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The Square - Te Peeti Te Awe

Te -Peeti -Te -Awe

Building Details

Building name: Te Peeti Te Awe Awe Statue
Address: The Square
Construction date: 1907
Architect: Designer - Harold Anderson; Pedestal - Samuel Dowdall; Figure - unknown Italian sculptor.
Architectural style: Neo-Gothic
District Plan Category: 1
Building number: 22
Heritage NZ Category: 2


This statue is a memorial to Rangitane chief Te Peeti Te Awe Awe (c1820-1884) leader of the Ngati Hineaute and Ngai Tamawahine hapu whose land encompassed much of the lower Manawatu. Much of Rangitane land was lost to northern tribes Ngati Raukawa, and Ngati Kauwhata during the bitter inter-tribal wars of the 18?? and 30's. Te Peeti strove to improve the status of his people and claim back land taken during those wars. To this end he allied himself with the Government by helping it buy land and siding with the Crown during the New Zealand Wars and later skirmishes. The sale to the Government of the 250,000acre Ahuaturanga Block, site of present day Palmerston North in 1864 was not opposed by Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Kaukawa. But other sales were bitterly opposed by those tribes and it wasn't until the 1870s that Te Peeti was persuaded to use the Maori Land Court to seek justice. He continued to encourage Pakeha settIement and in 1878 convened a meeting of tribal leaders to select a suitable Maori name for The Square. The name chosen was Te Marae o Hine - The courtyard of the Daughter of Peace. Te Peeti died in 1884 in Awapuni. The statue in The Square was commissioned in 1905 by Te Peeti's younger sister Ereni Te Awe Awe. The monument was designed by Harold Anderson, an artist from Palmerston North, and the monumental work undertaken by Samuel Dowdall, a mason, also from Palmerston North. It is thought that Dowdall only did the base of the monument and that an Italian sculptor was contracted to fashion the figure of Te Peeti from photographs. The monument was finally unveiled on 29 January 1907 by Jar??? Carroll, Native Minister.


The statue is a combination of styles - largely Gothic with Classical details such as the festoons. The design of the statue is relatively simple with base, pedestal for inscriptions and the statue itself.

Summary of Heritage Values

The statue has legendary, symbolic, political and patriotic values, as a memorial to a Maori leader who was greatly involved with the settlement of the Manawatu.

The statue is intimately associated with Te Peeti, and the conflicts over land settlement. Design: the statue is a simple though effective design to commemorate a noted Maori leader.

The statue has technological value in the use of marble and lead lettering.

The statue is unique, is a landmark in the Square, and is authentic.

The statue has educational value.

Statement of Significance

This statue is a memorial to a man who could be considered the patron of Palmerston North. Without Te Peeti Te Awe Awe's enthusiastic support of the sale of the Ahuaturanga Block to the government and continuing patronage, Palmerston North and much surrounding farmland would not have been settled. The statue is a significant monument in the Square.

Biographies Index, ATL
Matheson IR 1985, "The Memorial to Te Peeti Awe Awe", PNCC Archives, PN