Keepa Te Rangihiwinui memorial

Keepa Te Rangihiwinui memorial

Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial Image of Keepa memorial

The memorial to Taitoko Keepa Te Rangihiwinui (Major Kemp) stands in Moutoa Gardens (Pākaitore), Whanganui. Nearby are the Moutoa monument and the Whanganui Māori war memorial.

Te Keepa was a rangatira of the Whanganui iwi Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi and of Muaūpoko from the Horowhenua district. By the early 1860s he was regarded as one of the leading pro-government Māori in Whanganui, and he took part in the fighting at Moutoa Island on the Whanganui River in 1864. From 1865 he was a leader of Māori troops who fought first against Pai Mārire followers, and then against forces led by Tītokowaru and Te Kooti.

After the wars Te Keepa continued to work for the government, but his focus increasingly turned to defending his own people’s interests in Whanganui and Horowhenua. In 1880 he had four poles set up to mark out a large area in the Whanganui district which was declared off limits to land purchasers. In the 1890s he was involved with the Kotahitanga movement, which advocated greater Māori autonomy and the retention of Māori land. He died in April 1898.

The idea of a memorial to Te Keepa was first proposed at a meeting of Whanganui Māori with government representatives in May 1898, but did not proceed until it was taken up in 1911 by Te Keepa’s sister, Rora Hakaraia. The resulting memorial, erected in September 1912, includes a marble statue and four panels of text carved into polished granite. The statue was based on a Gottfried Lindauer portrait of Te Keepa as a relatively young man in his military uniform. One of the panels of text is in Māori, and shows his whakapapa (genealogy). The inclusion of whakapapa in a memorial in a public place is unusual, probably unique.

On the lower half of the memorial are bronze relief panels depicting battles in which Te Keepa fought, and detailed descriptions of those battles. Two of the battles are from fighting in Taranaki: Pungarehu (1866) and Moturoa (1868). The other two are from the pursuit of Te Kooti: Te Pōrere (1869) and Maraetahi (1870).

The memorial was made by Frank Harris & Co., monumental masons, and initial work on the statue and bronze relief panels was done by Auckland sculptor W.H. Feldon. When Rora Hakaraia saw the memorial she objected to it, saying the statue did not look like Te Keepa. In 1913, Frank Harris & Co. sued her because she had not completed payment for the memorial, and she counter-claimed for the money she had already paid, saying the work on the memorial was poorly done. The case went as far as the Court of Appeal, which found against Frank Harris & Co. Records of the court case are a rich source of information about the memorial.


Front face

In conjunction with his sister / Hihiko-i-Terangi / a chieftainess of several tribes / this monument is raised / by a grateful country / in affectionate remembrance / of / Major Kemp, / high-born Maori chief, / brave soldier & staunch ally of the / N.Z. Government during the troublous / times of the Maori rebellion against / British authority 1865–1870, who after / gallantly serving his Queen & country / in the field in the interests of law and / order, died covered with military / honour, at Putiki April 15th 1898, / aged 74 years. / “Well done good & faithful servant, / enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” / Matt.25.21.

Left face

He panui whakaatu tenei naaku na Rora Hihipa ki te Rangi ki nga iwi e rua / Maori me te Pakeha me era atu iwi o te Ao. I mate tooku tungaane i te / 15 o Aperira i te tau o to tatau Ariki 1898 ki Putiki Wharanui wahi o Aotea / roa o te Tominiana o Nui Tireni. A i tapukea ano tona tinana ki Putiki / Wharanui. Ko maua ko tooku tungaane ko Meiha Keepa Te Rangihiwinui / he momo ariki he uri rangatira he uri toa, i heke iho i roto i nga whaka / papa o te iwi Maori. Koia tenei o maua whakapapa e mau ake nei.

[Whakapapa follows.]

Ko tenei tangata he tangata tuturu ia na te Kawanatanga no / toona tamarikitanga toona piripono, ki te Karauna tae noa ki / toona matenga. Ko ona turanga i te aroaro o te Karauna he / pirihimana he tangata pikau i te meera o Whanganui ki Poneke he / apiha hoia he kapene he meiha he ateha kooti hara ka mutu oona / turanga. He tangata kaha rangimarie hohourongo. / Heoi naku na / Rora Hihipa ki te Rangi.

[Note: spelling as in the original, but word division and punctuation have been modified.]

Right and reverse faces

The remaining faces feature extended quotations from T.W. Gudgeon, The defenders of New Zealand (1887), including tributes to Te Keepa from Colonel George Whitmore and Sir Walter Buller.

Further information

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