Maori Wars update 1846 1916 2017

Interesting  news story about the discovery of a British Army multiple grave in New Zealand from the 1846 Northern War, part of the long running Maori Wars.

According to the Telegraph article: “The men had been buried according to Maori burial rites, along with objects that had been in their possession such as a clay smoking pipe.”

According to NZ archaeologist Jono Carpenter the men died during an attack on the Ruapekapeka pā on 11 January, 1846, in which 1600 British soldiers battled 400 Maori fighters. “Despite the British troops far outweighing the Maori, the battle was seen as a draw by both sides.”

The Guardian article has a few interesting history links too about the Northern War or Flagstaff War of 1845-6.

with some video of the battlefield, Pa fort,  reenactment etc on NZ One News coverage:

The Flagstaff part of the Maori Wars is also covered in a chapter of Britain’s Forgotten Wars: Colonial Campaigns of the Nineteenth Century by Ian Hernon (Sutton, 2003).

Maori Wars Memorial, Auckland War Memorial Museum with British and Gate Pa Maori flag (image: vpassau / Wikipedia)

There is an extensive Wikipedia entry on the Maori or New Zealand Wars,   an interesting Osprey Men at Arms on the Maori Wars, a fair amount online and a short simple set of Maori Wars rules by Andy Callan that he allowed me to reprint on this blog from Military Modelling,  September 1983.

Andy Callan wrote last year “Wow! That’s a real blast from the past. When I wrote these rules I saw them as a sort of Victorian assymetrical Vietnam equivalent – high tech westerners vs wily bunkered-down natives…”

I remember well the pictures of Peter Laing 15mm Maori War figures (Crimean and Zulu War figure) with a carpet forest.


Those deadly carpet forests ….

Lots of interesting material for both historians and skirmish gamers.  A difficult style  of formal war, siege  and guerilla  fighting to reproduce.

One interesting longlived veteran from this period is Sergeant Edwin Bezar (1838-1936), who wrote his military autobiography in 1891

1916 the Maori “Kaiser”

I was also surprised to read about the “Maori Kaiser” as he was dubbed in WW1, a Maori leader who popped up in 1916, mentioned in this NZ history website on the Maori in WW1 and WW2. One of the last gasps of Maori armed resistance before the civil rights struggle later through the 20th Century.

Devon and Exeter Gazette, April 5, 1916

Titled by other papers “Kaiser’s  Maori Ally”

Birmingham Gazette, 15 August 1916 (British Newspaper Archive).
Beverley Recorder Sept 18, 1915

There is a free digitised NZ newspaper archive which features the Maori Kaiser story

Fielding Star 22 February 1916 NZ

The Mercury, Tasmania,  Australia,  4 April 1916

and other Australian digitised newspapers

An interesting article looking on both sides of Maori feeling about WW1 and WW2:

This website features this short summary:

A Māori Kaiser?
Ngāi Tūhoe of the Urewera was one of the tribes that suffered greatly in the 1860s wars. In 1907 the followers of Tūhoe prophet Rua Kēnana established a community in the Urewera mountains, at Maungapōhatu. With the coming of war Rua discouraged his followers from volunteering. Some Pākehā feared that he was a Māori ‘Kaiser’, actively supporting the Germans. A party of 67 police marched on Maungapōhatu in April 1916, to arrest Rua on charges of illicitly selling alcohol. An armed confrontation occurred in which Rua’s son and uncle were killed.

As one Maori concluded, reported in Ian Hernon’s book, eventually the Maori were outnumbered by pakeha foreign settlers and crippled by introduced disease.

“Overwhelming numbers and disease crippled and contained the daring Maori. But the spark of resistance did not die out … in 1928 an anonymous Maori wrote:  “We have been beaten because the pakeha outnumber us in men. But we are not conquered or rubbed out, and not one of these pakeha can name the day we sued for peace. The most that can be said is that on such and such a date we left off fighting.”  (Page 75)

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20 December 2017.

