(1800-1913) The Navy in the Northern War – New Zealand 1845-46

The role of the Navy in the form of HMS Hazard, was a crucial element in the opening of the Northern War and in the battle of Kororareka.  Although directed to pursue a defensive policy the ship was involved in several attempts to impose law and order at the request of the civil authorities in the weeks leading up to the Battle which resulted in exchanges of fire. 


The war in the north of New Zealand of 1845-56 has to a large extent been overlooked by historians and the role of the Royal Navy has been very much ignored.  In the ‘comprehensive’ histories of New Zealand the Northern War does not rate more than a short note and even in those works purporting to present the New Zealand Wars this conflict often barely rates a few pages before the writer moves on to the later conflicts which form the bulk of the book.  None of these works gives much space to the naval aspect of the war, the authors confining themselves to passing references to the participation of the naval brigades in the various actions.

Hugh Carleton’s biography of Henry Williams has been used as the basis for most of the histories of the Northern War, but few writers seem to have examined his sources in detail.  Nevertheless his condemnation of Lieutenant George Philpotts has endured as a result of constant repetition by later writers using him as a ‘primary’ source.

Dr T.M. Hocken did considerable original research at the end of the 19th Century and in the early 20th Century and it is to him in particular that we owe the reminiscences of George Clark Jr. John Webster and David Macdonald-Robertson who participated in this conflict.  From these we get unique insights into the real characters of some of those who were there, such as Jacky Marmon and “Toby” Philpotts.

Early in the 20th Century two writers published significant works on the New Zealand Wars.  The first was James Cowan who looked at the New Zealand Wars with a broad approach.  His two volumes published in 1922 cover both the wars of the 1840s and the 1860s are invaluable for the inclusion of interviews with Maori participants.  A contemporary of Cowan was T. Lindsay Buick who was requested to write a history of the 96th Regiment in New Zealand in the period immediately prior to the outbreak of the First World War, but this research was not published.  Subsequently he furthered his research broadening it into a history of the Northern War and in this he relied to some extent on the material gathered by Dr Hocken, publishing New Zealand’s First War or The Rebellion of Hone Heke in 1926.  Both of these works concentrate more on the events than the background, but their emphasis is on the activities of the military (army) forces.

More recently Ian Wards’ The Shadow of the Land : A study of British policy and racial conflict in New Zealand 1832-1852 and James Belich’s The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict have looked primarily at the underlying causes of the conflicts, rather than the conflicts themselves.

By contrast this work concentrates primarily on the contribution of the Navy in the Northern War 1845-46.  As such it is an operational history not a political history.  Its aim is to present the naval involvement the conflict, not to the exclusion of the military involvement nor to denigrate or ignore the contribution of the Army, but rather it is to examine the participation of the Navy which has been overlooked in other accounts of this period and how this participation relates to the roles of a Navy and those of the Royal Navy in particular.

In March of 1845 the Bay of Islands the situation was tense.  Since July the previous year there had been several incidents that had inflamed relationships between some Maori, the European settlers and the Government.  The underlying causes of the Maori grievances have been discussed in several authoritative works, particularly Wards and those discussions are not reproduced here.[1]   New Zealand had become a colony of the British Crown only five years earlier, by the unusual process of concluding a treaty with the native population.  The Treaty of Waitangi as it has become known was written both in English and Maori, however there were subtle differences between the two versions, particularly in the matter of sovereignty.   This key issue was compounded by more prosaic economic matters.

Prior to the advent of the Treaty the Bay of Islands was a bustling seaport, with ships, particularly whalers, refitting there for months at a time.  This had been the case for many years and formed a significant source of income for the local Maori.  Several Maori chiefs had levied a tax on ships, the men of the ships had to be fed, resulting in a substantial agricultural industry and the provision of female companionship also contributed to the economy.

With the advent of British Government, however, this booming economy began to decline.  The first change was the movement of the seat of Government to the newly established town of Auckland, with its own sizeable harbour and the consequent reduction in the number of ships visiting the Bay of Islands.  With a formal Government now in place, the chiefs were no longer able to levy their tax on shipping and as with all Governments there was a need to raise revenue and one of the sources of this was through the introduction of Customs and Excise duties, which raised the price of commodities such as spirits, imported foodstuffs and gunpowder.

Leading the Government was 40 year old Captain Robert Fitzroy, a Royal Naval Officer, generally better known today as being the captain of HMS Beagle in which Charles Darwin sailed around the world.  He had joined the Royal Navy in 1818, just before he turned 13 and after several years at sea in various ships he was appointed to command Beagle in 1828.  The ship was refitted in England in 1830-31 left on its famous voyage in December 1831, returning to England in 1836 having visited New Zealand at the end of 1835.  In 1843 he was appointed Governor of New Zealand following the death of William Hobson.  The country was bankrupt and Fitzroy earned the enmity of the New Zealand Company settlers by deciding against the Company over the Wairau purchase, which had seen the death of 22 settlers.  Fitzroy was a very moral man with the interests of the Maori at heart, but without the requisite financial or military resources to adequately govern the country.[2]

Besides the Government the other most influential group of settlers comprised the missionaries of the Church Missionary Society.  Although the church was under the direction of Bishop Augustus Selwyn, a key player in the Bay of Islands was Archdeacon Henry Williams.  Williams, who had formerly been a naval officer, had come to New Zealand as the senior missionary of the Church Missionary Society in 1823.  Shortly after his arrival Williams concentrated his missionaries at Paihia and insisted that they spend a considerable amount of time learning the Maori language.  By the late 1820s his fluency in the language was such that he began to negotiate peace between hostile groups of Maori and this resulted in his prestige growing among the Maori, to whom he was known as “Karu wha” (four eyes).  Having made significant progress with the mission in the Bay of Islands, by the late 1830s Williams was extending his missionary work to other parts of the country.  In 1840 his influence with the Maori and fluency in the language led the new Lieutenant Governor, William Hobson to seek his assistance in formulating the Treaty of Waitangi and translating it into Maori.  As may be expected he was a strong supporter of the Treaty and besides his advocacy work for it in the north, he had travelled as far south as the Marlborough Sounds gathering signatures.  Williams believed it imperative to keep the church neutral in any conflict and played an important role in facilitating meetings and correspondence between the Government and the disaffected Maori.[3]

The most well known Maori protagonist in the conflict was Hone Wairemu Heke Pokai of Ngapuhi.  Aged about 37 in 1845, Heke was born in 1807 or 1808 at Pakaraka and was the third son of Te Kona and Tupanapana.  His lineage was noble and although he did not have the authority of the first born son, his mana was beyond dispute and enhanced by his own efforts.  Heke was intelligent and attended the Kerikeri Church Missionary Society School in 1824 and 1825, where he came under the direct influence of Henry Williams.  The two developed a close father/son-type relationship which was to last for many years with the missionary continuing to advise and counsel him for many years.  After he left the school Heke continued to study the scriptures and became a lay reader of the Church of England.[4]

His devout Christian ideals notwithstanding, Heke began to distinguish himself as he grew to manhood, initially imposing a levy on all who passed through his land at Puketona, which was the main thoroughfare to the Bay of Islands.  This he was able to do by his lineage and rough handling of anyone who attempted to avoid payment.  During the ‘Girls War’ of 1830 at Kororareka Heke came to note as a warrior and his reputation was enhanced during Titore’s expedition to Tauranga in 1832-33 when he was wounded and sent home.  Subsequently he fought against Pomare in 1837 and Panakareao in 1841.[5]

During his time at the mission school Heke married and subsequently fathered two children, although neither survived infancy.  In 1835 both Heke and his wife Ono were baptised, Heke taking the Christian names ‘Wairemeu’ (William) and Hoani (usually rendered ‘Hone’).   Ono died soon after the baptism and in 1837 Heke married Hariata Rongo, the daughter of the great chief Hongi Hika, a woman of considerable mana in her own right and who had also been influenced by the church, living in the home of the missionary James Kemp for some years.[6]  On 6 February 1840 Heke was the first chief to sign the Treaty of Waitangi.[7]

Less well known than Heke, but a figure of more influence in the Northern War was Te Ruki Kawiti, the leader of Ngati Hine.  Kawiti was probably born in the 1770s, making him about 70 in 1845.  When he reached maturity Kawiti was admitted into Te Whare Wananga mo nga Tohunga at Taumarere, one of the traditional Maori centres of learning.  From his youth he became a notable warrior and as his reputation grew the Europeans gave him the nick name ‘The Duke’ (Te Ruki). Besides being a notable war leader Kawiti also developed a reputation as a peacemaker, the most notable example of this being when he rescued a group of Ngati Whatua, an act that brought him into dispute with the great Hongi Hika, of whom he was a contemporary.  That he could challenge Hongi and get his way is a measure of the mana of Kawiti.[8]

Kawiti did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi in February 1840, but under pressure from his people eventually signed the document in May.  He placed his signature (moko) at the head of the list, befitting his seniority.[9]

Defending Kororareka was the sloop HMS Hazard under the command of Acting Commander David Robertson, whose senior lieutenant was Lieutenant George Philpotts, together with a detachment of 50 soldiers of the 96th regiment under Lieutenant Edward Barclay and Ensign John Campbell.  Alongside the military presence the civilian population was headed by the Resident Police Magistrate, Thomas Beckham.

HMS Hazard was a small ship only 33.7m (109’6”) in length and displacing 429 tonnes, built in Portsmouth Dockyard and launched in 1837.  With a complement of 125 officers and men the ship mounted two 9 pounder cannon and sixteen 32 pounder carronades.[10]

The ship’s first commission was to the Middle East where it was active in operations off Syria, where Britain, Russia and Austria were supporting Turkey in a campaign to subdue Egypt which had proclaimed independence from Turkey.  Egypt had taken control of the area then known as Syria which at that time included not only modern Syria but also modern Lebanon, Jordan and Israel.[11]

Following this service the ship was refitted and recommissioned in September1841 by Commander Charles Bell and deployed to the China Station where a war was in progress and Hazard was actively engaged in operations.  Among the other ships present in China at this time were HM Ships North Star and Vixen.  For their service in China those serving in these ships received the China War Medal, among whom were Lieutenant David Robertson, senior lieutenant of Hazard and Lieutenant George Philpotts of Vixen, who joined Hazard in December 1842 as second lieutenant.[12]

In early 1844 Hazard was deployed to New Zealand, by way of San Blas in Mexico, what is now Hawaii, Tahiti, what is now Samoa and Sydney.  The ship arrived in Sydney on 18 May, reporting that on arrival at Tahiti an officer sent ashore and the boat’s crew were taken prisoner by the French authorities who shortly released them with the message that no British subjects were to land on the Island.  This decision had resulted from the fact that the French were then actively engaged in hostilities with the local population and had a week or so earlier lost 80 men in an engagement.[13]

Hazard did not stay long in Sydney, but while there four men were invalided to Britain and Lieutenant George Rose also left the ship for Britain.[14]  It seems that Lieutenant Rose was replaced by Acting Lieutenant Edward Edwin Morgan, from HMS North Star, the senior ship in Australia at that time.[15]

In the early hours of 12 July Hazard anchored off Sandspit (now Devonport) in the Waitemata Harbour, opposite the town of Auckland and the seat of government.[16]  From then until October 1845 the ship was employed at the direction of the Governor.

