The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume I (1845–64)
South of New Plymouth towards the end of 1863 the chief activity of the Taranaki was the construction of a strongly entrenched position at Kaitake, on a north-western spur of the Patua Range; the pa was on the bold skyline of this ridge as seen from the main road at Oakura. The distance from the Oakura River mouth to the pa was about three miles. The local chief and engineer of this fortification was Patara Raukatauri, of the Taranaki Tribe; he afterwards gained celebrity as one of the emissaries or prophets sent out to Te Ua to preach the fanatic gospel of the Pai-marire among the East Coast tribes. (Patara, however, was a man of far milder character than his fellow-prophets, and did not enter into the deeds of savagery of which Kereopa was guilty.) Kaitake was a well-planned stronghold, situated in an excellent position for defence, on a steep, high ridge, with a frontal stockade covering the terminal of the spur, and two parapeted redoubts, one in rear of the other, on the heights. There were also skilfully arranged rifle-pits flanking the direct approach to the pas. In December, 1863, Colonel Warre shelled the place with the Armstrong field-guns, but the final operations were deferred until the following year. The Government was now bringing in military settlers, many of them from Victoria, and the force in the province amounted to about two thousand men, including a thousand Regular troops.
It is now necessary to break the narrative of events in Taranaki, where the fighting assumed a new phase with the rise of the Pai-marire religion, and turn to the outbreak and progress of the Waikato War, 1863–64.