Octavius Lawes Woodthorpe BOUSFIELD (1830 – 1882), Surveyor
/ John BUCHANAN (1819 – 1898), Draftsman.
[MAP OF THE ATTACK UPON NGATAPA FORTRESS:]
Plan of Ngatapa Pa, Poverty Bay taken by Col. Whitmore with the Colonial Force from the Hau Hau under Te Kooti.
[Wellington:] Printed at the Gen. Gov. Lith. Press by J. Earle, .
Lithograph with original outline hand colour (Very Good, lovely original colours, some very slight foxing), 44 x 29 cm (17.5 x 11.5 inches).
Octavius Lawes Woodthorpe BOUSFIELD (1830 – 1882), Surveyor
/ John BUCHANAN (1819 – 1898), Draftsman.
[NGATAPA FORTRESS – CROSS SECTIONS:]
Sections of Ngatapa Pa, Poverty Bay taken by the Colonial Forces under Col. Whitmore 5th Jany. 1869.
[Wellington:] Printed at the Gen. Gov. Lith. Press by J. Earle, .
Lithograph (Very Good, a few small closed marginal tears, some slight foxing and staining, mostly confined to margins), 30.5 x 50.5 cm (12 x 20 inches).
John BUCHANAN (1819 – 1898).
[TAURANGA-IKA FORT – CROSS SECTIONS:]
Sections of Taurangaika Pa, West Coast.
[Wellington:] Printed at the Gen. Gov. Lith. Press by J. Earle, .
Lithograph (Good, some creasing along centerfold, some minor loss in blank space bottom centre, some small closed tears at head of centerfold, and remains of old improvised guard on verso of centerfold (where supposedly previously bound into a composite album), reinforced with archival tape on verso at head and tail of centrefold), 42 x 56 cm (16.5 x 22 inches).
Presented here is a trio of very rare broadsides illustrating the scenes of the decisive events of the final Maori Wars. Printed in 1869, at the General Government Lithographic Press in Wellington, they are amongst the most historically important images ever published in New Zealand, being stellar and authentic records of Maori military architecture and battle tactics, in addition to being records of the specific events themselves. The first two of the broadsides concern the siege of the Ngatapa Pa, a fortress in the eastern North Island, that marked the decisive showdown of Te Kooti’s War, in December 1868-Janaury 1869. The third broadside concerns the siege of Tauranga-ika Pa, a fortress in the Taranaki region of the western North Island, that was marked the definitive end of Titokowaru’s War, in February 1869. In both cases, these seemingly impregnable fortresses were abandoned by the respective leaders of the Maori uprisings, at the very height of the sieges, leaving both the bastions and the war theatres, in general, in the hands of the British Colonial forces. Importantly, the end of these uprisings also marked the end of major Maori armed resistance to the colonial regime in New Zealand.
The present broadsides are of the very rare, original, first editions published in Wellington by the General Government Lithographic Press, in 1869. As the images featured were highly important and influential, from the 1880s onwards, they were reproduced in various forms, in various publications. Importantly, the original issues should not be confused with the later copies, which on inspection are dramatically different in appearance.
The Broadsides in Focus
The first two of the present broadsides are intimately related, being [#1] Plan of Ngatapa Pa, Poverty Bay and [#2] Sections of Ngatapa Pa. They depict the Maori fortress of Ngatapa Pa, which is located about 15 km inland from Gisborne and Poverty Bay, in the far east of the North Island. Ngatapa Pa was the scene of the decisive showdown between the Maori uprising leader Te Kooti and the colonial forces under Colonel George Whitmore, which lasted from December 31, 1868 to January 6, 1869. The siege concluded when the colonial forces realized that Te Kooti and a small number of his followers had successfully fled the fortress for refuge in the interior of the island, so effectively ending the uprising.
As shown, on the first broadside, the Ngatapa Pa was located atop a 700 metre high triangular mountain, which was surrounded on three sides by steep rock cliffs. As shown, the fortress proper occupied four sections at the tip of the triangle, each protected by earth works. The ‘Inner Pa’, with riffle pits, occupied the very tip of triangle, while the ‘Church’ (Maori temple), occupied the fourth, or outermost section. Amidst these sections were as complex series of mazes, walkways and pits, which would ensure that any attempt to storm the bastion would immediately become a bloody endeavour. The large expanse beyond the outermost wall, occupying the base of the triangle, was comprised of ‘Ground cleared of bush, but covered with stones and brunches’, while beyond was an outer wall. This area was intended by the fort’s defenders to be a trap, bogging down an invading force within a sea of obstacles of abbatis, while exposing them to fire from within the fortress. The scene is augmented with the positions of the besieging colonial forces, coloured in pink, that virtually surrounded the fortress on January 5, 1869.
