Tuakau was founded in 1840. It was originally a flax milling centre with a convenient landing place on the nearby Waikato River. During the Waikato War (1863-64), a small fort armed with a heavy gun was built on a bluff overlooking the landing, this earthwork being called Alexandra Redoubt. Colour-Sergeant E. McKenna, who was stationed at Alexandra Redoubt, won the Victoria Cross during an engagement with the Maoris who had sacked Camerontown, an army depot about 5 miles down stream. A monument on the site of Alexandra Redoubt, which is now an historic reserve, commemorates those who served in the Maori Wars. Tuakau was created a town district in 1914 and became a borough in 1955.

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