This 1865 painting looking down the lower Waitōtara River shows a kāinga (Māori village) on the left bank and a military camp at right. Weraroa pā was on the hill.
Governor Grey was determined to snuff out the Pai Mārire threat to Whanganui and south Taranaki. In early 1865 he despatched General Duncan Cameron and 2000 troops to to recapture the Waitōtara block for the Crown. Cameron’s cautious approach frustrated Grey and saw the general nicknamed ‘the Lame Seagull’.
On 21 July, Grey seized an opportunity for publicity by accompanying a force of Māori allies, volunteer cavalry and Forest Rangers which entered the pā after it was abandoned by its defenders.