Waerenga-a-Hika pā

This painting shows the remains of Waerenga-a-Hika pā, with the two-storeyed house of Bishop William Williams of Waiapu behind.

The fighting at Waerenga-a-Hika was as much a clash of rival faiths as a result of traditional tribal animosities. Ngāti Porou had rejected Pai Mārire in favour of Anglicanism. To the south, Pai Mārire had made inroads among Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki at Poverty Bay. Having extinguished the challenge from Pai Mārire on the East Coast, Ngāti Porou sent a large force to attack the Pai Mārire pā of Waerenga-a-hika, near Tūranga (Gisborne). On 16 November 1865, 300 Māori and up to 200 Europeans (including Military Settlers under Lieutenant James Wilson) laid siege to Waerenga-a-Hika. The Pai Mārire force was defeated with the loss of 71 lives. Hundreds more were taken prisoner.

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