Alexandra redoubt


Yesterday it felt like summer may be on its way, helped by daylight saving which began on 29 September. The late afternoon was warm and windless so we took ourselves to Pirongia. A little way out of the small town is the Alexandra redoubt, which was built by the British colonial forces after Māori had been forced back behind the confiscation line. Tawhiao and his people settled in Whatiwhatihoe, just two kilometres beyond the aukati, Māori for the line that should not be crossed. Settlers in Pirongia (then called Alexandra) were afraid their small settlement was vulnerable to attack and so the redoubt was built. Pirongia was never attacked and the relationship between Māori  and Pākehā was remarkably good considering that more than a million acres of highly productive land had been confiscated. We stood on the grassy slope of the redoubt and gazed at the bucolic scene in the photo above. It was so peaceful bathed in the glow of the evening sun that is was hard to imagine the violent events of the 1860s and the extensive loss and deprivation that ensued for so many. It is also worth reflecting that keeping the redoubt maintained so that the public can visit it and read the history on the boards at the entrance is a good way of keeping alive this story and its meaning for us.

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