While in Auckland command of Hazard devolved upon Lieutenant David Robertson.  He had been appointed to the ship on 1 October 1841, as the Senior Lieutenant to Commander Bell.  However when the ship arrived in Auckland in July 1844 Bell was taken ill and remained ashore, going to the Bay of Islands for health reasons in the Government Brig Victoria.  On the night of 9 August he fell over the side and although recovered, died shortly after being brought back on board and was buried in the churchyard at Kororareka.  Robertson was 28 at that time, having joined the Navy in April 1831 at the age of 13 and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1841.  His actual family name was Robertson-Macdonald but during his time in the Navy he was known simply as “Robertson”, not resuming his birth name until after retiring.[17]

With Robertson assuming command, Lieutenant George Philpotts took up the position of Senior Lieutenant.  He was one of the 18 children of Henry, Bishop of Exeter, one of the most striking figures of the Church of England in the 19th century.  The red headed officer, who wore a monocle, was aged 31 in 1845 and had joined the Navy in 1827, being promoted to lieutenant in 1841.  Philpotts was an eccentric character, both in manner and dress, seldom being seen in uniform.  He was guilty of many indiscretions but his popularity (and presumably his competence) saw these overlooked.  His popularity extended to the Maori who called him ‘Toby’.[18]

A remarkable example of Philpotts character is illustrated by an incident that took place shortly after Hazard arrived in Auckland.  In the Royal Hotel in Prince’s Street he read an issue of the Auckland Times and volubly contemptuously dismissed it as ‘a rag’.  It happened that the owner and publisher of the paper Henry Falwasser, was also drinking in the hotel at the time and hearing the remark challenged Philpotts to a duel.  The two subsequently met and although no blood was actually spilt, Philpotts lost a button off his uniform and Falwasser received a ball through his coat tail.[19]

The detachment of the 96th Regiment at Kororareka was under the command of Lieutenant Edward Barclay, who had joined the regiment in 1827 and had been promoted by purchase, to the rank of Lieutenant in 1834.  Assisting Barclay was Ensign John Campbell, a young officer who had purchased his commission in the regiment in 1842.[20]  Neither of these officers (or their men) had been under fire.[21]

The senior civilian at Kororareka was the Police Magistrate, Thomas Beckham, who was in effect in overall command of the town.  Beckham had been a Lieutenant in the 28th Regiment and subsequently he had been a member of the New South Wales Mounted Police, before coming to New Zealand as a Police Magistrate under Governor Hobson.[22]   He was appointed Police Magistrate at Kororareka in 1841 and as such had been intimately involved in several serious incidents prior to 1845.  Perhaps the most crucial of these was the murders carried out by a young, well-born Maori by the name of Maketu, the first man hanged in New Zealand.  Later, while not personally involved, he was the superior officer when a group of policemen broke into a house to arrest a man in September 1844, injuring a Maori woman in the process.  Both of these events were important underlying factors in the outbreak of hostilities.  After the fall of Kororareka Beckham became the Resident Magistrate at Auckland.[23]

A second civilian at Kororareka played a key role in the defence of the town.  Mr Cornthwaite Hector, a solicitor, took charge of a gun battery and was prominent during the fighting.  [Note: any background details would be very much appreciated as I can’t find anything.]

On 5 July 1844 the simmering unrest began to boil over.  The first incident was initiated by Heke laying claim to a slave woman by the name of Kotiro who was living with a European butcher by the name of Lord at Kororareka.  Kotiro declined to leave with a party sent to get her and she went so far as to compare Heke to a pig, a gross insult in Maori custom.  Heke then came himself and demanded payment from Lord for the insult, which was refused for several days and the matter was only settled on the intervention of the Missionaries who deemed Heke’s demand being correct in Maori custom.  This incident is usually believed to have been Heke’s way of testing European resolve and what if any, retaliation could be expected from the Government to his claims.[24]

Besides the core of this incident, the Maori were addressed by some calling for war with the white man and Heke himself made a speech in a similar vein which included the statement “Is Te Rauparaha to have all the credit for killing the Europeans?” (A reference to the Wairau incident the previous year).  The fact that there was no response to this incident, which was compounded by the theft and slaughter of some pigs, was largely the decision of Police Magistrate Beckham.  Many settlers were keen to form themselves into a defence force and take on the Maori, but Beckham, probably wisely in light of the fact that there was no military force to back up the settlers while Heke had ample reinforcements, refused.[25]

Although Heke and his party apparently departed satisfied with the compensation paid and Kotiro, the incident did not end there.  On Monday 8 July Heke and his men again gathered on the beach opposite the customs house at Kororareka and after a prayer meeting, dispersed in groups, evidently as covering parties to various points around the town and on the hilltops.  One group went direct to Maiki Hill and under the leadership of Haratua, Heke’s lieutenant, chopped down the flag staff.  No one was molested and two of the settlers, Mr Cornthwaite Hector and a Mr Porter actually followed the group up Maiki Hill and asked why the flag staff was being cut down, receiving various responses.[26]

Governor Fitzroy’s response was considered and forceful.  The flagstaff was to be re-erected. A detachment of one officer and 30 men of the 96th Regiment were sent to Kororareka from Auckland, more troops were requested from Sydney, a request which was quickly approved and 150 men of the 99th Regiment sailed for the Bay of Islands on 4 August, the day after the request was received in Sydney.  Co-incidentally HMS Hazard had arrived in Auckland on 12 July, so that vessel was also available.[27]

By 20 July the Governor himself was at the Bay of Islands in Hazard and the detachment of the 96th was in barracks in Kororareka.  The situation however, was quiet and he moved on to New Plymouth and Wellington, from where reports of further unrest had been received.  On 14 August the troops requested from Sydney arrived in the Bay of Islands, which with those from Auckland made 250 officers and men ashore and the Governor arrived back there on 25 August.[28]

Meanwhile the Missionaries, under Bishop Selwyn, had been attempting to avoid further conflict.  He had convened a meeting between Heke and an influential Maori chief, Tamati Waka Nene who was firmly on the side of the Government.[29]  As an outcome of this meeting Heke wrote a letter of apology to the Governor and offered to erect a new flag staff and suggested that the soldiers could remain overseas or at Auckland.  He also stated that the flag staff actually belonged to him, having been made for the flag of the United Tribes of New Zealand, presented by the British Resident, James Busby in 1934.  This letter did not reach Governor Fitzroy until he was in New Plymouth, by which time the new flagstaff had been erected and tensions again increased.[30]

Following the Governor’s arrival in the Bay of Islands there was a full consideration of the course of action to be followed.  On one hand there was the confidence of the junior officers and troops invariably expressed a the opening of a conflict, that they could whip the opposition without any difficulty, on another there was the mature consideration that the small force available was insufficient to achieve this aim and overall there was the Governor’s overriding responsibility of resolving the situation without bloodshed and to the satisfaction of both Maori and European residents.

On 2 September the Governor attended a meeting of Maori at Waimate accompanied only by Lieutenant Colonel Hulme, the Officer Commanding the troops and Commander Robertson.[31]  The majority of the attendees at this meeting were friendly Maori, led by Nene and it was significant that Heke did not attend.  At the meeting the Governor outlined the importance of New Zealand to Britain and the importance of the flag, as opposed to the flag staff, and as Heke had written an apology and offered to erect another flag staff, no further action would be taken in the matter.  He stated that he recognized the difficulties the Maori had experienced because of the imposition of customs duties and declared Kororareka to be a free port.  In token of atonement he requested that 10 muskets be given up.  Some 20 muskets were immediately placed at the Governor’s feet, which were then returned.[32]

Although it is unlikely that anyone believed that the situation was completely resolved, it was such that the soldiers of the 96th Regiment returned to Auckland and those of the 99th returned to Sydney, while Hazard proceeded to Wellington.  The relative calm did not last long.  At 3.00am on 22 September Police Sergeant Benjamin Woods and four men broke into a house at Kawakawa to arrest a man by the name of Joseph Bryars.  In the ensuing scuffle some women in the house tried to escape and one, Kohu as sister of Hori Kingi Tahua and a granddaughter of Kawiti received a cut finger from Woods’ sword.  Ignoring the circumstances surrounding the infliction of this minor wound, one that would be considered irrelevant to most Europeans; the wound was significant to a person of Kohu’s standing in the Maori world.  The next day Tahua called on the Police Magistrate seeking compensation for the wound, which was declined.  Two further attempts were made for compensation, both also without result.  On leaving for the last time Tahua’s party landed at Omata and took several horses belonging to Captain Wright, which were taken to Kawiti who distributed them to various members of his hapu.  The Magistrate then consulted Henry Williams at Paihia who said that Tahua’s demand had been correct under Maori custom and that compensation should be paid.  He then negotiated the presentation of a horse and 200 pounds of tobacco as payment for the wound and the return of Captain Wright’s horses.[33]

Plundering now became more widespread, with horses being stolen from several farms and even the jail at Kororareka was broken into and some weapons stolen.  The depredations were not limited to the Bay of Islands as the cottages of four Europeans at Matakana, about 60km north of Auckland were broken into and the occupants left devoid of everything, including their clothing.  By a Governmental proclamation a reward of £50 was offered for the apprehension of Parehoro, Mate (subsequently removed from the list) and Kokou for their being implicated in horse stealing and violence in the Bay of Islands and Matakora.  Charleton also names Haratua and Ruku as being involved in horse stealing.[34]  While neither Heke nor Kawiti can personally be linked with these incidents it is highly unlikely that they could have occurred without their tacit approval at least.

