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Tauranga Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā), New Zealand

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The information on this page is from the following webpages via Tauranga City Libraries and is part of an ongoing project by librarian Debbie McCauley. We will never know the name of everyone buried in this cemetery as official records have either been lost or were never kept:

This northern point of the Te Papa peninsula was once the site of Ngāti Tapu's busy Otamataha Pā. In 1828, a raid by Ngāti Maru from the Thames district led to the death of most of the inhabitants, and the abandonment of the pā. Bones dating from this time are still sometimes found when erosion of the cliffs occurs.

When the nearby Mission Station was established in 1838, this tapu (sacred) area was chosen by the missionaries as a suitable place for a graveyard. The first burial took place all too soon. Ann Catherine Wilson, wife of one of the missionaries, died of breast cancer in November of that year.

As well as the graves of mission families, monuments in the cemetery tell the story of soldiers, sailors and Maori who died during the Battles of Gate Pa and Te Ranga in 1864; enemies in battle, but all equally honoured in death. Whilst the graves were being dug, a greenstone mere was unearthed, known by the name of Te Raukaraka (pounamu mere) due to it being made from a rare kind of greenstone resembling in colour the leaves of the karaka tree. It belonged to the Tauranga chief Koraurau, who held Otamataha Pā. In 1828, he gave the mere to Gilbert Mair (Snr), father of Gilbert Mair, during a visit to Tauranga in the mission schooner Herald. Mair (Snr) left the mere for a short time in the care of Koraurau, but on his return found that Otamataha Pā had been decimated and Koraurau killed. Nothing more was heard of the mere until after the Battle of Gate Pa in 1864, when some soldiers, who were digging graves for their fallen comrades, unearthed it. The mere was identified and handed over to Koraurau's son Hohepa Te Mea, who gave it to Captain Mair in pursuance of his father's promise. Auckland Museum now holds the mere.

Although Mission Cemetery was officially closed in 1881, some of the early settlers and their families were also buried here. In May 2014, one month after the 150th commemoration of the Battle of Gate Pa, the cemetery was part of a 7863 square metre site transferred from the New Zealand Mission Trust to the Otamataha Trust - the Hapu of Ngati Tapu and Ngaitamarawaho.

Atkinson, Robert Bruton (1827-1872). Inquest: "Died by the visitation of God".

Atkinson, Sarah Eliza (?-1866). Aged 39 years. Died at Camp Te Papa. Wife of Robert Bruton Atkinson.

Bayly, Thomas (c1847-1876). Aged 29. Armed Constabulary.

Berins, George (c1828-1867). Aged 39. 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion.

Booth, Henry Jackson Parkin (1830-1864). Died from wounds received during the Battle of Gate Pā.

Boylan, Frances Josephine (1860-1879). Obelisk - aged 19.

Boylan, Mary Theresa (1824-1907). Obelisk - aged 83.

Bradley, Joe (c1828-1864). Aged 36. 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion.

Brown, Alfred Nesbit (1803-1884). Tauranga Missionary - Te Papa Mission Station (later The Elms).

Butt, Teresa Nga Kotuku (?-1889). Obituary in the Bay of Plenty Times (18 November 1889). Funeral took place on 17 November 1889 at 3pm in the old cemetery.

Cadenhead, John (c1843-1873). Suspected to have died through violence whilst being arrested by Police.

Cady, John (c1842-1869). Drowned at Tauranga. Armed Constabulary.

Collins, Robert (1823-1869). Quartermaster of the Taranaki Militia.

Cordwell, Benjamin (1845-1865). Aged 20. 1st Waikato Regiment.

Crapp, Arthur (c1842-1928). Armed Constabulary.

Crapp, Elizabeth (1849-1894). Born Winspear. Foster daughter of Joseph Tice and Selina Gellibrand (nee Evans).

Crapp, Charlotte (1791-1875). Born Charlotte Field. Mother of Arthur Crapp.

Dee, Edwin (c1838-1865). Aged 29. Died at Te Papa (Tauranga) on 29 August 1865. Private.

Dixon, Thomas Harden (c1828-1870). Aged 40. Armed Constabulary.

Dodd, Richard (1831-1865). Aged 33. 1st Waikato Regiment.

Emus, Henry (1836-1867). Mortally wounded during the Tauranga Bush Campaign.

Farrell, Esther (c1830-1889). Born Esther Lewis she married Robert Farrell in 1862.

Farrell, Robert (1827-1873). Sergeant - fought during the Tauranga Bush Campaign.

Faulkner, John (c1844-1857). Son of John Lees and Ruawahine Faulkner. Died aged 13 & buried with his mother Ruawahine.

Faulkner, John Lees (c1811-1882). Early Tauranga trader.

Faulkner, Ruawahine Irihapeti (c1811-1855). First wife of John Lees Faulkner.

Ferraby, John (c1834-1872). Inquest: "Died by exhaustion through excessive drinking". Armed Constabulary.

Fraser, James Patton Brockman (c1841-1870). Inspector for the Armed Constabulary. Died of typhoid fever.

Gellibrand, Joseph Tice (1826-1887). Omokoroa.

Gellibrand, Selina Hannah (1831-1878). Drowned off Oponui.

Grace, Thomas Samuel (1815-1879). CMS Missionary.

Grant, Peter (1845-1924). Early Te Puke settler.

Halford, Charles (c1839-1865). Aged 26. 68th (Durham) Light Infantry (The Faithful Durhams).

Hamilton, John Fane Charles (1820-1864). Killed during the Battle of Gate Pā.

Hamilton, Robert Thomas Francis (1835-1864). Killed during the Battle of Gate Pā.

