Topic: Tōtara Tree 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 Tōtara 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. Please contact me via Tauranga Memories to contribute further information towards this story.

These pou were carved on site from live tōtara trees to represent those who died during the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina (29 April 1864), including the unknown warriors whose names have been lost over the past 150 years. The bark was removed from the trees prior to carving, and they have been finished with linseed oil. Each pou faces toward Mauao.


Left Pou: Ihakara Koikoi

Tōtara Tree Pou: Left

Ihakara Koikoi (?-1864) was a Christian tohunga. He was invoking a blessing in the early dawn prior to the battle when he was hit by a shell from one of the British guns, becoming the first casualty of the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina.

39 crosses carved into three teardrops represent the British soldiers who were either killed during the battle or later died of their wounds. They were carved by Peter Hodge.



Right Pou (charcoaled): Te Wano

Tōtara Tree Pou: Right

A few hours after the death of Christian minister Koikoi, traditional tohunga Te Wano (?-1864) was standing in an exposed position and giving a karakia for victory in battle when he too was felled by a shell from the British guns.

Two gourds represent the delivery of water to the wounded by Māori as they adhered to their Code of Conduct drawn up prior to the battle. Also represented is Te Hokioi [Haast eagle], the Spirit Messenger of the Gods.

Carvers: Brian George Rikirangi...

Tōtara Tree Pou: Right

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Tōtara Tree Pou (2014) by Debbie McCauley