Mahoetahi NZ Wars memorial cross

In early November 1860, 150 Ngāti Hauā reinforcements led by Wetini Taiporutu arrived in Taranaki. These warriors wanted to ‘kill soldiers themselves.’ Wetini and his men arrived at the old pa site of Mahoetahi, a ‘small volcanic hump’ between New Plymouth and Waitara, on 5 November. The next morning they were caught unawares by Major-General Thomas Pratt and a force of 1000 British troops who by coincidence were planning to occupy the same site. With their defences incomplete the Ngāti Hauā garrison was quickly routed.

Nearly a third of the Māori force was killed. Most of the casualties were buried in a mass grave on the western slope of Mahoetahi. Wetini and several other chiefs killed at Mahoetahi were buried in the grounds of St Mary’s vicarage in New Plymouth.

A wooden cross to mark the mass grave was erected in 1911. It was replaced by this cross erected by the New Zealand government in 1941. Part of the original wooden cross is held at Puke Ariki museum in New Plymouth.

Mahoetahi is located 13 km from New Plymouth beside the highway to Waitara.


Me whakamaharatanga I nga Rangatira Toa o Waikato. / A Wetini Taiporutu ma I hinga ki konei tata, / I te Parekura I turia I te 6 Nowema 1860 / Erected / by / the N.Z.Govt.

In remembrance of the brave chiefs of Waikato, of Wetini Taiporutu and his comrades who fell close to this spot in the battle fought on the 6th November 1860.

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