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The North Island of New Zealand, 
Showing sites of engagements in the Maori campaigns 






VOL. I (1845 1864). 


By Authority of the Hon. the Minister of Internal Affairs. 






Shall not foiget. I hold a trust. 

They are a part of my existence. When 

Adown the shining iron track 

You sweep, and fields of corn flash back, 

And herds of lowing steers move by, 

I turn to other days, to men 

Who made a pathway with their dust. 

— " The Ship in the Desert " (Joaquin Miller), 



THE increasing interest in the study of New Zealand's past 
emphasizes the need for a history of the wars with the 
Maoris since the establishment of British sovereignty and of 
the era of pioneering settlement and adventure, which was prac- 
tically conterminous with those campaigns. Although there is in 
existence a considerable body of war-time literature written by 
participants in the conflicts, it is not possible to gather in any 
of the works on the subject a connected account of the successive 
outbreaks and campaigns which troubled the colony from 1845 to 
the beginning of 1872. Most of the printed narratives deal chiefly 
with events which came within the soldier-wi iters' own experi- 
ence, and other contributions to the story of the campaigns are 
scarcely written in the impartial spirit of the historian. Some of 
the earlier works, and even the blue-books, contain many state- 
ments which careful inquiries and a better understanding of the 
Maori side of the struggle have now demolished. Most of the 
useful books, moreover, are out of print, and the student who 
wishes to make a complete survey of the field of contact between 
pakeha and Maori is compelled to work through many volumes, 
pamphlets, and newspaper - files in the public libraries. The 
fragmentary and scattered nature of our war-time literature 
therefore necessitates this endeavour to provide a standard 
history in convenient compass. 

The present is probably the most favourable moment for the 
historian of New Zealand's wars and the adventure-teeming life 
of the pioneer colonists. A sufficient time has elapsed for the 
episodes of our nation - making to be viewed in their correct 
perspective ; there is a very large amount of printed matter and 



manuscript at the writer's hand ; and at the same time there are 
still with us many eye-witnesses of some of the most important 
events in New Zealand's history. Oral witness has its historical 
value, as Mr. George Macaulay Trevelyan has explained in his 
history " Garibaldi and the Thousand " : " You cannot cross- 
examine a book or manuscript : that is the weakness of written 
evidence, which the presence of oral evidence rectifies to some 
degree." To this it may be added that an historian cannot 
thoroughly grip the spirit in which wars were waged, or appre- 
ciate to the full the motives and feelings of the contending forces, 
unless he has had some personal knowledge of the combatants, 
and has mingled with members of the warring parties. The 
psychology of the struggle will elude the writer who delays his 
work until the last veteran, the last pioneer, and the last Maori 
of the old school have gone from among us. 

The foundation for this work of history -gathering was laid, 
unconsciously enough, in the writer's boyhood on a farthest- 
out farm on the King Country frontier. Since those youthful 
days on the battlefield of Orakau, where the shawl-kilted tattooed 
Maoris who had fought in the wars were familiar figures, and 
when the pakeha stalwarts who had carried rifle on many a 
bush war-path garrisoned the blockhouses and redoubts which 
still studded the Waikato border, the task of collecting the tales 
of old has been an often-renewed pleasure. 

In the course of writing this History it was necessary 
to examine a very large amount of material in book form, in 
official documents, and in newspaper-files. It was necessary also 
to explore battlefields and sites of fortifications throughout the 
North Island. Veterans of the wars, European and Maori, were 
sought out, sometimes in the most remote places, and the field 
notes made on the scenes of engagements and sieges were often 
enhanced in value by the presence of soldiers, settlers, or natives 
who had fought there and who were able to describe the actions 
on the spot. 

I take pleasure in recording here the names of those who 
gave valuable co-operation in this work. The History is due 
largely to the initiative of Dr. Thomson W. Leys, for many 
years editor of the Auckland Star and principal author of Brett's 


" Early History of New Zealand," and also to the hearty assist - 
anee of the late Colonel T. W. Porter, C.B. The Hon. Sir 
Maui Pomare, M.P., gave much kind help in the native side 
of the narrative. With the guidance of Captain Gilbert Mair, 
N.Z.C., of Tauranga, many old fighting-trails were followed up 
and battle-grounds explored in the Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, 
and Urewera districts. In the Taranaki country Mr. William 
Wallace, of Meremere, and the late Colonel W. B. Messenger, of 
New Plymouth, gave similar assistance. Captain G. A. Preece, 
N.Z.C., contributed a very full and excellent diary account of 
the last military expeditions in the Urewera country, 1870-72 ; 
and the late Mr. S. Percy Smith, F.R.G.S., ex-Surveyor-General, 
lent his private journal from 1854 to J 869 and numerous 
Taranaki field-sketches and maps. 

The following colonial soldiers, some of whom have since 
passed away, also assisted with narratives, diaries, plans, and 
other documents : — 

Colonel J. M. Roberts, N.Z.C. ; Colonel Stuart Newall, C.B. ; 
Lieut. - Colonel A. Morrow ; Lieut. - Colonel H. Parker ; Major 
William G. Mair ; Major D. H. Lusk ; Major J. T. Large ; 
Captain H. Northcroft, N.Z.C. ; Captain C. Maling, N.Z.C. ; 
Captain F. Mace, N.Z.C. ; Captain J. R. Rushton ; Captain 
Joseph Scott ; Captain J. Stichbury ; and numerous others. 

The use of many historic pictures not hitherto published 
was given by Mr. Justice Chapman and Mr. H. Fildes, Welling- 
ton ; Mr. H. E. Partridge, Auckland ; Dr. P. Marshall, Mr. 
H. D. Bates, and Mr. T. W. Downes, Wanganui ; Mrs. B. A. 
Crispe, Mauku ; Mr. W. H. Skinner, New Plymouth ; and others. 

The late Mr. Alexander Turnbull, of Welhngton, who be- 
queathed his library to the nation, was keenly interested in the 
compilation of this History, and in his kindly way placed all 
the material in his collection at my disposal, and searched 
out documents which threw additional light on events in New 
Zealand's " breaking-in " period. 

I desire also to record the names of my principal Maori 
authorities, most of them veterans of the wars from 1845 
onwards, who at various times gave information : — ■ 


Ngapuhi Tribe: Ruatara Tauramoko ; Ngakuru Pana, 
Rihara Kou ; Rawiri te Ruru ; Hone Heke, M.P. 

Waikato tribes : Patara te Tuhi ; Honana Maioha ; Mahutu 
te Toko ; Te Aho-o-te-Rangi ; Hori Kukutai. 

Ngati-Paoa (Hauraki) : Hori Ngakapa te Whanaunga. 

Ngati-Maniapoto (King Country) : Tupotahi ; Te Huia 
Raureti and his son Raureti te Huia ; Pou-patate ; 
Peita Kotuku ; Te Rohu (Rewi Maniapoto's widow) ; 
Taniora Wharauroa. 

Ngati-Raukawa : Hitiri te Paerata. 

Ngai-te-Rangi (Tauranga) : Hori Ngatai. 

Te Arawa (Rotorua-Maketu district) : Kiharoa ; Te Araki 
te Pohu ; Taua Tutanekai ; Heeni Pore (Te Kiri- 
Karamu) ; Te Rangituakoha ; Hohapeta te Whanarere ; 
Te Matehaere ; Rangiriri 

Ngati-Tuwharetoa (Taupo district) : Te Heuheu Tukino, 
M.L.C. ; Tokena te Kerehi ; Waaka Tamaira ; Wairehu. 

Urewera : Eria Raukura (Te Kooti's chief priest) ; Netana 
Whakaari ; Te Whiu Maraki ; Tupara Kaho ; Te Kauru. 

Whakatohea (Opotiki) : Hira te Okioki. 

Ngati-Porou : Tuta Nihoniho. 

Taranaki : Te Whiti o Rongomai (the prophet of Pari- 
haka) ; Hori Teira. 

Xgati-Ruanui (Taranaki) : Tauke ; Te Kahu-Pukoro ; Pou- 
Whareumu Toi ; Whareaitu. 

Pakakohi (Patea) : Tutange Waionui ; Tu-Patea te Rongo. 

Most of those mentioned were warriors who fought either 
against or for the Government ; in a number of instances they 
explained on the battle-ground the details of engagements ; few 
of them survive to recall the conditions and events of a life 
which has vanished for ever. 

A great deal of trouble has been taken to obtain original 
illustrations, and Mr. A. H. Messenger, draughtsman in the New 
Zealand Forest Service, himself a member of a pioneer Taranaki 
family, has drawn for the History many pictures in line and 
wash from authentic material. 


To the Hon. the Minister of Internal Affairs, and to the 
Under-Secretary of that Department, my gratitude is due for 
the liberal airangements which made the writing and publica- 
tion of this work possible. 

The principal campaigns and expeditions dealt with in the 
History are as follows : — 

(i.) Hone Heke's War in the north, 1845-46. 

(2.) The campaign in the Wellington district, 1846 

(3.) The war at Wanganui, 1847. 

(4 ) The first Taranaki War, 1860-61 

(5.) The second Taranaki War, 1863. 

(6.) The Waikato War, 1863-64. 

(7.) The Tauranga campaign, 1864. 

(8.) The first Hauhau War, Taranaki, 1864-66. 

(9.) The Opotiki and Matata operations, 1865. 
(10.) The East Coast War, 1865. 

(n.) Fighting in Tauranga and Rotorua districts, 1867. 
(12.) Titokowaru's War, West Coast, 1868-69. 
(13.) The campaigns against Te Kooti (East Coast, Taupo, and 
Urewera country), 1868-72. 

The period covered in the present volume is from the 
outbreak of Heke's War in 1845 to the end of the Kingite 
wars in Taranaki, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty, 1864. 
The second volume is devoted to the Hauhau campaigns, 

Wellington, New Zealand, J. COWAN. 

June, 1922. 


Chapter I. — The Old Race and the New. page 

New Zealand's pioneering story — Likeness to North American frontier 
history — The contact between pakeha and Maori — Test of battle 
arouses mutual respect — The romance and adventure of New Zea- 
land history — The native-born and the patriotism of the soil — 
Difficulties of the bush campaigns — Military qualities of the Maori 
underestimated by early British commanders — Maori population in 
the " forties " . . . . . . . . . . . . i 

Chapter II. — The Beach at Kororareka. 

A bay of adventure — The old landmarks — The whaleships of the 
" forties " — Scenes on Kororareka Beach — The whalemen and the 
Maoris — The old trading-stores — Aboard a New Bedford whaling- 
barque — The days of oil and bone . . . . . . . . 6 

Chapter III. — Heke and the Flagstaff. 

" God made this country for us " — Hone Heke's character — His fears 
for the future of his race — Early traffic with the whaleships — 
British Customs dues cause a decrease in Bay of Islands trade 
— Heke's raid on Kororareka — The Maiki flagstaff cut down — 
Governor Fitzroy meets the Maoris — Heke and the American flag 
— Troops sent to the bay — The flagstaff cut down again . . 13 

Chapter IV. — The Fall of Kororareka. 

Heke's ambush on Signal Hill — An attack at dawn — The flagstaff cut 
down a fourth time — Kawiti attacks the town — Encounter with a 
naval force — Captain Robertson's heroic fight — Sailors, soldiers, 
and settlers defend the town — Gallant work of Hector's gunners — 
The beach stockade blown up — A mismanaged defence — Evacuation 
of Kororareka . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 

Chapter V. — The First British March Inland. 

Operations against the Ngapuhi — Pomare's village destroyed — The 
friendly Maori tribes — Tamati Waka Nene's loyalty to the British — ■ 
Pene Taui, and the consequences of a pun — Lieut. -Colonel Hulme's 
march inland . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 

Chapter VI. — The Fighting at Omapere. 

The Taiamai country and the plains of Omapere — Skirmishes between 
Heke's warriors and Tamati Waka's force — White free-lances in 
the fray — John Webster and F. E. Maning — Jackey Marmon, the 
white cannibal — Heke's stockade at Puketutu — British attack on 
the pa — Kawiti's desperate courage — Heavy skirmishing and 
bayonet fighting — British withdraw to the Bay of Islands — The 
Kapotai pa destroyed . . . . . . . . 37 


Chapter VII. — The Attack on Ohaeawai. page 

The campaign renewed — Maori battle at Te Ahuahu — Heke severely 
wounded — Colonel Despard's expedition to Ohaeawai — A mid- 
winter march — The heart of the Ngapuhi country — The camp 
before Ohaeawai — Pene Taui's strong stockade — The Maori artil- 
lery — Scenes in the stronghold — The British bombardment begins — 
Defects of the artillery — Failure of the " stench-balls " . . . . 47 

Chapter VIII. — The Storming-party at Ohaeawai. 

The bombardment — Despard's fatal blunder — Orders to storm the pa 
— The forlorn hope — The bayonet charge on the stockade — A 
survivor's narrative — Repulse of the storming-parties — The pa 
evacuated — Return of the troops — Ohaeawai to-day . . . . 57 

Chapter IX. — The Capture of Rua-pekapeka. 

Arrival of the new Governor, Captain George Grey — Another expedition 
prepared — Kawiti's mountain stronghold, " The Cave of the Bats " 
— Arduous march of the British troops — The camp before Rua- 
pekapeka — A general bombardment — Accuracy of the gunnery — 
A Sunday-morning surprise — British forces enter the fort — -The 
Maoris driven into the bush — Peace in the north . . . . 70 

Chapter X. — Wellington Settlement and the War at the Hutt. 

Colonel Wakefield's purchases — Trouble in the Hutt Valley — " Dog's 
Ear " declines to quit — Fort-building in Wellington — Fort Arthur, 
at Nelson — Stockade and blockhouses at the Lower Hutt — American 
frontier forts the model for New Zealand stockades — Fortified posts 
built at Karori and Johnsonville — Troops arrive from Auckland — 
H.M.S. " Driver," the first steamship in Port Nicholson — Maoris 
evicted from Hutt settlements — Retaliatory raids on the settlers — 
The first skirmishes — British camp established at Porirua . . 85 

Chapter XI. — The Fight at Boulcott's Farm. 

A clearing in the Hutt forest — The British post at Boulcott's Farm — 
An early-morning surprise attack — Maoris overwhelm the picket 
— The gallant bugler's death — Troops' desperate battle with the 
natives — A commissariat carter's plucky drive — Major Last's rein- 
forcements to the rescue — Skirmish near Taita — A hard afternoon's 
fighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 

Chapter XII. — Operations at Porirua. 

The British camp at Paremata — McKillop's naval patrol — Skirmish 
with Rangihaeata on the shore of Paua-taha-nui — A war-party from 
Wanganui — Despatch to Governor Grey — Surprise visit to Taupo 
pa — The capture of Te Rauparaha . . . . . . . . 109 

Chapter XIII. — Paua-taha-nui and Horokiri. 

Te Rangihaeata's stockade — Its site to-day — Government expedition 
from the Hutt — Capture of Paua-taha-nui — Te Rangihaeata's 
mountain camp — British expedition to Horokiri — Shelling the 
Maori position — British forces withdraw to Porirua — Remains of 
Horokiri defences — Pursuit of the fugitives .. .. ..120 


Chapter XIV. — The War at Wanganui. page 

An unfortunate settlement — The New Zealand Company's defective 
purchase — An accident and its sequel — Massacre of the Gilfillans — 
Wanganui besieged by the river tribes- — The Rutland Stockade 
and blockhouses — Natives attack the town — British reinforcements 
arrive — The Battle of St. John's Wood — A skirmish in the swamp 
— Withdrawal of the Maoris, and return of peace . . . . 13] 

Chapter XV. — Taranaki and the Land League. 

New Plymouth and early land disputes — Purchases of settlement blocks 
— Wiremu Kingi's return to the Waitara — Formation of the Maori 
Land League — Intertribal fighting . . . . . . . . 140 

Chapter XVI. — The Maori King. 

Movement for union of the Maori tribes — The selection of a King — The 
Arawa decline to join the Kingite cause — Great meeting at Pukawa, 
Lake Taupo — Te Heuheu's picturesque symbolism — Tongariro the 
centre of the Maori union — Potatau te Wherowhero chosen as King 
— Wiremu Tamehana's patriotic argument . . . . . . 145 

Chapter XVII. — The Waitara Purchase. 

Government bargain with Teira— Wiremu Kingi's protests disregarded 
— Maori objections to sale of the Waitara Block — The settlers' need 
of land . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 

Chapter XVIII. — The First Taranaki War. 

Survey of the W^aitara Block resisted — Martial law proclaimed — The 
Imperial and colonial troops — Defences of New Plymouth— The 
first shot — Capture of the L pa (Te Kohia) — Settlers build outposts 
for defence — The Bell Block and Omata stockades . . . . 154 

Chapter XIX. — The Battle of Waireka. 

Southern tribes fortify Waireka — Settlers killed at Omata — Expedition 
despatched to Waireka — A hot afternoon's fighting — Volunteers 
and Militia outnumbered and surrounded — The defence of Jury's 
Farmhouse — The "Niger" bluejackets capture Kaipopo pa — A 
Victoria Cross won — Return of the civilian force — Imperial officers' 
mismanagement — Reinforcements reach New Plymouth . . . . 166 

Chapter XX. — Puke-ta-kauere and other Operations. 

A winter campaign — British attack pas on the Waitara — Maori fortifi- 
cations at Puke-ta-kauere and Onuku-kaitara — Kingite reinforce- 
ments from the Upper Waikato — A Ngati-Maniapoto account — 
Rewi Maniapoto and his war-party — Major Nelson's unfortunate 
expedition — Hand-to-hand fighting — Heavy losses of the 40th 
Regiment — The slaughter in the swamp — Skirmishes near New 
Plymouth — The expedition to Kaihihi — Three Maori forts captured 178 

Chapter XXI. — The Engagement at Mahoetahi. 

Ngati-Haua enter the war — Wetini Taiporutu's challenge to the British 
— The Battle of Mahoetahi — Imperial and colonial storming-parties 
— Maoris make a desperate resistance — Close-quarters fighting — 
Defeat of the natives and death of Wetini — Song of lamentation 
for the slain . . . . . . . . . . . . 188 


Chapter XXII. — Operations at Kairau and Huirangi. page 

Major-General Pratt's Waitara campaign — Maori fortifications at 
Kairau, Huirangi, and Te Arei — The British troops advance — Field- 
engineering work — Stockades and redoubts built — Skirmishing on 
the plain of Kairau — Sapping towards Te Arei pa . . . . 196 

Chapter XXIII. — The Fight at No. 3 Redoubt. 

Maori surprise attack — Attempt to storm No. 3 Redoubt, Huirangi — 
A desperate morning's work — Native forlorn hope destroyed — A 
British officer's graphic story . . . . . . . . 200 

Chapter XXIV. — Pratt's Long Sap. 

The sap' towards Te Arei — Trench-digging and redoubt-building — A 
tedious advance — Details of the field-engineering work — Heavy 
skirmishing — Hapurona's stronghold heavily bombarded — Terms of 
peace agreed upon — End of the first Taranaki War — Heavy losses 
of the settlers . . . . . . . . . . . . 206 

Chapter XXV. — The Second Taranaki Campaign. 
Governor Grey's Maori policy — Tataraimaka Block reoccupied — The 
Waitara purchase abandoned — An ambush at Wairau and its 
consequences — Hori Teira's adventure — War renewed in Taranaki 
— Settlers' forest-ranging corps formed — The storming of Katikara 
— The Maori toll-gate — Expeditions and skirmishes — The fight at 
Allan's Hill — Maori stronghold at Kaitake attacked — Its final 
capture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 

Chapter XXVI. — The Waikato War and its Causes. 

The Maori sentiment of nationalism — Growing friction with the Ad- 
ministration — Native demand for self-government — The Govern- 
ment institution at Te Awamutu — The Hokioi and the Pihoihoi 
Mokemoke — Ngati-Maniapoto evict Mr. Gorst — The Maori plan 
of campaign — Proposed attack on frontier settlements — Maori 
ammunition supplies — Invitations to the southern tribes — Wiremu 
Tamehana's warning. . . . . . . . . . . . 225 

Chapter XXVII. — Military Forces and Frontier Defences. 
The Government's war resources — Strength of the British and colonial 
forces — Universal military service — The Auckland Militia — Fort 
Britomart — Military posts south of Auckland — Redoubts and 
stockades in frontier settlements — Posts along the Great South 
Road — Churches fortified for defence — The road to the Waikato . . 236 

Chapter XXVIII. — The First Engagements. 
Maoris required to take the oath of allegiance — Government Proclama- 
tion to the Kingites — Eviction of natives on the Auckland frontier 
— A settler and his son tomahawked — General Cameron crosses the 
Manga-tawhiri River — The gathering of the Waikato clans — Te 
Huirama's trenches at Koheroa — British attack the position — 
Defeat of the Kingites — An ambush at Martin's Farm, Great South 
Road — Forest skirmish at Kirikiri — War-parties in the Wairoa and 
H-unua Ranges — Attacks on settlers — The Koheriki raiders — A 
Wairoa scouting expedition — Felling the forest, Great South Road 
— British party surprised at Williamson's Clearing, Pukewhau — 
Skirmishes at Pokeno and Razorback — Kingites kill Mr. Armitage 
at Camerontown — British expedition from Tuakau . . . . 244 


Chapter XXIX. — The Forest Rangers. page 

special corps necessary for guerilla fighting in the bush — Formation 
of the Forest Rangers — Jackson's first company — Arms and equip- 
ment for forest fighting — The bowie-knife — Varied character of the 
Rangers — Settlers, bushmen, gold-diggers, and sailors — Arduous 
work in the roadless bush — Von Tempsky joins the Rangers — A 
daring reconnaissance — The two scouts at Paparata . . . . 257 

Chapter XXX. — The Defence of Pukekohe Church Stockade. 

Presbyterian church at Pukekohe East fortified by the settlers — De- 
scription of the stockade — The post attacked by a Kingite war- 
party — Gallant defence by seventeen men — Maori charge repulsed 
— Heavy fighting at close range — Arrival of reinforcements — A 
British bayonet charge — Maoris driven off with heavy loss — An 
attack on a farmhouse (Burtt's Farm) . . . . . . 265 

Chapter XXXI. — Operations at the Wairoa. 

