Researching the Battles at Pukehinahina (Gate Pā) and Te Ranga (1864)
What are primary sources?
The definition of primary sources and secondary sources changes slightly from discipline to discipline. To see reliable examples, construct a search for the term primary sources (and perhaps include the term definition ) within websites from educational institutions. Note that this means sites with ".edu/" in their url for some counties and ".ac" for others.
Example from Google (as at 2014, this may change over time)
Google: "site: .edu "primary sources" AND "definition"" (optional)
Google: "site: .ac.nz "primary sources are""
A good New Zealand understanding of "primary source" can be found at the National Library of New Zealand's Services to Schools page (or Google site:schools.natlib.govt.nz "primary sources").
Here the National Library states a primary source is a record which has been:
"recorded after (or as response too) an event or a memoir of a person who was at the event or
created by witnesses who experienced or viewed the event"
Possible examples include:
- letter, diary, newspaper, document, (eg: poster)
- photograph (including digital), video recording
- manuscript, journals, speeches, interviews, email
- documents produced by government agencies
- audio recordings, research data
- physical artefacts, such as paintings, clothes, tools and buildings.
(Source: http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/resources-learning/primary-sources/primary-sources-what-are-they retrieved April 10, 2014)
A Caution. Be aware that this definition is a little Eurocentric. It favours cultures that write their records down and make them available for all to read. For the time period around the Battle of Gate Pa the technology for meeting this criteria heavily favoured the British world and therefore primary sources from a British perspective tend to be more plentiful.
Two major authors that used primary sources and eyewitness account in their histories are James Cowan and Gilbert Mair. You can read about their lives from The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography available at many public and university libraries as well as online.
Search catalogues by title, note there is a similarly titled book call A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography which is not the same.
Some libraries have different Collections (lending and non lending or General Reference and New Zealand Reference etc). Within one of these collections, use the Dewey Address 920.01 DICT to locate the three volumes.
Go to Te Ara, The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand at www.teara.govt.nz
Browse alphabetically for Cowan, James and Mair, Gilbert
Born in 1870 and died in 1943 James Cowan was a prolific journalist and historian writing some 40 years after the battle of Gate Pa (Colquhoun, 2013). James Cowan used both Māori and Pakeha oral sources alongside his own research to write The New Zealand wars: a history of the Māori campaigns and the pioneering period (1922-23). It could be considered a secondary source but contains within it many primary sources. It is in two volumes and it is the first volume that covers the Gate Pa and Te Ranga battles.
It can be found:
- In many Public Libraries(usually) in the Non-Fiction or Reference sections at 993.022 COW.
- Online at Victoria University of Wellington’s Electronic Text Collection
Go to nzetc.victoria.ac.nz
Search for James Cowan
Refine results by Subject: New Zealand Wars History 1845-1872
Born 1843 and died 1923. Throughout his life at various times he was a surveyor, interpreter, soldier, and public servant (Savage, P., 2013). Not present at the Battle of Gate Pa or Te Ranga but a leading figure in events that followed. He had excellent relationship with Te Arawa , whom mostly aligned with the British against the Gate Pa defenders. Mair wrote an article on June 14th., 1924 published in a Special Issue of the Bay of Plenty Times. It’s popularity resulted in him publishing a fuller account in booklet format entitled _The Story of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864 _ in 1937. This is full of firsthand accounts and can be considered a primary resource containing other primary sources . Of particular interest is an account from Chief Hori Ngatai of the Ngai Te Rangi’s perspective. Ngai Te Rangi chief Hori Ngatai’s account of the battle has been translated by Mair himself.
It can be found:
- In many Public Libraries in the Non-Fiction or Reference sections (993.421 MAI).
- Online at Victoria University of Wellington’s Electronic Text Collection.
Go to nzetc.victoria.ac.nz
Search for Gilbert Mair
Refine results by Subject: New Zealand Wars History 1845–1872
Tauranga’s Heritage Collection
The Tauranga Heritage Collection has 30,000+ artefacts in storage and includes an undisclosed number of objects from the two battles. As at writing, the Museum remained closed but the collection remains and is maintained by a skeleton staff (January 2017). Their contact email is email@example.com .