The plan on the first broadside is traversed by cross-section lines, A to B; C to D; and E to F. The lines correspond to [#2] Sections of Ngatapa Pa, which shows the formidable visual appearance of the fortress in profile, so completing the scene.
The third of the trio of present broadsides, [#3] Sections of Taurangaika Pa, West Coast., concerns to an entirely different conflict. The siege of the Maori fort of Tauranga-ika in February 1869, was the decisive showdown of the Titokarawu’s War, a Maori uprising in the Taranaki region, in the far west of the North Island.
The cross-sections depicted on the present broadside relate to an another broadside (not present here), Plan of Taurangaika Pa, West Coast., an image of the example in the collections of the New Zealand Museum (Te Papa Tongewara) should be consulted for context, please see link:
As shown on the link, Tauranga-ika Pa was of a diamond shape, tapered at the ends, 135 metres long on each side, protected by walls 5 metres high, atop of which were riffle pits parapets and towers, along with gaps in the base to allow for ground-level defensive firing. Inside were mazes of pits, walkways and trenches, which would make storming the fort an unpleasant prospect. Moreover, the timber and earthen construction would act as insulation against most forms of European artillery. Colonel Whitmore, the colonial commander who besieged to fort, considered it be the most formidable bastion in New Zealand, remarking that “No troops in the world could have hewn their way through a double row of strong palisades, backed by rifle pits and flanked by two-story erections, such as are constructed in this fortification, defended by excellent shots and desperate men.”
The present Taurang-ika broadside depicts cross-sections, A to B, and C to D, of the fort as featured on the linked broadside in the collections of the New Zealand Museum. Here the impressive construction of the fort is evident, with its imposing walls, barracks, palisades, along with other buildings. Below, is an image of kilted Maori warriors at their battle stations, firing through the double palisades.
This all being said, the siege of Tauranga-ika ended anti-climactically, as Titokorawu and his men had abandoned the fort by stealth on the night of February 2-3, 1869. This action caused their hitherto successful uprising to fizzle, so ending armed Maori resistance in the west of the North Island.
The Creators of Broadsides in Focus
All three of the featured broadsides were designed by John Buchanan (1819 – 1898), a Scotsman who was 19th Century New Zealand’s leading botanical artist, as well an important draftsman of topographical views and maps. While Buchanan was also the creator of the original sketch for the third broadside, Sections of Taurangaika Pa, the two broadsides of Ngatapa Pa were based on sketches by Octavius Laws Woodthorpe Bousfield (1830 – 1882), a state surveyor, who as a resident of nearby Napier, was called to personally survey Ngatapa Pa immediately in the wake of the battle. Bousfield, whose name is sometimes misspelled as ‘Boresfield’, arrived in New Zealand from England in 1850, and for over a generation was one of the North Island’s most important surveyors.
New Zealand and the Final Maori Uprisings
The dramatic events that relate to the present broadsides, Te Kooti’s War, in the far east of the North island, and Titokowaru’s War, in the far west of the North Island, represented the last mass armed uprisings of the Maori against British colonial rule in New Zealand, ending over a generation of intermittent, yet fierce warfare.
From 1800 until the 1840s, the European presence in New Zealand was fleeting, confined to tiny missionary outposts and whaling stations, most of which were temporary in nature. The islands’ remote location, and the Europeans’ complex and, at times, hostile relations with the Maori, were major inhibitors to founding a proper colony.
The New Zealand Company was founded in 1825 in an effort to establish a permanent, thriving British presence on the islands. After a false start, in 1837, the Company was given a royal charter to settle New Zealand. From 1839, these efforts began to enjoy some measurable success. In 1840, the Company founded the first enduring major European settlement in New Zealand, Wellington, on the shores of Port Nicholson. A modest, but steady flow of settlers began to arrive in the islands, finding the mild climate and abundant natural resources to be a pleasant place to start to new society.
