Drone shot of current site
Redevelopment of the land where the Battle of Te Ranga took place is underway with plans to create a special place of remembrance and storytelling.
Plans to restore the reserve, near the corner of Pyes Pa Road and Joyce Road, were developed during the Te Papa Spatial Plan process. The Pukehinahina Charitable Trust, in partnership with Ngāi Tamarāwaho, received funding from Tauranga City Council as part of an initiative to upgrade the historic site and provide more opportunities for the community to engage with the stories of Tauranga Moana.
The Battle of Te Ranga took place on 21 June 1864 and was seen as an act of retaliation from British forces after their defeat at the Battle of Gate Pā the previous month.
Māori defenders, made up of local and other iwi from around the North Island suffered heavy losses during the battle.
Each year a commemoration is held at the site where a marker was placed in 1964 to mark 100 years since the battle took place.
Tauranga City Council Director of Places and Spaces Paul Dunphy says there’s potential to create a site of national significance.
“With the site being quite spacious, there’s an opportunity to pull together many elements for the community to commemorate the event and learn about this part of the city’s history,” says Paul.
With initial funding secured, a waharoa and tomokanga (gatehouse), carpark, walkway, and signage can be developed, and work is underway to form a bund (embankment) and begin hillside planting.
Carvings, additional walkways, information panels and a covered structure near the existing marker are also planned once additional funding is sourced.
Pukehinahina Charitable Trust Project Director and Ngāi Tamarāwaho spokesperson Buddy Mikaere says the development is a step towards appropriately recognising the event and educating those who visit.
“This had a major impact for the history of Tauranga but the site in its current condition doesn’t reflect its importance. We want to change that and capture the potential of the area.
“Once work is complete, this will be an educational place and a quiet recreational space not only for locals but for domestic and international visitors.”
Tauranga residents are encouraged to get involved in the project too, with a community planting weekend planned for June.
“We want this site to be a beautiful place for all to enjoy and commemorate and are inviting the community to take part in making this happen,” Buddy says.
Traffic management will be in place for transportation of soil to form the bund and for the community planting to take place. More detailed information will be provided in the coming weeks.
Tauranga City Council allocated $531,000 for the project through the Long-Term Plan (LTP), and a further $114,000 was provided for site preparation, consultation, and planting. The funds are allocated for use over 2022 and 2023 with the project due to be completed in 2023. Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council have also contributed funds.