A walk through old south Taranaki with a Maori Descendant


A walk through old south Taranaki with a Māori Descendant


Kakaramea Redoubt, Thackers Redoubt and Inmans Redoubt are at Kakaramea and the Manutahi coastline.

General Cameron and his British army, made their move towards Kakaramea paa on the 13th March 1865, after the two redoubts had been built on each side of the Patea River.

I have already put up videos of Kakaramea paa, The battle of Te Ngaio and the Manawapou paa, with the two redoubts, Thackers and Inmans but will show them again since, the last few videos, are part of General Cameron’s 1865 invasion of South Taranaki. The video starts with the Kakaramea Redoubt, that was built not long after the Te Ngaio battle and then moves on to Thackers and Inmans Redoubts on each side of the Ingahape River, or what, most people now call the Manawapou River. The painting included in the video of Thackers Redoubt, was painted by one of the soldiers and is mentioned by the New Zealand National Library as “possibly the two redoubts at Patea or those at the Manawapou” but I am certain, that they are Thackers and Inmans redoubts at Manawapou. The last painting at the end of the video, shows the road the soldiers built down to the Ingahape River mouth, to transport supplies from their steamers, the path still exist today.

As mentioned, the redoubt at Kakaramea was built after battle of Te Ngaio, when General Cameron and his troops captured the Kakaramea paa on the 13th March 1865 and set up their camp.

Tu Patea mentioned, he carried a tomahawk or patiti into this battle as a thirteen year old with his father and it is likely, many of the younger men or boys, did not carry a gun, also the Maaori were said to have around 200 warriors against the British 1000 men of all arms and they met in the open, with no cover. This was a disastrous battle for the tangata-whenua, this is not only because of what I have already mentioned but it is also recorded by the British army, that some of the warriors at the out set of the battle, walked right up to within 30yards of the soldiers, kneeling down on one knee to fire. These actions would make many of the soldiers impressed with their bravery but as I have already mentioned in another article, one of the wounded Maori warriors would later tell General Cameron, why they had no choice but to fight at Te Ngaio “This is our village, these are our plantations. Men are not fit to live if they are not brave enough to defend their own homes” a saying worthy of being a whakatauki, this commitment and sacrifice to defend their homes, also extended to their young sons, like Tu Patea. The historian James Cowan would record, the writings of, Doctor Grace, the British army Doctor who wrote, after the battle, stating “The soldiers no longer desired to kill the Maori, and disliked more than ever being killed by him.” He heard the sympathetic Irish soldiers say, after the exhibition of native bravery at Kakaramea (Te Ngaio): Begorra, it’s murder to shoot them. Sure they are our own people with their potatoes and fish, and children. Who knows but they are Irishmen, with faces a little darkened by the sun, who escaped during the prosecutions of Cromwell! The New Zealand Wars vol 2, James Cowan, pg 54.

Although I have already put up an article on this site about the Te Ngaio battle, the following newspaper article from the British army accounts, is still worth reading for those interested:

