Our Place

Gate Pā School is in the heart of the Gate Pā community, surrounded by bustling facilities including a shopping centre, cafes, a hospital, and the Pukehinahina memorial reserve. Just metres away lies a secondary school and several early childhood centres including Te Puna Reo o Pukehinahina.

Our school is situated on Cameron Road, one of the main roads through the city, and is within an easy drive to Tauranga's city centre. 

The area served by Gate Pā School has matured into an urban area which includes privately owned family homes, retirement townhouses, state and rental homes. There are many new subdivisions nearby and many more are planned. Our diverse school community could be considered typical of today’s urban world.

On leaving Gate Pā School most students attend Tauranga Intermediate School or Te Wharekura o Mauao.




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Our History

Up until March 22nd 2001 our school was known as Tauranga South School. After extensive consultation with the local community and the wider Tauranga, the decision was made to rename the school as Gate Pā School.

This area in Tauranga is now known as the suburb of Gate Pā; it is very close to where the famous battle of Gate Pā took place and we wanted to embrace this significant history in our school.

You will notice in our school logo the gourd (water container) that was given by a Māori woman, HÄ“ni Pore to an injured British soldier which embraces the compassion and dignity that was shown during the time of war.


Our school houses are named after key rangatira/leaders of the Battle of Gate Pā :

  • Hēni Pore
  • Penetaka Tuaia
  • Rawiri Puhirake
  • Henare Wiremu Taratoa



Battle of Gate Pā - 1864

The Battle of Gate Pā is probably the battle which made the greatest impact in the history of the New Zealand Wars. In an effort to cut off reinforcements and food supplies which were filtering through to the Māori rebels in the Waikato area, the British sent their troops to Tauranga, where Gate Pā was situated, in order to attack the fortress.

Around 200 warriors from the Ngai-te-Rangi tribe were in place one side of the pā and around 35 warriors, mainly from the Ngati Koheriki tribe, reinforced the other side. The chief, Rawiri Puhirake was in charge.

On the 29th April 1862, the 43rd British regiment attacked the Pā. 1,700 soldiers were armed with Armstrong artillery; 8 mortars, 2 howitzers, 2 naval canon and 5 Armstrong guns. The Armstrong gun was a relatively new weapon, having been invested in 1854. The British troops knew by this time that an extremely well fortified Pā, even manned by armed Maori warriors who were numerically inferior in number, was not a future battle to be taken lightly.

General Cameron was in charge of the Imperial troops. The soldiers opened fire on Gate Pā, and during a short time bombarded it heavily. The following day the troops bombarded again, for a longer period, and this time succeeded in breaking opening a large point of entry to the pā. Cameron then sent an elite assault force to penetrate the breach opened up during the bombardment.

The assault force was made up of the 43rd Regiment and a naval brigade, an approximate total of 300 men. The part advanced succeeded in entering the pā, but within ten minutes were forced to rapidly withdraw, leaving around 100 dead and wounded soldiers inside the pā.

The British had thought their previous heavy bombardment has taken effect, owing to the fact that there has been little response fire from within the pā. However, on entering via the breach, the British troops found themselves being fired on at very close range from Māori in hiding.

Source: http://history-nz.org/wars4.html






A reinforcement group of soldiers was sent to relieve the trapped assault force in the pā. However, the reinforcements found themselves caught up in the retreat from the pa by the first assault force. From two separate areas of the pā, the Maori were firing on the two groups of troops, who were by this time caught up in the deadly crossfire.

During the night the Maori, who had not suffered a particularly heavy loss due to their well-planned strategy, evacuated the pā, taking with them the abandoned British weapons.

After the battle of Gate Pā there was much controversy about the defeat of the elite Imperial troops, heavily armed and far superior in number to the Maori.

The Maori warrior was a magnificent, brave and fierce fighter. Their strong spiritual ties to the land led them to fight with passion and vigour. The British soldiers had much respect for these fierce fighters. However, the Maori eventually and inevitably lost their war and land due to the superior firepower of the British troops, and the ever-continuing arrival of European settlers.

It is worth noting that many Maori were pro-government, and either joined the government troops during the wars, or remained neutral. They welcomed the beneficial economic relations with the European, and preferred to maintain good relations. On the other hand, other tribes joined up with the British or Colonial forces in order to avenge enemy tribes.


For further information, go to:
Battle of Gate Pā
NZ History - Gate Pā 

Narrative of Our Pou







Gate Pā School Poupou

Situated at the entrance of the school are two poupou, at the top of each stand two local ancestors Te Rauhea Paraone Koikoi (1828-1874) on the right and his wife Matatu Koikoi (1824- 1896) on the left.
They are both holding Rau/Leaves, performing a Pōwhiri/Welcoming, Te Rauhea is doing the Wero/Challenge and Matatu is doing a Karanga/Summoning to all those who visit the school. During Te Pakanga o Pukehinahina (Battle of Gate Pā) both Te Rauhea and Matatu provided protection, shelter and support to children and women. They now stand at our entrance as kaitiaki for the tamariki and whānau at Pukehinahina.




On each of their shoulders are carved heads that represent the school’s values. Below the figures are four heads that represent the schoolhouses, named after key Rangatira/Leaders of the Battle of Pukehinahina/Gate Pā. Below Te Rauhea is Rawiri Puhirake and bottom is Henare Wiremu Taratoa. Below Matatu is Hēni Pore and bottom is Penetaka Tuaia. You will notice in the eyes of Hēni Pore are Hue/Gourds.

A gourd was used as a water container to aid an injured British soldier which embraces the compassion and dignity that was shown during the time of war. On each finger of Te Rauhea’s hand are 6 manaia head, which represent the Iwi/Tribes that Tautoko/Supported Tauranga Moana in the Battle of Pukehinahina. On the knees of each figure are 4 carved heads representing British Governor George Grey, General Duncan Cameron, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Greer and Captain John Hamilton.



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On either side of these two Pou are six painted pouwhenua. These are the result of a collaborative project between Gate Pā School students, their families and local artists from The Incubator. They depict six different continents and some of the cultures within. They reflect the students’ view of their culture. They also acknowledge and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Gate Pā School, a school who values the histories and traditions of all its people.

Local Iwi

 There are three iwi of Tauranga Moana:

The boundaries of the tribes’ territory run from Bowentown, at Tauranga Harbour, down to Pāpāmoa, inland along the Kaimai Ranges, and back to Bowentown. 

Ngāti Ranginui

Ngāti Ranginui’s territory includes the Tauranga shoreline. Their ancestor is Ranginui, a great grand-son of the Polynesian navigator Tamatea.


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Ngāi Te Rangi

The name is shortened for that of the chief, Te Rangihouhiri, after he was killed in a battle at Maketū. To avenge his death they successfully fought for land at Tauranga Moana.


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Ngāti Pukenga

Ngāti Pukenga occupy land at Ngāpeke, and Manaia in Hauraki. It is said their ancestor Pūkenga named the Kaimai ranges.


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Kāhui Ako

Gate Pā School is part of the Tauranga Pennisula Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning - CoL). 

Our COL aims to bring together our individual strengths as a collective to establish effective interventions and innovations for our students from Year 1 - 13.

This group is is made up of 15 + schools, 40 ECE centres, members of our local iwi, school whanau and the wider Tauranga Moana community.

A major focus of our Kāhui Ako is to ensure our priority learners, such as Māori, Pasifika and students with additional learning needs are given opportunities to experience and achieve successful outcomes during their time at school.


Support Services

The document below lists the names and contacts of a range of support agencies.  Included are agencies who support with food, well-being and family violence.