New Zealand Defence Forces   1860 - 1883

After the outbreak of the Anglo Maori Wars in 1860, the New Zealand Government decided that local forces would have to be raised.
In 1864 the Government proposed its "self - reliant" policy, the substance of which was that New Zealand should dispense with imperial troops, for whom the country was paying an annual capitation of 40 pound. Reliance would instead be placed on local forces and Maori auxiliaries.
The proposal was accepted and by 1870 the last British regiment had left the country.

Colonial Defence Force

The Colonial Defence Act of 1862 authorised the formation of the first Regular Force.
This was a mounted body of troops, not to exceed 500 men, with enrolment being voluntary for a three year period. Maoris, as well as white settlers (Pakehas), were eligible and both officers and non commissioned officers were appointed by the Governor.

Special Forces

Special forces were raised to meet the Maori in their element - the bush. These forces searched out Maori war parties, acted as scouts and protected imperial troops lines of communication.
The first special force, known as the Taranaki Bush Rangers, comprised of 50 men and was raised in 1863. The most famous unit however, was the Forest Rangers, the first company of which was raised by Major W. Jackson in 1863. A second company was formed later in the year by Major G. F. Von Tempsky.
The Rangers were enrolled for three months at a time and given high rates of pay. Their guerilla tactics proved effective.
The Government also recruited bodies of military settlers, who were not only to put down the rebellion but were also to settle in the frontier areas afterwards, on confiscated Maori land in the Waikato, Taranaki and Bay of Plenty districts.
By the end of 1867, the severest fighting was over and all the special forces were disbanded on 22 October 1867. The Colonial Defence Force itself ceased to exist with the passing of the Armed Constabulary Act of 1867 .
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Armed Constabulary

Continuity was preserved because many members simply transferred from the Colonial Defence Force to the Armed Constabulary , which combined military with police functions. At its strongest were nine divisions (including two Maori divisions) of Armed Constabulary, each division comprising between 60 and 80 men.
Between 1868 and 1872, theArmed Constabulary undertook pursuit of Te Kooti, a noted Maori leader of that period. The forces other duties included patrolling and manning redoubts in the Waikato, Taupo, Wairoa and Taranaki districts. The Armed Constabulary was also engaged on public works. The dual military-police role was retained until 1886 when the force was divided into two branches - the Police and the Field Force.


During the Anglo - Maori Wars of 1843 - 47 and 1860 - 72 , about 560 British and Colonial troops died whilst on active service and 1050 were wounded. Approximately 250 "friendly" and 2000 "hostile" Maoris were killed: no accurate records appear to exist of Maori wounded on either side.
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The New Zealand Cross

This decoration was instituted by an Order-in Council by Sir George Bowen at New Zealand Government House, Wellington, on 10 March 1869, for award to members of the Militia, Volunteers and Armed Constabulary who particulary distinguished themselves by bravery in action or devotion of duty. It is clear that Colonel George Whitmore had much to to do with its instigation, as he writes in his book, that he pressed for such a decoration to "raise the tone" and to give a "higher inducement" to his colonial soldiers, and he mentions, as he paused before moving over the swamps of Te Ngaere in South Taranaki in 1869, of presenting the award to men he had recommended.
The New Zealand Governments initiative in setting up this decoration considerably embarrased and nettled the Imperial Government, who had not been consulted, and so the Queen was unaware of it. However, faced with this colonial fait accompli, the Secretary of State for the Colonies could only content himself with acidly informing Sir George Bowen that he had overstepped his authority while going on to say that "in the very exceptional circumstances, however, the Queen had been pleased to sanction the institution of the decoration".
The New Zealand Cross consists of a silver Maltese cross with a star on each limb. In the centre, in a circle within a wreath of laurel in gold, are the words "New Zealand". The cross is surmounted by a crown in gold which is attached by a ring and a V to a silver bar ornamented with gold laurel leaves, through which the ribbon passes. The ribbon, 1/2 inches, is crimson. As the New Zealand cross was awarded only to twenty three officers and men for bravery in the Maori Wars and has not been used since, it is a unique and rare decoration.
On 17 December 1969, the New Zealand Cross of Tom Adamson, complete with his New Zealand campaign medal, was sold in London for 1700 pounds.   The sturdy Tom Adamson won his award during the ambush of 7 May 1869, when Whitmore was penetrating the Urewera mountains. Adamson was severely wounded along with other men and Taranaki Jim was killed.
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Recipients of the New Zealand Cross

