#135: News+New Bio Te Ruki Kawiti, Innovative Warrior

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Edge Message #135 from Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM | From New York


NZEDGE.COM publishes daily on Facebook and Twitter. This newsletter presents a selection of New Zealanders appearing in the world’s media in the last week.

Stock market NZX one of the best performing in the world in 2011, up 5% – Reuters
Aviation companies keen to explore booming Indian airspace market – The Economic Times
Wine producers, following screwtops, switch to plastic bottles, retaining taste – Reuters Africa
Peter Jackson says his hobbits have healthy disregard for Middle-earth icons – Empire
Anna Paquin, True Blood, simmers in sequins for exclusive LA shoot – V Magazine
Royal NZ Ballet repertory for UK tour international as it is eclectic – Guardian
Janet Frame’s Living in the Maniatoto involves one of fiction’s oddest acts of kindness – WSJ
Thom Powers, Naked and nearly Famous in Europe; tour continues – Irish Independent
Karen Walker’s “mad-scientist-type” sunglasses a summer must-wear – Orange City County
Waiheke Island welcomes with hillside of bare-bottomed sentinels – Guardian
Franz Josef glacier “a wonder to behold” at the edge of fairytale forest – Int Business Times
New Zealand scientists track great white sharks on tropical return trips – The Philippine Star
Native Parks
“an ingenious scheme” permitting campervanners free local stays – Guardian
Jacko Gill, 16, smashes own world youth shot put record with 24.35m throw – USA Today
NZ Under-20s win Junior World Cup final v England in “brutal, adult encounter” – Mail Online
Dan Carter “always knew where he came from”; reminisces at Boys’ High – Telegraph
Dan Carter has “hopes of NZ resting on his shoulders ahead of Cup” – Wall Street Journal
Ted Jones, pioneering neuroscientist; authority on brain anatomy, dies, 72 – LA Times

See all stories and a 7,000 story archive of international New Zealand news 2000-2011 at NZEDGE/MEDIA.

 


 

NZEDGE LEGEND – TE RUKI KAWITI

A new story in the 40-strong gallery of world-changing New Zealanders of nzedge.com is of Maori Tohunga Te Ruki Kawiti, researched and written by Wellington historian Craig J. Williams. Kawiti was a mastermind of modern warfare. Throughout the New Zealand land wars of the 1800s he developed increasingly advanced trench fortifications that not only stood up to intense military action from the British troops, but left them admiring their structure over the years to come. Here are extracts:

On the 11th of January 1846, about 20 kilometres from the township of Russell, British soldiers entered the Bats Nest; a fortification belonging to New Zealand chieftain Te Ruki Kawiti. Non-European fortifications in New Zealand were more commonly called pa and had always been a part of ancient warfare but the aptly named Bats Nest was no ordinary pa. Within its four meter high palisades lay a labyrinth of reinforced tunnels bunkers and trenches. The Bats Nest was Kawiti’s response to Britain’s heavy artillery but it was not the first time he had built a fortification consisting of trenches and bunkers. A similar fortification had been built eight months earlier to fight Britain’s 58th regiment. The Bats Nest, however, was Kawiti’s magnum opus; an engineering marvel that so impressed the British, they made not one but two models of it …

… Kawiti’s innovations become a feature of Maori military tactics during the remaining years of New Zealand Wars. Many of the men who had fought at Ohaeawai and Ruapekapeka had come from other parts of the country. Furthermore, messengers took models of Ohaeawai around the country and back to their tribal jurisdictions. During the 1860s, his firing trenches, communication trenches, double palisades, pekerangi, firing loopholes, flanking angles, reinforced tunnels, and anti-artillery bunkers were replicated in fortifications throughout the nation. “Borrowing” from Kawiti’s success at Ohaeawai, indigenous New Zealanders won numerous battles against their British foe, despite the fact that they were greatly outnumbered and only part-time soldiers.

On the 8th May,1845. Marines & Sailors of H. M. Ships North Star and Hazard against the combined forces of the rebels Heke & Kawiti / C. Bridge. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Reference number: A-079-008

…Following the New Zealand Wars, the name Te Ruki Kawiti became increasingly obscure – his engineering feats and Ruapekapeka were sadly forgotten, with lesser men of his generation receiving far more kudos. However, on February the 16th 2008, after more than 150 years of obscurity, Te Ruki Kawiti’s engineering achievements were finally honoured. Ruapekapeka pa, his magnum opus, was recognised by the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ) as a national site of engineering significance. Today, Ruapekapeka pa stands alongside other important engineering icons such as the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the Hamilton jet unit. Te Ruki Kawiti is once again being remembered as an outstanding Maori leader and innovative New Zealander.

Ruapekapeka: A computer generated three dimensional picture of Kawiti’s Engineering masterpiece

Research and story by Craig J. Williams, who has previously written biographies for nzedge.com of pioneering surgeons Harold Gillies and Archibald McIndoe. Born in Hastings, Craig moved with his family to Sydney when he was 13 years of age. He attended high school in Sydney and later began a colourful working career, firstly as a shipping agent and then as a private investigator for a small company in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. His experiences as an investigator generated an interest in human behaviour. In 1986 he returned to New Zealand where he began studying sociology, history and psychology at Victoria University (Wellington). After graduating from Victoria with a BA, BSc and MSc in psychology, he took up contract work as a social and behavioural scientist specialising in criminal behaviour. He currently consults to a number of government organisations.

8200 words. www.nzedge.com/heroes/kawiti

Below is direct access to the biographies we have produced at nzedge.com. The full listing is at www.nzedge.com/heroes.

Aitken | Alda | Alley | Atack | Batten | Bowen | Britten | Brydone/Davidson | Buck | Burchfield | Dickie |Frame | Gillies | Godward | Hamilton | Hillary | Hudson | Jackson | Kawiti | Lovelock | Lydiard |MacDiarmid | Mansfield | McCahon | McIndoe | McLaren | Morton | Murdoch | Nathan | Park | Pearse |Pickering | Rout | Rutherford | Sheppard | Sinel | Smith | Tinsley | Upham | Wake | Williams | Wilkins |Wilson

 

Top picture, Raumati South, New Zealand. More pictures at www.paradiseroad.com. Fern symbol via www.nzflag.com.