Te Rangihaeata and McKillop, Bottle Creek 1846

Te Rangihaeata was the nephew of the great Ngati Toa warrior Te Rauparaha. Te Rangihaeata’s pa/village was at the head of the Pautahanui arm of Porirua harbour, around the harbour to the left of this picture. McKillop was an ambitious young midshipman on HMS Calliope who had been involved in the arrest without charge of Te Rauparaha at his pa at Hongoeka, Plimmerton, mainly to take him out of circulation (whereas Te Rauparaha had been quite restrained about the recklessness of the New Zealand Company about native/title rights).

As tensions escalated, McKillop rigged a longboat purchased from the owners of the “Tyne” (which had been shipwrecked at Sinclair Head, Cook Strait) with short sail and heavy canvas rigging sufficient to protect his crew against musket fire – and went on scouting missions from the (shambolic) Paremata Barracks, located on the headland at the bottom of this image, into the larger expanse of the Pauatahanui arm.  At least twice, he narrowly escaped from Te Rangihaeata’s much larger and faster fighting waka (war canoes) – which must have been a stirring sight coming across the water after him, up to 50 motivated paddlers in each.

On 17 July 1846 he spotted (by telescope from the Barracks) activity in the bushes at or near Ivey Bay at the southern end of the Golden Gate peninsula (then called Long Point). He sailed across and fired small cannon into the bushes. Numerous concealed Ngati Toa, lead by Te Rangihaeata himself, emerged and stormed across the shallows towards the boat. In the confusion, a small cannon exploded, McKillop’s face was injured and the British beat a hasty retreat.

I had thought (from reading a biography of Te Rauparaha -?) that some of the cannon balls were in the Devonport Navy museum in Auckland. I visited and then emailed the Museum, but they say that’s not the case.

All at the bottom of my street. The aerial view is based on the Mayor’s Xmas card of 2011. Sold privately 2016. Oils, 12″x 36″

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