Disagreements over the validity of land purchases by the New Zealand Company led to a series of skirmishes between local Māori and government forces in the Wellington region from 1845 to 1846.
The prominent Ngāti Toa chief Te Rangihaeata backed local Māori who opposed European settlement in Hutt Valley. However, Te Mamaku of Ngāti Haua-te-rangi of Whanganui led the attack on the British outpost at Boulcott Farm (now within the suburb of Epuni). He had come to Hutt Valley with 200 warriors to support both Te Rangihaeata and kin in the area.
The taua crossed the Heretaunga (Hutt) River at dawn and surprised the garrison. Six soldiers were killed and two more Europeans were mortally wounded in the attack, a demoralising blow to the settler community. An armed patrol was ambushed near Taitā a month later, with four further fatalities. In July Governor George Grey responded by arresting Ngāti Toa’s paramount chief, Te Rauparaha. Te Rangihaeata withdrew from Battle Hill above the Horokiri Valley in mid-August, effectively ending Ngāti Toa resistance in the Wellington region.