The story of a conflict that shaped Tauranga, the Battle of Gate Pa, is to be told for the first time in a museum-style setting where people can step back into history.

Greerton Hall will be transformed into an exhibition where people walk two pathways leading to a model of the field of battle - one that follows the story of a Maori warrior and the other a colonial soldier.

It was due to open on Sunday, April 27, two days before the official 150th commemoration of the Battle of Gate Pa.

The Battle of Gate Pa Trust had engaged Tereora Crane to produce the exhibition and was now seeking funding, sponsorship and support in order to see the project through to completion.


The idea for a mini-museum to tell the story from two perspectives was the brainchild of former city councillor Terry Molloy and Te Puna author Tommy Kapai Wilson.

It led to the formation of the trust to take responsibility for fundraising and overall control of the project. "It is a two-year project that we are trying to squeeze into six months."

Mr Molloy said it was the first time something of this size had been attempted to explain the battle in which 250 Maori warriors repelled an overwhelming British force after a day-long artillery bombardment.

"The story has never been produced in this way and it is something that really does need to be told."

He said examining the story through two perspectives made it a lot more accessible and put context around what led up to the battle and its bloody aftermath.

Mr Molloy said the exhibition would help people understand the impact of the battle whose effects were still being felt today through the Treaty settlements.

Mr Crane said they would be sharing the story in an interactive way so people could draw their own conclusions.

Splitting the hall into two pathways that traced the journeys of a nameless warrior and soldier symbolised how history was not one path but was divergent.


Mr Crane said each trail would end at the battle ground, with people taking the warrior's path looking across to those who took the soldier's path and visa versa. People would then swap trails.

The trust expected that admission would be free for children, with adults most likely to be asked to make a donation.