Author Topic: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!  (Read 5228 times)

Offline The Rat

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A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« on: September 29, 2020, 06:35:13 AM »
The Dutch claim one island in the 17th centry, simultaneously another (European?) colonial power lands on and claims the other. Given the logistics of trying to carry on a protracted war at such a distance from the homeland, a tense peace ensues, and lasts until the early 20th century, when transportation and communication become fast enough for things to heat up.

Run with it.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2020, 05:03:16 AM »
I'll bite  Here's an alternative origins story. The point of divergence is contact between Tasman and the Maori ...


The New Zealands - A Brief History of the South Island (Part One)

The islands of Aotarangi were first discovered (and settled) some 700 years ago to when it was discovered by Polynesians from the Tahitian island group. Europeans, in their search for 'terra australis incognita', arrived over 300 years later. Dutch sailors under explorer Abel Tasman were the first Europeans to see Te Wai-pounamu (Zuidereiland/South Island) on 13 December 1642 - three weeks after claiming Van Diemen's Land (Anthoonij van Diemenslandt). [1]

Tasman's ships - Heemskerck and Zeehaen, [2] sailed east from Anthoonij van Diemenslandt at the start of December. The land sighted - on the north-west coast of Zuidereiland - was named 'Staten Landt'. Rounding a point into what was called 'Bocht Zeehaen' (the Zeehaen Bight), [3] the flotilla encountered a small double-hulled waka fishing offshore. Although communication was nigh-on impossible, the presenting of gifts in the form of fish hooks and other metal objects made clear that the Dutch wished to trade. An exchange of sign language resulted in an offer by the natives to transport one Dutchman to shore to negotiate for potable water and wood needed for shipboard repairs.

Selected from volunteers, it was decided to send Gerard Janszoon (Master of the Zeehaen) and Cornelius Joppe (Quarter-Master) ashore. Later, this would be recognized as the first organized encounter between Europeans and the Maori iwi of Ngati Tumatakokiri at Mohua.  It turned out to be a peaceful and profitable exchange but that was not how it first seemed to Tasman's men. Janszoon and Joppe were greeted with a vigorous and highly-intimidating haka. A calming meal followed before negotiations could begin. Terms wer agreed as best they could and a landing was arranged on the sandy shores of Onetahua to allow the Dutch to replenish their stocks. Nearby was the future location of Vesting Zeelandia - the first Dutch fortification built in these islands.

(To be continued ...)


[1] Tasman was sailing for the Dutch East India Company or VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie).

[2] Heemskerck was a 120 ton warship commanded by Ide Holleman with Tasman aboard. She had a crew of 60 men and carried 120 guns. The 200 ton Zeehaen, commanded by Gerritt Jansz, was a transport with a 50-man crew.

[3] With further exploration, it was realized that this 'Bight' was a through-channel. Renamed Zeestraat Zeehaen (later simply Straat Zeehaen), this passage helped to establish that 'Staten Landt' was an island - separated from the Noordeiland and certainly not part of any 'terra australis incognita'
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Offline apophenia

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Re: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2020, 05:03:54 AM »
The New Zealands - A Brief History of the South Island (Part Two)

Over the decades, repeated visits were made by Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie ships to what the Dutch called Goudenbaai. The object was to maintain potential trading relations with the Ngati Tumatakokiri. It was not until the Summer of 1666 that a small VOC-handelspost (trading post) was established at Mohua. The Dutch Republic was then at war with England but it would be another century before British ships began to regularly appear in these southern waters. Thus far, the VOC Gouvernor-Generaal en Raad (Governer-General and Council) noted, neither the Portuguese or Spanish posed any real threat to Dutch possessions in the IndiŽ. As near as Batavia could determine, the Portugees en Spaans remained unaware of the existence of the more remote islands which Tasman had now named Nieuw-Zeeland.

