Wednesday, 25 May 2011
NZ Wars - Auckland Militia
After the battle of Ruapekepeka, both sides appear to have wanted peace. Kawiti and Heke considered that they had worsted the British whilst the British, in the form of Governor Grey, liked to boast that the evacuation of a pa again indicated British victory. In reality, both sides were over-egging their positions, and the economic and physical cost of the conflict led them to broker a peace. Arguably, the most important factor in driving the Maori to cease hostilities was the effect of pro-government Maori attacks on Kawiti's and Heke's territory. British authority was maintained in theory, but it was the loyal Maori chiefs who acted as a buffer against the (unconquered) forces of Kawiti and Heke. One suspects that both sides knew that the end of the war signified a truce and not a peace, a fact perhaps demonstrated by Heke marching a large force into Russell at the end of 1846 - he removed the remains of the men killed in the attack on 11 March 1845 and then retired. Perhaps his aim was to demonstrate that he could go where he chose - hardly an indication of a British victory. Furthermore, the flagstaff at Russell remained broken and had been left where it lay when Heke cut it down on 11 March 1845. The Maori were far from defeated and this, arguably, made further conflict inevitable.
The figures shown here represent the Auckland Militia. I understand that they wore military clothing provided by the British regulars, so I have painted the trousers in the same way as the 58th Foot and given them blue-grey army shirts. Of the Empress Miniatures first release I still have some Maori chiefs to paint - when I have finished those I will add some information about the Taranaki and Wellington campaigns of 1846-47 (i.e. the fighting at the middle/bottom of North Island).
I hope readers have enjoyed this series of posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. For me, this has been an opportunity to read up about this period and think again about areas of NZ that I have visited. Those who have little interest in this conflict may like to know that there are more 1815 and AWI posts on the horizon, specifically those French Old Guard I finished ages ago and Court Pulaski for the AWI. On the workbench are some Eureka Miniatures civilians and lost of AWI French. Oh, and I'm looking forward to painting my first 15mm figures in about 12 years...