Harmer, James (c1836-1864). Killed during the Battle of Gate Pā. 68th (Durham) Light Infantry (The Faithful Durhams).

Hay, Edward (1835-1864). Died from wounds received during the Battle of Gate Pā.

Harrington, Jeremiah (1828-1866). 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion.

Hill, Charles (c1836-1864). Survivor of the wreck of the H.M.S. Orpheus. Killed during the Battle of Gate Pā.

Jeffs, Henry (c1844-1867). Killed during the Tauranga Bush Campaign.

Kilbride, Lawrence (c1844-1866). Aged 22. 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot, 1st Battalion.

Koraurau (?-1828). Leading chief at Otamataha Pā.

Laidley, Albert (1847-1872). Drowned when the yacht 'Sappho' overturned in Tauranga harbour. Armed Constabulary.

Leonard, Patrick Falcon (1833-1864). Died at Tauranga on 4 August 1864. 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot ('Paddy's Blackguards') - 2nd Battalion.

MacAlister, Robert (1809-1871). From Caithness, Scotland.

Matthews, Henry (c1839-1866). Died whilst attempting to extract powder from an unexploded 110 lb artillery shell found near Gate Pā.

McAnary, James (c1835-1865). Drowned at Judea, Tauranga, in 1865. 68th (Durham) Light Infantry (The Faithful Durhams).

McAuley, William (c1837-1865). Drowned at Tauranga in 1865. Private.

McCuen, Henry (c1837-1866). Aged 29. 68th (Durham) Light Infantry (The Faithful Durhams).

McDonald, Patrick (c1839-1864). Aged 25. Died of wounds received during the Battle of Gate Pā. 68th (Durham) Light Infantry (The Faithful Durhams).

Mitchelson, George (c1828-1866). Aged 38. 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot.

Moon, Elizabeth (1806-1901). Born Elizabeth Matherall. Wife of Colonel William Moon.

Ngātai, Taiaho Hōri (c1832-1912). Veteran of the Battles of Gate Pā and Te Ranga.

Puhirake, Rāwiri Tuaia (c1814-1864). Killed during the Battle of Te Ranga.

Reynolds, John Chidley (1846-1876). Died of pneumonia at Ohinemutu.

Scanlon, James (c1845-1867). Aged 22. Drowned at Te Papa.

Skeet, Harriette Anne (1828-1872). Buried along with her infant son Alfred Skeet.

Swallow, James (1842-1845). Aged 22. Died of 'Brain Fever'. 68th (Durham) Light Infantry (The Faithful Durhams).

Tanner, Barbara Allan (1874-1895). Born Barbara Allan Grant, she died in childbirth, aged 20.

Taratoa, Hēnare Wiremu (c1830-1864). Killed during the Battle of Te Ranga.

Turner, Archibald Campbell (1835-1912). Capt Turner was present at Tauranga immediately after the Battle of Gate Pā.

Turner, Ada Campbell (1861-1976). Ada died at age 15.

Turner Eleanora Grace (1871-1872). Eleanora died aged 10 months old.

Turner, Eleanora Jane (c1832-1898). Born Simson.

Twinen, John (c1834-1870). Aged 36. Armed Constabulary.

Wilson, Anne Catherine (1802-1838). Born Anne Catherine Hawker, she was the first European person buried in Tauranga's Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā). Wife of missionary John Alexander Wilson.

Wood, Annie M (c1848-1870). Annie died at age 22.

Wrigley, Frances (c1833-1898). Wife of Thomas Wrigley.

Wrigley, Thomas Dale (c1828-1878). Died a long and painful death following an accident.


The 68th Regiment Memorials [no longer exist - see Well Done The 68th by John Bilcliffe (1995, pp. 203-204)]

3904 Pte. John Tims "Sacred to the memory of Pte. J. Tims 68th. Lt. Infy. who was killed inaction at Te Ranga on 21 June 1864 aged 26 Years. A man greatly esteemed and deeply regretted by his comrades who have erected this tablet."

114 Pte. John Gardener "Sacred to the memory of Private John Gardener died at Tauranga March 26 1864. This tablet erected by officers non-commissioned officers and men of his company." "Time like an ever rolling stream, bears all its sons away. They fly forgotten as a dream at the opening day."

4202 Pte. Neil Carbury "To the memory of Pte. Neil Carbury. This tablet erected by officers non-commissioned officers and men of his Company." [Plus a Latin epitaph]

515 Pte. George Smith "To the memory of Pte. G. Smith who died of wounds received in action at Te Ranga on 21 June 1864 aged 33y 2 months. This tablet erected by officers, non-commissioned oficers and men of his Company." "Dear Comrade stay as you pass by, as you are now so once was I. As I am now, so you must be. Prepare for death and follow me."

428 Pte. Lawrence Manion "To the memory of Lawrence Manion 68th. Lt. Infy. who died 22 June 1864 from wounds received in action at Te Ranga on 21 June 1864, aged 27 years. This tablet erected by officers, non-commissioned officers and men of his Company." "My race I have run, my time I have spent in soldiering, since from home I went, to India and New Zealand, beneath a burning sky far from my beloved parents, there to die."


New Zealand Wars Monuments at Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā)

1865: Tauranga 43rd Regiment New Zealand Wars memorial

1909: Tauranga 1st Waikato Militia New Zealand Wars memorial

1914: Rawiri Puhirake New Zealand Wars memorial

1920: Hori Ngatai New Zealand Wars memorial

1964: Tauranga Naval New Zealand Wars memorial

1997: Tauranga Maori New Zealand Wars memorial