Outflanking Pāterangi, the colonial and British forces attacked Rangiaowhia – occupied by Waikato Māori supplying food to the fighters in front – on the morning of 21 February 1864. It was a complete surprise. The attack 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. Houses were set on fire, and five members of the Britishl force and about 12 Māori died.
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