Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mission Cemetery, Tauranga (Part 1)

Tauranga's Mission Cemetery is at the end of another bit of a climb. 

At the top, you can have a bit of a breather thanks to"Cath's Seat".  This is what the plaque says:

Catherine E Smith 
After visiting many countries where she and Bob received 
much kindness,
she believed in making visitors welcome to our city.
Rest here a while, in view of the Kaimai Range,
Her favourite tramping place.

I took up the invitation, sat down, and took a shot of the view. Not a lot of the Kaimais, but not too bad, I suppose. Great for catching the breath, though. Thanks, Cath.

An old-fashioned wooden latch gate is your access to the Mission Cemetery, also recorded as a military cemetery due to the number of war graves here from the Land Wars of the 19th century, and its veterans who passed away afterwards.

What does get me, though, is that this is the site of a major massacre of local Maori at the pa in the 1820s, so human remains are probably strewn all over this ground, and were so when the missionaries started the cemetery, and when the soldiers were buried here as well. It's a peaceful place -- but if you want the feeling that you are walking amidst layer on layer of generations of strife, violent death and great suffering, this is definitely the place. They do need to change the sign -- there are Land War casualties here beyond just 1864-1865.

James Thomas Morrison lies buried here, with his three children who never made it beyond infancy.

We regret to have to record the death of Mr James Thomas Morrison, which took place yesterday morning at his residence) at Ohinemutu, after a lingering illness. His name is familiar to the people of this district, by many of whom ho was well known during his residence here and at Ohinemutu, extending over fifteen years. As a member of the first Tauranga County Council and Distributor to the Rotorua Riding (which latter office he filled till the time of his death), he proved himself an efficient public servant, discharging his duties with zeal and ability. He arrived here with the Waikato Regiment in 1864, and subsequently started as hotelkeeper, doing a considerable business in this line. About five years ago, he removed to Ohinemutu, where he conducted the business of the Rotorua Hotel, of which he was proprietor, and his courteous and affable manner made him a universal favourite with the tourists visiting the Lakes. Though he had been ailing for the last three months, his death was unexpected by a large number of his friends, who believed that, with his vigorous constitution, he would soon rally from the attack. Mr. Morrison was held in the highest esteem by the people of this district, and the announcement of his death has evoked a feeling of the deepest regret. The lamented gentleman has passed away from his labours at the early age of forty-three. He leaves a wife and three.children. The remains will arrive in Tauranga this evening, and will be removed from Mr Wrigley's, Harington-street, at 2 p.m. tomorrow for interment in the cemetery .We understand that the Masons in town have made arrangements for doing honor to their deceased brother by giving him a Masonic funeral.

Bay of Plenty Times, 16 October 1879

Dun Eistein is the ancient stronghold of Clan Morrison.

Poor Percy Stainforth Brabant -- unlisted amongst the known children of his father, Resident Magistrate and Native Land Court judge Herbert William Brabant (1838-1919).

Herbert William Brabant was born on 19 March 1838 at Curzon Street, Mayfair, London, England. He was the son of William Hughes Brabant and Emillia Stainforth. He married Rosetta Johnston, daughter of William Johnston and Mereaina Te Rapopo, in 1868 at New Zealand. He died on 25 May 1919 at age 81 at Lincoln Road, Napier, New Zealand. He was buried at Old Cemetery, Napier, New Zealand. Herbert William Brabant was educated at Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England. He emigrated to New Zealand arriving on 1859 on board the Joseph Fletcher. He held the office of Judge of the Native Land Court of New Zealand. He lived in 1891 at St. John's, Wanganui, New Zealand.

At the age of 17, Frederick Gill's end was brutal and violent.

Some of the Tauranga troop here on leave state that when the Hauhaus first made their appearance at Opepe, the half-caste of the cavalry at once pronounced them to be Hauhaus, but Mr. Frederick Gill asserted that they were Arawas, and he knew some of them, He advanced and shook hands with some (of) them, and the rest of he troops came out in their blankets to speak to them. One of the natives, watching his opportunity, fired his revolver at young Gill but the ball missed. Mr. Gill grappled with the would-be murderer, when a general battle ensued, and the other poor fellows already named were slaughtered. Sergeant Slattery fought like a lion, cutting right and left with his sword until at last he fell a victim. When his body was found his eyes were starting out of his head, and his teeth clenched.

Southern Cross, 23 June 1869

Young Mr. Gill nearly escaped into the bush, but was discovered, dragged out, tomahawked, and more frightfully disfigured than any of the others. Bugler McGillop, of the Opotiki troop, suspecting from the first the designs of the visitors, and believing that they were Hauhaus, and not loyal natives, ran into the bush, but afterwards returned and induced his friend Lockwood to escape with him, which friendly act cost the poor fellow his life, for Look wood escaped and poor McGillop was shot down in the bush. … The face of poor young Gill was cut nearly off.

