Battle of Kororareka

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Battle of Kororareka
Part of the Flagstaff War
Hone Heke removing the British colors from Flagstaff Hill in Kororareka
Date 11 March 1845
Location Kororareka, New Zealand

Māori victory; Kororareka captured

  • Successful British and American rescue operations
 United Kingdom Māori
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom William Hulme Hone Heke
Te Ruki Kawiti
Land: ~140
Sea: two sloops-of-war
Casualties and losses
11 killed
~8 wounded[1]

The Battle of Kororareka, or the Burning of Kororareka, on 11 March 1845, was an engagement of the Flagstaff War in New Zealand. Following the establishment of British control of the islands, war broke out with the native population which resulted in the fall of the present day city of Russell to Māori warriors.[2]


After the Māori had removed the British colors from Flagstaff Hill in Kororareka three times, they came back to remove it again. This time Chief Hone Heke and his men were allied with Chief Te Ruki Kawiti and his followers so the two contingents attacked the British colony in a combined effort. British forces were outnumbered. The sloop-of-war HMS Hazard landed a party to aid the 96th Regiment of British Army infantry under Lieutenant Colonel William Hulme. In all there were about 140 soldiers, sailors and marines. The American sloop USS St. Louis, under Commodore Foxhall A. Parker, was also present and her crew assisted in evacuating the British citizens.[3] Heavy skirmishing lasted for a while until a large explosion destroyed all of the defender's reserve ammunition. The explosion also set a building on fire which spread. After that the British had no choice but to retreat to the harbour, taking with them the civilian population. HMS Hazard then bombarded the advancing Māori forces. Eleven British defenders were killed and at least eight others were wounded in the attack. Six men from the Hazard who died in the action are remembered by a marker in Russell; the town was mostly destroyed during the fighting.[3]

A memorial in Russell for the men of HMS Hazard who died in the battle


The last two verses of the poem England's Dead by Felicia Hemans was inscribed on the marker in memory of the six men from the Hazard who died in the action:[1][4]

England's Dead

The Warlike of the Isles
The Men of Field & Wave
Are not the rocks their funeral piles
The Seas & Shore their grave?

Go Stranger, track the Deep,
Free, free the white sails spread,
Wave may not foam, nor wild wind beat,

Where rest not Englands dead.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b King, Marie (1992). A Most Noble Anchorage: A Story of Russell and the Bay of Islands. Northland Historical Publications Society. 
  2. ^ "Battle of Kororareka". Russell Museum. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Colledge, J. J.; Ben Warlow (2006). Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy. London, England: Chatham University. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475. 
  4. ^ Morris, Edward Ellis (1890). Cassell's picturesque Australasia, Volume 4. Cassell & Company. p. 125.