Heke defeated and injured
at Te Ahuahu (12 June 1845)

There was plenty of action during the Northern War which did not involve the British at all. Clashes between the factions of Ngāpuhi began almost immediately after Kororāreka. The most notable of these was the Battle of Te Ahuahu, where Heke suffered his only outright defeat during the entire course of the war.

Te Ahuahu was an old , which belonged to Heke, and it was there that he went after defence of Te Kahika pā. In early June Heke and most of his men left Te Ahuahu to gather food. While they were away his enemy Te Taonui seized the pā, and was quickly backed up by Tāmati Wāka Nene. Heke wanted his pā back, so he amassed a force of about 500 men. Nene and Te Taonui had fewer men by a long way.

The Battle for Te Ahuahu was fought outside the pā on the lower slopes of the hills adjacent. Although outnumbered, Nene and Te Taonui succeeded in repelling Heke’s forces. Causalities were heavy and at least three chiefs allied to Heke were killed. Heke himself was gravely wounded, and barely managed to elude capture. The injured Heke was transported to safety, unable to participate in the action for the six months that followed.