However, the Maori nations were not reconciled to the influx of Europeans into their territories. While the Treaty of Waitangi (1840), signed between the New Zealand Company and the major Maori Chiefs, is traditionally thought to have codified Britain’s claim over the islands, confining the Maori people to reservations (North American style), by modern standards the hastily arranged agreement read more a like as ‘stitch up’. From 1843 to 1848, major sections of the Maori society rose up against the Waitangi terms and the British encroachments upon their land. After a series of small, but brutal wars, in 1848, peace was finally made. Some Maori tribes had agreed to new treaties, while others had been hammered into submission by the British forces, with the result of having their lands confiscated. Many Maori communities were left virtually landless and in dire straits. Even many of the Maori communities that had retained some of their lands, had agreed to the new treaties under duress, and continued to resent the terms. The enforced peace would not last.
Meanwhile, while the New Zealand Company had succeeded unsettling 12,000 European settlers on the islands and had founded several of the New Zealand’s enduring centres, including Wellington, Nelson, Taranaki, and Wanganui; while having an important supporting role in the foundation of Otago and Canterbury, the Company suffered form inept management. Its principals quarreled with both the Colonial Office and missionary societies, all of which were immensely powerful stakeholders. By 1843, the Company fell into serious financial trouble, from which it was never to recover. While the Company continued to operate, its powers were greatly limited upon the granting of responsible government to the colony in 1853; and the Company was officially dissolved in 1858.
As the British colonial regime consolidated its hold over New Zealand tensions between the Maori nations and the colonial government continued to rise. The European population grew steadily, from 132,00 in 1850, to 220,000 in 1868. This placed much added pressure on Maori communities, especially as the British authorities granted lands to settlers that had clearly been allocated to the Maoris by the treaties.
The Maori response was formidable. In 1858, a sizable number of Maori tribes selected their own king, in an effort to challenge the authority of the British sovereign, a design that became known as the Maori King Movement. This very much offended the British officials’ Victorian sentiments, and they responded by confiscating land from Maori tribes that supported the movement.
The same period also saw a revival in traditional Maori customs and religious beliefs, leading to the establishment of syncretic spiritual movements, such as the Pai Marire movement (popularly known as Hauhau).
The clash between Maori defiance and British imperializing ambitions resulted in a series of sharp military conflicts on the North Island, including the First Taranaki War (1860-1); the British Invasion of Waikato (1861); the Second Taranaki War (1863-6) and the East Cape War (1865-6). The British colonial side was aided by the decision, in 1864, to organize a New Zealand militia, the Armed Constabulary, comprised of local settlers, which would offset the perennial deficiency in imperial troops send from abroad, as well as having the effect of increasing local authority over the conflict. That being said, the Maori mounted a strong resistance. While the Colonial forces crushed the Maori in Waikato and won in the East Cape, they failed to inflict a decisive result in Taranaki.
Meanwhile, the colonial regime had enacted the New Zealand Settlements Act (1863), which permitted them to confiscate the lands of any Maori tribes that were in rebellion after January 1, 1863. This resulted in the confiscation of over 12 million hectares of territory. The government thereby sold these lands to settlers, and used the proceeds to finance the wars; so, ironically, the Maori were paying for their own destruction with their own property. Even more worrying for the rebellious Maori tribes, following the British strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ in India, the Colonial government had managed to coopt many of the large Maori tribes into officially joining the British side, becoming the so-called Kupapa, or ‘friendly natives’.
As of 1868, the British and their Kupapa allies had subdued much of the Maori resistance movement on the North Island. However, their harsh actions had made them enemies who were determined to make a last stand against the complete British domination of New Zealand.
The final Maori armed insurrections against British rule were Te Kooti’s War (July 1868-May 1872), fought in the Poverty Bay-Bay of Plenty region of the far western North Island; and Titokowaru’s War (June 1868 – March 1869), fought in the Taranaki region, in the far east of the North Island.
Te Kooti’s War: The Final Showdown in the East
Te Kooti’s War was a small-scale, but remarkably bloody conflict. Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki (c. 1832 – 1893) was an extraordinary Maori leader, brave and charismatic, yet eccentric and undisciplined. Hailing from the Gisborne-Poverty Bay area, in 1865, he was actually a Kupapa leader, fighting with the British Colonial authorities against his fellow Maori. However, he was accused of spying for the enemy (he claimed falsely) and he and his followers were summarily exiled to the remote Chatham Islands. There, Te Kooti gained the devotion of his people, in good part through his development of the Ringatu religious movement, which he based on a mixture of Old Testament morals, with traditional Maori beliefs and traditions.
