It's a little known battle from Tauranga's history – but it probably did more to shape the destiny of this city than any other engagement of the New Zealand Wars.
The Battle of Te Ranga was fought 153 years ago today, in what is now known as Pyes Pa.
It came almost two months after the better-known Battle of Gate Pa, in which local Maori successfully repulsed Crown troops in what was one of the rare defeats for the British Army during their time in New Zealand.
However, the Crown inflicted revenge weeks later when they surprised Maori who were building a new pa at Te Ranga.
Defenders were caught in the open while constructing trenches, and Crown troops led by Colonel Greer (after whom Greerton is named) launched their attack.
The British suffered few casualties as a result of the engagement – around 13 dead and 39 wounded, according to historian James Cowan. He puts the figure of the Maori dead at 120, which some modern historians believe included women and children.
Following the crushing defeat, most Maori surrendered, handing in their weapons to Crown authorities at Te Papa, just north of the modern Tauranga CBD.
This morning a ceremony was held at the battle site, attended by elected members from both Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
Ngai Tamarawaho historian Des Tata will also be giving a lecture on the battle and its significance tonight at the Tauranga library.
“Very little of [this history] was taught at school, so we're already on the back foot with our history in Tauranga,” says Des.
“If it wasn't for the confiscations, you would not have a Tauranga today.”
The free lecture starts at 5.30pm at Tauranga City Library. Bookings are essential, so call 07 577 7177 to reserve your place.