Captain, New Zealand Militia
New Zealand Maori War Medal Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers Decoration Mentioned in Despatches in 1860's Born 10 January 1843 Whangarei, New Zealand Died 29 November 1923 Tauranga, New Zealand Buried, one of the few Europeans to be buried in the Te Arawa cemetery at Ōhinemutu, Rotorua, New Zealand
Gilbert Mair was a New Zealand surveyor, interpreter, soldier and public servant. He was born in Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand on 10 January 1843, the son of an early trader, also named Gilbert Mair.
Raised amongst Maori, he was a fluent Maori speaker. During the attack on Auckland by Maniapoto and Ngati Haua in 1863, Gilbert joined the Forest Rangers under Jackson, as an ensign or trainee officer. He took part in the Invasion of Waikato against the Kingitanga forces, and became famous in late 1863 for entering into discussions with the rebels during the Battle of Orakau under a flag of truce. The government forces were aware that a number of women and children were in the stronghold and Mair pleaded with the rebels to let them out but they refused and one shot Mair in the shoulder.
Mair later became an officer and lead the hunt for Te Kooti between 1868 and 1872 which led to the defeat of Te Kooti's guerillas. Mair was able to convince Tuhoe ringatu, who had been part of Te Kooti's band, to lead the government forces to Te Kooti's secret camp in the Ureweras.
In the 1880s Mair was the government officer trusted with establishing friendly relationships with Rewi Maniapoto in the 1880s to facilitate the main trunk railway to enter the King Country