Normanby NZ Wars memorial

Normanby NZ Wars memorial

The Normanby memorial records the names of 52 colonial servicemen who died in south Taranaki during the late 1860s. Although the main inscription refers to Tītokowaru’s War of 1868–9, eight of the men died during Major Thomas McDonnell’s 1866 campaign.

The memorial only hints at the ambush and raid tactics employed by Tītokowaru against colonial forces. Sawyers David Cahill, William Clarke (Clark) and Thomas Squires, for example, were killed near Waingongoro at the opening of Tītokowaru’s campaign on 9 June 1868. Three days later Trooper Smith was ambushed outside the Waihī redoubt, just north of Hāwera, while searching for his horse. Captain Frederick James Ross and nine of his men were killed during a raid on Turuturumokai redoubt on 12 July 1868.

Such actions were part of Tītokowaru’s strategy of controlled provocation, which bore fruit in mid-1868 when the colonial forces embarked on a full-scale attack on Tītokowaru’s pā, Te Ngutu o te Manu, near Kaponga. After an initial attempt in early August was abandoned, four soldiers were killed in McDonnell’s second attack on the pā on 21 August 1868. Major Gustavus von Tempsky was one of 24 colonial soldiers killed in the ill-fated third, and final, assault two weeks later.

The Normanby memorial was erected nearly 45 years after the fighting at Te Ngutu o te Manu. John Finlay, a south Taranaki veteran of the New Zealand Wars, raised some £120, and a government grant covered the remaining costs. Although its designer or architect is unknown, the memorial was built by Jones & Sons of Hāwera. It was unveiled on 29 May 1912 by the prime minister and MP for Egmont, Thomas Mackenzie.

This memorial stands in Normanby Domain, on Ketemarae Road in the south Taranaki town of Normanby. Formerly known as Victoria Park, the domain was the site of a redoubt built by settlers in 1879 to defend the district from a perceived threat from Parihaka.

Additional images

Detail from memorial Detail from memorial Detail from memorial Detail from memorial

Images from c. 1986

The memorial in c1986 The memorial in c1986 The memorial in c1986


Front (east) face:

1912 / Lest we forget / This monument / was erected / to perpetuate / the memory of / a number of soldiers / who lost their lives / in this neighbourhood / during the Maori War / 1868 & 1869. / By numerous friends / subsidised by a grant / from the Government. / Also of the loyal Maoris / who fell whilst fighting / for the Queen. / Rev. Father Rolland / who spiritually ministered to the soldiers / during the war / died at Reefton July 13, 1903.

Rear (west) face:

Augst. 1st. 1866.
Privt. Spain. T.M.S. [Taranaki Military Settlers]

Sept. 23rd. 1866
Trooper Haggarty W.Y.C. [Wanganui Yeomanry Cavalry]

Oct. 1866
Sergt. Duff. W.Y.C.
Privt. Green. Wnui.Ra. [Wanganui Rangers]
Vol. Wright.
Trooper Handley. W.Y.C.
Privt. Economedes. W.R. [Wellington Rifles]

Dec. 1866
Trooper Higinson. W.Y.C.

July 1868
Privt. Shean. Wn.Ra. [Wellington Rangers]
[Private] McCarthy.

Augst. 21st. 1868
Privt. Wallace. Wn.Ra.
[Private] Kerr. [Wellington Rangers]
[Private] Geary. [Wellington Rangers]
Const. McKoy. A.C. [Armed Constabulary]
Const. McKay. A.C.
Const. Dwyer. A.C.

Privt. McFarland.
Privt. Mitchell.

Left (south) face:

June 9th 1868
Sergeant Cahill.
Private Clarke.
[Private] Squires.

June 12th 1868
Trooper Smith. A.C.

July 12th 1868
Captain Ross. A.C.
Sergeant McFadden. [A.C.]
Corporal Blake. [A.C.]
Constable Beamish. [A.C.]
[Constable] Gaynor. [A.C.]
[Constable] Holden. [A.C.]
[Constable] Ross. [A.C.]
Constables / Swords. A.C. / Shields. A.C.
R. Lennon. Storekeeper.

Sept. 1868

Privt. McGinesky Wn.Ra.

Jones & Sons, Hawera.

Right (north) face:

Sept. 7th 1868.
Major Von Tempsky. F.Ra. [Forest Rangers]
Captain Palmer. P.Ri. [Patea Rifles]
[Captain] Buck. Wn.Ri. [Wellington Rifles]
Lieut. Hastings. Wn.Ri.
[Lieutenant] Hunter. [Wellington Rifles]
Corpl. Fennesy. A.C.
[Corporal] Russell. [A.C.]
[Corporal] Lumsden. Wn.Ri.
Privt. Grant. Wn.Ri.
[Private] Hughes. Wn.Ri.
[Private] Downs. P.Ri.
[Private] Darlington. [Patea Rifles]
[Private] Deeks. T.Vol. [Taranaki Volunteers]
Constables / Davis. A.C. / Elkin. [A.C.] / Farren [Farrand]. [A.C.] / Gilligan. [A.C.] / Hart. [A.C.] / O’Connor. [A.C.]

Further information

  • James Belich, ‘Titokowaru and the brink of victory’, in The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian interpretation of racial conflict, Penguin, Auckland, 1998, pp. 235–57
  • James Cowan, ‘Taranaki redoubts, 1879–81’, in The New Zealand Wars: a history of the Maori campaigns and the pioneering period: volume II: the Hauhau wars, 1864–72, R.E. Owen, Wellington, 1956, pp. 515–17
  • Arthur Fryer, Normanby and its school, Normanby School 125th Jubilee Committee, Normanby, 2001
  • Kete New Plymouth, ‘South Taranaki wars memorial’
  • Chris Maclean and Jock Phillips, The sorrow and the pride: New Zealand war memorials, GP Books, Wellington, 1990, p. 30
  • ‘Soldiers’ memorial’, Poverty Bay Herald, 30 May 1912. Note that ‘Waipi’ Cemetery is actually Waihī Cemetery.

Community contributions

3 comments have been posted about Normanby NZ Wars memorial

What do you know?

JO HOAnonymous

Posted: 10 Sep 2022

TITOKOWARU RIWHA grandfather was OTENE HOHAIA born in MANGAMUKA of the NGATIMANU descendant of PATUONE


Posted: 06 Mar 2018

Trooper Michael Haggerty - Wanganui Yeomanary Cavalry was killed in action 2nd Sept. 1866, not 23rd as stated.