Until this time Heke and Kawiti were acting independently and Carleton goes so far as to state that Heke had a personal dislike of Kawiti.[35]  Heke however, could not act entirely alone or widen the conflict without the support of Kawiti.  At this time the fighting ability of the British soldier was an unknown quantity and although Hongi Hika had seen the resources of the British Army, he had been dead for some years, albeit it is said that his dying words included a warning to beware of the men who wore redcoats and did not work.  After the war Kawiti said that he had heard of the British soldier and wished to test their fighting qualities.[36]  To obtain Kawiti’s support Heke went to Kawakawa on a formal visit.  He handed Kawiti a parcel, which when unwrapped revealed a greenstone mere, smeared with human excrement.  To the Maori eye this signified the mana of the Maori was being defiled by the European.  Kawiti immediately recognized the symbolism and having pondered for a while told Heke that he would speak to his people and give him the support he sought.[37]

The matter of the flag staff had not gone away, despite the events of September and October.  Heke continued to state that he would chop the flag staff down as often and the Governor would erect it and that the only flag that should fly on Maori land was that of the United Tribes given to them by King William IV.  The Union flag he stressed was a sign that the independence of the Maori had come to an end.  Between 3 and 4 am on the morning of 10 January 1845 Signalman John Tapper and his son Joseph in the signal station on Maiki Hill were awoken by a dog barking and found that they were locked inside and the flagstaff was being chopped down.  When this had been done Heke came to the door, shook their hands and said that it was not his intention to harm anyone and that his men would not enter the town and he and his party departed by canoe, leaving the flag staff smouldering.[38]

Following this success Heke declared publicly that it was his intention to pull down the gaol and public buildings in Kororareka.  This threat is often overlooked with writers being fixated on the flag staff.  Henry Williams took the threat seriously, offering to spend the night in Heke’s camp in order that he could advise the Police Magistrate if the attack was to occur.  Police Magistrate Beckham reported that the only reason that this did not eventuate on the night of 13 January was the presence of friendly Maori from Rawati [sic].  A second attempt took place on the morning of the 15th when Heke landed with seven canoes of armed men, but was deterred by the presence of about 200 of Kawiti’s men.  This latter incident in particular illustrates the influence of Kawiti over Heke.[39]

Governor Fitzroy was incensed about the felling of the flag staff and immediately sent a detachment of one officer and 30 men from the 96th Regiment to Kororareka on 16 January and ordered Police Magistrate Beckham to erect a new flag staff without delay. Additionally a reward of £100 was posted for the apprehension of Heke.[40]  With simmering unrest in both the Bay of Islands and in the Cook Strait area the Governor appealed to the Governor of New South Wales for troops to be sent to New Zealand.  This time, however there seemed to be no sense of urgency and the augmentation of the small number of troops already in New Zealand by two companies of the 58th Regiment (207 officers and men) did not arrive until 28 April.[41]  As an additional precaution Fitzroy ordered Hazard, then at Wellington, to return to Auckland.[42]

In his letter to the Police Magistrate Governor Fitzroy instructed Beckham to warn the settlers that a strict blockade of the Bay of Islands might become inevitable and that they needed to make preparations for “so disastrous a measure.”[43]  Blockade is a longstanding role of the Navy whereby warships inhibit the seaborne trade of an enemy.  In this case a blockade would prevent any foreign vessels from entering the Bay of Islands as a means of ensuring that supplies, particularly of weapons and ammunition would not reach the disaffected Maori.  This message was reinforced in a further letter of 22 February in which the Governor stated that a blockade was being contemplated.[44]  As the situation deteriorated Police Magistrate Beckham wrote to the Governor on 4 March seeking approval to place an embargo on all canoe movements, except for those belonging to friendly chiefs who had obtained a passport.  This proposal was quickly agreed by Governor Fitzroy who replied on 6 March.[45]  Given the inherent delay in the movement of mail, it is unlikely that this embargo could have been put in place before the fall of Kororareka.

The Government Brig Victoria transported the troops and the Colonial Secretary to the Bay of Islands.  There, over the protests of Henry Williams and others fearing what Heke might do, the crew of Victoria erected a temporary flag staff on Maiki Hill.  In a joint arrangement the flagstaff was to be protected alternately by a guard of soldiers and Maori from Nene’s men.  Heke reacted quickly to this event and announced that he would cut the flag staff down the next Monday morning.  His action was brought forward by receiving news of his being slighted by some of Nene’s men.  Early on the morning of Saturday 19 January Heke calmly walked up the track to Maiki Hill, brushed aside the guard of Nene’s men and cut the back stays of the temporary flag staff and it fell.  Having calmly remarked “That is enough” he walked back down the hill, embarked in his canoe and paddled under the stern of Victoria, his men firing their muskets in derision as they passed.  The reason that Heke was able to carry out this action without being accosted is due to the fact that it was completely foreign to Maori custom to spill blood over an inanimate object like a flag pole.[46]

In early February Hazard left Wellington in accordance with the Governor’s direction, with Bishop Selwyn embarked.  During the passage north, on 6 February the ship encountered extremely bad weather off East Cape and seven guns were thrown overboard and his eminence gave thanks with the officers and ship’s company on their arrival in Auckland on 9 February.[47]  Three days later Hazard sailed for the Bay of Islands with a prefabricated blockhouse on board, for the protection of the flagstaff on Maiki Hill overlooking Kororareka and under instructions to avoid conflict except in self defence.[48]   Both Commander Robertson in Hazard and Police Magistrate Beckham had also been instructed to co-operate with each other.  With these mutually co-operative instructions, at the end of the day Beckham, who also had the troops under his control, was in overall command of Kororareka.[49]

Over the next few days a new flagstaff was erected, protected by iron to a height of 8ft (2.5m).  This flag staff had been the mizzen mast of a foreign vessel in the Bay, which had been purchased for the purpose, the original spar having been removed on the orders of a Maori chief who said that he had been born under the tree from which it came and would not allow it to be felled by Heke lest dire consequences ensued.[50]  Around the flagstaff was erected the prefabricated blockhouse brought from Auckland.  Whether by design or not, the entrance to this blockhouse was on the reverse side to that overlooking Kororareka.  Further defensive measures comprised a palisade around the blockhouse and an outer ditch.  With tensions rising, the whole of the male inhabitants were formed and drilled by Lieutenant Philpotts of Hazard, albeit very reluctantly on the part of many of the men, from 28 February.  Besides being drilled about 20 of the men were rostered on guard duty and at the request of Beckham the governor authorised an issue of rations to those on this duty.[51]

While this was being done, it was apparent that some protection needed to be made for the citizens of the town, particularly the women and children.  To this end the house of Mr Joel Polack, at the northern end of the town was fortified.  In addition to making provision for the women and children the stockade also housed much of the valuables of the settlers and the powder magazine.

Mr J. Watson, one of the settlers taking the whole scheme into consideration noticed that the blockhouse on top of Maiki Hill did not oversee nor support the stockade at Polack’s house and suggested that another blockhouse should be constructed on the lower slope of Maiki Hill.  This fortification would not only indirectly support the blockhouse on the summit but also more importantly give cover to the stockade at Polack’s house.  Mr Watson superintended the construction of this work which was later acknowledged by Lieutenant Barclay as being the key to the defence of the town.[52]  At least in Hazard’s log and Beckham’s reports this blockhouse is called “Fort Philpotts”.[53]  In front to this blockhouse a battery of three old ships’ guns was mounted.   Supplementing these defences, Hazard was moored (head and stern) off Kororareka with her broadside to the town.[54]

In mid February advice was received that Heke intended to attack the flag staff on 24 February.  Some efforts were made to dissuade him from this action and although he remained determined to fulfil his stated aim, no attack was made on the 24th.  This was possibly more due to the inclement weather at the time than any power of persuasion.[55]  Although the attack did not materialise at this time Heke continued to gain strength and Kawiti’s people began plundering outlying settlers.    On 27 February Beckham issued arms to about 80 Europeans who had been sworn in as special constables.[56]

The following day four canoes of Kawiti landed near the house of Captain Wright and plundered and burnt the place before moving on and plundering several other properties.  The Police Magistrate requested help from Hazard, but its pinnacle arrived too late to interfere in the proceedings.[57]

It is generally agreed that hostilities began on 3 March 1845, this being the date that shots were first exchanged and the first casualties incurred.  On this day two canoes of Kawiti’s landed at the property of Mr Benjamin Turner at Te Uruti, just to the south of Kororareka and having stripped the occupants of the farmhouse, both male and female, of all their clothing, set fire to the place and also to a crop of wheat that was almost ready for harvest.  The naked male occupants then set off to nearby properties for clothes and to alert the authorities.[58]  Police Magistrate Beckham on receiving intelligence of this raid sought the assistance of Hazard.  At noon Commander Robertson landed with a party of small arm men and the pinnacle, which was under the command of Lieutenant Edward Morgan.  The small arm men were seamen detailed off to be landed for actions ashore.  They wore their normal clothes (usually white trousers with a blue jacket and a black hat – uniforms were not introduced until 1857) – and were armed with a sea service musket (shorter than the army equivalent) and a cutlass.  The pinnacle was a large open boat that could be propelled by either sail or oars.  It was crewed by 15 seamen, a gunner and one of the carpenter’s crew and was armed with a 12 pounder gun.[59]

Commander Robertson and the small arm men marched overland to Mr Turner’s farm, while the pinnacle went along the coast with the Assistant Police Magistrate, Mr Watson on board.  On arrival at the property it was found that the Maori had departed, taking with them several horses.  The pinnacle was then despatched to try to intercept them while crossing to Opua.  Rounding the point Lieutenant Morgan saw the horses that had been taken ascending the hill and a canoe paddling along the shore.  He gave chase but was outpaced by the canoe and was acutely aware that numerous Maori were gathering on both banks.  It was an ebb tide and the pinnacle ran aground, but with smart work was soon afloat again.  The pinnacle was fired on from both sides of the waterway, which was returned with muskets and grapeshot from the boat’s carronade.  During the exchange of fire Able Seaman J. Baxter was wounded on the forehead by a spent ball.  Being exposed to the Maori fire and with no prospect of achieving anything, Lieutenant Morgan returned to Hazard.[60]

Also on 3 March the United States sloop St Louis arrived at the Bay of Islands.  This ship which was under the command of Captain Isaac McKeever, was a similar type of vessel to Hazard.  It had been commissioned in December of 1828 and mounted twenty 24 pounder guns.[61]

Tuesday 4 March was quiet and on that day Police Magistrate Beckham requested additional arms which duly arrived in the Government Brig Victoria.  Heke moved his force to the Kororareka peninsula on 5 March and the following day moved to Matauwhai Bay, where he was joined by Kawiti.  The sporadic plundering continued, apparently against the wishes of Heke. Tensions were increasing and from the night of 5 March the women and children of the settlement were embarked in Hazard overnight.  This feeling was heightened by information gathered by Protector of Aborigines James Kemp that it was intended to attack Kororareka, who informed Police Magistrate Beckham of this on 6 March.[62]   In the early hours of 6 March musket fire was observed from Hazard in the area of Matauwhai Bay and the small arm men were landed and 1.30am.  Nothing eventuated from this and they were re-embarked an hour later.[63]

During the morning of Friday 7 March Heke and Kawiti were encamped together at the farm of Benjamin Turner at Uritu and on hearing this Police Magistrate Beckham went to investigate.  There he found that the farm had already been plundered and some of the men were setting fire to nearby houses.  He then heard reports of Maori entering Kororareka and returning there saw horses being stolen.  Being unable to prevent this he sent to Hazard for assistance.  Twelve canoes of armed men had already been observed from the ship, crossing the Bay towards Matauwhai Bay at 8.00am and at 9.00am firing was seen on shore.  Anticipating Beckham’s request Commander Robertson landed the small arm men and sent the pinnacle to cut off the canoes.  When Commander Robertson and his men arrived at the scene of the crime fighting broke out and the Maori retreated with three men wounded.  The pinnacle also engaged a canoe at 11.00am.  At 2.00pm a re-supply of ammunition was sent ashore for the small arm men and at 8.00pm Victoria arrived with additional troops.  More firing was heard from the shore by Hazard at 11.30pm and boats were sent ashore with small arm men, but returned shortly afterwards.[64]

