David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Maori Wars?

I made it back home yesterday from our trip to New Zealand after an epic 30 hours and 20 minutes of travelling! What better way to fight the bodily and mental effects of feeling awfully tired than to make a Blog post? Well, probably loads come to mind, starting with sleep, but this will have to do for now...
Before our trip, which was largely driven by Sue's desire to see the country, I think my knowledge of New Zealand was almost non existent; perhaps limited to a little about their cricketing exploits - I once saw them play England at cricket when I was a school boy {back in the day when we used to win games against minor cricketing powers, unlike recent efforts!} - and eating lamb for Sunday lunch! As to the history of the country? Well, almost nothing, so I have learned quite a lot in the past five weeks. I became particularly interested in the Maori culture as the trip developed, and having seen the excellent range of figures produced by Empress last year, I thought I'd post a few pictures from my trip for anyone who is tempted to dabble in one of the less well known of our Colonial C19th conflicts. Firstly, two dioramas from the New Zealand National Army Museum ~
A good idea of the terrain the wars were fought over

An attack on a Maori Pa

Some period uniform displays from the New Zealand National Army Museum ~

Bringing the gun into action

Some ideas of the buildings, fortifications and terrain from the North Island ~
Village palisade fencing at Rotorua

Two styles of living huts at Rotorua

Small village storehouse at Rotorua

Carved gateway at the National Museum in Wellington

Maori storehouse at Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Some idea of the scale of the vegetation

The War Canoe ~
Ceremonial canoe at Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Carved canoe figurehead

Maori weapons, tattoos and dress ~
Maori weapons on display at Christchurch Museum

From the Waitangi Cultural Centre display

Cape and staff

Detail of a feather cape

Finally, one or two self conscious snaps to amuse the bored reader ~
Joining in, at Waitangi Treaty Grounds!

Well, on holiday no one knows who you are...

And finally...
'Hero' for the Empire - or not?

The figures for the Maori Wars are out there with Empress and Eureka in 28mm, the latter having both Maori warriors and Colonial Militia, but you might be put off by the thoughts of scratch building the terrain. Fear not, its already out there in 3D Print format. To view the stunning whole in a game setting ~
There is heaps more inspirational stuff to see on the thread under the Maori Wars label too.
The source of the files ~
As to the war canoe; well I bought a dapper little wooden model one in a souvenir shop, so that's sorted!
I am very tempted to try this for small scale skirmish gaming you know... Meanwhile I'll paint some more Austrian infantry, but not today if you don't mind.


  1. Welcome home DB, nice pics and narrative, but come now, we know you only went to NZ to visit Hobiton :-)

    1. Thank You! As to Hobiton, well what can I say beyond outrageously expensive at £45 a ticket to see a few false fronted holes in the ground?

  2. Very interesting - thanks for sharing!

  3. David

    It is good to see in your photos that you had some good weather when you were down here - it has been a good summer this year. Also good to see you packed in a fair number of events and got an insight to our colonial military past, but a shame that Hobbiton was not that great - I have not visited it personally, but hear mixed responses to it.

    1. We had wonderful weather Mark, only one wet dat in a month! We enjoyed the visit a great deal but I could have done without the extra week when I was ill! Still, it didn't spoil my overall pleasure from visiting NZ.

  4. I trust you took the Campervan option? The National Army Museum is well worth visting. Much as I liked the Maori Aspects it was the Crete part of the exhibition I found most interesting. And it is one of the few Military Museums to have an exhibit on the Chaplain service. Did not manage to make the Christchurch Museum as it was unsafe at the time so was inteested to see those pictures. I did visit with Von Peter of the Kapati Fusiliers though and reviewed a super collection. Should you feel the need to visit India in the next year or so I should be happy to show you round Delhi. Best, Graham. P.S We might even get a game in :)

    1. We hired a car Graham and stayed in 4* & 5* hotels, too old to rough it I'm afraid!���� We enjoyed all various museums, believing you are never too old to learn. We thought the National Army Museum was really interesting, especially the surgical exhibition and the life size ship to landing craft exhibition. I took loads of pictures, some of which I'll work into future posts I hope.

  5. Great report and glad you enjoyed the trip to our neck of the woods! :)

    1. An excellent holiday, despite the late illness which lead to me missing Dubai!