top of page

58th Regiment of Foot's Arrival in New Zealand

The 58th Foot (Rutlandshire) Regiment, “The Black Cuffs”, were an infantry regiment of the British Army from 1755 to 1881. In 1843, orders were received that the 58th Regiment would take over garrison duties in New South Wales, Australia, from the 80th Regiment of Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers), who were going to Madras, India.


In 1845, New South Wales agreed to send the 58th to New Zealand due to the unrest in the Bay of Islands. The first of the Regiment departed Sydney, Australia Tuesday 11th March on board H.M.S. North Star (pictured); their departure to New Zealand coincided with the generally accepted starting date of the New Zealand Flagstaff War. The ship carried Captain Henry Matson, Lieutenant Henry C. Balneavis, Ensigns Thomas Pedder, Frances Robert Chester Master, and 150 rank and file of the 58th Regiment. The departure of the schooner Velocity closely followed this on Wednesday 12th March, carrying an additional 50 rank and file of the 58th alongside 27 civilians. The H.M.S. Northstar made port in Auckland on 23rd March and Velocity followed closely behind, arriving on 24th March.

Lt Col Hulme burns Otuihu whilst Pomare is held on board HMS North Star, 30 April 1845. Artist: John Williams, 58th Regt, 1845

On 9th April, the brig Bee departed Sydney bound for Wellington, New Zealand, carrying two unnamed officers. However, one is assumed to be Captain Andrew Hamilton Russell due to the press reporting on Captain Russell’s presence in the area, and 50 rank and file of the 58th arrived on 19th April. The New Zealand Spectator and Cook Strait Guardian reported on Saturday, 26nd April, that there was “considerable alarm and excitement” on Sunday, 20th April, due to intruding natives in the Hutt district who intended to pull down a fence and destroy a bridge cutting off the means of communication. The brig Bee sailed for Petoni on the 20th and by three o’clock had taken possession of the fence, relieving settlers who assembled to defend their families and property from the natives.

On 11th April, the barque Slains Castle departed Sydney for Auckland with 200 rank and file alongside the regimental headquarters of the 58th. Passengers included Major Cyprian Bridge (who led the Regiment throughout their 1845 campaign) and his wife and servant. Alongside them were his officers; Captains William Edward Grant and Charles William Thompson, Lieutenant Micheal Lionel Westropp, Adjutant Lieutenant John M’Leary, Quartermaster Ensign Edward Kirby and Surgeon Mr Chilley Pine. Also onboard were Lieutenant Elliott and Ensign O’Reilly of the 99th Regiment. The Slains Castle made port in Auckland the night of Monday 21st April.

On 23rd April, H.M.S. North Star sailed from Auckland for the Bay of Islands. On the 28th, the Slains Castle, with the 58th Regiment, under Major Bridge, and the brigantine Velocity, and the schooner Aurora, with the 96th Regiment, under Colonel Hulme, and about 50 volunteers, late inhabitants of Kororarika, under the command of Mr Hector, arrived at the Bay of Islands.

On 2nd May, H.M.S. Hazard joined the squadron at Pahia. Four hundred natives of Nene and Rewa joined troops. On Sunday 4th May, troops reached Mr Kemp’s station on the Kerikeri. On Tuesday, they marched to Nene’s pah, though a dense wood, a passage through previously cut by the pioneers of the 58th regt. And Nene’s natives. The following day was devoted to reconnoitring the pah of Heke and selecting positions for rockets. The pah was strong, defended by three separate pleadings, and a stone wall, with a deep, broad ditch inside. ... The troops returned to the Bay of Islands on the 10th May, and all re-embarked on board the Slains Castle and the Velocity. The North Star with all the wounded and Colonel Hulme sailed for Auckland on the 12th and arrived on Wednesday 14th May....

Saturday, 11th October 1845, the baroque British Sovereign arrived in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand again, bringing 214 rank and file of the Regiment led by Lieutenant Colonel Wynyard. Accompanying the Colonel was Captain Joseph Henry Laye, Lieutenants Charles Dressing, Alexander Macleod Hay, John Alexander Charles Petley, George Hyde Page, and Ensign George Henry Wynyard.


The 58th was combined with the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot to form The Northamptonshire Regiment. You will find many historic records have been combined, seemingly unintentionally, which makes research challenging.

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page