NZ: 1845 graves of 58th Regiment War Casualties found

25 years ago I visited this most extraordinary site - a Māori Pā (fortress) built specifically in response to artillery and rocket developments. Recently several 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot soldiers' graves were found, and they have been excavated with due solemnity and protocol.


I remember scrambling through some of the trenches and bomb-proof pits:

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Here's there background on the fortress and the siege:

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58th Regiment SNCOs in New Zealand in the late 1850s.
 
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Given the timeline, interesting that they seem to have been given more civilised burial rites than just thrown into a mass burial pit and covered with some quicklime.
 
Given the timeline, interesting that they seem to have been given more civilised burial rites than just thrown into a mass burial pit and covered with some quicklime.
Buried with honours, perhaps, by their comrades A handful of casualties and stuck in the 'Uttermost ends of the Earth'. And 6 - 9 months later, the families might get the news.

There are individual graves for sailors, dating form the 1840s, in nearby Russell, but one of the saddest places I visited was a former Armed Constabulary (mounted police) camp in a then-desolate area between Taupo and Napier. A detachment of Bay of Plenty cavalry were attacked early one morning in 1869 and nine were killed as they were doing their ablutions (and bodies horribly mutilated - which accounts for the mass graves). One trooper escaped naked, in the middle of winter and ran for 50 miles to raise alarm from a troop in Galatea.

Coincidentally I found photos of this site in a shoe box a few weeks ago and now await to be scanned.

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From the link;

Ngati Hine leader and acting runanga head Pita Tipene, who along with other locals is a descendant of both Te Ruki Kawiti and British force leader Lieutenant Colonel Robert Wynyard, said the discovery meant a lot.

''Certainly for Ngati Hine, this is very significant. This is our history and these were our ancestors' enemies. Enemies who died by our hands were revered in life and in death, and they [will] always be.''

''Now it is important we work together on a memorial of some kind, a way to commemorate them.''

Nicely said.
 

Tilmire

Swinger
I'm sure the UK Defence Advisor from Wellington will be present at any ceremony (who I think is RAF at the moment); wouldn't it be great for representation from the successor regiment to the 58th could be there as well?
The press article is 3 years old, so presumably any monument will already be in place.
 

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