Author(s): Battersby, John
On the grim, overcast dawn of 12 October 1866, a force of Pakeha militia and allied Maori warriors grouped outside a riverside pa some fourteen kilometres inland from Napier. Inside the pa, Maori followers of the Pai Marire movement waited for the first move. The short and tragic Battle of Omarunui was about to begin. Little has been written about the events of that day in the Hawke’s Bay. The story has been almost entirely lost in history, despite the role it played in forging alliances and mindsets among leading protagonists in the New Zealand Wars including Renata Kawepo, Donald McLean, Tareha Te Moananui and George Whitmore.