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Rāpata Wahawaha's ceremonial sword


This Scottish officer's sword was presented to Ngāti Porou leader Major Rāpata Wahawaha for his service to the Crown during the New Zealand Wars.

This sword is one of six given to Maori chiefs by Queen Victoria in recognition of their service during the New Zealand Wars. The idea of the gifts is attributed to Native Minister Sir Donald McLean, who felt that the government should formally acknowledge Māori who fought on behalf of the Crown.

Rāpata Wahawaha was presented with this sword during a ceremony at the Mount Cook Barracks in Wellington on 20 June 1870. This event was recorded in detail by the Wellington Independent newspaper, 21 June 1870.

Detail of sword

A detail from the sword. The inscription on the blade reads: 'Given by Queen Victoria to Ropata Wahawaha for his unfailing loyalty and valour'.


National Army Museum Te Mata Toa 
Accession Number: 1997.490 
Permission of the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

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Rāpata Wahawaha's ceremonial sword, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated