The Elms & The Battle of Gate Pa
2014 was the 150 year anniversary of the Battle.
Archdeacon Brown and his second wife, Christina, were at the Te Papa Mission Station when the first Imperial troops disembraked in January 1864. Naturally the officers paid their respects to the missionary couple, and the Brown's extended their hospitality to their fellow countrymen.
The officers were invited to dine at the Mission Station on the evening of 28th April 1864. Those not already taking up position in the field for the next days battle attended. Sadly all but the Surgeon General, William Manley, were killed at the battle the next day. Manley received the Victoria cross for his bravery during the battle.
For your students, standing in the dining room will make it easy to imagine the scene on that night - the room filled with officers discussing tactics for the next days engagement. After the meal all those present participated in Holy Communion, using the silver vessels still on display here at The Elms. Mrs Brown played the hymn Abide with Me on the small piano, which still stands in the dining room. As each guest said their farewells at the end of the evening, none could have known that it was for the last time.
Follow your visit to The Elms with a visit to the Mission Cemetery. Before 1864 there were only 3 recorded burials in the little cemetery but this was soon to change as those who lost their lives at Gate Pa were buried. One can only imagine the grief experienced by Alfred Brown, who had sailed from England 35 years prior with the aim of bringing Christianity to the Maori. All his efforts, hopes and expectations had been swept away. For him, as for so many others, life would never be the same again.