Audio tourPapakura Cemetery Heritage Walk
Between July and December 1863 Papakura and Franklin Districts experienced bouts of violence and bloodshed as the Waikato War was fought on local soil, the results of which had a significant impact for both settlers and local Maori. The Battle of Rangiriri on 20th/21st November 1863 signalled the end of the conflict in the district, with British troops moving into the heart of the Waikato. Two weeks later, on 3rd December, the New Zealand Settlements Act was passed, allowing the seizure of land from Māori. Governor Grey justified these actions as punishment for what had been seen as armed rebellion against the British Queen and British law. The Waikato Immigration Scheme arose out of the Government’s desire to quickly and significantly populate the comparatively unsettled land south of Drury, creating a ‘buffer’ zone between Auckland and the Waikato. The original intention of the Scheme was to bring 20,000 immigrants to the area, recruiting them from the Cape Colony (South Africa), Britain and Ireland. Settlers would be put on some of the confiscated land; the rest would be surveyed for larger holdings and used to entice new settlers to the Colony. Money raised from land sales would assist with the costs of war, as well as any compensation provided to ‘friendly’ Maori.
Through sheer resilience and perseverance, the settlers from the thirteen ships survived. Their lives became intertwined with other immigrants and established settlers through marriage, business, local politics, war, disease, committees, and social and religious relationships. We follow a number of those settlers here, many who sailed on the Viola and Resolute, who made Papakura their home. Women are often hidden behind the men, but their stories do come through even if via births, marriages and obituaries. Where possible, their lives are highlighted. Through the immigrant stories we get a sense of the colourful, civic-minded or quiet individuals who experienced struggle, loss, and success that is representative of so many who left the other side of the world to make a new life for themselves in the villages south of Auckland.
Please note: this Heritage Walk does not follow the chronological numbering of each entry; instead, it is ordered thematically by ship according to arrival date. Please open the map and use it as a guide within each area of the cemetery (Methodist, Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian). Walk will take approx. 1-1½ hours
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