NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

The Colonial Mounted Forces of New Zealand.
PART ONE
Above: Pen and ink drawings of the Maori Fortification Trenches at the Central Redoubt, Rangiriri in the Northern Waikato. Both maps shown here are from the hand of Captain E. Brooke, Royal Engineers - and dated 1863.
Innovative Maori Trench Works caused the British Military concern as they encounted this new type of warfare during the Musket Wars and Land Wars of the 19th Century. This bloody period of New Zealand history introduced the nation to the Mounted Constabulary, Cavalry and the Lancers - all precursors that led ultimately to the creation of the NZMR Brigade.

Members will enjoy this great piece of research and presentation
from our Forum member "Atillathenunns"
or to use a more acceptable address and introduction - Brent
Nunns

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The Second New Zealand War. 1860 - 1872

British forces under the command of Colonel C. E. Gold fired the first shots at Te Kohia Pa (Waitara) commanded by Te Ati Awa Chief Te Hapurona on the 17th March 1860.

The Second Militia Act of 28th May 1858 allowed New Zealand to be defined into military districts as decided by the Governor. During the Second New Zealand War, Auckland was divided into 3 Military Districts.
The cavalry units within the Auckland districts were allocated to the 3rd Auckland District and formed part of the ‘3rd Battalion Auckland Militia.’
The cavalry troops that were attached to the 3rd Battalion Auckland Militia are. —
Otahuhu Cavalry
Auckland Cavalry
Howick Cavalry
Prince Alfred Cavalry

The Waikato units were dissolved in 1867 and became part of the 4th Battalion Auckland Militia.

The Militia Act of 28th May 1858 also gave Government approval for the acceptance of volunteer corps, as distinct from the militia, in order to preserve peace within New Zealand.
The NZ Militia was essentially a local home force and was generally limited to duties within a distance of 25 miles from their place of registration.
Volunteering gave immunity from Militia service, and the opportunity for volunteers to elect their own officers and a choice of uniform, although the uniform and horse were usually supplied by the volunteers themselves, this was assisted by a capitation allowance from the Government. (Capitation depended on regular attendance of drill and parade inspections)

All other units that I have mentioned are from other Militia districts, however, I consider them deserving of a mention due to the expansion of the Auckland Military District on the 17th January 1895.

Otahuhu Royal Volunteer Cavalry
The Otahuhu Royal Volunteer Cavalry was formed during a public meeting held in Otahuhu on the 3rd April 1860.
Major Marmaduke George Nixon was elected commanding officer. (Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in April 1860)
James Walmsley was elected Captain
Howard Hutton was elected Lieutenant
Henry Hardington was elected Cornet (Second Lieutenant)
One of the Otahuhu Cavalry Corps first resolutions passed on April 3rd was. —
“That every man who is willing to provide his own horse and uniform, shall be eligible to become a member of this Corps.”
The service uniform adopted by the Otahuhu Cavalry consisted of a blue tunic, buff breeches and boots.

Auckland Cavalry Guards Volunteers
The Auckland Cavalry Guards Volunteers were formed during a public meeting held at the Exchange Hotel in Auckland on the 5th April 1860.
One of the first resolutions passed at this meeting was. —
“That a Company of Volunteers be formed to serve as Mounted Guards in conjunction with the Auckland Volunteer Rifles.”
Captain Thomas Beckham was elected commanding officer of the Auckland Cavalry Guards on the 7th April 1860. The other officers elected were Lieutenant Main and Cornet Holt. (Commissioned 8th May 1860)
The uniform adopted by the Cavalry Guards was blue with white facings.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a gazette notice listing the official Government acceptance date for either the Otahuhu Cavalry or the Cavalry Guards. I can only speculate that the Cavalry Guards received seniority due to their being placed first in line on parade.

The following is a Monthly report, dated the 27th April 1860. It is a rough statement of the Auckland Settlements disposable military force at that time. —
Auckland Volunteer Rifles, about 360.
Militia Volunteers, about 40.
Onehunga Volunteers, about 200.
Howick Volunteers, about 100.
Auckland Cavalry Guards, about 45.
Otahuhu Cavalry, about 120.
Naval Coast Guards Volunteers, 62
65th Regiment, about 80.
Ships of War. Marines landed, about 40.
About 800 more men were to be armed in Auckland and the villages.

Auckland Cavalry Volunteers
Due to a disagreement between Captain Beckham and the Deputy Adjutant General (Under Secretary), the Auckland Cavalry Guards were disbanded on the 28th June 1861.
Members of the Auckland Cavalry Guards were then requested to join the ‘Auckland Cavalry Volunteers’ which was formed on the 5th July 1861, under the command of Captain Lionel Fitzgerald.

In February 1862 a new set of Volunteer regulations were published in the New Zealand Gazette, which in effect cancelled all existing Volunteer regulations and required all Volunteer units to be disbanded and to be reformed under the new regulations.
The Otahuhu Royal Volunteer Cavalry and Auckland Cavalry Volunteers were disbanded and ordered to return their Arms, accoutrements and ammunition by the 15th May 1862.

Colonial Defence Corps
On the 20th March 1863, Colonel Nixon took command of the newly formed Colonial Defence Corps, which was to operate in conjunction with the Irregular Cavalry (Light Cavalry Corps).
The Irregular Cavalry was formed from around 100 men of the Royal Artillery, which had been stationed in Auckland under the command of Captain Mercer, R.A.
(Captain Henry Mercer, Royal Artillery, was killed during a second failed assault on Rangiriri Pa on the 20th November 1863)

Otahuhu Royal Cavalry Volunteers
On the 22nd June 1863, General Cameron, accompanied by his Aide-de-camp and Private Secretary, arrived in Auckland aboard H.M.S. Eclipse.
Notice was issued soon after the General's arrival, to the effect that 400 men would be balloted for out of the Auckland militia force for active service, if a sufficient number of volunteers were not forthcoming. Negotiations were also entered into with the Otahuhu people for the re-organisation of the efficient cavalry force formerly embodied in that district.

The first meeting to reform the Otahuhu Cavalry Volunteers was held in Otahuhu on the 9th July 1863.
The following appointments were published on the 20th July 1863. —
“Appointments, Auckland Militia Volunteer Regiments—
Royal Cavalry Volunteers—
Lieutenant Colonel Marmaduke Nixon
Captain Howard Hutton
Lieutenant William Thomas Bassett
Cornet Walter Harris
(The Otahuhu Troop being the first to reform were given seniority and claim to occupy the first position on the right when on parade)

Colonial Cavalry Defence Force
The following notice was widely distributed throughout Otahuhu around the 10th July 1863. —
“Those who are desirous of enlisting into the Auckland division of the colonial defence force, to apply at the Militia Orderly Room, Otahuhu, between ten and four p.m. None but good riders are invited to apply. Horses, arms, appointments, and uniform will be furnished to the non-commissioned officers and privates. The pay will be, sergeants 7s. 6d, corporals 6s. 6d, and privates 5s. per day, and they will have to find their own rations but forage for horses will be supplied when necessary.”
(The notice was signed - Lieutenant Colonel Nixon)

The Auckland Cavalry and Otahuhu Cavalry were incorporated into the Colonial Cavalry Defence Force under the command of Colonel Nixon. (Major Walmsley 2nd in Command)
It is worth noting that the Cavalry Guards and Otahuhu Cavalry did not loose their identities, it simply meant that members of these two corps who signed up with the Colonial Cavalry Defence Force could be called upon at a moments notice to active service, and serve where needed.

