The Wairau Massacre

The Wairau Massacre

Today, while on my holiday, I visited the sight of the Wairau Massacre.  This event has impacted the Maori side of my family as well as the European side.  After the research done, it appears that the massacre is a complex event and it is well worth further research.  At this stage I have information with varying accounts from different perspectives and it is hard to try and remove bias from one side or the other.  I think this is an event has gapes in information and it has been fantasized as to what happened in parts.

The first stop was at the Tuamarina Cemetery where the monument stands as a memorial to the European survey party who died.  The monument has the names of all 22 Europeans who died as part of the massacre, this includes Edward Wakefield from the New Zealand Company.  Four had died as part of the initial confrontation, the remaining 18 who had surrendered were killed as Utu for the death of Te Rangihaeata’s wife Te Rongo.  There are no names of the natives who died in this conflict. 


The next stop was just across the highway at the site of the incident at the Tuamarina Stream.

Just off the highway is a rest stop which has the below monument to 2 of the surviving surveyors who were able to continue surveying after the incident when the crown had acquired the land.

The below board stands at the sight of the conflict just above the Tuamarina stream.  The board states the European account of the incident.

The last trip was back into Blenheim to see Blenkinsop’s Cannon.  This was the catalyst for the incident at Tuamarina due to miscommunication from Blenkinsop to a Maori party lead by Te Rauparaha regarding the sale of a cannon in 1832.  The Maori understood this to be for Blenkinsopp to access water and timber and be able to camp, however the document written up stated it was for the sale of the entire Wairau Valley.

From the information uncovered at the above site, it is clear that more research is required.  It is not entirely clear what Te Rauparaha did in his defence after the sale with regards to confronting Blenkinsopp or other Europeans after discovering the full extent of the sale.  There was 11 years between the sale which had 6 Maori signing the initial sale document, and the incident at Tuamarina. 

It is believed, from most sources, that Blenkinsopp was deceitful in his actions during the sale. The cannon was acquired without permission for the sale, and Blenkinsopp spiked it so that it could not be used. Te Rangihaeata had seen the cannon previously and was impressed by its power when it was fired.

Quick internet searches do not appear to yield much either, I cannot find any writings on his character otherwise and outside the sale, or any information for Te Rauparaha’s actions apart from returning the cannon to it’s original owner and destroying his copy off the sale deed.

The Wairau Massacre is not the end of the story, it continues through to the courts siding with the Maori for what happened at the Massacre, and the eventual sale of the Wairau while Te Rauparaha was imprisoned.  This has fed racial tensions amongst the crown and Maori from the area for many years only having recently been able to settle some issues through the Maori Land Disputes.


  • Hello. This post was extremely fascinating, particularly since I was investigating for thoughts on this topic last Monday. Lucia Jarrett Marina

  • Hello. This article was extremely interesting, particularly because I was investigating for thoughts on this topic last Wednesday. Lesley Ber Polinski

  • I have read so many articles on the topic of the blogger lovers however this paragraph is in fact a good piece of writing, keep it up. Melinda Dore Eloisa

  • Just wanna input on few general things, The website style and design is perfect, the content is really wonderful :D. Alika Mathias Albina

  • There is evidently a bundle to realize about this. I consider you made some good points in features also. Laurella Rickie Cuthburt

  • It’s enormous that you are getting ideas from this paragraph as well as from our
    discussion made at this time. 0mniartist asmr

  • Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By
    the way, how could we communicate? asmr 0mniartist

  • Hello there, I discovered your website by
    means of Google while looking for a comparable topic, your site
    came up, it appears great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hello there, simply was aware of your weblog thru Google, and found that it’s truly informative.
    I’m gonna be careful for brussels. I will be grateful for
    those who continue this in future. A lot of folks will likely be benefited out of your writing.

    Cheers! asmr 0mniartist

  • Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.
    I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.
    0mniartist asmr

  • It’s fantastic that you are getting thoughts from this post as
    well as from our argument made here. 0mniartist asmr

  • I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here.
    The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get bought an shakiness over that you wish
    be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again as
    exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top