Teasdale NZ Wars memorial

Teasdale NZ Wars memorial

This memorial obelisk stands in a council reserve on the corner of Tawhiao Street and McKenna Place in the Waikato town of Te Awamutu. It is known as the Teasdale memorial, a name taken from a nearby settlement scheme that post-dated the New Zealand Wars. The memorial is dedicated to 11 unknown imperial troops who died during the New Zealand Wars and are thought to be buried nearby.

The Teasdale memorial was erected through the work of Edith Statham, Inspector of Old Soldiers’ Graves for the Department of Internal Affairs. The land on which the memorial stands, reserve lot 118, was formerly part of a garrison cemetery established in 1864. Little more is currently known about the site, which Statham identified as the burial place of 11 imperial troops.

Te Awamutu had grown on the site of Ōtāwhao mission station, which was established by the Church Missionary Society in 1841. In the autumn of 1864, Lieutenant-General Duncan Cameron selected the mission as his frontier headquarters and winter camp.

Three redoubts were built in Te Awamutu in 1864. Shortly after their arrival, troops of the 40th Regiment threw up ‘a large redoubt capable of holding 500 men’ on what is now Redoubt Street. The 65th Regiment also constructed a redoubt, on the western side of what is now Albert Park.

The 57th Regiment built the third redoubt beside the Mangaohoi Stream, near the intersection of Gorst and Mutu Streets. This was the closest of the three redoubts to the cemetery reserve, which is about 500 m away. It is possible, although by no means certain, that some of the 11 imperial troops buried here belonged to the 57th Regiment.

Within the triangle formed by the redoubts, buildings were erected or commandeered for military use. They included buildings for the general staff, commissariat, artillery and engineers, as well as a post office, a bakery and a general hospital. Up to 4000 troops were based at Te Awamutu, which – along with posts nearby – was garrisoned by imperial troops until the end of 1864.

In a letter to Under-Secretary for Internal Affairs James Hislop on 13 November 1916, Statham noted that ‘the people who know of these historical spots are fast passing away, and unless the information is obtained now, and some action taken, it will be entirely lost’. The Teasdale memorial was approved three days later.

The obelisk, designed by a Mr Prickett, was completed by 16 July 1917. However months of research did not bring to light the names of the 11 men buried in the cemetery reserve and, on 3 October 1917, Miss Statham recommended the general inscription seen today. The Teasdale memorial was erected on 16 April 1918.

Additional images

Memorial detail sign


In memory / of / 11 men of H.M. forces / who lost their lives / in the Waikato war. / They live in memory by their deeds

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