Story: New Zealand wars

Rangiaowhia battle

Rangiaowhia battle

After outflanking Pāterangi overnight, the colonial and British forces attacked Rangiaowhia – occupied by Waikato Māori supplying food to the fighters at the front – on the morning of 21 February 1864. The attack was a complete surprise. It was led by Colonel Marmaduke Nixon's Colonial Defence Force Cavalry. One of their number, Sergeant McHale, went forward to storm a whare and was shot. His fellow cavalrymen set out to recover his body and shoot at the defenders. In the process, Nixon himself was shot and fell. This is the moment captured in this illustration. Nixon is the second figure from left in the middle, while the soldier running to his assistance is Lieutenant Thomas McDonnell. Those arriving at right on horseback include Lieutenant-General Duncan Cameron. Whare were set on fire, and five members of the British force and about 12 Māori died.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-109-050
Lithograph by John Wilson

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Danny Keenan, 'New Zealand wars - Waikato war: major battles', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 April 2023)

Story by Danny Keenan, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 29 Nov 2022