Auckland Royal Cavalry Volunteers
After a preliminary meeting on the 13th July 1863, the Auckland Cavalry Volunteers was reformed, adopting the title ‘Auckland Royal Cavalry Volunteers on the 15th July 1863.
The election of officers was held on the 19th July 1863 as follows. —
First Lieutenant – Henry Hardington (Promoted Captain 19th August 1863)
Second Lieutenant (Cornet) – Stannus Jones (Promoted First Lieutenant 19th August 1863)
Sergeant – James Foley (Promoted Cornet 19th August 1863)

In September 1863 the Auckland Royal Cavalry was called out for active service and was stationed at Papatoetoe until relieved from duty in February 1864.

Howick Royal Cavalry Volunteers
Although I have been unable to confirm the historical accuracy, it appears that the Howick troop, Royal Cavalry Volunteers (Also known as the ‘Howick Royal Troop of Yeomanry Cavalry’) was formed on the recommendation of Colonel Nixon by Every MacLean in late July 1863.
Every MacLean was duly elected Captain and James Robertson as Cornet (Second Lieutenant)
The Howick Troop, Royal Cavalry Volunteers were disbanded on the 30th July 1874.
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Major Marmaduke George Nixon
Death of Colonel Nixon

Colonel Nixon was severely wounded at Rangiaowhia on the 21st February 1864, from a bullet penetrating the chest and injuring the lungs. Gangrene set into the wound and Colonel Nixon died on the 27th May 1864. (Lieutenant Colonel Nixon was promoted to Colonel in April 1864)
The Engagement at Rangiaowhia
The mounted artillery and Defence Corps passed round to the eastward to avoid crossing the swamp. Sharp skirmishing work ensued for a few minutes between our troops and the Maoris, who were at last driven out of the wood, and sought refuge in flight, and by concealment in the whares.
The cavalry fortunately came up in good time to intercept several of the enemy attempting to escape, and at once took them prisoners. A total of 33 were captured in this manner, excepting a few who surrendered to other parties of the attacking force.
In the hot pursuit of Maoris who had been resisting the advance, the troops so closely pressed the wily foe that seven or eight were seen to enter a large whare, and which was quickly surrounded. It was in effecting this movement that most of the casualties occurring from rebel fire took place. Most of the Maoris were armed with double-barrelled guns, and a heavy fire was kept up from every conceivable hole and cranny in the building.
Colonel Nixon was dangerously wounded by a ball fired from this whare, and four of his men killed and wounded. The gallant Colonel was shot through the lungs, and Corporal Alexander was riddled with shot the moment he rushed in at the door. Private McHale also suffered the same fate.
Volley after volley was poured into the whare by the 65th and Forest Rangers round it, but still the rebels continued to discharge their pieces with good effect, the 65th suffering two casualties, and the Forest Rangers one.
The whare was now discovered to be on fire, but whether ignited intentionally, or by accident from firing one of the rifles close to the dried weeds of which it was composed, I cannot state. The whare was about eight yards in length, but not until six yards at least had been burned, and a number of volleys fired into the place, did the last of the Maoris make a dart, for the purpose of escaping. He had not advanced two paces before he fell on his hands and knees, amidst the burning embers of the portion of the raupo roof already fallen in.
From the intense heat of the flame it was impossible to extricate him, and he died and was burned where he fell. This was the last victim. When the fire had burned itself out, the embers of the whare were examined to discover the body of private McHale, of the Defence Force, who had been shot down when the rush was made at the door, and had fallen inside.

The following drawing of the fight at Rangiaowhia shows Colonel Nixon lying to the left of the door of the whare on the right
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The Charge Of The New Zealand Cavalry At The Battle Of Orakau.
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On the 30th March 1864, it became known that the natives were constructing a defensive position at Orakau, three miles from Kihikihi, in a southwesterly direction, and five miles from Rangiawhia in a northwesterly direction.
The Pa at Orakau was a square, stockaded redoubt, rifle-pitted within, lying some little distance in front of a small swamp which extends towards Rangiawhia, and was sheltered by a strip of bush.
Beyond Orakau the country was rough and hilly, and was intersected in all directions by innumerable creeks and swamps, which are the tributaries of the Waipa River.

As a part of Colonel Carey’s column, approximately 25 mounted artillery, under the command of Lieutenant Rait, arrived at Orakau on the 31st of March 1864, having come from Te Awamutu.
The force proceeded past the village of Orakau, with the 18th being in advance. A single shot was fired by a native scout when they arrived within 900 yards of the enemy, and shortly after the troops received some heavy volleys from some peach trees a short distance in their front. The fire was returned, and the troops passed through the trees, and the cavalry were ordered to the front, but were shortly ordered back, again on seeing what confronted them.
The Royal Artillery troopers were used patrolling the lines during the siege.

The Colonial Defence Force Cavalry leading packhorses loaded with hand-grenades under the command of Lieut-Colonel Henry Havelock, arrived in the morning on the 2nd of April, the last day of the siege of Orakau, having come from Pukerimu via Ohaupo.

At noon General Cameron and his staff arrived from Pukerimu with an escort of the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry.
Early in the afternoon General Cameron, impressed by the Maoris courage, decided to give the garrison an opportunity of making surrender. The buglers sounded the “Cease fire,” and two interpreters of the staff, Ensign William Mair of the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, and Mr. Mainwaring were sent into the sap with a white flag to invite the natives to capitulate.

Mair wrote the account in the form of a letter to a relative shortly after the capture of the pa.—
“I got up on the edge of the sap and looked through a gap in the gabions made for the field-piece. The outwork in front of me was a sort of double rifle-pit, with the pa or redoubt behind it. The Maoris were in rows, the nearest row only a few yards away from me. I cannot forget the dust-stained faces, bloodshot eyes, and shaggy heads. The muzzles of their guns rested on the edge of the ditch in front of them. One man aimed steadily at me all the time, his name was Wereta.”
“Then I said.— E hoa ma, whakarongo! Ko te kupu tenei a te Tienara: ka nui tona miharo ki to koutou maia, kati me mutu te riri, puta mai kia matou, kia ora o koutou tinana.”
(‘Friends, listen! This is the word of the General: Great is his admiration of your bravery. Stop! Let the fighting cease; come out to us that your bodies may be saved’).

The reply received by Mair is commonly accepted as the most famous defiance in New Zealand history:— “E hoa, ka whawhai tonu ahau ki a koe, ake, ake!”
(‘Friend, I shall fight against you for ever, for ever!’)

Out of water and down to the last few rounds, the 300 Maori defenders, facing an attacking force of 1,474 could see their situation was dire and untenable.
At about four o'clock in the afternoon the Maori defenders made their escape on the south side in a southerly direction.
Interestingly, the rebels met little resistance during the break out and by the time they had reached the swamp, they had legged some 400 yards in front of their pursuers.

It appears that at the beginning of the pursuit, Colonel Havelock divided the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry into two parties, taking one to the right with him, and sending the other to the left.
The mounted artillery were sent up the middle following the natives up to the swamp which was impassable to the horses, followed up by the two companies of Forest Rangers, regulars of the 65th and 70th, and members of the Militia.

By the time the Maoris had got through the swamp, the cavalry were ahead of them and the infantry had come up. They were openly exposed to a tremendous storm of musketry fire from their pursuers, and were again met and turned into the swamp by some of the Defence Cavalry.
The mounted artillerymen had dismounted, and revolvers in hand chased the Maoris through the swamp.

It is said the cavalry did vigorous work and that the pursuit continued for five miles across the river, until Colonel Havelock rallied the men and turned them back to camp.
(3 members of the Colonial Defence Corps are reported to have been wounded.)

