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The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume I (1845–64)

The River Gunboat “Rangiriri” — (Sister ship, “Koheroa”)

The River Gunboat “Rangiriri” (Sister ship, “Koheroa”)

The River Gunboat “Rangiriri”
(Sister ship, “Koheroa”)

The New Zealand Government's iron gunboats “Koheroa” and “Rangiriri” were constructed at Sydney by P. N. Russell and Co. from designs by Mr. James Stewart, C.E., of Auckland, who was sent to Sydney to superintend the work. A correspondent gave the following description of the “Rangiriri” in 1864: “This boat, which can turn easily in the space of a little more than her own length, may follow the bendings of such a river as the Waikato in its narrowest part, and may either be used as a steam-tug, towing flats for the conveyance of troops, or may be armed with guns at each of the singular-looking portholes [embrasures] which are closed with folding-doors in the middle of the lower deck; while the bulwarks on each side are pierced with twenty or thirty loopholes for rifle shooting, and the covered platform or tower amidships will afford cover to a number of men whose fire commands the river and its banks. The paddle-wheel is placed astern of the vessel so as to take up less room. The first of these gunboats, the ‘Koheroa,’ was built in less than six weeks after Messrs. Russell got the contract.” Both vessels were sent in sections to New Zealand and put together at Port Waikato.