Through careful negotiation with the Ngati Tumatakokiri, the VOC's Goudenbaai trading post was expanded and fortified as Vesting Zeelandia. A stockade was completed by 1671, stone reconstruction beginning in the early 1710s. Attempts to begin independant trading with Maori peoples on the northern side of the Zeestraat Zeehaen were initially unsuccessful. Instead, the VOC relied upon Ngati Tumatakokiri intermediaries. Since this reduced company profits, trade with local iwi expanded on the Zuidereiland (South Island) much more quickly. By the late 1750s, VOC-handelsposten had been established as far south as the mouth of the Waimakariri River on the east coast. Another, more modest VOC-handelspost had even been set up at Hataitai on the southernmost tip of the Noordeiland (North Island).

Sea-Change - De Engelsen komen eraan! De Engelsen komen eraan!

By the early Summer of 1780, news had travelled south that unknown pakeha had been encountered in the far north of the Noordeiland. Eventually, word arrived that the English were now in Nieuw-Zeeland waters. More alarmingly, Batavia also announced the outbreak of the Vierde Engels-Nederlandse Oorlog (4th Anglo-Dutch War). Fortunately for the nascent VOC-handelsposten, the English navigator Captain James Cook would circumnavigate the Zuidereiland without directly encountering any of the Dutch outposts. This was just as well since the two nations were at war but there is nothing in Cook's sea logs to suggest that avoidance was intentional. [1]

British migration onto the North Island - or simple 'New Zealand' to the Brits - did not begin in earnest until the second decade of the nineteenth Century. During that period, the entire nature of the Dutch settlements on the Zuidereiland had changed completely. The Vierde Engels-Nederlandse Oorlog had drained the coffers of the VOC which teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. Then, things then got more complicated. The Netherlands was successfully invaded by the French and the Batavian Republic established. In 1796, the VOC was nationalised and then, in 1799, the company was formally dissolved. The former VOC territory was declared to be the 'Gebiedsdeel Zuidereiland (South Island Territory) but locals refused to recognize the Batavian Republic. [2] In effect, Zuidereiland was on its own and a Gemenebest or Commonwealth was declared as an interim governing form.

Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland

With the formation of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815, Dutch control was re-established and the 'Commonwealth' officially became the Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland.

Colonial administrative districts were as follows:

Koloniale Provincies (Dutch Colonial Provinces) [3]

Gou. = Goudenbaai (Golden Bay), capital (province & colony) Nieuw-Zandvoort (RW Nelson)
Vis. = Visscherlandt, capital Noordenhout / Northwood (RW Blenheim)
Mid. = Middenlandt, capital Nuytsstad (after explorer Pieter Nuyts, RW Christchurch);
NOF == Nieuw-Oost-Friesland, capital
Zui. = Zuidenland (Southland), capital Brouwersdorp, [1] (RW Invercargill)

The remaining areas were Koloniale jurisdicties - gubernatoriaal territories without administrative capitals. The local bewindvoerders (administrators) of each 'KJ' answered directly to the Koloniehoofd (Colony Chief Administrator) in Nieuw-Zandvoort who, in turn, reported to The Hague.

Koloniale Jurisdicties (Dutch Colonial Territories)

NWB = Noordwestelijk Bezit (North Western Possession), koloniale jurisdictie [2]
VWB = Verre Westelijk Bezit (Far Western Possession), koloniale jurisdictie [2]
ZWB =  Zuidwesten Bezit (Southwestern Possession), Gubernatoriaal territory ruled from Nieuw-Zandvoort

(To be continued ...)


[1] Unbeknownst to either the British or the Dutch, J-F-M de Surville commanding the Compagnie franÁaise pour le commerce des Indes orientales ship Saint Jean-Baptiste was also exploring the northern coast of the Noordeiland within weeks of Cook. Two years later, intent upon establishing 'France Australe' on the Noordeiland, French explorer M-J M du Fresne would be  killed and eaten by Maori at the Bay of Islands.

[2] Unlike the IndiŽ, Zuidereiland was never occupied by French troops (nor 'liberated' by the British).

[3] Real World equivalents are: Goudenbaai (RW Tasman), Nieuw-Zandvoort (RW Nelson); Visscherlandt (RW Marlborough), capital Noordenhout (RW Blenheim); Middenlandt (RW Canterbury), capital Nuytsstad (RW Christchurch); Nieuw-Oost-Friesland (RW Otago), capital Otepoti (RW Dunedin); and Zuidenland (RW Southland), capital Brouwersdorp (RW Invercargill). For the Colonial Territories: NWB (RW northern portion of West Coast); VWB (RW southern portion West Coast); and ZWB (RW northwestern part of Southland).
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Offline Buzzbomb

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Re: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2020, 06:31:50 AM »
This is gob-stoppingly well done.

