Topic: Tauranga Bush Campaign (1867)

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The Tauranga Bush Campaign (Te Weranga ki Taumata) was a small-scale conflict resulting from the surveying of land that was confiscated from Tauranga Maori after the Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga in 1864. The 150th commemoration or sesquicentennial of the Tauranga Bush Campaign will be in 2017. Story by Debbie McCauley.

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Māori response to surveying of the confiscated land was to “interfere” with the process, and in some cases threaten the surveyors themselves resulting in small-scale conflict, known as the Bush Campaign of 1867. There was an unjustifiable response by government to this conflict and I agree with the Waitangi Tribunal (2004) who state: ‘The actions of Crown forces in burning villages and destroying cultivations were excessive in relation to the declared aim of the campaign, which was to apprehend individuals who had interfered with surveys and threatened surveyors working on the confiscated blocks’ (pp. 260-261). This campaign signalled the end of the physical fighting in Tauranga Moana, and the beginning of pacifist resistance by Māori to confiscation and lobbying for fair and just recompense that has continued to this day. As Rose (1997) points out ‘prior to the war Māori had successfully created a thriving economy in Tauranga, attaining economic benefits from their involvement in the colonial economy. War and confiscation severed the progress of the Tauranga Māori economy’ (p. 168).

Bodell wrote "I was told by a native chief some years after the enemy did not muster above 50-60 and they harassed fully 800 men for months".

Andersen and Petersen (1956) wrote: "Apparently the government of th time could conceive of no other way of dealing with this poor remnant of the defeated tribes than harrying them into the bush and, by the destruction of their homes and food plantations, rendering them homeless and foodless, and later by the confiscation of the land itself, landless. The extent of their cultivations and the attractiveness of their villages showed them to be industrious and orderly. No doubt conquering and dispersing them seemed the simpler way of dealing with them, but it left an aftermath of bitterness which never healed" (as quoted in Stokes, p. 121).

Involved were Gate Pa engineer Pene Taka Tuaia (c1809-1889), Rawiri Tata (of Pirirākau) and Waitaha leader Hakaraia Māhika (c1818-1870). The campaign was a protest against land confiscation, but also an act of utu for those who were killed at the Battle of Te Ranga on 21 June 1864.


1866 (December 31): New District Surveyor H. L, Skeet reports the Oropi surveyors ordered back to Te Papa and survey of Oropi-Omanawa put on hold. Hauhau's (Ngati Porou) said to be under Ropata and Kewine take their property before visiting with Waitaha chief Hakaraia at Te Puke.

1867 (January 17): Troops ordered out under Colonel Philip Harington (1st Waikato Regiment) and occupy Omanawa Redoubt. Captain Goldsmith left in charge at Omanawa.

1867 (January 18): Goldsmith reports that he found a burned out whare whilst patrolling along the Wairoa River with 40 men. They crossed the Wairoa to its west bank and were fired upon by Maori near the village of Te Irihanga and Sergent Major Ennis [Henry Emuswas shot through the shoulder, mortally wounded. For about 3/4 of an hour shots were exchanged. Two Maori wounded/killed? Harington arrests Goldsmith for leaving his post and engaging with the enemy without instruction.

1867 (January to March): All the Pirirakau and Ngati Ranginui villages from Whakamarama to Waoku were burned, their crops dug up and destroyed.

1867 (January - end of): Hakaraia moves from Te Puke to Oropi. When 40 Te Arawa troops march to Te Puke and find Hakaraia's village empty they destroy all the houses.

1867 (February 2): Te Arawa contingent take possession of the abandoned Kahakaharoa Pa (Ngai Tamarawaho).

1867 (February 4): Te Arawa join the Militia in a combined attack on Ake Ake (Ngai Tamarawaho) and Taumata (Ngai Tamarawaho). Taumata village is then destroyed. While the militia spend three days spent destroying cultivations, Te Arawa advance on Oropi. When they find it empty they completely destroy it. Hakaraia's flag and Hauhau flags found concealed in the woods.

1867 (February c8): Te Arawa moved into Paengaroa, meet a group of Hauhau's and exchange fire. Paengaroa village destroyed.

1867 (February 15): 1st Waikato Regiment member Henry Jeffs (c1844-1867) is mortally wounded fighting Tauranga Māori during the Tauranga Bush Campaign of 1867. James Cowan writes in The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume II: The Hauhau Wars, 1864–72 that; 'Several 1st Waikato men now ran up, and the party gave chase to the natives. The Hauhaus retired into the bush, and the pursuers got in among some fallen timber. Here Private Henry Jeffs was mortally wounded at close range, and was brought out with great difficulty' (page 155). Henry was buried in Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā). 

1867 (February 28): Fire in many of the abandoned villages.

1867 (March 5): Te Arawa force swells to 280 men. They attack the Kaimai and Te Kaki villages over the next few days.

1867 (April 8): Last detachment of the 12th Regiment leave Tauranga, leaving 283 men of the 1st Waikato Regiment at Te Papa. Clarke transfers 170 Te Arawa men back to Tauranga.

1870 (March 23): Hakaraia caught by Crown forces and was one of nineteen executed.

2017 (February 4): Tauranga commemorates 150 years since Te Weranga ki Taumata with a new pou carved by Damian Kohu being raised by Ngāti Ruahine & Ngāi Tamarāwho. The pou, unveiled on 4 February 2017, stands at the beginning of Taumata Road to acknowledge the tūpuna who resisted the invasion & confiscation of their lands and were punished for it by the Crown.


Further Reading:

Gifford, W., & Williams, H. (1976). A centennial history of Tauranga. Wellington, New Zealand: A.H. and A. W. Reed. (Originally published 1940).

Jenks, Harold (1989). Forgotten Men: The Survey of Tauranga and District 1864-1869.

Mair, Gilbert (1923). Reminiscences and Maori stories.

Rose, K. (1997). The impact of confiscation: Socio-economic conditions of Tauranga Māori, 1865-1965. Wellington, New Zealand: Crown Forestry Rental Trust.

Sinclair, Keith (Ed.). (1982). A Soldier's View of Empire: The Reminiscences of James Bodell, 1831-92.

Stokes, E. (1980). A history of Tauranga County. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press.

Stokes, Evelyn (1990). Te Raupatu o Tauranga Moana: The confiscation of Tauranga Lands (pp. 120-123).

Stokes, Evelyn (1997). The Allocation of Reserves for Maori in the Tauranga Confiscated Lands [Volume 1: Report] (pp. 70-84).

Waitangi Tribunal. (2004). Te Raupatu o Tauranga Moana: Report on the Tauranga confiscation claims. Wellington, New Zealand: Legislation Direct.

See Also:

Holmes, Charles F, fl 1859. Holmes, Charles F (Auckland) fl 1859 :Sketch of action at Te Whakamarama against the rebels Ruirakaus. Ramsden, Eric :Photographs relating to Ramsden and his family and Maori subjects. Ref: PA2-0919. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.


How to cite this page: McCauley, Debbie (2016). Tauranga Bush Campaign (1867). Retrieved from (Tauranga Memories, last updated: *insert date*). In-text citation:(McCauley, 2016).

This page was archived at Perma cc March 2017

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Tauranga Bush Campaign (1867)