Battle of Gate Pa: Significant day for Tauranga

By Sonya Bateson

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Representatives from different Maori tribes all over the country converged at the Pukehinahina Reserve yesterday to experience Battle of Gate Pa commemorations. Photo/John Borren
Representatives from different Maori tribes all over the country converged at the Pukehinahina Reserve yesterday to experience Battle of Gate Pa commemorations. Photo/John Borren

Having ancestors on both sides of the Battle of Gate Pa made the 150th anniversary significant for Tauranga's Shane Tata.

"I have family history in it. I'm also a serving soldier and I've been following the events here in Tauranga since Anzac Day. I went it the Domain to watch the live re-enactment."

Mr Tata said he had enjoyed watching the pou being erected alongside of Cameron Rd at the historic reserve. "It has given the place a bit more mana."

The Battle of Gate Pa afternoon commemoration activities attracted about 3000 people.

The hill at the site was lined with people and many pushed to the front with their cameras and cellphones to take pictures and videos of the procession.

Tauranga woman Denise Woodward's mother was of Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Ranginui descent, two Tauranga iwi involved in the Battle of Gate Pa.

"I was born and raised in Tauranga and I was aware of some of the history of the Battle of Gate Pa growing up.

"I think it was a significant turn of events for our area between our people and the Europeans."

Mrs Woodward thought it was "wonderful" the 150th anniversary of the battle was being recognised as an important part of local history.

She said the events that had been held on the anniversary of the battle and in the lead-up to the day had been "outstanding".

"They've been interesting, well run and meaningful. The schedule and events of the day were very meaningful, I would have liked to come for the whole day, I've been here since about midday."

She also attended a church service, where the reading was about showing kindness and mercy to enemies.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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