New Zealand Armed Constabulary garrison at Ōpepe, near Taupō, early 1870s.
In 1867, with imperial soldiers being withdrawn from New Zealand, a new military structure was needed. With the ‘backbone of Māori armed resistance to state authority’ seemingly broken, a body of armed constables able to play the twin roles of policeman and soldier appeared to be the answer. The Armed Constabulary came into existence in October 1867. In response to renewed armed resistance led by Tītokowaru and Te Kooti, the Armed Constabulary became a purely military organisation.
On 7 June 1869, Te Kooti’s forces ambushed a small party of Bay of Plenty Cavalry at Ōpepe, killing nine of them.