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War in Tauranga

Page 1 – Introduction

Sketch of Gate Pā
Sketch of Gate Pā

In January 1864 the Waikato campaign spread to Tauranga. A 700-strong British force commanded by Brigadier-General G.J. Carey arrived by sea from Auckland with orders to prevent the flow of reinforcements and supplies from local Ngāi Te Rangi to the Kīngitanga fighters in Waikato. Men of Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and other Tauranga Māori who had been fighting in Waikato returned home to oppose the occupation of their lands.

There were two decisive actions in this phase of the New Zealand Wars. In late April, at Pukehinahina (the Gate Pā), 250 Ngāi Te Rangi inflicted a heavy defeat on a British force totalling 1700 men. This debacle embarrassed the British military and its leadership. Two months later face was saved when a Māori force of 500 men was heavily defeated at Te Ranga after being caught in the open while trying to complete their fortifications. In July, Ngāi Te Rangi pledged peace and surrendered some of their weapons.

Pākehā settlers urged Governor George Grey and the military to press home their advantage. Their imperial masters thought otherwise. London wanted an end to the expensive campaign in New Zealand and made clear its intention to begin withdrawing British troops.

How to cite this page

War in Tauranga, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated