New Zealand Cross, 1871
The Victoria Cross could not be awarded to colonial troops for service before 1867, but New Zealand instituted its own New Zealand Cross in 1869 to reward those who had distinguished themselves in the Maori Wars. Only twenty-three awards were made, the last of them in 1910.
This medal was awarded to Trooper Antonio Rodriguez de Sardinha, of the Taranaki Mounted Volunteers: `For noble and daring conduct assisting and carrying wounded men from the field under fire on several occasions, notably on the 2nd October 1863 at Poutoka and on 11th March 1864 at Kaitake, upon which latter occasion he was particularly mentioned in garrison orders after the engagement.'
Rodriguez was Portuguese, and went out to New Zealand on the St Michael in 1851 with his sister Rita Mary and her husband Emmanuel de Castro. He died in spring 1905.
The Watson Collection also includes the original citation, and a mansucript note in the hand of the person who purchased the medal from the family of Rodriguez in 1905. Watson obtained it in the Hamilton Smith auction held by the London auction house of Glendining's, 20-21 July 1927, in which it was lot 982.