Cameron Blockhouse

State Highway 3, Marangai, WHANGANUI

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The following text was prepared as part of an upgrade project and was completed [02 Oct 2001] The Cameron Blockhouse is a rare example of a timber blockhouse dating to the time of the New Zealand Wars. John Cameron arrived in New Zealand at the end of 1840 and shortly after journeyed north to take up land at Marangai just south of Wanganui. At Marangai Cameron eventually set up a farm mainly breeding cattle, and in 1855 he built the first homestead. With the outbreak of hostilities between Maori and the Crown in Taranaki in 1862-1863, volunteer military units were formed in Wanganui. Cameron, taking the rank of Captain, organised a cavalry unit, which took the name Wanganui Cavalry. By 1868 Wanganui's settlers believed that an attack by Riwha Titokowaru (? -1888), the highly effective Maori warrior and leader who campaigned against Crown alienation of Maori land, was a real possibility. As a result, this blockhouse was built to provide a safe place for settlers and their families if they were under attack. The Cameron Blockhouse was one of a number of redoubts built on high ground in the district. As an innovative method of protecting against bullets and fire the walls were packed with clay. The blockhouse was positioned in such a way that the people inside could signal to two other blockhouses belonging to the Campbell and Morgan families, who could in turn relay messages to the York Stockade in Wanganui. The Cameron Blockhouse never actually came under attack. Over the years the blockhouse was modified use as a farm building, including the removal of the east wall. This was later reinstated in the 1970s. Between 1988 and 1990 the Wanganui branch committee of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and other volunteers undertook to restore the blockhouse. The building has great historical significance as a privately constructed, purpose-built blockhouse. It represents a social and cultural attitude toward racial conflict and war. It is located in a dramatic setting and has considerable landscape significance. The building has technological interest for the use of readily available materials to create a protective layer in the building's defence. The blockhouse was built in 1868 and thus has significance as an archaeological site. In February 1996 a Heritage Covenant was placed on the property. The blockhouse is open to the public.

Cameron Blockhouse, Whanganui | Adrienne Hannan | 29/10/2022 | Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
Cameron Blockhouse, Whanganui | Adrienne Hannan | 29/10/2022 | Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
Cameron Blockhouse, Whanganui | Adrienne Hannan | 29/10/2022 | Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
Cameron Blockhouse, Whanganui. Interior | Adrienne Hannan | 29/10/2022 | Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Able to Visit

List Number


Date Entered

10th October 1994

Date of Effect

10th October 1994

City/District Council

Whanganui District


Horizons (Manawatū-Whanganui) Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 DP 307308 (RT WN 309868), Wellington Land District

Location Description

Approximately 6km south of Wanganui.

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