Photo essay: Battle stations

A group of New Zealanders will don armour and fight with traditional weapons at a medieval battle festival in Europe next month. Photographer Alan Gibson captures their leader, Tauranga man Charlie Tapsell, preparing for the combat against groups from 25 other countries in the annual Battle of the Nations Festival in France. It will be the first time New Zealand has competed at the event that started in 2009 and is mainly attended by European nations including Russia, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. Participants use authentic weapons from the period AD 1400 to 1500 and the combat is guided by strict rules. Thousands of Middle Ages fans turn up to watch individual, team and "all-in" battles.