Waiuku Royal Cavalry Volunteers
On the 5th May 1866 a meeting was held at the Waiuku Hotel for settlers of the Waiuku district (South of Auckland) to form a corps of cavalry volunteers. Due to the Volunteer Act of 1866 relative to Mounted Corps forming as Light Horse, the first resolution of the meeting was. —
“That they should enrol themselves into a cavalry corps, and that corps to be called the Waiuku ‘Light Horse’ Cavalry Volunteers. This was carried unanimously.”
During a second meeting it was decided to change the name to the Waiuku Royal Cavalry Volunteers

The Waiuku Cavalry Volunteers are mentioned as being officially accepted for service on the 12th March 1866. (This may be a simple period typo where March has been incorrectly entered as May)
John Thomas Mellsop was elected Lieutenant (date of commission, 18th July 1866) and Colour-Sergeant Ebenezer Hamlin was elected Cornet (date of commission, 18th July 1866).

Ebenezer Hamlin was instrumental in the formation of the Waiuku Cavalry and has an interesting history. He was the ninth and youngest son of Reverend James Hamlin, one of the pioneer missionaries of New Zealand. Hamlin was born in 1844 at Orua near the South Head of the Manukau.
Just after Hamlin had turned 16 he joined the 1st Battalion, Auckland Militia at the time of the Taranaki war, and during the subsequent Waikato war he served in the 3rd Battalion of the same militia, and also with distinction in the volunteer force under Capt. Lloyd, being twice honourably mentioned in despatches to the Governor.
Hamlin was a crack shot, winning the New Zealand champion rifle belt in 1874. He was promoted Major on the 19th November 1885, and served a total of 25 years with the Waiuku Cavalry before retiring in June 1891.

Captain Ebenezer Hamlin
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On the 6th July 1887, the “1st Regiment of New Zealand Cavalry Volunteers” was formed from the North Island Cavalry troops.
The Waiuku Cavalry Volunteers having the longest unbroken service, were given seniority and were designated ‘A’ Troop.

The Waiuku Cavalry Volunteers (Also known as the ‘Waiuku Mounted Rifles’ from 1885 onwards) was finally disbanded in October 1895.

Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers (Opotiki Cavalry)
On the 23rd October 1866, the residents of Opotiki held a public meeting for the purpose of forming a volunteer corps for the defence of the district.
The Minutes of that meeting show the following resolutions that were passed. —
“That the civilians of Opotiki form themselves into a Volunteer Corps.”
“That the Volunteer Corps at Opotiki shall be a cavalry corps.”
“That a General Purposes Committee be appointed, to consist of five members.”
“That Messrs. Gwynneth, Litchfield, Moore, Thompson, and the mover (B. Reynolds), do form the committee, and have power to communicate with the Defence Minister as to the formation of the corps, their position, uniform, and the appointment of officers.”
“That the chairman do now enrol the names of those willing to become members of the corps.”
“That Mr. Footer be appointed secretary to the corps, and take the names of gentlemen intending to become members of the corps.”
“That the members of the corps to find their own horses, but the Government be requested to find all necessary arms, accoutrements, ammunition, &c.; and that the corps have the power of nominating their own officers.”
“That a copy of the minutes of this meeting be forwarded to the Hon. the Defence Minister, together with the names of members.”

At a meeting of the General Purposes Committee, held on the 25th October, to “consider and take action in reference to the formation of a Volunteer Cavalry Corps at Opotiki,” it was proposed. —
“That the commanding officer be supplied with a copy of the proceedings, and requested to recommend the enrolment of the corps to the Hon. the Defence Minister.”

A general meeting of the Volunteer Cavalry Corps was held at Opotiki on the 30th October 1866.
The Minutes of that meeting show the following resolutions that were passed. —
“That any person wishing to become members of the corps be proposed and seconded by two members of the corps, at a general meeting, and his election shall depend upon the votes taken at such meeting.”
“That the corps be named the ‘Bay of Plenty Volunteer Cavalry Corps.’
“That the dress of the corps be cord breeches and boots, French-peak caps, and blue jumpers.”
“That the corps be enrolled under the regulations of the Volunteer Act.”
“That this meeting now proceed to the election of officers for the corps.”
The undermentioned gentlemen were duly elected: —
John Gwynnetb was elected Captain.
Joseph Thompson was elected Lieutenant.
Harry Charles Wrigg was elected Cornet.
“That the names of Messrs. Gwynneth as captain, Thompson as lieutenant, and Wrigg as cornet, be forwarded to the Government, for their approval, as the officers elected by the corps.”
The nomination of three non-commissioned officers: —
C. Litchfield was elected sergeant-major.
S. Kelly and J. Davis as sergeants.
“The corps, now numbering 37 strong, gave three cheers for their new officers, and after a vote of thanks to the chairman, the meeting separated.”

Gazetted January 1867. —
“The services of the undermentioned corps have been accepted by the Governor; —
The Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers. Date of acceptance, December 23, 1866.”

Captain John Gwynneth
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It is worth mentioning that two of the four New Zealand Crosses that were awarded to cavalrymen were awarded to members of the Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers, Cornet Harry (Harold) Charles William Wrigg and Cornet Angus Smith. (Only 23 New Zealand Crosses were awarded)

New Zealand Gazette, 6th November 1869.
It is notified that his Excellency the Governor has been pleased to award to Cornet Angus Smith, of the Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers, the decorative distinction instituted by Order in Council dated 10th March 1869, for the following act of bravery performed by him: —
On the 7th June 1869, when the party of cavalry in charge of Cornet Smith was surprised at Opepe by Te Kooti’s band, and nine men out of thirteen were killed, Cornet Smith, though suffering from a desperate wound in his foot, set out with tho object of finding the tracks of his commanding officer , and apprising him and the party with him of their danger, when a less brave or thoughtful man would have proceeded straight to Fort Galatea, which post he would no doubt have reached in forty-eight hours, with comparatively little risk, and with the certainty of getting immediate medical assistance to himself. On his road Cornet Smith was captured by the rebels, tied up to a tree, and stripped of all his clothing and Crimean medals. He was in this position four days, without food or water, when he managed to release himself, and proceeded to Fort Galatea, which he reached on the 17th June, having been ten days without food or clothing. On account of his wounds he had to go for a considerable distance on his hands and knees, and to risk his life twice by swimming rivers.

Cornet Angus Smith
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New Zealand Gazette, 18th March 1898.
His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to award the Decorative Distinction instituted by Order in Council dated the 10th day of March, 1869, to Harry Charles William Wrigg, Esq., late Cornet, Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers, in consideration of his having, on the 29th day of June, 1867, with Trooper McDonald, voluntarily carried dispatches from Lieutenant-Colonel John H. H. St. John, then at Opotiki, to Lieutenant Colonel Philip Harrington, at Tauranga, through country infested by the Native tribes then at war with the British.

It is also worth mentioning that Wigg’s award of the New Zealand Cross some 30 years after the action is somewhat controversial given that those who could have recommended him were all dead. (Worthy of its own thread!)

The Bay of Plenty Cavalry Volunteers were disbanded in July 1881.

Prince Alfred Light Horse Royal Cavalry Volunteers
The North Shore Light Horse Cavalry Volunteers was formed in December 1868 with Charles Ross Cholmondeley Smith elected as Lieutenant (Promoted Captain) and J. Motion as Cornet (promoted Lieutenant).

On the 1st June 1869 the North Shore Light Horse Cavalry were assembled at the Government building, North Shore, to receive Prince Alfred’s letter accepting their services, which was read out by Lieutenant Smith.
With the Duke of Edinburgh as an honorary member the North Shore Light Horse changed its name to ‘Prince Alfred Light Horse Royal Cavalry Volunteers,’ North Shore.

It appears the official acceptance date of the Prince Alfred Light Horse Royal Cavalry Volunteers is the 20th March 1869.

