Charles Heaphy’s sketch of Mere-Mere [sic] from Whangamarino Redoubt, 1863. This illustration shows a view from above the fortification with three cannon in the foreground. The left one is firing on the Kingite defences at Meremere, about 2 km away. The gunboat Pioneer is in the Waikato River below the fortification.
Meremere was to be the first line in the Māori defence following the British invasion of 12 July. At its peak perhaps a thousand men under the overall command of the Ngāti Haua leader Wiremu Tāmihana were on hand. Every tribe which acknowledged the authority of King Tāwhiao had warriors at Meremere.
On 31 October 1863, 600 men of the 40th and 65th regiments supported by two 12-pounder Armstrong guns were loaded onto the Pioneer, Avon and four barges, landing 10 km upriver from Meremere. General Cameron sought to cut off Meremere from its support at Pukekawā on the other side of the river. A land force ensured that the Māori position was attacked from both north and south. Meremere’s defenders were outflanked and had little choice but to withdraw to the east that evening. The next day the British occupied the abandoned position.