Rangiaowhia burned whare memorial

Red carved Māori pouwhenua (land post)

Stone and metal plinth in front of fence and grass paddock Detail of bronze plaque with gold coloured text in te reo Māori and English

At dawn on 21 February 2014, on the 150th anniversary of the attack by British forces on the village of Rangiaowhia during the Waikato War, iwi gathered to unveil a memorial stone near the site of a whare burned down during the attack.

The context and some of the details of what happened at Rangiaowhia on 21 February 1864 have been disputed, but what is clear is that at daybreak on that day (a Sunday) a strong force of cavalry and foot soldiers made a surprise attack on the largely undefended village. Many of the villagers fled; a few shot at the troops; some took refuge in the churches; at least one whare was set alight and as many as eight people burned to death; three men were killed while trying to surrender.

The wording on the plaque set into the memorial stone evokes the bitter memories that persist to the present day: "Ko tēnei kōwhatu hei / whakamaumaharatanga i / te  pāhuatanga I pā ki runga i a / Ngāti Apakura, Ngāti Hinetu me / ngā iwi ki konei ki Rangiaowhia / i te 21 o Pēpuere, 1864. // I huraina i te Pēpuere, 2014 /// This stone is a memorial to / the atrocities suffered by / Ngāti Apakura, Ngāti Hinetu / and others here at Rangiaowhia / on the 21st of February, 1864. /// Unveiled on the 21st of February / 2014".

The memorial is situated at the intersection of Rangiaowhia and Puahue roads. As well as the memorial stone, it features white stones, river stones, a peach tree, a grass lawn and a raised and planted bank, each with its own symbolic meaning. In 2015 Ngāti Apakura also erected a pou with carvings that similarly evoke the area's history in the Catholic cemetery at the other end of the village. In 2019 one of the marker posts for the Te Ara Wai Rangiaowhia-O-Rākau heritage trail was installed beside the memorial stone.

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