Topic: Commemoration an Opportunity for the Creative (2014) by Debbie McCauley

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This article about the commemorations for the Battle of Gate Pa appeared in CreativeBeat Magazine in February 2014 (p. 9).

The magazine can be downloaded here: http://www.creativetauranga.org.nz/editorial/creative-beat.html

It was at daybreak that the first shell from an Armstong gun blasted its way through the drizzle and mist. The target; a flimsy palisade guarding a recently constructed fighting pā. Inside 230 Māori warriors hunkered down. Outside 1,689 British bluecoats manned the guns over the next nine hours. What followed was one of the few outright victories for Māori against the British, and possibly the most important battle of the New Zealand Wars.

2014 will see Tauranga commemorate 150 years since the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina (29 April 1864) and the Battle of Te Ranga (21 June 1864). The commemorations bring with them a plethora of creative opportunities. The events on offer include:

The Battles of Gate Pā/Te Ranga Art Competition: Open to school students and adults engaged in painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture, constructions, whakairo (carving) and harakeke (weaving). Deadline 15 April. Exhibition at St George’s Church Hall in Gate Pā.

  • An essay competition for secondary school students
  • A speech competition for secondary school students
  • Gate Pā voices – a drama production
  • Talks by Des Tata and Cliff Simons
  • Poetry competition and readings
  • A New Zealand String Quartet performance of music from the time

Information can be found on the Tauranga City Libraries ‘Battle of Gate Pā’ kete. Google ‘Battle of Gate Pā Sesquicentennial’. 

In the early 1860s people around the world were reviewing methods of warfare and how to improve the way wounded soldiers from all sides were treated. Tauranga Māori agreed on their own Code of Conduct, predating even the Geneva Convention. After the battle Māori chose not to mutilate or kill wounded soldiers, but instead gave water. My bilingual children’s picture book tells this story; ‘Taratoa and the Code of Conduct: A story from the Battle of Gate Pā’. It will be on sale by mid March.

A commemoration dinner will be held on 28 April at Trinity Wharf. At 6am the following morning a blessing of the new pou and flagpole will be held at the Gate Pā site; then at 9am a full military service at the Mission Cemetery and at 2pm a recreation of the British troops marching on Gate Pā to be met by a haka from the assembled iwi.

If you would like to help commemorate this pivotal point in the history of Tauranga Moana please email Buddy Mikaere at buddy@manataiao.com. Google ‘Battle of Gate Pā Tauranga Kete’ for historical information on the Battle of Gate Pā.

by Debbie McCauley (2014).

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Commemoration an Opportunity for the Creative (2014) by Debbie McCauley


Year:2014
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Commemoration an Opportunity for the Creative (2014) by Debbie McCauley by Debbie McCauley (Tauranga City Libraries) is Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International