Te Peeti Awe Awe Memorial

The Square, Palmerston North

  • Te Peeti Awe Awe Memorial.
    Copyright: Palmerston North City Council.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust . Taken By: Elise Meyrick. Date: 13/07/2012.
  • Photographer unknown. Statue of Te Peeti Te Awe Awe, c.1915. Image courtesy of the Palmerston North City Library 2008P_Mo21_SQU_1395 .
    Copyright: Palmerston North City Library.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 1272 Date Entered 2nd July 1982


City/District Council

Palmerston North City


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region


The statue of Te Peeti Awe Awe is a memorial to the Rangitane chief and leader of the Ngati Hineaute and Ngai Tamawahine hapu Te Peeti Te Aweawe (? – 1884), whose land encompassed much of the lower Manawatu. Te Peeti strove to improve the status of his people and reclaim land that had been lost during the inter-tribe wars of the 1820s and 1830s. Te Peeti encouraged Pakeha settlement in the Manawatu and associated himself with the Government to help it buy land such as the 250,000 acre Ahuaturanga Block which is the site of present day Palmerston North. Te Peeti arranged a meeting of tribal leaders in 1878 to discuss a suitable Maori name for The Square; ‘Te Marae O Hine’ was chosen, meaning ‘The Courtyard of the Daughter of Peace.’

The Te Peeti Awe Awe Memorial was commissioned in 1905 by Te Peeti’s younger sister Ereni Te Awe Awe twenty one years after Te Peeti’s death. The monument was designed by Palmerston North artist and portrait painter Harold Anderson, who drew the figure of Te Peeti from photographs. Mason Samuel Dowdall fashioned the pedestal of the monument and arranged for the figure of Te Peeti to be carved by an unknown Italian sculptor. The monument is made of white Carrara marble. The design is relatively simple with a concrete base, pedestal for inscriptions and the figure. The statue is a combination of styles, largely Gothic with some Classical details. It stands facing east in the East quadrant of The Square, where it was unveiled on the 29th January 1907 by James Carroll, Native Minister. The memorial is inscribed with the words Te Peeti spoke to his people shortly before his death ‘Kua kaupapa i au te aroha, ma koutou e whakaoti’ which interpreted says ‘I have laid the foundation of love for you to bring to completion.’ James Carroll echoed Te Peeti’s words and sentiment when he said to hearty applause that he ‘hoped, in the name of Te Peeti Awe Awe, whose statute he had pleasure in unveiling, that the two races night long continue to live in harmony together.’

Situated within The Square, the Te Peeti Awe Awe memorial is on its original location. The Square and the encompassing streets reflect periods of growth of which the monument is unaffected. The Square was part of the original town plan of Palmerston North and the built environment boasts many historical monuments and is a significant local attraction. It provides a recreational space rich in character and identity. Landscaping has taken place around the monument and it is currently positioned amongst gardens and commemorative seating. It is an authentic and unique landmark which holds educational value. It is a constant reminder of the political and patriotic views of a highly regarded Maori leader. He was presented with a sword from Queen Victoria in recognition of his bravery and assistance to the Crown.

This monument is a memorial to a man who could be considered the patron of Palmerston North. Without Te Peeti Awe Awe’s support of the sale of the Ahuaturanga Block to the government and continuing patronage, Palmerston North and much surrounding farmland would not have been settled. The inscriptions have provided inspiration for the bi-cultural development of Palmerston North.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Anderson, Harold

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Dowdall, Samuel

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1907 -

Completion Date

31st July 2012

Report Written By

Elise Meyrick

Information Sources

Bush Advocate

Bush Advocate

Vol. XIX, no. 629, 30 January 1907, p. 4

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Mason Durie. 'Te Aweawe, Te Peeti - Biography', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 1-Sep-10

URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/1t27/1; Ian Bowman and Michael Kelly, Palmerston North CBD Heritage Inventory, 1993

Bowman & Kelly, 1993

Ian Bowman and Michael Kelly, Palmerston North Central Business District Heritage Inventory, Palmerston North, 1993

Ian Matheson Archives

Ian Matheson Archives, Palmerston North City Library

Ian Matheson, 'Te Marae-O-Hine', n.d.

Wairarapa Daily Times

Wairarapa Daily Times

Vol. LVI, Issue 8668, 29 January 1907, p.5

Other Information

A referenced copy of the this report is available from the Central Region Office of the NZHPT.

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.