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Bush Fighting

The history of the Waikato War The long years of Queen Victoria's reign were typified by numerous 'small wars' as the British Empire spread its influence over the globe and it came into inevitable collision with the numerous and varied inhabitants of the lands it occupied who, understandably, took issue with an abrupt change in the status quo, a diminution of their power and privileges and the intrusive presence of a colonists supported by a massive modern army and navy. Bloodshed was always inevitable as was, in almost all cases, the outcome of the conflicts. The pattern was broadly similar wherever the Union flag was raised and the colonisation of New Zealand in the middle years of the nineteenth century proved no exception. The Maoris fought several of these small wars, which were motivated primarily by their objection to clear injustices perpetrated against them. Predictably these engagements were bitter, savage, hard fought affairs fought by a primitively armed tribal people of redoubtable courage who eventually had little chance against an imperial military force of the industrial age. What makes these wars fascinating for the student of military history is, of course, the effect upon these campaigns as influenced by the nature of the protagonists, the manner of waging war they employed and the telling influence of the terrain over which they were fought. Those who know anything of this campaign will know that it was often fought in deep forest where the hard held Maori pah had to be assaulted and taken at some cost to both sides. It gave rise to fascinating colonial units, like Von Tempski's Forest Rangers. It pitted a warrior people against regular regiments in bitter conflict which taught the British Army hard and bloody lessons; and it introduced to the Empire a fighting people who would one day prove to be equally formidable in war for the causes of those who were once its enemies. This was not the first or the last war waged between the Crown and the Maoris but it was one of the most notable and this account makes fascinating reading. Available in softcover and hardcover with dust jacket.
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