During the morning of 8 March a large party of Maori entered Kororareka from Matauwhai Bay and again the Police Magistrate sent to Hazard for reinforcements and accordingly the small arm men were landed at 9.00am and the pinnacle was also sent to patrol along the shore.  The seamen were fired upon but this was not returned and the Maori dispersed.[65]

A last attempt to avoid conflict was made later that day.  The Protector of Aborigines, Kemp had learned that it was the Maori intention to attack Kororareka on Monday 10 March and Henry Williams persuaded Police Magistrate Beckham to visit the Maori camp.  The meeting was unsatisfactory and Kemp later stated that had not Henry Williams been there, Beckham would have been taken hostage.[66]

Sunday 9 March is virtually treated as a ‘rest day’ in the standard works on the Northern wars, with Henry Williams prevailing upon Heke not to attack Kororareka on the Sabbath, while Archdeacon Brown preached to the Protestants in Heke’s camp and a Catholic priest conducted a service for the Christians in Kawiti’s.[67]  On board Hazard the seamen also attended to their religious devotions at 8.00am.  However at 1.40pm Maori were seen to be gathering on the hills overlooking Kororareka and the ship fired shell from the ship’s guns at them and the small arm men were landed.  While this was happening another party from the ship were mounting a small gun, a  (**1 pounder ?) carronade from the schooner Sir John Franklin on the eastern slopes of the hill overlooking the road from Matauwhai Bay to Kororareka.  Guarded by seamen from Hazard, this gun was a signal gun, rather than part of the defences of the town proper.[68]  Additionally powder, grapeshot and rope for the gun battery at the lower blockhouse was supplied to the Police Magistrate.  At 8.00pm the small arm men were landed for the night.[69]

Also on 9 March there was a remarkable incident indicative of the relaxed nature of the situation on the Maori side.  Lieutenant Philpotts accompanied by Midshipman Jasper Parrott set out on two borrowed horses to reconnoitre the Maori position at Matauwhai Bay.  Unwittingly they found themselves surrounded by Kawiti’s warriors, who detained them for about 10 minutes, releasing them when it was found that they were alone.[70]

The next day Bishop Selwyn arrived at the Bay in his schooner Flying Fish and later remarked on the situation of the ships anchored off Kororareka being unusual.  Hazard was as already noted, moored broadside to the town, while Victoria and a small schooner, the Dolphin, were anchored at the southern end of the beach, off the Catholic mission and another small vessel, the Russell was anchored approximately mid way along the beach.  Immediately Flying Fish anchored she was boarded by an officer from Hazard who advised the Bishop that an attack was expected on the town that day.[71]  Ashore seamen from Hazard were employed erecting defences ashore and the small arm men had some skirmishes with the Maori.  During the afternoon the pinnacle was also sent in chase of a canoe.[72]  The day passed without the attack eventuating, but that night a prominent local resident brought information that the town would be attacked the next day.  Henry Williams also sent word to this effect with the additional intelligence that the attack would be made in four divisions.[73]

Although little or no notice seems to have been taken of these significant pieces of intelligence, Kororareka was by no means undefended.  On Maiki Hill the flag staff stood within the blockhouse brought from Auckland guarded by 20 soldiers under

Ensign Campbell.  The signalman, an old naval man, John Tapper was also in the blockhouse with his family.  Halfway down the hill was the lower blockhouse manned by the settlers, with a three gun battery in front, manned by settlers under the control of Mr Cornthwaite Hector, a local solicitor.  At the north end of the beach Polack’s house had been fortified and within it were the women and children and about 40 small arm men and Royal Marines from Hazard.  The latter were traditionally commanded by the junior lieutenant, in this instance Lieutenant Edward Morgan.  The remaining 30 soldiers were in the barracks at the north end of the town under Lieutenant Barclay.  To the south of the town, covering the road from Matauwhai Bay, was a signal gun with its detachment of seamen and moored close inshore ready to provide gunfire support was Hazard herself.  Additionally there were 110 armed settlers, known as the Civic Guard.

At 3.30am on Tuesday 11 March Commander Robertson went ashore in the pinnacle to take command of the small arm men and Royal Marines.  The party was formed up and marched out with the intention of digging trenches on the slopes on the eastern side of the road from Matauwhai Bay, opposite the site of the signal gun.  In the normal line of march Commander Robertson would have been at the head, accompanied by the four junior officers present, Mate Robert Moubray, Midshipmen David Spain, Jasper Parrott and Augustus Huthwaite, as well as Colour Sergeant J. McCarthy.  Lieutenant Morgan would have been at the rear.[74]

Marching in the dark – sunrise was not until 6.18am, with twilight about 5.50am and it was foggy – the column made its way to the southern end of the town and climbed up the hillside overlooking the Matauwhai Bay road.  Soon after they reached their objective, they heard the sentry at the signal gun on the opposite hillside shout a challenge and then the gun was fired.[75]  This was about 4.45am.[76]  Commander Robertson formed his men into a line with himself on the left, and charged across to the position of the signal gun, where they met the retiring picket from the gun who advised the Commander that Able Seaman William Lovell had been killed while spiking the gun.  He then wheeled the line back towards the town, with himself remaining on the left.[77]

The Maori who attacked the signal gun were [about **80*REF*] men of Roroa under Pumuka and it was he who killed Lovell, the first man to be killed in a battle “mataika” (“first fish”), a significant achievement in the Maori mode of warfare.[78]  Robertson and his men were now effectively in chase of Pumuka’s men who were advancing on the town, but in crossing the Matauwhai Bay road they had also passed behind a second party of Maori, about 200 strong, under Kawiti, also advancing on the town.  As the seamen and marines moved down the hill towards the corner of the churchyard Commander Robertson saw a Maori started in pursuit of him.  The Maori turned and fired a double barrelled pistol, one ball from which slightly wounded him in the right elbow while the second grazed his scalp.  Despite this he was able to strike the man a severe blow with his sword and the Maori was killed by two men who had followed the Commander.  This man proved to be Pumuka, who ironically having killed the first European that day was the first Maori to be killed in the battle.  Pumuka was also, despite many later reports, the only man engaged by Commander Robertson.  It was still quite dark and when the Commander with his two companions tried to rejoin his men they found that there was a large party of Maori between them and the main body and that they were cut off.  Given their desperate situation the three concealed themselves in some bushes waiting an opportunity to rejoin the others.[79]

With a battle taking place on the hill immediately to the rear of his residence the Roman Catholic Bishop Pompallier decided to move to the safety of a small schooner that he had hired for this eventuality.  With two priests and two rowers they embarked in the bishop’s boat and with musket balls falling around them and shoved off.   They made it to the relative safety of the schooner which was anchored about half a mile off the beach without hurt, although one of the boatmen had a ball pass through his hat without touching his head and one of the Bishop’s servants had a ball pass through his coat.  On board the schooner musket balls whistled past, as did carronade shot from Hazard, while the Bishop and his party recited the Rosary.[80]

Meanwhile the remainder of the small arm men and marines were engaging Kawiti’s men by the church.  From the angle of attack it seems likely that some of the musket balls in the walls of the church came from the sailors’ weapons.  Similarly, those that harassed the Catholic missionaries would, at the beginning most likely have been “overs” from the muskets of Kawiti’s men.  However, at the end of the engagement the positions of the two forces were reversed and the converse could be the case.

Kawiti was closely involved in the fighting and was lucky to survive.  He personally accounted for at least one of the seamen near the churchyard.  As the man advanced cutlass in hand, Kawiti dropped on his knee with his taiaha at the ready.  He parried the blow and threw the man to the ground, despatching him with his mere.[81]  It is likely that it was this cutlass that made the notch in the churchyard fence post that was visible for many years.

At another point of the fight one of the seamen made a slash at Kawiti but the blow was parried by Turukapa, a slave of Kawiti, with his long handled tomahawk.  The head of the tomahawk was severed but Kawiti’s life was saved.  That the slave had saved his life instead of his son, Taura who should have been at his side was a keen point with Kawiti, particularly as Taura was prominent in the looting later in the day.[82]  A second son of Kawiti, Maihi, was wounded in this fighting and subsequently sent away to keep him from further danger.[83]

While Kawiti’s party continued the battle at close quarters, Pumuka’s withdrew, still under fire from the sailors.  Looking for Pumuka’s body nearly all the Maori passed by the Commander and his men without seeing them.  The last one did however spot them and firing at close range shattered the Commander’s right thigh.  One of the other two seamen was killed and the second slightly wounded in the shoulder in this encounter.  The firing between the sailors by the Church and the retreating Maori continued and Commander Robertson and his companion were now caught in the cross-fire.  Most of the shots passed harmlessly overhead, but one hit the Commander in his left leg.  When the light got better he waved a handkerchief and a few seamen rushed up and carried him back to the main body and subsequently he was sent out to Hazard on board a civilian boat at about 6.30am.[84]

Moubray and Spain, two of the junior officers who were with Commander Robertson at the start of the morning had also become detached from the main body.  They made their way to the barracks where they met Lieutenant Barclay mustering his men and about to march towards the sound of firing at the Church.  He was prevailed upon not to fire in that direction because it was impossible to distinguish friend from foe.  At this time Maori appeared advancing on the town from other directions and the soldiers engaged them.  A little while later Barclay received a message from Lieutenant Morgan telling him about Kawiti’s party at the Church and he started his troops off thither, firing at Maori who appeared amongst the houses on the way.  He then learned from an unknown person that the seamen were short of ammunition and retiring along the beach and he took his men to join them.  While they were probably short of ammunition, Lieutenant Morgan’s party had dispersed Kawiti’s attack and were retiring back to the town.  Now in command of Hazard with the incapacitation of Commander Robertson, Lieutenant George Philpotts also implied that Lieutenant Morgan’s party did not pursue Kawiti’s men into the hills behind the Church because he had been informed that the ship was about to fire on the Maori there.  In this action Hazard had lost six men killed and eight wounded, including Commander Robertson.[85]

About half an hour after the Commander Robertson and his men had set out from the town, atop Maiki Hill Lieutenant John Campbell in charge of the blockhouse took five armed men to dig a trench on the heights overlooking Onerous Bay.[86]  This was on a spur on the south-eastern side the blockhouse.  It is relevant that the entrance to the blockhouse was on the northern side, i.e. the side away from that which overlooked Kororareka.  The men had just got into their work when firing was heard from the direction of Matauwhai Bay.  Campbell and his five men returned to the blockhouse and with about eight or nine men went to a hill about 200 metres from the blockhouse overlooking the town.  It was still dark and foggy at this time so just how much could be seen is uncertain.  The majority of the remainder of the 20 man garrison was at this time putting on their accoutrements outside of the ditch around the blockhouse, facing the town.  A shout rang out and someone called that there were Maori inside the palisades.  Turning round he saw that this was the case and both sides opened fire.  Immediately more Maori were seen advancing with the intention of cutting off the garrison from the lower blockhouse.  Campbell and his men then rushed down to the lower blockhouse.  Inside the flag staff blockhouse four soldiers were killed and the young daughter of signalman Tapper was also killed accidentally.  His wife and another woman were taken prisoner.[87]  The group of Maori was about 200 strong and under the command of Heke and with his men had worked their way slowly up the hill, keeping covered by the scrub and in contact with each other by means of “owl calls”.  He was well aware of the number of the garrison and counted them out until only four were left before he made his move.  Once in possession of the blockhouse axes were applied to the flag staff and an hour and a half later it fell, the deed being attributed to a man called Tapara, a native of the East Indies who had settled among the Ngapuhi.[88]

