Te Ngutu o te Manu Battlesite is located about halfway between Kapuni and Mātapu in south Taranaki. It marks the site of Ngāti Ruanui’s major victory on 7 September at Te Ngutu o te Manu, ‘the Beak of the Bird’. The fortified pā was defended under the leadership of warrior Riwha Tītokowaru.

This was the focus of one of my art projects. I visited the site in 2017.

Note: these memorials to fallen settler militia and government troops can be found all over the Taranaki. The battles have always been described in such a way that they do not divulge their true purpose. In fact they were land wars initiated by the colonizing government to acquire the lands of those indigenous Māori who did not want to sell. In earlier times they were called Māori Wars. That switched to Anglo/Māori Wars, then finally more truthfully, Land Wars.

Who wouldn't defend their lands?

Doing so however classed you as a rebel which 'entitled' the government to confiscate your lands. Read Steve EdwardsSteve Edwards' excellent exposé of that at this link. Underlying these wars also is a more sinister theme that you will not find in the history books. As we know, the victors write the histories. NZ's White NZ policy was accepted fact back then, however little acknowledged today. Hence what was under way was a drive for assimilation. Grouped here then are images that relate to that theme in the Taranaki.

See the blog post on topic.

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