Paremata barracks

Paremata barracks

Historic Fort Paremata, 1846, drawn in 1951 by Arthur Messenger.

The remains of the barracks today.

Near the Mana Cruising Club in Ngatitoa Domain are the remains of the Paremata barracks, a turreted two-storey stone structure built on Governor George Grey’s instructions in 1846.

The site had views over both the entrance to Porirua Harbour and the coastal route north from Wellington. It was the perfect spot from which to disrupt the supply and reinforcement of the ‘rebel’ Māori in Hutt Valley. But by the time the barracks was completed in 1847, there was little strategic need for it. This was just as well, as severe earthquakes in 1848 made the building unusable. The lesson was learned, and plans for future redoubts were less ambitious.

Troops camped beside the barracks, which was surrounded by a stockade, until 1852. Whareaitu (‘Martin Luther’), a Whanganui chief captured at Matai-Taua, was hanged here as a rebel in September 1846.

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