
British Military at the battles of Gate Pā and Te Ranga (1864) by Debbie McCauley (Tauranga City Libraries) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License