Papers past is the result of the efforts of the National Library of New Zealand to makes visible and searchable the New Zealand newspapers of the past. It is an ongoing project so not all papers and time periods are yet available.
Understand the bias of any newspaper
Newspapers of this era were not objective but tended to be the mouthpiece of rival political viewpoints. Colonial Office officials and Church Missionary Society members tended to find themselves in opposition to the New Zealand Company. The aspirations of the New Zealand company which are reflected in many of New Zealand’s early newspapers are summarised in the Wikipedia article “New Zealand Company”. It is useful to read the overall position of each newspaper when taking articles as a primary source.
Do this by:
1. Going to Papers Past (http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz)
2. Clicking Browse and then Title
3. Selecting the Newspaper you want to learn about.
Often writing about the Battle of Gate Pa are:
- Daily Southern Cross
- Wellington Independent
- New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian
- Hawke’s Bay Herald
- New Zealand Herald Locate articles within newspapers
To search for articles on the battle of Gate Pa:
1. Go to Papers Past (http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz)
2. Click the Search button
3. Choose Exact Phrase and type in Gate Pa
4. Date range from 1 April 1864 to that years end or further if you wish. Note that the earliest article referring to the Battle is written on May 2 but by selecting an earlier start date we are allowing for other papers that may be added to Papers Past.
5. Set the results per page to 100 and sort results by date. N.B By selecting one particular paper at the beginning of the search is can be helpful to isolate a particular newspapers take on a situation.
Of particular interest is The Daily Southern Cross
- May 2nd contains report from Gate Pa by eye witness the night before the final attack
- May the 4th contains a hand wringing report about the hopelessness of attacking a Pa
- June 11 contains a report post Gate Pa describing the British looking for the rebels and in fear of further attack.
Some of the newspapers printed between 1842 and 1932 for Māori are available online :
It is a good idea to use the “commentary about this paper” link to read about the purpose of each paper.
Archived papers from other sources can also be helpful though these are often reprints of New Zealand papers. Where they are not reprints they begin to move toward the Secondary category as as a resource for the battle itself.
1. Google search from http://news.google.com/newspapers
2. Searching Google using the command site:google.com/newspapers “Gate Pa” has in the past yielded good results but at the time of writing became unreliable and limiting results by year yielded zero results.
3. Use the Google News field, enter Tauranga AND 1864 and click Search Archive
4. Another option is to repeat the above but with Tauranga AND “Gate Pa” or “Colonel Cameron” or any other particular figure you are researching. As an example the Ottawa Citizen - Jul 26, 1864 has lists of the dead from the battle.
Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives
The Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR) are govenrment reports that were published yearly from 1858 onward. They can be searched or browsed, These are a good resource for letters and reports that are official in nature. These documents are often a good insight into Government action after the Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga, for example land confiscations and military settlement plans.
You can browse the reports by year. By selecting Browse and then 1864 you will have 58 documents. Searching for certain words like “Tauranga” or “Natives” or “Insurrection” can be more productive. When specifically looking for Māori text search for documents contain either “Translation” or “Translated” as all examples of Te Reo tabled are translated (this search usually yields results relating to other battles of the Land Wars rather than Gate Pa however).
Of particular use is the following search:
1. Go to http://atojs.natlib.govt.nz
2. Click Search and enter the following three keyword
2a. Tauranga Insurrection Taratoa
2b. Select the “All of your words” radio button above the search box
2c. Select the date range as 1864 - 1864
2d. This will bring up one document (E03 Further Papers Relevant to the Native Insurrection - 1864 Session 1)
Note Cameron’s report to Grey on May 5
Note Greer's report to Deputy Adjutant General on May 1
Note that by viewing the Computer Generated Text option you can then keyword search the text for the words “Gate Pa”.