  1. Trooper Antonio RODRIGUES, Taranaki Mounted Volunteers, at Poutoko on 2 October 1863, and Kaitake, Taranaki, 11 March 1864.
  2. Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas McDONNELL, New Zealand Militia, particularly for his services during the Waikato campaign, 1863-1864, and later in Wanganui, the East Coast and South Taranaki.
  3. Captain Francis MACE, Taranaki Militia, notably at Kaitikara river, 4 June 1863; at Kaitake, 11 March 1864 and Warea, 20 October 1865.
  4. Doctor Isaac FEATHERSTON, Superintendent of Wellington Provence, for meritorious and intrepid services during Major - General Chutes campaign 1865-66, and especially at Otapawa Pa, 13 January 1866.
  5. Sergeant Samuel AUSTIN (1829 Ire-1903), Wanganui Volunteers, at Putahi Pa, South, 7 January 1866 and Keteonetea, 17 October 1866 (at Putahi, Austin carried Thomas Mc Donnell, wounded in the foot, from the field, and at Keteonetea he rescued the severely-wounded William Mc Donnell just as he was about to be tomahawked).
  6. Ensign Henry William NORTHCROFT (1844-1923), Patea Rangers, at Pungarehu, south Taranaki, 2 October 1866, and Tirotiro Moana, November 1866.
  7. Cornet Harry WRIGG, Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteer, for carrying despatches through hostile country between Opotiki and Tauranga, East Coast, 29 June 1867.
  8. Major Kepa Te RANGIHIWINUI, Wanganui Native Contingent, at Moturoa, 7 November 1868.
  9. Inspector John ROBERTS, Armed Constabulary, at Moturoa (his previous distinguished conduct at second Te Ngutu-Ote-Manu was also recalled).
  10. Constable Henare Kepa Te AHURURU, Constable in the First Division Armed Constabulary, at Moturoa 7 Nov 1868. Was the first of four Maoris awarded the NZ Cross.
  11. Major Ropata WAHAWAHA, Ngatiporou Native Contingent, for both first and second attacks on Ngapata, December 1868.
  12. Sub- Inspector George Augustus PREECE (1845 Coromandel-1925), Armed Constabulary, for the first attack on Ngapata Jan 1869.
  13. Constable Solomon BLACK (1834 Sct.-?), 1 Division Armed Constabulary, at Ngapata, 8 January 1869. Arr in NZ 1864.
  14. Constable Benjamin BIDDLE (1848-1933), 1 Division Armed Constabulary, at Ngapata.
  15. Trooper William LINGARD, Kai-Iwi Cavalry Volunteers, at Tauranga-ika, 28 December 1868.
  16. Sergeant Christopher MALING, Corps of Guides, for most valuable and efficient services as Sergeant of the Corps of Guides, but especially for daring reconnaissance after Titokowaru had left Tauranga-ika.
  17. Assistant Surgeon Samuel WALKER, Armed Constabulary, especially at Otautu, 13 March 1869.
  18. Sergeant Richard SHEPHERD, Armed Constabulary, also at Otautu.
  19. Constable George HILL, 1 Division Armed Constabulary, at the siege of Mohaka Pa, Hawke's Bay, 10 April 1869.
  20. Private Thomas ADAMSON (1847-1913), Corps of Guides, Urewera mountains ambush, 7 June 1869.
  21. Cornet Angus SMITH, Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers, at Opepe, 7 June 1869.
  22. Sergeant Arthur CARKEEK, Armed Constabulary, for carriage of vital information through hostile country from Ohinemutu, Rotorua, to Tapapa, 8 February 1870.
  23. Captain Gilbert MAIR (1843-1923), for his pursuit and defeat of Te Kooti in the Rotorua district, February 1870.