This is so "Man in the High Castle" where two alternate worlds exist... where else could all this "factual" detail come from.

Offline apophenia

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Re: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2020, 09:00:22 AM »
Wow! Cheers buzz:D  (I'll have to look up "Man in the High Castle".)

I'm not sure if this is the sort of thing that The Rat had in mind ... but here's the next installment:


The New Zealands - A Brief History of the South Island (Part Three)

Separated only by the narrow water body of the Straat Zeehaen - 'Cook Strait' to the Brits - it was inevitable that there would be tensions between the Dutch colony and the British possession. [1] However, the first serious clash began as 'tribal' in nature. In the Spring of 1828, the Ngati Toarangatira iwi under Te Rauparaha began crossing the Straat Zeehaen to make landings on Zuidereiland. The Ngati Toarangatira and its allies (mainly Ngati Rarua and Ngati Tama) seized territory along the flat beach lands north of the mouth of the Wairau River but continued raiding as far west as Sand Duining Hoeck (Farewell Spit).

To counter the Wairau  incursion, two Zuidereiland forces converged upon the area from west and south. From Nieuw-Zandvoort in the west came a force mainly comprised of mixed police units - Koloniale Politie and Kustlijn Patrouille - while boats manned by the volunteers of the Kustwacht Politie [2] made their way through Tasmanbaai and around West Hoofd point. From Vlasboerderij in the south came a hastily-organized volunteer force comprised of some local farmers and a majority of regional Maori toa (warriors). This southern force crossed over the Wairau River onto the Wairau Zandbank (Wairau Bar) and linked up with local toa before turning north. Skirmishing began almost immediately. [3] The 'politie' force from Nieuw-Zandvoort had a tougher time of it - having to first tramp through the Richmond Range to reach the battlegrounds.

The pakeha of the Vlasboerderij force were startled by the ferocity of their Maori toa colleagues. The toa had no fellow feeling for the northern Maori invaders and no quarter was given. However, the opposing Ngati Toarangatira  and Ngati Tama warriors appeared to be taken off guard by the strength of local opposition - clearly they were expecting easy conquest and settlement, not pitched battles. However, the invading forces was concentrating warriors along the northern edge of Bewolktebaai (Cloudy Bay) for their big, deciding push south. But that never happened. Northern waka (either belatedly crossing from the Noordeiland or returning from local reconaissance excursions) began running into the patrol boats the Kustwacht Politie out in Bewolktebaai. Some of the waka sluck past or fought their way through but many enemy toa were cut down by musket fire or their canoes were sunk. [4] Two days later, the main force from Nieuw-Zandvoort arrived and the net was drawn closed.

First Victory - de slag om de Rivierbocht

There is no need to recount details of the Battle of River Bend - the outcome of that famous battle is well-known. Few prisoners were taken and, as fighting forces, the Ngati Toa, Ngati Rarua, and Ngati Tama were rendered harmless for a generation to come. Whatever threat the Maori iwi of the Noordeiland may have represented evaporated. Te Rauparaha's crushing defeat at Rivierbocht led to a dwindling of the Ngati Toarangatira. No northern toa would ever again cross the Straat Zeehaen in their war waka. However, with the waning of the threat of tribal war came increasing tensions over trade.

Since the early 1760s, a small Zuidereiland trading post - first established as a VOC-handelspost - had operated at Hataitai on the southernmost tip of the Noordeiland. This outpost was an unexpected casualty of repulsing the Ngati Toarangatira invasion. A new hostility towards the 'Tatimana' ('Dutchmen') from North Island Maori limited trade in any case. But in 1830, British officials demanded this lonely handelspost be closed and ordered its operators to leave the country. This minor action would have a chilling effect on north-south relations in Nieuw-Zeeland for decades to come.

(To be continued ...)


[1] Noordeiland - 'New Zealand' to the Brits -  would not achieve British colony status until November of 1840.