Maori Wars update

My Peter Laing Colonials and Blues and Greys versus the Generican Natives – Not quite the Maori Wars (Figure / Photos: Man of TIN)

imageAs a follow up to my earlier Maori Wars and Peter Laing related blog posts, here are the Andy Callan rules in full – or so I thought!

John The Wargames Hermit blogger in the USA was interested in these Maori bush wars rules and as back copies of this issue of Military Modelling magazine are probably quite scarce (I have hacked most of my magazines to pieces), I have added the missing section.

The amended Maori Wars rules by Andy Callan in Military Modelling, December 1983.

However, flicking through my box file, I found that the above rules as printed in September 1983 Military Modelling had some errors – they were corrected by Andy Callan in a half page erratum page in Military Modelling December 1983.

I also noticed in the book list that the Ian Knight who wrote the excellent Osprey book on the New Zealand Wars had also written a couple of interesting articles called “Fire in the Bush” in Military Modelling  in April and November 1980, worth tracking down.

I also found some interesting articles on the New Zealand Wars in that most reliable of sources, Wikipedia. featuring the unusual war memorial

These entries also features some interesting pictures, including:

The Death of Von Tempsky 1868 by Kennett Watkins. Wikipedia Public Domain source

An atmospheric view of the terrain is shown  in “The Death of Von Tempsky at Te Ngutu o Te Manu”, a portrayal of an incident in the New Zealand wars on 7 September 1868. Apparently published in the New Zealand Mail, last produced in 1907, this Lithograph from 1893 by William Potts (1859-1947) was made from a painting by Kennett Watkins (1847-1933). Wikipedia image in public domain.

Utu is a New Zealand Maori Wars film from 1983/1984 (with director’s Utu – Redux  cut issued about 2013) that I have never yet seen, here described: 

My Peter Laing Reenactment Society – the Maori Carpet Wars re-enacted in black and white  (Figures / photo: Man of TIN)

For my previous posts featuring the Maori Wars:  featuring the rest of Andy Callan’s article

Happy (Maori War) Gaming.

Blog Postscript (B.P.S.)

I had an interesting email from Andy Callan last week about his Maori Wars rules, surprised to see his Maori rules and hair roller armies still in use.

Andy Callan: “Wow! That’s a real blast from the past. When I wrote these rules I saw them as a sort of Victorian assymetrical Vietnam equivalent – high tech westerners vs wily bunkered-down natives…
I’m still actively wargaming and writing new stuff. Have a look on Amazon for Peter Dennis’ Battle for Britain and you will see what I am currently up to … Good to hear from you. What a great hobby this is – it is still keeping me busy nearly fifty years after I started out!” 

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, August 2016.







Peter Laing figures in carpet forests



Amongst my Peter Laing scrapbook of magazine articles (this one from  Military Modelling September 1983) is this lovely article by Andy Callan about War Gaming The Maori Wars.

I loved Andy’s use of carpet offcut forest undergrowth for the New Zealand scrub, probably why I kept this article.

Good to see over 30 years later that Andy Callan is still producing simple interesting rules, ranging from Miniature Wargames magazine articles  in the 1980s  through to most recently his one sheet simple rules for Peter Dennis’ new Helion Publishers Wargame the English Civil War paper figures.


Sadly I never bought any Naval Landing Party figures or tribesmen from Peter Laing, as pictured in the article, I was mostly buying Peter Laing’s English Civil War and Medievals with my schoolboy pocket money in the 1980s. Luckily I have now tracked down some lovely Peter Laing colonials over the last few years.


Maybe in my am-bush version of Featherstone’s Close Wars rules (two page  appendix to his 1962 book Wargames) there is future space for some carpet forest  terrain on my Heroscape hex bases.



If you want Andy Callan’s  whole rules, track down a copy of  Military Modelling September 1983 through online magazine auction sites.  All I wanted to do was share the atmospheric Peter Laing figures pictures and the lovely carpet forest.

Even this simple set of Andy Callan rules were a puzzle to me in places then but they really do suit the unusual type of Maori fighting.

For more about the Maori Wars see Ian Knight’s Osprey book.


Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, July 1916.