Initially the Headquarters and weekly drills were conducted at Edgcombe’s Hotel. In February 1870 drills were alternately conducted at Edgcombe’s Hotel and at the Whau Public Hall. Monthly inspection parades were generally held at the Albert Barracks, Auckland.
The Prince Alfred Troop Royal Cavalry Volunteers were disbanded in November 1872.

Tauranga Cavalry Volunteer Corps
The first attempt to raise a cavalry corps by the residents of Tauranga was on the 2nd January 1867, but it appears the Government did not accept their services.

It wasn’t until the 14th December 1868 that the subject of forming a cavalry corps in Tauranga was raised again. It was during this meeting that Colonel Harrington said he thought a cavalry corps would be of signal service in an open country like this, and that he would give the movement his cordial approbation and support.
It was decided that “Captain Constantine Moorsom should command the corps, the other officers to be elected when the full number of names should be obtained.”

It appears that Samuel Clarke was elected as Lieutenant and that the Tauranga Cavalry Volunteers were officially accepted for service in February 1869.
The Gazette 19th August 1870 states. — “That his Excellency having, at their own request, disbanded the Tauranga Cavalry Volunteers.”
Tauranga Light Horse Volunteers
The Governor accepted the services of the Tauranga Light Horse Volunteers in early February 1871.
It appears the elected officers were Captain J. Chadwick and Andrew Craig as sublieutenant (commission dated 22nd August 1871)
An annual Volunteer report dated August 1874, lists a strength of “22 of all ranks.”
The Tauranga Light Horse Volunteers were disbanded in June 1876.

Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry Corps

In order to give increased security and confidence to the settlers, the Defence Minister the Hon. D. McLean, instructed Major William Jackson to form a volunteer cavalry corps for the defence of the Waikato frontier.
(Major William Jackson was the Commanding Officer of No. 1 Company, Forest Rangers)

On the 9th March 1871, the residents of Te Awamutu and Kihikihi were called to a public meeting held at the Te Awamutu hotel (known as Driller's hotel) for the purpose of forming a volunteer corps for the defence of the district.
Major Jackson was called to the chair, and outlined. — “As soon as the men were attested and equipped night patrols of the corps would be detailed for duty in various outlying localities. The men he continued would receive 7s. per diem when at drill and on duty.”
Around 60 Volunteers were then enrolled for the corps, and Major William Jackson was unanimously elected its commandant. The election of the other officers and non-commissioned officers was deferred until the men were attested.
It was decided to locate the headquarters at Te Awamutu, and that the corps to be named the ‘Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry.’
“The Government model rules for the guidance of such corps were also read, explained, and their adoption carried without amendment.”

The Government accepted the services of the Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry Corps around the 16th March with the date of acceptance gazetted as of the 2nd March 1871.

The election of the officers was held at the Volunteer hall in Te Awamutu on the 3rd June 1871.
Andrew Kay was elected Lieutenant.
William Cowan was elected Cornet.
(Mr. Driller, of the Te Awamutu Hotel, accepted the appointment of farrier to the corps)

The uniform adopted by the Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry consisted of a blue cloth military cap with white band, blue cloth tunic, Bedford-cord pants and leggings.

Major William Jackson
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In Cambridge on the 24th May 1873, the Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry and the Cambridge Cavalry Volunteers brigaded together for the first time, forming together as the Waikato Cavalry Volunteers.
The Te Awamutu squadron being the first to be formed became the senior troop and was placed first in line with the Cambridge squadron (the junior corps) falling in behind.
A set of Colours were presented to both troops, with the colours to the Te Awamutu squadron being presented by Mrs Kay, the wife of Lieutenant Kay.
The Te Awamutu colours had a blue back ground, with the motto “ Defence, not Defiance.”
Major William Jackson was appointed the Commanding Officer of the Waikato Cavalry Volunteers and served in that position until he resigned on the 27th October 1886.

In March 1876, a cavalry troop was raised in Hamilton, but did not have enough members to form a separate troop, this obstacle was overcome by incorporating them into the Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry as the ‘Hamilton Contingent, Te Awamutu Cavalry Volunteers.’

Te Awamutu Cavalry Band (Formed 1880)

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From 1880 to 1884 the following designations were used for the ‘Waikato Cavalry Volunteers’. —
A Troop (Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry)
B Troop (Cambridge Cavalry Volunteers)
C Troop (Hamilton Cavalry Volunteers)

The Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry (Renamed ‘Te Awamutu Mounted Rifles’ in 1885) was disbanded in August 1896.

Cambridge Cavalry Volunteers

Interestingly, David Corbett records in his book “The Regimental Badges of New Zealand,” that the ‘Cambridge Mounted Rifles’ were formed on the 24th July 1869.
Unfortunately, I have as yet, been unable to find any evidence regarding the existence of the Cambridge Mounted Rifles, and can only surmise that its existence was short.
It is however worth considering that in June 1869, a mounted section of Armed Constabulary was established in Cambridge and another at Alexandra. (Constabulary from Ngaruawahia and Alexandra were drafted to Cambridge in January 1870)
Possibly the ‘Cambridge Mounted Rifles’ relates directly to the ‘Mounted Armed Constabulary’ formed in Cambridge?

The Cambridge Cavalry Volunteers was formed on the 13 January 1872.
James Runciman was elected Captain, date of commission 20th March 1872.
Richard Parker was elected Lieutenant.
John Fisher was elected Cornet.

On the 24th May 1873, Miss Runciman, the sister of Captain Runciman, presented a set of colours to the Cambridge Cavalry troop.
The ornamental colours were scarlet in colour bearing the motto “ Our Hearths and Homes.”

After the resignation of Captain Runciman together with other officers and men on the 29th January 1883, attempts were made at reforming the Cambridge troop.
The Cambridge Cavalry Volunteers (‘B’ Troop, Waikato Cavalry Volunteers) was officially disbanded in August 1884.

Drury Light Horse Volunteers Royal Cavalry Volunteers
On the 24th April 1871 a meeting was held at the Farmers Hotel in Drury (South Papakura) for the purpose of taking steps to form a Volunteer Cavalry Corps the district.
James Baird Hay was elected Captain, date of commission 17th April 1871.
Lieutenant Martin (Possibly George Martin)
Cornet Godkin (Possibly George Godkin)

The Drury Light Horse Cavalry Volunteers were officially accepted for service on the 17th April 1871.
The Drury Light Horse was disbanded in September 1874.

14 February 1872
Te Kooti is engaged for the last time, and the final shots of the war are fired at Mangaone, Urewera.

Auckland Mounted Rifle Volunteers. 1872 - 1897

Nixon Light Horse Volunteers
On the 14th July 1875, the Auckland Cavalry Volunteers under the command of Captain Isaacs, and the Otahuhu Cavalry Volunteers under the command of Lieutenant Bushe and Sub-Lieutenant Calvert, held a meeting at the Criterion Hotel in Otahuhu, for the purpose of amalgamating the two troops.

During the meeting it was intimated that the commissioned officers of the two troops had tendered their resignation and submitted themselves for resignation.

Captain Alfred Edward Isaacs was unanimously elected captain of the consolidated troops, and Lieutenant Bushe as Lieutenant and Calvert as sub-lieutenant.

The consolidated troops choose the title of ‘Nixon Light Horse Volunteers’ in honour of the late Colonel Marmaduke Nixon whom had commanded both troops during the war.

The Nixon Light Horse Volunteers were accepted for service on the 11th August 1875.

Unfortunately, I have not found any records regarding the Nixon Light Horse after 1876, However, it does appear that some of the 950 volunteers that were called to service during the Parihaka crisis in October 1881, were members (possibly ex-members) of the Nixon Light Horse Volunteers.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a date of disbandment for the Nixon Light Horse Volunteers.

