Rangiriri - November 1863

A DigitalNZ Story by Janice

A set of images and articles on the battle at Rangiriri between Māori and Lieutenant-General Duncan Cameron, commander of the Imperial forces in November 1863.

New Zealand Wars, Colonial wars, Land wars, New Zealand Land wars, War in Waikato, Rangiriri

Kingitanga pā at Rangiriri

The decisive battle for Waikato was fought in November 1863 at Rangiriri, where a Māori defensive line was constructed along a ridge between the river and Lake Waikare.

Source: 'Rangiriri', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/war-in-waikato/rangiriri, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 9-Apr-2019

Rangiriri Redoubt

MTG Hawke's Bay

Rangiriri pā - entrenchments and earthworks

The defences consisted of an entrenched parapet with ditches on both sides. Concealed rifle pits covered by fern were protected by wooden stakes driven into the ground.  

Source: 'Rangiriri', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/war-in-waikato/rangiriri, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 9-Apr-2019

Rangiriri - War in Waikato

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Earthworks at Rangiriri, Waikato 1863

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Māori entrenchments at Rangiriri

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

[Stockade, Rangiriri]

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira

Native earthworks at Rangiriri basically destroyed. Taken Nov 21 1863

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira

Entrenchments at Rangiriri, Waikato

Alexander Turnbull Library

Cameron's army

On 20 November 1863 the British army assembled a land force of 850 men with three field guns supported by cannon aboard the Pioneer and Avon. Following a two-hour bombardment, Lieutenant General Duncan Cameron launched a frontal assault upon the pā.

Source: Danny Keenan, 'New Zealand wars - Waikato war: major battles', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/new-zealand-wars/page-6 (accessed 1 November 2019)

Rangiriri Encampment

MTG Hawke's Bay

Attack on Rangiriri

On the morning of 20 November they assembled a force of 860 men - backed up by artillery - just north of Rangiriri. Another 600 men were ferried upstream by the river fleet. Men from the 65th, 12th and 14th regiments were organised into three lines, with a detachment of the 40th and the remainder of the 65th in reserve. A scaling party carrying ladders and planks was poised for action.

Source: 'Rangiriri', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/war-in-waikato/rangiriri, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 9-Apr-2019

Attack on Rangiriri

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

A bloody war  

The exact number of Māori casualties is unknown. Forty-seven Māori, including four women and one child, are known to have been killed in action or died later from their wounds. Among them were Te Tutere of Ngāti Hauā, and Amukete Ta Kerei, a close relative of the Māori King, Tāwhiao. It is thought that 30 or 40 Māori were wounded.

Source:  'Rangiriri NZ Wars cemetery arch', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/rangiriri-nz-wars-cemetery-arch, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 3-Apr-2019 

Printed list of Māori Prisoners taken at Rangiriri (1863)

Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga

The British suffered 130 casualties at Rangiriri. Of these, six officers and 41 men were killed in action or died later from their wounds. The officers – Captain Henry Mercer of the Royal Artillery; Midshipman Thomas Watkins of the Royal Navy; Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Austen, Lieutenant William Murphy and Captain John Phelps, of the 14th Regiment; and Ensign A. Ducrow of the 40th Regiment – were buried in Auckland’s Grafton Cemetery.

Source: 'Rangiriri NZ Wars cemetery arch', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/rangiriri-nz-wars-cemetery-arch, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 3-Apr-2019

Adjt. A.H. Lewis, severely wounded Rangiriri Nov 1863

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

 Māori church  and cemetery at Rangiriri

The Māori church at Rangiriri, photographed in 1864 by Daniel Manders Beere. The cemetery is in the foreground. 

Source: 'Rangiriri NZ Wars cemetery in 1864', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/rangiriri-nz-wars-cemetery-1864-0, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 7-Jan-2014

Maori Church, Rangiriri, 1864

Alexander Turnbull Library

Newspaper reports from 1863

Messenger with white flag

RANGIRIRI. (Taranaki Herald, 05 December 1863)

National Library of New Zealand

Lieut-General Cameron's letter to Governor Grey on the Battle of Rangiriri.

BATTLE OF RANGIRIRI. (Taranaki Herald, 26 December 1863)

National Library of New Zealand

Memorials 

Rangiriri NZ Wars cemetery arch

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Rangiriri grave

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Commemoration and rememberance