By about 5.30am, the situation was that  Maiki Hill taken by Heke and Kawiti and Pumuka’s parties were retreating in the face of Hazard’s landing party.  The fourth Maori division, Kapotai under their leader of the same name, was now advancing on Kororareka from the east and were heavily engaged and would be for some hours to come.  The three gun battery in front of the lower blockhouse was in action under Mr Hector and Hazard was firing at the Maori on the hilltops.  More ammunition had been sent ashore to the stockade, at this stage probably to replenish that which had been expended by the landing party in the earlier engagement and the pinnacle under Lieutenant Henry Clarke was harassing the attackers with a 12 pounder gun.[89]

The guns that Hazard was firing were 32 pounder carronade.  These were a short cannon that fired both solid shot (i.e. what is commonly called a cannon ball) and shell (i.e. a hollow ball filled with gun power and fitted with a fuse that exploded the shell after a predetermined time).  The projectile was fired by a cartridge, i.e. gun power wrapped in fabric, preferably silk, but cotton was also used, enabling a measured amount of gun power to be quickly loaded into the muzzle of the gun.  In the 1840s it was common naval practice to ‘double-shot’ the guns, i.e. fire two rounds at once, usually one shot and one shell.  This practice did not significantly reduce the effective range of the gun, but caused much greater damage.[90]  The 32 pounder gun also fired grape-shot.  This was a cluster of smaller balls, nine in number each weighing one pound and being 2.77 inches (71mm) in diameter.  Also in action during the attack on Kororareka and on preceding days was a 12 pounder gun mounted in Hazard’s pinnacle.  Besides solid shot it also fired grape-shot, in this case this was also a cluster of nine 9 balls, but they were smaller than those of the 32 pounder, weighing one pound each and being 1.92 inches (49mm) in diameter.[91]  The fuses used in the shells were not particularly reliable and not all exploded as intended.  Later in the war the Maori found unexploded shells a useful source of gun powder. Examples of each of these types of ammunition from the battle are held by the Russell Museum.

The nature of the guns mounted in front of the lower blockhouse is sketchy.  One was a 24 pounder which still exists and has been mounted on the beach at Russell for many years.  This gun was from the hulk of the Sourabaya, broken up on the beach at Kororareka about 1841.  It had clearly been spiked prior to being reactivated for service in 1845, which confirms Marie King’s statement that it had originally been part of the ballast of the Sourabaya.[92]  The only indications in respect of the other two guns are that  one was described by Mr Hector as being a “long gun” and useless and that on 4 March Police Magistrate Beckham asked the Governor for ammunition for 9 and 12 pounder guns.[93]  These guns were manned by some of Hazard’s crew including (*** spain etc ** detail & refs) and two civilians, including Signalman James Tapper under Mr Hector.[94]

Throughout the engagement Hazard and Hector’s battery kept up a continual fire.  While it certainly kept elements of the attacking force at bay, the overall effect was on the morale of the enemy rather than destruction.  For example three shots landed near the flag staff blockhouse after it was taken, but none caused any damage.  Similarly, the difficulty of hitting a moving target the size of a man with a cannon ball is extremely difficult.[95]

Lieutenant Campbell had taken the remainder of his men into the lower blockhouse, joining 42 of the Civic Guard who had been posted there.  On retiring from the town the soldiers from Lieutenant Barclay’s detachment also went to the lower blockhouse, although Barclay himself did not go inside.  The seamen and marines went into the stockade around Polack’s house, joining 68 of the Civic Guard and most of the remainder of the population.  Initially Barclay had his men engage advancing Maori to the rear of the blockhouse (Heke’s men) and on the adjoining hill (Kapotai).  Some were sent inside the blockhouse and others to the stockade.  Those remaining outside were joined by to or three seamen.[96]

Mr Hector found the fire from Heke’s men dangerous and asked Lieutenant Barclay to drive them off, but his request was refused.  He was soon able to get a gun to bear and cleared the annoying party away, but not before Private Duross of the 96th and Signalman Tapper had been wounded.  A short time later 20 Kapotai had got to the nearby barracks and were sniping at the gunners.  Mr Hector sent to Lieutenant Philpotts, now in the stockade, for aid to drive this party off.  This request was again refused and in desperation Mr Hector went to the stockade himself and asked among the 150 men there for volunteers.  Six men responded and with them they charged the Kapotai party and cleared them out.  The men were left there to hold the spot while Mr Hector returned to the guns, but a reinforced Kapotai party drove them out.  Once again a gun was brought to bear and checked their advance.  A stronger party was sent out which drove the Kapotai back up the hill and kept them at bay.  By now the guns were getting low on ammunition and Lieutenant Barclay went to the stockade to arrange this.  Mr Hector also went to the stockade and prevailed upon the women to give up part of the cloth of their garments to make cartridges.  Similarly the gunners sacrificed their shirts for the same cause. [97]

In addition to the groups mentioned above, the boat’s crew from the Government Brig Victoria also became involved.  Thomas Cass the Second Officer was in charge of this boat and joined the men in the Lower Blockhouse.  He assisted in bringing in Commander Robertson and one of Victoria’s boats crew was subsequently shot dead during the fighting.[98]  At some stage during the morning Lieutenant Philpotts asked for assistance from USS St Louis, under the impression that Captain McKeever had offered to land 150 men, should they be needed.  This request was quite properly refused as it would have brought the United States into the hostilities and as Lieutenant Philpotts later acknowledged, the request was quite out of order and had he properly considered what he was asking, it would not have been made.[99]  Although the detailed circumstances surrounding this request do not seem to have been recorded, it is relevant that after the fall of the flag staff blockhouse only 68 of the 110 men of the Civic Guard remained at their posts.[100]

When he arrived at the stockade Barclay suggested that the women and children be evacuated to the ships.  With the possibility that the Maori would regroup and make a concerted attack on the lower blockhouse and stockade, the proposal was agreed.  Using the boats of the ships anchored off the town, Hazard, St Louis, Victoria and the schooner Dolphin, this was accomplished without incident and interference from the Maori.  Indeed some of Kawiti’s men actually helped take the women and children out to the ships.  While the canoes were not fired upon during the outward trips, they were fired upon when returning to the shore.  One woman remained behind at her own insistence, to attend if necessary any further wounded.[101]

At about midday the firing ceased and Heke hoisted a white flag on Maiki Hill.  He then sent Tapper’s wife and daughter down the hill in the charge of his brother.[102]  Hazard at this time sent a supply of power ashore, as well as all except 500 rounds of the ready made musket cartridges.  Also sent ashore were fresh bread and a rum ration for the troops.[103]

At about 1.00pm the magazine under Mr Polack’s house in the stockade exploded.  The generally accepted reason is a careless spark amongst the powder although the possibility of sabotage could neither at the time nor now, be entirely ruled out, although Lieutenant Philpotts was of the inclination that it was an accident.  Two men were badly wounded and subsequently died on board Hazard.  Several others were wounded, including the woman who had remained ashore and Lieutenant Morgan.[104]

This event necessitated a review of the situation.  In the stockade Lieutenant Philpotts and Magistrate Beckham, supported by Mr Hector determined to hold the lower blockhouse, at least until nightfall.  It is remarkable that Lieutenant Barclay does not to have been party to this decision. [105]  Mr Hector then left the stockade to return to the guns, but halfway there he met Ensign Campbell, the soldiers and his own men heading towards the stockade.  On enquiring why they had left their post he was informed that the guns had been spiked and they had been ordered to evacuate the blockhouse.  He ordered them to return to the blockhouse, which was reinforced by Mr Beckham and Lieutenant Philpotts beckoning them to do so from inside the stockade.  Ensign Campbell did not return to the blockhouse and on arrival there, Lieutenant Barclay was not to be seen.  Shortly afterwards Mr Hector received an order to evacuate the blockhouse.[106]  It is apparent that the order to spike the guns and evacuate the lower blockhouse can only have been given by Lieutenant Barclay, despite the comment by Philpotts and Beckham in their separate reports that the identity of the person who gave the order was not known.  Philpotts did however, stated that he had other remarks on this incident to make, but which could not be included in an official report [one that would inevitably be published].  His remarks presumably made in private to Governor Fitzroy in Auckland, do not seem to have been recorded.[107]

With the loss of the ammunition and the stockade being untenable and with Maori on the heights overlooking the town, it was decided to evacuate Kororareka, the decision being made jointly by Magistrate Beckham, Lieutenant Philpotts and Lieutenant Barclay.[108]  This was accomplished by about 4.00 pm utilizing the boats of all the vessels in harbour, Hazard, St Louis, Matilda, Dolphin, Flying Fish, Victoria, and the English whaler Matilda that had arrived at 3.00pm that afternoon, each ship taking its share of refugees.  Hazard only took 39 civilians, the rest of the space being taken up by the soldiers and the lower deck being occupied by the wounded.  With the town now abandoned the Maori occupied it and began looting.  Mr Hector went on board Hazard from Flying Fish and offered to retake the town with 40 men, an offer which was declined by Lieutenant Philpotts.[109]

The firing having ceased some of the townspeople went ashore to endeavour to save some of their property, while Bishop Selwyn and Archdeacon Williams attended to the dead.  Many accounts, Carleton included who quoted from a contemporary newspaper article, states that Hazard fired on the town after the evacuation.  This is not supported by Hazard’s log, which specifically states that the ship did not fire because of the townspeople being ashore and Bishop Selwyn’s account which clearly states that he and Henry Williams did not go onshore until the firing had ceased.[110]

Although there was no firing Hazard was still in range of musket fire from the shore and accordingly moved out of range, using its anchors.  On board the ship were four wounded soldiers and 10 civilians burned in the explosion in the stockade, as well as a number of women and children.  That the evacuation was not a premeditated decision is evidenced by the fact that large quantity of stores were left ashore.[111]

On shore Bishop Selwyn buried the six men of Hazard who had been killed in the engagement in the Anglican Churchyard and also the remains of four men who had also been killed and whose bodies had been badly scorched in the magazine explosion.  Meanwhile Henry Williams recovered, with the assistance of some members of the attacking parties, the bodies of the four soldiers killed in the Flagstaff blockhouse well as that of Signalman Tapper’s daughter and they were later taken out to Hazard.

