Topic: Monmouth Redoubt (Taumatakahawai Pā)

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Early in 1864 troops were sent from Auckland to the Tauranga district to stop the flow of warriors and supplies going into the Waikato in support of the Kingite Māori. Soldiers of the 43rd Monmouth Light Infantry refortified an old pa site, Taumatakahawai, which looked eastward over the Waimapu harbor. This redoubt was later a place of refuge for women and children when attacks by Māori were feared in the mid 1860s.


Looking strange? see an archived version here

Fact sheet on the Monmouth Redoubt

The old sea cliff at the north end of The Strand was known to Māori as the Taumatakahawai Pā.  It was abandoned in 1828 after an attack on the northern end of the Te Papa peninsula by Ngati Maru from the Coromandel peninsula.

  • Taumatakahawai was a fortified pā on the cliff near Otamataha. The two pa guarded the high land at the northern end of the Te Papa peninsula. The defences were rebuilt, in the late1830s for protection in case there was an attack on the mission by Te Arawa raiding parties.
  • In 1864 the 43rd Monmouth and 68th Durham Light Infantry regiments were stationed in Tauranga to stop supplies reaching the Kingitanga movement in the Waikato.
  • The 43rd Regiment rebuilt the fortifications on this site, which became known as the Monmouth Redoubt instead of Taumatakahawai Pā, its original name. In the late 1860s it became the headquarters for the Armed Constabulary.
  • In 2013 in recognition of the history of the area and the old pa site, carvings were commissioned for the new Tauranga Police Station. These hang on the wall facing Taumatakahawai Pa / Monmouth Redoubt.
  • Whare Thomson and Damian Kohu carved the three pou, which represent, from left to right, Archdeacon Alfred Brown, Taumatakahawai Pā, and the battle of Gate Pā.

Early in 1864 the Monmouth Light Infantry (which gave the redoubt its name) arrived at Te Papa (Tauranga), and refortified the position. The British troops occupied the area until they finally left some four years later.

Looking towards the Redoubt 1864

The gap left by the departing soldiers was filled by a new locally raised force known as the Armed Constabulary (AC). The AC had responsibility for quelling any Maori uprising as well as controlling any law breakers in the new military settlements. In 1869, the headquarters for the whole of the Bay of Plenty was established in Tauranga, in the Monmouth Redoubt, where a barracks was built.  At that stage there were two Armstrong Field guns for defence. 

It soon became clear that the threat in the western Bay of Plenty area had disappeared. In 1877 the headquarters of the AC was transferred from Tauranga to Opotiki, where the threat from Maori was still seen to be real.  In Tauranga the AC began to focus on general policing duties, but still operated out of buildings on Monmouth Street as the police do today. 

Central government eventually realised there was no further need of a defended site in Tauranga and in December 1898 Mayor Charles Clarke took over the land from the police on behalf of the borough council. The council decided to tidy up the redoubt and started by calling for the 20 year old barracks building to be removed. The proceeds of the sale were used to erect a flagpole, but residents were slow to make contributions towards the purchase of a flag. 

The most exciting part of the restoration was the arrival on the ss Mawhera of 4 6-pounder Armstrong guns, similar to some used at the battle of Gate Pā in April 1864. Two cannons were also donated, one in 1899, and one in 1914.



The Monmouth Redoubt c.1910

The Tauranga Beautification Society made plantings around the Redoubt in the 1920s. In 1940 (the centennial of the Treaty of Waitangi) a cairn and memorial plaque were erected, and in the 1990s, for the sesquicentennial of the signing of the Treaty, an attempt was made by the District Council to repair the embankments. Unfortunately the Armstrong guns were removed in 1980. One is on permanent loan to the Waiouru Army Museum, but the others are safely in the custody of the Tauranga Museum. 

Further information is available through the Tauranga City Libraries’ New Zealand Room.

This page was archived at Perma cc January 2017

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Monmouth Redoubt (Taumatakahawai Pā)


Latitude and Longitude coordinates: -37.6797513,176.1695499

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