Relations between settlers in New
Zealand and Maori people degenerated into warfareon thirteen occasions in the 19th century. Later
known in New Zealand as the Land Wars, now the New Zealand Wars, these
conflicts involved the Eastern Australian Colonies early on, and were attended
by the Royal Navy ships of the Australia Station which provided Naval Brigades
in many of the notable actions, especially in the first Taranaki War and in
the Waikato War at Rangiriri and in actions around Tauranga.
An offer of land in exchange for
military service during the Waikato War led to the formation of four regiments of Waikato
Militia, the members of which mostly were recruited in Australia. A total of
1784 enlisted in Australia. 31 Australians enlisted in the Regiments in New
Zealand, including one South Australian. More than five hundred men enrolled
for service as military settlers in Taranaki (West coast).
Protests about the effects of this
recruitment on the Australian Colonies of Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania
and Queensland led to protests by those governments. By March 1864,
recruitment was only a trickle.
During the Waikato War, engagements
and skirmishes occurred at Martin's Farm, Te Teoteo, Kirikiri, Williamson's
Clearing. Pokeno, Camerontown, Patumahoe, Burn's Farm, Galloway Redoubt, Titi
Hill, Meremere, Howick, battle of Rangiriri, Ararimu,Waiari, Hairini, Orakau
Pa, Lake Rotoiti, bombardment of Maketu Fort, Gate Pa, Te
Sgt. Alexander McMillan's signed receipt for his
New Zealand medal (left)
and part of the papers for his land grant in
Cambridge, Auckland Province. McMillan
enlisted at Hobart in the 3rd Waikato Regiment, and
served in the Commissariat
Transport Corps. These papers provided by his proud
grandson Ivan Dominikovich.
These papers illustrate what is available at the
New Zealand's National Archives.
National Archives of New Zealand, AD 76/ 1-5
(Nominal Rolls); AD 36/3 (NZ medals).
Auckland Institute and Museum Library; New
Zealand Army Lists; New Zealand
Gazette; G. F. Von Tempsky journals and
Public Record Office of Victoria: 1867 petition
from failed Waikato military
settlers (in Ancestor, journal of the
Genealogical Society of Victoria
Vol 23, No. 6, Winter 1997).
Many other British Regiments and
detachments ( 12th, 14th, 18th, 40th, 43rd, 50th, 65th, 68th and 70th
Regiments), seamen and marines, artillery and local militia took part in the
Waikato War. Among the latter was G. F. Von Tempsky's and Jackson's Forest
Rangers. These counter-insurgency units were trained to engage Maori forces
unexpectedly on their own ground. Before then, massed British forces since
1845 had been unable to bring the Maori to any decisive encounter. The Maori
tactic of building Pas (fortified emplacements), with flanking rifle pits and
trenches, and abandoning them at a strategic moment had previously outwitted
British Officers and Generals.
Nominal and descriptive rolls, and
medal rolls, of the Waikato Regiments are presented in
Barton, Leonard L.: Australians
in the Waikato War, 1863-1864: Library of Australian History: Sydney:
The New Zealand
THE NEW ZEALAND MEDAL, awarded for actually
being under fire or otherwise conspicuous for distinguished service in the
field. For some reason, those serving with the Imperial Commissariat or the
Imperial Commissariat Transport Corps seem to have been awarded this medal
without having met the above requirement. Ten members of the crew of HMCSS Victoria, who served ashore with the Royal
Naval Brigade during the First Taranaki War, received the medal -- although
more may have been entitled.
Many members of the Waikato Regiments, raised in
Australia, received the medal.
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