At about 7.00pm it was getting dark, sunset was at 6.49pm, and the Government Brig Victoria sailed for Auckland.[112]  Bishop Selwyn and Henry Williams left the beach about that time and the Bishop went on board Hazard.  Like Bishop Pompallier who visited the ship earlier in the afternoon, he describes the scene as “distressing” with the Captain’s cabin and one side of the lower deck full of wounded and the gun room crowded with families.  Attending the wounded were Assistant Surgeon John Veitch of Hazard, the surgeon of St Louis and Dr Ford from the Bay of Islands.[113]  Despite their attentions however, all the wounded, especially those who had been burnt in the explosion were in great agony, this being the days before pain killers.  Overnight six Europeans were killed on shore, it is believed because they were in competition with the Maori in plundering the town and H.M.M. Torey of the Dolphin, one of the men burnt in the explosion, died on board Hazard.[114]

While the Bishop was on board Hazard, the bodies of the soldiers and the little girl were transferred to the ship.  Archdeacon Williams had also recovered the sword of Ensign Campbell which he passed up to someone on the ship with the comment “Here is something that one of you gentlemen has left behind him.”[115]  Whether this comment sparked the reaction of Lieutenant Philpotts or some other, there was a vitriolic outburst by him directed at the missionary.

Referring to the belief that Henry Williams had said that Kororareka would not be attacked Lieutenant Philpotts said to the missionary “You said the Natives would never come into the Town and here they are.  Most traitorous conduct and you a Missionary”.[116]   That Henry Williams had said that the town would not be attacked was current belief at the time and Governor Fitzroy stated in his report to the Colonial Secretary that “on the previous day distinct assertions were made that the natives would not attack the town”.[117]  This statement was later printed in the newspapers.  Carleton states that Williams told the Police Magistrate “that there would be no fight on the Monday; and there was none.”[118]  Later in an attempt to clear his name Williams wrote a long letter to the Editor of The New Zealander newspaper refuting the allegations, forwarding it first to Bishop Selwyn, who refused to let it be sent on the grounds that the churchmen should not submit themselves to the judgement of a newspaper editor.[119]

Lieutenant Philpotts’ comment was reinforced by some of Hazard’s company who threatened Williams and fearing for the safety of his Maori crew, he stood his boat off.  Williams was shocked at the incident and referred it to the Governor, who without hesitation or investigation declared the event “inexcusable” and the charge of treason “unfounded, unjustifiable, ungrateful and absurd”, undertaking to raise the matter with the Senior Naval Officer, Sir Everard Home.[120]

At about 7.00am the next morning a canoe was seen going along the shore loaded with plunder and the pinnacle was sent to cut it off.  However, as it closed the shore it came under heavy musket fire and returned to the ship.[121]  Around this time Captain Andrew Bliss of the Matilda and Captain Clayton, a settler, went on board Hazard, believing that the settlers would be allowed to return to their homes.  They sought permission from Lieutenant Philpotts to go on shore and negotiate with the Maori, on the basis that the ship “remained neutral” until they returned.  Bliss later wrote that he left Hazard understanding this to be the case.[122]  This understanding is contradicted by two witnesses who overheard the conversation, Midshipman David Spain and Blacksmith George Hawkes, both of whom stated that Lieutenant Philpotts was adverse on their going ashore and said “If you go on shore, you go on your own responsibility”.[123]  Disregarding this warning Captains Bliss and Clayton then went ashore in one of Matilda’s boats with an interpreter.  They were received peaceably and were told that the settlers would be allowed to return to their homes unmolested.  Hearing this, a messenger was sent to Heke to obtain his agreement to the proposal.[124]

Despite the unofficial nature of this negotiation, not being sanctioned by Magistrate Beckham, Lieutenant Philpotts or Lieutenant Barclay, it is possible that it may have led to a different outcome than that which eventuated.  It is also pertinent that at this time there were several settlers ashore attempting to salvage some of their property, which was not hindered by the plundering Maori.[125]  However, around 8.00am Hazard fired a shot and shell into houses on the beach.  These were the only shots fired by the ship that day.[126]  One Maori was wounded by a splinter and the negotiation came to an abrupt end and the captains and their party were escorted to their boat.[127]  The settlers salvage operations also terminated.  At about 4.00pm the fire was seen to break out in several parts of the town.  At about 8.30 am the next morning the Maori set fire to the blockhouse and remainder of the buildings still standing, although the Churches were spared at the direction of Heke.[128]

During the afternoon the remains of the four soldiers killed at the flagstaff, together with the Tapper child and Mr Torey were taken to Paihia and interred there by Bishop Selwyn.  Also during the afternoon the women and children that had come on board Hazard the previous day were transferred to the Matilda.  Despite the hostilities at Kororareka some trade was still being conducted with the remainder of the Bay as Hazard received 171kg (385 lbs) of fresh beef and 85kg (192 lbs) of fresh vegetables from shore.[129]

It is not recorded from where, but in the late afternoon intelligence was received that Hazard was going to be attacked that night.  Accordingly the other ships were moved away from Kororareka and Hazard cleared for action, the officers and ships company remaining at their action stations overnight, but no attack eventuated.[130]

With no town left to defend and with the wounded and refugees to consider Lieutenant Philpotts made the decision to sail to Auckland.  Indeed, as early as the afternoon of 11 March Assistant Surgeon Veitch had brought the overcrowded condition of the ship and its likely effects on the wounded (and the ship’s company) to his attention.[131]  Early the next morning, 13 March, some of the women and children aboard Dolphin and Matilda were transferred to Hazard and St Louis, with the final distribution being: Hazard 80 men, women and children, St Louis 133 men, women and children and Matilda 218, including 95 children.  Later in the morning 12 soldiers and the Assistant Police Magistrate were sent on board Matilda.  At noon Matilda weighed anchor, followed by Hazard at 3.00 pm and St Louis at 4.00 pm, the ships proceeding to tack out of the Bay en route to Auckland.[132]

In the fine, calm weather the passage south was not quick.  Early the next morning John Thompson, the second man badly burnt in the magazine explosion and formerly a crewman of the police boat, died.  Daylight saw the three ships in company and also the schooner Dolphin.  At 11.00 am the Reverend Mr Dudley crossed from St Louis and conducted a burial service for John Thompson, after which the ships continued on their way.[133]

The Legislative Council was sitting in Auckland on the morning of 16 March when three ships were observed coming up the harbour. It was generally hoped that these were carrying the troops requested by the Governor some weeks earlier, but instead they were from the Bay of Islands with the wounded and refugees.  All efforts were made to provide for the wounded (there was not hospital in Auckland) and the destitute.[134]  During the passage south the officers in charge at Kororareka had been preparing their various reports for submission to the Governor on arrival.

In the aftermath of the fall of Kororareka the two military officers who had been present were tried by Courts Martial at Auckland in August 1845.  Lieutenant Barclay was charged with: sheltering himself under and embankment for the purpose of screening his person from fire; that when evacuation had been determined he embarked his detachment with undue precipitation and before the inhabitants had been cared for; and that he did not display the zeal and energy in defence of the lives and property of Her Majesty’s subjects required to support the honour of Her Majesty’s arms.  He was honourably acquitted of all charges.  Ensign Campbell was charged with highly unofficer-like conduct in heedlessly and carelessly guarding the blockhouse and evacuating the same without orders.  The Court found him guilty of the charge, with the exception of the word “evacuating”, on the basis he was not in the blockhouse when it was surprised.  For this he was severely reprimanded.[135]

Lieutenant Philpotts was most disheartened, as would be expected, stating in his report to the Governor that he considered losing the flagstaff in the same light as losing a ship.[136]  While in the bigger picture the loss of the flagstaff may not have been a crucial event, his anguish is understandable, not just because of the defeat, but the fact that the defence of the flagstaff was the major task of the ship at Kororareka.  By way of contrast Acting Commander Robertson was promoted to the rank of Commander, to date 11 March 1845 and the citizens of Auckland presented him with a sword.[137]

In the accounts of the fall of Kororareka three elements are generally constant: the action by Commander Robertson and his party were the highlight of an otherwise pitiful episode; Lieutenant Philpotts actions were ill-considered and reckless and the overall performance of the ship as a whole is overlooked.  In the main, each of these elements are generally derived from Carelton’s biography of Henry Williams and he in turn uses an account published in The Times as his detailed source, beyond the writings of William’s and his family.  It is pertinent to note that Carleton was, in the words of one of William’s grandchildren, “his champion during his lifetime and now his biographer after death”, so he cannot be considered altogether an impartial source.[138]

There is no doubt that the actions of the naval party early on the morning of 11 March were both gallant and effective.  Fought in the dark and fog, less than 50 men engaged and repulsed an attacking force over four times their number in what was essentially a hand to hand action.  Given the fiasco at the flagstaff, the incompetence surrounding the magazine explosion and the blunder in spiking the guns, it certainly was the highlight of an otherwise dismal day.

That ‘Toby’ Philpotts was eccentric is beyond question but whether his actions on that day were as impetuous or irrational as portrayed are less certain.  Similarly the assertion that under the mature head of Commander Robertson things would have been different is uncertain.  Both officers were roughly the same age (31 and 28), of whom Philpotts was the older and both were of about the same seniority, Robertson 26 August and Philpotts 12 November 1841, although Philpotts had been in the service four years longer than Robertson.  Both of them had seen action in China.

The chief criticisms of Philpotts’ actions on 11 March are his “wanton” or “unsporting” bombardment of the town during the afternoon and on the following morning, of which “the Church … seemed to be the favourite target” and the decision to evacuate the town.  As stated earlier, after the flag of truce was observed at around noon, no further shots were recorded as having fired from Hazard, in the ship’s log and only one shot and shell the next morning.  This official document survives and from its construction it would have been difficult in the extreme to subsequently falsify.  Accordingly it can be taken to be a reasonably accurate record of events as seen from the ship, made by someone other than those involved in the action ashore who were understandably distracted by events in their immediate surroundings.  That no shots were fired in the afternoon of 11 March is independently supported by Bishop Selwyn’s account of the day and Henry Williams also makes no mention in his writings of there being firing while he was ashore and he is careful to note that he was the last to leave the beach that day.  Similarly it would seem that the shot and shell fired on the 12th (most likely a “double shot”) were separately recorded by several individuals and over time have escalated from an isolated incident to a full-scale bombardment.

Relevant to this matter is the correspondence of William Brodie.  This consists of letters between himself and Captain Bliss of the Matilda and subsequently forwarded by him to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.  In some histories this correspondence is referred to as being a petition by him for compensation for his losses as a result of the fall of Kororareka.  In fact he was in essence a bystander, being an albeit prominent resident of Auckland, who had met Captain Bliss and from what appears to be a single conversation with him, decided to bring the circumstances as he understood them, to the attention of the home authorities.  As such he gave an outline of events which was at the best hearsay and in some instances not supported by Captain Bliss’ himself.  Similarly Williams’ biographer, Charleton was not there and makes several statements that do not appear to be grounded in fact, but have been repeated by later writers.

In respect of the Church being a target of fire from Hazard, it is acknowledged by all writers that this building was the site of a major engagement of the day.  During the engagement with Kawiti’s and Pumuka’s parties around the Church the ship provided gunfire support and it is no surprise that the Church received collateral damage, particularly when the inaccuracy of the carronade, even over a cannon is taken into consideration.

