It’s interesting to compare historic sites as they once existed, to see how they appear today. This is because it enables us to observe how much the sites have actually changed, over time – or, how much they remain the same.
Sentry Hill is located mid way between Waitara and New Plymouth, on the road that deviates toward Lepperton and Inglewood.
On 30 April, 1864, members of a Hau Hau war party attacked Sentry Hill, where a British Army Redoubt occupied an old Pā site named Te Morere. This attack brought the war back to North Taranaki, following an earlier truce of 1861.
The attack proved disastrous for Māori, with about 50 men killed and a further 40 seriously wounded. Today, Sentry Hill is a fairly desolate place, part of a dairy farm, just beside a very busy road. To read more about the battle fought at Sentry Hill, see here – Sentry Hill.
Fitzroy’s Pole, as it is commonly known, was erected by Te Ātiawa just north of New Plymouth in 1847.
The pole was erected to signify to Pākehā that no more land would be sold, north of the pole, that is, in the direction of Waitara.
At the time, Māori in the area were involved in a ferocious civil war, between those who wished to sell land, and those who did not.
Māori called the pole Te Pou Tuataki, or the blocking pole. The pole was put in place by Parata Te Huia and Waitere Katatore, and stood 25 feet tall.
The civil conflict amongst Māori however was never satisfactorily resolved, especially once the Crown began taking sides, thus contributing to the outbreak of the war at Waitara in 1860.
You can read more about the war at Waitara, see here – War at Waitara.
The stockade was manned by British troops. Their task was to guard the southern entrance to the town, apprehending any hostile Māori observed moving north, possibly endangering the town.
However, very little action was seen here, with the notable exception of the battle of Waireka, which was fought nearby on 28 March 1860. War had just broken out to the north of New Plymouth, at Waitara, on 17 March. Southern Māori were suspected of trying to move north, in support; they were intercepted at Waireka Pā, and an engagement followed.