Southern Cross 5 July 1869

I'd say the bit at the top was, at one point, a map showing the location of the battle of Opepe where Gill fell. Or some other document relevant to the young man and his death. Time, of course, along with water damage, has put paid to any chance to see what it was.

At 11.10 last evening there passed away the last of the band of early Maori missionaries sent out from England by the Church Missionary Society in the person of the Rev Canon Goodyear. The reverend gentleman had been in failing health for some time and had latterly been confined to his bed, passing away peacefully last evening. He was born in Luton, Hertfordshire, England, in 1850. In 1875 he entered college for training for missionary work in New Zealand. He arrived in the Colony in 1878 and was first stationed at Wairoa. Hawke's Bay. In 1883 Mr Goodyear was moved to Maketu and remained there till 1896, when he was moved to Tauranga as Superintending Maori Missioner for the whole of the Bay of Plenty District, including Rotorua. Since being sent out by the Church Missionary Society thirty-live years ago Mr Goodyear has been maintained by that organisation and is the last of the band of Church workers sent out by them to New Zealand. A few months ago at Napier Mr Goodyear was created a Canon of the Church. By his death the Church has lost an earnest worker and our Maori brethren a firm friend and loving pastor, and the sympathy of all those members of both races who knew the late Canon will go out to the relatives in their great bereavement. Deceased leaves a widow and two sons and seven daughters. The funeral will leave the residence of the late Canon at 9.45 am tomorrow for the Military Cemetery.

Bay of Plenty Times 19 January 1914

Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton fell at the battle of Gate Pa.

John Fane Charles Hamilton is son, we believe (says Byrne's "Naval Biography "), of Colonel Hamilton and Charlotte, daughter of John Fane, Esq., of Wormsloy, LL.D., an eminent agriculturist, and many years M.P. for Oxford. His uncle, Rear-Admiral Francis William Fane, died 28th March, 1811. This officer entered the navy 28th August, 1835; and in 1841-42, while attached to the ' Blonde,' 42, Captain Thomas Bourchier was present, either in the boats or on shore, at the taking of Amoy, the storming of Chinghae, the attack on the Chinese entrenched camp on the heights of Segoan, the capture of Chapoo, and the engagement with the enemy's batteries at Woosung. He also, on the 10th March, 1842, served in the boats, under Captain George Goldsmith, at the destruction of ten fire vessels with which the Chinese had attempted to annihilate the British shipping and transports at their anchorage off Chinghae.

Having passed his examination 10th November 1841, and been further employed as mate in the ' Warspite,' 50, Captain Provo William Parry Wallis, and ‘St. Vincent,' 120, flag ship of Sir Charles Rowley, on the Lisbon and Portsmouth stations, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, 8th March 1844, and subsequently appointed 24th May and 1st August 1841 to the 'America,' 50, and ' Racer,' 16, Captains Ilon. John Gordon and Archibald Reed, both on the South American station. He left the latter vessel in the summer of 1846. He afterwards became senior lieutenant of the ' Leander,' and was further promoted for his services while on the Naval Brigade at the siege of Sebastopol. On the 26th February 1858 he received his post rank.

Captain Hamilton wore several momentoes of his gallantry, and the last and fatal act which distinguishes him as a gallant officer cannot be better described than in the words of our special correspondent — "The General, who was in the advanced trench of his position, ordered up the supports almost immediately after the storming party rushed the breach; and the second division of blue-jackets and the gallant 43rd, led by Captain Hamilton, of the ' Esk,' advanced with a ringing cheer to the support of the forlorn hope. They arrived at a critical moment; the storming party exposed to a murderous fire on all sides, and from hidden assailants beneath, and without an officer left to lead them, were wavering; part were outside the pa. Captain Hamilton sprung upon the parapet, and shouting 'follow me, men!' dashed into the fight. That moment was his last. He fell dead, pierced through the brain by a bullet, and many of his officers shared the same fate."
Southern Cross 3 May 1864

Commander Edward Hay, served as midshipman in the Havannah when on the New Zealand station in 1849, in command of Captain, now Rear Admiral (Red), John Elphinstone Erskine. In 1855, as mate of the Agamemnon, he received; a medal and foreign decoration; was made Commander on the 22nd March, 1858, and appointed to the Harrier (ordered home) on the 12th November, 1863. 
Hawke's Bay Herald 7 May 1864

He was wounded in the abdomen and later died.

Lt. Charles Hill had been the senior surviving officer of the ill-fated HMS Orpheus. You could say that he was, perhaps, fated to die here, one way or another. More here on the naval officers and men who died during the Land Wars. Below, Lt. Hill's grave. Note the anchor at the end.

An interesting gravestone for Lt. Patrick Falcon Leonard of the 18th Irish Regiment. I haven't found out how he died at the moment.

Private William McAuley drowned at Tauranga in August 1865.

Another drowning at Judea, a month earlier.


  1. Fabulous post Lisa...really interesting cemetery!


  2. Cheers, Sandy. I'll finish it off with part 2 tomorrow. It's on the ol' drawing-board right now. Such a neat place!