Manuscripts within the archives at Tauranga City Libraries
Although some of the manuscripts with the Tauranga Archives are on this website, Pae Korokī - Tauranga Archives Online, many are only accessible onsite by appointment. All collections however are described and can be discovered in the Archives section above.
The sketches of Major General Horatio Gordon Robley
Robley was Captain of the 68th Regiment at Gate Pa and an accomplished artist
Background on his life is available in the 1966 “An encyclopedia of New Zealand” available in many libraries and also online as part of the Te Ara website.
1. Go to http://www.teara.govt.nz
2. Search “Robley”
3. Filter by clicking “1966 Encyclopedia” (Note filtering by clicking “Images” will yield some of his images. Wikipedia also have a good background article on his life. Search for Horatio Gordon Robley at http://en.wikipedia.org/
A search for him by name on a Library Catalogue will yield several books with his artwork inside. In particular look for ROBLEY — SOLDIER WITH A PENCIL (by L.W Melvin in 1957). This is also available online at Victoria University of Wellington’s Electronic Text Collection.
1. Go to nzetc.victoria.ac.nz
2. Search for “Soldier with a pencil”
Digital New Zealand
Digital New Zealand finds and makes findable digital material from libraries, museums, government departments, publicly funded organisations and the private sector in New Zealand. This can make it east to find the various artwords of Robley.
1. Go to Digital NZ (http://www.digitalnz.org/)
2. Search for Horatio Robley "Gate Pa (Note no quotes around Horatio Robley)
3. From the results, select Images. This will give you images from a variety of reputable sources including
- Te Ara, the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
- Te Papa Museum of New Zealand
- Alexander Turnbull Library
- Auckland Art Gallery
Reliable Secondary Sources
Waitangi Tribunal Claims
Recent decades have seen a multitude of claims to the Waitangi Tribunal and the reports that are produced as part of this process can yield descriptions of events and their impact, if not always strictly primary, certainly more primary than most. This is because the hearings were conducted in a way (and within communities) consistent with Māori concepts of knowledge and knowledge ownership which has allowed for the telling of Iwi memory not often told in other situations. The reports are however just a summary of these hearings.
Background to Tauranga Moana
It is useful to be aware of which Iwi and Hapu are in the Tauranga region. Two useful sources of information are:
- The Tauranga Moana Māori Trust Board website http://www.tgamoana.co.nz/
- Te Ara: The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand http://www.teara.govt.nz (search for Tauranga Moana tribes)
It is also useful to know the boundaries of different Iwi in this area. Tauranga City Council has maps online that give these boundaries.
1. Go online to tauranga.govt.nz
2. Click Community
3. Under "Tangata Whenua", click "Resource management processes"
4. Click Iwi and Hapū contacts
Connecting the correct Wai numbers with the right people
Tauranga City Libraries has on site the "Waitangi Tribunal, Index to the Record of Inquiry, The Tauranga Moana Claims"
Search reports from the Waitangi Tribunal
Many of the reports from the Waitangi Tribunal (but not all) are available on their website.
1. Go to the Tribunals section at the Ministry of Justice website ( http://www.justice.govt.nz/tribunals/waitangi-tribunal)
2. Select “Search these reports”
3. Enter in the Wai number that relates to the Iwi you’re interested in. Most of these reports focus on the land confiscations that happened after the Battles of Gate Pa, Te Ranga and the Bush Campaign of 1867.
Search reports of the Office of Treaty Settlements
Representing the Crown this site provides reports of settlements and includes the backgrounds to many claims. Searching the site for the term “Tauranga”, or “Moana” (for a start) will reveal many Settlement Summaries and Collective Statements that related to this area. The Deed of Settlement between the Crown and local Iwi will usually contain an agreed historical account between both parties.
1. Go to The Office of Treaty Settlements website (http://www.ots.govt.nz/)
2. Use the search field to look for “Tauranga”, “Tauranga Moana” or a more specific region of the area.
3. Search the relevant documents (particularly settlement summaries) for historical background sections