Early on a Sunday morning in the summer of 1864, the women and children of the village of Rangiaowhia woke to a British invasion.
Most of the village’s fighting men were away at Pāterangi. Those who were left ran for cover in churches and whare (houses) as cavalry stormed into the village and opened fire. Whare were torched and people were gunned down. One of the churches, St Paul’s, is still standing.
Rangiaowhia was the Kīngitanga’s agricultural base. With its wheat fields, mills and schools it was coveted by Auckland’s merchants and settlers. The loss of this area was a stinging blow to the Kingites.