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The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864

4

4.

Colonel Greer to the Deputy Quarter-Master-General
Camp Te Papa; Tauranga,
21st June, 1864.

Sir,—I have the honour to report for the information of the Lieutenant-General Commanding that I marched out of Camp with a force as per margin. (3 Field Officers, 9 Captains, 14 Subalterns, 24 Sergeants, 13 Buglers, 531 Rank and file) this morning at 8 a.m.

I found a large force of Maoris (about 600) entrenching themselves about four miles beyond Pukehinahina. They had made a single line of rifle pits of the usual form across the road in a position exactly similar to Pukehinahina—the commencement of a formidable pa. Having driven in some skirmishers they had thrown out I extended the 43rd and a portion of the 68th in their front and on the flanks as far as practicable, and kept up a sharp fire for about two hours, while I sent back for re-inforcements as per margin (1 gun, 220 men). As soon as they were sufficiently near in order to support I sounded the advance, when the 43rd., 68th. and First Waikato Militia charged and carried the rifle pits in the most dashing manner, under a tremendous fire, but which was for the most part too high.

For a few minutes the Maoris fought desperately when they were utterly routed. Sixty-eight were killed in the rifle pits. The position was a very favourable one for their retreat; otherwise few could have escaped. The advance force pursued them several miles, page 39 but could not get well at them owing to the deep ravines with which the country is everywhere intersected. The infantry pursued as long as they could keep the Maoris in sight. All did their duty gallantly.

The 43rd. was under the command of Major Synge (whose horse was shot); the 68th. under Major Shuttleworth, the First Waikato Militia under Captain Moore, and they each led their men well.

It is impossible for me in this hurried report to do justice. I will therefore have the pleasure in a subsequent report to bring those to your notice who more particularly distinguished themselves.

I marched the men back to camp this morning.

107 Maoris were found and carried up to the rifle pits, and we have brought in 27 wounded, all severely, and 10 prisoners. Many more must have been killed in the ravines, whom we did not find.

I enclose a report which shows that a large number of Chiefs have been killed, including Rawiri. I am happy to say our casualties have been comparatively small.

I enclose a report of the killed and wounded.

I must not conclude without remarking on the gallant stand made by the Maoris at the rifle pits; they stood the charge without flinching, and did not retire until forced out at the point of the bayonet.

The name of the position which the Maoris occupied is “Te Ranga.”

I have thought this of sufficient importance to request Captain Phillimore to take my report up in the “Esk.”

I have, etc.,

H. H. GREER,


Colonel Commanding Tauranga District.
Memorandum
The casualties among the rebels in the engagement fought this day at Te Ranga were:—
Killed … …105*
Wounded …27
Prisoners …10

Among the former are Rawiri Tuaia, a principal King or Chief of Tauranga, and the Leader of the rebels at Gate Pa; Poihipi, of the Whahatohea Tribe (Bay of Plenty); Henare Taratoa, the writer of the first challenge, and much respected by the rebels for his education and ability; Timoti, a man of note in Tauranga; Kaingarara of the Ngatimataku, a man of great influence in that locality.

Among the wounded is Te Tera of the Ngaiterangi, Tauranga, and among the prisoners Ihaia Motuiti of Te Arawa, Potoma, claiming to be a chief of rank.

page 40

It will be seen that a severe blow has been given to the rebel forces at Tauranga, nearly the whole of their leaders being killed, and I do not think there are any men left of sufficient energy or influence to carry on the war among the Ngaiterangi (Tauranga) tribe.

WILLIAM B. BAKER, R.M.

Camp, Te Papa,
21st June, 1864.