Winiata Pekanui Memorial, Maketu

Maori Inscription English Inscription

The most imposing structure in the churchyard of St Thomas’s Anglican Church, Maketu, is a tall, finely detailed stone column surmounted by a funerary urn. The column bears the following inscription: “In memory of / Winiata Pekanui / Tohiteururangi / a chief of the Arawa tribe / who fell mortally wounded / at Kaokaoroa / on the 28th day of April 1864. / While gallantly leading on / his people to repel an attack / of the East Coast tribes / then in rebellion. / This monument is raised / by the Government of the Colony / in recognition of his unflinching/ loyalty to the Queen.”  The same text is given in Māori on the other side.

On 28 April 1864 the Te Arawa chief Winiata Pekanui Tohi Te Urarangi, also known as Wynyard Beckham (or, according to some accounts, Beckham Wynyard) was fatally wounded during a battle between supporters of the Māori King and pro-Government forces at Kaokaoroa on the coastline south of Maketu.

At least one report from the time states that Winiata was buried near the meeting house known as Putangaru at Maketu; later accounts suggest that he was interred at Ohinemutu instead. Several years after his death, the Government erected a monument in his honour at St Thomas’s church. The exact date of unveiling has not been recorded, but it must have been not long after the monument was unloaded from the steamer Luna at the Maketu wharf on 9 August 1874.

Sources: ‘The War in Auckland: Maketu’, Daily Southern Cross, 7/5/1864, p. 5;  ‘Maketu’, Daily Southern Cross, 12/5/1864, p. 4; ‘Telegraphic’, Daily Southern Cross, 11/8/1874, p. 3; Enid Tapsell, Historic Maketu, Rotorua, new ed., Reed, 2000 [1940], pp. 73-4; D.M. Stafford, Te Arawa, Reed, 1967, pp. 375-9; Jennifer Curnow, ‘Tohi Te Ururangi’, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, 1990.

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