Story: Ngāti Toarangatira

‘Scene of the Wairau massacre’

‘Scene of the Wairau massacre’

Charles Emilius Gold’s impression of the scene of what was known to horrified European settlers as the ‘Wairau massacre’ was painted in 1851, eight years after the event. In April 1843 the New Zealand Company sent surveyors to land in the Wairau Valley, which the Ngāti Toa tribe denied had been sold by them. When Ngāti Toa chiefs Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata disrupted the survey an armed force was sent to arrest them, and in the confrontation a stray shot killed Te Rangihaeata’s wife, Te Rongo. Following an exchange of fire, nine of the European force surrendered. The prisoners were then executed to avenge Te Rongo’s death. In all, 22 Europeans and at least four Māori died.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: B-103-030
Watercolour by Charles Emilius Gold

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.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Mīria Pōmare, 'Ngāti Toarangatira - 19th century: rise and fall', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/3913/scene-of-the-wairau-massacre (accessed 27 September 2020)

Story by Mīria Pōmare, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2017