Kingites in the Wairoa Ranges — Auckland reinforcements for the settle- 
ment — Engagements with the Maoris at Otau — An early-morning 
surprise attack — Xative raids on the settlers — Homestead attacked 
at Mangemangeroa — Two boys killed — The Forest Rangers' expe- 
ditions — Jackson's company surprises a Koheriki camp — Seven 
Maoris killed . . . . . . . . . . . . 281 

Chapter XXXII. — Mauku and Patumahoe. 

Mauku Settlement in 1863 — The village church fortified — Lusk's Forest 
Rifle Volunteers — Skirmish at the " Big Clearing," Patumahoe — 
Mauku Rifles and Forest Rangers in bush warfare — The Titi Hill 
Farm, Mauku — Invasion by a Kingite war-party — A desperate 
fight at close quarters — Skirmishing from log to log — Lieutenants 
Perceval and Norman killed — Lieutenant Lusk withdraws to the 
stockade — Arrival of British reinforcements . . . . . . 288 

Chapter XXXIII. — The River War Fleet. 

Colonial gunboats for the Waikato River — Arrival of the " Avon," the 
first steamboat on the Waikato — Reconnaissances under fire — 
Gunboat " Pioneer" built at Sydney for the river campaign — Four 
small armoured gunboats placed on the Waikato — The " Koheroa " 
and " Rangiriri " — The Waikato a strategic highway into the 
Maori country — The Royal Navy ships — The coast and harbour 
patrols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 

Chapter XXXIV. — The Trenches at Meremere. 

Kingite entrenchments on the Meremere ridge — The Maori artillery 

— River reconnaissances in the gunboats — The "Avon" and 
" Pioneer " under fire — General Cameron reconnoitres the stronghold 

— Meremere outflanked and evacuated — The Miranda expedition 
— A chain of redoubts built — Operations of the Auckland Xaval 
Volunteers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 308 


Chapter XXXV. — The Battle of Rangiriri. page 

Maori fortifications on Rangiriri Hill — Trenches from lake to river — 
Position attacked by General Cameron — Land forces and river 
flotilla — Artillery preparation, and assaulting-parties — The outer 
trenches carried — Maori central redoubt remains impregnable — 
Royal Artillery and Royal Navy storming-parties repulsed — Heavy 
British losses — Surrender of the pa — Prisoners sent to Auckland — 
The escape from Kawau Island . . . . . . . . 318 

Chapter XXXVI. — The Advance on the Waipa. 

The Upper Waikato invaded — Advance of Cameron's army — Scenes on 
the Waikato River — The Water Transport Corps flotilla — Ngarua- 
wahia occupied — Strong fortifications at Paterangi, Pikopiko, and 
Rangiatea — Native genius in military engineering — The approaches 
to Rangiaowhia blocked — Maori artillery at Paterangi — Te Reti- 
mana the gunner — The bathing-party at Waiari — A skirmish on the 
Mangapiko banks — Forest Rangers' sharp fighting — How Captain 
Heaphy won the V.C. — Heavy losses of the Maoris . . . . 327 

Chapter XXXVII. — The Invasion of Rangiaowhia. 

A night march from Te Rore — Paterangi and Rangiatea outflanked — 
British column invades Rangiaowhia — An early-morning surprise 
visit — Skirmishing in the Kingite village — Colonel Nixon shot — 
Huts burned and defenders killed — Dramatic death of a Maori 
warrior — " Spare him, spare him ! " — Skirmishing at the Catholic 
church — Paterangi garrison hasten to defend Rangiaowhia — Hai- 
rini Hill entrenched— Position attacked by British force — Trenches 
stormed at the point of the bayonet — A cavalry charge — Defeat of 
the Kingites — British advance up the Horotiu River — Field force 
enters Kihikihi, Rewi's headquarters — Maoris retreat across the 
Puniu River . . . . • • • • • • • • 34 1 

Chapter XXXVIII. — The Siege of Orakau. 
The peach-groves and wheat-fields of Orakau — ■ War-council of the 
Kingites — Decision to continue the war — Site for a fort selected at 
Orakau — Rewi's pessimism and the Urewera's insistence — Unsuit- 
, able position of the pa — Brigadier-General Carey's advance — The 
pa surrounded — British assaults repulsed — A sap commenced — 
Maori reinforcements appear — Scenes and war-councils in the 
redoubt — The heroic three hundred — Proposal to abandon the pa 
rejected — Short of water arid ammunition — Firing wooden bullets 
— End of second day's siege . . . . . . . . • • 355 

Chapter XXXIX. — The Siege of Orakau (continued). 
The Last Day. 
Dawn of the third day — " Let us charge out before it is light " — Tupo- 
tahi's advice rejected — Heavy fire concentrated on the redoubt 

Sufferings of the defenders — The sap approaching the outworks 

— Shell-fire and hand-grenades — General Cameron's summons to 
surrender — Mair's interview with the Maoris — Rewi's council of 

war The Maoris defiant ultimatum, " Peace shall never be made 

never, never, never ! " — The fighting renewed — Hand-grenades 

thrown into the pa — The defenders retreat fighting — The flight 
through the swamp — Pursuit by infantry and cavalry — Incidents 
of the chase — Splendid heroism of the Kingites — Half the garrison 
killed — The bayoneting of Hine-i-turama . . . . • • 377 


Chapter XL. — The End of the Waikato War. page 

Ngati-Maniapoto entrenchments south of the Puniu — Fortified posi- 
tions at Haurua, Te Roto-marama, and Paratui — British advance 
terminates at the Puniu — Army headquarters at Te Awamutu — 
Ngati-Haua fortifications at Te Tiki-o-te-Ihingarangi — The position 
evacuated — The last shots in the Waikato War : A skirmish at 
Ara-titaha — Settlement of the conquered country . . . . 398 

Chapter XLI. — The Arawa Defeat of the East Coast Tribes 
Tai-Rawhiti tribes organize an expedition to Waikato — The loyal 
Arawa's resistance — East Coast Kingites march for Rotorua — 
Arawa block the way at Rotoiti — Skirmishing on the lake-side — 
Invaders compelled to return to the coast — An advance on Maketu 
— Kingite trenches at Te Whare-o-te-Rangi-marere — The invaders 
driven back — Shelled by the warships — A running fight along the 
beach — The Battle of Kaokaoroa — Repulse of the East Coast tribes 404 

Chapter XLII. — The Gate Pa and Te Ranga. 
British expedition to Tauranga — Redoubts built at Te Papa — Ngai-te- 
Rangi erect fortifications — Rawiri Puhirake's challenge — The forts 
at Waoku and Tawhiti-nui — Construction of the Gate Pa — The 
British attack — A heavy cannonade — General Cameron orders an 
assault — Panic-stricken troops — Chivalry of the pa garrison — A 
half-caste heroine — Relieving the wounded under fire — Heavy losses 
of the British — The trenches at Te Ranga — Attack by Colonel 
Greer's column — British charge with the bayonet — The Maori 
works carried with heavy slaughter — Desperate hand-to-hand 
fighting — End of the Tauranga campaign .. .. ..411 


Supplementary Notes to Chapters . . . . . . . . 431 

Forest Fighting, Patumahoe (1863) . . . . . . . . 445 

The Wreck of H. M.S. " Orpheus " .. .. .. . . 147 

Militia Duty in the Waikato War . . . . . . . . 48 

List of Engagements and Casualties . . . . . . . . 452 

Jndex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 454 

-N.Z. Wars. 




Kororareka, Bay of Islands 

Hone Heke 

Tamati Waka Nene 

Hone Heke, Hariata, and Kawiti 

The Flagstaff, Russell, Ray of Islands 

The English Church, Russell 

Memorial to Sailors, Russell 

Destruction of Pomare's Pa, Otuihu 

The Battle of Puketutu, 1845 

Riwhitete Pokai 

British Attack on the Kapotai Pa 

The Ohaeawai Stockade 

Rihara Kou, of Kaikohe 

Repulse of the Storming-parties at Ohaeawai 

Colonel Cyprian Bridge 

W. H. Free, a Veteran of Ohaeawai 

Hare Puataata 

Native Church at Ohaeawai 

Sections of Rua-pekapeka Pa 

The Bombardment of Rua-pekapeka 

The Capture of Rua-pekapeka 

Ruatara Tauramoko . . .\ 

Maihi Paraone Kawiti 

The British Frigate " Castor " 

Fort Arthur, Nelson, 1843 

Fort Richmond and the Hutt Bridge 

An Early Colonial Home (Karori) 

H.M.S. " Driver " 

Boulcott's Farm Stockade, Hutt . 

Ruins of Fort Paremata, Porirua . 

Te Rangihaeata 

Te Rauparaha 

Paua-taha-nui Stockade 

The Church at Paua-taha-nui 

Attack on Rangihaeata 's Position, Horokiri 

Summit of the Ridge, Horokiri 

The Rear of Rangihaeata's Position 

Front of Rangihaeata's Entrenchment 

Rutland Stockade, Wanganui 

Topine te Mamaku 

The Skirmish at St. John's Wood, Wanganui 

Wiremu Tamehana 

Marsland Hill, New Plymouth 

Bell Block Stockade, Taranaki 

The Omata Stockade, Taranaki 

Proclamations under Martial Law, Taranaki 

Sir Harry Atkinson 

Charles Wilson Hursthouse 

The Battle of Waireka . . 



Colonel W. B. Messenger 

Captain Cracroft, R.N. 

The War-steamer " Victoria " 

British Positions at the Waitara 

The Battlefield of Mahoetahi 

The Mata rikoriko Stockade 

British Positions at Huirangi, 1861 

The Attack on Te Arei, 1861 

Sir George Grey 

Tawhiao, the Maori King 

Sir John E. Gorst 

Patara te Tuhi 

Fort Britomart, Auckland 

St. John's Redoubt, Papatoetoe 

The Queen's Redoubt, Pokeno 

The Bluff Stockade, Havelock, Waikato River 

Hori Ngakapa te Whanaunga 

The Alexandra Redoubt, Tuakau 

Majoi William Jackson 

Major Von Tempsky 

Pukekohe East Presbyterian Church 

Attack on Pukekohe East Church Stockade 

Captain Joseph Scott 

Paerata Bluff and Burtt's Farm 

Burtt's Farm Homestead, Present Day 

Attack on Burtt's Farmhouse, Paerata 

Camp of Movable Column, near Papatoetoe 

Galloway Redoubt, Wairoa South 

Maori Flag captured in the Wairoa Ranges 

Stockade at Wairoa South 

Mauku Church and Stockade, 1863 

Mauku Church, Present Day 

Major D. H. Lusk 

The River Gunboat " Pioneer " . . 

The River Gunboat " Koheroa " . . 

Putataka, Waikato Heads 

British Screw Corvettes " Miranda " and " Fawn " 

The Gun-schooner " Caroline " 

H.M.S. " Eclipse " 

British Troopship " 

Gunboat " Pioneer 

The Esk Redoubt 

British Storm ing-party at Rangiriri 

Entrenchments at Rangiriri 

Ngaruawahia, the Maori Capital . . 

Maori Redoubt at Paterangi 

The Forest Rangers at Waiari 

Waiari, Mangapiko River 

Maori Mission Church, Rangiaowhia 

The Fighting at Rangiaowhia 

Wahanui Huatare 

The Mission Church, Te Awamutu 

The Battlefield of Orakav, Present Day 

Rewi Maniapoto 

Te Huia Raureti 

Major William G. Mair 

Hitiri te Paerata 


Ahumai te Paerata 

Himalaya " . . 
" shelling Meremerc 



I. SO 





2 75 







vors at Orakau 

After Fifty Years : Ngati-Maniapoto Surv 

Kingite Chiefs, Ngati-Maniapoto Tribe 

The Gate Pa Entrenchments 

Hori Ngatai 

The British Encampment at Tauranga 

I [enare Taratoa 

Surrender of the Ngai-te-Rangi Tribe 




42 7 

Plans and Sketch-maps. 

North Island of New Zealand, showing Scenes of Engagements 

Bay of Islands District 

Ohaeawai Pa (Ground Plan and Sections 

Rua-pekapeka Pa 

Cross-section of Rua-pekapeka 

Valley of the Hutt, Wellington . . 

The Pekapeka Block, Waitara 

New Plymouth, showing Entrenchments, 1860-61 

Marsland Hill Fortification 

The Omata Stockade 

The Seat of War, North Taranaki 

The Battlefield of Mahoetahi 

No. 3 Redoubt, Huirangi, Waitara 

The Sap towards Te Arei Pa 

Operations at Katikara, Tataraimaka 

The Attack on Kaitake Pa, Taranaki 

The Queen's Redoubt, Pokeno 

The Engagement at Koheroa, Waikato 

Ring's Redoubt, Kirikiri 

Pukekohe East Church Stockade. . 

Mauku Church, showing Rifle Loopholes 

Map of South Auckland District, 1S63 

The Entrenchments at Meremere. . 

The Entrenchments at Rangiriri . . 

Cross-section of Maori Redoubt, Rangiriri 

The Waikato-Waipa Delta, showing Fortifications 

Paterangi Pa . . 

Entrenchments at Pikopiko (Puketoki) 

Rangiaowhia and Hairini 

Locality Plan of Orakau 

The Orakau Battlefield . . 

The Orakau Pa 

Orakau Pa (another Plan) 

Fortifications at Te Tiki-o-te-Ihingarangi 

Waiari, Mangapiko River 

Battle-grounds, Lake Rotoit', Maketu, and Kaokaoroa 

The Monmouth Redoubt, Tauranga 

Attack on the Gate Pa, Tauranga 

Sketch-plans of the Gate Pa 

The Attack on Te Ranga 

























THE story of New Zealand is rich beyond that of most 
young countries in episodes of adventure and romance. 
Australia's pioneering - work was of a different quality 
from ours, mainly because the nation-makers of our neighbour 
encountered no powerful military race of indigenes to dispute the 
right of way. The student of New Zealand history seeking for 
foreign parallels and analogies must turn to the story of the white 
conquest in America for the record of human endeavour that 
most closely approaches the early annals of these Islands. There 
certainly is a remarkable similarity, in all but landscape, between 
the old frontier life in British North America and the United 
States and the broad features of the violent contact between 
European and Maori in our country. The New England back- 
woodsman and the far-out plainsman were faced with many of 
the life-and-death problems which confronted our New Zealand 
settlers on the Taranaki and Waikato and East Coast borders. 
In reading such fascinating books as " The Conspiracy of Pontiac," 
"French Pioneers in the New World," or " The Winning of the 
West," the family likeness of the adventures of the pathfinder 
and the forest fighter to the New Zealand life of the " sixties " 
is irresistibly forced upon the mind. There was the same dual 
combat with wild nature and with untamed man ; there was the 
necessity in each land for soldierly skill ; the same display of 
all grades of human courage ; much of the same tale of raid and 
foray, siege, trail-hunting, and ambuscade. There was as wide 
a difference in frontier and forest fighting-ability between the 
Imperial troops of the " forties " and early " sixties " and the 
soldier-settlers who scoured the bush after Titokowaru and Te 
Kooti as there was between General Braddock's unfortunate 
regular troops of 1755 and the provincial scouts and hunters who 
learned how to beat the Red Indian at his own game, and later 
to defy British armies. It is to the pages of Francis Parkman, 
Theodore Roosevelt, and Henry Cabot Lodge that the New- 
Zealander must turn for historic parallels in the story of the 
nations, rather than to those of Macaulay, Green, or Freeman. 

The inevitable shock of battle between the tribesman of 
Aotea-roa and the white man who coveted and needed his surplus 
lands is a feature of our history which has had no small influence 
upon our national existence and national type. It coloured our 
story as no other element could ; tragic as it was, it at least 
1 — N.Z. Wars. 


redeemed our history from the commonplaces of a sleek com- 
mercialism. The white adventurer let go his anchor on these 
shores with the Briton's characteristic assertion of superiority over 
the brown races of mankind ; the white settler of our beginnings 
too often exhibited an ignorant contempt fcr the mat-girt or 
blanket-swathed aboriginal. The Maori, for his part, swaggering 
through the settlements with double-barrel gun and tomahawk, 
ready to fight to the death for a punctilio and avenge in blood 
some absurd breach of personal tapit, did not trouble to conceal 
his scorn for the pakeka whose only concern was huckstering 
and profit-making. Early Governments truckled to savage in- 
solence for the sake of peace ; the Maori, sometimes for the same 
reason, shrugged off the insults and swindlings of the coarser grade 
of white with a contemptuous " Hei aha ! " — " What does it 
matter I " But it was in the last and unavoidable test, when 
bayonet met long-handled tomahawk and when British artillery 
battered Maori stockades, that the two races came to gauge each 
other's manly calibre, and came, finally, to respect each other 
for the capital virtues that only trial of war can bring to mutual 
view. For all the reverses that befell the ill-planned and unskil- 
fully conducted British efforts in the field in the early campaigns, 
the shrewd Maori soon divested himself of his illusions of military 
superiority ; he came to realize that he had at last met his match, 
and henceforth his concern was deep lest the incoming shiploads 
of whites should wipe him off the face of his ancestral lands. On 
the European's side the conceit which found expression in the 
declared opinion that a company of British grenadiers could 
march from end to end of New Zealand and carry all before 
them was quickly exchanged for an admission that the naked 
Maori was a better warrior than the heavily armed British soldier, 
man for man, in the forest environment in which he had been 
schooled to arms and the trail from his infancy. Each admitted 
the other's pre-eminence under certain conditions, and each 
protagonist came to admire the primal quality of valour in his 
opponent. The Ngapuhi who — to their own amazement — hurled 
back assaulting columns of the finest British infantry at Ohae- 
awai had secret tremors at the spectacle of the forlorn hope's 
desperate courage ; well they knew that in the end they could 
not hope to prevail over men of such mettle. And the soldier 
who saw women and even children facing death in a beleaguered 
redoubt of sod walls, choosing to die with their men rather than 
surrender, first marvelled at the devotion of such a race and then 
came to love them for their savage chivalry. The wars ended 
with a strong mutual respect, tinged with a real affection, which 
would never have existed but for this ordeal by battle. 

From the days when venturesome trading brigs and schooners 
lay at uneasy anchor in New Zealand bays, with boarding net- 
tings triced up and carronades loaded, down to the firing of the 


last shot against Te Kooti in the Urewera Ranges, the story of 
contact between European and Maori is full of episodes of the 
quality which makes the true romance. Those episodes, whether 
isolated adventures or protracted campaigns, may not have pre- 
sented themselves to the participants in precisely that light ; it 
remains for the present generation, bred up in peaceful occupa- 
tion of the Maori islands, to appreciate what may be called 
the poetry of the last century's work and endeavour in New 
Zealand, as opposed to the more prosaic story of industrial 

In examining these tales of other days and in testing the 
historical knowledge of the average New-Zealander the fact is 
too apparent that the young generation would be the better for 
a more systematic schooling in the facts of national pioneer life 
and achievements which are a necessary foundation for the larger 
patriotism. Yet the passionate affection with which the Maori 
clung to his tribal lands is a quality which undeniably tinges 
the mind and outlook of the farm-bred, country-loving, white New- 
Zealander to-day. The native-born has unconsciously assimilated 
something of the peculiar patriotism that belongs to the soil ; 
the genius loci of the old frontiers has not entirely vanished from 
the hills and streams. Not only the tribespeople of Hone Heke 
and Wiremu Tamehana and Wahanui, but the New-Zealander 
of British descent, may feel the truth which the Sage expressed 
in " Past and Present " : " The Hill I first saw the sun rise 
over, when the sun and all things were in their auroral hour, 
who can divorce me from it ? Mystic, deep as the world's 
centre, are the roots I have struck into my native soil ; no tree 
that grows is rooted so." And the native-born whose eyes in 
childhood are daily lifted to Taranaki's high snow-rap, who 
watches from the farmhouse the morning mists trailing up like 
the smoke of fairies' camp-fires from the gullies of Pirongia, 01 
who sees from afar Ruapehu's icy heliograph flash back the 
sunrise — this son of New Zealand cannot but come to love the 
landscape saliencies of his native place with something of the 
Maori adoration for " my parent the Mountain." 

Regarding these old wars in the light of the ordeal of battle 
from which the civilized world has lately emerged, the pakeha- 
Maori conflicts seem chivalrous tournaments. The formidable 
character of the country in most of the operations, while it 
increased the hardships of the campaigns, went to keep the 
casualties low. As in the wars of British and French in the 
Canadian forests, described by Parkman in " Montcalm and 
Wolfe," "the problem was less how to fight the enemy than how 
to get at him." And exasperated Imperial commanders, from 
Despard down to Cameron and Chute, realized as their columns 
toiled ponderously and painfully over unmapped country in search 
of a too-mobile foe, through unroaded swamps, bush, and ranges. 


and unbridged rivers, the truth of the dictum that geography is 
two-thirds of military science. 

It is curious to discover in the early records how little the 
military commanders and officials realized the military quality 
of the Maori. We find, even before New Zealand became a 
British colony, the Resident at the Bay of Islands, Mr. Busby, 
declaring in a letter tc the Colonial Secreta^ of New South Wales 
urging the despatch of a detachment of soldiers to uphold the 
authority cf the Resident and the Ngapuhi confederation of 
native chiefs, " With regard to the number of troops which it 
might be necessary to maintain, it would, I think, require little 
knowledge of military tactics to satisfy one who has witnessed 
the warfare of the native that one hundred English soldiers 
would be an overmatch for the united forces of the whole Islands. 
But in fact there is little risk of even two tribes uniting to 
oppose them."* 

Equally fatuous was the debate in the Legislative Council at 
Auckland, in 1842, upon the question of arresting the cannibal 
chief Taraia for his attack upon the Katikati Maoris at Ongare ; 
it was actually suggested that the old warrior should be served 
with a summons by a constable in his fortified pa. In 1844, 
after the tragic blunder of the Wairau, Governor Fitzroy reported 
of the Wellington and Nelson officials and settlers, " No one 
appeared disposed to give the natives credit for courage or skill 
in warfare ; no one seemed to doubt but that they would fly 
before a very small detachment of military ; the prevailing feeling 
appeared to be for a collision." That collision, when it came in 
the North, revealed the unsuspected capacity of the natives to 
meet and defeat — given their own conditions of fighting — the 
best British troops. While Hone Heke and Kawiti were building 
their stockades and moulding their bullets for their " fighting 
friends," the redcoats, the Polynesian cousins of the Maori, the 
Tahitians, were fearlessly withstanding the French ; and, just as 
the Ngapuhi speedily undeceived the too-confident Despard, the 
warriors of the Society Islands falsified the boast of the officer 
who, previous to an encounter in rear of Papeete, was heard to 
declare, " Give me fifty men and I'll march through Tahiti." 

