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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 1, 1928)

Varied Life and Colour of War

Varied Life and Colour of War.

What scenes of life and colour, what warlike commotion on these Waikato banks when Cameron's army began the great invasion of Maori land! Regiments of the line—the great-bearded veterans of the 65th, the 40th, the 14th, the 18th Royal Irish—in their blue campaigning dress; the Waikato Militia regiments; the smart mounted Royal Artillery—a corps which was more than once used as cavalry, and again as a dismounted storming party; Colonel Nixon's Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, mostly members of South Auckland settler families; Jackson's and Von Tempsky's Forest Rangers, armed with Terry carbine, revolver, and bowie knife, with their coloured blanket rolls and their semi-piratical roving air; miles of commissariat and munitions carts, all crossing this Whangamar ino Stream by a bridge supported on barrels. On the broad river a picture of even greater action and thrill: the little steamer “Avon”—the first steam vessel that ever floated on the Waikato—and the gunboat “Pioneer,” with steady beat of their churning paddle-wheels; scores of Maori canoes, paddled by half - stripped warriors — “friendlies” these, allies of the Queen's troops—and laden with stores for the front; long boats of the Water Transport Corps, rowed by sailormen trying a landsman's life for a change; paddling-chants from the canoe captains, and now and again a snatch of sailor song from the boatmen, that mingled with the yells of the bullock-drivers on the right bank. Many a man of that army found a grave in the mystery land ahead of him; many a steamer-load of wounded came down the river as the slow campaign went on.