Kemp Monument

Market Place; Taupo Quay; Bates Street, Moutoa Gardens, Whanganui

  • Kemp Monument, Moutoa Gardens, Whanganui. CC Licence 3.0 No date available. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Unknown.
  • Kemp Monument, Moutoa Gardens, Whanganui. CC Licence 3.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Moriori - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Moriori. Date: 26/03/2015.
  • Kemp Monument, Moutoa Gardens, Whanganui. 'Portrait of Major Kemp'. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Ref no.PA2-2562.
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 165 Date Entered 28th June 1984


Extent of List Entry

The registration includes the Kemp Monument and a curtilage of 5 metres from the base in all directions and within Pt Res I Town of Wanganui, Wellington Land District.

City/District Council

Whanganui District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Pt Res I Town of Wanganui (CT WN21/110), Wellington Land District


This monument, situated in Moutoa Gardens, in Wanganui, commemorates the Muaupoko leader Te Rangihiwinui, also known as Taitako and later as Te Keepa, or Major Kemp. It was erected after his death by his sister Rora Hakaraia, and the New Zealand Government in 1911.

Te Keepa rose to prominence through his support of the Crown in the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s, leading a troop of Wanganui Maori. For his service to the Crown Te Keepa was presented with the Queen's Sword of Honour in June 1869, and was awarded the New Zealand Cross in 1874 and the New Zealand War Medal in 1876. His military skill and ability to lead was also well respected in Maoridom, and he was acknowledged as a person with high mana. In later life he served as an Assessor for the Maori Land Court, and land purchase officer. He died on 15 April 1898.

The plinth of the Te Keepa monument is of Aberdeen granite and is surmounted by a life-sized figure of Te Keepa sculptured in Italian marble by the Frank Harris Granite Co. in Auckland. The four panels around the base depict the four major engagements Major Kemp took part in during the wars of 1866 to 1870: the battle of Moturoa on 7 November 1866; the surprise at Pungarehu on 6 October 1866; Storming of Te Kooti's pa, Te Porere on 3 October 1869; and the battle at Mapa Marae with Major Poatu on 13 March 1870. There is also a tribute from Major George Whitmore, who as Commander of the New Zealand Constabulary Force (1868-1869) led the campaign against Te Kooti and Titokowaru, and an extract from Colonel Gudgeon's book, Defenders of New Zealand. Constructed at the cost of £1150, the poor quality of the work caused the Court of Appeal to rule Hakarai exmpt from payment for the 'absolutely inartistic' statue that bore so little resemblance to the brother she wished to commemorate.

The significance of the monument rests partly on its association with a key figure in the New Zealand Wars. Te Keepa was arguably the most important of the Maori soldiers who supported the Government. It also has symbolic significance for the location - Moutoa Gardens is the site of many New Zealand Wars memorials and a place of great cultural significance to Maori and Pakeha.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1911 -

Completion Date

2nd October 2001

Report Written By

Helen McCracken

Information Sources

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Tony Dreaver, 'Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui', Volume One, Wellington, 1990, pp. 491-493

New Zealand Building Progress

New Zealand Building Progress

'The Guy Fawke's Statue and the Law', September 1914, pp.9-13

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.