In Hone Heke's day the Maori population so greatly out- 
numbered the whites, who were here on sufferance, that the 
confidence of such commanders as Despard and some of the 
officials and administrators of the hour is inexplicable except on 
the theory of an overweening faith in the white man's military 
invincibility. A Government return of the native population of 
New Zealand, laid before the Legislative Council at Auckland 
in 1845, gave an aggregate of 109,550, being the estimate of the 

* From manuscript letter, Sth June, 1837, in Mr. Busby's letter-book, 
New Zealand archives. 


Chief Protector of Aborigines. Of this number 40,000 were put 
down as proselytes of the Anglican Church missionaries, about 
16,000 under the Wesleyans, and about 5,000 were Roman 
Catholics ; all the rest were termed " Pagans." The Ngapuhi 
Tribe was estimated to number 12,000, and the Rarawa 4,000 ; 
Ngati-Whatua, 2,000 ; Ngati-Maru (under the famous chief Taraia), 
4,000 ; making in all 22,000 in the North Auckland districts and 
on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf and about the Thames River. 
The East Coast population, from Tauranga round to Hawke's 
Bay, was estimated at 30,000. Waikato, under the great Te 
Wherowhero, numbered 18,400. In Taranaki proper there were 
only 2,000 people ; there were in South Taranaki 3,000 of the 
Ngati-Ruanui and other tribes. The Rotorua people mustered 
9,000 all told, and the Taupo clans 1,500 (a curiously small esti- 
mate). From Wanganui along the west coast of the Wellington 
Province and round to the country of the Ngati-Kahungunu 
at Ahuriri (now Napier) there were 21,950 people, of whom Te 
Rauparaha headed 5,000 in the Otaki and adjacent districts. 
In the South Island there were 4,700 Maoris, consisting of 1,000 
Ngati-Toa (Rauparaha's tribe), chiefly at Cloudy Bay (Wairau), 
100 of the vanquished Rangitane, and 3,600 Ngai-Tahu, whose 
principal chief was Taiaroa, of Otago. 

The New-Zealandcr of the 2nd August, 1845, commenting upon 
these figures, said that the return showed there were nearly 
70,cjo natives within three hundred miles of Auckland. "This 
most important fact," it added, " should awake vigilance as well 
as stimulate firmness and decision in the present crisis." 

In 1847 Lieutenant W. Servantes, interpreter to the Forces, 
estimated the Maoris numbers at 90,000. Bishop Selwyn's 
calculation of the total was 60,000. But Governor Grey, in 
1849, estimated the native population at 120,000 : and Dr. 
Shortland, in 1851, agreed with the Governor's figures. 

Even taking the lowest estimate, it is apparent that a com- 
bined effort by the natives in the " forties " or early " fifties " 
could have driven the pakeha population into the sea. Had the 
" Land League " or the Pai-Marire fanaticism been born ten 
years earlier, or had a military genius like Te Kooti led the Maori 
tribes against the whites in 1845 and 1846, the story of New 
Zealand would read very differently. Certainly, had the Maoris 
but realized their strength, had they then possessed any political 
organization beyond the tribal, it was in their power to have kept 
these Islands indefinitely in the semi-savage condition of 1840, 
tolerating only the missionaries and a few coast-trading pakclia- 
Maoris. Let it not be forgotten that had it not been for the true 
benevolence, the hospitality, and the continued friendship of such 
men as Tamati Waka and Patuone, Te Kawau, Te Wherowhero, 
and Te Puni, the British flag might not be flving in New Zealand 



There are some bays in the South Pacific on whose shores wild 
history has been made — strands saturate with a hundred romantic, 
adventurous, and tragic memories. Pre-eminently one of these 
is the beach of Apia, in Samoa ; another, steeped almost as 
deeply in early-days legend and war-time history, is Rororareka, 
Bay of Islands. From the dawn of civilized enterprise on our 
coasts we hear of Rororareka and its fleets of whalers at anchor, 
its Maori " ship-girls," its gun-play between quarrelsome native 
hapus, and its all-pervading flavour of license and lawlessness ; 
this period of pagan freedom followed by an unwilling reformation 
under the influence of reputable settlers and the British flag, a 
brief day of importance as the capital of the new-made colony, 
and the final debacle when the flagstaff on its sentry hill was laid 
in dust and the blockhouses and grog-shops alike went up in flames. 
Rororareka — the modern Russell — remains to-day a place apart, 
curiously little advanced, at any rate in population, by the passage 
of three-quarters of a century, and shorn of its ancient commercial 
glory ; a sedate, pretty seaside township where the round of life 
in a delicious climate is seldom disturbed by intrusive shipping. 
The pervading air, a half-regretful recollection of a red-blooded 
past, is reminiscent of some of the old gold-digging towns on the 
coast of Westland. 

The old landmarks are readilv to be picked out. A modern 
flagstaff stands on the exact spot on Maiki Hill, 300 feet above 
us yonder, where Hone Heke, Haratua, and their kin four times 
felled the British signal-mast. The steep hills behind the little 
town are still clothed for the most part in manuka and fern as they 
were in Heke's day, with an immigrant admixture of gorse and 
sweetbrier. The old English church, with its marks of cannon- 
shot, still stands in the burying-ground around whose fence Rawiti 
fought the British bluejackets in 1845. 

Let us picture something of the aspect of Rororareka Beach 
in the war-brewing " forties." This straggling town, its single 
street fitting itself closely to the rim of the gravelly beach, is a 
mingling of pakcha and Maori architecture. One- and two-storied 
weatherboard stores and publichouses have for close neighbours 
thatched whares of slab and fern, tree-trunk and raupo. Near the 
southern end of the beach is a Maori village enclosed b}^ a palisade 
of split trees and manuka stakes. There is no jetty ; the boats 


of men-o'-war whalers, and trading craft alike are hauled up on 
the beach. Over in the north cove by Waipara Spring two boats' 
crews from an American whaleship are towing off a string of water- 
casks roped together. Out in the bay lie half a dozen deep-sea 
vessels, most of them New Bedford whale-hunters ; nearer the 
beach sundry fore-and-aft ers, schooner- or cutter-rigged, swing to 
an anchor ; one or two of these are owned and sailed by Maoris, 
for the East Coast native is not only a first-rate sailor, but is 
beginning to taste the pleasures and profits of shipowning. Natives 
in their blankets and mats lounge on the beach-edge, dozing, 
smoking, or arguing in the vociferous manner of the Maori. Nga- 
puhi girls, barefooted and bareheaded, well plumped-out of figure, 
swing up and down the roadway flaunting the print gowns and 
the brightly coloured " roundabouts " and the glittering ear-rings 
bought with the dollars of the sailormen. Some of them are 
lately from the mission stations, maybe, but the temptations of 
Kororareka and the whaleships are irresistible. Many a native 
wears a little metal cress or a crucifix about his neck, or a 
figure of the Virgin hung by a black ribbon or tape from one 
ear, balancing a shark's tooth or a greenstone in the other — for 
the Catholic religion, newly come to the Bay, is highly popular, 
and Bishop Pompallier numbers his converts by the hundred. 
Most of the able-bodied men, tall athletes with tattooed faces, 
are armed. You see a party of young bloods spring ashore from 
a canoe, in from one of Pomare's, Heke's, or Kawiti's pas up the 
harbour, and observe that every man has his short-handled toma- 
hawk, brightly polished of blade, thrust through his flax girdle 
just over the hip or at the small of the back ; he would no more 
stir from home without it than a Far West plainsman of the 
old days would move abroad without his six-shooter. Many also 
carry their flint-lock guns, which they call ngutu-parera (" duck- 
bill " — from the shape of the hammer) ; and note, too, the new 
percussion-cap gun, double-barrelled, which the Maori is able to 
obtain from Sydney trading craft, while his antagonist soon-tc-be, 
the British soldier, must for some years yet be content with the 
ancient musket. 

Whaleship watches on shore leave make lively business in the 
bar-rooms over their rum and ale. The captains have the parlours, 
sacre'd to the quarter-deck, and there they sit over their Scotch 
whisky or their cognac or squareface exchanging the news of all 
the seas, and relating their whale-fishing successes and misadven- 
tures from the Aleutians to Foveaux Strait and from the Japan 
coast to the Kermadecs. Hard old tyrants some of these whaling 
skippers, from Nantucket, or New Bedford, or Martha's Vineyard, 
or Boston, Mass. ; of all sailors they are the monarchs absolute ; 
their cruises last for years, and their crews they hold by the strong 
hand, and good rewards to the natives for the capture of deserters 


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Protectant Church. 



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Raffish-looking crews they captain. No two men wear clothes 
alike ; some have blue monkey-jackets and duck trousers, some 
are in the dungarees of shipboard work ; their headgear is a study 
in the variety of forecastle-made caps of canvas, Scotch caps, 
tarpaulins, and shapeless hats of patched cloth. Lean, hard- 
worked hunters of the world's biggest game ; harpooneers, and 
oarsmen, and blubber-flenchers from all the seafaring countries 
of the world : long-limbed, drawling men of the New England 
States ; coal-black darkies from Jamaica ; half-breed Indians 
from the State of Maine ; piratical ear-ringed Portuguese-negroid 
nondescripts from the Azores and Cape de Verde Islands ; brisk 
Irish lads unmistakable ; and here and there a sturdy man of 
Kent or Devon who has run perhaps from a British man-of-war 
with a flogging captain and found worse than the " cat " in the 
oil-soaked whaler. 

Follow the stores-buying captain or chief officer of the " Levi 
Starbuck " into one of the weatherboard trading-houses, blue with 
strong tobacco and thick with the tang of tarred rope. This 
interior is a typical South Sea warehouse ; the proprietor is ship- 
chandler, sea-stock dealer, ironmonger and gunsmith, grog-seller, 
gunpowder-purveyor, and a dozen other trades. He can provide 
a ship with anchor and cable, or set the Maoris on the track of 
Captain Ephraim J. Nye's runaway boat-steerer with admirable 
despatch ; provide a 300-ton barque with a complete new set of 
sails or sufficient muskets and ammunition to conquer a cannibal 
island. There are blankets, prints, red sealing-wax, tomahawks, 
bullet-moulds, iron pots, tobacco by the cask, for the Maori trade ; 
sugar and molasses and rum from the West Indies ; salt beef and 
pork and adamant biscuit for sea-fare ; sou'-westers, cutting-in 
spades, harpoon-line by the hundred fathom, lance-heads, charts, 
binnacle lanterns, spy-glasses, and boat-compasses ; pistols and 
knuckle-dusters for the afterguard, holystones and squeejees and 
coal-tar to keep the fists of the 'foremast hands out of mischief. 

Now board one of those whaleships lying out yonder at an 
sasy anchor — the ships that made this Bay of Islands famous — 
and you shall see the most conservative of all craft afloat. While 
every other phase of sea-life and every other kind of ship has 
changed out of all likeness to the olden type, the sailing whaler 
does not alter. Step into the stern-sheets of one of those beauti- 
fully modelled carvel-built whaleboats with the tobacco-chewing 
New England mate standing at the 22-foot steer-oar. See how 
the crew of five stretch back to it with their ash oars— the long, 
full stroke of the true whaleman, who will have none of your 
quick and jerky Navy oarsmanship. A few of those long strokes 
and we are clambering up a rope ladder on to the white-scrubbed 
decks of a ship as clean as a yacht for all her greasy trade. The 
pervading but not unpleasant smell of oil, the stuff that permeates 

K, NEW Zl \l AM) WARS. 

her every timber and fills hall the casks in hei hold ; the rows 
o! sharp ended 30 fool boats a1 her cranes and davits ; the 
leather or canvas-covered harpoons and lances whose long shafts 
projed from each boal ; the barrel slung as a crow's-nesl at he: 
maintopgallanl masthead these all proclaim her calling. Bui 
there is something more aboul her thai tokens her a ship apart 
from all others, this barque "Narwhal," or "Levi Starbuck," 
"Canton Packet," "Pocahontas," or "Charles W. Morgan," or 
however she may be named. The Mull bowed square sterned crafl . 

with her side-- all hung with boats painted fighl blue like the 

sea, has ;m indescribable air of having keen out oi the world for 
years and years. The whale hunter under canvas seems almost 
l»,ut oi the sea, so Ion- are the absences from port, so habituated 
the crews to the ways oi the greal deep. 

In such a crafl as this Herman Melville sails sperm-whale 

chasing at the time of our narrative; it is from just such a 
barque as the "Charles W. Morgan" or the " Awash, inks " that 
he deserts to hud the beautiful valley oi Piipi .mil to give the 

world ,111 undying true romance of the South Seas. The "kittle 

pile" of his Marquesan and Tahitian adventures, or the ivory- 
garnished " Pequod " of " Moby Dick," may veritably be one oi 
these far-roving barques that ride at the quiel anchorages oi 

Koroiareka and Wahapu this year E845. 

It you are privileged to explore the wrinkled canvas-backed 
charts or look into the captain's log-book you will see curious 
symbols that belong to the whale fishing trade alone. The pen- 
cilled zigzag lines ol the vessel's cruising course across the Pacific 
are punctuated every here and there with rough drawings oi a 

whale's flukes, <>i the head of a greal sperm bull, or maybe 

,1 school of porpoises. Each pictograph tells a tale of oil- 
getting, or of "drawn irons" and a lost whale; perhaps now 
and again a lust. Each emblem of a " kill " is figured with 
the number of barrels obtained. " Dirty work lor clean money " : 
sperm-oil these years oi [840 50 rises steadily until it is worth 
;i dollar a gallon, and hone from the "right" whale is quoted at 
C'oii per toil in New York. 

Observe that all these merchant ships are armed, some with 
a single iron carronade or a brass gun on each side, some with 
whole broadsides ol lour or six guns, «) pounders and 12-pOUnders. 
Yonder taunt masted brig, a trader from I lobart Town, has a swivel 
gun on her poop as well as a whole battery on her main deck; 

she is lately in bom ,1 sandalwooding cruise to the New Hebrides 

and New Caledonia and a voyage to China, and she used her 

guns againsl Western Pacific cannibals and Canton pirates. The 

merchant sailor ol [845 had to be gunner too; and it is aboard 

these traders and whalers that some of our young Ngapuhi, 
making a voyage lor the love of adventure and the open sea road, 


have learned to load, lay, and fire artillery, a science that is to 
be of use presently to their war-chief Heke. 

Such were some of the distinguishing features of Kororareka 
Bay in the early years of British sovereignty. The visits of 
whaleships were all-important, for it was almost solely with them 
that the business of the white dealers and the Maori barterers 
lay. In 1845 there were more than six hundred American ships 
and barques engaged in whale-fishing, and of these a considerable 
number visited New Zealand annually ; and English, French, 
Sydney, and llolurt whalers also frequented the coast. Mr. 
John Webster, of Hokianga, related in his reminiscences that 
when he landed at Russell Town from Sydney on the est May, 
iN|i. there were over twenty whaling-vessels in the Bay, and 
the beach was alive with seamen and their officers. It was the 
season when all the whalers put in for provisions and to fit out 
for another year's chase of the sperm and the " right " whale. 
But the number of visitors quickly lessened when the Governor 
in Council imposed a Customs tariff on the staple articles i^i trade, 
thus making the port highly expensive tor the whalemen ; ami, 
as will he shown, this falling-off in trade created annoyance and 
resentment in the Maori mind. 

The white population of Kororareka in its days of prosperity 
was about a thousand ; by 1845 this number had fallen to some 
four hundred. In E842 the town even supported a newspaper, 
the Bay of Islands Observer, a tour-page weekly sold for a shilling. 
Traders' advertisements in this paper give us an insight into the 
commercial life o\ the place, and enable us to picture scenes in the 
longshore stores, with their curious variety of goods stocked for 
maritime and Maori customers. Thomas Spicer, " Kororareka 
Beach," announced that he had for sale such articles as " duck 
frocks and trousers, muslin dresses, assorted prints, fine Congo 
tea, fine French capers, iron pots, tobacco, salt, shovels and 
spades, tomahawks, cartouclu-boxes, superfine beaver hats, and 
crockery." C. J. Cook and Co. informed the public that they 
dealt in ironmongery, blankets, tea, sugar, tobacco, policemen's 
lanterns umbrellas, spittoons, sealing-wax, (scutcheons, solar 
lamp-, shot, powder, tinder-boxes, salt pork, " and all other 
necessary commodities." At Wahapu an American, Captain 
William Mayhew one of the foreign residents from whom Hone 
Heke received political inspiration — conducted a large store in 
which he stocked, among other necessaries of life, gunpowder in 
casks and canisters, Hour, tar, anchors, butter, cheese, shot, 
dungaree, sealskin caps, silk hats, French bedsteads, double- 
barrelled tlint -lock guns, single- and double-barrelled percussion 
guns, ploughs, pit-saws, blankets, slop clothes, and sarsaparilla. 

There was a " Kororareka Observatory." William Robertson, 
who owned this establishment, advertised repairs to timekeepers, 


and added : " Commanders of vessels may have their chrono- 
meters rated by transit observations and an astronomical clock 
kept at Greenwich mean time." 

In 1842 the falling-off in maritime trade was already marked ; 
nevertheless, many ship-commanders preferred Kororareka to more 
populous ports. Small fleets of square-riggers made for the bay 
in the off-season ; for example, in two days (4th and 5th May) 
in 1842 four American whaleships — the " Triad," " Caledonia," 
" Washington," and " Fanny " — arrived at Kororareka, bringing 
in their holds, as the result of their cruises in the Pacific, takes 
totalling 6,550 barrels of oil and 51,000 lb. of bone. The New 
Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of September, 1844, said : 
" The receipts at the Bay of Islands from furnishing supplies to 
whalers averaged for several years about £45,000 annually, and 
now this trade is nearly extinct." Up to the date of Heke's War, 
however, the number of whaling-vessels using Russell and Wahapu 
as ports of refitting and refreshing was still considerable. Captain 
McKeever, of the United States warship "St. Louis," writing 
from the Bay of Islands, 13th March, 1845, to the Secretary of 
the Navy at Washington, said : "Of the high importance of the 
Bay of Islands to our whalesmen, and of the great value of 
American interests involved here (there being no less than seventy 
or eighty of the whalers touching and refitting annually), I pre- 
sume you are well aware, and I am safe probably in saying that 
no other port or harbour in the world competes with it in its 
importance to the American whaling interests." The Bay of 
Islands, indeed, was regularly visited for water, wood, and stores, 
and for the shipping of oil, until, in the final days of the American 
Civil War, the Confederate commerce-destroying cruiser " Shen- 
andoah " left a trail of burning New England whaleships across 
the Pacific ; and even in the " nineties " I have seen an occasional 
whaling-barque, such as the " Gayhead," of New Bedford, lying 
at anchor at Russell, boating off her water-casks, as in the early 
days, from the perennial spring of Waipara. 



God made this country for us. It cannot be sliced ; if it 
were a whale it might be sliced. Do you return to your own country, which 
was made by God for you. God made this land for us ; it is not for anv 
stranger or foreign nation to meddle with this sacred country." — Hone Hcke'b 
letter to the G over nor, 1845. 

Robert Louis Stevenson described the town on Apia beach 
as the seat of the political sickness of Samoa. Cosmopolitan 
Rororareka was the seat of the troubles of north New Zealand ; 
its flagstaff was the pulake te riri, in Maori phrase — the root 
and fount of the wars. And Hone Heke, one-time mission pupil, 
malcontent, and rebel general, played as bold a part in the 
drama of our early days as ever the patriotic Mataafa enacted 
in his little world under Upolu's palms in the last two decades 
of the nineteenth century. 

Hone Heke.'s character was curiously composite — a mingling of 
passionate patriotism, ambition, bravado, vanity, and a shrewd- 
ness sharpened by his partial civilization. Heke foresaw more 
clearly than most of his countrymen the fatal consequences to the 
Maori of white colonization and the flooding of the country with 
an alien population who would regard the native New-Zealander 
with none of the sympathy entertained for him by the long-settled 
missionaries. For the mission people, of whatever denomination, 
Ngapuhi, like most other tribes in 1840, cherished feelings of deep 
regard ; they knew that those, devoted men and women had not 
come to the Maori islands to make profit out of the natives' igno- 
rance of trade values. Many a coast trader, timber-miller, and 
settler, too, were held in high estimation by the tribes of the 
North ; they had won the affections of the chiefs and people by 
their fair methods of business, and by kindly services in times of 
sickness and sorrow. But the numerous speculators and land- 
seekers who landed in north New Zealand by every vessel after 
the hoisting of the British flag furnished them with an argument 
for a policy of exclusion, for it seemed even then to keen-visioned 
men like Heke that the wholesale immigration of so strong a race 
must in years to come inundate the chieftainship of the Maori. 

At the same time, there were whites whom Ngapuhi and Te 
Rarawa and their kin desired strongly to encourage for reasons of 
self-interest. These were the captains and crews of the whale- 
ships — the men who were chiefly responsible at once for the 
material prosperity and the moral deterioration of the northern 



tribes. The whaleships supplied practically the whole of the trade 
of the Bay of Islands and Mangonui, as the kauri timber ships did 
that of Hokianga ; and the decrease in this trade directly follow- 
ing the establishment of British sovereignty went far to convince 
Heke and Pomare, and the many others who lived to a large 
extent on the profits accruing from the visits of shipping, that 
the old regime, when every man made his own laws, was prefer- 
able to the new order. 

Hone Heke was nephew to Hongi Hika, and married that 
chief's daughter, Hariata Rongo. He died without issue ; but 

From a pencil drawing by J. A. Gilfrflan.] 
Honk Heke. 

his elder brother, Tuhirangi, of Kaikohe, begat Hone Ngapua, who 
married Niu, who gave birth in 1869 to Hone Heke the Second, 
who came while yet a very young man to represent the Northern 
Maori Electorate in the New Zealand House of Representatives. 
Hone Heke the First engaged in the intertribal wars of the North 
while still a youth, and in 1830 he displayed energy and skill in 
a battle at Kororareka. Three years later he was one of the 
Ngapuhi men, under Titore, who sailed their war-canoes down the 
coast to Tauranga, where they attacked Otumoetai and other pas. 
Heke was wounded in the neck in this expedition. In 1837 he took 
a leading part in the fighting against Pomare and Te Mau-Paraoa, 


whose stockaded pa (destroyed by the British troops in 1845) 
stood on Otuihu, a prominent place on the cliffs above the 
entrance to the Waikare and Kawakawa arms of Tokerau, and 
about six miles from Kororareka Town. 

