Topic: Battle of Gate Pa Charitable Trust

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The Battle of Gate Pa Charitable Trust has been established for the purpose of commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gate Pa. The overall aim of the Trust is to heighten community awareness of the Battle of Gate Pa, the Battle of Te Ranga and Bush Wars as part of the history of the Tauranga Moana and of New Zealand.

 Our Vision

  • To commemorate the actions of our tupuna and forbears who fought and died at the Battle of Pukehinahina/Gate Pa and in the wars for Tauranga.
  • To foster a greater understanding of the nature of the conflict, including its effect on people's lives then, and for us today.
  • To honour the sacrifices of those who fought and gave their lives at Pukehinahina/Gate Pa, Te ranga and the Bush campaign.

The Rules of Engagement: A Commemoration of the Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga, 1864

War came to Tauranga in 1864 as an extension of the fighting in the Waikato. The government forces had invaded the Waikato in mid-1863 in an attempt to suppress the Kingitanga Movement and to secure large areas of land for settlement. Tauranga was an important part of the wider Maori logistic system and so the government decided to blockade the harbour.  The subsequent battles of Gate Pa (29 April) and Te Ranga (21 June) were two of New Zealand’s most important colonial-period battles.

At Gate Pa a small Maori force achieved a surprising victory over an overwhelmingly powerful combined British Army and Royal Navy assault. The battle was unique for the Rules of Engagement which were proposed beforehand by chiefs for the humane treatment of the injured and prisoners of war. And indeed during the night after the battle some wounded and dying British soldiers and sailors who were lying in the pa were cared for. The rules were inspired by the Christian faith that many Maori had adopted and reflected a move from traditional beliefs to the new religion.

It is usually considered that the person who cared for soldiers and sailors was Heni Te Kirikaramu, the only woman in the battle, but it is equally likely that the author of the rules, Henare Taratoa, and possibly others as well, were responsible. A second battle was fought seven weeks later at Te Ranga where over 120 Maori were killed in a short, brutal battle. On the body of Henare Taratoa was found a sheet of paper headed Orders of the Day, upon which was written the Bible verse from Romans 12:20; If thine enemy hunger feed him, if he thirsts give him drink.

After Te Ranga a peace treaty was made and the New Zealand Government (Crown) confiscated large tracts of land upon which the new town of Tauranga began to develop. In 1867 fighting broke out again and there was a series of skirmishes which are now known as the Bush War. Government troops, Maori allies ( Kaupa) and some settlers attacked and destroyed some Maori communities in the Tauranga hinterland. 

One hundred and fifty years after the battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga, the New Zealandgovernment (Crown) and Tauranga-Moana iwi have finally settled the grievances that arose out of those battles.

The Rules of Engagement adhered to at Gate Pa are an inspiration for modern-day citizens of Tauranga; that even in the depths of battle some of our forbears showed human mercy and compassion to their enemies. The Battle of Gate Pa Trust is commemorating the 150th anniversary of these significant battles with a number of activities in Greerton that will allow the stories of this period of our history to be told. The goal is to commemorate these seminal events in our city’s history, to understand that history, to honour the courageous Maori and Pakeha who fought here and continue to move forward together as a community.

How we will commemorate

Greerton Hall becomes the place where we tell the story to the community. The people of Greerton and the wider community will be attracted to the exhibition and events through promotion in the media and by way of regular events in the hall that all resonate with the theme of the Gate Pa history and the battle. Greerton becomes the focal point for the telling to the story for the whole city and potentially a national audience.

Video of proceeding to be used to develop a documentary

Long term focus – potential for large scale production

Our Structure 

Battle of Gate Pa Charitable Trust: Structure

Battle of Gate Pa Charitable Trust

The Trust has been established for the purpose of commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gate Pa. The overall aim of the Trust is to heighten community awareness of the Battle of Gate Pa, the Battle of Te Ranga and Bush Wars as part of the history of the Tauranga Moana and of New Zealand.  To do this, the Trust will:

  • Foster community support for a heritage and cultural facility commemorating these significant events; and
  • Promote the educational and cultural benefits of commemorating the events as an important

Representation, focus, objectives, how it was formed

Rules of Engagement Committee

Representation, focus, objectives, how it was formed

Education Team

The responsibility for this team is to work with the schools to help promote the exhibition itself and educate our young people on the importance of the Battles of Gate Pa, Te Ranga and the Bush Wars.  This team will develop a resource education teaching kit for local schools to utilise.

This team is made up of Patricia Brookes, Tommy Kapai, Cliff Simons and Debbie McCauley.

Fundraising Team

The responsibility for this team is to secure funds to enable effective delivery of this project.  This team will do this through a mixture of applying for funding grants, seeking in-kind support and sponsorship. 

This team is made up of Graeme Elvin and Mary Dillon.

Pukehinahina Trust Relationship

Explain what the Trust is doing, how this fits with this project and importance of maintaining close working relationship eg through calendar of events.

Advisory Team

The responsibility of this team is to ensure that all information, communications and presentations are in line with factual events, and consistent with how we want to tell the story.  This group essentially operates as a check in point for all of the teams to ensure we take a consistent approach to telling the story.

The team is made up of Cliff Simons, Patricia Brookes, Des Tata, Lance Waaka, and Buddy Mikaere.

Marketing and Communications Team

The responsibility for this team is to outline and implement the necessary marketing, communication and public relations requirements to successfully promote the event.  The key considerations of this are that all communications are appropriate, sensitive and presented with dignity and respect given the sensitive nature of the event. 

The team is made up of Sally Cooke and Roanna Kelly from Tuskany brand and marketing specialists.

Production Team

The responsibility for this team is to identify the requirements for the exhibition in the Greerton Hall and the production requirements that will occur as part of the exhibition.  Key components for this team to plan are:

  • Exhibit items
  • Installation of story boards
  • Exterior mural
  • Model of Gate Pa
  • Curatorial guides/Kaumatua and Historians
  • Community led panel discussion
  • School productions and Kapa Haka performance

The team is made up of Tereora Crane, Anne Pankhurst, Terry Molloy, Eugene Van Der Merwe, Tommy Kapai and Buddy Mikaere.

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Battle of Gate Pa Charitable Trust


Year:2014