Irrespective of the validity of the decision to evacuate Kororareka, it could not have been the decision of Philpotts alone.  The principal administrator on the ground was Police Magistrate Beckham and overall it would have been his responsibility to make such a decision.  Certainly he would have relied on the advice of Lieutenant Philpotts and his own military background in coming to this decision, however this is not to say that Philpotts would have quietly acquiesced to any decision that he disagreed with, indeed this is well documented subsequently.  Additionally Philpotts takes significant responsibility for the decision in his report to the Governor.  Remarkably, the senior military (army) officer present, Lieutenant Barclay does not seem to have been party to this decision.

Just what the Maori aims were in the attack on Kororareka are still unclear today.  That there was to be an attack in four divisions as advised by Mr Gilbert Mair on the night before the attack seems to have been correct.  The three main divisions; Heke to the flag staff, Kawiti from Matauwhai Bay and Kapotai over the eastern ridges are generally recognized.  Pumuka led the forth division over the ridge behind the Catholic mission.  That the other three divisions attacks were a diversion to Heke’s attack on the flagstaff is the generally accepted version of the Maori plan, as is the belief that once the flagstaff was taken his party took no further part in the day’s fighting.  This, however, overlooks the fact that the Kapotai attack continued for some hours after the flagstaff fell and that at least some of Heke’s men were involved in the fighting around the lower blockhouse.  If Kawiti’s, Pumuka’s and Kapotai’s attacks were a diversion, why did they continue after the object had been achieved?  One supposition is that with Heke, Kawiti and Pumuka having done their share of fighting Kapotai had to be seen to do their bit, but this ignores the participation of Heke’s men in the fighting after the flag staff had been taken.

A major criticism of the Government leadership at Kororareka is the evacuation of the town, when “it was never the intention of the attackers to take the town”.   This assertion is usually supported by Maori comments to the effect that the town was given to them, something they did not ask for and those of Williams and Bliss in respect to their treatment while in the town after the firing had ceased.  To take this view is to see the events of that day with 20/20 hindsight.  With the ammunition supply, including a significant amount provided by Hazard, gone following the magazine explosion and the guns spiked, the outlook from the stockade was bleak.  Taking into account the killed and wounded there were about 137 men available to defend the town: 41 soldiers; 36 seamen and marines and about 60 civilians who had been hastily drilled for only few days.  Certainly bearing on the mind would be the fact that 32 casualties had already been incurred.  Attacking the town was a force estimated at 600, with it was believed another 600 men available as reinforcements.  These estimates are those of Lieutenant Philpotts, i.e. that the Maori had a total of about 1200 men available and that three groups of about 200 each had attacked the town.  Philpotts and Beckham had already begun to appreciate the fighting qualities of the Maori and that there was no prospect of getting the attackers into a set-piece action were the European discipline and style of fighting might be the deciding factor.  In the stockade Philpotts and Beckham were acutely aware of the limitations of their small force and also of the hundreds of warriors on the hill tops above the town of whose intentions they were completely ignorant.  Bearing on Police Magistrate Beckham’s mind would also have been Heke’s intention to destroy the public buildings in January.  Pertinent in any discussion of Maori intentions that day, in respect of their conduct towards those settlers who did go ashore, is that deception was a frequently used tactic in Maori warfare.  With the perception that it was only a matter of time before the attackers regrouped and made another concerted attack on the town, which in all likelihood would have been successful, the prudent decision was to evacuate the town.

That the Navy’s part in the Battle of Kororareka is often overlooked is unfortunate.  Being a land battle the perception is that it was primarily a military, in the technical sense, i.e. an exclusively Army affair.  This perception neglects the fact that during the 19th Century participating in fighting ashore was a common responsibility of the Navy and certainly Commander Robertson’s fight above the Matauwhai Bay Road and around the Church was a significant component of the battle.  The provision of gunfire support to the troops fighting ashore only receives passing comment in most works, but this was and remains a function of the Navy.

The role of the Navy in the form of HMS Hazard, was a crucial element in the opening of the Northern War and in the battle of Kororareka.  Although directed to pursue a defensive policy the ship was involved in several attempts to impose law and order at the request of the civil authorities in the weeks leading up to the Battle which resulted in exchanges of fire.  On shore the ship’s company materially assisted in placing the town in a state of defence by assembling the flag staff block house brought from Auckland, constructed the lower block house, fortified Mr Polack’s house and drilled those settlers enrolled in the Civic Guard, as well as providing support for the few troops at Kororareka.  Although sometimes seen as purely military functions, these activities are completely in line with a major principle of Maritime Strategy: support for military operations ashore.  Although not implemented at the time, a further naval role : enforcing a blockade of the Bay of Islands was contemplated.



Ian Wards, The Shadow of the Land: A Study of British Policy and Racial Conflict in New Zealand 1832-1852, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1968.

[1] Ian Wards, The Shadow of the Land: A Study of British Policy and Racial Conflict in New Zealand 1832-1852, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington: Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1968.

[2] Ian Wards, in Orange Claudia ed., Dictionary of New Zealand Biography vol.1, 1769-1869, Wellington: Allen & Unwin/Department of Internal Affairs, 1990. See also John and Mary Gribbin, Fitzroy: The Remarkable Story of Darwin’s Captain and the Invention of the Weather Forecast, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.

[3] Robyn Fisher Robyn, in Orange Claudia ed., Dictionary of New Zealand Biography vol.1, 1769-1869, Allen & Unwin/Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1990

[4] Kawharu F.R., in Orange Claudia ed., Dictionary of New Zealand Biography vol.1, 1769-1869, Allen & Unwin/Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1990, p184–7

[5] Carleton Hugh, The Life of Henry Williams, Archdeacon of Waimate, 2 vols., Upton & Co., Auckland 1874 & 1877, vol. 2 p13; and Smith S. Percy, Maori Wars of the 19th Century, Whitcombe & Tombs, Wellington, 1910 (Cadsonbury Publications, Christchurch, 2002)

[6] Kawharu F.R., in Orange Claudia ed., Dictionary of New Zealand Biography vol.1, 1769-1869, Allen & Unwin/Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1990, pp184-7

[7] ibid.

[8] Martin K.H.TeU, in Orange Claudia ed., Dictionary of New Zealand Biography vol.1, 1769-1869, Allen & Unwin/Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1990, p219-221

[9] Iibid., pp. 219-221. The comment on the reason for his signing at the head of the list is from a discussion with Kene Martin (great granddaughter of Kawiti) in 2005

[10] Lyon David, The Sailing Navy List : All the ships of the Royal Navy built, purchased and captured 1688-1860, Conway Maritime Press, London, 1993, p138

[11] Clowes William Laird, The Royal Navy : A history from the earliest times to the present, vol. VI, Sampson, Low, Marston and Company, London 1901, pp309-322

[12] Joslin E.C., Litherland A.R., Simpkin B.T., British Battles and Medals, Spink & Son Ltd, London, 1988, p111. See also http://www.pbenyon1.plus.com/Nbd/exec/Index.html [Extracts from Various Navy Lists 1844-1879 – Executive Officers]; http://www.pdavis.nl/SeaOfficers.php [Officers in Command 1840-1860] and  O’Byrne William R., A Naval Biographical Dictionary : comprising the life of every living officer in Her Majesty’s Navy…2 vols, 1849 [J.B. Hayward & Son, Polstead, 1990]pp 902,987; Longley H.G., The New Zealand Medal 1845 – 1866 – Medal Rolls of Officers and Men of the Royal, Navy and Royal Marines who received the medal for services in the  New Zealand Wars 1845 -1866, H.G. Longley, Auckland, n.d.

[13] http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/au1844.htm – extracted from – The Shipping Gazette and Sydney general trade list; 1844; from the digitised version of the ‘Sydney Shipping Gazette’ found at the National Library of Australia website.

[14] ibid; O’Byrne p1004

[15] When he actually joined the ship is unclear, but the paths of the two ships did not cross again until after Kororareka and from mid 1844 until early 1845 North Star was cruising in the South West Pacific and there would have been limited opportunities for him to have joined Hazard after it left Sydney.

[16] Ross J.O’C., The White Ensign in Early New Zealand, A.H. & A.W. Reed, Wellington, 1967, p21

[17] Flotsum & Jetsum 2-9, Hocken Library; O’Byrne William R., A Naval Biographical Dictionary : comprising the life of every living officer in Her Majesty’s Navy…2 vols, 1849 [J.B. Hayward & Son, Polstead, 1990], p987

[18] O’Byrne p. 902. MS 0084/21 Letter from John Webster to Dr Hocken, 22 Jun 1900, Hocken Library. See also Buick p. 177.

[19] Stone R., “Henry Falwasser and the Mangle Press” in Art New Zealand issue 108, Auckland spring 2003.  A slightly different version of the duel is given by J.S.Gulley in the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, A.H. McLintock ed. 1966, p. 500, but the Stone version seems to be more accurate.

[20] MR 1/6/1/7 – List of Officers of 63rd Regiment, 96th Regiment and the Manchester Regiment 1758-1925; and MR1/6/1/5 – Roll of officers 96th Regiment, 1824-1884 Manchester Regiment Archives held at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre

[21] Fitzroy Robert, Remarks on New Zealand in February 1846, [Hocken Library Facsimile No. 10, Dunedin, 1969], p. 40. See also Wards p.120.

[22] Pugsley Chris, “Walking Heke’s War : The Sack of Kororareka 11 March 1845” in Defence Quarterly, No.1, Winter 1993, p17

[23] Gen details from DNZB articles which reference him, rank and regiment from Wards p.116.

[24] See for example, Wards Ian, The Shadow of the Land : A study of British policy and racial conflict in New Zealand 1832-1852, Historical Publications Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1968, p.102. See also Buick p. 36; and Carleton Hugh, The Life of Henry Williams, Archdeacon of Waimate, vol. 2, Upton & Co., Auckland 1877, p.80.

[25] Buick p. 37; and Wards p. 103.

[26] Wards pp.103-4.

[27] Wards p. 105.

[28] Wards p. 106. See also Buick p.40.

[29] Puketutu bio of Nene

[30] Wards p.106.

[31] Puketutu bio of Hulme

[32] Wards pp.107-8.

[33] Young, Sherwood, “Woods, Benjamin 1787/88? – 1867” in Orange Claudia ed., Dictionary of New Zealand Biography vol.1, 1769-1869, Allen & Unwin/Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1990. See also  Carleton Hugh, The Life of Henry Williams, Archdeacon of Waimate, vol. 2, Upton & Co., Auckland 1877, pp.82-83 and Wards p.111.

[34] Wards p. 111. See also Carleton p.83.

[35] Charleton p.84.

[36] Buick p.46.

[37] ibid., pp. 46-7.

[38] Wards p.112.

[39] Beckham to Gov 14 January 1845; and extract of letter Beckham to Gov 16 January 1845, both reproduced in Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845, p.5. See also W. Williams, Plain Facts Relative to the Late War in the Northern District of New Zealand, Auckland, 1847, p.12

[40] Wards p.113.

