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Te Ruki Kawiti & Ruapekapeka Pa : Military strategist, soldier and hero

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@NZHistory

Te Ruki Kawiti @NZHistory
Te Ruki Kawiti @NZHistory

“In an English fort the ditch is deep, and outside the defences; in a New Zealand pa the ditch is shallow, and inside the palisades.  In an English fort, the ditch is made to obstruct the enemy; in a New Zealand pa the ditch is made to cover the defenders, who stand in it and fire at the besiegers”. Arthur S Thompson, Surgeon-Major 58th Regiment (1859).

Within the Pa at Ruapekapeka were a maze of reinforced tunnels and trenches. Kawiti’s military engineering skill impressed the British colonial forces so much they made two models of it.

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Te Ruki Kawiti was born at the beginning of this moral and technological revolution, somewhere around 1774.  His father Huna and mother Te Tawai belonged to the Ngati Hine hapu or clan situated near the town of Kawakawa.  Aptly named “Ruapekapeka” (The Bats Nest) in honour of its cleverly engineered bunkers, the pa was almost complete when Heke’s peace talks finally broke down.  The British had wanted compensation in the form of land but this was unacceptable to both men, particularly Kawiti; ‘No; let us fight on, he told Heke, if they want our lands, they can come and take them when we are dead’.  Source NZhistory

Within the Pa at Ruapekapeka were a maze of reinforced tunnels and trenches @Stuff
Within the Pa at Ruapekapeka were a maze of reinforced tunnels and trenches @Stuff

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