Manaia NZ Wars memorial

This memorial is one of two obelisk monuments situated in the Octagon at the centre of the south Taranaki township of Manaia. It records the names of 71 men of the Armed Constabulary and the Patea Field Force who died in 1868–69. During this period, these colonial forces undertook operations against Tītokowaru in south Taranaki and Te Kooti at his East Coast stronghold of Ngatapa.

The 18-foot polished granite memorial was commissioned from Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1884. On 27 December the Hawera & Normanby Star reported that the memorial, with an 800-letter inscription, was expected to be ready ‘in about nine months’. Eleven months later, the Star reported that the memorial had arrived Wellington and was due in Manaia within days. On 15 March 1886 it was positioned on Main Street by Messrs Twigg and Cave under the supervision of Mr Stewart.

The memorial cost about £700. Much of this money came from a fund derived from the auctioning of items that had been looted during the New Zealand Wars. Captain Hempton, former paymaster to the colonial forces, received the proceeds and these were invested by trustees. With the fund reserved for no particular purpose, the two senior New Zealand Constabulary Force officers in Taranaki, Lieutenant-Colonel John Mackintosh Roberts (1840–1928) and Major Walter Edward Gudgeon (1841–1920), suggested a memorial.

Roberts’ military career was closely associated with that of Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky. He was a subaltern under Tempsky in the second company of Forest Rangers formed in November 1863 and, from 1868, a sub-inspector (captain) in Tempsky’s No. 5 Division Armed Constabulary. When Tempsky was killed at Te Ngutu o te Manu on 7 September 1868, Roberts assumed command of No. 5 Division.

The Manaia monument, also known as Von Tempsky’s Monument, was unveiled at 10 a.m. on Easter Monday, 27 April 1886. In the absence of the Minister of Defence, the Hon. John Ballance, the ceremony was performed by Roberts. There was no military display as the volunteers were in camp at Whanganui. Among the veterans present was an Ōhawe farmer, James Livingston. Called on to speak, he said simply, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I saw these men shot down beside me, and I cannot say another word’.

Major Harry Atkinson, a former (and future) Premier who had been a senior colonial officer during the Taranaki War, made a speech a few days before the unveiling. His comments provide an insight into the importance of such memorials for veterans and local communities. Though a ‘colonial work’, the Manaia memorial ‘elevate[d] the human condition’. It was ‘a monument to our children’, who, Atkinson hoped, would ‘gather strength from the memory of those noble men who fell in defence of law and order and for their Queen and country’.

Additional images

Detail from memorial Detail from memorial


East face inscription:

This monument / to the memory / of the / officers and men of the / Armed Constabulary / and of the Patea Field Force / who were killed during the operations / in Patea and Ngatapa / in year 1868–69 / is erected by the officers and men / of the / A.C. Field Force.

North face inscription:


Smith Farran Chislett
Shields Gilgau Clarendon
Holden Lee McKenzie
Ross Satler Cummin
Beamish Path Boyle
Swords Urquhart Barrass
Gaynor Eastwood Clowen
Lennon Norman Howe
McKoy Rogers Banks
Elkin Keneally Horspool
Fennessy Brown Smith
Hunt McEwan Barth
Davies Sawyer Stephenson
Fluers Gundry  


Wallace Lumsden Collins
Kerr Deeks Devon
Geary Wells Kenneally
Hughes Smith Nogus


Clark Squires

West face inscription:

Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu
Te Ruaruru
Okutuku [Okotuku] Ngatapa
Karaka Flat and Otauto [Otautu]

South face inscription:

Major von Tempsky
[Major] Hunter
Capt Ross
[Captain] Brown
[Captain] Buck
[Captain] Palmer
Lieut Hastings
[Lieutenant] Hunter

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