In an interval of peace in the " thirties " young Heke lived at 
Paihia in the establishment of the Rev. Henry Williams (after- 
wards Archdeacon of Waimate), and the respect and affection for 
the missionaries then engendered in his mind remained a dis- 
tinguishing feature of his otherwise turbulent character. It was 
at Paihia that he learned something of the history of the outer 
world — a smattering of knowledge which he turned to shrewd 
account in his arguments with the Government a few years later. 

The portrait of Hone Heke is an index to his character. His 
nose, though not the predatory ihu-kaka, or strong hook-nose, 
that distinguished some great Maori leaders ; was prominent and 
well-shapen ; his prominent jaws and chin denoted hrmness and 
resolution. The old Kaikohe natives of to-day speak of Heke's 
kauae-roa, his long chin, as the salient character of his face. He 
was tattooed, but not with the full design of moko, such as that 
borne by his great kinsman and antagonist, Tamati Waka Nene. 

Heke's dissatisfaction with the state of maritime trade after 
1840 is scarcely to be wondered at, seeing that in addition to the 
returns from the sale of food-supplies to the whalemen he had 
collected a kind of Customs dues from visiting ships. Before the 
British flag was hoisted he and his cousin Titore divided a levy 
of £5 on each ship entering the Bay. They collected their dues 
from the ships outside the anchorage, boarding them in their 
canoes before Tapeka Point was rounded. Many ships sailed up 
to the anchorages off Wahapu and Otuihu, in the passage to the 
Kawakawa and Waikare, and here Pomare collected his toll from 
each ship, for he was the paramount chief of the inner waters 
Pomare also was the principal agent in the disreputable but 
profitable business of supplying girls as temporary wives to the 
crews of the whaleships during their stay in port This was a 
leading line of Maori traffic with the shipping in unscrupulous 
old Kororareka and Otuihu, which not even the strong mission 
influence could extirpate. 

In 1841, in a Government Ordinance, Customs duties were 
set forth in a brief schedule. All spirits, British, paid 4s. per 
gallon to the Customs ; all other spirits, foreign, 5s. Tobacco, 
after the 1st January, 1842, was to pay is. per pound on the 
manufactured article and gd. per pound on the unmanufactured ; 
snuff and cigars, 2s. per pound. Tea, sugar, flour, and grain 
were taxed £5 on every £100 of value ; wine, £15 per £100 ; all 
other foreign goods, £5 per £100. In 1844 firearms were taxed 
30 per cent. And when the storekeeper had passed on the 
increases to his customers, with no doubt a considerable extra 
margin of profit for the Maori trade, the warrior who came in 


to renew his supply of whin, or twist tobacco, to purchase a 
new blanket or a musket, or to lay by a store of lead for moulding 
into bullets, received the clearest proof that the Treaty which 
he had signed had not improved his condition of life. 

To this concrete evidence of trade depression was added a 
vague but widely diffused belief that the Treaty of Waitangi 
was merely a ruse of the pakeha, and that it was the secret 
intention of the whites, so soon as they became strong enough, 
to seize upon the lands of the Maori. In 1844 the news reached 
New Zealand that the House of Commons Committee on New 
Zealand Affairs had resolved that the Treaty of Waitangi was 
a part of a series of injudicious proceedings, and that " the 
acknowledgment by the local authorities of a right of property 
on the part of the natives of New Zealand in all wild land in 
these islands, after the sovereignty had been assumed by Her 
Majesty, was not essential to the true construction of the Treaty, 
and was an error which had been productive of very injurious 
consequences." In other words, the Committee thought the 
Government should seize upon all native land not actually 
occupied, and devote it to the use of white settlers. This report, 
the news of French aggression in Tahiti and Raiatea, Fitzroy's 
vacillating land policy, and simmering resentment over the 
execution of Maketu in 1842 for the murder of the Robertson 
family on Motu-arohia Island, all went to fan a war feeling 
among the Ngapuhi. 

It was in 1844 that Heke came to the decision to use the 
setting-up of the flagstaff and the driving-away of the whalers 
as a take, or pretext. Shortly, he made a raid upon Kororareka 
with a strong war-party, on a taua muru, or punitive plundering 
expedition. This excursion seems to have been devised chiefly 
with a view to testing the temper of the whites and ascertaining 
what resistance he was likely to meet with in his campaign 
against the kara, the colours on Maiki Hill. The taua was by 
way of retaliation for an insult, serious in Maori eyes, offered 
by a woman in the township. This woman was Kotiro, a native 
of Taranaki, who had been led away captive by Ngapuhi 
fifteen years previously. She had been given to Heke as a slave. 
When she had been for some years at the Bay of Islands she 
married a Scottish blacksmith named Grav : one of her children 
was Sophia Hinerangi, the celebrated guide at Te Wairoa and 
Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, in after-years. When Gray died, 
Kotiro became the wife of another white man, Lord, who kept 
a store, lodginghouse, and butcher's shop on Kororareka beach. 
One day she was bathing in the bay with a number of other 
women when an altercation occurred. The name of Hone Heke 
was mentioned, whereon Kotiro contemptuously called him an 
" upoko poaka " (" pig's head"). This was a kanga, or curse, in 
Maori notion ; and the women promptly sent word thereof to 


Heke. The taaa mum was the sequel. Heke began to plunder 
Lord's store ; the trader compromised by offering a cask of twist 
tobacco as compensation for the insult. This offer being accepted, 
Lord asked for time to procure a cask of tobacco from the rear 
of the store ; but this time he employed in cutting the cask 
into halves — it was the only one he had in stock. He then 
endeavoured to pass the half-cask on to the Maoris as a whole 
one, whereupon there was furious uproar. Heke and his men 
partly looted the store ; the woman Kotiro they carried off 

This was on Friday, 5th July, 1844. For the next three 
days the war-party remained in the town, the young bloods 

From a photo.] 

Tamati Waka Nene. 

swaggering into stores and private houses alike, seizing whatever 
they fancied. On the 8th July the flagstaff on Maiki Hill was 
cut down. (Mr. Hugh Carleton, in his " Life of Henry Williams," 
states that on this first occasion the flagstaff was not cut down 
by Heke, but by Haratua, the chief of Pakaraka. Archdeacon 
William Williams, he says, dissuaded Heke from the deed, which 
his followers, however, resolved to carry out. " Heke remained 
in his canoe, alleging that he had pledged his word to Archdeacon 
William Williams and would keep it. Whereupon Haratua jumped 
up, axe in hand, ran up the hill with a few followers, and cut 
the flagstaff down.") 


Governor Fitzroy 's troubles were now approaching their 
climax. The news of Ngapuhi's deed prompted an urgent appeal 
to headquarters in Sydney for troops ; there were only ninety 
men, a company of the 8oth, in Auckland, and none at the Bay 
of Islands. In the second week of August the barque " Sydney " 
arrived at the Bay of Islands from New South Wales with 
160 officers and men of the 99th Regiment. On the 24th of the 
month H.M.S. " Hazard " dropped anchor off Kororareka, bringing 
from Auckland the Governor ; the Government brig " Victoria " 
arrived in company with the frigate, and the vessels landed 
a detachment of the 96th under Lieut. -Colonel Hulme ; two 
light guns were also brought ashore. Heke had gone inland, 
to Kaikohe. The Governor and Hulme were for immediate 
hostilities. However, a meeting was arranged at the mission 
station at Waimate between Fitzroy and the chiefs of Ngapuhi. 
At this meeting (2nd September, 1844) the Governor was accom- 
panied by the commander of the " Hazard " and Lieut. -Colonel 
Hulme. Tamati Waka besought the Governor to remove the 
troops and redress the native grievances in respect of the Customs 
duties, which had caused the trouble ; he and the other chiefs 
on their part undertook to keep Heke in check and to protect 
the Europeans in the district. To these requests Fitzroy agreed. 
He perceived the uselessness of aggressive action with his avail- 
able force, and ordered the troops back to their headquarters — 
the 99th to Sydney and the 80th to Auckland — and he promised 
that the Bay would be declared a free port. 

This promise was carried out, after Ngapuhi had surrendered 
a few muskets in token of submission and Heke had offered to 
erect another mast. Customs duties were abolished throughout 
the colony, and a property -tax substituted. 

In October trouble was renewed at the Bay. Depredations on 
outlying settlers were begun by the restless young men. On 
the 10th January, 1845, the flagstaff was cut down a second 
time. On the preceding day Heke had visited the Acting-Consul 
for the United States, a storekeeper named Henry Green Smith, 
at Wahapu ; this trader had recently replaced one Captain 
William Mayhew, who had. been Acting - Consul since 1840. 
Mayhew had helped to instil into the minds of Pomare and Heke 
a dislike to the British flag, consequent on the imposition of 
Customs duties. From him and other Americans the discontented 
chief had heard of the successful revolt of the American colonies 
against England, and the lesson was not forgotten ; he burned to 
do likewise. From Smith he obtained an American ensign, and 
paddled on to Kororareka ; and when the flagstaff fell to a 
Ngapuhi axe for a second time up went the foreign colour on 
the carved sternpost of Heke's war-canoe. The warrior crew 
paraded the harbour, their kai-hauta, or fugleman, yelling a 


battle-song, Heke at the steering-paddle, the American flag over 
his head.* 

Excitement and apprehension now possessed the Bay settle- 
ments. The " Victoria," the Government brig, sailed into Koro- 

* There is a curious discrepancy between the original despatches from 
the Bay of Islands regarding this incident and the correspondence printed 
in the official publications of the day. Governor Fitzroy, or his Colonial 
Secretary, appears to have considered it undesirable, for reasons of inter- 
national policy, to make any public reference to the American share in 
Heke's rebellion, hence all allusions to the United States Consul and his 
flag at the Bay are omitted, with the result that a hiatus in one of the 
blue-book despatches makes it unintelligible. In the Grey Collection of 
documents in the Auckland Municipal Library there are manuscript copies 
of a number of letters from Mr. Thomas Beckham, Police Magistrate, to 
Governor Fitzroy, detailing the events of January, 1845. The first of 
these letters, dated Russell, 10th January, 1845, is as follows : — 

" It is with regret I have to inform Your Excellency that John Heke 
and his tribe cut down the flagstaff soon after daylight this morning, but 
without doing any violence to the Europeans or even entering the town. 
The reason for his again offering this insult seems to be a general dislike 
to the British Government ; and it is worthy of remark that Heke 
was at the American Consul's yesterday, when the merits of the Treaty of 
Waitangi, and other political subjects connected with this colony, were 
discussed, after which he obtained an American ensign, which was hoisted 
on board his canoe immediately after our flagstaff was destroyed. Under 
what circumstances this flag was given I am now unable to say, but at this 
present crisis it looks suspicious, and is at the least very ill-judged. It is 
reported, but with what truth I cannot affirm, that Heke's ultimate inten- 
tion is to pull down the gaol and public offices. This bad disposition does 
not appear to be prevalent amongst the natives generally." 

In the printed despatches, however, the words between " British 
Government " and " Under what circumstances " are omitted ; and we 
are left to conclude that the mutilation, or suppression, was prompted by 
a desire not to implicate or offend the Americans. 

In a further letter marked " Private," dated Russell, 16th January, 
1845, Mr. Beckham wrote to the Governor : — 

" Heke still carries the American ensign in his canoe, and I was sorry 
to observe it hoisted at the Consul's this morning, as also on board the 
United States ships, which is quite unusual, except on the arrival or depar- 
ture of American vessels, which was not the case. This circumstance con- 
firms the suspicions mentioned in my letter of the 10th instant, and I am 
fearful that these disturbances in opposition to the Government have been 
fostered by the Americans, and I beg to suggest for Your Excellency's con- 
sideration the propriety of causing the Consul's flagstaff to be removed (if 
practicable), as it now stands in a very conspicuous position." 

The manuscripts in the Grey Collection show that on the 24th January 
Mr. Beckham, under instructions from the Governor, visited Henry Green 
Smith, of Wahapu, " the person at whose residence the American ensign 
has been so conspicuously exhibited lately," and informed him that he (the 
Magistrate) was directed to prohibit the hoisting of any national flag on 
shore at the Bay of Islands except that of Great Britain. 

Apparently Mr. Smith made a pertinent inquiry as to Mr. Beckham's 
authority, for on the 25th January the Magistrate wrote to him as follows :— 
In reply to your letter of this date, referring to my communication 
of the 24th instant relative to the prohibition of any national flag being 
hoisted on shore except that of Great Britain, I now do myself the honour 
to inform you that I did so by the directions of His Excellency the Governor, 
and to state that the ITnited States flag is included in the interdiction, there 
being no Consul at this port." 


rareka Bay on the 17th January, and landed a small detachment 
of troops — a subaltern and thirty men of the 96th Regiment— 
who re-erected the flagstaff. The Rev. Henry Williams, at Paihia, 
consulted on the 18th by the Colonial Secretary and the Magistrate, 
advised that the flag should not be flaunted in the face of the 
natives, at any rate not until it could be guarded efficiently, 
otherwise the Maoris would have it down again. While they were 
speaking, Heke and his canoe flotilla, with American and other 
flags flying, passed close to the Paihia landing. Before it was 
full daylight next morning the staff was cut down for the third 
time and the topmast carried away ; the flag itself remained in 
the possession of the friendly natives who were in charge of the 
station. Heke and his men fired a triumphant volley on the 
beach and danced a war-dance. 

Thoroughly alarmed by this determined resistance to the 
establishment of British rule, Fitzroy wrote to Sir George Gipps, 
Governor of New South Wales, making urgent application for 
further military assistance. He declared that he must prepare 
for operations "in a woody country, at Whangarei, if not at the 
Bay of Islands " (there had been robberies with violence at the 
homes of settlers at Matakana by natives from Whangarei), and 
he must also take precautions for the safety of Auckland. 

In compliance with this request (which did not reach Sydney 
till the 17th February) two companies of the 58th Regiment, 
the famous " Black Cuffs," numbering 207 of all ranks, received 
orders to embark for Auckland, but by the time they reached 
the Bay of Islands (28th April, 1845) the flagstaff was down 
again, Kororareka Town was in ashes, and war had begun. 

The opening shots were fired on the 3rd March, 1845, eight 
days before the final disaster. Heke had given assurances to 
the friendly chiefs that he would not molest the white settlers, 
except in retaliation for hostile measures by the Government ; 
but the old warrior Kawiti did not exercise similar forbearance. 
His Ngati-Hine and allied hapus from the Kawakawa and Waiomio 
carried out a series of raids on isolated settlers in some of the 
small bays a few miles from Kororareka. On the 28th February 
four large war-canoes crowded with armed natives from the 
Kawakawa swept down the Bay and landed in front of the house 
occupied by Captain Wright. The marauders plundered and 
burned the place. Several other houses in the vicinity of the town 
were similarly looted and destroyed. On the 3rd March a message 
reached the Police Magistrate that a party of Kawiti's men, who 
had come down in two canoes, were plundering the house of 
Benjamin Turner, an old resident ; his home was at the Uruti, 
a deep, narrow bay about two miles in rear of Kororareka. 
Beckham sent off to" H.M.S. " Hazard " (which had arrived from 
Wellington on the 15th February) for assistance, and the Acting- 
Commander, Lieutenant Robertson, went ashore with a party of 



From a drawing, 1846.] 

Hone Heke, his Wife (Hariata), and Kawiti. 


sailors armed with muskets and cutlasses. The force marched 
overland to Uruti, while the frigate's pinnace, carrying light guns, 
was sent round the coast for the purpose of cutting off the retreat 
of Kawiti's canoes. Both arrived too late ; Turner's house and 
wheat-stacks were in ashes. Two horses had been taken away 
by a native track over the hills to Otuihu, and, with the object 
of recapturing these as they were being swum across the sea-arm 
leading to the Kawakawa River and Waikare Inlet, the pinnace, 
under Lieutenant Morgan, was sent in chase. Pomare's pa at 
Otuihu was passed, but off Opua it was seen that further pursuit 
was useless, and the boat put about to return to the ship. A 
fire was opened on the pinnace from both sides of the channel. 
The naval lieutenant returned the fire with grape-shot from his 
boat-guns and musketry. Two slight skirmishes in rear of the 
town followed during March. 

By this time Kororareka had been placed in a condition of 
defence, though by no means an efficient condition ; the chief 
thing lacking was a competent leader of the military and the white 
inhabitants. A timber stockade was built around Mr. Polack's 
house near the northern end of the beach ; this was to be the 
refuge-place for white women and children. A blockhouse was 
erected on a small hill in the rear of the stockade and the town, 
close to the track leading to the Maiki flagstaff. Here were 
mounted three ship's guns. A gun was taken up to the other end 
of the town, at the entrance to the valley leading through to 
Mata-uhi Bay, in rear of Kororareka, the most likely avenue of 
attack. Mr. C. Hector, a solicitor by profession, a man of much 
spirit and resolution, had charge of the blockhouse battery. For 
the Mata-uhi gun a crew of bluejackets and marines was sent 
ashore from H.M.S. " Hazard." The civilians of the town were 
organized and drilled under the superintendence of Lieutenant 
Phillpotts, of the " Hazard." The Government brig " Victoria " 
brought from Auckland forty stand of arms and a thousand rounds 
of ball cartridge for the Militia. As a regular garrison, there 
were about fifty rank and file of the 96th Regiment from Auckland, 
under two young officers, Lieutenant E. Barclay and Ensign J. 
Campbell, neither of whom, as events developed, possessed the 
experience* needful in such a situation. Twenty of these, under 
the junior subaltern, were detailed as signal-station guard ; the 
others were quartered in the barracks built on the flat, below the 
three-gun blockhouse. A detachment of bluejackets and marines 
from the " Hazard " was also stationed in the barracks. The 
new flagstaff had been safeguarded by the construction of a block- 
house around the foot of the mast, which had been sheathed with 
iron to a height of about 10 feet as a protection against the Maori 
tomahawk. A trench, crossed by a plank, surrounded the block- 
house, which accommodated the garrison of twenty men, besides 
the signalman, an old man-of-war 's-man named Tapper, and his 
native family. 



Midnight on Maiki Hill. A rattle of arms at the blockhouse 
gateway came sharply through the tenebrous stillness ; the guard 
was relieved — the soldier whose tedious duty was ended retired to 
his blankets, and the only half-awake relief, with musket and fixed 
bayonet, began his watch. Here, 300 feet above the sleeping 
town, the silence was intense ; it was a windless night, with raw 
fog obscuring the gullies and floating upward in thin wafts. Not 
a sound but the footfall of the sentry and the " Kou-kou " of the 
ruru, or night-owl. Those owl-calls were unusually frequent was 
the thought, perhaps, that crossed the mind of the solitary soldier. 
Had he possessed the scout instinct he might have noticed that 
the bird-calls all came from the brushwood on the east and south- 
east slopes of the range, the aspect towards Oneroa Bay and the 
lower blockhouse. Owl called to owl, and the regularly repeated 
cries grew nearer until they formed a semi-cordon of melancholy 
notes about the flagstaff hill. Then, too, was heard the screech 
call, plain as spoken words to the Maori ; it sounded to him like 
" Kia toa ! " ("Be brave ! ") 

It was a fatal cordon, for the runts were the pickets of Heke's 
war-party announcing their positions to each other and keeping 
in touch as they crept towards the little fort that guarded their 
objective, the flagstaff. Two hundred Ngapuhi warriors, under 
Heke and Pokai, had landed in their canoes at Oneroa, in rear of 
Kororareka, late at night, and were now working their way up 
to surprise the hill post at the first streak of dawn. Some of them 
crept up until they crouched in the scrub a few yards from where 
the sentry stood. Most of them lay in a wooded gullv close to 
the hilltop. They carried gun and tomahawk, and belts with heavy 
leather or wooden cartouche - boxes were strapped about them. 
The tomahawk was the weapon most favoured for such tasks as 
this : short-handled with wood or whalebone, thrust through the 
girdle at the hip or at the small of the back, as the olden Scots 
and the Borderers carried the " lyttel batayle axe " mentioned 
in Froissart's story of the Battle of Otterburne. 

Grey dawn ; a damp fog-laden break of day. The runt calls 
have ceased ; the dark hills are steeped in utter silence. The 
hidden warriors, gripping their loaded flint-lock and percussion- 
cap guns, are ready to spring from their cramped couches in the 
brushwood at the chief's first call. Some of them have cut 
manuka bushes with their tomahawks ; these are to provide a 
moving cover for themselves as they creep up on the pakehas. 


Now the door of the little blockhouse on Maiki hilltop opens ; 
the plank bridge is thrown across the trench, and half a dozen 
men, all armed, and five of them carrying spades, come out into 
the misty morning. The youthful officer in charge of the post, 

From a photo, 1903.] 

The Flagstaff, Russell, Bay of Islands. 

This signal-mast occupied the site of that cut down by Hone Heke 
The remains of the olden trench which surrounded the small blockhouse of 
1845 are seen at the foot of the flagstaff. 

Ensign Campbell, takes his men along the hill-slopes to the edge 
of the range overlooking Oneroa Bay ; here they set to work to 
dig a trench, intended as a protection against any attack from 
that direction. 


Scarcely have the soldiers commenced their spade-work in the 
dim light than the morning silence is shattered by sudden shots, 
then rolling volleys. The firing comes from the south end of the 
town below, apparently from the direction of Mata-uhi Bav. 
Campbell orders his men back to the blockhouse ; and the issue 
of the morning's w r ork might be very different had he the pru- 
dence to remain there with them and make secure his post. But 
in his curiosity to learn w r hat is going on below he leads eight 
or nine men out to the brow of the hill overlooking Kororareka, 
nearly 200 yards from the blockhouse. The rest of the garrison, 
twenty men, are aroused, and, taking their arms, are putting on 
their belts outside the ditch facing the town. 

Now is Heke's and Pokai's opportunity. Little by little the 
war-party creeps up, some daring fellows crawling across the 
open with manuka bushes and branches held in front of them. 
With a yell from their leaders, they are up and charging into the 
blockhouse ; it is nearly empty of its garrison. 

