The fight at Rangiaowhia

The fight at Rangiaohia for the recovery of McHale’s body. February 21 1864, by L.A. Wilson. This artist’s impression of the battle shows the fall of Colonel Marmaduke Nixon (top, second from left). Captain Thomas McDonnell (left) runs to help Nixon, while Lieutenant-General Duncan Cameron and his staff are shown at right.

On the morning of Sunday 21 February 1864 the inhabitants of Rangiaowhia, the economic heartland of the Kīngitanga, were surprised by the arrival of imperial and colonial soldiers. Most of Rangiaowhia’s fighting men were still at nearby Pāterangi, which Cameron’s force had bypassed overnight. Many inhabitants took refuge in one of Rangiaowhia’s two churches, while others ran for their whare (houses).

Sergeant McHale, ‘an excited cavalryman’, was shot and killed when he fired into one of the whare. So was a soldier of the 65th Regiment. The building was surrounded and two ranks of men opened fire. Those inside returned fire, mortally wounding Colonel Nixon. Then another trooper was shot while trying to retrieve McHale’s body.

Whether by accident or design, the thatch of the building caught fire. An unarmed elderly man came out with a white blanket raised above his head. He was killed by a hail of bullets despite calls from a nearby officer to ‘spare him’. Two more Māori attempting to escape met a similar fate, and eight charred corpses (including that of McHale) were later found in the smoking ruins.

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bernie Fynn

Posted: 05 Aug 2016

I suggest that this site read Bruce Moons account of the Rangiaowhia incident as he has first hand accounts of it. A woman named wikitoria, who is used as the account of the incident, in her own words, saw nothing. She was at the river, below the village and stayed there all day. Potatau also has a different version to what modern maori say. Cameron went in at night to lay waste to the crops and to minimise any casualties.

Anonymous1

Posted: 12 May 2014

There were 200 - 300 Maori men, woman and children that were massacred by 3000 British army soldiers. The land was stolen, confiscated. Given to pakeha farmers and never to be returned to the rightful owners. This year marks 150 years since that sad sad day and was recently celebrated where a memorial was unveiled in the memory of all that had perished that day. Both Maori and pakeha.