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The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864

The Attack

The Attack

The British column came to within five or six hundred yards of our front, then most of the soldiers turned to the right on to Pukereia Hill, where they mounted their guns and pitched tents. One of the cannon (the 110lb. Armstrong) was planted in the middle of the road, right opposite our pa. Some of the soldiers came quite close to us, walking leisurely about smoking their pipes. This was on April 28th. Soon there was a flash and a roar and a shell from the big gun flew whistling like a “Kehua” (spirit) over our heads. Several other shots followed, and some rockets were fired at us without much effect. The troops in front made a sort of sham attack, while a large force (the 68th Regiment under Colonel Greer) deployed round by Ruatuna, guided by Tupotahi and Hamiora Tu, and under the cover of darkness took up a position in our rear. So the next morning the pakehas were in front of us, on our left flank and in our rear, and then the fight began in earnest. The big guns poured shot and shell into our position and the rifle balls whistled round us.