Ensign Campbell is for charging back to the stockade, but 
Ngapuhi are too quick for him. They are already in the stock- 
aded enclosure and its trench, and, while some open fire on the 
soldiers outside, others dash into the blockhouse, killing the four 
soldiers who remain to defend it. They shoot, too, but unintention- 
ally, a little half-caste girl, the daughter of Tapper the signalman. 

The surviving soldiers, confused by the surprise attack, con- 
trive to give the Maoris a volley, but before another round can 
be fired it is seen that a second party of warriors is doubling up 
from a gully to cut off the soldiers from the lower blockhouse. 
Campbell, therefore, in order to escape being nipped between the 
two bodies, must fall back on the lower blockhouse, having lost 
his own. This he and his men do, and at their utmost speed ; 
while the triumphant Ngapuhi, not without much labour — because 
of the iron sheathing, which necessitates digging as well as chop- 
ping — fell the flagstaff for the fourth time.* 

* A story of the fourth flagstaff imparts an element of comedy to the 
history of blunders and tragedy associated with the Maiki signal-hill. Tt is 
said that after the mast had been cut down tor the third time and another 
pole had been procured from the forest the new stick vanished mysteriously 
one night, to the consternation of the military detachment sent to set it 
in position. It was discovered that it had been hauled away by an old 
chief of a neighbouring village, who declared that he had been born under- 
neath it when it was a living tree ; he was afraid that trouble or death 
would befall him if Heke carried out his customary threat and felled the 
mast. It would be an aitua, or forerunner of disaster, in Maori eyes. The 
staff having disappeared, there was nothing for it but to obtain one to 
which the exasperating Maori was not likely to lay claim. The Govern- 
ment went to the shipping for its next spar ; the officials bought the mizzen- 
mast of a foreign vessel in the harbour, " being morally certain," says the 
New Zealand Spectator's narrative (22nd March, 1845), " that no Maori 
could have been born under it." This mast, the fifth, stood for nearly 
two months before Heke's axe laid it low and bereaved Kororareka of a 
signal-station for eight years. 


Meanwhile a battle, attended with more credit for the whites 
than the inglorious affair on the flagstaff hill, was waged in the 
town below. 

At 4 o'clock that morning (nth March, 1845) a force of forty- 
five small-arms men, composed of bluejackets and marines from 
H.M.S. " Hazard," under the Acting-Commander, David Robertson 
(who had succeeded Commander Bell, recently drowned), marched 
from the beach to the heights overlooking Mata-uhi Bay for the 
purpose of throwing up a breastwork on the face of the hill. They 
had just reached the spot when the sentry at the one-gun battery 
on the hill on the opposite or southern side of the little valley 
which led to Mata-uhi Bay challenged and fired ; he had spied 
a party of Maoris creeping up on his position. This was old 
Kawiti's division, comprising Ngati-Hine and Roroa men ; a 
leading brave was Pumuka. Kawiti's share of the day's work 
was to make an attack on the town in order to divert attention 
from the main task, Heke's assault on the flagstaff. 

In the half-light of that hazy morning a hand-to-hand combat 
w T as fought around the enclosure of the English church as 
Robertson and his men fell back toward the town. The Maoris 
numbered about two hundred. These the forty-five " Hazards " 
charged. Musket and tnpara blazed ; British cutlass clashed on 
Maori long-handled tomahawk. The frigate's men cut their way 
into Kawiti's party, and steadily forced them back towards 
Mata-uhi. The gun, served by the sailors, was used at point- 
blank range against the dark warriors. Captain Robertson, wielding 
his sword like some hero of old romance, killed Pumuka with 
one blow, and felled several others of his foes in the combat at 
the churchyard fence. He fell at last severely wounded ; he was 
shot through both legs, his right thigh-bone was smashed, his 
right arm was shot through close to the elbow, and his temple 
was grazed by a pistol-shot. The " Hazards " pursued the re- 
treating Maoris, who took to the scrub on the hills and joined in 
the firing on the town at long range. Four seamen and a sergeant 
and private of Royal Marines were killed in the half-hour skirmish ; 
besides Captain Robertson, dangerously wounded, and Acting- 
Lieutenant E. Morgan, slightly, six men were wounded. The 
command of the naval party devolved upon Acting-Lieutenant 
Morgan. After charging the Maoris and completing their repulse 
in the Mata-uhi gully, he engaged in a musketry battle with 
Kawiti, who from the hills opened a steady fire. 

Now the detachment of the 96th Regiment, under Lieutenant 
E. Barclay, whose quarters were in the barracks between the 
beach and the lower blockhouse, entered the battle. Barclay 
had seen the naval force march out towards Mata-uhi, and 
turned out his men. Their first shots were directed on parties of 
Maoris who appeared on the hills to the left of the barracks, 



towards Oneroa Bay. They checked the advance of these mus- 
keteers. Then enemy bullets began to drop around the soldiers 
from the steep hills behind ; and, on facing about, it was for the 
first time seen that the Maoris had captured the flagstaff hill. 

A message now arrived from Acting-Lieutenant Morgan in- 
forming the 96th officer that a party of the enemy held the 
ground at the back of the English church, nearly half a mile from 
the barracks. The military detachment, numbering about thirty, 
thereupon quickly advanced in skirmishing order, firing as they 
advanced. Another messenger came from Morgan ; the " Hazard's " 

The English Church, Russell, Bay of Islands. 

This church was built prior to the war, and the engagement of the 
nth March, 1845, between the sailors of H.M.S. " Hazard" and the Nga- 
puhi warriors under Kawiti was fought around the churchyard fence in the 
foreground. On the seaward side of the church there is a weatherboard cut 
by a round shot from the " Hazard," fired after the evacuation of Kororareka. 

little force had nearly expended its ammunition, and Lieutenant 
Barclay turned back towards the beach to join the sailors. The 
one-gun battery had been abandoned, but not before the gun 
had been spiked by a gallant seaman, William Lovell, who next 
moment was shot dead. The sailors retired along the waterfront 
to Polack's stockade. After engaging scattered parties of natives 
from the flat, who drew off in the direction of Mata-uhi, the 
Maoris carrying away their dead and wounded as they retired, 
the soldiers turned about and marched to the lower blockhouse 


in rear of the stockade. Ensign Campbell and his dispossessed 
flagstaff-party were already there checking the advance of the 
enemy who swarmed along the heights and in the gullies in rear 
of the town. 

The Kapotai Tribe, lrom the Waikare, the third division of 
the assailants, were now into the fray, firing at the blockhouse, 
the barracks, and the stockade from the half-circle of hills that 
rimmed the town. The troops replied from the blockhouse windows 
and loopholes and the sloping ground on each side. The ship's 
guns, on a platform outside, were worked by the volunteer 
artillerymen — civilians and one or two old soldiers, under Mr. 

Heke on his hilltop station stood fast, watching the combat 
below ; he had taken the key of Kororareka, which was all, 
indeed, that he had intended or expected. 

There was no proper co-ordination of operations in the defence ; 
the naval authority, the military, and the Police Magistrate 
each gave orders and acted as they thought fit, independently 
of the others. The " Hazard's " captain being out of action, 
Lieutenant Phillpotts took command of the ship. He directed the 
abandoned barracks (behind which some of the enemy were in 
cover) and the captured signal-station to be shelled. Round shot 
and grape-shot were thrown at the natives on the hills, and for 
several hours the hills of the Bay echoed and re-echoed the roar 
of the frigate's artillery. 

It was now between 10 and n o'clock in the forenoon. 
There was a brief lull in the fighting ; then, about n o'clock, 
skirmishing again commenced. There were a hundred armed 
civilians in Polack's stockade — a hastily drilled militia ; a party 
of these men was sent to drive off some Maoris who were firing 
at the defenders of the lower blockhouse from the hill above the 
barracks. This was done, and the Maoris contented themselves 
with sniping from their manuka cover on the heights. 

All that Heke wished for had been accomplished ; but now a 
kind of panic seemed to have overtaken some of those in authority. 
Heke had no intention of attacking the civilian population ; he 
had hoisted a white flag, and sent down under its protection 
the wife and daughter of the signalman Tapper, who was now 
employed at the guns of the lower blockhouse. About noon the 
white women and children, who had all been gathered with their 
menfolk in Polack's stockade, were sent aboard the ships in 
harbour — the " Hazard," the United States warship "St. Louis," 
the " Matilda " (English whaleship), the Government brig, and 
Bishop Selwyn's schooner. This was a rightful measure of pru- 
dence as it developed, but there was scarcely adequate reason for 
the evacuation of the town by the able-bodied men, in spite of an 
accident which occurred soon after the non-combatants had been 


removed to the shipping. A careless fellow smoked his pipe as 
he worked among the kegs of gunpowder in the stockade magazine. 
Loose powder on the floor ; a dropped spark ; the next moment a 
flash, and with a terrifying roar up went the magazine and the 
greater part of the buildings in fragments. The whole of the 
reserve ammunition in store was destroyed. That fateful pipe of 
tobacco decided the fortunes of Kororareka. 

Lieutenant Phillpotts, the senior combatant officer, after con- 
sultation with Mr. Beckham, the Magistrate, now determined upon 
the complete evacuation of the place. He gave orders that the 
troops and the civilian population should go aboard the ships. 
All this time the battery on the mound in the rear of the stockade 
had been steadily held by Hector's civilian gunners and Barclay's 
redcoats. The round shot probably inflicted little harm upon 
the Maoris, who swarmed on the scrub-matted slopes of Titore's 
Mount and the minor hills around, but the gunnery and the small- 
arms fire at least prevented the Kapotai and their allies from 
descending into the town. With Mr. Hector were his two plucky 
sons, young boys, who gallantly carried up ammunition from the 
stockade under heavy fire. Tapper, the signalman, was wounded 
while serving one of the guns. 

Hector's disgust was extreme when he was informed of the 
decision arrived at by the senior naval officer and the Magistrate. 
He went down to the beach and offered to retake the flagstaff 
hill if he were given fifty volunteers. The request was refused. 
Lieutenant Barclay also went down for ammunition ; when he 
returned he found that the guns had been spiked — by whose 
orders was not clear. Nothing could have been finer than Mr. 
Hector's work as battery commander, and it certainly was not 
his fault that the post had to be abandoned. A review of the 
day's fighting and the day's blunders after the brave Robertson's 
fall at the head of his men prompts the conclusion that had the 
conduct of operations been in this amateur gunner's hands instead 
of those of the too-impulsive Phillpotts and the over-cautious 
Beckham, the town, in spite of the destruction of the stockade, 
need not have been abandoned to Ngapuhi. 

Riwhitete Pokai, of Kaikohe, recounting half a century after 
the war his share in the fall of Kororareka, described the annoy- 
ance of the Ngapuhi at Phillpotts' indiscriminate shelling. " We 
treated the women and children kindly," the veteran said, " and 
took those of them who remained late off to the ships in our canoes. 
But as soon as all the refugees were on board — and even before 
that — the man-of-war set to and opened fire on our people on 
the beach. It was an act of treachery to shell us after the town 
had been given up to us by the whites. When the firing began 
some of us were sorry we had not tomahawked all the pakehas 
we could find." Such was the Maori viewpoint. 


The heavy day closed with occasional shots from the frigate, 
little regarded by the Maoris, who were now absorbed in the joy 
of looting, drinking the grog in the publichouses, seizing blankets, 
clothes, tobacco, preserved foods, and all the varied stock of the 
stores. Some employed themselves loading their canoes that had 
been hastily paddled round from the bay in the rear of the town. 
The Hectors and a number of other families were in Bishop Selwyn's 
schooner, the " Flying Fish " ; the English whaleship received 
over a hundred, the American frigate " St. Louis " took 125 on 
board, and the rest found quarters in the "Hazard" with the 

/t \ 

Co^ScacvJ M C*RT»)r R.H.L I ace35v 

P,„ ot AUxMay R.MLI 26' 
W.Lovell Seaman 24' 

W.Love " " ||- 

WHtroDENBV - ■ f* 




Memorial to the Fallen Sailors, 
Russell Churchyard. 

troops. Captain McKeever, the commander of the "St. Louis," 
won praise from the British for his courage and humanity. 
Considerations of neutrality debarred him from a share in 
the fighting, but he sent his unarmed boats ashore, and himself 
frequently went under fire, like Bishop Selwyn, to bring off the 
women and children. 

The Maori casualties of the day were heavier than those of 
the British, but they weighed lightly against the completeness 
of the victory. The British lost ten seamen and marines and 
privates of the 96th killed ; in addition two people died from 


injuries received in the explosion of the magazine. The wounded 
numbered twenty-three. The Maori division which suffered most 
was Kawiti's, which in the fight near the church and on the 
Mata-uhi track lost at least twenty killed, and more than twice 
as many wounded. The total native losses in the day were reported 
to Governor Fitzroy as thirty-four killed and sixty-eight wounded. 
The united forces of the attackers numbered about six hundred. 
Lieutenant Phillpotts reported them at double that figure. 

Some of the more determined spirits went ashore next morning 
intent on salvage, but the " Hazard " again opened fire on the 
town. The Maoris continued the work of looting, filling their 
canoes with goods from the stores ; then they set fire to one 
after another of the buildings. The English and Roman Catholic 
churches and mission-houses, including Bishop Pompallier's home, 
were scrupulously protected from harm. By the afternoon all 
the rest of the town was burning. Fifty thousand pounds' worth 
of property went up in flames and smoke. Early on the following 
day (13th March) the fleet of five sailed for Auckland, and as 
the sorrowful refugees looked back they saw, long after they had 
rounded Tapeka Point, the black mass of smoke that lay high 
and unmoving above the bay, the funeral cloud of Kororareka. 



Fears of invasion by Ngapuhi seized many of the inhabitants 
of the young capital when, two days after the sailing of the fleet 
from the Bay, the five shiploads of refugees landed at Auckland 
and the distressed people of Kororareka spread their story. A 
Militia was enrolled, and the Auckland citizen soldiery were drilled 
daily by instructors from the Regulars. The defences of the town 
were hastily set in order. Major Bunbury and his company of the 
8oth had already (1840-41) partly fortified Britomart Point by 
constructing stone barracks. These barracks formed two sides of 
a square ; one side was loopholed ; the buildings were capable of 
accommodating two hundred men, besides stores. Fort Britomart, 
as it was now called, had been an ancient pa of the Maoris, a 
tonguelike promontory, protected on the land side by a broad, deep 
ditch and parapet. The military utilized part cf these defences; a 
portion of the parapet was thrown down to fill up the ditch at the 
entrance. On one side of the interior, where of old the warriors 
had built their low-eaved whares and kept lookout for enemy 
canoe flotillas, an octagonal loopholed guard-room was erected. A 
hospital was also built. The 96th and, later, the 58th completed 
the fortification, and several guns were mounted. The windows of 
St. Paul's Church, a brick building near by, were planked and 
loopholed for musketry. 

H.M.S. " North Star " (Captain Sir Everard Home), a twenty- 
six-gun frigate, arrived at Auckland on the 22nd March. She 
brought from Sydney 162 officers and men of the 58th Regiment. 
Two days afterwards the schooner " Velocity " arrived from 
Sydney with fifty-five officers and men of the same regiment, and 
ordnance stores. In April the barque " Slains Castle " sailed in 
from Sydney, bringing the remainder of the 58th — more than two 
hundred rank and file — under Major Cyprian Bridge. On the 
27th April an expedition totalling 470 officers and men under 
Lieut. -Colonel Hulme, of the 96th Regiment, and Major Bridge 
sailed from Auckland in the " Slains Castle," the " Velocity," and 
the schooner " Aurora," with the object of re-establishing the 
Queen's sovereignty at Kororareka and carrying the war into the 
enemy's country. Besides the 58th and 96th. there were on board 



about fifty volunteers, most of them late inhabitants of Korora- 
reka, under the courageous civilian Mr. Hector. A small force 
was left in Auckland, which was not now considered in danger, 
as Te Wherowhero, the great chief of Waikato, had offered to 
protect the capital from attack by Ngapuhi — his hereditary 
enemies — or any other foe. Old Apihai te Kawau, of Orakei, and 
his people of Ngati-Whatua, who had sold the site of Auckland to 
Governor Hobson in 1840, could also be relied upon as friends of 
the whites. 

After hoisting the British flag on Kororareka Beach, Hulme's 
force destroyed Pomare's pa at Otuihu, overlooking the channel 
to Opua and the Waikare. The " North Star " was anchored 

The Destruction of Pomare's Pa, Otuihu. 

H.M.S. "North Star" in the foreground. Pomare was detained as 
a prisoner on board this ship. The destruction of the fortified village 
was carried out by detachments of the 58th and 96th Regiments. 

off Otuihu, and Pomare himself was secured as a prisoner by 
stratagem. It was then arranged that an expedition should be 
directed against Heke's stronghold lately built near the shore of 
Lake Omapere. 

The chiefs who with their tribes and hapus definitely ranged 
themselves upon the side of the Government were Tamati Waka 
Nene (Ngati-Hao Tribe) ; Mohi Tawhai (Mahurehure Tribe), of 
Waima, Hokianga ; Makoare Tainui (Te Popoto) ; Wiremu Repa 
(Ngati-Hao) ; Paratene Kekeao (Ngapuhi) ; Tamati Pukututu 
(Uri-o-Ngonga), of the Kawakawa ; Arama Karaka (Mahurehure) ; 
2— N.Z. Wars. 


Rangatira (Ngati-Korokoro) ; Moehau (Hikutu) ; Nopera Pana- 
Kareao (Te Rarawa). Some of the celebrated chiefs, such as the 
gigantic cannibal Tareha, Waikato (who had visited England in 
1820 with Hongi Hika), and the Hokianga leader Papahia, re- 
mained neutral ; and Pomare, although his pa was destrc^ed and 
he himself taken prisoner by Lieut. -Colonel Hulme, did not take 
any active share in Heke's work. Several chiefs of the Kapotai, 
Ngati-Wai, Ngati-Hau, Uri-Kapana, and Uri-o-Hau brought their 
hapus to Heke's assistance. 

Tamati Waka Nene was allied by blood with the Hongi and 
Heke families. He had been Hongi's comrade on the war-path, 
and he had carried his musket and tomahawk as far south as 
Cook Strait in a great cannibal campaign twenty years before 
the coming of the British flag. Wise in knowledge of men and 
of military science as the Maori had developed it, endowed with 
a keen intellect and well-balanced reasoning-powers, he was the 
most able of all the Ngapuhi chiefs, and the best qualified, by 
natural gifts and by his tribal standing, to offer resistance to the 
disaffected sections of Ngapuhi. His brother Patuone, a man of 
high character and a warrior of fame, also took up the British 
cause, steadfastly declining to have any part in rebellion against 
the Queen whose right of eminent domain he had accepted in the 
Treaty of Waitangi. 

One of the chiefs at first friendly to the British Government 
but ultimately found fighting in the cause of Maori independence 
was Pene Taui, of Waimate and Ohaeawai. A curious story is 
told of Pene's defection, illustrative of the serious consequences 
often entailed by trivial incidents among the Maoris. In 1844, 
when the war feeling was developing throughout the north, Pene 
Taui was authorized to convene a meeting of Ngapuhi to consider 
the political situation. The assembled chiefs resolved to plant 
large quantities of food (potatoes, kumara, taro, and maize) in 
order to provide for a general gathering of the northern tribes in 
the Taiamai district, the heart of the Ngapuhi country, embracing 
the beautiful lands from Waimate to Ohaeawai. The meeting 
having concluded, Pene Taui sent a messenger to Tamati W T aka 
Nene, at Hokianga, with the somewhat peremptory words, " Koia 
he kai " (" Plant food"). When the herald delivered this message 
in public, as was the Maori way, Tamati Waka, resentful of its 
wording, immediately said, wtto voce but not so low that the mes- 
senger could not hear, " Ko ia he kai." It was a quick play upon 
Pene's message ; the point lay in the accenting of " ia " (" him ") 
instead of " ko " (" plant "). Waka's utterance meant " Let him 
be food," or " He shall be the food." The messenger heard ; he 
returned to Taiamai, and reported Waka's words to Pene Taui. 
That chief was so enraged at Waka's punning kanga, or curse, 
likening a high chief to food — cannibal fashion — that he at once 


made common cause with Hone Heke, taking with him all his 
tribe. It was Pene who built the stockade at Ohaeawai which 
Despard a few months later found impregnable.* 

H.M.S. " Hazard " having arrived from Auckland, the fleet 
hove up and sailed across the Bay to Kent's Passage, where the 
ships anchored under shelter of the island of Moturoa. On the 
following morning a force of four hundred men, including about 
a hundred seamen and marines from the frigates, was disembarked 
on the beach of Onewhero. On that day (3rd May, 1845) was 
begun the first march inland of British troops in New Zealand. 

Imperfectly informed as to the route of march, without 
transport arrangements, without artillery, inefficiently rationed, 
and without tents or camp equipage, Hulme set out into an 
unknown country against an enemy of unknown strength, sus- 
tained apparently by the hope of somehow worrying through, 
or fortified by the popular belief that one British soldier was 
equal to any half-dozen savages. Neither Hulme nor his officers 
knew anything of the real strength of Maori fortifications skilfully 
defended. The report on native strongholds prepared by Lieu- 
tenant Bennett of the Royal Engineers in 1843, after a visit to 
Tauranga, was unknown to them. Fortunate it was for them and 
their men that the chivalrous enemy laid no ambuscades on the 
track ; the Maori was not so considerate in the wars twenty years 
later. Doubly fortunate for them was the fact that Tamati Waka 
Nene was their ally and helper. He was the salvation of Hulme 
on that May expedition, as he was of the Maori-despising Despard 
a few weeks later. 

The opening blunder was the awkward route taken. Instead 
of transporting the force by boat, up a good tidal river, the 
Kerikeri, to the mission station at the landing, only fifteen miles 
from Kororareka, whence a cart-road led to the Waimate, fourteen 
miles, the commander marched his force along a rough native 
track south of the river for nine miles, bivouacked in the fern, 
and broke off to the right next morning, marching through torrents 
of rain to the Kerikeri mission station. The result was that the 
five days' biscuit ration and two-thirds of the reserve ammunition 
were spoiled by the rain. 

