Sap at Te Ārei today

At the end of 1860, Major-General Pratt decided on a new approach in a bid to achieve victory in the Taranaki War. Instead of sporadic assaults he now set out to bring continuous pressure to bear on the Māori cordon around New Plymouth by using the siege warfare tactic of sapping. A long covered trench would be dug towards the target, allowing men to move closer to it without being exposed to direct fire. Redoubts would be built to cover the sap, with the intention of either forcing Māori back or tempting them into an unwise attack.

The last section of ‘Pratt’s long sap’ below his final target, the pā at Te Ārei, has been preserved. A traverse was dug to the left, towards Māori rifle pits that extended from the left of the pā on the crest of the hill.

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