MALING William Christopher
Sergeant, Corps of Guides
New Zealand Gazette Announcement Date: No. 27 of 11 May 1876 Earned at Tauranga 26 February 1869 Born early 1841 Liverpool, England Died February 1917 Paddington, Greater London, England Buried Kensal Green Cemetery, London, England
A clever and courageous scout in the Corps of Guides during the campaign against Te Kooti and Titokowaru, Maling won the New Zealand Cross for bravery at Taurangaika in February 1869. There were nine members in the Corps of Guides, three were killed and four wounded during the campaign.Maling rose to the rank of major, later worked in Japan and settled in England, where he died.
In July, 1912, during an interview in London, Christopher Maling stated that he "was born at Penrith, Cumberland, and went out to New Zealand with his parents on the Martha Ridgway when he was only a month or two old". They embarked on 5 November, 1841, (with Christopher listed as William) and arrived at Nelson on 7 April, 1842. Then, on 17 June, 1843, when Christopher was about 2 years old his father, Thomas Awdos Maling, Chief Constable at Nelson, was killed in what is now called the Wairau affair. Thus Scholefield is incorrect in stating that Christopher was born in Nelson in 1843 "a few months after the death at the Wairau of his father"; and Lash is incorrect in stating that Christopher was born in Nelson in c.1842. Christopher and his sister Elizabeth, three years older, were then left orphans with the death of their mother. They were taken by Bishop Selwyn to Auckland where they were brought up by Captain and Mrs David Rough (Lobelia roughii). Rough held various Government positions in Auckland and had visited Nelson in 1848 with Sir George Grey. Maling stated that he was educated at St. John's School in Auckland, but the Librarian of the Kinder Library, Ms Judith Bright, tells me that Maling is not listed for that school and that, in fact, "St. John's School as an institution was not started until the 1880's when it used the St. John's College buildings, but was a private institution". Ms Bright also noted: "In the 1840's, St. John's College did have an English boy's school as part of the College, and again from June 1853, run by the Rev. Charles Abraham for a short time and again in 1860. In 1855 the Church of England Grammar School was run in Parnell by the Rev. Dr. John Kinder. I have checked the St. John's College lists, and also the Church of England Grammar School lists without success. The latter are very incomplete, and that does not rule out the possibility of his having been a pupil there. Neither do we have proper lists for the Collegiate school run by Abraham." In 1856 Rough was appointed Collector of Customs, Nelson, and on 4 June Mrs Rough, Miss Maling and Master Maling arrived there on S. S. Zingari. Then, "at the age of fifteen or so" Christopher joined the provincial survey. His contributions to science and exploration over the next few years were as follows.
Maling recorded that "almost his first experience" after joining the Nelson Survey Department "was the laying out of the town of Collingwood when the diggings broke out there". Gold digging in the Collingwood district began in 1857 and Maling was no doubt assisting Henry Lewis, who "was given the task of laying out the town, already called Collingwood, on the higher terraces behind the present town".
During August and September Maling assisted Ferdinand von Hochstetter of the Austrian Novara expedition who was in Nelson with Julius von Haast. Moa bones were found in caves in the Aorere valley and from 12 to 15 August, while Hochstetter inspected the Pakawau coal-fields, Haast and Maling dug out bones, washed them, and made notes. They returned in triumph to Collingwood with two garlanded oxen laden with bones. Hochstetter wrote: "After my departure from New Zealand, [from Nelson on 2 October 1859 on the Prince Alfred] the Provincial Government of Nelson on behalf of the Nelson Museum, arranged further excavations by Mr. Ch. Maling in the bone caves of the Aorere Valley, which once more yielded a very rich profit".
Early in December, Alfred Domett, Nelson Provincial Secretary, and John Blackett, Nelson Provincial Engineer, accompanied by Christopher Maling, journeyed from Nelson to Canterbury inspecting the proposed line of the Middle Road. Their route lay through the Wairau Gorge to Jollie Pass, near Hanmer Springs, and while looking across Lake Tennyson, in the valley of the upper Clarence, Maling noted a low saddle leading westward.
In late February William Thomas Locke Travers, the Nelson lawyer, (Traversia etc.) set out to explore the headwaters of the Waiau and find a route through to the Grey. He wrote: "I may here mention that I was accompanied in my excursion by Mr Christopher Maling to whom leave of absence had at my request been granted and by a man named David Stewart whom I had engaged to carry provisions." Travers also wrote: "I may now state that Mr Maling who had accompanied Mr Domett on a visit to Lake Tennyson some time ago, mentioned to me the existence of a low saddle in the mountains on the western side of the Clarence which he believed to be a pass. This being on the very line of route intended to be taken by me I availed myself of it and on the first instant, after lunching on the southern shore of the lake, we ascended the hill to the saddle in question. I named the saddle over which we passed from the Clarence, Malings Pass, he having been the first to observe it as above mentioned". This Pass led them to the upper Waiau, and exploring downstream Travers named tributaries the Ada, Anne and Henry after his children.