From Kerikeri the combined naval and military column moved 
out on the inland trail on the morning of the 6th May. The clay 
road, reduced to a glue - like mire by the rain, made difficult 
marching. Waka's and Rewa's barefooted warriors watched with 
pity and some amusement the efforts of the troops to march in 
fours and keep their dressing on this unkindly highway ; they 
wondered how men so heavily beswagged, so tightly fastened 

* This incident is narrated in a note sent to me by Captain Gilbert 
Mair, who adds, " Puns are of rare occurrence among; the Maoris. " 


with belts and straps and leather stocks, could march and fight. 
The bluejackets, more handily equipped and comfortably clothed, 
made easier work of it ; they carried with them a war-rocket 
tube from the " North Star " and a dozen rockets, which it was 
imagined would help to demolish any Maori stockade encountered. 
Acting-Commander George Johnson, of the " North Star," was in 
command of this naval brigade. The cart-road to Waimate was 
followed for some miles, then the column struck in a direct line 
across country for Waka's armed camp between Lake Omapere 
and Okaihau, twenty miles from Kerikeri. The march could 
have been simplified had the force passed through Waimate, but 
the members of the Church Mission there, the Revs. R. Burrows 
and R. Davis, had made strong efforts to keep the mission station 
tapu from armed men and to preserve an attitude of strict 
neutrality. After passing the Waimate at a distance, the force 
entered a tract of forest, chiefly puriri ; now the troops had 
their first taste of New Zealand bush work. A detachment of 
Pioneers of the 50th had been thrown ahead with Waka's natives. 
With their axes they improved the difficult Maori pad-track, 
only a few inches wide, for the passage of the main body. 
Unbridged creeks in flood were waded, small swamps were 
crossed, hills were breasted, and at last, at sundown, the bugles 
called a halt, and the weary soldiers and sailors loosened their 
packs under the stockade of Tamati Waka's fortified camp, a mile 
from the Omapere Lake. 

Heke's pa, named Puketutu, was two miles from Nene's fort, 
and quite close to Lake Omapere. The fort is usually but 
erroneously referred to as " Okaihau " by writers on the northern 
war. Okaihau is about three miles to the west. Half-way between 
the two pas was the smaU hill Taumata-Karamu, the scene of 
many skirmishes between Heke and Nene in April. Now and 
again a man was killed. By mutual arrangement no ambuscades 
were laid, and the fighting was only in daylight. 




" No one knew, though there were many who were wise after the event, 
that these tribesmen (the Mamunds) were as well armed as the troops, or 
that they were the brave and formidable enemies they proved themselves 
to be. ' Never despise your enemies,' is an old lesson, but it has to be 
learnt afresh, year after year, by every nation that is warlike and brave." — 
" The Story of the Malakand Field Force," by Winston Churchill. 

" We expected to make short work of Johnny Heke," said 
an old soldier of the 58th describing to me his march to Lake 
Omapere. But the difficulties of the undertaking so confidently 
essayed increased as the objective was approached and the 
military character of the Maori loomed formidably in the Biitish 
warrior's vision. The unpropitious season heightened the troubles 
of the commander, whose deficiencies in artillery and commissariat 
were fatal to any chances of success. The greatest blunder of all, 
the failure to bring even the lightest of ship's guns, although 
there was a cart-road for the greater part of the way from Kerikeri 
to the lake, condemned the expedition to failure. This became 
fully apparent to the sanguine Hulme on the second day after his 
arrival on the terrain which Heke had selected as the battle-ground. 

The country in which the rival armed bands of Heke and 
Waka Nene had pitched their fortified camps was an ideal region 
for military operations. Towards Lake Omapere the land was a 
gently undulating plain covered with manuka shrubbery, fern, 
flax, and tutu bushes, and adorned with numerous groves of the 
hardwood puriri, oak-like in the spread of its branches. To the 
east lay the plains and hills of Taiamai, the delectable land of the 
central Ngapuhi tribes. What swamps there existed were not 
large and could readily be avoided ; streams were numerous but 
small. Many of these little rivers issued from fissures in the 
volcanic hillside, welling down cold and crystal-clear through the 
Maori cultivations that alternated with the wilderness of fern and 
tutu. The landscape was diversified with many a bold volcanic 
cone. Most conspicuous of these was Te Ahuahu (" Heaped 
Up "), otherwise known as Puke-nui (" Big Hill "), a long-extinct 
volcano now grassed to its saucer-shaped summit. It rises 
from the levels near the northern shore of the lake ; its height 




is over 1,200 feet. In the fighting which immediately preceded 
the arrival of the troops in May, 1845, Tamati Waka Nene 
fortified a position on this hill. To the west lay Okaihau, with 
its dense woods of puriri ; to the south-west the Utakura Stream, 
issuing from the lake, coursed swiftly down to the harbour of 
Hokianga. Tamati Waka's first palisaded pa, before he shifted 
to the Ahuahu Hill, was built near Okaihau Forest, in order to 
check Heke's progress westward to the Hokianga headwaters. 

There had been considerable fighting in the month of April 
between Heke's warriors and the hapus friendly to the whites, 
extending over this open country between Okaihau and Te 
Ahuahu. Heke's force numbered about three hundred men ; his 
ally Kawiti joined in with another hundred and fifty towards the 

Scenes of Engagements, Bay of Islands District, 1845-46. 

end of April. To these combined war-parties were opposed about 
four hundred men under Tamati Waka, Mohi- Tawhai, and Arama 
Karaka Pi, from Hokianga ; Taonui, Nopera Para-kareao, and 
other chiefs loyal to the Treaty. Besides Waka's fortified camp, 
two stockades were built by Taonui and his tribe from Utakura, 
Hokianga, and by Mohi Tawhai and his Mahurehure hapu from 
Waima. All these three forts were close together for mutual 
support. Two or three white men joined Waka Nene in the 
field as volunteers. One of these was the afterwards celebrated 
Judge F. F. Mailing, the author of " Old New Zealand." He was 
a tall athletic man, whom nothing delighted so much as this 
opportunity of free-lance fighting. A comrade of Mailing's was 
John Webster, of Opononi, Hokianga — a settler who had already 


seen much of wild life in Australia, where he fought the blacks 
and drove cattle on long overland journeys ; in after-years he 
cruised with Ben Boyd in the schooner - yacht "Wanderer." 
Webster brought to Waka's help a rifle (a novel weapon in those 
days) and two hundred home-made cartridges ; and when shooting 
began he took his place in the rifle-pits with the warriors of 
Hokianga. In the fighting at Ohaeawai a little later both he and 
Maning shared. And another white warrior came in with his 
gun. This was Jackey Marmon, a wild figure and the chief actor 
in many a bloody episode of old New Zealand. He was an 
ex-convict from the chain gangs of Sydney ; he had settled 
among the Maoris in the days when New Zealand was a " No- 
man's Land," fought in their wars, and even shared in their 
cannibal feasts ; his fondness for human flesh was notorious 
among both Maori and ' pakeha in the " thirties " and early 
" forties." In his war-paint of red ochre, with bare chest and 
arms tattooed, his shaggy head decked out with feathers, musket 
slung across his back, cartouche-box belts buckled around him, 
a long-handled tomahawk in his hand, he looked the perfect 
picture of a savage warrior. 

The intertribal skirmishing went on until the arrival of the 
troops on the evening of the 6th May. Heke's pa, Puketutu 
(sometimes spoken of as " Te Mawhe," although the hill of that 
name is some distance to the north-east), was now the immediate 
objective of attack ; hitherto the fighting had been in open 
country between the opposing camps. 

Very little remains to-day to mark Puketutu pa, the scene of 
the first British attack upon an inland Maori fort ; the scene, too, 
of the first regular British charge with the bayonet against a 
Maori foe. The main road from the Bay of Islands, via Ohaeawai, 
to Te Horeke, Hokianga, cuts through the site of the northern 
part of Heke's pa, about three miles before Okaihau Township is 
reached. The fortification measured about 120 yards each way ; 
it was a rectangle, with several salients or flanking bastions, of 
varied outline ; from these each side of the pa could be completely 
enfiladed. There appear to have been three lines of palisading 
along part of the defences. The stockades were constructed of 
stout puriri trunks and saplings ; the outer posts were from 5 inches 
to 10 inches in diameter, and carefully loopholed. A high breast- 
work was thrown up inside the inner fence ; the trench from which 
the earth was dug was about 5 feet in depth ; it separated the 
inner and middle lines of palisade. The foot of the pekerangi, 
about 15 feet high, was strengthened with a facing of rocks and 
stones gathered from the volcanic-lava debris which lay thickly 
around ; this was a variation from the usual Maori method of 
leaving the foot of the pekerangi open for the garrison's tire. 
Another innovation — used at Ohaeawai also — was the coating of 


the outer wall with green flax. A large portion of the face of the 
palisade was reinforced in this way : large quantities of the native 
harakeke, or flax, were cut and tied in bundles ; these bundles 
were closely and tightly lashed along the face of the timbers 
just above the roughly piled stone buttress. Thus fastened, the 
flax formed a padding or fender more than man-high along the 
stockade, and the smooth, thick leaves so tightly packed prevented 
any bullets from entering through crevices in the war-fence. The 
pa, however, was not quite finished when it was attacked, and 
had it been reconnoitred carefully it would probably have been 
found comparatively vulnerable in the rear and on the eastern 

On the morning of the 8th May Lieut. -Colonel Hulme advanced 
his force. By 9 a.m. he had placed his redcoat reserve behind 
a low ridge within 300 yards of Heke's pa, and ordered three 
parties of assault to take up their positions. The first of these 
parties consisted of the seamen of the frigates " Hazard " and 
" North Star," under the command of Acting-Commander George 
Johnson, formerly of the " North Star " and at this time in 
temporary command of the " Hazard " (in place of Captain 
Robertson, disabled at Kororareka). The second party was the 
Light Company of the 58th Regiment, under Captain Denny ; the 
third was composed of a detachment of Royal Marines and some 
men of the 96th Regiment ; under Lieutenant and Adjutant 
McLerie (58th Regiment). 

As the troops moved forward with fixed bayonets fire was 
opened upon them from two faces of the pa. One party, taking 
the pa in rear, marched between it and the lake, and reached a 
gentle rise within 200 yards of the fort and just above the lake. 
The rocket-tube from which so much was expected was now placed 
in position on the north-west side of the pa, at a distance of about 
150 yards. Twelve rockets were fired by Lieutenant Egerton 
(" North Star ") and his bluejackets without any effect. 

Kawiti, who had hastened to Heke's aid with a body of about 
three hundred men, had halted less than a quarter of a mile from the 
eastern side of the pa, where he lay in ambush under the brow 
of a low undulation. An advanced party of his men held a small 
breastwork. The troops on the hill advanced their right flank 
and drove the Maoris from the shelter, which was then manned by 
a detachment of soldiers. About noon Hone Ropiha (John Hobbs, 
named after the Wesleyan missionary at Hokianga), a friendly 
scout and guide, who had led the 58th and the sailors round the 
edge of the lake in rear of the pa to the small hill overlooking 
Omapere, detected Kawiti's war-party lying in ambush within 
50 yards of the troops. The soldiers turned and fired a volley; 
and then charged with the bayonet, inflicting severe loss on 




A British ensign was hoisted on a tall flagstaff in the stockade, 
then up went Heke's red fighting-flag. This colour was hoisted 
and hauled down several times, evidently as a signal to Kawiti 
outside the pa. 

The meaning soon was made clear. The chorus of a war-song 
came across the battlefield, accompanied by the clash of firearms 
and the thud of hundreds of feet. Heke's warriors were stimu- 
lating themselves for the charge by a preliminary tutu-ngarahu. 
Forming up within the walls, unseen by their foes, they leaped 
into the action of the dance, led by Heke himself, and this was 
the chant they yelled (as given by the old man Rawiri te Ruru, 
of Te Ahuahu) : — 

Ka eke i te wiwi ; 

Ka eke i te wawa ; 

Ka eke i te papaya hu-ai ; 

Rangi-tumn huia. 

A ha — ha ! 

This song was used in ancient days before charging up to the 
assault of an enemy's fortification. Its meaning was : " We'll 
reach the outer palisade ; we'll storm the inner defence ; then 
we'll storm the citadel ; ah ! then the chiefs will fall before us ! " 

The war-song was repeated with enormous vigour: "E — e! 
Ka eke i te wiwi!" Then the warriors chanted all together as 
they leaped this way and that, with upthrust guns, this centuries- 
old battle-song : — 

U-uki max te waero, 

Ko roto ki taku pitta. 

He pitta nut te pitta, 

He pitta roa te puta. 

U — it ! Wekit, wekit ! 

W'eku mai te hiore ! 

And out through an opening in the rear of the stockade charged 
a hundred and fifty Ngapuhi with double-barrel guns and long- 
handled tomahawks. Their leader was Haratua, of Pakaraka. 
Kawiti was ready, and with his whole body, numbering probably 
three hundred, he joined Heke in an assault upon the British. 

- Captain Denny, commanding the Light Company of the 58th, 
who were in skirmishing order on the south-east of the pa and 
were now cut off from the main body by Heke's kokiri, gave the 
order to his men to close on the centre ; then, " Fix bayonets — 
Charge ! " The British dash was irresistible ; the Maoris were 
forced back to the cover in the low bush. The force in reserve 
fired on Heke's men as they advanced to take the troops in the 
rear, and checked their rush towards the rise above the lake ; 
those who reached that spot were shot or bayoneted. Brave old 
Kawiti, charging at the head of his warriors, striving to drive the 
troops into the lake, was forced back with heavy loss ; one of his 
sons was killed (one had fallen at Kororareka) ; many other men 



were killed or wounded. Kawiti himself was slightly wounded, 
was run over by the soldiers, and narrowly missed death. Noi 
did the troops escape ; several were killed and many wounded. 
Kawiti's men tomahawked some of the wounded. The British, 
on their side, gave no quarter. 

The " Retire " was sounded. Kawiti once more came to the 
charge, dashing upon the troops with desperate courage. Heke 

From a portrait at Kaikohc by S. Stuart.] 


in the meantime had withdrawn his men to the pa. It could end 
only in one way when the British got to work with the bayonet 
in the open field. But even now, though repeatedly driven back, 
the warriors outside the pa did not entirely relinquish the battle. 
They skirmished from cover until the soldiers were at last with- 
drawn by sound of bugle. 


It was now 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The skirmishing, 
alternating with heavy bayonet fighting, had lasted for more than 
four hours. Firing was maintained from the pa, and replied to 
by the troops on the western and north-west sides, till about 

In the British retirement to the camp at Tamati Waka's pa 
the kiUed were left behind. Heavy rain came on ; it was nearly 
dark by the time the fight ended. The bodies of thirteen soldiers 
and sailors strewed the ferny levels about the pa and the slopes 
above the lake ; another man, a seaman of the " Hazard," died 
later from his wounds. The wounded numbered forty-four ; they 
were carried off by their comrades along the edge of the lake 
through heavy fire. 

Night was now approaching, and when the fatigued, wet, and 
famishing troops left the field their foes were already at their 
evening pravers ; and the last sound the soldiers and sailors heard 
as they marched off was a hymn chanted by hundreds of voices 
rising through the air still pungent with gunpowder smoke. So 
ended the Battle of Puketutu — a virtual victory for the Maoris, 
for they retained possession of their pa. 

The Maori loss was severe. The exact casualties were not 
ascertained, but at least thirty must have been killed and many 
wounded. For weeks after that day's fighting the Ngapuhi 
women and bush-doctors were busy tending men suffering from 
severe bayonet and gunshot wounds. A favourite method of 
treating such injuries was to bathe the wound with the boiled 
juice of flax-root and then plug it up with a dressing of clay. 
Such rough-and-ready surgical treatment would probably have 
killed the average white man, but the Maori usually made a quick 
recoverv. Many of the best warriors of the north fell that day. 
One who received two bayonet-thrusts but survived to fight again 
was Riwhitete Pokai, of Kaikohe, Heke's relative and lieutenant. 
Even in his old age Pokai was a splendid specimen of the warriors 
of Ngapuhi. 

Hulme found it impossible to resume hostilities on the follow- 
ing day. His commissariat was exhausted ; there were no accom- 
modation and comforts for the wounded ; men were falling sick 
from wet, cold, and want of food ; heavy rain soaked the ground, 
made travelling difficult, and depressed the spirits of all. The 
Colonel therefore decided upon a retreat as soon as litters could 
be made for the wounded. 

On the day following the fight the Rev. R. Burrows rode in 
to Puketutu from Waimate — he had viewed the operations the 
previous day from the mountain Pukenui — and in the drenching 
rain, at Heke's request, he carried out the duty of coUecting and 
burving the dead soldiers. Heke's men assisted him. Eleven 
bodies were brought from the spots where they fell, and were 



buried in the trench which Kawiti's warriors had dug on the 
eastern slope of the battlefield. The other two soldiers were buried 
about a third of a mile away, near the shore of the lake and not 
far from the pa. Hulme returned to Kerikeri and the Bay, and 
landed his wounded at Auckland on the 14th May. 

Major Cyprian Bridge (58th), who had been left in command 
at the Bay, organized a boat expedition, and early on the 15th 
May attacked the pa of the Kapotai Tribe on one of the head 
creeks of the Waikare Inlet. He burned the pa while the friendly 
Maoris, under Tamati Waka, fought the Kapotai in the bush 

From a -water-colour drawing by Colonel Cyprian Bridge.] 

The British Attack on the Kapotai Pa, Waikare Inlet, Bay of Islands. 

(15th May, 1845.) 

Hauraki, a young Hokianga chief on Waka's side, brother-in-law 
to F. E. Maning, was mortally wounded in this skirmish. 


The site of Puketutu pa is perfectly level land, and is intersected by 
the main road at three miles from Ohaeawai, where the highway closely 
approaches the rushy margin of Omapere Lake, here not more than 
150 yards distant. When I visited the place (1919) the historic spot might 
have been passed unnoticed had it not been for the guidance of the old 

4 6 


man Rawiri te Ruru, of Te Ahuahu. Rawiri stopped when we had reached 
the place where the road nears a little bay of the lake, and said, " This is 
where the pa stood." On the right-hand side of the road we saw the ruined 
rifle-pits and earth parapets that formed part of the defences of the northern 
bastion, with scattered stones that once were heaped against the pekerangi 
to strengthen its face. The large trenches are still 4 to 5 feet deep. The 
main portion of the trench still traceable is fourteen paces in length, extend- 
ing at right angles to the road in a northerly direction, and is 5 feet wide ; 
a mound or parapet separates it from two inner pits of lesser size ; from 
the bottom of these trenches to the top of the parapet the height is 6 feet. 
The stones of the outer work are scattered about in the bottom of the 
ditches and among the stunted furze. In the fern and grass on the left- 
hand side of the road, too, we find some of these ancient stones that helped 
to stop the big-bore round balls of the Tower musket era. In the paddock 
that gently slopes from the road down to the lake cattle are grazing over 
the old battle-ground, where there are faint indications of trenches ; the 
field, though ploughed over many times, retains the slight undulation that 
marks the war-ditches dug by Heke's warriors. The hill of Puketutu, from 
which the pa takes its name, is a gentle rise about half a mile distant, in 
the direction of Ohaeawai. A little farther to the north-east is Mawhe, a 
rounded hill, still in part covered with purii-i groves ; this, too, was a 
hghting-ground contested by Tamati Waka and Heke. 

Riwhitete Pokai died at Kaikohe in 1903, aged about eighty-five years. 
He was in charge of one of the war-parties detailed for the final attack on 
the flagstaff at Kororareka in 1845. To his last days he retained the warrior 
instinct and the alert wariness of his youth, and was fond of instructing the 
young men of Ngapuhi in the art of war as he had practised it. His rifle 
and muskets were always kept ready for use. His kinsmen tell of a charac- 
teristic trait of the veteran. He slept " with one ear awake," and kept 
beside him an ancient sword-stick, which King William IV had sent to 
Titore. At any unusual noise in or near his room he would leap from his 
bed and lunge out fiercely with this weapon in the darkness at his imaginary 



Lieut. -Colonel Hulme's expedition to Omapere was criticized 
in severe terms by professional men and lay observers alike. 
These criticisms were directed not so much against the officer 
commanding or the troops, whose courage and discipline could 
not have been higher, but against the ill-considered policy which 
had hurried an imperfectly equipped force into the wilds against 
an enemy of unknown strength. 

It was now approaching midwinter, and the rains which make 
camp life in the north uncomfortable and reduce the tracks to 
bogs had set in heavily. The weather would not be favourable 
for campaigning for several months. Nevertheless, Governor 
Fitzroy and the militant authorities resolved to recommence 
operations against Heke, fearing that the longer he was left 
unmolested the stronger would grow his forces. 

Heke employed his respite in recruiting his war-parties and 
gathering in supplies of ammunition and food. He was not, how- 
ever, left in peace, for the ever-active Waka Nene, with three 
or four hundred men at his command, was encamped between 
Okaihau and Ohaeawai, and intermittent fighting occurred early 
in June. In the heaviest engagement Heke received a severe 
gunshot wound in the thigh, and was rescued by a party led by 
the tohunga Te Atua Wera (whose atua, or familiar spirit, was 
the Nakahi, according to Ngapuhi stories). Each side lost five or 
six killed in this fight (12th June). 

Early in June Fitzroy received reinforcements ; the barque 
" British Sovereign " arrived at Auckland from Sydney with the 
headquarters of the 99th Regiment, numbering 209 officers and 
men, under Colonel Despard, who had seen some service in the 
East Indies. Colonel Despard took charge of all the troops in the 
colony and organized a new expedition. In the middle of June 
the transport fleet sailed from the Waitemata for the Bay of 
Islands. Disembarking at Onewhero Beach, Despard marched his 
force to Kerikeri mission station ; the guns and stores were boated 
up the Kerikeri River by the " Hazard's " bluejackets. Thence 
the route was through Waimate to Ohaeawai ; the objective was 
a fort which Heke and Pene Taui were reported to have built. 


The strength of the column, including seventy-five volunteers from 
the Auckland Militia and eighteen seamen and marines from 
H.M.S. " Hazard," was 596 rank and file. Major Cyprian Bridge, 
commanding the 58th, had about 270 men under him, the 
largest unit in the column. Major Macpherson commanded two 
companies of the 99th Regiment, and Lieut. -Colonel Hulme a 
company of the 96th. Acting-Captain George Johnson, of the 
" Hazard," with him Lieutenant George Phillpotts (the " Topi " 
of the Maoris), brought up the naval party to work the guns. 
These pieces of artillery were two 6-pounder brass guns and two 
12-pounder carronades. 

