Moutoa NZ Wars memorial c1865

Moutoa NZ Wars memorial c1865

The grateful European citizens of Whanganui interpreted the victory at Moutoa as a sign of the absolute loyalty of lower Whanganui River Māori. They dug deep into their pockets and commissioned a statue and flag to honour ‘loyal’ Māori who had stood firm against the Pai Mārire threat. The memorial was erected near the river, at Pākaitore, a sandy beach where Māori canoes traditionally moored for trade and exchange. This site became known as Moutoa Gardens. The inscription on the memorial – New Zealand’s first war memorial – reads:

To the memory of those brave men who fell at Moutoa 14 May 1864 in defence of law and order against fanaticism and barbarism.

The Rutland Stockade and associated blockhouses can be seen in the background of this photo.

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