On Monday, 13th (March), the troops moved at last from Patea; on two former occasions orders had been issued for moving on the following morning, but something turned up that stopped it, however, on Sunday morning everything was ordered to be in readiness for a move next morning, and all was hustle and preparation during the greater part of the night. All during Sunday fatigue parties had been busy unloading the Gundagai and crossing the Commissariat Transport Corps, who had been detained on the south side of the Patea by the heavy fresh caused by the late rain. In fact, after the orders were issued on Sunday evening, the weather looked so threatening that it was feared by many that no move would be made on the morrow. Monday turned out fine notwithstanding, so the men were not disappointed at the prospect of meeting the natives. The following is a list of the various ranks that composed the forces under the General in person-— Lieut.-General Duncan A Cameron, KCB, in command, Major George Dean, Pitt, Assist. Military Secretary; Lieutenant John Carstairs, M’Neill and Lieutenant W. H. St. Hill, 65th Regiment. Aide-de-Camps — Colonel R. Carey, D.A.G.; Colonel D. J. Gamble, D.Q.G. ; Dr J. Mouatt, Inspector-General of Hospitals ; Colonel E. A. Williams, Commanding Royal Artillery; Colonel J. R. Mould, Commanding Royal Engineers. The brigade staff consisted of Colonel Henry E. Weare, 50th Regiment, Acting Brigadier-General during the absence of Colonel Waddy; Major G. R. Greaves, 70th Regiment, D.A.Q.G.; Captain E. Leach, 50th Regiment, D.A.A.G. ; and Mr C. Broughton, interpreter. The Commissariat Department was in charge of D.C.G. Strickland. Two six pounder Armstrong guns, 4 mortars, under Captain F. Betty, R.A. ; a detachment of the Royal Engineers, 60 men of the Military Train, attached to whom were 27 of the Wanganui Cavalry, making 87 mounted men in all; 360 of the 50th, under Major Locke ; 488 men, 16 officers of the 57th, under Major Butler; 220 men, 10 officers of the 68th, under Colonel Morant ; about 80 carts of the Commissariat Transport Corps, and 21 carts of the Local Transport Corps, besides pack horses for carrying tents, medical stores, &c, accompanied the expedition. The General intended to march to Manawapou, and as the best road seemed to be part of one of the native villages, I mentioned to you in one of my former letters, it was determined to put them out of it. The tents were struck about half-past six, and by the time the carts were all ready for starting it was nearly half-past 7 a.m.; the men were not allowed to carry their packs, nothing more than their rifles, ammunition, and haversacks, which gave them more ease in marching, and put them in better spirits for fighting. About a mile from the camp were a range of small hillocks on which the natives used to show themselves and dance about, I suppose, for the amusement of our sentries; between them and the camp the ground was nearly level— up to the foot of these hillocks the troops marched, headed by the Military Train and Cavalry, in skirmishing order. Just as the Military Train were riding up the hillocks they perceived natives, and the two leading companies of the 57th, under Capt. Clarke and Sir R. Douglas, were immediately extended as skirmishes; they had barely time to advance a few yards up the hill when the natives not only came on to the brow, but some of them had the temerity to advance down the face of the hill to within fifty yards of our men and open fire in real earnest. They knelt down on one knee, fired and loaded again as coolly as possible, and did not stir from their position until our men had advanced to within thirty yards of them. The mounted men had gone on a little farther to the left of our men and would have charged across the natives had it not been that by so doing they would have gone right into our line of fire; directly the natives saw them on their flank they uttered great yells and fired a heavy volley into them without doing any damage. As soon as the natives left the top of the hill the six-pounder Armstrong’s were brought up and a couple of shell fired at them; the rest of the fight was more of a running character. The natives had, by this time, evidently saw the error they committed in attacking the soldiers in open country, for with them, sauve gui pent, was the order of the day after this. They retired, followed by the old ” die hards,” till they came to the swamp, when they scattered in all directions. A small party of them made for the riverbank, but very few of them got the chance to get across, for they were shot down by the men of the 57th as they tried to swim across. Of those that took to the swamp the majority were killed in it, for our men showed that day that they could go wherever a Maori went. I witnessed several little affairs that took place in this swamp. In one case two soldiers spotted a Maori in the swamp, and immediately they went after him; they got within five or six yards of the native, when the latter fired at them, but, as the raupo was much above their heads, they could not see him. A spectator could see all the three combatants, and yet they could not see each other. Several shots were exchanged between them, when the native, having to rise a moment in sight, was shot directly by the soldier. This was as pretty a little game as I have ever witnessed, several times they were within five or six yards of one another, and all they could hear was the rustling of the raupo. The troops marched up from here to the village, just a collection of whares, and found no one there; fires were alight in several of them, showing that they had been occupied by many of those fighting, The portion of our men who followed the natives to the river came up some little time afterwards, for they had made a pretty long detour. The natives in all their villages have large well-built whares which they used as churches, and which make first-rate hospitals, it was 11 o’clock when the troops got to the village, and the remainder of the day was spent in looking after the dead and wounded Maoris. The two prisoners who were taken had kept close in the swamp all day and were trying to sneak away when they were seen and captured. My own impression is, that the native loss must be about fifty killed. I know of several bodies that were never brought out of the swamp at all, for the men knew that if they mentioned them, they would have to bring them a long way to bury them. One of the natives had a fine taiaha which he waved about frantically until he was shot. The two prisoners give as their reason for such a small number attacking us, that they fully believed they had only to fire a volley at us and we should retire a la Pratt. They must have been sorely deceived; both officers and men admired the plucky way in which they commenced the attack, and at first there is no mistake that the natives fired much more coolly than our own men. Why there were so few casualties on our side was because the natives have so much powder in their cartridges that all their bullets went high above the heads of our men and fell hundreds of yards in the rear. In fact, had their line of fire been in our line of march the casualties among the Transport Corps would have been great. A halt was made here at Kakaramea for the night, and the transport carts all went back to Patea during the afternoon. Independent Wellington 1st April 1865, pg 5

Originally the British army called the captured area, Camp Te Awa, but after the redoubt was built on the paa site, it was changed to Kakaramea Redoubt, the names are mentioned in a newspaper report, the next day, after the army marched towards Manutahi paa:

14th March the-The Lieut-General commanding with a force of 800 rank and file under his command, marched from camp Kakaramea or Te Awa, as it was first called and arrived at Manutahia (Manutahi), a very large native settlement, about 12 miles in advance of the river, in the direction of Taranaki. New Zealand Herald 29th March 1865, pg6.

I am not sure where the name Te Awa comes from and have found no paa sites nearby with that name, other than Te Awhi paa, which was used by those at Kakaramea paa in earlier times, according to local Maaori accounts.

The redoubts construction was commenced on the 15th March by some troops left behind for that purpose. A correspondent records this in a newspaper:

Soon after posting my letter to you this morning an order was issued to Captain Chapman, 18th regt, that every available man in camp was to be employed at 2pm, in cutting fern for the redoubt. There are to be three reliefs of 90 men, to be told off to work at it all night, the first relief commence at 6pm and each relief work three hours at a time. This will be very hard on the men, as indeed since they came here, they have had not a moment to themselves. New Zealand Herald 29th March 1865, pg6

The same newspaper report also states that the redoubt was completed on the 16th March or the next day:

The usual number of men have been working at the redoubt all day, until 3.30pm, when it was completed, much to the gratification of all concerned.

