Topic: Gate Pa battle site (Pukehinahina)

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The main fortifications, designed and built by Penetaka, were located on high land to the east of the track to the Kaimai ranges, which is now known as Cameron Road. The pā was just outside the gate in the fence which enclosed land purchased by the Church Missionary Society in 1839. It was therefore known as "The Gate Pā". The hill was called Pukehinahina, and this name is also used to refer to the battle. The battle site is now a historic reserve with interpretation panels and tomokanga. The 68th regiment converted the pā into a redoubt even before the battle of Te Ranga in 1864. The remains of the trenches were filled in by Greerton residents in 1877, obliterating all signs of the pā. Another smaller pā was built to the west of the track. It is now a recreation reserve, with bowling greens and tennis courts.

  • Pukehinahina takes its name from the hinahina plant, which grew profusely on this hill. This is where the battle of Gate Pa took place on April 29 1864 between British troops and local Maori tribes.
  • Penetaka Tuaia was the engineer of the fortifications at Pukehinahina Gate Pa. He is said to have learned his military skills during the Northern War of 1845-46.
  • The battle of Gate Pa is remembered today not so much for the resounding defeat of the Imperial troops, as for the honourable conduct of Maori, who gave water to the wounded and treated the dead soldiers with compassion and respect. The code of conduct, written by mission educated Henare Taratoa, played an important part in how Maori treated their fallen enemies.
  • In a move to reconnect local iwi with the site, a carved tomokanga (a welcome to all people onto a sacred place) was added to the Gate Pa Domain in 2007. Some redevelopment of the site is to take place in connection with the sesquicentennial of the battle in 2014.
  • St George’s memorial church was opened in 1900. The church has suffered two serious fires, so little remains of the original building, but the sanctuary cross is made from charred kauri beams from the first church.

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Gate Pa battle site (Pukehinahina)


Latitude and Longitude coordinates: -37.7109011,176.14556189999996

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