MORROW, Lt Col Arthur

Camp of the Flying Column, Wairoa District

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1863
Watercolour
250 x 540mm

This watercolour was painted when the artist was a young ensign in the Auckland Rifle Volunteers. It depicts a camp set up in September 1863 between St John’s Redoubt, Papatoetoe and the Hunua Ranges, on the west side of the Wairoa River. Māori challenged settler intrusion on their land. Raiding parties pillaged houses of outlying farmers after they had taken refuge in the stockade opposite Galloway Redoubt, at what is now Clevedon, or retreated to Papakura. The raiding parties lay in wait at the edge of the bush to cut off the routes of any settlers bold enough to try to return to their farms.

No doubt the British army formed a Flying Column in response to Māori ability at equally sudden guerilla-type attacks. The settled nature of this orderly landscape rather belies the intention that such a column be a small military unit capable of rapid mobility. Born in Ireland, Arthur Morrow arrived in Auckland in 1861 having trained for the Royal Marines and as a surveyor. His skills as a draughtsman are evident. He eventually rose to become Colonel of the Volunteers in the Waikato War following General Cameron’s long delayed advance south in July 1863. Thereafter he was to work in the Government Survey Office for many years.

After his marriage into the wealthy Buckland family he lived at Simla close to Highwic, the Buckland family home, on the rise above Newmarket, Auckland. Later he lived at Buckland’s Beach. Lieutenant Colonel Morrow retained his military title and a vigorous interest in military matters. In April 1914 he attended the fiftieth anniversary unveiling of a monument at Ōrākau, scene of the final battle of the Waikato War. In 1933, then in his nineties, he presented before an audience of gentlemen including the Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, a paper on the Defence of Auckland. He believed it vulnerable to attack and offered proposals for the city’s defence.