Hamilton Cavalry Volunteers
The first attempt to raise a cavalry corps by the residents of Hamilton was on the 14th June 1873, but it appears that either the Government did not accept their services or they were unable to raise the minimum number of 30 men to establish a troop. (25 was the minimum number as long as all had proved efficient, but this was generally only granted to established troops rather than new troops being formed)

In early March 1876, Major William Jackson, Commanding Officer of the Waikato Cavalry Volunteers, approached Sir Donald McLean the Defence Minister, on the subject of a proposed formation of a Hamilton Cavalry corps as a branch of the Te Awamutu Volunteer Cavalry Corps.
(The Hamilton troop was commonly referred to as the ‘Hamilton contingent, Te Awamutu Cavalry Volunteers’)

Around the 20th March 1876, the Government granted the necessary permission for the Hamilton Cavalry corps to be formed, “provided its strength be kept up to not less than twenty members.”

It seems the first commanding officer elected by the Hamilton troop was Lieutenant Cowan.
Lieutenant Cowan resigned in August 1877. A meeting of the Hamilton contingent was held at Hamilton on the 25th August 1877, and Mr Frederick Alexander Whitaker was nominated as Lieutenant and elected without any opposition.
During a meeting of the Te Awamutu Cavalry Volunteers, held in the Public Hall in Te Awamutu, on the 1st September 1877, Mr F. A. Whitaker was officially elected lieutenant of the Hamilton contingent of the Te Awamutu Cavalry Volunteers.

The roll of the Waikato Cavalry Volunteers, dated 31 May 1876, records 27 being from Hamilton, 67 from Te Awamutu, and 46 from Cambridge. The May 1877 roll records 28 being from Hamilton.

On the 9th March 1880, 45 members of the Hamilton contingent paraded at Frankton for inspection by Colonel Lyon (the officer commanding the Waikato district).
During this inspection it was announced that the Hamilton contingent was strong enough now to form a separate troop.

In accordance with orders received from the commanding officer for the Waikato district, a special meeting of the members of the Hamilton contingent for the purpose of electing officers was held at Gwynne's Hotel on the 1st May 1880.
Lieutenant Frederick Alexander Whitaker was elected Captain. (Gazetted January 1881)
Sub-Lieutenant Charles Revel Johnston was elected Lieutenant. (Gazetted January 1881)
Sergeant William Francis Hunt was elected Sub-Lieutenant. (Gazetted January 1881)

The Government acceptance date of the reformed Hamilton Cavalry Volunteers is the 16th March 1880.

In early June 1880, Major Jackson the commanding officer of the Waikato cavalry sent all three troops a letter asking the troops to consider the desirability of forming the whole of the Waikato cavalry into a regiment with a view to its better management.
All three troops agreed to Major Jackson’s proposition, with each troop electing their Captain and Lieutenant as their representatives.
Interestingly, it appears that Major Jackson’s letter also requested if each troop would be prepared to adopt the Home service helmet. (First adopted by the British Army in 1878)

The Hamilton troops were the first of the Waikato cavalry troops to be issued the helmets, receiving theirs on the 30th October 1880. This was mainly due to Captain Whitaker advancing the money for the helmets out of his own pockets, and then seeking reimbursement from his men.
Major Jackson put the supply of helmets for the Waikato cavalry up for tender, with Mr W. H. Fenton, a then well known hatter of Queen-street Auckland, being the successful tenderer.
Every member of each troop were measured by one of Mr Fenton’s assistants to ensure each helmet was a perfect fit, with Mr Fenton personally delivering the helmets to ensure each man received a perfect fitting helmet.
The helmets although supplied by Mr Fenton, were actually made by Mr Teutenberg of Auckland.
The helmets were a dark blue colour with a white metal spike and chin scales. The helmets badge consisted of a star, with V.R. in the centre surrounded with a wreath of oak-leaves.
Horsehair plumes and oil-silk coverings for the helmets were ordered from England by Mr Fenton, but were not available at the time the helmets were issued to the Waikato cavalry.
The total cost of the helmet and accoutrements was 32s 6d each.
Unlike the infantry, which used metal trimming on the visor to identify an officer’s helmet, the Waikato cavalry had no distinguishing trims or badges.

The Hamilton Cavalry Volunteers (‘C’ Troop, Waikato Cavalry Volunteers) was officially disbanded in August 1884.

Auckland Cavalry Volunteers
George Hazell is by all accounts the man most responsible for the formation of the Auckland Cavalry Volunteers.
Sergeant-Major Hazell had acted as orderly to Lord Raglan during the Crimean campaign, and was a ‘First Class Equitation Instructor’ with twelve years in Her Majesty's Service.
On the 21st August 1882, Hazell opened the ‘Auckland Select Riding School’ on the Great North road.
With troubles happening in the Sudan; on the 24th February 1885, Hazell offered the Minister of Defence. — “His own services and the use of his riding school for the instruction of a cavalry troop in mounted and dismounted drill with swords, carbines and lance exercises, free of all charge, if it is determined to send such a force to the Soudan.”

The formal enrolment of the Auckland Volunteer Cavalry Corps took place on the 25th April 1885, at Mr Hazell's riding school.
Thirty members were enrolled, and Richard Seccombe (Founder of the Great Northern Brewery) was appointed captain.
Mr Woolfield was elected Lieutenant (Resigned February 1886)
Charles Johnson was elected Sub-Lieutenant (Elected first Lieutenant 25th February 1886)
The services of the Auckland Cavalry Volunteers were gazetted as a ‘garrison corps’ in May 1885, with the date of acceptance, 30th April 1885.

In early 1886, Captain Charles Ross Cholmondeley Smith (Ex Prince Alfred Light Horse) formed a second troop of Auckland Cavalry, named the ‘B’ or ‘left’ troop.
The first parade of about 30 members in uniform was held mid February 1886 at Davenport.
Gazetted February 1886. — “The Government have been pleased to accept the services of B Troop of the Auckland Cavalry as an honorary corps.”

‘B’ Troop being formed as an ‘honorary corps’ is easiest explained as being accepted for service with no claim to capitation from the Government.
Interestingly, the Auckland Cavalry that were gazetted as a ‘garrison corps’ were eligible for capitation to help with the costs.

The NZ Gazette 6th July 1887 notifies that. —
“The following corps comprise the 1st regiment of New Zealand Cavalry Volunteers, designated as follows: —
A troop, or Waiuku Cavalry Volunteers.
B troop, or Alexandra Cavalry Volunteers.
C troop, or Wairoa Light Horse Volunteers.
D troop, or Te Awamutu Cavalry Volunteers.
E troop, or Heretaunga Light Horse Volunteers.
F troop, or Rangitikei Cavalry Volunteers.
G troop, or Auckland Cavalry Volunteers.”
(The ‘1st regiment of New Zealand Cavalry Volunteers’ was disbanded on the 1st January 1889)

The Auckland Cavalry Volunteers were disbanded on the 3rd November 1887.

South Franklin Mounted Infantry Volunteers
The services of the South Franklin Mounted Infantry were gazetted in June 1885, as being accepted as a Garrison Corps, with the date of acceptance, 28th May 1885.
Major Benjamin (Ben) Harris, who had served under Colonel Nixon in the Otahuhu cavalry volunteers, was elected commanding officer of the troop.
Elected Lieutenants were Mr Bilkie and Mr Webster.

The uniform was a dark blue tunic with yellow facings, grey trousers, and French shako.
The November 1885 roll, shows the South Franklin Mounted Infantry strength as 45 members.

The South Franklin Mounted Infantry (Also known as the ‘Pukekohe Mounted Infantry’) were disbanded in 1897.
This was most likely due to the final annual report of Colonel F. J. Fox, (Military Adviser and Inspector of the New Zealand Forces) submitted to the Government stating his evaluation of the South Franklin Mounted Infantry as being “inefficient throughout.”

