One of my most interesting ancestors to date has to be Samuel Middlebrook. My great great Grandfather on my mothers side.
He emigrated as a child with his family from Yorkshire, and by the age of 17 was apparently fluent in Maori. I know little of his early life as yet, but on a recent trip south we stopped at the KatiKati Museum. I knew that he had raised a family there and was important in the settling of the area by the Ulster Irish Settlers.
In the museum we found this treasure of a portrait. One I had never seen or heard of before.
The journalling on this layout reads:
This portrait of Samuel Middlebrook was hanging in the
KatiKati Museum. Its description stated he was about 17 years old, and in the uniform of the Tauranga Armed Constabulary. His son Bert once said in a speech to the Ohinemuri Historical Society, that Sam ran away from home at 17, joined the Armed Constabulary in Tauranga, later joining the Lands and Survey Department where he would be involved in the original surveying of the Tauranga district, and later assist Sir George Vessey Stewart lead his Irish settlement party into the district.
The Armed Constabulary and had the combined roles of regular police work and also supporting the militia during the Land Wars of the mid to late 19th Century. Initially Law and Order was kept by British forces but increased taxes on the colony for each British soldier meant by 1846 the time had come for the New Zealand Government to raise its own force to supplement their numbers With a combination of mounted and unmounted members the recruits were trained as light infantry and cavalry and their numbers were drawn from volunteers. From 1867 -1886 they were the only permanent force in New Zealand until the permanent Militia Force was formed in 1886.