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The New Zealand War Medal

The New Zealand War Medal for veterans of the Maori Wars of 1845-7, 1860 and 1865-72 was not sanctioned until 1869. It was awarded to survivors, only in the Imperial forces and the colonial troops recieved theirs on the added condition that they had been under fire. The medal is silver and was worn from a dark blue ribbon with a broad central red strip. The Obverse showed the head of QueenVictoria and the reverse a wreath and dates of service. The number of varieties of this medal, including those that were undated, covers twentynine dates. Each medal bears the recipient's name and regiment, the latter difference alone giving scope for many varieties.
A military pension was available to anyone who served for the crown in the Maori Wars and was awarded a medal for active service (Colonial Forces).
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Research is available at the
			National Archives of New Zealand        
			10 Mulgrave Street               
			PO Box 12-050,Wtn, NZ                                                                                                        

The Auckland Musuem Library has
   Microfilm  #97  -  Army Department NZ War Medal Claims
   Microfilm  #98  -  The Armed Constabulary Description Book
       Which has,  name,  swearing in date,  height and age, where from,
       religion, previous service, occupation, discharge place and date

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Engagements and casualties (1864 - 1872)

In the following chronological list of the principal engagements, sieges, and skirmishes in the campaign against the Hauhau Maoris from the early part of 1864 to1872, the casualty figures in most cases, are taken from official returns, checked by reference to survivors of the wars.   Over 120 engagements are given here ; of some there is no offical record, and despatches did not always give the Maori casualties correctly. It was often difficult to estimate the natives' losses owing to their practice of carrying off the dead. It is impossible to state the Maori wounded with any degree of accuracy, hence the figures in that column are given in only a few cases.   Numerous petty skirmishes are omitted from the list.
Approximate total casualties in the New Zealand Wars 1845 to 1872
British & Colonial ForcesFriendly MaorisHostile Maoris
Killed Wounded Killed Killed Wounded
560 1,050 250 2,000 2,000
Date Engagement British Forces
Colonial Forces
Friendly Maoris
Hostile Maoris
Killed Wounded Killed Wounded
April 6 Te Ahuahu, Taranaki712   
April 30 Sentry Hill, Taranaki1 50abt 60
May 14 Moutoa Island, Taranaki16305040
Sept. 8 Manutahi, Taranaki 
Jan. 24 Hukumaru, West Coast 163223 
Jan. 25 Hukumaru, West Coast  
Feb. Ohoutahi, Wanganui 
Mar. 15 Te Ngaio (Kakaramea)1380 
Mar. 31 Waihi River, Taranaki 
Jun. 1 Whatino, Taranaki1 3  
Jun 13 Villages inland of Warea,Taranaki 
June Te Tapiri (Urewera)6   20  
July Te Horo, East Coast  5 
July 18 Te Hatepe, East Coast 
July 21 Weraroa, Waitotara 
July 28 Warea, Taranaki2   
July 19-30 Pipiriki Wanganui River 420 
Aug. 2 - 3 Warea District, Taranaki5616 
Aug. 3 Pa-kairomiromi, East Coast 825 
Aug. Te Mawhai, East Coast 213 
Aug Pukepapa, East Coast  14 
Aug. 18 Tahutahu-po, East Coast1 12 
Sept. 8 Opotiki, East Coast  1 
Sept 9 Opotiki, East Coast  6 
