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This is the story of the 8 river gunboats deployed during the British invasion of the Waikato 1863, when a force of 12000 British, Colonial and allied Maori troops invaded the Waikato region.
To reach the rich pastoral land of the Waikato interior a reliable transport route was required to move the men and their supplies. The Waikato river provided that route.
The armoured iron gunboats were deployed as a naval force and transport service to move the troops past the Maori fortifications along the river.
The Waikato Maori taking up arms against the British built sophisticated defensive lines, the first line of defence at Meremere was defended by three cannon which Maori intended to use to blow the British gunboats out of the water.
This book is about gunboats of New Zealand’s first navy, the Waikato Flotilla purpose built for the New Zealand Colonial Government
Grant was born and raised in Dunedin, spending much of his teens mucking about in small boats with the Sea Cadets, later joining the Otago Division of the Royal New Zealand Navy Volunteer Reserves. (HMNZS Toroa)
An interest in the early sailing ships that brought his family to New Zealand in the 1880’s was the start of a lifelong interest in maritime interest. Grant and wife Vicki retired to Cambridge after Grant’s 36-year career with NZ Police, where the story of the Waikato River gunboats caught his attention.
In the course of his research Grant came across an international website for paddle steamer enthusiasts (www.paddleducks.co.uk) and there made contact with Harry.