On the morning of the 23rd June the force marched from 
Waimate for Ohaeawai, seven miles away. This stage of the 
march was much impeded by the bad roads (or, rather, bullock- 
tracks), the unbridged creeks, and a deep swamp. 

Waka's advance guard of Hokianga Maoris was the first to 
come under fire. The Ohaeawai garrison had sent out parties of 
skirmishers, and firing began when the forces had passed the tino 
of Taiamai (the remarkable rock from which the district takes its 
name) about a mile, and were ascending a gentle rise in the direc- 
tion of Ohaeawai. Despard heard the sound of musketry on his 
right front, and moved rapidly forward with his advance guard 
(No. 9 Company of the 58th Regiment, under Lieutenant Bal- 
neavis). Some of the friendly natives accompanied the white 
skirmishers ; with them marched Jackey Marmon, the white 
cannibal warrior. Volleys of musketry saluted Balneavis and 
his men. The advance was over rather rough ground, covered 
with high fern and manuka, with here and there a native 
cultivation. A tall stockade came in sight. At about 500 yards 
from the north face of the Maori fort the bugles sounded the halt. 
Here, on gently rising ground, within musket-range of the pa, 
Despard encamped. 

Next morning (24th June), after reconnoitring his enemy's 
position, Despard prepared for a regular siege, and opened fire 
from his field-pieces. In the meantime we may leave him 
anxiously scanning the stockade with his spy-glass after each shot, 
and see for ourselves what manner of fortress this was that the 
followers of Kawiti and Heke now held in defiance of British 
musket, bayonet, and artillery. 

Ohaeawai pa in its original form was the headquarters of 
the chief Pene Taui. He strengthened it after the fighting at 
Kororareka, realizing that his own district might before long 
become a theatre of war. After the Battle of Puketutu, Kawiti 
and Heke united with Pene Taui in converting Ohaeawai into a 
formidable fort, proof against artillery as well as musketry. Old 
Kawiti, wise in all matters of warfare, marked out the lines of 
the new fortification, which when completed more than doubled 



the size of the original stockade, and in Heke's absence he 
superintended the labour of hauling the puriri palisade timbers 
from the forest and setting them in position. The pa stood on 
elevated ground, a terrain well adapted for defence, except in one 
important detail : it was commanded by a conical hill about a 
third of a mile away on the north-west, a knoll about 300 feet 
higher than the site of the stockade. This hill, Puketapu, on 
the northern flank of a wooded range which rose immediately 
west of Ohaeawai, was partly covered with puriri groves. The 
ground fell quickly away from the pa on all flanks but the north ; 
the track from Waimate to Kaikohe passed under its eastern 
front, where the main road runs to-day. The ground sloped very 
gradually on the north, and it was that side, facing the quarter 
from which attack was expected, that the garrison made par- 
ticularly strong. Eastward was the forest. Through the valley 
which half-encircled the pa hill on the west and north-west sides 
flowed a small stream, intersecting the Kaikohe track. Beyond 
this stream on the west swelled the ranges in a cloud of forest. 
On the partly cleared land to the north, where the British camp 
was pitched, stood many a large puriri. One of those puriri, still 
standing, could tell us, had it a tongue like Jason's talking-oak, 
of Despard's council of war held beneath its boughs, and of the 
shells and round shot which the guns of 1845 sent over its head. 
One of those shots fell short — there was many a defective charge 
— and smashed off the old tree's top branch. 

The fort was oblong in form, with salients on each face and 
at two of the angles (south-east and south-west), giving the 
garrison an enfilading fire in every direction. The greatest axis 
was east and west ; the distance from the eastern to the western- 
most palisade was a little over 100 yards. The shortest flank, 
the western, measured 40 yards ; the eastern 43 yards. The 
original and the newer sections of the pa did not run on a 
continuous alignment ; Kawiti's portion was constructed slightly 
en echelon, projecting a few yards on the south bevond the 
eastern division of the pa. The palisades and trench, however, 
made an uninterrupted defence, and the numerous projections 
gave an admirably complete flanking fire ; therein shone the innate 
military engineering genius of the Maori. Part of the lines was 
defended by three lines of stockade timbers ; on two faces the 
palisade was double. The outer wall, the pekerangi, or curtain, 
was formed of stout timbers, most of them whole trees, sunk 
deeply in the ground at short intervals, with saplings and split 
timbers closely set between the larger posts, all bound firmly 
together with cross-rails and torotoro, or bush-vines. The smaller 
timbers did not quite reach the ground ; it was through the 
spaces left that the defenders fired from their shelter in the trench 
behind the second palisade. The outer defence was completed 


by the masking of the timber wall with green flax, as at Puketutu. 
The stockading was 10 to 15 feet in height ; it was covered 
from a foot above the ground to the height of 8 or 10 feet 
with a thick mantlet of green flax-leaves tightly bound to the 
palisades. This padding of harakeke not only afforded considerable 
protection by deadening the impact of bullets, but masked the 
real strength of the stockade. 

The second line of stockade, the kiri-tangata (" the warrior's 
skin"), was stronger than even the well-constructed pekerangi; 
every timber was set in the ground to a depth of about 5 feet, and 
rose above ground to a height corresponding with that of the 
outer line. Many of the palisades so planted, set close together, 
were whole puriri trees a foot or 15 inches in diameter — -some 
were even larger — and some when cut and hauled from the 
fores must have been quite 20 feet in length. This line of 
stockade was loopholed ; the apertures for the Maori musketry 
fire were formed by taking a V scarf with the axe out of the two 
contiguous timbers. These loopholes were on the ground-level ; 
and the Maori musketeer, pointing his gun through the aperture, 
was thus able to deliver his fire under the foot of the pekerangi 
without in the least exposing himself. The distance between 
the two fences was 3 feet. The trench in which the musketeer 
squatted was 5 to 6 feet deep and 4 or 5 feet wide, with earth 
banquette on which the defenders stood to fire, and traverses 
at intervals of about 2 yards, with narrow communicating-trench 
between each, admitting of only one man passing at a time. 
The venerable Rihara Kou, of Kaikohe, describing it, said : " We 
could travel right round the pa in the trench, winding in and 
out ' (" haere k<>hikopiko ana "). 

Within the double stockade and the firing-trench again, on 
a portion of the front at least, there was a third line of timbers, 
a palisade about 10 feet high, against the outer side of which 
the earth thrown from the ditch was heaped. Inside all these 
defences were the living-quarters of the garrison — the warriors, 
and the wives and daughters who had come to cook for them 
and make their cartridges. These quarters were all underground, 
and were made shell-proof by being covered with heavy timbers, 
branches of trees, and earth. The roofs of some were built with 
the slope of the usual low whare, and the soil from the excava- 
tions was heaped up against them and over their tops until they 
seemed mere mounds of earth. These subterranean chambers 
(runs, or pits, the Maoris called them) were usually 6 feet deep ; 
some were as large as a good-sized wharepwii, about 30 feet long 
and 20 feet wide. The garrison were completely sheltered here, 
as in the trench, until Despard's guns were mounted on the hill 
to the north-west, and even then few of the Maoris were hit by 
the plunging fire. 






If ■"■I" J 

^HT» ■MM T M Eg SB « 

f""i &b » f . 


m* * 


■ IS 


N. Storming- 1 

Ground Plan of Ohaeawai Pa, 

Showing north-west angle attacked by British storming- parties 
(1st July, 1845)." 

Sectiov of Stockade and Trenches. 



To these skilfully planned defences, evolved out of the Maori's 
brain, ever resourceful in devices to combat new weapons, there 
was added a battery of artillery. To be sure, it was a scrap-iron 
battery : it consisted of four old ship's guns gathered from 
one quarter and another, but it gave a finishing touch to the 
fortress. Two of the pieces were iron 9-pounders ; the others were 
smaller iron guns, a 4-pounder and a 2-pounder swivel. The 
two smaller guns had been brought in bullock-drays by Heke 
and his friends from the Bay of Islands. One of the weapons 
had been taken as spoils of war from Kororareka after the fight 
of the nth March. One of the 9-pounders had a curious history : 
it was one of two which the Maoris commandeered from the 
Waimate mission station. The history goes back to the year 1823, 
when the ship " Brampton," which had brought out the Rev. 
Henry Williams and his family, went to pieces on a reef, which 
now bears her name, outside Kororareka Bay. After the ship 
had been abandoned, two of the guns with which she was armed 
were brought to Paihia, the mission station opposite Russell, and 
were used there for firing salutes ; afterwards they were taken to 

One of the 9-pounders found after the siege stood in a 
square bastion facing the east, close to the south-east angle of 
the pa. Another was mounted at an angle on the northern 
front, facing the encampment of the troops. One of the smaller 
pieces stood in an embrasure on the same front, about 70 feet 
from the north-west angle. The other gun, so far as can be 
gathered, was mounted' in the small bastion at the south-west 

The Maori garrison of the pa was considerably out- 
numbered by the troops. The strength of the defenders varied 
from time to time, as men were continually passing between the 
stockade and Kaikohe, five or six miles in the rear. A strong 
bodyguard had been sent with the wounded Heke to Tautoro, 

* In comparing the Maori fortresses with the contemporary defensive 
works of other primitive races we find the closest resemblance to the New 
Zealand pa in the stockades of two far-severed peoples — the Burmese and 
the Indians of some of the western States in North America. In the first 
Burmese War (1824) the British soldiers were confronted by immense jungle 
stockades, built sometimes of very large tree-trunks, and defended also 
by an abbatis of pointed stakes and felled trees. It was found necessary 
to breach these stockades with artillery. In Catlin's " North American 
Indians" a Mandan village on the Upper Missouri is described. This fort 
was built on a precipitous cliff 40 or 50 feet high. The stockade was built 
of timbers a foot or more in diameter and 18 feet high, set firmly in the 
.L^n in ii< 1 at a sufficient distance apart to admit of guns being fired between 
them. " The ditch, unlike that of civilized modes of fortification," Catlin 
wrote, " is inside of the picquet, in which the warriors screen their bodies 
from tin- view and weapons of their enemies whilst they are reloading and 
discharging their weapons through the picquets." Exactly this plan of 
defence was adopted by the Maoris in the New Zealand wars. 



a safe place of retreat some fourteen miles away, close to the 
beautiful mounta n lake of Tauanui, or Kereru, with its sacred 
islet. The natives say that when Desparcl delivered his assault 
on the ist July there were not more than a hundred men in 
the pa. The principal hapus composing the garrison were : 
Ngati-Rangi, under Pene Taui ; Ngati-Tautahi, of Kaikohe, 
under Tuhirangi (elder brother of Heke) ; Ngati-Whakaeke, 
Ngati-te-Rehu, and Ngati-te-Rangi, all Heke's hapus ; Ngati- 
Kawa, of Oromahoe ; and Te Uri-Taniwha, of Te Ahuahu ; also 
Ngati-Hine, led by Kawiti. 

Picture the interior of Ohaeawai stockade that midwinter 
of 1845. The northerly gale brings a thin but searching rain ; 
squalls sometimes obscure the battlefield in a driving mist. The 
troops in their leaky tents and their roughly made manuka 
shelters are uncomfortably damp ; in the securely roofed dug- 
outs within the stockade the Maoris are snug and dry. The 
floors of the ruas are thickly spread with soft fern and flax mats. 
In the store-pits are heaps of potatoes and kumara, baskets of 
dried eels, preserved pigeons, shell-fish from the Kawakawa. 
In the larger of the semi-subterranean huts are fires burning, 
fed with manuka branches and heaps of kapia, or kauri-gum. 
At some of these fires women and boys are roasting potatoes ; at 
others men are cleaning and polishing their flint-lock muskets and 
percussion-cap guns. In the safety of the deeper dugouts groups 
are busy making cartridges, filling the thick paper holders from 
small kegs of gunpowder ; others are melting lead into bullets, 
using moulds either bought from the trading-houses before the 
war or looted last March from the stores at Kororareka. There 
is no lack of powder or of bullets ; even after hostilities had 
begun and after a blockade of the Bay of Islands had been 
established the Maoris had little difficulty in finding white 
traders and captains of coasting-vessels or timber-ships (chiefly 
at Hokianga) ready to supply ammunition at war prices. 

Observe these half-stripped fort-builders and gun-fighters of 
Ngapuhi, the pick of Maori manhood. Tall fellows, with the 
shoulders and chests of athletes and the straight backs of soldiers : 
quick darting eyes, always on the alert ; clean-shaven faces thickly 
scrolled with the blue-black tattoo lines of the moko. Some of 
the veterans have scarcely an inch of skin on cheeks and nose 
and brow and chin clear of the deeply cut lines of tattoo ; their 
tapn heads are a marvel of savage carving. There are boys here 
only just entering their teens. Yonder is a youngster of twelve 
proudlv handling a hakimana, a single - barrel percussion - cap 
musket ; it is his first gun, and he is waiting with mingled 
impatience and excitement for his share of ammunition that will 
enable him to take his place in the fire-trenches. (The Maori 
took to the war-path young; so, indeed, did most people living 
a primitive or semi-primitive life. In the American backwoods 




in the old Indian fighting-days the settler's son often was 
already a veteran at an age when most boys arc at school. 
"A boy of the wilderness," Sir George Otto Trevelyan wrot< 
in " The American Revolution," " so soon as he had passed his 
twelfth birthday, was recognized as part of the garrison of the 
farm, and was allotted his loophole in the stockade which 
encircled it." In G. M. Trevelyan's " Garibaldi and the Making 
of Italy" mention is made of a Sicilian boy ol twelve who 
behaved with such admirable courage in the Battle of Milazzo 
(i860) that Garibaldi made him a sergeant on the field.) 

Here is dour old Kawiti, hero of man}' fights, burning to 
avenge the death of his son on the battlefield of Puketutu. Here 
is that most daring of Ngapuhi tomahawk-men, young Riwhitete 
Pokai ; his two bayonet-wounds received at Puketutu scarcely 
healed yet. Here is Ruatara Tauramoko, of the blue-blooded clan 
known as the Uri-Taniwha ("Children of Sea-monsters"); clean- 
limbed, square-shouldered, symmetrically tattooed, he looks the 
perfect type of a New Zealand warrior. One of his comrades, 
Wi te Parihi, or Pirihonga, is a man of an alien tribe, the Arawa ; 
he was brought here as a captive long ago, but his merits have 
won for him a high place among his captor's people ; he and 
Pokai are spoken of to this day with admiration as Heke's two 
greatest tons, or braves. And in the trenches also you may see 
one or two young musketeers whose skin is curiously light in 
contrast with the dark curves of the tattoo ; they are half-castes.* 

The first British battery, protected by a breastwork, was placed 
about 100 yards in front of Despard's camp, on gently rising 
ground, and the first gun was fired at 8 a.m. on the 24th June. 
The fire was kept up from the four guns during the greater part 
of the day, but with little effect upon the stockade. 

New emplacements were made ; one battery was not more 
than 100 yards from the stockade. The guns made no impression 
on the stockade, and the only casualties were those suffered b\ 
the troops. Despard at last wrote to Acting-Captain George 

* Ruatara, like his comrade Pokai, showed the warrior spirit to the 
last. In his old age, at Tautoro, he preserved with pride his armoury of 
seven guns — of all makes and periods, from flint-locks to modern rifles — 
which he kept carefully cleaned and polished, always in readiness for use 
if needed. Like Pokai, too, he took delight in teaching the younger gene- 
ration the use of arms. In 1901 he was one of the northern chiefs in the 
great Maori gathering at Rotorua to welcome King George V (then Duke oi 
Cornwall and York). The tall old tattooed warrior made a picturesque 
figure of the past as bareheaded and barefooted he marched up and laid his 
most treasured heirloom, a whalebone hoeroa or broadsword, at Royalty's f( <■'. . 

Rihara Kou, of Kaikohe, now about ninety years of age, was in tlu 
trenches at Ohaeawai, using his first gun; he would then be about twelv( 
years of age. Rihara is the last survivor of the defenders of Ohaeawai ami 
Rua-pekapeka. He is a good type of the Ngapuhi, with a fine, intelligent, 
shrewd face and long snowv hair and beard. 



Johnson, of H.M.S. " Hazard," which was anchored in the mouth 
of the Kerikeri River, requesting him to send up one of his 

.Meanwhile some ingenious artilleryman, racking his wits for 
means of more effective attack, bethought him of the empty 
shell-cases. Could they be converted into stench bombs or balls, 
with short time-fuses, and fired from the mortars ? Colour- 
Sergeant R. Hattaway, of the 58th, narrated the incident. Tw t o 
old soldiers were sent to assist in the manufacture of the balls 
or shells ; the experiment was regarded with high hopes by the 
artillery officers. " The shells," wrote Hattaway, " contained 
some poisonous substance the effect of which was expected to 
deprive the rebels of all animation, and leave them a prey to 

From a photo, April. 1922.} 


Last survivor of the defenders of Ohaeawai. 

the European victors. As day by day passed away and nothing 
occurred to disturb the natives in their stronghold it was con- 
cluded that the project had been a failure." 

This curious experiment, the first and only instance of the 
use of poison-gas in New Zealand, was attended with no better 
success than the other means adopted for the capture of the pa. 
The composition of the " stench-balls " remains a mvstery ; 
unknown also is the number of these shells delivered to the 
Maoris by vertical fire. The expectation was that the mortars, 
with their 45 angle of fire, would land the poison-shells within 
the trenches or the dugouts, where their explosion would produce 
stupefaction as well as consternation. Wherever they exploded, 
they failed to produce any noticeable ill effect upon the Maoris 



Pene Taui's stockade was commanded at a range of less than 
one-third of a mile by the hill Puketapu, upon which Despard's 
Maori allies flew the British ensign. A modern field-gun at that 
distance would quickly have reduced the palisade to splinters. 
But what little impression was made by gun-fire upon the flax- 
masked defences was repaired by the garrison each night ; and 
even when the 32-po under arrived from the frigate " Hazard " its 
projectiles failed to breach the stockade. On the 30th June the 
gun was mounted on a platform, with strong timber slides, con- 
structed on the lower slope of Puketapu ; two of the smaller guns 
had been placed higher up. On the forenoon of the 1st July the 
32-pounder opened fire obliquely at the front stockade. 

Every one was absorbed in watching the effect of the gun-fire. 
Suddenly there came the noise of musket-fire in the rear, on the 
summit of Tamati Waka Nene's hill, and as the troops turned 
about in astonishment they saw the friendly Maoris, men and 
women, flying down the steep slope in confusion, and with them 
the picket (a sergeant and twelve men of the 58th) posted on the 
hill for the protection of the 6-pounder. They had been taken 
in reverse by a sortie-party of Maoris from the pa, advancing 
under cover of the forest on the right front and flank. The 
natives shot one soldier, seized the gun, and hauled down Waka's 
flag, which they carried off. Major Bridge and his 58th charged 
up and recaptured the hill. A few minutes later Despard's alarm 
and disgust turned to fury when he saw the captured British 
ensign run up on the flax-halliards of the Maori flagstaff in the 
pa, below the rebel flag — a kakahu Maori, as one of my Maori 
informants describes it — a native garment. Then it was that the 
Colonel made up his mind to storm the pa that day. He imagined 
that the few 32 lb. shot — which were soon expended — would so 
loosen the stockades as to enable the troops to cut and pull them 
down. Those who ventured to remonstrate were snubbed or 
insulted. Lieutenant Phillpotts, of the " Hazard," was roused to 


such indignation by the Colonel's retort to his protest against a 
senseless "attack that he threw away every vestige of military 
attire he happened to be wearing, and in his blue sailor shut 
and underclothes rushed to his death. A protest from the 
free-lance allies met with a similar reception. John Webster tells 
the story : — 

" Maning, myself, and Nene went to interview Despard. We 
knew well the strength of the pa and its construction. Maning 
was the spokesman, and commenced with, ' Sir, we heard that you 
intend assaulting the pa, and we have come to say that unless a 
breach is made it will cause great loss of life and will fail.* 

" ' What do vou civilians know of the matter? 'replied Despard. 

" ' Sir,' said Maning, ' we may not know much, but there is 
one that apparently knows less, and that is yourself.' 

" Despard got very angry and threatened to arrest us. Nene 
now inquired what the chief of the soldiers was saying. Maning 
told him. 

" ' He tanaata kuware tend tangata,' said Xene. 

" ' What does the chief say ? ' Despard inquired of his inter- 
preter. (I think Meurant was the interpreter's name.) He 
scratched his head and said, ' It is not complimentary.' 

" ' But I order you, sir,' said Despard. 
' The chief says you are a very stupid person,' then replied 

" It was impossible to make any impression on the man who 
had so many fine young fellows' lives in his hands, and he was 
prepared to sacrifice them through mere obstinacy." 

Tamati Waka Nene offered to make a feint attack on the 
stockade in the rear, in order to divert attention from the soldiers' 
assault, but this suggestion, like all others, met with a refusal. 

The Colonel ordered a storming-party to parade at 3 o'clock 
in the afternoon, and instructions were issued by his brigade- 
major (Lieutenant and Adjutant Deering) for the guidance 
of the officers commanding the various divisions. The troops 
were ordered to get their dinners. For many of them that meal 
was their last. Forebodings of disaster possessed some of the 
more thoughtful, but in spite of the doubtful character of the 
enterprise there was a distinct element of elation and relief among 
the rank and file at the prospect of an attack at close quarters. 
There was also a strong desire among the troops to avenge the 
death of a young soldier of the 99th who had been caught by the 
enemy while foraging for potatoes. The men on outpost duty had 
heard, as they believed, his cries of agony ; and a story, palpably 
absurd, was circulated after the fight that he had been tortured 
to death by burning with kauri-gum. In their ignorance of Maori 
ways they credited their foes with the practices of Red Indians 
on the war-path. 


