Radio NZ has just launched a 30-minute online documentary about the 1845-6 Northern War in New Zealand. It is about the Battle of Ruapekapeka, but also covers some other battles from the campaign.
The video has been timed to mark the Rā Maumahara National Day of Commemoration of the New Zealand Wars, which takes place this Saturday (I am also hosting a New Zealand Wars display game on Saturday to mark this important event).
You can see the whole documentary on the Radio NZ website.
I found it a very moving film. It shows the battle from a Māori perspective, when in the past we might have seen it more from an Anglo-centric point of view.
I’m a little surprised the movie still depicts that the defenders were at a church service when they were surprised by a British raid. There has been a newer theory that the Māori intentionally tried to get the British to attack and chase them through the empty pā and into the bush, where the Māori would then have the upper hand.
From a wargamer’s perspective, the video contains some amazing animations and reenactments. I thoroughly recommend it.
British forward position shelling Ruapekapeka Pa
Cutaway view of the dugouts, tunnels and trenches at Ruapekapeka Pa.
Radio NZ have also produced a terrific virtual reality tour of the battle-site.