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Some stories of people/whanau buried in Block B, in order of plot number.

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

The Waerenga-a-Hika NZ Wars memorial is in Block B.

This memorial records the names of six Hawke’s Bay Military Settlers who died on 18 November 1865 during the siege of Waerenga-a-Hika pā.

In spring 1865, several hundred followers of the Pai Mārire religion from Poverty Bay’s Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki iwi built a strongly fortified pā at Waerenga-a-Hika, 10 km inland from Gisborne (then known as Tūranganui).

On 16 November, a force of about 300 Māori, mostly Ngāti Porou who opposed Pai Mārire, and up to 200 Europeans (including Military Settlers under Lieutenant James Wilson) laid siege to Waerenga-a-Hika. The operation lasted six days.

Sergeants William Doonan and Robert Martin, Privates James Wilkie and Robert Bothwell, and Lance-Corporal William Pierson died at Waerenga-a-Hika on 18 November.

The casualty lists do not mention a Military Settler named William Swords but the lists are not comprehensive and Swords may nevertheless have died in this battle.

All six men were initially buried on the battle site. In his history of the New Zealand Wars, James Cowan provides a map of Waerenga-a-Hika pa and the battle site which shows the location of Doonan’s grave. It is thought that Martin, Wilkie, Bothwell, Pierson and Swords were later exhumed and reinterred in Makaraka Cemetery.


Click the link to view a document which includes brief sketches of the life stories of some of the people who are buried in Block B. The document is being added to constantly, and any contributions are very welcome.


The plots are listed in numerical order, but an easy way to find a name, the plot reference, or an event, is - after downloading the document, open it and use the function "Ctrl f". (Hold down the Ctrl key while you press "f".) This will open a "find" window where you can type in a search word.
















Makaraka Cemetery - Block B, Nov 2023
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