In 1840 there was a questionable purchase of Māori land at Pākaitore (Moutoa Gardens) by the New Zealand Company. As the European population grew, lower-river Māori became more caught up in the growth of the town, and tensions developed with the upper river people. There was an attack on the town in 1847, and in 1864 the upper river tribes, hoping to capture the town, were defeated by their lower river cousins at the Battle of Moutoa. The settlers of Whanganui were so relieved that their town had been saved that within 15 months they had put up this memorial (in the Moutoa Gardens) to the 16 defenders who lost their lives. It was New Zealand’s first war memorial.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Jock Phillips
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