Kakaramea Redoubt would be used by both General Cameron and General Chute’s forces during their campaigns in 1865 and 1866, as well as the later colonial armies, before being abandoned in 1868, when it would be destroy by Titokowaru and his supporters.

The next day after the battle of Te Ngaio, General Cameron’s troops would march to Manutahi paa and after finding the paa abandoned on the 14th March 1865, would use it as their headquarters. It is recorded seven companies of the 57th regiment made their way to the Manawapou paa a few days later, which like Manutahi paa had also been abandoned by the local Maaori and began to build a road down to the beach.

Some names of those who fought and died at Te Ngaio, can be found in writings from, Tu Patea te Rongo and others who were also at this battle, this also explains why, Manutahi paa and Manawapou paa, were found empty, as the warriors, from these paa and others, like Ohangai, Meremere, Hukatere, Ohinemutu, Otoia and Putahi, were at this battle. A newspaper reports the occupation of the Manawapou:

It (Manawapou paa) has been occupied since the 18th (March 1865) by seven companies of the 57th regiment, under the command of Major Butler. The men have been employed daily since they came here at making a road so that carts can pass through, as this is the route that General Cameron intends to take when he advances. New Zealand Herald 29th March 1865, pg6

The Wanganui Chronicle claims, the reason General Cameron wanted to take the Manawapou paa, was to take possession of the whare named Taiporohenui:

The troops have arrived within a short distance of Manawapou. The place by which they encamped, by the last account (Manutahi) is a pa on the branch road, which, it will be seen from our map, leads down to the sea. It is about halfway down the road, standing on the edge of a gully, in which a small stream runs, having its embouchure on the north-west side of Manawapou. The last-named pa is well known, as being the place at which the Taranaki Land League was formed about eleven years ago. Five hundred were present and a strong feeling against the Government was displayed. They met in a house named Taiporohenui, which is 120 feet long and 35 feet wide and it was resolved that no more land should be sold. The taking possession of this house is possibly the reason for the force diverging from the straight road towards Taranaki. The possession of Manawapou, which stands on a cliff 400 feet in height, overlooking the sea and creek, is also of importance. Wanganui Chronicle 18 March.

There is no mention of the whare Taiporohenui, that once stood at Manawapou or if, the soldiers destroyed it but the name is a “ingoa tapu” and would be carried to other paa and whare and is still a name used and held with great mana by tangata-whenua.

The first redoubt’s construction at manawapou, would begin around the 22nd of March 1865 as a newspaper states:

150 men have been employed today at the construction of a Redoubt, capable of containing 200 men, but only a 150 will be left to garrison it. From off the hill that Redoubt is being built on you have a good view of a rebel pa. It is about 12 miles from this and appears like all others of their strongholds, strongly palisading around. It is currently reported that the next march will bring the General and his force to this pa. New Zealand Herald 29th March 1865, pg6

I am unsure what paa, they are talking about here, as I have stood on the redoubt and tried to see, what paa site can be seen from Thackers Redoubt but I suspect they used a telescope or eye-glass. and in my opinion, the paa mentioned is Ohangai paa, which I think can be seen down a gully and in the distance, It is recorded General Cameron knew about this paa site and its significance but it is not attacked until the following year by General Chute.

The second Redoubt that would be later known as Inmans Redoubt, was built on a high point on the north side of the Ingahape River, the construction started on the 24th of March 1865. A newspaper states:

The troops were to have marched for Waimate on the 23rd (March) but have been detained by the state of the weather, which appears to have broken up, as we have had scarcely a day without rain for the last three weeks. The 57th Regiment at Manawapou have commenced the erection of a second redoubt at that post, which would leave one to infer that a very strong post or depo is to be established there. New Zealand Herald 7 April 1865, pg 8.

Both redoubts and the road to the beach would be completed by the 27th and is recorded in a newspaper article:

Manawapou, 27th March. The 57th and 50th stationed here during the last week have been busy building two redoubts and making the side cuttings necessary for the passage of the transport carts across the two streams. The redoubt on the left bank (Inmans) is to be occupied by a hundred of the 57th under Major Hassard, 57th, and that on the right bank (Thackers) by 150 of the 50th, under Major Locke, 50th. These will remain here for a short time only, as a detachment of the 18th now at Patea, will be relieved by military settlers and will then relieve those here, who will then join the main body. Otago Witness 15 April 1865

I am unsure when the names Thackers and Inmans, was added to the Redoubts but like many, that were either called the “north or south” redoubts, the names are probably from officers and are used at a later time.

Both Thackers and Inmans would be abandoned in 1868 and destroyed by kokiri or Tekau-ma rua of Titokowaru.

The final march of the 1865 campaign by General Cameron and his army, would be towards Waimate paa and the Waingongoro River.


3:10                                                                                                                                                        27/11/23




A walk through old south Taranaki with a Māori Descendant
South Taranaki

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