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Māhoetahi NZ Wars memorial cross


In early November 1860, 150 Ngāti Hauā reinforcements led by Wetini Taiporutu arrived in Taranaki to ‘kill soldiers’. On 5 November they occupied the old pā site of Māhoetahi, a ‘small volcanic hump’ between New Plymouth and Waitara. Next morning they were caught unawares by Major-General Thomas Pratt and a force of 1000 British troops who by coincidence were planning to occupy the site. With their defences incomplete, Ngāti Hauā were quickly routed.

Nearly a third of the Māori force was killed. Most of these casualties were buried in a mass grave on the western slope of Māhoetahi. Wetini and several other chiefs killed at Māhoetahi were buried in the grounds of St Mary’s vicarage in New Plymouth.

A wooden cross to mark the mass grave was erected in 1911. In 1941 it was replaced by this cross erected by the New Zealand government. Part of the original wooden cross is held at Puke Ariki Museum in New Plymouth.

Māhoetahi is 13 km from New Plymouth, beside the highway to Waitara.


Me whakamaharatanga I nga Rangatira Toa o Waikato. / A Wetini Taiporutu ma I hinga ki konei tata, / I te Parekura I turia I te 6 Nowema 1860 / Erected / by / the N.Z.Govt.

In remembrance of the brave chiefs of Waikato, of Wetini Taiporutu and his comrades who fell close to this spot in the battle fought on the 6th November 1860.


Images: David Green, 2009

How to cite this page

Māhoetahi NZ Wars memorial cross, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated