cannonballThis cannonball is one of the last shots fired in the Taranaki Land Wars. The story of this cannonball is strongly linked to the story of the taiaha in the Taonga Māori section of the Mokau Museum. Hone Wetere, who owned the taiaha, was pursued up the Mokau River by government forces in April 1869. The boat pursuing him, the Government paddle steamer Sturt, paused as it passed the small Māori settlement on the banks of the river, where the town now stands, and fired on it three times with their on-board cannons. Fortunately nobody was hurt by this volley. One cannonball fell into the river while another was found and used as a doorstop for years before being dropped down a well. This final one was discovered in the garden of one of the museum’s volunteers. These cannonballs marked the end of artillery in the Taranaki Land Wars.

Government paddle steamer Sturt which fired the cannonball.
Painting of the Government paddle steamer Sturt

The cannonball is made of lead and weighs 16 lbs or 7.25 kilograms. Come into the museum to test its weight. It’s heavier than it looks!

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