Topic: Peter Allan Grant (1845-1924)

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Peter Grant has been described as a deserter from the British military who became a Pākehā-Māori, the only known person of European descent that adopted the Pai Mārire Māori religion, and a horse thief as well as an early Te Puke settler. Story and photo: Debbie McCauley.

Patrick Allan Bannerman Grant was born in Banchory-Devenick, Aberdeen, Scotland on 18 November 1845, and baptised at St Nicholas in Aberdeen on 14 November 1845. His parents were Logie Pirie Bannerman and Barbara Adia Eddie Grant (née Allan) who married in St. Nicholas Church in Aberdeen on 25 November 1841. Much of the family immigrated to Victoria, Australia, in July of 1861 on board the Ocean Chief.

Now known just as Peter Grant, he enlisted with the 1st Waikato Regiment No 6 Company from Geelong, Melbourne on 1 September 1863. The regiment departed Australia on board the Star of India on 31 August 1863, arriving in Auckland on 13 September 1863. The regiment were based at Otahuhu for around three months before being moved to Orakau and then back to Auckland. 

The Waikato Regiment arrived in Tauranga after the Battle of Gate Pā [29 April 1864] and took part in the Battle of Te Ranga [21 June 1864]. However, it seems that Peter himself did not take part in the battle as on 4 June 1864 he had received a punishment of 84 days imprisonment.

Peter deserted later that same year, on 29 December 1865, only to be retaken prisoner on 24 February 1867. Legend tells that he 'deserted to the Hauhau followers and supplied Māori with stolen horses and rifles' (Clement, p. 139). Hauhau is a movement founded in response to Pākehā confiscation of Māori land and led to the establishment of the Pai Mārire Christian faith.

Peter had three children with Pare Piahana [Polly Pearson] (1848-?) from Ngāti Ranginui iwi [Huria Marae] in Tauranga. Their first child, Tiaki, was born in 1867.

The Press reported on 7 March 1867: ‘February 24: The notorious Peter Grant has just been brought into Te Papa by the Arawa’s. He is a deserter from the 1st Waikato Regiment. He escaped from the stockade here several months ago with handcuffs on; since then he has been a perfect terror to the owners of horses in the district, and has been living with the Hauhau’s in the different settlements in our neighbourhood. Should he be forwarded to the Auckland stockade it will behove its guardians to keep a sharp lookout or he will slip through their fingers. He was brought over from Matapaha handcuffed... Peter Grant is said to be very much depressed. He states that there are three other white men with the Hauhau’s, and offers to impart all the information in his power. He is a young man, about twenty-four, rather prepossessing; is from Melbourne, where his parents reside. He is heavily ironed’ (p. 3).

On 11 March 1867 the Daily Southern Cross reported on Peter's escape: ‘Last Thursday night, Peter Grant, the deserter from the 1st Waikato’s and an avowed Hauhau, whose capture by Retreat Tapsell [Iene (Hans) Tapsell] was so cleverly effected, as detailed in our paper some time ago, managed to escape. He was confined in the stockade, was heavily ironed and handcuffed, and supposed to be well and effectually guarded. A high palisading runs round the stockade. Our informant states that early on Friday morning the fact of his escape became known; that the irons were left behind, as he doubtless thought they would be inconvenient to carry. When the 'Tauranga' sailed nothing further was known’ (p. 5).

On 18 March 1867 he was court-martialled, receiving two years imprisonment, fifty lashes and a brand as punishment as reported in the Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle on 4 April 1867: ‘The Arawa’s have recaptured Peter Grant, a deserter. He received fifty lashes, and was branded with a cross on his hip’ (p. 3).

Peter was later put to work as a despatch rider between Opotiki and Thames. ‘This was a dangerous undertaking over unbridged rivers and through country that was heavily invested by the enemy. On one of these missions he had two horses shot under him, but promptly secured possession of a Māori horse and escaped’ (Bay of Plenty Times, 4 February 1924).

