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Battle of Gate Pa, 1864

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Duncan Cameron versus Rawiri Puhirake: A British army under Cameron besieges a Maori army under Puhirake which is fortified in a dreaded pa. Cameron knows what to expect and takes all precautions so surely Puhirake cannot possibly surprise him, right? Click on images below to view; first image opens video presentation and second image opens PowerPoint presentation. | Legend |
 
 
It did not occur often but whenever the British were defeated by an indigenous force, it always seemed like a disaster. This battle is no exception.
 
It is difficult to judge Cameron too harshly for this defeat; he did make extensive preparations for a well-conceived plan of attack. However, he made no efforts to deceive Puhirake which made it possible to outwit and outgeneral Cameron with ease despite inferiority in strength and technology. This battle proves Sun Tzu’s adage that “All warfare is based on deception”.
 
 
This battle took the least amount of time to make by far, in fact I think that is one of the reasons I chose it at the time. I had just animated Mukden, Ulm and Nagashino, all of which were difficult in their own right, and figured a simpler battle should be next. Despite this apparent laziness, Gate Pa is an intriguing battle that I think is effectively animated. It was one of the few times where I felt all the effects I chose to illustrate its events fit perfectly. I do not think I could animate a more unique battle than this one.
 
- Jonathan Webb
 
Works Consulted
 
Belich, James. The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1986.
 
Gibson, Tom. The Maori Wars; the British Army in New Zealand, 1840-1872. London: L Cooper, 1974.
 
Mair, Gilbert. The Story of Gate Pa. Tauranga: Bay of Plenty Times, 1937. http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-MaiStor.html (accessed Aug. 11, 2008).
 
Mitchell, Peter. “Battle of Gate Pa.” http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~Sxmitch/Index.html (accessed Aug. 11, 2008).

Images

British artillery: http://battleofgettysburgbuff.com/Odds_and_Ends.html
 
British infantry: http://www.lightinfantry.org.uk/regiments/dcli/duke_uniforms.htm
 
Duncan Cameron: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_Cameron_(general)
 
Maori infantry: www.mtt.org.nz/…/Tawhiti-Museum.asp
 
Pa: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Model_Of_Maori_Pa_On_Headland.jpg
 

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  1. 12 Comments to “Battle of Gate Pa, 1864”

  2. Ifind it very difficult to listen to your mispronounciation of Maori names (it’s Ngatirangi- Nah T Rahn GEE). You also have some facts wrong. They Pa was not surrounded, the 68th Durham Light Infantry were in rear and there were not enough men to stop retreat from the Pa at nightfall.

    By gerry on Jan 26, 2010 at 10:36 am

  3. Valiant attempt to explain the battle - but you have pronounced all the Maori names incorrectly.

    By Evan on Jan 31, 2010 at 12:44 am

  4. Gerry: For battles such as this where I do not explicitly designate each unit as a specific unit - such as the 68th Durham Light Infantry - I tend to exercise more freedom in where units are placed. I generally focus on the clearest way to visually show what happened. In this case, I try to illustrate that the British thought they had the pa surrounded and that the Maori would not escape.

    Gerry/Evan: Ah yes, I half expected this as sources for pronunciations are somewhat difficult. I will likely be redoing existing video animations in a better format - and with proper pronuniciations - so it’d be greatly appreciated for one of you to send the correct pronunciations to me? Thank you in advance.

    By Jonathan Webb on Jan 31, 2010 at 2:34 am

  5. i find this very annoying, i am studing Gate Pa for a school, and i got most of my information off here, but i failed my test because its inncorrect.
    Maybe you should try gather the RIGHT information before you pusblish it.

    Not please.

    By horsiegal on Mar 14, 2010 at 1:55 am

  6. As I have stated numerous times already, accounts for battles differe greatly. For example, one observant forum member noticed that when reading accounts for the Battle of Waterloo from different nationalities, he could not even tell it was the same battle. Different nationalities in particular provide vastly different information regarding certain battles; any survey of the same battle on a few different wikipedia pages is a great indication of how the popular consensus varies between nationalities. The comments on my animation of the Battle of Yarmuk are another example.

    However, for this particular battle I did not encounter many inconsistencies in the sources I used; I provide the list of sources consulted at http://www.theartofbattle.com/works-consulted. I have four sources from 1937, 1974, 1986 and 2008 although the 2008 sources was an internet sources. Unless there have been ground-breaking findings for this battle, I consider these sources sufficient.

    I am not suggesting that by all means my information is correct because there is no way to know for sure (I hear the voice of my teacher-advisor for my War in the West course telling me I can only argue rather than prove anything in the field of history). I encourage all researchers to consult any author’s sources to draw their own conclusions

    By Jonathan Webb on Mar 15, 2010 at 1:38 am

  7. And the Fog of War continues rolling on in…

    By Jim on Jun 5, 2010 at 10:41 pm

  8. cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By max on Nov 17, 2010 at 1:31 am

  9. horseegal, youre a twit

    By max on Nov 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm

  10. Just preparing a sermon and using this Battle for the hospitality offered to the British wounded during the night by the Maori before their retreat under the cover of darkness, and I found your dissitation.

    There are a few details missing but congratulations for finding a battle on the other side of the world from the US and talking about it.

    However please please please change the pronounciation. Tauranga is pronouned with silent “G” as in hang and sounds like Towel - wrong - a. Ngati also has a silent “G” infact you don’t use it it’s pronounced like Nartee - rungee. Its very grating on the ears hearing a hard G. I don’t know of any Maori word where the G is pronounced as a hard G but I could be wrong. Cheers Jeff

    By Jeff on May 1, 2011 at 11:30 pm

  11. whant is 4 ture of gate pa

    By Kiriwhakaahu on May 9, 2014 at 5:36 am

  12. In your video your pronunciation wasn’t very good. You spelt Ngati Rangi wrong and mispronounced it. It is pronounced na-tee-rung-ee, rolling the r. Tauranga was also pronounced wrong. It is pronounced toe-rung-a, once again rolling the r. You can take this advice from me because I live in Tauranga and have friends that belong to the Ngati Rangi Iwi.

    By Dee on May 12, 2014 at 9:44 am

  13. And I have to say to this max person, it isn’t “cool”. The battle was a sad loss of life and no battle is “cool”.

    By Dee on May 12, 2014 at 9:49 am

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