Rangiriri, a tiny village south east of Auckland, would be easy to overlook. I stopped off after a fourteen hour flight in need of a break from driving to discover a place with a history.

Graveyard entrance, Rangiriri

This was the site of land grabbing by the British and the Maori protecting what was rightfully theirs. The Waikato chiefs hadn’t signed the Treaty of Waitangi, so had no obligation to give up their lands.

On a hill on the outskirts of the village, an Anglican Maori church once stood. During the battle the building was used as a hospital. Later the dead were buried in rows except for Maoris whom they deposited into a mass grave that was later removed.

Rangiriri Heritage Tea Room and Museum

I asked someone at the heritage information building if the Maori graves were the unmarked ones or the mound in the present graveyard, but she couldn’t tell me.