Sergeant George Steer Smith, 1st Waikato Regiment
New Zealand War Medal - 1st Waikato
The New Zealand War Medal, dated 1861 - 1866, awarded to Sgt. George Steer Smith of the 1st Waikato Regiment.
Some information on George Smith is drawn from The New Zealand Medal to Colonials by Richard Stowers. Smith was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1830 and enlisted in the 1st Waikato Regiment in Melbourne, Australia on 1st September 1863. He arrived in New Zealand in October 1863. Smith served with the Imperial Commisariat Transport Corps, and with No. 3 Company, 1st Waikato Regiment. On his medal claim he stated that he served on the bush campaign in Tauranga in early 1867, including the actions at Te Irihanga, Whakamarama and Te Akeake. His medal was approved and announced in the New Zealand gazette of 12 October 1871.
From Cowan, Vol II: "In the early part of 1867 the tribe called Piri-Rakau (“Cling to the Forest”), descended from ancient aboriginal clans, came into conflict with the Government forces in a series of sharp skirmishes along the northern edge of the bush-covered tableland in rear of Tauranga Harbour. These Piri-Rakau, assisted by parties of men from other districts, were all Hauhaus, and the Pai-marire pole of worship was a feature of each village. The edge of the Hautere plateau, much dissected by ravines, at a general altitude of 1,100 feet above the sea, was the scene of engagements in which a few Imperial troops co-operated with the Colonial Militia and a contingent of Arawa Maoris against numerous war-parties of the bush-dwellers. The conditions of campaigning were difficult because of the very broken character of the country, but the Arawa friendlies and a few skilful colonials made conditions so precarious for the Hauhaus by seeking them out in their bush villages and destroying their crops that the little campaign soon convinced the rebels of the futility of active resistance."
The medal is correctly impressed SERGTt G. SMITH. 1st WAIKATO REGt
It appears to have been broach-mounted at some stage, with repairs evidence on the obverse.