[2] To modern eyes, the namings of Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland's police and para-military forces appears repetitive and confusing. Acronyms on cap badges helped to distinguish the units. 'KZP' was used for the colonial police because of their silver badge's prominent, central 'Z' (although the pedantically-correct acronym was actually 'KPZ' - standing for Koloniale Politie voor Zuidereiland). 'KLP' stood for Kustlijn Patrouille. 'KWP' was for Kustwacht Politie (which operated as a coastguard but also had Sheriff powers in concert with the 'KLP').

[3] The first clash came near the current site of the small Wairau Zandbank town of Groenesteen (Pounamu).

[4] These clashes are now seen as the birth of the modern navy - the 'KuWaPa' Kustwacht Patrouille.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2020, 09:34:16 AM »
The New Zealands - A Brief History of the South Island (Part Four)

The water body at the northwestern tip of Zuidereiland was named Goudenbaai after its vast sweep of golden sand. Ironically, it was the discovery of modest specks of gold dust in the shallows of the Aorere River in Goudenbaai Provincie that brought inter-colonial conflict to New Zealand. As word spread of the discovery, English adventurers began arriving on the shores of Goudenbaai. Colonial patrols - the Kustwacht Politie (KWP) and Kustlijn Patrouille (KLP) - were unable to halt the inflow of Brits and the Koloniale Politie (KZP) proved incapable of controlling the growing population of the boomtown shanties popping up along the banks of the Aorere River.

Finally, to control the growing chaos, the Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland government in Nieuw-Zandvoort called for the establishment of an ad hoc military force. The Koloniale Militie van Nieuw-Zeeland (KMvNZ) was manned by segregated Dutch and Maori volunteers led by KWP and KLP afgevaardigde (AGVs or NCOs) and KZP officers. A combined cavalry and infantry sweep north along both banks of the Aorere. Officially, arrested Brits gold-miners were 'gesaldeerd' (netted) by the volunteer troepen before being arrested (aangehouden voor deportatie) by properly empowered AGVs or officers. A fenced and guarded Deportatiekamp was established at the mouth of the river prior to the first boatload of deportees boarded a detained British boat in late December 1842.

Protests were quick to come from the British authorities of the new Colony of New Zealand. [1] Two of British subjects wounded in the 'round-up' along the Aorere River had died of their wounds. Cramped conditions during the December 1842 'Kerstexcursie' ('Christmas Excursion') prompted fresh British protests. Tensions grew as increasingly hostile messages were couriered from colonial government to colonial government. However, Nieuw-Zandvoort was able to call upon the terms of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 to defuse the situation. Climbing down, British authorities agreed to provide a small flotilla to evacuate the remainder of their captured countrymen for the South Island. That operation was completed by the end of January 1843. Open conflict between the colonies had once more been averted.

Snatching War from the Jaws of Peace - de Goudgrijperoorlog

When the opposing colonies of New Zealand did clash, it was a war that neither government wanted. In late 1856, foreign prospectors began arriving once again in the Aorere goldfields after a few more specks of gold were found in the valley. This motely group of Brits was joined by a few North Island Maori as well as some Zuidereilanders. Gold finds were few and this janhagel of miners were easily contained by the KZP. [2] By the end of the decade, the goudkoorts in the Aorere had faded. Prospector, panners, and their 'camp followers' began drifting south along the west coast towards the 'Caffa-cloof'. [3]

Some who went south then followed the rumours eastward towards the Centraal Otago region. To get there overland meant following the Maruia River before gaining the ominously-named Kopi o Kaitangata (Cannibal Gorge). Other better-informed and better-financed men knew that Centraal Otago could be more easily reached from the east by sea. This included the directors of the New Zealand Company who were hatching a plan. In January 1860, three ships owned or chartered by the New Zealand Company left Lambton Bay near Britannia (later renamed Wellington) and headed south.

