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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 4 (July 2, 1934.)

Turu Turu Mokai — Scene Near Hawera—A Sacred Spot

page 41

Turu Turu Mokai
Scene Near Hawera—A Sacred Spot.

You instinctively remove your hat as you enter this historical and sacred area, approximately a quarter of an acre in extent, neatly encircled with a live hedge. In the centre, a stone monument records a story of true British heroism of the adventurous era of the Maori wars. It is a scene of real life drama during the troublesome time of the 'sixties and embodies the true spirit and traditions of New Zealand's past. A small blockhouse was erected on this spot, which was then one of the farthest outposts of the 18th Royal Irish. Occupied by but a very few soldiers, vigilant guard had to be maintained against a wary enemy.

Just prior to dawn on the 10th of July, 1868, the Maoris launched, as they thought, a surprise attack, and endeavoured to obtain possession of the blockhouse; but they had not reckoned with the defenders putting up such a determined resistance, or on their being prepared at such an early hour. Every enemy attack was heroically repulsed, until at last a small body of British troops located some miles away, attracted by the firing, hastened to the scene, upon which the enemy fled. Of the small force in the redoubt. Captain Ross, who was in command, and nine of his gallant men lay dead, while six were severely wounded. In spite of this loss the fort had been held! Right down through the years, and for all time it is a hallowed spot. Not a quarter of a mile distant is the site of an ancient Maori fortification of prepakeha days. Fully ten acres in extent.