This 1846 painting shows troops advancing up Battle Hill to attack Te Rangihaeata’s men. The pā depicted in this painting bears little resemblance to that described by James Cowan in his history of the New Zealand Wars.
The attack on Te Rangihaeata’s position at Battle Hill began on 6 August 1846 in freezing rain. An assault force of 250 British soldiers was joined by armed militia and police. About 150 Te Āti Awa led by Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke and 100 Ngāti Toa also took part.
A frontal assault was considered but quickly dismissed. The terrain and vegetation prevented a flanking manoeuvre, and thousands of rounds of musket fire made little impression.
On 8 August two small mortars were brought up to about 1 km from the fortification. Many of the 80 shells fired landed in the vicinity of Te Rangihaeata’s position. Reluctant to advance and fearful of a counter-attack, the British decided to withdraw their regular troops.
On the 13th it was discovered that Te Rangihaeata had slipped away under cover of darkness and heavy rain.