The Arrow (a company-owned 212-ton snauw-brig) and the Brougham (a contracted the 230-ton whaling barque) were loaded with prospectors and their gear. A leased 62-ton cutter (the aging Lambton) acted as the New Zealand Company's baggage ship. Passage cost a Sovereign (£1) for a married man (with a wife in New Zealand), a Guinea (£1/1s) for a single man. As the fares reveal, the New Zealand Company wasn't particularly interested in individual gold-panners. It was looking for future British settlers for the South Island. On Wednesday, 11 January, the First Mate of the Arrow spotted Cape Wanbrow and the ship tacked in to Oamaru Harbour. Followed in by the Brougham, both ships dropped anchor and deployed boats to transfer miners to shore. The local havenmeester and his small staff were completely overwhelmed.

The baggage cutter Lambton caught up with its flotilla later in the afternoon and also began unloading at
Oamaru. The Brits had arrived - and in numbers which made it look like an invasion. A post rijder was dispatched to seek instructions from the Nieuw-Oost-Friesland Provinciegouverneur in Otegostad over 100 km to the south. It was too late. Within two days, the majority of British miners were provisioned and headed inland. Good progress was made on the easy goings of the southern Waitaki Valley before turning towards Otekaike Pass and into Centraal Otago. Many of the miners went no farther - alluvial gold had already been panned on the Otago side of the Pass (which would become famous as de opgravingen van Otekaike).

From Otagostad, the Koloniale Politie column had to cover three times the distance of the miners. And, unbeknownst to the KZP troepen, each of the miners had been issued a ex-British Army Brown Bess flintlock musket before leaving Oamaru. [4] Most of the miners may have lacked the formal training of the KZP troopers but the two side would be well-matched in firepower. The KZP column had left Otagostad as a police unit intend of exercising a deportation order. But this was not to be a repeat of the miners' rout of 1859. Through the machinations of the directors of the New Zealand Company, war had come to Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland.


[1] British possessions in New Zealand had ceased to be part of the Colony of New South Wales in 1841, becoming the Colony of New Zealand. William Hobson became Governor at Old Russell but Captain Hobson died in September 1942 -  just as tensions were rising in Goudenbaai.

[2] The Koloniale Militie van Nieuw-Zeeland had been disbanded back in 1844 - the KMvNZ having never been officially sanctioned by the Ministerie van KoloniŽn

[3] Prospectors' bragging rights had spread back to Aorere about the 'sure strikes' to be found around the Kawatiririvierkloof (Kawatiri River Gorge).

[4] Most of these .75-inch muskets were of the Short Land, (2nd model) type with 42 inch barrels.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2020, 08:53:56 AM »
A brief diversion into the weaponry of the 1860 inter-colonial conflict of the New Zealands ...

By the mid-1850s, regular British infantry were replacing their New Land Pattern muskets with Miniť and the P53 Enfield rifled muskets. With the newer model 'Brown Bess' being held in reserve stocks, older patterns - mainly the Short Land Pattern but also some Sea Service muskets - were sold off as surplus. The New Zealand Company took advantage of this opportunity. Costs were subsidized by the new War and Colonies Office on the grounds that muskets bound for the Colony of New Zealand were needed to quell native uprisings.

For the opening rounds of the 'South Island War', muskets were simply issued to every miners who embarked aboard a ship bound for the gold fields. The 'CoNZ' muskets were, for the most part, ex-British Army Short Land Pattern types with 42-inch barrels. In some cases, much older Long Land Pattern muskets were issued - often cut down to handier 36-inch barrel as the 'Yard-Long Brown Bess'.

Bottom Typical Short Land Pattern 'Brown Bess' musket. The dingy appearance of this weapon is due to a thickly-applied coat of brown varnish - over metal as a rust preventative and walnut stock as a sealant. This musket retains its ex-Army sling although the recipient may not have registered his luck - it had been some time since this sling had any white polish applied to its worn leather.

Top This sharp-looking example of the 'Yard-Long Brown Bess' was based on the Short Land Pattern musket. Unlike some conversions, this shortening has been very competently performed - perhaps commissioned for a private, more well-to-do gold-seeker (or, possibly, a Company official). That this weapon is not a proper carbine is made apparent by the rather incongruous inclusion of its spike bayonet. Note that no sling was provided (suggesting the use of a saddle scabbard).

Both of the 'Brown Bess' muskets shown here were captured (or surrendered) in the Centraal Otago.
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Offline apophenia

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Re: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2020, 03:16:58 PM »
And the other side of that diversion on weaponry of the 1860 inter-colonial conflict of the New Zealands...