In late March Maling was sent back to continue the search for passes accompanied by Henry Lewis. They went through Cannibal Gorge to the Maruia, and, returning southwards, came over the saddle now called Lewis Pass. On 21 April, 1860, "The Nelson Examiner" announced that Mr Lewis and Mr Maling of the Survey Department returned to town on Monday evening.
In March Maling and the engineer H. Handisyd found that the Boyle and the Lewis join and together form into the Waiau.
On 1 April Sir William Jackson Hooker, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, described Trichomanes malingii ("Mr Maling's Trichomanes") and wrote: "In a letter from my valued correspondent W. T. Luke [sic] Travers, Esq., dated Christchurch, New Zealand, 6th July, 1861, I received my first specimen of this plant, stating that it was obtained by Mr. C. Maling, who found it on the "ranges of Golden Bay, Middle Island, New Zealand," after whom I at once proposed to name the species. In a subsequent letter from D. Rough, Esq., dated Nelson, New Zealand, 6th November, 1861, to Dr. [J. D.] Hooker, that gentleman sends specimens gathered by Mr. Brunner, Surveyor-General, gathered on "the mountain-range between Blind Bay and Massacre Bay."
Possibly the same range is meant in both cases.". Note that Field erroneously states that Trichomanes malingii (now Hymenophyllum malingii) "was called after one of the New Zealand Company's surveyors who first found it and was killed in the Wairau massacre -". This was repeated in the various editions of Dobbie's "New Zealand Ferns".
After leaving Nelson Maling worked as a surveyor in Southland and the Waikato. He then served in the so-called Maori Wars as a scout in the Wanganui-Taranaki area under Colonel Whitmore and up to the end of the campaign in Taupo. He was awarded the New Zealand Cross, the New Zealand equivalent of the Victoria Cross, with the following citation .
"Guides. Sergeant Christopher Maling. For most valuable and efficient services as Sergeant of the Corps of Guides on many occasions, and especially in going out to scout in advance with three men (two of whom were shot on the morning of the 26th February 1869), by which an intended ambuscade was discovered, and many lives saved. And for a long reconnaissance with two men of the Corps of Guides (which lasted two nights and days) in advance, to ascertain the direction of Titoko-Waru's retreat after he had evacuated Tauranga-ika. This service was a most daring one, and of the utmost importance to the force, as intelligence was thus obtained which in no other way could have been procured."
After the war Maling was engaged in the survey and construction of telegraph lines from Tauranga to Grahamstown, Hawera to New Plymouth, Nelson to the Buller, Auckland to Manganui, and in the Opotiki and Taupo country. His adventurous life continued in Japan, and then in Africa where he was engaged in telegraph construction in the Cape back country and became an intelligence officer in the Bechuanaland campaign. In South America he prospected in the Parana and in Venezuela. For a long time he was a planter in Florida. He died in England on 18 December, 1916, survived by his wife, Hilda J. Maling. Elizabeth remained with the Rough family until she died, and was a much valued and loved member of it.
I am especially indebted to Dr. Peter Maling (Christchurch) for information from his family records; and I also thank two librarians, Ms Stephanie von Gaalen (Nelson Provincial Museum) and Ms Judith Bright (Kinder Library, St. John's College, Auckland) for their answers to my questions.
From our own correspondent, London 12 July. Maori War veteran. C. Maling and the New Zealand Cross. Life full of adventure. The Evening Post [Wellington] Tuesday, August 20, 1912. Dr. P. B. Maling pers. comm. G. H. Scholefield, 1940 A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography Wellington; Max D. Lash, 1992 Nelson Notables 1840-1940 Nelson Historical Society; Nelson Provincial Museum in litt. J. N. W. Newport 1971 Collingwood, A History of the Area from Earliest Days to 1912. Caxton Press, Christchurch. H. von Haast, 1948. The Life and Times of Sir Julius von Haast. Wellington. Ferdinand von Hochstetter, Geology of New Zealand Transl. & Ed. by C. A. Fleming, 1959, Government Printer, Wellington. Ruth M. Allan, 1965. Nelson. A History of Early Settlement. A. H. & A. W. Reed, Wellingto, W. T. L. Travers. Exploration of the Lands of the Waiau-ua and Grey Rivers. The Nelson Examiner, 4 Mar., 1860. W. J. Hooker, 1862. Garden Ferns. Plate 64. H. C. Field, 1890. The Ferns of New Zealand and its immediate dependencies. A. D. Willis, Wanganui. The New Zealand Gazette, 1876; General Registry Office, London.
E.J. Godley, Research Associate, Landcare Research, PO Box 69, Lincoln
His New Zealand Cross is located in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle [Collection number (RCIN) 440554.a-c]