In June 1868, Te Kooti and 168 of his followers’ commandeered a schooner and escaped their exile, returning to the North Island. There they tried to open a civil dialogue with the colonial authorities, but were sharply rebuffed.
Te Kooti, seeking revenge for his ‘unjust’ treatment, carried out the ‘Poverty Bay Massacre’ (November 10, 1868), in which his men slaughtered 54 British and Maori (mainly civilians), near Gisborne. This enraged the Colonial authorities, who immediately launched a man-hunt for Te Kooti, which turned out the be the biggest in New Zealand’s history, resulting in 30 separate expeditions and several sharp battles.
Te Kooti’s nemeses were Colonel George Stoddart Whitmore (30 May 1829 – 16 March 1903),, the commander of the New Zealand armed forces, and future defense minister; and Ropata Wahawaha (c. 1820 – 1897), a Kupapa Maori chief who had distinguished himself fighting against his fellow Maoris during the East Cape War.
In late November 1868, Ropata’s army pursued Te Kooti’s forces through the dense woods of the Poverty Bay region. Te Kooti and his party took refuge within the formidable fortress of Ngapata Pa, about 15 kilometres inland from Gisborne. The bastion, located upon a triangle of land atop a mountain, could only be attacked directly from its eastern side, which was itself protected by abbatis and earthworks.
On December 3, 1868, Ropata’s force of 150 men mounted a lighting strike upon Ngatapa Pa and made impressive progress, coming close to penetrating the fortresses’ inner walls. However, they ran out of ammunition, and were forced to abandon the attack and retreat from the scene.
Meanwhile, Te Kooti was in desperate shape, as he had lost about third of his men over the previous fortnight and was himself low on ammunition. A raid upon a nearby Kupapa post failed to ameliorate the situation, so he and his remaining men holed themselves up in Ngatapa, hoping for the best.
On December 31, 1868, a Colonial force under Colonel Whitmore and Ropata, numbering over 600 (over double the size of Te Kooti’s force) began to invest Ngatapa Pa. As shown on the present [#1] Plan of Ngatapa Pa, the Colonial forces almost surrounded the fortress, leaving only a small gap on its northern side, which featured cliffs so steep that it was assumed nobody could use the gap to make an escape. The colonial force at first paused to gauge the situation, but, on January 5, 1869, commenced a mortal attack upon the fortress, although most of these salvos ricocheted off the bastion’s walls. Kupapa warriors then commenced the risky move of climbing the rock faces, in an effort to pierce the heart of Ngatapa’s defenses. Te Kooti knew that the gig was up, and against all expectations, managed, along with some of his followers, to climb down the cliffs at the gap in the colonial siege cordon, so making his escape into the dense bush. When the Colonial forces stormed the fortress, on January 6, 1869, they realized that Te Kooti was gone.
While Te Kooti had made the Colonial forces look a touch foolish for allowing him to escape, he had lost most of his men at Ngatapa Pa, and was no longer a formidable fighting force. He disappeared into the interior of the North Island, where sympathizers protected him. While the Colonial forces and Te Kooti’s men fought a few skirmishes until 1872, the war on the east coast of the North Island was effectively over.
For over decade, Te Kooti eluded New Zealand’s most intense manhunt, which was supported by a huge (₤5000) bounty. He was never caught, and came in from the cold in 1883, only after he was given an amnesty by the colonial government, in return for promising to never again take up arms.
Titokowaru’s War: The Final Showdown in the West
The other conflict, Titokawaru’s War, to which the present third broadside, Sections of Taurangaika Pa, relates, was a Maori uprising in the long unstable Taranaki region, on the west coast of the North Island. Riwha Titokowaru (c. 1823–1888) was Maori chief, HauHau priest, and a leading member of the Maori King Moment, who had distinguished himself as a military leader fighting colonial forces during both the First and Second Taranaki Wars. A daring tactician, he was by far the most feared Maori leader, as his lighting strikes had repeatedly defeated much larger and better-armed opponents.
Titokowaru rose up gains against the colonial government in June 1868, angered by the continued confiscation of Maori land in Taranaki. His actions coincided with Te Kooti’s return form exile on the Chatham Islands, and so these two events combined to cause the European settler population to believe that a mass, island-wide Maori rebellion was in the works.
