A brightly illustrated bilingual children's book about the Battle of Gate Pa and Taratoa's Code of Conduct has been published by Debbie McCauley.

The book has been illustrated by Debbie's 15-year-old daughter Sophie.

The author has lived in Gate Pa for the past 19 years, on land that was most likely confiscated after the Battle of Gate Pa in 1864. Taratoa and the Code of Conduct: A story from the Battle of Gate Pa is Debbie's second book.

"It's a beautiful story that many people don't know about. I felt it needs to be told," Debbie says.


"It's also an important story historically, and I have tried to tell it in an unbiased way."

The book tells the story of Taratoa's Code of Conduct and how compassionate actions improved the way wounded soldiers from all sides were treated. Fact boxes and a timeline are included, and add historical detail to Taratoa's story which is commemorated in a chapel at Lichfield Cathedral in England, as well as on a marble frieze at Tauranga's Mission Cemetery.

Thousands of hours of research have gone into the project. Debbie says she initially had a hard time finding an illustrator, and decided to ask her daughter Sophie, who loves art and drawing, to work with her on the book.

"I didn't think I was good enough and it was a little frustrating at times, but it was really good to work together.

"We're already planning the next project," Sophie says.

Taratoa and the Code of Conduct: A story from the Battle of Gate Pa is suitable for children of all ages.

"It's great for class readings as it can be read out loud in about three minutes, and school libraries are showing a keen interest," Debbie says.

They say there is no profit involved in the project.


"We just feel that the story should be out there. It's a story our community can be proud of. We would love to find a funder so all children in Merivale, Gate Pa, Greerton Village schools could get a copy."

Debbie has also just found out that her Gate Pa poem Woman Wahine (Tauranga, 29 April 1864) has been selected as a finalist in the Gate Pa Poetry Competition. National Poet Laureate, Vince O'Sullivan, will judge the competition and the winner will be announced today.

The book can be purchased at Books A Plenty on Grey St, Tauranga and online.

The finals of the Gate Pa Poetry Competition and readings will be held today at 5.30pm at Elizabeth Cafe and Larder, 247 Cameron Rd, Tauranga.

Need to know

The book launch for Taratoa and the Code of Conduct: A story from the Battle of Gate Pa will be on Saturday, March 15, in the children's section of Tauranga City Library from 3pm to 5pm. Please RSVP to Tauranga City Library on 577 7177.