Following the Crown’s hollow victory at Oraakau, the next theatre of battle in what we have more accurately called New Zealand’s ‘Civil War’ (the wars involved British subjects fighting British subjects) shifted to the rohe of Ngaiterangi, where they faced the newly built paa at Pukehinahina (Gate Paa). Following heavy bombardment the British charged the paa where they found, not a beaten foe, but a killing zone, from which they retreated in disarray leaving a hundred dead or wounded. While Maaori would a few days later suffer a heavy defeat at Te Ranga, Governor Grey had had enough, and decided to sue for peace. But while the fighting had ended, the injustices would endure for generations.
The commemoration event was a solemn and highly emotional occasion attended by Kiingi Tuheitia, Te Whirinaki a te Kiingi, Makau Ariki Atawhai, te Tumuaki and Kahui Ariki representative Tukoroirangi Morgan. Rangatira o te motu were present along with thousands of others. Tukoroirangi Morgan challenged retiring Maaori Party co-leader Pita Sharples to act decisively to return all the sites of the main battles to their original Maaori owners, along with funding to create and maintain the sites in perpetuity. The King will be closely following progress on this important kaupapa.