"De vlam slaat in de pan..."

Dutch colonial police were primarily armed with the 17 mm Politie karabijn. By 1860, most Koloniale Politie regular officers had been issued with 'Jagerbuks' M1815/1852s which were flintlocks rebuilt as percussiegeweer karabijn. Emergency-deputized KZP were less fortunate. Those deputies who could not provide their own weapons were provided with any available flintlock from government stores.

Top Geweer van de hulpsheriff - typical KZP deputy's weapon, a .69 kaliber Vuursteengeweer (Frans) long-barrelled musket. This flintlock is an ex-French ModŤle 1822 captured in the Caribbean before being sent to Zuidereiland by the Ministerie van Marine en KoloniŽn (according to the brass ID plate mounted on the right face of the butt stock). [1]

Bottom 'Jagerbuks' - standard Politie karabijn of the KZP. This percussiegeweer karabijn wears the officially-approved leather sling (although opinion continued to be divided upon the superiority of sling swivels versus saddle scabbards).

Experience would demonstrate the (sometimes literal) short-comings that the otherwise handy Politie karabijn. With the majority of gold-miners carrying 'Brown Bess' muskets, the Brits often shot first and their fire could be effective at greater ranges. KZP officers had to rely upon superior marksmanship (and discipline) while trying to close the distance quickly. If the goudkoorts bandieten were dug in or otherwise lying in wait, KZP casualties were often high.

Ironically, the regular KZP often needed the longer-range supporting fire provided by the hulpsheriffen. In most respects, the deputies' older flintlocks were a match for the British muskets. But those Vuursteengeweer were few in number and largely unfamilar to the deputies who wielded them. Overall, the 'Brown Bess' was the great equalizer in the land battles of the 1860 South Island War.


[1] Indicating that this particular flintlock was shipped to Zuidereiland prior to 1842 when the dedicated Ministerie van KoloniŽn was established.
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Re: A VERY VERY different New Zealand!
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2020, 08:05:04 AM »
The New Zealands - A Brief History of the South Island (Part Five)

The ultimate object of a 'corporate invasion' sponsored by the New Zealand Company was not gold-mining. It was to form a new charter on the South Island. With the establishment of the Colony of New Zealand, the Company had lost much of its charter holdings. Indeed, only government loans had prevented corporate collapse in the mid-1850s. To pay off those loans, the Company sold most of its North Island holdings to the Crown and surrendered many of its charters. To corporate directors, the under-defended South Islands represented a chance at a fresh start. Once the Company had occupied Dutch territory, the Crown would be forced to issue the New Zealand Company with new charters for these lands.

It took several weeks before officials of the Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland government in Nieuw-Zandvoort became aware of extent of the calamity in Centraal Otago. The easy success of the 1842 conflict had blinded many in the Bureau van de Koloniale Gouverneur (not to mention the Ministerie van KoloniŽn back home) to the growing danger. News of the complete rout of Koloniale Politie columns at the Otekaike Pass by a rabble of Brits gold-miners came as a bolt out of the blue. How was such an outcome even possible? Was Zuidereiland's east coast being lost? It seemed that the New Zealand Company was already in complete control of Oamaru. Would Otegostad be next?

Het Verstoppertje Spel - A War at Sea Without Major Naval Battles

It was arranged that a seaborne relief supply run be sent to Otagostad with all haste. But the government had only one sea-going vessel at its disposal - the fast dispatch cutter Kk. Bestevaer. [1] She was joined by two 'conscripted' commercial vessels - the toop-sailled coaster Aemilia and an ex-VOC pencalang, the Marlijn. This little flottila quickly split up as a storm hit blew in out of the Tasmanzee but, individually, the ships managed to reach Otagostad between 02 and 04 February. Last to arrive was the Marlijn, heavily-laden with long muskets, balls, and powder. Fortunately, the New Zealand Company had not pushed its momentary advantage. Had the Brits sailed for Otagostad in mid-February, they would have been pushing at an open gate.