Oct. 3 Pukemaire, East Coast2 9 
Oct. 4 Te Tarara & Kiorekimo, Opotiki393540
Oct. Hungahunga - toroa, E.Cape  20 
Oct Te Teko (siege of) Rangitaiki River 
Oct. 20 Koingo, Te Kuwini, Waimana  3 
Nov. Waerenga - a - Hika ,(7 day siege), Pov.Bay1120100 
Dec. - Omaru - hakeke, Wairoa, Hawke's Bay3 12 
Jan. 4 Okotuku, West Coast166 
Jan. 7Te Putahi, West Coast21215 
Jan. 13Te Kopane, Upper Wairoa, Hawke's Bay 
Jan 14Otapawa, Taranaki112030 
Jan 15Ketemarae, Taranaki  10 
Jan. 15Mawhitiwhiti, Taranaki  7 
Jan. 17 Near Ketemarae, Taranaki  3 
Jan. 20 Ahipaipa, ect, Taranaki 15 
Feb 1 Waikoko, Taranaki134 
Feb - Var. skirmishes -Waioeka Gorge, Opotiki 
Mar. - Kairakau, Opotiki  4 
April - Otara Gorge, Opotiki  2 
Aug. 2Pokaikai, Taranaki1 31
Sept. 2Ketemarae, Taranaki142 
Sept. 23 Near Hawera, Taranaki1   
Sept. Near Waihi, Taranaki  1 
Oct. 2Pungarehu, Taranaki3430 
Oct. 12Omarunui, Hawke's Bay2142130
Oct. 12Petane, Taranaki 1121
Oct. 18Popoia, Taranaki1   
Oct. 22Popoia, Taranaki1 2 
Nov. 5Tirotiro - moana, Taranaki1   
Jan. 18 Te Irihanga, Tauranga1      
Jan. - Whakamarama, Tauranga1      
Feb. 4 Te Akeake, Tauranga 
Feb. 4 Taumata, Tauranga  
Feb. 15Te Irihanga & Whakamarama, Tauranga1 4 3  
Mar. 3 Te Kaki, Tauranga  1 2  
Mar. 17Te Koutu, Rotorua1 5 11  
- Puraku, Rotorua    11  
May 21Waioeka, Opotiki2      
-Te Pokopoko, Waimana  1 7  
Sept. 1 Waioeka 
Feb. 10 Waimana Gorge  2 3 5
Mar. - Hokianga Island, Ohiwa Harbour1      
Mar. 11 Te Ponga, Waimana Valley1   1  
June 9 Te Rauna, Taranaki3      
June 20 Waihi, Taranaki  2 2  
July 12 Turuturu - mokai, Taranaki10 6 3  
July 20 Paparatu, East Coast2 7    
July 24 Te Koneke, East Coast1 1 3 5
Aug. 8 Ruakituri, East Coast6 5 8 3
Aug. 21 Te Ngutu-o-te-manu, Taranaki4 8 7  
Sept. 7 Te Ngutu-o-te mana, Taranaki24 27 28  
Nov. 7 Moturoa19 20 1  
Nov. 10 Poverty Bay70      
Nov. 20 Patutahi    2  
Nov-10days Makaretu8 20 18  
Dec. 3 Makaretu1 2 60  
Dec. 5 Ngatapa6   10  
Jan.1-5 Ngatapa (siege of )11 11 136  
Feb. 2Taurangi-ika, West Coast 
Feb. 3 Karaka, West Coast1 43  
Feb. 14 Pukearuhe redoubt, West Coast9      
Feb 18 Papatupu, West Coast7 1    
Mar.- Ohiwa, Bay of Plenty1      
Mar.- Te Poronu, Whakatane5  7 
Mar.- Rauporoa, Whakatane4  10  
Mar.- Whakatane, various skirmishes 
Mar.- Tauaroa, Rangitaiki1      
Mar. 13 Otautu, West Coast 6 12 4  
Mar.- Whakamara bush pursuit     11  
April 10-12 Mohaka, Hawke's Bay60   10  
May 6 Te Harema, Urewera Country    5  
May 6 Whataponga, Urewera Country  1 9  
May 7 Manawa-hiwi, Urewera Country1 2    
May 7 Te Paripari, Urewera Country1      
May 7 Hukanui, Urewera Country1      
May 7 Tahora, Urewera Country 
May 8 Orangikawa (Tatahoata), Urewera Country5 6 1  
May 9-14 Orana & Te Wai-iti, Urewera Country  1 5  
June 7 Opepe, Taupo9 1    
Sept. 9 Tauranga, Taupo    3  
Sept. 25 Pononga, South Taupo2 4 10  
Oct. 3 Te Porere, South Taupo4 4 37 1
Jan. 24 Tapapa    1  
Jan. 25 Tapapa4 4 6  
- Paengaroa4      
Feb 7 Waikorowhiti, Rotorua 1 7 20  
- Omarumutu, Bay of Plenty2      
Mar. 13 Toreatai, Urewera Country1      
Mar. 23 Maraetahi, Waioeka Gorge    20  
- Tolago Bay skirmishes1      
- Ohiwa    1  
May 21 Waikaremoana     1  
May - Waikaremoana    1  
Aug. 15 Waipaoa, Urewera Country    4  
Sept. 1 Te Hapua, Urewera Country    11  
Oct. - Okahu River, Urewera Country       1
Feb. 14 Mangaone (south of Waikaremoana) 

© BL Murray  2 Mar 1997