Tuesday, 10 May 2011
New Zealand Week
It's New Zealand Week at Tarleton's Quarter. I took advantage of the recent bank holidays to paint the packs of Empress Miniatures' New Zealand Wars figures, and a few others, that I bought at Salute. Each day this week I will post pictures of a different set of figures and, hopefully, some notes about the Flagstaff War of 1845-6 for which these figures were designed. There are British regulars, civilians, Auckland militia, the Naval Brigade and, of course, lots of heavily-tattooed Maori - that should provide a post a day until Sunday!
To kick things off, I thought I'd post some photos of "Maoriana" that I took when in NZ a couple of months ago. These exhibits are mainly in the Auckland War Memorial Museum and one or two photos (I confess I can't identify which) are from Wellington's Te Papa museum. Above is a photo of a contemporary model of Ruapekapeka pa, together with a photo of the 'net of what the site looks like today. Ruapekapeka was built by the Maori chiefs Hone Heke and Te Ruki Kawhiti in 1845 and was one of the largest and most complex Maori fortifications. The name means "the bats' nest" and refers to how the Maori warriors lived in underground dug-outs and shelters, like bats. The British stormed the pa in January 1846 after a 2 week bombardment, only to find that the Maori had sneaked out the back. This model was made by Captain Henry Balneavis, commander of the 58th Foot's light company which took part in the attack on Ruapekapeka and who was keenly interested in Maori fortifications. The weapons are, hopefully, self-explanatory. The armour in the first photo below was a gift to Chief Hongi Hika from King George IV, when the former visited England in 1820. Apparently the Chief was presented with many other gifts, but sold them and bought muskets instead which he then used to subjugate his neighbours upon his return to New Zealand.
Incidentally, another aspect of New Zealand Week is the need to polish off various bottles of NZ pinot noir that have accumulated in my house. Last year I signed up with PureNoir, a supplier of "boutique" NZ pinot noir who provide you with a case of different wines every 3 months. The next case is arriving next week and I have a bit of a back log, caused by insufficiently rapid consumption of my previous 3 cases.