[41] Cowan James, The New Zealand Wars : A history of the Maori campaigns and the pioneering period, vol. I : 1845-64, Government Printer, Wellington, 1983, p.20.

[42] Buick p.48.

[43] Fitzroy to Beckham 15 January 1845, Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845, pp. 7-8.

[44] Fitzroy to Beckham 22 February 1845, Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845, p.11.

[45] Beckham to Fitzroy 4 March 1845 and Fitzroy to Beckham 6 March 1845, Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845, pp.13-15.

[46] Fitzroy Robert, Remarks on New Zealand in February 1846, [Hocken Library Facsimile No. 10, Dunedin, 1969], p.38. See also Buick pp.49-50.

[47] Selwyn G.A., “A Letter from the Bishop of New Zealand to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; containing An Account of the Affray Between the Settlers and the Natives at Kororareka” in Church in the Colonies, No. XII, April 1846, p. 18. See also Home to Cochrane 25 March 1945 [Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845]

[48] Buick T. Lindsay, New Zealand’s First War or The Rebellion of Hone Heke, Government Printer, Wellington, 1926[Capper Press, 1976], p. 55.

[49] Wards pp.116-7.

[50] King Marie M., Port in the North : A short history of Russell, New Zealand, Russell Centennial Historical Committee, Russell, c1954, p.56.

[51] Beckham to Gov. 4 March 1845 – G30/7 pp.481-86. See also Wards pp.115-17.

[52] Buick p.56.

[53] ADM 51/3613 Log of HMS Hazard, 11 March 1845 [National Archives Great Britain; microfilm copy Alexander Turnbull Library : Micro-MS-Coll-05-5769]

[54] Selwyn G.A., “A Letter from the Bishop of New Zealand to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; containing An Account of the Affray Between the Settlers and the Natives at Kororareka” in Church in the Colonies, No. XII, April 1846, p.21.

[55] Wards p.117

[56] ibid.See also Fitzroy Robert, Remarks on New Zealand in February 1846, [Hocken Library Facsimile No. 10, Dunedin, 1969] p.38 and Cowan p.24.

[57] ibid. See also Cowan p.22.

[58] The Times, 8 August 1845, p.6.

[59] Robertson to Gov 4 March 1845 & Morgan to Robertson 3 March 1845 – G30/7 pp.477, 479-480 [Archives New Zealand]. See also Dickens Gerald, The Dress of the British Sailor, National Maritime Museum/HMSO, London, 1977, p.7 and Douglas, General Sir Howard, A Treatise on Naval Gunnery, John Murray, London, 1860, p.517.

[60] Robertson to Gov. 4 March 1845 & Morgan to Robertson 3 March 1845 – G30/7 pp.477, 479-480 [Archives New Zealand]. See also W Williams, Plain Facts Relative to the Late War in the Northern District of New Zealand, Auckland, 1847, p.15 and HMS Hazard ship’s log entry for 3 March 1845.

[61] Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships [http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/]

[62] Wards pp.118-9.

[63] HMS Hazard ship’s log entries dated 5 & 6 March 1845

[64] Wards p.119. See also HMS  Hazard ship’s log entry dated 7 March 1845 and Beckham to Gov 9 March 1845 – G30/7 pp. 504-8.

[65] ibid. See also Beckham to Gov. 9 March 1845 – G30/7 pp. 504-8 and HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 8 March 1845. Wards p119

[66] ibid.

[67] ibid. See also Buick p.62.

[68] King Marie, Russell’s Waterfront Cannon [Russell Museum 98/135]

[69] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 9 March 1845;

[70] Philpotts to Gov. 15 March 1945 [G30/7 pp. 525-42].  The details of this incident have been embellished over the years.

[71] Selwyn pp. 22-3.

[72] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 10 March 1845.

[73] Wards, p.120.

[74] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 11 March 1845. See also Lewis Michael, England’s Sea-Officers : The story of the naval profession, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1939, p.207.

[75] That they reached their intended position is confirmed by a diagram drawn at the time by Lieutenant Morgan [G30/7 p403] and subsequently published in Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845. See also Wards p.120 and Buick p.64.

[76] This time is taken from Hazard’s ship’s log which gives the time of the commencement of firing as 4.45am

[77] Commander Robertson’s own account [F&J 2/9 – Hocken Library]; Diagram drawn by Lieutenant Edwards at the time [G30/7 p403], subsequently published in Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845. See also HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 11 March 1845.

[78] [Maning F.E.] History of the War in the North of New Zealand Against the Chief Heke in the Year 1845, told by an old chief of the Ngapuhi tribe, Robert J. Crighton & Alfred Scales, Auckland 1864, p.18.

[79] Commander Robertson’s own account [F&J 2/9 – Hocken Library]; Maning : History of the War in the North p. 18. See also Buick p.65 and Robertson-Macdonald to Pasco 30 April 1896 [F&J 5/154 – Hocken Library].

[80] Pomallier John Baptist Francis, McKeefrey P. ed., Fishers of Men, Wellington, 1938, p. 128.

[81] Kawiti Tawai, “Heke’s War in the North” in Te Ao Heu, No.16, October 1956, p. 40.

[82] Carleton p.91.  Commander Robertson is often credited with this attack on Kawiti, but it was not him – see Robertson-Macdonald to Pasco 30 April 1896 [F&J 5/154 – Hocken Library].  Turukapa’s name was provided by Erima Henare of Ngati Hine in discussion 30 April 2005 as was the information that the axe head was one of six traded by Samuel Marsden in 1814 and which is still extant.

[83] Hine Martin of Ngati Hine in discussion 30 April 2005.  It was Maihi Kawiti who had the flag staff re-erected in 1858.  The middle son of Kawiti was a peace-maker and took no part at all in the war.

[84] Commander Robertson’s own account [F&J 2/9 – Hocken Library]. See also HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 11 March 1845.

[85] Barclay to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 557-572]; Philpotts to Gov. 11 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 521-24 & 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.525-542]

[86] Campbell to Barclay 16 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.573-76].  Campbell clearly stated in his report that the men were armed, however his sword was later recovered from inside the blockhouse by Henry Williams – see Carleton p.94.

[87] Barclay to Gov. 14 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.557-72]; Campbell to Barclay 16 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.573-76].  The time here is based on HMS Hazard’s ship’s log which gives the time of firing commencing as 4.45am and the spot where the trenches were to be dug is only a short distance from the blockhouse.

[88] Buick pp. 68-69. See also Carleton p. 84.

[89] Buick pp. 67-9. See also HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 11 March 1845 and Philpotts to Gov 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 525-42]

[90] Caruana Adrian B., The History of English Sea Ordnance 1523-1875, vol. II : “The Age of the System 1715-1815”, Jean Boudriot Publications, Rotherfield, 1997, p. 352. The maximum range single shotted was 2641 yards and 2140 yards double shotted.

[91] Caruana, p.304.

[92] King Marie, Russell’s Waterfront Cannon [Russell Museum 98/135]

[93] REF Hectors statement; Beckham to Gov. 4 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.481-486]. See also Buick p.63.

[94]Barclay to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 557-72].

[95] Selwyn p.26. See also Cowan p. 31 and Barclay to Gov 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 557-72]

[96] Barclay to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.557-72]. See also Philpotts to Gov 11 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.521-24 & 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.525-542]

[97] Buick pp.69-70. See also Barclay to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.557-72]

[98] Cass Thomas, Maori War Medal Claim, AD32/2401[Archives New Zealand]

[99] Philpotts to McKeever, 17 March 1845 [Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845, No. 8]

[100] Philpotts to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 525-42]

[101] Wards p.122. See also Barclay to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 557-72] and Selwyn p.26.  Barclay states in his report that he spoke to “Captain Robertson” about this, but that officer was seriously wounded on board Hazard by that time and Philpotts and Beckham were in charge.  The comment re Kawiti’s men helping with the evacuation is from Ngati Hine oral tradition [30 April 2005] and is also mentioned by Pugsley in “Walking Heke’s War – The Sack of Kororareka 11 March 1845” in New Zealand Defence Quarterly, Winter 1993, p.16.

[102] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 11 March 1845. See also Beckham to Gov. 17 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.513-520]

[103] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 11 March 1845.

[104] ibid. See also Selwyn pp. 26-7 and Philpotts to Gov 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 525-42]

[105] Philpotts to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 525-42]

[106] Carleton, Appendix B, px

[107] Philpotts to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 525-42]

[108] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 11 March 1845

[109] Carleton, Appendix B, px; Selwyn

[110] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 11 March 1845. See also Selwyn p.27.

[111] ibid.

[112] ibid.

[113] Selwyn pp. 29-30. See also Fishers of Men, p..129.  Selwyn actually states that they left the beach “a little after sunset”, which was at 6.48pm

[114] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 12 March 1845. See also Buick p.78.

[115] Selwyn pp.27-28. See also Carleton p.94.

[116] Quoted in Belich James, The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict, Penguin Books, Auckland, 1988, p.39.

[117] Fitzroy to Stanley 26 March 1845, Great Britain, Parliament, House of Commons, Copies or extracts of correspondence relative to the attack on the British settlement at the Bay of Islands by the natives of New Zealand, HMSO, London, 1845, p.6.

[118] Charleton p.98.

[119] Charleton Appendix B, pp xi-xiv

[120] Fitzroy to Williams 2 April 1845, reproduced in Carleton pp.106-7.

[121] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 12 March 1845.

[122] Remarks by Captain Andrew Bliss of the ship Matilda ?? March 1845, Archives New Zealand CO 209/41 pp. 69-71. [Microfilm of original held by The National Archives of Great Britain]

[123] Commander F.P. Egerton to Rear Admiral Thomas Cochrane, CinC East Indies Station, 30 January 1846, Archives New Zealand CO 209/47 pp.23-26.

[124] Bliss Remarks

[125] Buick pp.77-78.

[126] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 12 March 1845. See also Egerton to Cochrane.

[127] Bliss Remarks

[128] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 12 March 1845.

[129] ibid.

[130] ibid.

[131] Veitch to Philpotts 11 March 1845 [G30/7 pp.546-7]

[132] HMS Hazard ship’s log entry dated 12 March 1845. See also extract from the ship’s log USS St Louis (Transcribed from the original

which is held in the United States National Archive by Rear Admiral K.F. Wilson) [Russell Museum 97/95] and Bliss to William Brodie, 28 August 1845 [CO 209/41 pp. 73-75]

[133] HMS Hazard ship’s log entries dated 12-14 March 1845.

[134] Fitzroy Robert, Remarks on New Zealand in February 1846, [Hocken Library Facsimile No. 10, Dunedin, 1969] p.40.

[135] The New Zealander 19 November 1845, quoting Extract from General Orders, No. 154, Sydney, September 10, 1845

[136] Philpotts to Gov. 15 March 1845 [G30/7 pp. 525-42]

[137] Buick p.65.

[138] Davis family papers[Auckland Public Library, Grey Collection, MSS 677]