NZ5 NZ Armed Constabulary, 1870
In 1867, when it seemed that all fighting in the Land Wars was over, the New Zealand Armed Constabulary was created by an Act of Parliament to replace a volunteer militia system that had proved unsatisfactory. The new force was to combine the functions of military and police, and at its wartime peak consisted of nine companies each of 60 to 100 men.
In 1868 the Armed Constabulary undertook action against the Hauhau guerilla leader Te Kooti, and until 1870 saw action in the Bay of Plenty, Taupo, East Coast, Taranaki and Waikato districts of the North Island.
To assist in the pursuit of Te Kooti, Maori friendly to the Crown were recruited into the Armed Constabulary to form the Arawa Flying Column, and comprised of two companies each of 100 men. Whilst the Arawa were engaged in the pursuit of Te Kooti the other divisions performed garrison and patrol duties on the borders of European occupied land. Hostilities came to an end in 1872 with the pardon of Te Kooti under the Amnesty Act.
The Defence Act of 1886 divided the force into the separate roles of permanent militia and the New Zealand Police.
This set shows them in shirt sleeves and with blankets or shawls around their waists to allow for the rigours of wet bush and the crossing of rivers and streams (a practise common to the Armed Constabulary).