Māori attack on the homestead

IMG_3052_aThe peace of Atkinson’s Farm, somewhere in the back-blocks of colonial New Zealand, is suddenly disturbed by blood-curdling yells as a party of Māori warriors descend on the farmhouse.  The Atkinson family run to stave off the attack.

IMG_3050_aaMiss Amelia, still dressed in her Sunday-best, flinches as she fires her father’s pistol at an attacking warrior brandishing his tewhatewha.

Note: The tewhatewha is a long-handled Māori club weapon shaped like an axe. It was designed for scientific sparring and lightning strokes and thrusts, aided by quick footwork on the part of the wielder.  The blows were not struck with the blade as one would with an axe, but rather with the thicker straight front edge. It was common for tewhatewha to be decorated with a small bunch of  feathers to distract or confuse the wielder’s opponent.

IMG_3052_aaMr Atkinson, still bandaged from a wound in an earlier clash, takes command and directs his son Jim (dapper in his town-going clothes) to his position.  Little Annie hitches up her skirts and runs with a haversack full of  ammunition to resupply the defenders. Meanwhile Mrs Atkinson can be just seen in the doorway, musket slung over her shoulder, doling out the gunpowder from a small barrel in her arms.

NewZealand3 - Copy (2)NZ16 - Copy (2)The Māori warriors and the family are all from Empress Miniatures.  My favourites are the delightful set #NZ16 shown above.   The house is a plastic kit by Perry Miniatures, and the typical New Zealand cabbage trees, toi-tois and flax are paper kits from Right Track. The background is my own garden!

burtts farmWith this set, I’ll be able to recreate attacks on homesteads during the New Zealand Wars, such as the attack on Burtt’s Farm in 1863, as shown in Gustavus von Tempsky’s above painting.

illus02Or I can portray attacks from romanticsed fiction, such as the attack shown in the above illustration from the classic 1891 novel Maori and Settler by GA Henty.


19 thoughts on “Māori attack on the homestead

    1. That was indeed one of my inspirations for my choice of colours. Well-spotted!

      I must make it to Howick one day to see that village. Even better if I can time it when the 65th Regiment of Foot reenactment group is doing a display there.

      1. It’s the javascript pop-up for images – check out the images in this post when you click on them (as an example) the pop up smartly to full size in a javascript window you can then scroll through rather than open clunkily in a browser tab. You will also see it enabled on all blogger based blogs by default (now) as well (Google enabled it by default for blogger sites about a year or so ago IIRC).

        Just had a look and it looks like WordPress.com STILL haven’t implemented Lightbox for the free hosted blogs! Unbelievable! Now I remember why I hosted my own WordPress.org blog and didn’t use WordPress.com – 10 times more functionality! Anyway you can do Lightbox Roly – but only using the Gallery function: see this FAQ.

        Apparently you can pay for some sort of premium version of WordPress.com that supposedly has it?

        …still shaking my head! The support forum is full of dozens and dozens of requests for several years for Lightbox functionality for individual images – and they’ve done nothing…

        Actually, I think you and I had this same conversation about 3 years ago now that I think about it! 🙂

        1. No problem. I don’t actually like those kind of opening images anyway. Our slowww internet connection has real problems with them.

          I’ve used the gallery widget in a couple of posts (and in the sidebar of my blog design). But overall I prefer having my photos incorporated within the text to tell a story.

          1. Actually I think we came to this conclusion previously – although not everyone has the same slow internet access you obviously enjoy down round Kapiti! :-p 😉 Anyway – enough ranting about blog software – great pics Roly and look forward to seeing more of your NZ Wars stuff! 😀

  1. Stunning work! As always your eye for detail is admirable, even down to the native vegetation. Well done!

    Do you intend to use them in any war game scenarios, or primarily for display?

    1. I haven’t used the ‘attack on a homestead’ theme in a NZ War game yet, Lemuel. But it could offer a good game premise, with maybe a rescue force fighting its way through to rescue the settlers.

  2. Nice model-work – and great to have a local topic! There’s also the attack on the Lavin farm at Mohaka, April 1869, which was filled with suitable intrigue. Or just about anything ‘Von’ ever did (I guess we forget, at this distance, how much of a household name he actually was in the 1860s….I found his wife’s grave a while back, in the Eskdale cemetery north of Napier, of all places. But I digress…) I have a new-edition book on the wars coming up in a few months & am fizzing a bit about the subject at the moment.

    1. My NZ War project had also stalled a bit, Michael, whilst I detoured into Japanese samurai. But I’ve now ordered some more Empress militia and Maori warriors, so the project is all go again …

  3. Fantastic Inspiration as always, you are my go to for helping me through painting up my own Flagstaff wars project

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