Vis­i­tors can fol­low guide to Waikato War on­line

South Waikato News - - SPORT -

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.

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