Orakau memorial
Orakau memorial. Image: Amanda Trayesexpand/collapse

This memorial overlooks the site of 'Rewi’s last stand' – one of the best-known battles of the New Zealand Wars.

In March 1864, the Kīngitanga leader Rewi Maniapoto agreed to offer a final show of resistance to the British.  A pa was hurriedly built in a peach grove at Orakau.  Attacked by the British for three days and nights, the men, women and children trapped inside the pa ran short of water and food.  When their supply of bullets depleted they, out of desperation, fashioned pellets from peach stones and plugs of wood.

Offered one last chance to surrender, the defenders gave the now famous reply:

E hoa, ka whawhai tonu mātou, Āke! Āke! Āke!

Friend, we will fight on forever, forever and forever!

When they made a final, desperate charge out of the pa in broad daylight, only half survived the chase given by the British bayonets and bullets.  Many of those who were injured, or who lost their lives, were left to perish in the swamplands.