Visitors can follow guide to Waikato War online
A new digital resource launched by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust will give Kiwis and tourists a colourful window into the Waikato War of the 1860s – a pivotal conflict of the New Zealand Wars.
Last week marked the launch of the resource, which includes a driving tour of the key battle sites of the 1863-1864 Waikato War.
The tour is at the heart of an extensive Waikato War interpretation and education package that will give New Zealanders and tourists unprecedented access to the stories of a war that tore the country apart, before reshaping a nation.
The Waikato War is con- sidered to be the defining episode of the New Zealand Wars. It began with the invasion of Waikato by the British army in 1863.
‘‘ This resource explores some of the actions that took place leading up to, and during, the battles.
‘‘ It is also designed to encourage visitors to further understand the impacts and results of the war on the landscape and communities of the time – impacts still felt today in New Zealand communities,’’ trust spokeswoman Amy Hobbs said.
‘‘Over one million acres of land was confiscated after this war, creating dislocation of the Waikato people.’’
The driving tour takes visitors to 13 sites of relevance to the Waikato War, including the site of ‘‘Bloody Rangiriri’’, where both Maori and British troops suffered more casualties than in any other conflict in the New Zealand Wars.
‘‘At each site visitors can use their smartphone app to access audio which explains different aspects of the battle, while window signs will frame the existing landscape and sit next to artistic impressions of the landscapes of 1863 and 1864,’’ Ms Hobbs said.
Other sites on the tour include Whangamarino Redoubt, Te Wheoro Redoubt and Alexandra Redoubt, which are all managed by the Historic Places Trust .
Hamilton and Waikato Tourism chief executive Kiri Goulter said the new Waikato War experience added another layer to tourism in Waikato.
‘‘ It takes visitors on a unique journey through the historic battle sites of our region, bringing the landscapes and stories to life.
‘‘We are pleased to be able to support this excellent digital resource and promote the tour as a key part of the Hamilton and Waikato visitor experience.’’
The driving tour, map and education package is at thewaikatowar.co.nz.