Topic: Eugene Van Der Merwe Exhibition by Debbie McCauley

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Eugene Van Der Merwe created seven images of British and Māori in the lead up to the 150th Commemoration of the Battle of Gate Pā on 29 April 2014. These images were gifted to St. George's Church in Gate Pā and were then in turn loaned to Greerton Library for display from May 2014. These information cards were created for placement underneath each artwork.

Eugene Van Der Merwe Exhibition (2014) by Debbie McCauley


Henry Jackson Parkin Booth (1830-1864)

Henry Jackson Parkin Booth was born in Yorkshire on 19 July 1830. He entered the army, as an ensign, on 11 June 1847. Booth became a lieutenant on 9 August, 1850; a captain on 29 July 1853; a major on 3 April 1857; and lieutenant-colonel on 11 February 1862. He served with the 43rd in the Kaffir war of 1851-53, for which he received a medal. He was in command of the detachment of the 43rd, which arrived by the 'Lady Jocelyn', and, until embarking for Tauranga, was in command of some of the military posts between this and Waikato. As he led the assault at the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina on 29 April 1864, Booth received gunshot wounds to the spine and right arm. He died the following day, on 30 April 1864. He was buried in Tauranga's Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā).


Alfred Nesbit Brown (1803-1884) 

The Brown family arrived in Te Papa (Tauranga) in January 1838. Brown made two land purchases there on behalf of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). The first, of about 7 hectares, included the land on which The Elms (formerly Te Papa Mission Station) stands today. Brown spent many years teaching Christianity to Māori from Tauranga and the Waikato. On the eve of the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina, Brown and his second wife Christina Crombie Grant (née Johnston) (1818-1887) invited British officers to dine with them at Mission House. Only one, Surgeon Major William Manley, survived the next day’s battle. The work of the mission station was disrupted by the New Zealand Wars in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Afterwards some local Māori felt betrayed by Brown, and many were displaced from their ancestral lands. The work of the mission station never recovered. Brown died in Tauranga, aged 80, on 7 September 1884. 


Duncan Alexander Cameron (1808-1888) 

Lieutenant General Sir Duncan Alexander Cameron commanded the Highland Brigade during the Crimean War (1853-1856). He arrived in New Zealand in 1861 and was in command of British troops in New Zealand, taking part in the invasion of the Waikato from July 1863. Cameron made his only tactical blunder of the New Zealand Wars when he ordered the attack on Gate Pā at 4pm and suffered heavy losses. He is said to have ‘dashed his field-glass on the ground, turned his back on the fugitives, and retired to his tent to conceal his emotion.’ Cameron increasingly came into conflict with Governor Grey and the colonial administration of Frederick Weld and offered his resignation to the War Office on 7 February 1865. In June he received permission to return to England and left New Zealand on 1 August 1865 where he served as Governor of the Royal Military College Sandhurst from 1868 to 1875. Today, Tauranga’s main road cuts straight through the Gate Pā battle site at Pukehinahina - it is named Cameron Road after General Cameron.


Hōri Ngātai (c1832-1912)

Ngāi Te Rangi chief Hōri Ngātai was a veteran of the Battles at Gate Pā and Te Ranga. He surrendered arms on 25 July 1864 and promised that Ngāi Te Rangi would never return to warfare, declaring ‘Let there be peace in the land’. In 1901, when in his 70s, Ngātai related his account of Gate Pā to historian James Cowan, and then to Gilbert Mair in 1903. His account was published posthumously in Mair’s book The Story of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864 (1926) with an introduction by Cowan. Two years before his death, Ngātai was dragged for some distance by a horse, an accident over which he never recovered. He died at his Whareroa home on 24 August 1912. Ngātai’s memorial at the Mission Cemetery was unveiled in August 1920. Ngātai Road in Otumoetai is named after him. 


Pene Taka Tuaia (c1814-1889) 

Pene Taka Tuaia was related to Rāwiri Tuaia Puhirake. He fought against the Ngāpuhi invasions of Tauranga in the 1830s, and the 1835-45 war with Te Arawa. From the 1850s he became a leader of the Ngāti Rangi hapu of Tauranga Moana. His pā was Poteriwhi, which was situated high above the east bank of the lower Wairoa River and which he helped to design. Tuaia learnt his military engineering during the Northern War of 1845-1846 and used his experiences to design the defences of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina. This new pā design made extensive use of anti-artillery bunkers (rua). Tuaia took up arms again with Rāwiri Tata (of Pirirakau) during the small-scale conflict known as the Tauranga Bush Campaign in 1867. This was a Māori response to surveying of confiscated land. Tuaia also stated that he was seeking revenge for the death of Puhirake at Te Ranga. Tuaia continued to protest for the rest of his life. He died at his village, Te Puna, on 3 July 1889.


Hēnare Wiremu Taratoa (c1830-1864)

At Poteriwhi, the pā of Pene Taka Tuaia on the lower Wairoa River, Ngāi Te Rangi leader Hēnare Wiremu Taratoa wrote up a Code of Conduct for the coming battle. Taratoa also wrote a Challenge to Colonel Greer, giving as the reason for war aggression by the British troops. It is said that during the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina (29 April 1864) Taratoa brought water to Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Jackson Parkin Booth (1830-1864) who had been shot through the spine and right arm. Booth was to die of his injuries the following day. There is a stained-glass window dedicated to Taratoa’s act in Lichfield Cathedral, England. A white marble frieze on the memorial to Ngāi Te Rangi Chief Rāwiri Puhirake at Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā) depicts the event. Taratoa was killed during the Battle of Te Ranga (21 June 1864). On his body was found the Poteriwhi Code of Conduct along with the words in Māori... ‘If thine enemy hunger feed him, if he thirst, give him to drink’ Romans 12:20 (Ki tematekai tou hoariri, whangainga: Ki te matewai, whakainumia). His body was initially buried in the trenches of Te Ranga, but later moved to Mission Cemetery. 


Tomika Te Mutu (?-1867)

Tomika Te Mutu was paramount chief of the Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāi Tuwhiwhia people of Tauranga whose traditional tribal areas extended out from Tauranga to include Matakana and Motuhoa, around Mauao and Katikati-Athenree. In the 1860s he became famed among Europeans for the quality of his deeply incised chisel tattoo. His portrait was painted by artists including Gottfried Lindauer and Horatio Robley. Te Mutu lived on Motuhoa Island and died at Rangiwaea Island in 1867.

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Eugene Van Der Merwe Exhibition by Debbie McCauley