Cross marking scene of Puketapu feud

The scene of the Puketapu feud at Bell Block, just outside New Plymouth. This cross was erected by the New Zealand government in 1941 to replace a wooden cross erected by W.H. Skinner, part of which is held at Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth.

In August 1854 Rāwiri Waiaua, his brother Paora and three other members of the Puketapu hapū of Te Ātiawa were killed in a dispute over a block of land Rāwiri wished to sell. The killings were carried out by a group of Puketapu men acting on behalf of Katatore. New Plymouth braced itself for a backlash. There were fears for the settlement’s longer-term prospects should other ‘friendlies’ also fall victim to the ‘anti-land selling league’.

Inscription

The inscription on the cross reads:

He pou whakamahara ki a Rawiri Waiaua me ona hoa i hinga i ten[e]i takiwa i te 3 o nga ra o Akuhata 1854 [I?] a ratou e hapai ana i te mana o te kawanatanga.

This is a memorial to Rawiri Waiaua and his tribesmen who died here on the 3rd of August 1854 while they were upholding the mana of the government.

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