10 March 2016

Four police officers were wounded by gunfire yesterday following a cannabis harvesting operation in the Bay of Plenty.  Shots had earlier been fired at a supporting helicopter.  Police presumably were then seeking to isolate and disarm anyone involved and to follow through on measures to keep the peace. No doubt we will soon learn whether the injuries resulted from some sort of ambush by offenders, or through acts of bravery in the face of murderous conduct. Perhaps medals will follow.

An irony  is the timing and location of the incident.  March 10 is the anniversary of the creation in 1869 of the New Zealand Cross –  awarded for gallantry to locally recruited troops serving in the Land Wars.  The decoration was instituted by the Governor at the time who believed that the Victoria Cross could only be awarded in recognition of bravery by servicemen in imperial units under British command.

Tom Adamson, the first recipient of the New Zealand Cross was engaged in action at Ahikereru Pa to the east of the Rangitaiki River. The scene of yesterday’s  shootings is not far to the west of the Rangitaiki River.  Adamson who was serving in the Corps of Guides, and was wounded skirmishing in pursuit of Te Kooti, may not have lived up to the Governor’s intentions of recognising and rewarding honourable conduct.  In 1870, the year following his award for good and gallant services as a scout, he was part of the Wanganui contingent that sacked Waipuna Pa in the nearby Waioeka Gorge and took part in executing prominent captives.