Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume I (1845–64)

The Royal New Zealand Fencibles

The Royal New Zealand Fencibles

The corps known as the Royal New Zealand Fencibles, referred to in the foregoing note, was a body of veteran soldiers converted into military settlers, established through Governor Grey's efforts as a protection for the southern frontier of the Auckland Settlement. It consisted of discharged British soldiers, about three-fourths of them pensioners, and all men of approved character and physique. The corps was enrolled in England in 1847. The term of service in New Zealand was to be seven years (most of the soldiers became permanent settlers); the pay was 1s. 3d. per day in addition to any pension; free passages were granted to New Zealand for the soldiers and their wives and families; and on arrival in the colony each Fencible was given possession of a two-roomed cottage and an acre of land, already partly cleared and made ready for cultivation; he also received an advance for furniture and stock. The members of the corps were required to attend six days' drill in the spring and six in the autumn, and to attend church parade every Sunday, fully armed, for inspection. The Commandant (Major Kenny) was paid £300; each officer was given a house and 50 acres of land. The discipline and drill of these old soldiers were excellent. The Fencibles included veterans of the wars in China and Afghanistan and the great battles in India, and several had served in the British Legion enlisted for the Carlist War in Spain in 1836. The settlements in which the pensioners were established were Onehunga, Otahuhu, page 451 Panmure, and Howick; these places were practically founded as villages by the Fencibles. Three companies were given land at Onehunga, three at Howick, one at Otahuhu, and one at Panmure. Not only did they form a strong wall of defence for Auckland on the south, covering the routes by the Tamaki River and Manukau Harbour, but they provided a much-needed source of labour for the farmers on the outskirts.