This memorial is situated in the grounds of Christ Church in Russell, the Bay of Islands town that was formerly known as Kororāreka. It was erected by the New Zealand government in 1873 to honour what it regarded as the enduring loyalty, wisdom and military prowess of the prominent Ngāpuhi leader Tāmati Wāka Nene.
Nene died on 4 August 1871 and was buried at Christ Church. The Governor, Sir George Bowen, wrote in a dispatch to London that he was the Māori leader who ‘did more than any other … to establish the Queen’s authority and promote colonization’.
This Celtic-inspired memorial was designed by C. Munro of Dunedin. Its prominence in the grounds of Christ Church reflects the esteem in which Nene was held.
Bowen unveiled the memorial on 19 March 1873, more than 18 months after Nene’s death. It was one of Bowen’s last acts as Governor; later that month he was transferred to Australia as Governor of Victoria.
IHS / In memory of / Tamati Waka Nene / Chief of Ngapuhi / the first to welcome / the Queen’s sovereignty / in / New Zealand. / A consistent supporter / of the pakeha. / This stone is erected / by the / Government of the Colony / which for upwards of 34 years / he faithfully upheld. / Sage in counsel, / renowned in war. / He died regretted by all / the inhabitants of these islands / at Russell / on the / 4 August / 1871.
Rutu / te pouaru a / Tamati Waaka Nene / i mate i te / 24 o nga ra o Akuhata / 1879.