Meremere from Whangamarino Redoubt

Meremere from Whangamarino Redoubt

Detail of image

Charles Heaphy’s sketch of Mere-Mere from Whangamarino Redoubt, 1863. This illustration shows a view from above the fortification with three cannon in the foreground. Though apparently poorly aimed, the gun at left is firing on the Kīngitanga position at Meremere, about 2 km away. The gunboat Pioneer is on the Waikato River below the fortification.

Meremere was the first major Māori defensive position occupied following the British invasion of 12 July. At its peak perhaps a thousand men under the overall command of Ngāti Hauā leader Wiremu Tāmihana were on hand. Every tribe which acknowledged the authority of King Tāwhiao had warriors at Meremere.

On 31 October 1863, 600 men of the 40th and 65th regiments supported by two 12-pounder Armstrong guns were loaded on the Pioneer, Avon and four barges and landed 10 km upriver from Meremere. General Cameron’s intention was to cut off Meremere from its supporting position at Pukekawā on the other side of the river. A land force ensured that the Māori position was attacked from both north and south. Meremere’s defenders were outflanked and had little choice but to withdraw to the east that evening. Next day the British occupied the abandoned position.

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