Two New Zealand Company ships had skirted Nuytsstad - possibly having mistaked Nuytsstadshaven for Oamaru. [2] Fire from the two harbour defence guns at Zuidkust spit sent the ships tacking seawards again with a final nudge from the swivel-gun at the point on Awaroa Top. The Company had readily secured Oamaru and the southern Waitaki Valley as their gateway into Centraal Otago. But, the Company's miner-led force had no interest in land occupation outside of the gold fields. A small supply station was secretly maintained at Waipapabaai (actually the mouth of the Waiau Toa River). A signalling station had also been established at the headland of Te Karaka just across the Cook Strait from Port Nicholson. Once alerted to their existence, the KZP made short work of both footholds. The Company made few other inroads on the South Island.

Zee Verandering - Dutch Troops Arrive on Zuidereiland

The lost momentum of the New Zealand Company's incursions gave the government in Nieuw-Zandvoort a chance to recover. Most important was the arrival of Dutch military units from the IndiŽ. To locals, the response was difficult to understand. Loath of create a casus belli for the British, the Koninklijke Marine sent no warships into Kolonie Nieuw-Zeeland waters. Instead, the troops of the Korps Mariniers (under luitenant-kolonel Roodenburg) and Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger (KNIL, under kolonel Meelhuijsen) were delivered by civilian passenger ships. Two ships each delivered men and arms to Nieuw-Zandvoort and directly to Otegostad. The latter saw action first.

A two-pronged attack plan was developed for Centraal Otago. A column of KNIL infantry and field artillery set out from Otegostad northwards towards the Otekaike Pass. This move had been anticipated and British miners and Company men with military experience had encouraged the creation of defensive fortifications. The weakness of those positions was revealed as soon as KNIL artillery engaged. For the most part, the Brits defensive line held against the small-calibre field guns but the miners' resolve crumbled and a disorderly retreat towards the Pass ensued. Since no KNIL cavalry was available, no immediate pursuit took place. At the same time, Mariniers were working their way north along the coast.

On the moonless night of 21 February, two Marinier forces sprang their attack upon occupied Oamaru. First to arrive were the small boats force launched from the coast just south of Cape Wanbrow. Rounding the cape. the Mariniers were able to approach Company ships silently from seaward. The watch aboard the armed merchant ship Wakefield [3] was caught napping by a Dutch boarding party. Noise from the fight aboard M/S Wakefield alerted the crew aboard the brig, Arrow. The second Mariniers boat had to beat a hasty retreat. Aboard the Wakefield, the Marinier boarding party were given the order to fire the ship. Once she was ablaze, her remaining crew abandoned ship while the Mariniers took to their boat. When the Wakefield's powder blew, the blast took much of the Arrow's sails and rigging with it.

Once it was apparent that the raiding parties had left the harbour, fire-fighting crews returned to the two ships. The Arrows anchor was raised and boats towed her further away from the blazing Wakefield. The latter, it was judged, was too dangerous to board and she was allowed to burn down to the waterline. While all attention was on the harbour, the second Mariniers force struck from the inland side. The confusion was sufficient to torch the Brits storerooms before the small force withdrew (accompanied by a goodly number of local stadsmensen).
(To be continued ...)


[1] 'Bestevaer' was the nickname applied to Adm. De Ruyter. The title 'Kk.' stood for Koloniale kotter although the Bestevaer had begun as an American-built packet sloop (pakket sloep) which had then been bought from its bankrupt owners in Amsterdam.

[2] Company ships were giving Nieuw-Zandvoort and Bewolktebaai (Cloudy Bay) a wide berth - the memory of defeat in 1842 was still fresh. That was probably a wise approach. Only a single gun guarded the Wairu Bar and the Kustlijn Patrouille was all but absent. However, after the disbanding of the Koloniale Militie van Nieuw-Zeeland, the citizens of Vlasboerderij and local iwi had banded together to form the 'Wairau Schietclub' - officially a civilian gun club, in reality a local self-defence force.

[3] This ship was the decommissioned 1820 version of the brig, HMS Britomart. As a civilian ship she was renamed M/S Wakefield after Lieutenant-Colonel William Hayward Wakefield (1803Ė48) - not New Zealand Company founder and director, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, as is sometimes claimed.
"It happens sometimes. People just explode. Natural causes." - Agent Rogersz