On 26 March 1870 Peter was married to Caroline Moon at Te Papa Mission Station by Archdeacon Alfred Nesbit Brown (reg. 1870/5379). Born in Bombay [Mumbai], India in 1850, Caroline was the daughter of Colonel William Moon and his wife Elizabeth Moon (née Matherell) who lived in Gate Pā, Tauranga. They had three children together.

In 1872, Peter was sentenced to twelve month's imprisonment for cattle stealing from Harry Coward Crapp (Daily Southern Cross, 15 October 1872, p. 3).

Peter worked as a contractor. He built whare for George Vesey Stewart's Katikati settlers in 1875. In 1881, he was running the Atuaroa Hotel in Te Puke [also known as Travellers Rest Hotel and Grant's Hotel].

In 1900 Peter owned a thoroughbred named Tam o' Shanter over which he became embroiled in an argument in Tauranga's Masonic Hotel. He wagered that his horse could make it from Tauranga to Te Puke in an hour, a distance of around 18 miles over rough roads dotted with mud holes, and offering a stake of £50. His son, William Grant (eight stone at the time), was to be the rider. Billy set out at dusk and reached the front door of Grant's Te Puke Hotel 57 minutes later, winning his father the wager (Bay of Plenty Beacon, 24 July 1945, p. 6).

On 7 December 1901, the Star reported Peter's divorce from Caroline: Caroline Grant v. Peter Grant and Maringi (co-respondent). Caroline reverted to her maiden name of Moon and remarried in 1903 to Robert MacGregor (reg. 1903/2237). She died in Te Puke, aged 74, on 30 July 1926 (reg. 1926/6069) and was buried in Te Puke Cemetery.

The New Zealand Herald reported on 12 August 1903 that Peter was charged with wounding a horse and mare at Te Puke (12 August 1903, p. 3).

Peter had a further five children with Te Maringi Maraea Te Kapaiwaho (1867-1945) from Manoeka in Te Puke, marrying on 6 June 1907 (reg. 1907/2430).

The children of Peter Grant:

  1. Grant, Tiaki (1867-1951). [Jack]. Born in 1867. Jack married Herena Maka Topia. He died in Hawke's Bay on 30 July 1951 (reg. 1951/36600).
  2. Grant, Hikiera (1868-1955). Born in Te Puke in 1868, she died in Te Reinga, Auckland in 1955.
  3. Mihaere, Makere (née Grant) (1869-1958). Born in Te Puke in 1869, she married Pte. Piwa Mihaere. Makere died in Te Reinga, Auckland, in 1958.
  4. Grant, William (1871-1934). Born in Tauranga on 17 July 1871 (reg. 1871/18761). He married Mary Anne Harriet Potier (known as Harata), daughter of Alfred and Jane Fairfax Potier (née Johnson). William died in Te Aroha in 1934, and was buried in Te Aroha Cemetery.
  5. Tanner, Barbara Allan (née Grant) (1874-1895). Born in Tauranga on 16 October 1874 (reg. 1874/42177). She married Samuel Tanner in 1894. Barbara died, aged 20, in Tauranga after childbirth on 19 August 1895. She was buried in Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā). See:
  6. Grant, Logie Peri (1876-1881). Born in Tauranga in 1876 (reg. 1876/505). He died, aged five, in 1881 (reg. 1881/2194) and was buried in Tauranga.
  7. James, Katarina (née Grant) (1897-1979). [Kathleen] Born in Manoeka, Te Puke in 1897. She married Leigh Hilton McKenzie James (1884-?) in 1913. They had seven children. Katarina died in Whanganui on 16 July 1979 and was buried at Aramoho Cemetery.
  8. Grant, Hohepa (1898-1993). [Joseph] Born in Manoeka, Te Puke in 1898. He married Hazel Mary Rayner in 1932. They had 24 children. Joseph died in Manoeka, Te Puke in 1993, and was buried at Otaraninia Urupa.
  9. Grant, Peter Allan (1901-1958). Born in Manoeka, Te Puke, in 1901. He married Mary Caines. He had three children. Peter died in Te Aroha in 1958 and was buried in Te Aroha Cemetery.
  10. Kerekere, Barbara Allan Kaumai (née Grant) (1903-1991). Born in Manoeka, Te Puke on 9 August 1903. She married Kahungunu Kerekere (1898-1962) in 1918. They had six children. Barbara died in Gisborne in 1991 and was buried in Wainui Urupa.
  11. Nuku, Hipora (née Grant) (1911-1998). [Isabella] Born in Manoeka, Te Puke, on 10 September 1911 (reg. 1974/144025). She married Kepa Nuku. They had nine children. Hipora died in Tauranga in 1998 (reg. 1998/8266) and was buried on Mōtītī Island.

