Wāka Nene NZ Wars memorial

Wāka Nene NZ Wars memorial

This memorial is situated in the grounds of Christ Church in Russell, the Bay of Islands town formerly known as Kororāreka. It was erected by the government in 1873 to honour the loyalty, wisdom and military prowess of the Ngāpuhi chief Tāmati Wāka Nene.

Nene died on 4 August 1871 and was buried in the grounds of Christ Church. Governor Sir George Bowen wrote in a dispatch to London that he had been the Māori leader who ‘did more than any other … to establish the Queen’s authority and promote colonization’.

This Celtic-inspired memorial was designed by C. Munro of Dunedin. Its prominence in the grounds of Christ Church reflects the esteem in which Nene was held.

Bowen unveiled the memorial on 19 March 1873 in one of his last acts as Governor of New Zealand. Later that month he became Governor of Victoria.


Front face:

IHS / In memory of / Tamati Waka Nene / Chief of Ngapuhi / the first to welcome / the Queen’s sovereignty / in / New Zealand. / A consistent supporter / of the pakeha. / This stone is erected / by the / Government of the Colony / which for upwards of 34 years / he faithfully upheld. / Sage in counsel, / renowned in war. / He died regretted by all / the inhabitants of these islands / at Russell / on the / 4 August / 1871.

Face [B]:

Rutu / te pouaru a / Tamati Waaka Nene / i mate i te / 24 o nga ra o Akuhata / 1879.

Further information

  • The monument to Tamati Waka Nene’, Daily Southern Cross, 20 March 1873
  • The Governor at the Bay of Islands’, Waikato Times, 25 March 1873
  • Historic places’, Poverty Bay Herald, 10 March 1899
  • James Belich, ‘The Northern War’, in The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian interpretation of racial conflict, Penguin, Auckland, 1998, pp. 29–70
  • Nigel Prickett, ‘The Northern War, 1845–46’, in Landscapes of conflict: a field guide to the New Zealand Wars, Random House, Auckland, 2002, pp. 38–47

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