Topic: Potiriwhi Code of Conduct: 28 March 1864

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The Potiriwhi Code of Conduct was drawn up by the chiefs at Potiriwhi Pā (Port of Relief), Wairoa, Tauranga, on 28 March 1864, and sent to Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Harpur Greer. This version is reproduced from Gilbert Mair's book: The Story of Gate Pā, April 29th, 1864 (1937, p. 10). It was used as Appendix 4 to the paper "Identity and the Battle of Gate Pā (Pukehinahina), 29 April 1864" written by Debbie McCauley on 5 August 2011 as part of a BA in Humanities and Information & Library Studies. It is interesting to note that the first Geneva Convention with astonishingly similar principles to the Poteriwhi Code of Conduct was signed four months later on 22 August 1864 with the aim of assisting the work of the International Red Cross.

Potiriwhi District of Tauranga,
March 28, 1864


To the Colonel,

Friend, salutations to you. The end of that, friend, do you give heed to our laws for (regulating) the fight.

Rule 1. If wounded or (captured) whole, and butt of the musket or hilt of the sword be turned to me (he) will be saved.

Rule 2. If any Pākehā being a soldier by name, shall be travelling unarmed and meet me, he will be captured, and handed over to the direction of the law.

Rule 3. The soldier who flees, being carried away by his fears, and goes to the house of the priest with his gun (even though carrying arms) will be saved; I will not go there.

Rule 4. The unarmed Pākehā’s, women and children will be spared.

The end. These are binding laws for Tauranga.

Or rather by all the Catholics at Tauranga.



Identity and the Battle of Gate Pa (Pukehinahina), 29 April 1864 (5 August 2011) by Debbie McCauley (Tauranga Memories: Battle of Gate Pa, 1864 kete).


This page archived at Perma CC in March of 2017:

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