Topic: Gate Pā Pou (2014) by Debbie McCauley

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This story was compiled with the help of kaumatua Peri Reweti Kohu who oversaw the carving of the Gate Pā Pou and Totara Tree Pou during the three weeks leading up to the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina on 29 April 2014.

PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The information on this page is still being compiled and may contain errors. Please contact me via Tauranga Memories to contribute further information towards this story.

Tomokanga and Gate Pā Pou

The eight pou are carved from six pine logs and two totara logs and represent iwi participation in the 1864 Battle of Gate Pā and link to the whenua. The pou were carved next to the old fire station at Tauranga's Historic Village. The carving of the five metre long pou took three months. They were installed on site on 24 April 2014 and they now line Cameron Road outside the battle site at Gate Pa. Each pou faces toward Mauao.

Gate Pā Pou facing Mauao

Click this link for information on the Tōtara Tree Pou.

Pou 1: Duncan Alexander Cameron (1808-1888) 

Carver - Whare Thompson

Gate Pā Pou 1: 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. Sitting above Cameron on the pou can be seen a halyard (to haul yards) in remembrance of the Navy who fought at Gate Pā. This pou also represents the other Pakeha soldiers who fought at Gate Pa.


Pou 2: Ngāti Ranginui

Carver - Morris Wharekura   

Gate Pā Pou 2: Ngāti Ranginui

Featuring a coat of arms and a tuatara representing Ngāti Ranginui ancestress of the tuatara of Karewa Island, Taurikura. Also depicted is Aotearoa’s first official flag, the United Tribes’ flag. This flag was selected at Waitangi on 20 March 1834, seven months prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence on 28 October 1835. The flag featured the red cross of St. George on a white background, with a smaller red St. George's cross in the top left-hand corner on a blue background. The smaller cross had a wide black border and a white eight pointed star featured in each of the blue quarters divided by the cross.


Pou 3: Ngāi Te Rangi - Puhirake, Taratoa & Penetaka

Carver - Whare Thompson (?)

Gate Pā Pou 3: Ngāi Te Rangi - Puhirake

Rāwiri Tuaia Puhirake (c1814-1864) was the most influential chief in Tauranga during the time of the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina (29 April 1864) and Battle of Te Ranga (21 June 1864). Under Puhirake’s leadership, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui began a campaign of provocation designed to entice the British force at Te Papa to attack them at a place of their choosing. He commanded his men to show mercy to wounded enemy soldiers as per the Poteriwhi Code of Conduct agreed upon by Māori leaders prior to the battle. Puhirake was killed during the battle at Te Ranga on 21 June 1864 and buried in the trenches there. His remains were exhumed on 13 August 1874, 10 years after his death, and he was reburied in Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pa). A red granite memorial was erected over his grave, unveiled on the 50th anniversary of his death, 21 June 1914.

Gate Pā Pou 3: Ngāi Te Rangi - Taratoa

Hēnare Wiremu Taratoa (c1830-1864) wrote up a Code of Conduct for the coming battle at Poteriwhi, the pā of Pene Taka Tuaia on the lower Wairoa River. 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.

Gate Pā Pou 3: Ngāi Te Rangi - Tuaia

Pene Taka Tuaia (c1809-1889) 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). Its concealed trenches were to lull the British into a false sense of security when they stormed it.


Pou 4: Ngāti Pūkenga

Carver - James Tapiata

Gate Pā Pou 4: Ngāti Pūkenga

This pou stands as a memorial to the two Ngāti Pūkenga warriors that died during the Battle of Gate Pā (29 April 1864). The warrior on the top wears a gunbelt...


Pou 5: Iwi Representative

Carver - Whare Thompson

Gate Pā Pou 5: Iwi Representative

This pou comprises six faces that represent the iwi that came to Tauranga to support local Māori and the Kingitanga in the battle against the British at Gate Pā.


Pou 6: Waitaha leader Hakaraia Māhika (c1818-1870)

Carver - Tupaea Ahomiro

Gate Pā Pou 6: Hakaraia Mahika (c1800-1870)

Māhika had been taken as a slave from his iwi as a child in c1824. In 1836 he was returned to Waitaha, who were living in exile at Lake Rotorua, by Reverend Thomas Chapman and his wife Anne. Māhika had been learning to read and write at a mission school, and had taken the name Hakaraia. He would become a Waitaha leader and prophet (poropiti), blending Christian philosophies with Māori teachings and preaching peaceful engagement with Pākehā during the 1840s and 1850s. He established a Christian community of Waitaha and others at Kenana (Canaan) near Te Puke. This attitude changed as he witnessed the loss of Māori lands and lives and the Crown invasion of the Waikato. Hakaraia became a warrior and spiritual leader for the Māori force during the battles of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina and Te Ranga. A survivor of both battles, Hakaraia did not participate in the Tauranga Māori surrender on 25 July 1864. Raupatu included Waitaha customary land. During the Tauranga Bush Campaign of 1867 the Crown labelled Hakaraia a rebel due to his role as a resistance leader protesting the survey of confiscated land [on 30 March 1870 military leader and government-allied Major Kemp (Meiha Keepa Te Rangihiwinui) referred to Hakaraia as 'the son of Satan’]. In January 1867 government forces assaulted Waitaha settlements at Te Puke, Te Pōhue, and Ohineangaanga, destroying houses, crops and livestock as ‘special punishment’ for Hakaria. Using scorched earth tactics the Crown pursued Hakaraia. In July 1869, he formed an association with Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. Hakaraia was impressed by Te Kooti’s political and religious beliefs, and he led many raids in aid of Te Kooti’s cause. On 23 March 1870 Crown forces attacked Waipuna pā (Maraetahi) in the Waioeka Gorge near Opotiki. Te Kooti, along with four of his wives and a group of approximately 20, escaped whilst nineteen whakarau (Te Kooti supporters) were caught and executed in the riverbed. One of those decapitated was Hakaraia. His body was recovered from the Waioeka Gorge and draped in the Kingitanga flag.


Pou 7: Ngāti Hangarau

Carver: James Tapiata

Gate Pā Pou 7: Ngāti Hangarau

Ngāti Hangarau were at Pukehinahina under the leaders Kereti and Terea Puhimanuka. The loss of Ngāti Hangarau men during the Battle of Te Ranga is recorded in the lament written for Te Kereti by his wife.


Pou 8: Ngāi Tamarāwaho / Ngāti Matepū (we will die by the gun)

Carver - Damien Kohu  

Gate Pā Pou 8: Ngāi Tamarāwaho / Ngāti Matepū (we will die by the gun)

This pou represents the decision made to go to war against the British. It also tells the story of Te Auetu and David Hall. Te Auetu Koikoi was a young girl of Ngāi Tamarāwaho and Wairoa who rescued three wounded British soldiers in the aftermath of the battle. Two she took on horseback to a field hospital. The third, David Hall, she took home, nursed, and later married. Her story is told on the winning entry into the Battle of Gate Pa mural competition which now graces a Tauranga City Library card:

S49: Te Pakanga o Pukehinahina (mural) by Brookfield Primary School



Carving the pou: Peri Kohu (Radio New Zealand National, 4 May 2014).


How to cite this page: McCauley, Debbie (2014). Gate Pā Pou (2014). Retrieved from (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation: (McCauley, 2014)

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Gate Pā Pou (2014) by Debbie McCauley