Personal info

  • Name: William George Nicholas MANLEY
  • D.O.B: 16th Dec, 1831
  • D.O.A: 29th Apr, 1864
  • D.O.D: 16th Nov, 1901
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Assistant Surgeon, I Battery, 4th Brigade, Royal Regiment of Artillery
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Sources & Acknowledgements

The Gate Pa near Tauranga, New Zealand 29 April 1864

29 April 1864

More details about:
The New Zealand Wars 1860–65 

As the Waikato War in New Zealand reached its conclusion hostilities broke out on the Bay of Plenty to the east in the neighbouring territory of the Ngati Rangi. The Ngati Rangi had given strong support to the Waikato and at the end of January 1864 British toops landed at Tauranga. Men of the 43rd and 68th Regiments set up camp at the mission station of Te Papa on a narrow strip of land jutting out into Tauranga Harbour. At its mouth a leading Ngati Rangi chief, Rawiri Puhirake, constructed the Gate Pa, so-called because it was by the gate between the missionaries’ land and that of the Maori. Sir Duncan Cameron, GOC New Zealand, decided to respond to this provocation and himself went to Tauranga with reinforcements, including a Naval Brigade under Commodore Sir William Wiseman of HMS Curacao. The British force of around 1,700 faced about 300 Maori. On 29 April the British attacked and at 4pm, assuming that few of the defenders could have survived the initial bombardment, Commander Edward Hay of HMS Harrier led a storming party of 150 sailors and marines, together with 150 men of the 43rd Light Infantry, into the pa. In fact, the defenders had not only survived but lay waiting underground in heavily fortified trenches. In the resulting hail of fire most of the British officers were killed or wounded, including Hay himself, who died of his wounds the next day. Leaderless and having suffered heavy casualties, the storming party had to fall back. Though the British had been humiliated, they simply brought up guns for a further bombardment. The next morning the pa was found to be deserted. The Maori had evacuated it during the night.


 For his conduct during the assault on the Rebel Pah, near Tauranga, New Zealand, on the 29th of April last, in most nobly risking his own life, according to the testimony of Commodore Sir William Wiseman, Bart., C.B., in his endeavour to save that of the late Commander Hay, of the Royal Navy, and others. Having volunteered to accompany the storming party into the Pah, he attended on that Officer when he was carried away, mortally wounded, and then volunteered to return, in order to see if he could find any more wounded. It is stated that he was one of the last Officers to leave the Pah. 

The London Gazette of 23 September 1864, Numb. 22896, p. 4552

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