condensed discuss document expanded export feedback print share remove reset document_white enquire_white export_white report_white

Walter Edward Gudgeon

  • Service number
  • Also known as
  • Armed force / branch
  • Last rank
  • War
Portrait of Col. W. E. Gudgeon, Hanna, photographer, PH-RES-1330.PH-2002-21-1, Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira. Image may be subject to copyright.

Portrait of Col. W. E. Gudgeon, Hanna, photographer, PH-RES-1330.PH-2002-21-1, Auckland War Memorial …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Walter Edward AWMM
  • Surname
    Gudgeon AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

Contribute ›
  • Birth
    4 September 1841 AWMM LondonEngland AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
    son of Thomas Wayth Gudgeon & Mary Johnston Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 27 October 2015 - Research
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status
    1875 married Edith Maria BEST
    1882 married Emily Bertha TUKE Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 27 October 2015 - Research


Wars and conflicts

Contribute ›
  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
  • Service number
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

Contribute ›
  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

Contribute ›
  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


Contribute ›
  • Embarkation details

Prisoner of war

Contribute ›
  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

Contribute ›
  • Medical notes

Last known rank

Contribute ›
  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

Contribute ›
  • Walter Gudgeon was the first child of Thomas Wayth Gudgeon, an upholsterer, and his first wife, Mary Johnston. The family immigrated to New Zealand in 1850 and settled in New Plymouth. Walter left school to work on the family farm at the age of 11. Conscious all his life of his lack of formal education, he made up for it by reading voraciously. After leaving home at 16 he became an accomplished shepherd and drover.
    Gudgeon was managing a farm near Wanganui when fighting broke out in the area. In March 1865 he joined the Wanganui Bushrangers, and three months later became second-in-command of the Wanganui Native Contingent under Thomas McDonnell.
    Gudgeon was next given command of the Runanga redoubt, one of a string of forts built between Tapuaeharuru (Taupo) and Napier to restrict Te Kooti's movements. With the guerrilla leader on the run, the duties of the Armed Constabulary focused on drilling and road making. In February 1874 Gudgeon's tedium was relieved when he was put in charge of the sensitive Poverty Bay district. Based at Ormond, he made typically astute land purchases and also met Edith Maria Best (sister of Elsdon Best), whom he married in Wellington on 16 January 1875. She was to die of tuberculosis on 21 March 1879 after bearing three children, Hilda, Constance and Westwood.
    By May 1880 Gudgeon had been transferred back to Taranaki to join the forces being concentrated against Parihaka. When the settlement was invaded on 5 November 1881 he led the company that arrested Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi. Posted to Manaia, he built a sophisticated redoubt, grew ornamental trees and supervised road making. He also courted Emily Bertha Tuke (known as Bertha), the daughter of his former commanding officer and a member of a landed Hawke's Bay family. They married at Napier on 24 January 1882, and were to have two sons, Herman and Melville (evidence of Gudgeon's erudition was thus transmitted to posterity), and two daughters, Gladys and Beryl.
    In August 1898 Gudgeon, now a lieutenant colonel, was appointed British Resident in the Cook Islands. Seddon intimated that Gudgeon's real task was to annex the islands to New Zealand, and Gudgeon, whose belief in his 'manifest destiny' had led him to dream of one day being 'Governor of Fighi', accepted this mission with alacrity. In April 1900 the Rarotonga ariki consented to annexation, but to Great Britain, not New Zealand. A quickly arranged visit 'for health reasons' by Seddon, who made lavish and mostly unfulfilled promises of aid, and some fast talking by Gudgeon persuaded the ariki to agree to be annexed to Great Britain and federated with New Zealand. In reality, the island became New Zealand territory. When the formalities were completed in June 1901, Gudgeon was rewarded as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) 19 June 1901, on the occasion of the visit of TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) to New Zealand
    In 1909 the increasingly cantankerous Gudgeon was retired by Prime Minister Joseph Ward, according to Gudgeon because of his lapsed Catholicism. In 1914 he served briefly as censor of telegraphic messages before his official career ended, appropriately, in a row over his salary. He died at his home in Devonport, Auckland, on 5 January 1920. Bertha Gudgeon died in 1933. Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 26 October 2015 -
Read more


About death

Contribute ›
  • Death
    5 January 1920 AWMM
    DevonportNorth Shore City AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    O'Neill's Point Cemetery, 122 Bayswater Avenue, Bayswater, North Shore, Auckland AWMM O'Neill's Point Row B Plot 200 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



Contribute ›
  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

Remember Walter Edward Gudgeon by laying a poppy.

Leave a note

Leave a tribute or memory of Walter Edward Gudgeon

Leave a note

Contribute ›



Contribute ›


Command item
Command item
Add new record Refresh
DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
27 October 2015Lorraine MGisborne, NZResearcher

The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.

Creative Commons LicenseOnline Cenotaph Data by Auckland War Memorial Museum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.