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SIXTEEN years have glided like phantom ships on the vast ocean of time, and have one by one disappeared below the horizon of the past since the Waikato war convulsed the Province of Auckland. Hundreds who took part in that campaign have since died, and many hundreds are still living, not a few being amongst us at the present time in this Province of Auckland; but the middle-aged have become grey and wrinkled, and the young men middle-aged, whilst those who were at the time of the war but mere children, knowing nothing, understanding nothing of the dread pomp and circumstance of war, are now our young men, the flower and hope of the country. To this class of reader a history of the campaign in which their fathers were actors will no doubt be specially interesting. The numerous enquiries both from England and in this colony for a work on the Waikato war have induced the writer to attempt the present task. One or two works on the subject, written by Imperial Officers, have been published in England, but they are very scarce and cannot now, without some difficulty, be obtained, and, although they are excellent from a military point of view, as detailing the operations of the Imperial Forces, they have almost entirely ignored the services rendered by the Colonial Militia and Volunteers. This important omission the author has endeavoured to rectify, and has given full prominence to the services of the Colonial Forces wherever found worthy of notice.
Since the war all has changed. Townships have sprung up where clustered the native whare, and cultivated fields have taken the place of barren wastes. Tho paddle-steamer beats its way against the swift running stream of the Waikato, and the shrill scream of the railway engine startles the pukeko (swamp hen) as it rushes across the morass, over creeks, and through deep cuttings, taking a few hours on its journey when before the canoe took days. All has changed.
In placing the history of the Waikato war before the public, the author has not attempted to dive into the political history of the campaign. To do so would cause much time and trouble in gathering details from musty old Blue Books, and would not greatly interest the general reader. What the author has endeavoured to do is to give an authentic history or detailed account of the operations of both the Imperial and Colonial Forces that were engaged in the Waikato war of 1863 and 1864, obtained from the despatches of General Cameron, the author's own personal observations, and various other authentic sources. The author takes this opportunity of thanking the numerous friends who were present in the campaign and have kindly placed their memoranda at his disposal, thus enabling him to lay before the reader many interesting incidents connected with the war that have hitherto been known only to a few.
Auckland, June 23rd, 1879.
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Chief of the Ngamaniapotos.
FROM A PHOTO BY PULMAN, SHORTLAND ST.
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