On 11 December 1913, Peter applied for a New Zealand War Medal with Captain Gilbert Mair and Colonel J M Roberts writing letters in support of the claim. His claim was rejected in April of the following year, the letter stating: ‘The Regulations governing the issue of the N.Z. War Medal render it imperative that an applicant must have been actually under fire in some engagement with the enemy. I have also to inform you that the Records of the 1st Waikato Regiment show that one Peter Grant of Aberdeen was punished for desertion’ (8 April 1914).

Peter died in Te Puke, New Zealand, on 2 February 1924 (reg. 1924/7479). He was buried in the Tauranga Mission Cemetery. Te Maringi died in Te Puke on 9 September 1945.

Peter Grant (1845-1924)


Bay of Plenty Beacon (24 July 1945, p. 6).

Bay of Plenty Times (4 February 1924): Obituary.

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Daily Southern Cross (11 March 1867, p. 5).

Daily Southern Cross (15 October 1872, p. 3).

Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle (4 April 1867, p. 3).

Peter Grant (Tauranga City Library Biographical Vertical File).

Press (7 March 1867, p. 3).

Index to the Register of Baptisms for St Nicholas parish in Aberdeen from September 1838 to March 1848.

Report on Conference and Annual General MeetingHeld in Tauranga 8 to 10 April 2011 (New Zealand Federation of Historical Societies Inc).

Scotland, Births and Baptisms 1564-1950 (FamilySearch) - Baptismal Record.

Star (7 December 1901, p. 5).

Star of India 1863.

Te Puke Primary School Roll 1883-1905.

Te Puke Times (5 February 1924): Obituary.

The New Zealand Herald (12 August 1903, p. 3).

The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Te Puke and District (2011) by Christine Clement (pp.138-141).


How to cite this page: McCauley, Debbie (2015). Peter Grant (1845-1924). Retrieved from (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation: (McCauley, 2015)

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Peter Allan Grant (1845-1924)

First Names:Peter
Last Name:Grant
Date of Birth:18 November 1845
Place of Birth:Banchory-Devenick, Aberdeen
Country of birth:Scotland
Date of death:2 February 1924
Place of death:Te Puke, New Zealand
Place of burial:Tauranga Mission Cemetery
Date of Arrival:13 September 1863
Name of the ship:Star of India
Date of sailing:31 August 1863
Port of arrival:Auckland
Sailed from:Melbourne, Australia
Spouses name:Pare Piahana, Caroline Moon, and Te Maringi Maraea Te Kapaiwaho
Fathers name:Logie Pirie Bannerman Grant
Fathers date of birth:12 March 1817
Fathers place of birth:Newhills, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Fathers date of death:6 March 1891
Fathers place of death:Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Mothers name:Barbara Adia Allan
Mothers date of birth:8 September 1811
Mothers place of birth:St. Clements, Footdee, Aberdeen, Scotland
Mothers date of death:23 July 1867
Mothers place of death:Maude Street east, Geelong West, Victoria, Australia
Military Service:1st Waikato Regiment

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