‘Lest We Forget’: The Battle Of Gate Pâ
‘LEST WE FORGET’: THE BATTLE OF GATE PÂ
Saturday 29th of April, 2006 – Tauranga
Ngâti Pûkenga iwi of Tauranga Moana believe that the Battle of Gate Pâ has for far too long been forgotten for what it represents, and that Tauranga people should consider marking the day appropriately in the future as a victory against all odds, and more importantly a victory of the human spirit.
‘Today marks the 142nd anniversary of the Battle of Gate Pâ in Tauranga Moana, quite appropriately in the same week as we honour the sacrifices of our ANZAC soldiers’ said Ngâti Pûkenga spokesman Te Awanui Black.
‘Around 230 Tauranga Moana Mâori and other tribal groups pitted against a force of 1700 British troops, endured an eight hour heavy artillery bombardment more severe than the German trenches experienced in the week leading up to the Battle of the Somme in World War I! Afterwards a British attack was launched only to be repelled. Pretty impressive stuff if you ask me’ said Mr. Black.
‘Through all of this the defenders showed great mercy to the British troops, giving water to the dying and tending to the wounded. Unfortunately the same consideration wasn’t extended a month later at Te Ranga’ he said in reference to a surprise attack by the British troops later on June 21 of that year.
Ngâti Pûkenga challenges us to remember with pride the Battle of Gate Pâ legacy, ‘lest we forget’.
‘They fought as unified Tauranga Moana people according to a code of honour as relevant today as it is was then. Perhaps it is time for us to honour their legacy properly? Something like a ‘Gate Pâ – Pukehinahina Pride Day’, that celebrates the victory of the human spirit; a day for people to overcome adversity with honour and embrace unity’. FINISH
taurangamoana @ ihug.co.nz