Titokowaru’s forces enjoyed early successes, taking control of all of the territory in the Taranaki region between New Plymouth and Wanganui. They famously ambushed a force of the Armed Constabulary at e Ngutu o Te Manu (September 7, 1868), killing the flamboyant Prussian-New Zealand soldier Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky. This was followed by another defeat of Colonial forces, at Moturoa, who were commanded by the same Colonel George Whitmore who would later besiege Ngatapa Pa. The Colonial defeat at Moturoa stunned officials in Wellington, and it was remarked that “Whitmore was simply unfortunate enough to be a good general matched against an excellent one [Titokowaru].”
In October 1868, Whitmore retreated with his force to defend the outlying European settlements at Wanganui. Meanwhile, Titokowaru’s force shadowed them at a distance, while refortifying the Maori fort of Tauranga-ika, a singe day’s march, or 29 km for Wanganui. A tense situation prevailed through November, and on December 2, Whitmore left the western theatre to fight Te Kooti at Ngatapa. He left a force of 600 Imperial troops to defend Wanganui, which would soon be joined by reinforcements, bringing the colonial force up to 2,000 men by the beginning of January 1869. At the same time, Titokowaru raided isolated settlements and strengthening Tauranga-ika Pa.
On January 18, 1869, Colonel Whitmore retuned to Wanganui, buoyed by having subdued Te Kooti’s rebellion in the east. Whitmore set out with an expeditionary force of 1,000 men to attack Tauranga-ika Pa, hugging the coasts most of the way in order to avoid Titokowaru’s now famous forest ambushes.
On February 1, Whitmore’s force came before Tauranga-ika Pa, which was viewed as an incredibly formidable bastion. They dug in for what they anticipated to be a long and bloody siege. The following day, they started bombarding Tauranga-ika Pa with heavy artillery, but with disappointingly little effect. Then, on the morning of February 3, a Kupapa scouting party noticed that the fortress seemed to be abandoned. Apparently, Titokowaru and his entire party had quietly slipped out of the fort during the night, leaving it totally empty.
Whitmore was stunned by this news, and although he was a bit chagrined at not being able to gain glory and Titokowaru’s head following an epic battle, he noted that “My object was to gain possession of the district and if I could do this without loss and without putting too heavy a strain on my raw troops they would be encouraged.”
The abandonment of Tauranga-ika Pa signaled the effective end of the Maori Wars in the Western North Island. It is not known why Titokowaru abandoned the fortress (and his cause); however, it was rumoured that this was because he had lost his moral authority after sleeping with the wife of one of his allied chiefs. Whatever the reason, Titokowaru, like Te Kooti, disappeared into the interior of the North Island. He would not be heard of again until 1886, when he was taken into colonial custody following a disturbance. He died in prison in 1888.
The end of the uprisings of Te Kooti and Titokowaru also signaled the end of significant Maori armed resistance to British colonial power in New Zealand. From that point onwards, treaties and court cases would settle disputes between New Zealand’s original and new societies.
A Note on Rarity
All of the present broadsides are very rare. We can trace examples of each of the 2 broadsides relating to Ngatapa Pa at the Auckland Museum Library, New Zealand Museum (Te Papa Tongewara) and the National Library of Australia; while we can trace examples of the Sections of Taurangaika Pa broadside at the New Zealand Museum (Te Papa Tongewara) and the National Library of Australia; beyond that, we are aware of no other institutional holdings. The broadsides are rare on the market, we are aware of only a single example of only the Plan of Ngatapa Pa broadside appearing at auction during the last generation. It is worth noting that the Auckland Museum Library possesses Buchanan’s original manuscript sketch for the Sections of Ngatapa Pa.
References: [Ref. # 1:] New Zealand Museum (Te Papa Tongewara): CA000501/006/0001; National Library of Australia: Map NK 6574 A; Auckland Museum Library: C 995.171 ece 1869; Jeremy Black, Maps of War: Mapping Conflict Through the Centuries, p. 129; Judith Binney, Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, p. 138. [Ref. # 2:] Auckland Museum Library: C 995.171 ece 1869; New Zealand Museum (Te Papa Tongewara): MU000049/003/0002; National Library of Australia: Map NK 6574 C. [Ref. # 3:] New Zealand Museum (Te Papa Tongewara): MU000049/002/0008; National Library of Australia: Map NK 6574D.