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Encyclopedia > Gate Pa

Gate Pa is the name given to provocative fortress the Maori built in 1864 only 5km from the main British base at Tauranga during Tauranga Campaign of the New Zealand land wars. By the end of April the British were ready to attack. They had 1700 men and were opposed by merely 230 Maori, it looked like a good opportunity to score a decisive victory. Te Puni, Māori Chief Māori is the name of the indigenous people of New Zealand, and their language. ... Tauranga (population 107,706 — 2006 census) is the major city of the western Bay of Plenty on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. ... The Tauranga Campaign took place in New Zealand, from January 21, 1864 to June 21 1864, during the Maori Wars. ... A room at the Auckland War Memorial Museum commemorates those who died, both European and Maori, in the New Zealand Wars. ...

A heavy bombardment was begun at daybreak on 29 April 1864 and continued for eight hours; the British had 15 artillery pieces including one of 110 pounds (50 kg). By mid afternoon the Pa looked as if it had been demolished and there was a large breach in the center of the palisade. At 4 p.m. the barrage was lifted and 300 troops were sent up to capture and secure the position. April 29 is the 119th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (120th in leap years). ... 1864 (MDCCCLXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ...

Within ten minutes well over a hundred of them were dead or wounded. There was no second assault. During the night the Maori gave assistance to the wounded and collected their weapons; by day break they had abandoned the position.

Gate Pa was the single most devastating defeat suffered by the British military in the whole of the New Zealand land wars. What happened?

General Cameron was probably the most able of the different commanders of the Imperial forces to serve in New Zealand. He knew from experience the likely cost of making a frontal assault on a defended Pa and he was usually very careful with his men's lives. But a frontal assault is what he ordered. It seems likely that he believed the bombardment had been long enough and intense enough to extinguish all resistance from within the Pa. One historian calculated that Gate Pa absorbed in eight hours a greater weight of explosive per square metre than did the German trenches in the week long bombardment leading up to the Battle of the Somme in World War I. If true then Cameron's assumption seems to have been a reasonable one. Combatants United Kingdom France Canada India Newfoundland New Zealand South Africa Australia German Empire Commanders Douglas Haig Ferdinand Foch Max von Gallwitz Fritz von Below Strength 13 British & 6 French divisions (initial) 51 British divisions (final) 10. ... Combatants Allies: Serbia, Russia, France, Romania, Belgium, British Empire, United States, Italy, and others Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead: 5 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total of dead: 8 million Military dead: 4 million Civilian deaths: 3 million Total dead: 7 million The First...

But Gate Pa wasn't quite what it appeared to be. From the British positions it looked like fairly large strongpoint occupying the entire hill top. In fact it was much smaller being two low redoubts on either side of the ridge joined by a deep trench about forty metres long and the whole shielded by a strong wooden palisade. It seems likely that British concentrated their barrage towards the center, that is where the palisade had collapsed and that is where the attack went in. Meanwhile the two redoubts had been built very strong with deep and effective bomb proof shelters. The Maori may have been deafened by the bombardment but as soon as it ended they were able to unleash a devastating ambush. The introduction of this article does not provide enough context for readers unfamiliar with the subject. ...

To contemporaries Gate Pa was seen as a shattering defeat. Indeed it was. The perception was that 1700 elite British troops had been defeated by 230 half naked savages. The arrogance of the settlers and the hubris of the British Empire took a serious blow. Governor George Grey came down to Tauranga and began peace negotiations. Cameron returned to Auckland leaving Colonel Greer in command, strictly on the defensive. Flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand The Governor-General of New Zealand is the representative in the Realm of New Zealand of the Queen of New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth II, and as such is the highest office in the Government of New Zealand. ... George Edward Grey Statue of Sir George Grey in Albert Park, Auckland For other men with a similar name, see George Grey or George Gray Sir George Edward Grey KCB (April 14, 1812–September 19, 1898) was a soldier, explorer, Governor of South Australia, twice Governor of New Zealand, Governor... The Auckland Metropolitan Area, or Greater Auckland, in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest urban area in New Zealand. ...

  Results from FactBites:
GMT GAMES: Project 500 (685 words)
Pa can often be recognized from a distance by their profile on the skyline, such as a flat platform, the 'v' shaped notch of a defensive ditch or a series of terraces cut into the hillside to make level areas.
Pa built for gun fighting (after the pakeha had introduced muskets to the Maori) had loop holes in the base of palisades to enable gun fire, and angled earthworks for flanking fire.
At Ohaeawai Pa in 1845, at Rangiriri in 1864, and again at Gate Pa in 1864, the British and Colonial Forces discovered that a frontal attack on a defended Pa was both ineffective and extremely costly.
  More results at FactBites »



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