Story: New Zealand wars

Pā near Ōhaeawai (3rd of 4)

Pā near Ōhaeawai

Cyprian Bridge’s watercolour shows the heavily fortified built by Te Ruki Kawiti at the older pā of the rangatira Pene Taui, about 4 kilometres from Ōhaeawai. The defensive palisades consisted of two, and in places three, lines of timbers, with trenches inside each line. The outer defence was a wall of green flax, clearly visible in Bridge’s painting, which deadened the effect of incoming bullets but allowed the defenders to poke their guns through it. The Māori defenders also had some obsolete artillery, but they were heavily outnumbered by Colonel Henry Despard’s 600-strong force. After a week of bombardment, Despard decided on a frontal attack on 1 July 1845. The assault party failed even to breach the outer stockade and were mown down by the defenders. 41 British and a handful of Māori lost their lives. Having served its purpose, the pā was abandoned on the night of 10 July.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-079-055
Pencil and watercolour sketch by Cyprian Bridge

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Danny Keenan, 'New Zealand wars - Northern war, 1845–1846', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 September 2023)

Story by Danny Keenan, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 29 Nov 2022