Pukearuhe NZ Wars memorial

Pukearuhe NZ Wars memorial

This memorial is known as the Pukearuhe or White Cliffs memorial. It stands in Te Henui Cemetery, which in the late 19th century was known as New Plymouth Cemetery. It is commemorates the eight people who died in the attack on Pukearuhe Redoubt on 13 February 1869.

Less than a month after the incident, on 12 March 1869, a committee was formed ‘for the purpose of raising funds to erect a monument’ in memory of those who had died at Pukearuhe. That evening the committee agreed to a number of proposals. One was that the memorial would be placed ‘in some conspicuous part of the New Plymouth Cemetery’. Another was that the voluntary contributions given by each person should not exceed 10s (equivalent to $60 in 2018).

Requests for subscriptions were advertised weekly from 20 March to 1 May 1869. At a committee meeting on 15 November, it was announced that the collection totalled £53 16s. Payments for sundry expenses reduced the net amount to £48 17s, but the chairman, Mr Hulke, was hopeful that £50 ($6600) could be raised.

Hulke suggested that the monument be made from beach stone with a marble inscription tablet. A sub-committee was formed to determine the inscription. It is unclear why this does not refer to the oldest Gascoigne child, Laura, aged five, who also died that day. The inscription on the family grave, also in Te Henui Cemetery, states:

Maori War. / In honoured memory / of / Lieutenant Bamber Gascoigne / aged 38 years, / Annie Gascoigne / aged 27 years, / and their children / Laura (5), Cecil John (3) Louisa Annie (1), / slain by a hostile party of Maoris / at Pukearuhe, White Cliffs, / on 13th February 1869. / Erected by N.Z. Govt.

It is also unclear exactly when the memorial was constructed. The memorial committee sought tenders from masons for its erection on 18 and 23 November 1870, with a deadline of the 24th. No further progress reports seem to have appeared in local newspapers.

It is assumed that the memorial was erected during 1871. It was certainly standing in Te Henui Cemetery by 9 July 1877, when it was referred to in a Herald article. Today, the lettering on the north and left faces is almost indecipherable.

Additional images

Detail from memorial Detail from memorial


Front (north):
Erected by voluntary / contributions in memory of / eight persons who were / massacred by rebel natives / at the White Cliffs / on the 13th February 1869

Left (east):
Bamber Gascoigne aged 38 years
Annie [aged]  27 years
Cecil John [aged] 3 years
Louisa Annie [aged] 1 year

Rear (south):
John Milne aged 40 years
Edward Richards [aged] 35 years

Right (west):
Rev John Whiteley / missionary to the Maories / amongst whom he laboured / with untiring activity and / zeal for a period of 37 years. / A true friend of both races / aged 62 / He being dead yet speaketh.

Further information

Community contributions

2 comments have been posted about Pukearuhe NZ Wars memorial

What do you know?


Posted: 01 Jul 2013

The monument has not been shifted.

Bamber Gascoyne Miller

Posted: 15 Mar 2013

I wish to know if the monument has been shifted from its original site, as requested by a Maori group. If so, to where? I am the grandnephew of Bamber Gascoigne