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Sixth Contingent in South Africa


New Zealand troopers from the Sixth Contingent move across open country in South Africa, 1901. This photograph may have been taken by Private William Raynes, a Waikato farmer serving with No. 16 Company.

Much of the conflict took place on open plains known in Afrikaans as veldt. Extreme temperatures made life tough for New Zealand troops. While trekking men would often be forced to endure severe daytime heat, while at night they would sleep out in the open with only an overcoat to keep the freezing cold at bay.

Soldiers on trek often began their day at 4 a.m. and broke camp at 5.30 a.m. before spending up to 12 hours on patrol. To preserve the strength of their mounts, the soldiers alternated between riding and leading their horses on foot. Using this method, they could cover 30 km or more in a day.


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: qMS-1676-59f
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image

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Sixth Contingent in South Africa, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated