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...


Furt said...

It's been a great read and some very nice eye candy. You have shown us a very interesting period to wargame.


Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

It's been a great series to watch and like all your projects I enjoy following them immensely! Another great set of pics and info btw.:-)


whisperin' al said...

I have really enjoyed the posts - this is a period I am getting interested (as a result of th Empress Range). Keep up the excellent work!

Iowa Grognard said...

Its been a pleasure reading these posts. I look forward to all your projects in the pipeline.

Mericánach said...

Excellent series of posts.

Steven Mynes said...

Great work! I'm receiving a few more of the sets in Pillbox Caps than I thought, so I can use this for inspiration.


LittleArmies said...

Super stuff as usual Giles. It occurs to me - I have a some 1st Corps Cape Wars figures knocking around somewhere. These are for 8th War (1850-53) so not too far adrift from the war in NZ.

They are in campaign rig so a variety of headgear etc. They have belly boxes though - I've no idea how they would match size wise with the figures you are using but you are welcome to them if you wish.

Docsmith said...

Really excellent posts Giles - thoroughly enjoying them. We Aussies are quite envious of the Kiwis colonial military history. The Maori were formidable and amazing fort builders!


Pete said...

Great stuff and a subject close to my heart. I'm using old glory figs which aren't as clean cut as Empress. Just ordered some Empress though based on your photos.
The James Belish has been critised for some of his sweeping statements, things like the Maoris invented trench warfare. A good book is The colonial NZ wars by Tim Ryan & Bill Parham, isbn 1869340825. Plenty of pictures including flags carried by the Maori. There was a TV series to accompany the Belish book but I've found it hard to trace down a copy. Other movies covering the period are UTU and River Queen. Both I think accurate to the period (circa 1860's).
Looking at making some Pa terrain for my own collection, not sure about rules, perhaps black powder although something akin to the 2 fat lardies big men concept might also work particularly for the Maoris.
I also saw an article somewhere that converts Perrys ACW plastics into British/Colonial infantry. Basically you file down the kepi.

Pete from tablescape