November 27, 2018
Grinding poverty a legacy of battle
A new book aims to share the story of the Battle of Pukehinahina-Gate Pā and how it still resonates today,
It’s by army historian Cliff Simons and Buddy Mikaere, and grew out of working together to organise ceremonies to mark the 150th anniversary of the battle in 2014.
Mr Mikaere says although Tauranga Moana tribes and their allies won the battle, Governor George Grey used it as an excuse to confiscate large tracts of land in the area, with his grandmother’ Ngāi Tamarāwaho people bearing the brunt.
The consequences were felt for generations.
"Those old people, they put so much energy into just staying alive because they were squeezed together on tiny little reserves, every inch of which they had in gardens to try to feed themselves, just a life of grinding poverty that was forced on them, and I take my hat off to their courage and resilience," he says.
Mr Mikaere says despite their poverty the hapū consistently raised money to send petitions and fight their claims.
Victory at Gate Pā – The Battle of Pukehinahina-Gate Pā: 1864 is published by New Holland Publishers
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