Australasia 1864: Invasion of the Waikato
In 1858 a Māori King was proclaimed in the Waikato, with many tribes from across New Zealand pledging support. Seeing this King Movement as a threat to colonial rule, the British invaded the Waikato in 1863–64, driving the King and his Kingite supporters into the interior of the North Island.
13 Mar 1862 Queensland boundary change▲
When Queensland’s western boundary was first defined in 1859, it was only done so with respect to South Australia—the continuation of the border due north along the 141st meridian east in the region north of South Australia was assumed but not specified. By 1860 Queenslanders were advocating shifting that section of the boundary westwards to encompass the ‘Plains of Promise’ (the region where Burketown would be built). On 13 March 1862 Queen Victoria authorized the Letters Patent altering the western boundary of Queensland, shifting the border westwards to the 138th meridian east and thereby annexing to that colony 302,600 square kilometers that had previously been assigned to New South Wales.
15 Jun 1862–1879 Blackbirding era▲
In 1862–63 Peruvian ships combed the smaller islands of Polynesia, using trickery and kidnapping to bring locals back to their country to work on plantations, to mine guano, or become domestic servants. By 1863 the Australian colonies had begun taking up this practise of ‘blackbirding’, with Fijian plantations following suit in 1865. Although it soon became widespread, blackbirding was officially condemned by the governments of the time and the British deployed warships to the Pacific to suppress it. The heyday of blackbirding ended in the late 1870s, when the British began transporting Indian indentured laborers to Fiji and tighter colonial control began to be extended to the region.
4 Apr 1863–17 Oct 1866 Second Taranaki War▲
In April 1863 British troops occupied Taranaki lands disputed with the Māori. When the New Zealand government refused to return some occupied land, despite investigations showing that the Māori claims were right, Taranaki Māori ambushed British forces near New Plymouth. Following the conquest of the Waikato in 1863–64, freed-up British troops were sent to settle the matter in Taranaki before being withdrawn from the country. In 1866 General Chute marched northwest from Wanganui, completing a circuit of Mount Taranaki in a scorched-earth campaign which temporarily ended fighting in the region.
6 Jul 1863 Northern Territory of South Australia▲
In July 1863 Alexandra Land was transferred from New South Wales to South Australia by Royal Letters Patent, rewarding South Australia’s efforts to explore the region in preparation for the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line. South Australia annexed the land as its “Northern Territory” and immediately began plans to build a port on its north coast. In 1864 South Australian pioneers established the settlement of Palmerston at Escape Cliffs but were forced to abandon it by early 1867.
12 Jul 1863–2 Apr 1864 Invasion of the Waikato▲
Following growing tensions between Auckland and the Māori King movement, and a buildup of British troops under the oversight of Governor George Grey, war broke out when General Cameroon’s forces crossed the Mangatawhiri River into Kingite territory. Following the Waikato River, Cameron stormed the heavily fortified Kingite position at Rangiriri in November, capturing King Tāwhiao’s capital of Ngāruawāhia the next month. The British seizure of the Waikato region was completed in April 1864, when Cameron defeated the Kingite general Rewi Maniapoto at Ōrākau and the remaining Kingites fled south into the interior of the North Island.
21 Jan–21 Jun 1864 Tauranga Campaign▲
In January 1864 Māori from New Zealand’s East Coast attempted to march across the country to support the Kingite cause in the Waikato. Those traveling inland were driven back at Rotoiti by pro-British Arawa tribes in March while British troops were landed at Tauranga in January–April to block the coastal route. Despite suffering heavy casualties at Gate Pā, the British secured control of the region by late June.
11 Jun 1864–1867 West Coast Gold Rush▲
In June 1864 several emaciated prospectors arrived near Queenstown, in Otago Province in the British colony of New Zealand, with reports of finding a gold field on the West Coast. At about the same time, surveyor W. H. Revell informed the Provincial Government of Canterbury that substantial amounts of gold existed near Hokitika in the West Coast. The reports sent thousands of prospectors to the sparsely populated region, boosting Hokitika’s population to 25,000 in 1866.