Auckland Royal Lancers
George Hazell who had been instrumental in the formation of the Auckland Cavalry Volunteers was also instrumental in the formation of the Auckland Royal Lancers.

The Auckland Royal Lancers was formed on the 9th September 1895 (Gazetted 4/1896)

The appointed officers were Captain D. Kempt and Lieutenant A. O. Carter.
George Hazell was appointed Instructor and Sergeant Major.

On the 9th November 1885, the Auckland Royal Lancers, comprising of 12 men under the command of ‘Instructor Hazell,’ are recorded as being employed as scouts for the defending force, in the largest military training exercise ever held in Auckland during the 1800s. (24 corps, totalling 1500 men)

The ‘sham fight’ as it was called, consisted of an attacking force of 500 men (Representing Russians) landing from the sea at several different locations.
Due to low tides the landings were delayed and the Auckland cavalry corps (Waiuku, Te Awamutu, Auckland Cavalry and South Franklin Mounted) in most cases was able to push the attacking force back to the sea.
However, two parties of about 35 or 40 Russians (Naval Volunteers), who had effected a landing, made it into Auckland. One group pulled the flags down in the City Park, and hoisted the Russian flag, the other group stuck up the Bank of New Zealand, and demanded the keys of the strong room.
Sir George Whitmore as umpire, declared the battle a draw.

I think it is worth mentioning that prior to 1885, Volunteering had steadily declined in Auckland, until there was only five volunteer companies in existence in the City.
The cause of the great “volunteer revival of 1885,” was the prospect of war between Russia and Great Britain. The war cloud seemed ready to burst at any moment, and great preparations were made throughout the British Empire to strengthen the defences of Her Majesty's widespread dominions.
Volunteer companies sprang up overnight and nineteen were formed in the space of three months in the Auckland district.
(As soon as the ‘war scare’ was over many of these units disbanded)

The Auckland Royal Lancers had formed quite late in 1885, by which time the Government had exhausted its supply of arms and accoutrements. It appears that the Auckland Lancers did not receive their arms until 1886.

Sergeant-Major George Hazell died of heart disease on the 27th August 1886.

The Auckland Royal Lancers appear to have been amalgamated with the Auckland Royal Dragoons, when the latter was formed on the 3rd February 1887.

Auckland Royal Dragoons
The Auckland Royal Dragoons were formed early January 1887, and accepted for service on the 3rd February 1887. (Gazette 9/1897)

On the 13th July 1887, the Auckland Royal Dragoons, were posted to the ‘1st New Zealand Regiment of Cavalry’ as ‘H troop.’

Officers — Unknown.
Strength — Unknown.

The Auckland Royal Dragoons was disbanded on the 23rd July 1888 (Gazette 43/1888)

Auckland Squadron Roll, 1890 – 1895
Waiuku Mounted Rifles. —
1890 — 70
1891 — 67
1892 — 68
1893 — 56
1894 — 59
1895 — 59
Disbanded in October 1895.

Te Awamutu Mounted Rifles. —
1890 — 45
1891 — 49
1892 — 57
1893 — 49
1894 — 46
1895 — 46
Disbanded in August 1896.

South Franklin Mounted Rifles. —
1890 — 56
1891 — 48
1892 — 42
1893 — 61
1894 — 60
1895 — 52
The South Franklin Mounted Rifles are regularly mentioned within the ‘Auckland District Orders,’ up until the 7th January 1897, where the South Franklin Mounted Rifles are ordered to parade on the 23rd January 1897, for inspection and Drill.
I can only speculate that the South Franklin Mounted Rifles were disbanded shortly after January 1897.
Introduction of the Khaki Uniform.
In June 1883 the British War Office allowed Khaki to be worn on service abroad, the scarlet tunics would continue to be the national uniform.

In Wellington on the 6th February 1891 the New Zealand Minister of Defence approved of the new undress uniform for volunteers.
It was simply described “the colour is brown and the material similar to khaki”.
Ten days later the Australian Defence Commission would recommend the abolition of the scarlet uniform and the adoption, except for artillery, of a khaki coloured dress.

The first unit to adopt Khaki in New Zealand was the Heretaunga Mounted Rifles who paraded in their new khaki uniforms in March 1891, during the Easter Encampment. The following is a description of that uniform.

“Jacket of the Hussar pattern, the undress being a patrol jacket, breeches, soft felt hat looped up at the side with a brass ornament holding the hook. The officers wear gold Russian braiding on their velvet collar and cuffs, the non-commissioned officers, gold tracing braid on the collars and shoulder straps, with a crow's foot. The private’s tunics are the same with plain collar and cuffs, and brown leather waist belts. The leggings are of the mounted infantry pattern, and the spurs are the short neck Royal Artillery Drivers pattern. Captain Loveday who takes a great interest in his troop has adopted the plan of ordering from Home saddlery for the whole troop of a uniform character, and he has also a pattern forage cap coming out. The uniform is one taking at first, but I must confess that after a while it loses its attractiveness, though it is true that in the sham fight they were the hardest to pick up.”

It is worth mentioning at this point that the Defence Minister was reluctant for the Khaki felt hat to be adopted officially. The reasoning simply was based on a large stock of unissued Glengarry caps held in government stores.
Mr C. H. Mills was to become an advocate for the Khaki Felt Hat and challenged the Defence Minister at Parliament level that the regulations should be altered so that Glengarry caps shall be considered undress uniform, and order the Khaki felt hats to be worn with full dress uniform.

All evidence seems to point to the Mosgiel Woollen Factory Company being given the contract for the manufacture of the Khaki cloth for the new uniforms to be made for the New Zealand Volunteers. (April 1891)
The New Zealand Clothing Factory was given the contract for the manufacture of the Khaki uniforms.

In July 1891 during a Parliamentary session in Wellington, the Defence Minister stated he had no objection to the use of Glengarry caps by volunteers as part of the undress uniform and khaki felt hats for full dress, if it is so desired. The dress regulations were duly amended.

The first Khaki uniform hats to be imported from London under the new dress regulations arrived on the 7th August 1891. The Defence Department through the New Zealand Clothing Factory specially supervised the order.
The hats were very similar to those of the Heretaunga Mounted Rifles, mainly differing in puggarees. Instead of a white puggaree the Defence Department altered the puggaree to maroon in colour.
The Marlborough Mounted Rifles were the first to receive the new hats.

It is worth mentioning that Khaki uniforms were not liked by everyone, some companies were slow to adopt due to costs, others were not ready to give up the colourful uniforms for khaki.
On the 30th September 1897, the NZ Government decided to allow it to be optional with volunteer corps whether they retain the present uniforms or adopt the khaki dress.
“There is much discontent at the prospect of having to adopt the new uniforms, and as the Premier found that in England they have what is known as a dress service uniform, varying in different companies, the Government have decided to amend the regulations Accordingly”.

It could be said that the Boer war was the first time that New Zealand achieved total uniformity of its uniforms with its military contribution.

Dress Regulations, New Zealand Defence Forces (NZ Gazette No. 69 September 1895)

Mounted Rifles.

Mess Dress (optional)

As per Imperial Dress Regulations for Infantry, silver being substituted for gold lace, and with scarlet facings.

Uniform.
Jackets. — Norfolk-jacket pattern; material, indigo blue diagonal cloth; a single plait 1 ¼ inch in width, with openings towards edges of garment, stitched from the top to within 1 inch of second button, and again from the fifth button to the bottom of both sides; a box plait, 1 ¾ inch wide, down the centre of the back. This plait is not sewn down. The jacket to have swelled edges ¼ inch in width, sewn and stitched with silk; lining to be of black verona, with plaits corresponding to those on outside; sleeves lined with drab silesia; front facings to be 3inche wide, of same material as the garment.
Length of jacket for man 5ft. 10in. to be 30 inches from collar to bottom at back, and 29 inches from the base of collar to bottom in front, the corners to be cut square; the jacket to be cut very full over breast, closing in to the figure at waist; the back to fit the figure; two seams in back at sides, the body of the garment being in three pieces; inside pocket left breast in lining; the garment to be stayed throughout with linen; a black waist hook (ordinary pattern) on each side, to be stayed up to the arm hole; collar, scarlet cloth, stiffened with buckram and lined with blue cloth of same material as garment; height of collar not less than 1 ¾ inches, or more than 2 inches, points slightly rounded; black patent-leather tab 3inches by 1 ½ inches, to be sewn on left side; black hook and eye in seam of collar; shoulder-straps to be of the same material as garment, but double, and piped with scarlet cloth, 2 ¾ inches wide at base, tapering to 1 ¼ inches across button hole, ends to be rounded; button holes to be 5/8 inch from end; an Austrian knot of scarlet tubular worsted braid, ¼ inch wide, on each sleeve; top of knot 8 inches from bottom of sleeve; width of knot, 3 ½ inches, the braid to run round the sleeve 1 ½ inches from bottom at back, the ends to be secured in seam; six buttons of universal pattern down front, a row of stitching beneath the buttons; top button 1 inch from base of collar and 1 ¾ inches from edge of garment, bottom button to be in such position that the waist-belt rests upon it; buttons of shoulder-straps of smaller size, universal pattern, to be placed ¾ inch from base of collar; badges of arm of service to be placed 2 inches from hook and eye, in centre of collar on each side; the letters (NZMR = Mounted Rifles, A = Auckland, W = Wellington, N = Nelson, C = Canterbury, O = Otago) on shoulder-straps to be 1 inch from base of strap to centre of letters.

Trousers (optional). — Same material as jacket, Imperial infantry pattern, as sealed, ¼ inch scarlet cloth welt down side seams. This garment, being optional, is not to be worn on any parade, but may be worn at balls, &c., when in uniform.

Pantaloons. — Material, cotton cord, as per sealed pattern; colour drab. To be made easy to below the knee, and tight from that to bottom; cross-pockets of linen on each side; linings of waistband fly, crutch, and opening at bottom of leg also to be linen; buttons brass; one at front of waistband, five on fly, and two at opening at bottom of leg; opening to be 5 inches; a scarlet welt, ¼ inch, to be let into side-seam of legs.

Helmet. — Blue cloth, universal pattern, brass mountings with ball, plate of approved design, measuring 4 ¼ inches in height by 3 ¼ inches width; chin-chain lined with black leather, fastened at each side by a rose and screw-nut.

Cap. — Blue cloth, field service, Imperial pattern, trimmed with scarlet-worsted Russia braid 1/8 inch wide, with badge of arm of service, and “N.Z.,” as laid down in General Instructions, paragraphs 2 and 6. Buttons, universal pattern, of service size.

Boots. — Black leather, laced.

Spurs. — Plated or white metal, hunting pattern, not to exceed 2 inches in neck; straps and guard black leather, under-straps leather or chain.

Leggings.
— Brunnswick-brown leather, universal pattern, as sealed, not to exceed 13 ½ inches in height; stayed inside all round with 1 ½ inch leather seam as leggings, secured by two rows of stitching; a stay of extra thick leather 1 ½ inch wide up the inside, covering the back seam, secured by two rows of stitching on each side of back seam; a strengthening band of leather 5/8 inch wide round the top, within ½ inch of top, and to carry top buckle and form top tab, four other buckles below; all buckles to be brass, with roller, and 5/8 inch inside measurement.

Greatcoat. — Imperial pattern, as for Imperial Cavalry; buttons of New Zealand universl pattern.
Auckland Mounted Rifle Volunteers. 1897 – 1910
On the 1st of April 1897, Lieutenant Colonel J. H. Banks was appointed to the command of the Auckland district.
The Auckland military district at this point was again at an all time low, with no mounted troops.
Having served in the 12th (Prince of Wales) Royal Lancers and the 7th Dragoon Guards (Princess Royals), Colonel Banks recognised the value of a mounted corps, and was instrumental in the formation of the Waikato Mounted Rifles.

No. 1 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifle Volunteers (Hamilton)
When Colonel Fox, the former commandant, made his final report, he severely criticised the drill and efficiency of many volunteer corps, and commended Captain Reid's Hamilton Light Infantry as one of the best drilled companies in the colony.
(Captain James Reid formed the Hamilton Light Infantry Volunteers on the 22nd March 1887)

The Hamilton Light Infantry under Captain Reid with a muster of 71 men and horses, were inspected by Colonel Banks in Hamilton on the 10th July 1897, with a view of reporting on their fitness to be converted into a Mounted Rifle Corps.
The inspection, drill and passing of horses (quoted as remarkably good condition) met with Colonel Banks approval.
By the time the parade was over the Hamilton Light Infantry had transformed into the ‘Waikato Mounted Rifle Volunteers’
(Referred to as the ‘Hamilton Mounted Rifles’ in the August 1897 Auckland district orders)

It appears the Hamilton Light Infantry had a section of men that were from Cambridge, these became the ‘Cambridge Detachment, Waikato Mounted Rifles.’

Captain James Reid was also instrumental in forming the second and third companies of the Waikato Mounted Infantry. In January 1900, he was transferred to the Permanent Staff as District Adjutant of Auckland.
Other officers of the newly formed Waikato Mounted Rifles were Lieutenants Farrar and Hunt.

When the second Waikato mounted company was formed in August 1898, the Hamilton troop title was changed to the “No. 1 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifle Volunteers.”

Captain James Reid
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In general, it was not required to disband a corps when they changed to a different branch of service.
However, a re-election of officers was usually carried out, and change of name would require official approval and would normally be gazetted.

No. 2 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifle Volunteers (Te Awamutu)
Following in the footsteps of Major William Jackson, Captain Reid at the beginning of July 1898, organised meetings in various parts of the Waikato district, including Te Awamutu and Kihikihi, with a view to form branch companies of the Waikato Mounted Rifles.

Officers. — Captain E. Aubin

The services of No. 2 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifle Volunteers with Headquarters at Te Awamutu, was accepted on the 28th July 1898.

Auckland Mounted Rifle Volunteers.
The Auckland Mounted Rifles were first organised through the energy of Harry Banks (Son of Lieut.-Colonel Banks). In this work he was ably assisted by Sergeant-Major Evans. When the required number of forty was enrolled, Colonel Banks inspected the troop, instructed the men in field movements and conducted various drills.
The election to appoint the officers of the Auckland Mounted Rifles was carried out between the drills.

William D. Holgate was elected Captain.
Harry Cecil Banks was elected Lieutenant
Thomas Taylor was elected Sub Lieutenant

The Auckland Mounted Rifles was gazetted in November 1898 with the acceptance date of 31st October 1898.

The Auckland Mounted Rifles supplied eight men for the First Contingent, seven men and one officer (Lieut. Banks) for the Second, and three men to the RoughRiders. Five of the number were selected as non-commissioned officers to the contingents, four as senior sergeants, and one as a corporal.

No. 3 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifle Volunteers (Cambridge)
Unfortunately, No. 3 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifles is somewhat of an enigma. It appears they were formed late 1898, with the Defence Department accepting their services on the 2nd February 1899.
The ‘No. 3 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifles’ is mentioned in the ‘Auckland district orders,’ dated the 6th January 1899.

David Corbett records in his book “The Regimental Badges of New Zealand,” that the ‘No. 3 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifles’ was formed on the 28 October 1899.

Elected officers were Captain J. R. S. Richardson and Lieutenants W. Wallace and C. C. Buckland.

The Cambridge Company included members from Kihikihi, these were known as the ‘Kihikihi Detachment, No. 3 Company, Waikato Mounted Rifles.’

Boer War
On the 12th October 1899, Britain and her Colonial allies (New Zealand) were officially at war with the South African Republic.

The Prime Minister Mr R. Seddon, in the course of a speech to one of the departing New Zealand contingents, said “the historian of the future would have more to say of what New Zealand was doing in connection with the South African war than the people themselves had to say at the present moment.”

The strength of the New Zealand Volunteer Corps just prior to the Boer war is estimated at around 4,000 men, during the war this number is estimated to have grown to 18,000 men.

The Government was responsible for suppling each mounted volunteer with the following items. —
1 x rifle, 1x sling, 1 x sight protector, 1 x pull-through, 1 x oil bottle, 1 x bandolier, 1 x waist belt, 1 x pouch, 1 x bayonet, 1 x scabbard, 1 x frog, 1 x water bottle and strap.
100 rounds of ammunition (extra ammunition at cost price)
Capitation payment (after 1 year efficient service) of £3 15s towards uniform costs.
Volunteers were required to spend ten days in the year in camp, and attend six daylight parades within the first six months.
The Government allowed 3s per day for parade, 2/6 for horse, and 1/6 for man per day in camp.

Until the capitation was paid out, the mounted volunteer was responsible for suppling the following items. —
Troop horse - £12 10s, saddle - £5, saddle cloth - 10s, breastplate - 15s, headstall bridle and bit - 24s 6d, cotton head rope - 4s, brushes, rubber, etc - 5s, cover - 22s 6d, nosebag - 3s 6d.
Khaki uniform and soft felt hat - £2 15s, field service cap - 5s 3d, plumes - 4s 3d, leggings – 8s, spurs - 5s 6d, and greatcoat - 30s. (Approx values)

In April 1900, the volunteer regulations were amended, making the maximum number for a Mounted Corps 84 men and officers, and the minimum 59.

Generally speaking, many of the early volunteer companies that were formed during the war were required to adopt the khaki uniform as part of the conditions for being accepted for service.

Around the 13th November 1900, an order issued by the Defence Department stated. —
“It has been decided to adopt a national uniform for the New Zealand Volunteer Force, as follows: – Khaki colour, quite plain, but with distinctive coloured piping around cuffs, collar and shoulder straps for the various battalions. The distinctive badges for corps to be worn on the shoulder straps. A national badge will be designed to be worn on the collar. Slouch hats will be worn, with plume or single imitation huia feather, for full-dress. Field caps with battalion badge, brown leather gaiters, and black boots. Special dress will, however, be allowed for Highland corps. Officers commanding districts are invited to submit designs for the national badge referred to.”

On the 4th December 1900 the Defence Department made the following public announcement. —
“A new woollen khaki cloth has been adopted by the Defence Department, and a sample of the same can be seen by any clothing firm on Friday evening next. No other description of cloth will be permitted by the Department, and all corps adopting new uniforms must submit sample for approval.”

It is worth mentioning that due to the large number of volunteer companies being formed and accepted for service, shortages of khaki material for uniforms, arms and accoutrements were common.

Marsden Mounted Rifle Volunteers (Whangarei)
It appears after the commencement of the South African War the Marsden Mounted Rifle Volunteers was the first mounted company in the Auckland district to be established, with its members being the first to be sworn in by the district adjutant, Captain Reid.
(Also known as the Whangarei Mounted Rifle Volunteers)

On the 2nd February 1900, a meeting for the purpose of forming a mounted corps for the Whangarei district was held at the Theatre Royal with his Worship the Mayor presiding. (35 members signed up)

On the 10th February 1900, a meeting was held in the Maungakaramea hall to recruit members from that neighbourhood. These men formed the “Maungakaramea division, Marsden Mounted Rifle Volunteers.” (29 members signed up)

George Clark–Walker was elected as Captain.
James Drury was elected as Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Mundell was elected in charge of the Maungakaramea division.

The Governor accepted the services of the Marsden Mounted Rifle Volunteers with headquarters at Whangarei on the 5th April 1900.

The Marsden Mounted Rifles received their rifles (Martini-Enfield 303 pattern) and part of the accoutrements on the 18th September 1900.

The Marsden Mounted Rifles adopted the full dress uniform in August 1902.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mackesy, Commander of the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, Main Body, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, joined the Marsden Mounted Rifles as a trooper in 1900.

Piako Mounted Rifles Volunteers (Te Aroha)
The Te Aroha Rifles Volunteers were formed on the 5th September 1892.

Te Aroha Rifles Volunteers, Circa 1898.
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21st February 1900
“As many members of the Te Aroha Rifles are anxious to become a mounted infantry corps. A requisition to that effect is being circulated among them. Waihou, Waitoa, and Morrinsville are said to be taking up the project heartily.”

On the 5th April 1900, Colonel Pole-Penton sent Mr William Herries, (Member of the House of Representatives, Bay of Plenty) the following telegram. —
“The Government has sanctioned the exchange of the Te Aroha Rifles into a mounted corps.”

On the 6th September 1900, it is gazetted that. —
“The name of the Te Aroha Mounted Rifles has been changed to Piako Mounted Rifles.”

Officers — Captain Cochrane, Lieutenant Strange, Lieutenant Francis Joseph Marshall.

Piako Mounted Rifle Volunteers, 7th December 1900.
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Pukekohe Mounted Rifle Volunteers
The Governor accepted the services of the Pukekohe Mounted Rifle Volunteers with headquarters at Pukekohe on the 11th April 1900.
The elected officers were Lieutenants Henry Dell, A. Connell, and J. W. Johns.

Pukekohe Mounted Rifles, 21st December 1900
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Franklin Mounted Rifles Volunteers (Clevedon)
On the 31st March 1900, a meeting was held at Clevedon to consider the advisability of forming a volunteer corps in the Wairoa South district; Mr. Leddra Wallis occupying the chair. A motion was unanimously carried to form a Mounted Rifle Corps, and at the meeting forty-six gave in their names as being willing to join. A committee was formed to canvass the district, and, when sufficient names were obtained, to offer the company's services to the Government.

On the 2nd of June, 1900, a meeting of intending members of the Franklin Mounted Rifles was held, when Captain Reid was present, and sixty men were sworn in. Captain Fawcett was elected captain, but resigned in February 1901, and was succeeded by Captain Leddra Wallis, who had previously held the rank of first lieutenant in the corps.
William John Hyde was elected second lieutenant.

The Franklin Mounted Rifles Volunteers was gazetted as being accepted for service on the 16th of May 1900.

Captain Leddra Wallis, Franklin Mounted Rifles.
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Lieutenant William John Hyde, Franklin Mounted Rifles.
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Lieutenant Andrew Shaw, Franklin Mounted Rifles.
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Franklin Mounted Rifles, 21st December 1900.


Seddon Light Horse Mounted Rifle Volunteers (Auckland)

It appears that an organising committee for forming a mounted rifle corps in the Waitemata and lake Takapuna area, approached the Prime Minister Mr R. Seddon while on a visit to the area, to seek his approval for the formation of a mounted corps and naming it in his honour.

On the 23rd June 1900, forty-eight members of the newly formed Seddon Horse, paraded in Auckland before Lieut -Colonel Banks and Adjutant Reid. (Sixteen of the horses were pronounced unfit for service).
An election of officers was carried out, with John Iredale unanimously elected as Captain, Harry Cotes and Francis Harry Brittain elected Lieutenants.
(Without Seddon’s approval, it would be unlikely, due to member numbers and unfit horses, that the corps would have been accepted for service.)

The official formation date of the Seddon Light Horse is the 9th May 1900.