It has been 153 years since the Battle of Gate Pa, but the people and stories of those times have been immortalised with a plaque and information panels helping to pave the way toward preserving Tauranga's rich history.

People gathered at The Elms on Saturday for the unveilings as part of several events commemorating the Battle of Gate Pa (Pukehinahina).

Project director for Pukehinahina Charitable Trust Buddy Mikaere said since 2014's 150th anniversary of the battle, the trust had been working with Tauranga City Council to get a series of signs erected throughout Tauranga's CBD.

On Saturday, the trust and dignitaries celebrated the unveiling of a sign at the intersection of Cameron Rd and Hamilton St to represent where a redoubt used to stand.


This particular old fort was built and used by the Durham Light Infantry which arrived in 1864 and guarded the area, including the military base camp Te Papa which was set up where The Elms now stands, as battles intensified.

Mr Mikaere said the ultimate goal was to eventually have enough signs detailing the city's various historic landmarks or stories to create a heritage trail.

"People could walk to the Monmouth Redoubt, then to the Mission Cemetery, then on to The Elms and there's several other places that could be [incorporated] as well."

Mr Mikaere said there were a couple more signs "still to go" but it was a gradual project.

Mr Mikaere said the trust's efforts were reaffirmed to him when he left Saturday's ceremonies at The Elms to spot a group of children at the sign, reading the information.

"It's really good to see. It's bloody good actually."

The trust aims to educate about the Battle of Gate Pa.

Michael Lawton, who represented his father Major Chris Lawton and all his colleagues from the 68th Durhams, spoke at Saturday's commemorations and presented a plaque to Mayor Greg Brownless before paying respects to the regiment memorial at the Mission Cemetery.


The 68th Durham regiment became closely associated with the New Zealand Army before it disbanded in 1866.

It fought in the Battle of Gate Pa with the task of surrounding the southern and western sides of the Gate Pa battlefield to cut off the escape route of Maori defenders. Four of the 68th regiment were killed and another 17 wounded that day, Mr Lawton said.

"The regiment left New Zealand in 1866 but those who fell at Gate Pa and Te Ranga are remembered in the memorial that stands in the Mission Cemetery not far from here," Mr Lawton said.

Mr Brownless said the commemorations were another small step on the journey to preserving the rich history of the city.

He said the network of information panels around Tauranga city would, hopefully, together with sites such as The Elms and the Mission Cemetery, provide an informative walking tour for visitors and locals and in time supplement the exhibits from those days "which I am sure will be in our future museum".

British forces suffered a humiliating defeat in the Battle of Gate Pa (Pukehinahina) on April 29, 1864, with 31 killed and 80 wounded despite vastly outnumbering their Maori foe. Seven weeks later they routed their enemy at the Battle of Te Ranga, in which more than 80 Maori were killed or fatally wounded, including their commander, Rawiri Puhirake.