the Carronade

There is an 18-pounder carronade (a short-barrelled cannon) mounted near the middle of Ruapekapeka Pā. This has long been known as “Kawiti’s Carronade” (after Te Ruki Kawiti, the warrior chief who led the defence of Ruapekapeka Pā).

The restored carronade is carefully lowered back onto the site thanks to the efforts of a local farmer, contractor and DOC staff.

Department of Conservation

Before the restoration project began, the carronade was broken into four separate pieces. Two large pieces were displayed at the , and two smaller pieces were in the care of the Whangarei Museum. 

John Osborne, a master gunsmith, was enlisted to carry out the restoration work. The cannon ball jammed in the barrel was a challenge, since John suspected there was a charge in the powder chamber behind it. He was right. The powder chamber was flooded with water after drilling through the spiked vent hole, and the cannon ball dislodged with heat and water. During the process of cleaning the carronade, engraved marks were discovered on the surface. The marks include a year, a calibre, and an image of a crown with the letters “GR” inside it. We now know that the carronade is an 18-pounder, manufactured for the British Government in 1811.

John came up with an ingenious way of re-assembling the broken pieces. He had a steel tube manufactured especially to fit down the barrel, and screwed the broken pieces together around the tube. After a coat of rust-converting primer, finished with some matt black paint, the carronade was ready to be mounted.

A wooden carriage was made to resemble the original ships mounting, and the carronade was returned to its old spot on the pā in January 2010.

View pictorial progress reports from the carronade restoration: