The New Zealand Land Wars were a series of conflicts that took place in New Zealand between 1845 and 1872. The two conflicts where soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross were the First Taranaki War of 1860–1861 and the Waikato- Hauhau Maori War of 1863–1866. The First Taranaki War was fought over land rights on New Zealand’s North Island. The local Colonial Governor had set up a policy whereby the British Government could buy local land, and anyone refusing to sell their land would be committing treason against the Crown. When the Te Atiawa refused to sell their land, the British Army attacked on 17 March 1860, starting the First Taranaki War. After a series of sieges by the British, a truce was signed with the Māori people in March 1861; the disputed land became British-owned territory but it remained in possession of the Māori people. The First Taranaki War ended in a stalemate over the one area of disputed land. By 1863 the influx of settlers and consequent demand for land led to further conflict. In July 1863, the British Army and the Auckland Militia launched the Invasion of Waikato against the forces of Tawhiao and the Maori King Movement. The British expelled the Māori people from their lands, swiftly moving south, culminating in the defeat and flight of Tāwhiao at Orakau in March 1864. The British pursued him across the country as far as the fourth Waikato defensive line, which later became the border of King Country
Regimental VC`s New Zealand War
Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Augustus Smith VC ( Dublin 18 November 1826 – County Meath 22 July 1887) was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Smith entered the British Army in 1849 and saw action during the Crimean War at Alma, Inkerman and Sebastopol
Smith was 37 years old, and a captain in the 43rd ( Monmouthshire ) regiment of Foot (later the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry ) of the British Army during the Waikato- Hauhau Maori War,New Zealand when the following deed took place on 21 June 1864 at Tauranga for which he was awarded the VC.
“ For his distinguished conduct during the engagement at Tauranga, on the 21st of June. He is stated to have led on his Company in the most gallant manner at the attack on the Maories’ position, and, although wounded previously to reaching the Rifle Pits, to have jumped down into them, where he commenced a hand to hand encounter with the Enemy, thereby giving his men great encouragement, and setting them a fine example
He later achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He commanded the 43rd Foot in the late 1870`s and retired in February 1878.
He died in Duleek, Co Meath, on 22nd July 1887. His grave (unmarked) is in Duleek (Church of Ireland) Churchyard, Co Meath. A memorial plaque to him, originally in Duleek Church, is now situated in Kilmore Church, standing in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, Co Down.
By Julie-Ann Rosser
Sourced from Wikipedia
original source from www.thegazette.co.uk