At 3 o'clock the bugles sounded the assembly. Volunf 
were called upon for the forlorn hope. The whole of the men 
of the 58th stepped forward. The right-hand man, front and 
rear rank, of each section was ordered to the front ; a similar 
procedure was followed in the 99th Regiment. Two assaulting 
columns were composed of men of the two regiments, with a number 
of seamen and Pioneers. When the selection had been completed 
the storming-parties formed up in the little valley on the west 
and north-west side of the pa, about 100 yards. from the stock- 
ade. This was the composition of the force ; Advance-party, 01 
forlorn hope — Lieutenant Beattie (99th Regiment), two sergeants, 
and twenty men. Assaulting column — Major Macpherscn (90th 
Regiment), forty grenadiers from the 58th and forty from the 
99th, with a small party of seamen from H.M.S. "Hazard" and 
thirty Pioneers (to carry axes, scaling-ladders, and ropes) from 
the Auckland Volunteer Militia : total, about one hundred and 
twenty men. Second assaulting column — Major Bridge (58th), 
with the remainder of the grenadiers of the 58th, made up to sixty 
rank and file from a battalion of that regiment, and forty rank 
and file from the Light Company of the 99th : total, one hundred 

Lieut. -Colonel Hulme was posted in the valley west of the pa 
with a supporting-party consisting of a hundred men of the two 
regiments and some naval men. Major Bridge's party, in rear 
of the forlorn hope, took up a position exactly north-west of 
the nearest angle of the stockade (the Maoris' left front) ; Major 
Macpherson was posted due north of the same angle, under cover 
of a grove of puriri trees. The north-west angle of the pa was 
-the principal objective of attack — this despite the fact that it was 
enfiladed by loopholed bastions on either flank. 

There came now an awful interval of waiting. The storming- 
parties stood ready in their appointed places, while the guns 
in rear of them threw shot and shell into the stockade. The 
glinting lines of bayonets caught the fitful sunshine of a wintry 
afternoon ; the campaign-stained red tunics and white cross- 
belts, too, were brightened by those gleams of gold beneath 
the drifting clouds. Tattered was many a uniform ; coats and 
trousers torn and roughly patched ; some of the men barefooted, 
some with battered boots tied on their feet with strips of flax- 

Half an hour of such waiting, then out blared the bugle. It 
was the "Advance." There was a quick fire of orders from 
commanders of columns — " Prepare to charge " ; " Charge " ; and 
with a " Hurrah!" up the ferny slope dashed the advance-party. 
Major Macpherson's column quickly followed ; then up came 
Major Bridge's party of bearded campaigners in four ranks, their 
commander leading, sword in hand. 




That charge up the bullet-swept glacis of Ohaeawai was 
described to me with graphic word and action by the last survivor 
of the stormers, Lieutenant W. H. Free, of New Plymouth, who 
was a corporal in the 58th under Major Bridge. Free was a 
County Wicklow lad of twenty; he had enlisted three years 
previously, and one of his recent memories was a voyage from 
England to Hobart Town as a private in the military guard in 
a convict ship, the " Anson." 

" We formed up in close order," Free said, " elbows touching 
when we crooked them ; four ranks, only the regulation 23 inches 
between each rank. There we waited in the little hollow before 
the pa, sheltered by the fall of the ground and some tree cowr. 
We got the orders, 'Prepare to charge'; then 'Charge.' Up the 
rise we went at a steady double, the first two ranks at the 
charge with the bayonet ; the second rank had room to put their 
bayonets in between the front-rank men ; the third and fourth 
ranks with muskets and fixed bayonets at the slope. We were 
within 100 yards of the pa when the advance began ; when we 
were within about fifty paces of the stockade-front we cheered 
and went at it with a rush, our best speed and ' divil take the 
hindmost.' The whole front of the pa flashed fire, and in a 
moment we were in the one-sided fight — gun-flashes from the foot 
of the stockade and from loopholes higher up, smoke half-hiding 
the pa from us, yells and cheers, and men falling all round. 

" Not a single Maori could we see. They were all safely 
hidden in their trenches and pits, poking the muzzles of their 
guns under the foot of the outer palisade. What could we do ? 
We tore at the fence, but it was a hopeless business. The Pioneer 
party left all the axes and tomahawks behind ; the sailors had 
their cutlasses, but they could do little more than slash at the 
lashings of the fence. Only one scaling-ladder was carried up. 
The man who brought it stood it against the outer stockade. 
' Here it is,' he said, ' for any one who'll go up it.' But who'd 
climb the ladder ? It would be certain death. If any one did 
try it he didn't live many moments. 

" We were in front of the stockade, firing through it, thrusting 
our bayonets in, or trying to pull a part of it down, for, I suppose, 
not more than two minutes and a half. From the time we got 
the order to charge until we got back to the hollow a.srain it was 
only five to seven minutes. 

" In our Light Compan}' alone we had twenty-one men shot in 
the charge. As we rushed at the pa a man was shot in front of 
me, and another was hit behind me. When the bugle sounded 
the retreat I picked up a wounded man, and was carrying him 
off on my back when he was shot dead. Then I picked up a 
second wounded comrade, a soldier named Smith, and carried 
him out safely. Our captain, Grant, an officer for whom we had 


a great liking, was shot dead close to the stockade. Nothing 
was explained to us before we charged. We just brought our 
bayonets to the charge when we got the word, and went at it 

Free narrated that he and his comrades of the 58th carried 
their full packs even in the charge — like King George the Third's 
troops in the first assault on Bunker's Hill. 

Some of the garrison, appalled by the valour of the redcoats 
rushing with their front of steel upon the palisades, took fright 
and made for the rear of the pa, but the greater number stood 

From a portrait about i860.} 

Colonel Cyprian Bridge. 

Major (afterwards Colonel) Cyprian Bridge, of the 58th Regiment, was 
Qi le to Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, G.C.B., who commanded H.M.S. 
Espiegle " in the Pacific, 1882 85, and was Admiral in command of the 

Australian Station, 1895 ''7- When the 58th returned to England from New 

Zealand Major Bridge was appointed to the command of the regiment. 

Mr. II. E. Bridge, of Oriental Bay, Wellington, is a son of the Colonel. 

Five son-, of Mr. Bridge volunteered for the Great War and wore khaki; 

four served abroad : one was mortally wounded on Gallipoli, and one was 

killed in action in Fran* e. 

i ls1 in their trenches, reserving their fire until the stormers were 
within 25 or 20 yards. When the few faint-hearts among the 
Maoris saw that the stockade was impregnable they returned to 


their posts, and assisted in the final repulse. There were probably 
not more than a hundred natives in the pa when the assault was 

The Maori enfilading fire completely commanded the angle 
which was the centre of attack, and many men fell on the 
western flank, where bullets were poured into them from a small 
bastion. Those on the northern face became targets for the 
Maori gun-men in the rectangular salient midway on that flank. 
In one of these bastions there was a carronade which the Maoris 
had loaded with a bullock-chain, and this projectile., fired at 

W. H. Free, a Veteran of Ohaeawai. 

Corporal Free (58th) was the last survivor in New Zealand of the 
stormers at Ohaeawai. He fought in the Taranaki War, and was given a 
commission as Lieutenant. He died at New Plymouth in 1919, aged 93 years 

close quarters, killed or wounded several soldiers. Captain W. E. 
Grant (58th) fell shot through the head in one of the first volleys. 
Lieutenant Edward Beattie (96th) was mortally wounded. The 
impulsive naval lieutenant, Phillpotts, ran along the stockade 
to the right (the west flank), seeking a place to enter; the outer 
fence had suffered most damage there. He actually climbed 
the pekerangi, a small portion of which had been loosened by 
sword-cuts delivered against the torotoro lashings and partly pulled 
down. There he fell, shot through the body. A young sailor 



who ran up the solitary ladder which Lieutenant Free mentioned 
was shot dead and fell inside the stockade. Brevet-Major Mac- 
pherson was wounded severely ; as he was a very heavy man it 
was only with difficulty that he was carried off the field. Ensign 
O'Reilly (99th) received a bullet which shattered his right arm 
at the elbow. " The soldiers fell on this side and on that," said 
the venerable Rihara Kou — the whitebeard made an expressive 

Hare Puataata (Puhikura), of Kaikohe. 
One of the defenders of Ohaeawai. 

gesture with his hands — " they fell right and left like that, like 
so many sticks thrown down." 

Through the din of musketry and yelling the notes of a bugle 
were heard. It was the " Retire." Major Bridge and many of 
his men thought the call had been sounded in mistake. However, 
the retreat was repeated, and the summons was obeyed. The 


Maoris' independent firing increased, and more were killed and 
wounded in the withdrawal. In that five minutes nearly forty 
men had been killed and seventy wounded, some mortally. 

One-third of the troops engaged fell before the Maori fire. 
The large-calibre bullets inflicted smashing wounds ; in many 
cases the combat was at such close quarters that the clothing of 
the soldiers was scorched by the gunpowder-flash. Not all the 
wounded were carried off ; all the dead were left where thev 

Many a deed of gallantry and devotion illumined the tragedy 
of that retreat. Several men returned again and again through 
a hot fire to cany off wounded comrades. One private of the 
58th, Whitethread, rescued in this way at least five men of his 
own regiment and the 99th ; he and another man, J. Pallett, 
carried Major Macpherson into camp. Two Scots of the 58th 
lay dead together on the field ; the one, McKinnon, was carrying 
off' his dying or dead corporal, Stewart, on his back when he was 
shot. Corporal Free was another of those who brought away 
wounded comrades from the bullet-spitting pekerangi. 

Now out upon the heels of the rescuers who are heroically 
bearing off the wounded there charge the victorious Maoris, naked, 
powder-grimed, yelling, shaking their guns and their long-handled 
tomahawks. A white-headed tattooed warrior, astonishingly agile 
in spite of his age, dashes along the palisade front ; he is seeking 
the body of the sailor-chief " Topi.' He bends over Phillpotts's 
body ; with his tomahawk he cuts off a portion of the scalp, and 
bursts into a pagan chant. It is the incantation of the whangai- 
hau, offering the first of the battle-trophies to the supreme war- 
god of the Maori, Tu-of-the-Angry-Face. And there, amid the 
bodies of dead and dying whites strewn about the field, the warriors 
throw themselves into the movements of the tutii-ngaralni. This 
is the song they shout, with uptossed guns and tomahawks : — 

E tama te nana e, 
E tama te uaua e, 
E tama te marovo, 
Inahoki ra te tohu a te uaua na, 
Kei taku ringa e man ana. 
Te upoko o te kawau tataki 
Hi — he — ha ! 


O sons of strenuous might, 
O sons of warrior strength, 
Behold the trophy in my hand, 
Fruit of the battle strife — 
The head of the greedy cormorant 
That haunts the ocean shore ! 
3— N.Z. Wars. 


A moment's breathing-space, and then the warriors chant all 
together this song that reverberates among the hills ; the words 
are those of a mata, or prophecy : — 

Ka ,\ : /i<i;.>/i(ti, ka whawhai! 

E he ! 
Ka whawhai, ka whawhai ! 

E ha ! 
Ka whawhai, ki roto ki te awa 
Puase katoa ake nei. 
E ha whawhai, ka whawhai! 
Kihai hoe i man atn ki te kainga ki Oropi, 
E te ain%a mai a W'harevuharc. 


To battle, to battle ! 

E he ! 
To battle, to battle ! 

E ha ! 
We shall fight in the valley 
Spread open before us ; 
We shall fight, we shall fight ! 
Ah ! You did not remain 
In your home-land in Europe. 
There you lie overwhelmed 
By the swift driving wave of the battle. 

And late into the wintry night, while the surgeons in the British 
camp are dressing wounds and amputating shattered limbs, the 
choruses of battle-songs and the cries of a tohunga in an ecstatic 
fit of prophesying are borne across the battlefield. The dis- 
pirited soldiers, hearing that eerie sorcerer- voice, imagine it, in 
their ignorance of the Maori, to be the screams of one of their 
captured comrades under torture by fire. 

For the defeat Colonel Despard blamed the seamen from 
HALS. " Hazard " under Lieutenant Phillpotts, and the party of 
Auckland Militia who accompanied the force as a Pioneer detach- 
ment. " The forlorn hope," he wrote, " had been provided with 
well-sharpened axes and hatchets for cutting away the torotoro 
vines which fastened the stockade, as well as with several scaling- 
ladders and ropes with grappling-irons for the purpose of pulling 
down the stockade." All these articles, except one scaling-ladder, 
were left behind by the Pioneers as unnecessary encumbrances. 

In spite of Despard's excuses for his failure, it is extremely 
doubtful whether even scaling-ladders, grappling-irons, axes, and 
other apparatus of attack would have enabled the storming- 
parties to carry the stockade. Indeed, it was fortunate that the 
pekerangi so stoutly resisted the assault except at one point, for 
had the troops succeeded in demolishing it they would have been 
faced by the inner fence of deeply set puriri timbers, which could 


not be hauled down. And had they carried this main line of 
defence there would still have been the trenches and pitted interior 
of the stockade, subdivided by barriers and thick with under- 
ground shelters, from which every white could have been shot 

Colonel Despard contemplated an immediate retreat upon 
Waimate, and orders to that end were issued on the morning of 
the 2nd July, but were countermanded as the result of remon- 
strances by the friendly chiefs, who condemned the Colonel's 
proposal to abandon the field leaving the dead unburied, and to 
destroy surplus stores. The wounded were sent off in carts and 
litters to Waimate, and the force remained encamped before the 
pa for another ten days. Additional ammunition had been brought 
up for the guns, and the 32-pounder and the smaller pieces kept 
up an intermittent bombardment. 

The dead were not buried until the afternoon of the 3rd July, 
when, through the efforts of Archdeacon Henry Williams and the 
Rev. R. Burrows — who had been eye-witnesses of the battle — the 
natives permitted the bodies of the fallen soldiers to be collected. 
Thirty-two bodies were placed in one grave and eight in another. 
Several bodies were found later lying among the fern, and were 
buried near the others. 

It was the Maori custom to abandon a fighting pa after 
blood had been spilt within it, and it was not surprising, there- 
fore, to the missionaries and other spectators, and to the friendly 
natives, that the stockade was found early on the morning of 
the nth July to have been evacuated during the night. Two 
dead bodies were found ; the total Ngapuhi loss was never exactly 
known, but, so far as can be ascertained, it did not exceed ten 

The garrison retired on Kaikohe and Tautoro, to the south. 
At those places they prepared for farther resistance in the event 
of being followed up ; but the exhausted and famished troops 
were in no condition to renew the campaign immediately, and it 
was considered advisable to withdraw to the mission station at 
the Waimate. 

The pa was destroyed — a task by no means easy. Some of the 
posts of puriri defied all efforts to pull them down. One was so 
large, as W. H. Free narrated, that Captain Matson, who was 
engaged in the demolition of the palisades, was unable to span 
it with his outstretched arms. " The enemy was unable to carry 
off his guns," Colonel Despard reported, " and we have taken 
three iron ones on ship-carriages, and one more was found dis- 
abled in the fortress." (Hohaia Tango, of Ohaeawai, stated that 
this fourth gun was mounted near the north-west angle of the 
pa ; it was smashed by a shot from the British cannon, which 
struck it in the muzzle.) A search was made for the body of 


Captain Grant, who was known to have been shot close to' the 
palisades. It was exhumed from a light covering of earth, which 
had been laid over it by the Maoris. W. H. Free, who saw it 
unearthed, stated that portions of the posterior parts and also the 
calves of the legs had been cut off by the Ngapuhi ; presumably 
the flesh was eaten as a battlefield rite, with the double object 
of absorbing something of the dead officer's virtue of bravery, 
and of weakening — as the pagan Maori believed — the arms and 
mana of the white troops. Ceremonial cannibalism, of which this 
Ohaeawai incident was the solitary instance in Heke's War, was 
revived as a sequel to battle in the Hauhau Wars of 1865-69 ; 
Titokowaru countenanced it in his Taranaki campaign as a means 
of fortifying the resolution of his followers and of terrifying his 
white enemies. 

On the 14th July the British struck camp and marched to the 
Waimate, where the troops settled themselves in the quarters they 
had occupied on the march inland. 


The site of the Ohaeawai pa is now occupied by a Maori church and 
burying-ground. The scene of the battle is five miles from Kaikohe and 
two miles from the Township of Ohaeawai. A Maori church of old-fashioned 
design is seen on the left as one travels from Kaikohe ; it stands on a gentle 
rise a short distance west of the main road. The locality is usually called 
Xgawha, from the hot springs in the neighbourhood, but it is the true 
Ohaeawai ; the European township which has appropriated the name should 
properly be known as Taiamai. The church occupies the centre of the 
olden fortification, and a scoria-stone wall, 7 ft. high, encloses the sacred 
ground. Tukaru Tango and Hohaia Tango, two elderly men of Ngapuhi, 
with whom I visited the place (March, 1919), said that this fence marked 
almost exactly the outer line of the stockade. The churchyard is entered 
between great posts that might well have served as palisade himus. On the 
east crest is a stone memorial cross bearing this Maori inscription: " Ko te 
Tohu Tapu tenei nga Hoia me nga Here mana te Kuini i hinga i te 
whawhai ki konei ki Ohaeawai, i te tau to tatou Ariki 1845 Ko tenei 
Urupa na nga Maori i whakatakoto i muri iho te maunga rongo." 

The translation of this legend is : " This is a Sacred Memorial to the 
Soldiers and Sailors of the Queen who fell in battle here at Ohaeawai in 
the year of Our Lord 1845. This burying-place was laid out by the Maoris 
after the making of peace." 

The pa site, viewed from the east and south, is a commanding position ; 
on the north the land is level for some distance and then slopes very 
gradually. The high range beyond the valley on the west is still well 
wooded ; and in the vicinity of the stockade-site much of the ancient forest 
vegetation remains, the puriri predominating. About 100 yards to the west 
of the pa is a hollow through which runs a small stream from the slopes of 
Puketapu : it was here that the storming-parties formed up. 

" Topi," as the natives called Phillpotts, was the Maorified form of 
" Toby," the lieutenant's nickname. On the 17th March, 1919, standing 


6 9 

by the grave of the three officers who fell at Ohaeawai, in the churchyard 
of Waimate, Rawiri te Ruru, of Te Ahuahu, asked me, " Is this where Topi 
is buried ? " When shown George Phillpotts's name on the memorial stone 
he told the story of the sailor's death as preserved in his family of the Ngati- 
Rangi Tribe. " It was my uncle Horotai who killed Topi," he said. 
" Horotai was a great fighter ; Topi also was a toa (a hero), and very much 
liked by the Maoris. He ran up to the pekerangi and got inside that outer 
fence. Horotai was inside the second or main stockade, the kiri-tangata. 
He thrust the barrel of his gun through a loophole in the kiri-tangata until 
it touched Topi here " — and Rawiri put his hand on his breast — " then 
Horotai fired and Topi fell dead." 

From a ski'.ch. J. C, 1919.] 

The Native Church at Ohaeawai. 



For three months the sound of the bugle and all the stir of a 
military camp enlivened the mission station at YVaimate. Em- 
ployment was found for the redcoats in surrounding the buildings 
with a trench and parapets as a precaution against attack — much 
to the disgust of the mission people, who lamented to see the 
neutral station transformed into a fortified encampment. It was 
not until the middle of October that the troops, after destroying 
Haratua's pa at Pakaraka, removed to Kororareka, where they 
awaited the next movement in the campaign. 

In October it became known that Lord Stanley, the Secretary 
of State for the Colonies, had recalled Captain Fitzroy, and that 
Captain George Grev, then Governor of South Australia, had been 
appointed as the new Governor of this colony. Captain Grey 
landed at Auckland from the East India Company's armed ship 
" Elphinstone " on the 14th November, and a few days later he 
arrived at Kororareka. He gave the insurgent leaders a final 
opportunity for acceptance of ex-Governor Fitzroy's terms of 
peace, which stipulated that the Treaty of YVaitangi should be 
binding, that the British flag should be respected, that plunder 
taken from the Europeans should be restored, and that certain 
lands should be given up to the Crown. Old Kawiti had already 
replied to Fitzroy, refusing the demand for territory : . . . 

You shall not have my land — no, never ! Sir, if you are very 
desirous to get my land, I shall be equally desirous to retain it 
for myself." The missionary Burrows was asked to convey Grey's 
letter to Heke. " Let the Governor and his soldiers return to 
England, to the land that God has given them,'* replied Heke, 
" and leave New Zealand to us, to whom God has given it. No ; 
we will not give up our lands. If the white man wants our 
country he will have to fight for it, for we will die upon our 

Governor Grey sent to Auckland for all available forces. 

Ships-of-war and battalions of soldier? were concentrated in the 

Bay. The latest addition to the fleet of British ships in New 

nd waters was H.M.S. " Castor," a frigate from the China 

Station. A transport, the barque " British Sovereign," had 



brought over another two hundred men of the 58th Regiment 
from Sydney, besides some artillery. 

It had been ascertained that the enemy were gathered to the 
number of several hundreds in the new pa at Rua-pekapeka, 
which was reported by the friendly Maoris to be stronger even 
than Ohaeawai. On the 8th December, 1845, the British advance 
upon Kawiti's bush fortress began with more than 1,100 rank 
and file under Colonel Despard, besides friendly Maoris. The 
route of march was over more difficult country than that traversed 
by the Ohaeawai expedition. The ships sailed up to the entrance 
of the Kawakawa River, thence transport was by boat for several 
miles ; from the head of navigation the way lay through fifteen 
miles of roadless hills, forests, swamps, and streams to Kawiti's 
mountain fort. 

The following troops were engaged in the attack on Rua- 
pekapeka under Lieut. -Colonel Despard : — 


Seamen of H.M.S. " Castor," " North Star," 
" Racehorse," and H.E.I.C. " Elphinstone," 
under Captain Graham and Commander 
Hay, R.N. 

Lieutenant Wilmot, R.A., and Captain Marlow, 

Royal Marines (Captain Langford) . . 

58th Regiment (Lieut. -Colonel Wynyard) 

99th Regiment (Captain Reed) 

H.E.I.C. Artillery (Lieutenant Leeds) 

Volunteers from Auckland (Captain Atkyns) 
















Native allies under Tamati Waka Nene, Patu- 

one, Tawhai, Repa, and Nopera Pana-kareao . . 450 

Ordnance : Three naval 32-pounders, one 18-pounder, two 
12-pounder howitzers, one 6-pounder brass gun, four mortars, 
and two rocket-tubes. 

The modern road from the Township of Kawakawa to Rua- 
pekapeka runs closely parallel to Despard's line of march ; in 
fact, the two routes are identical as the site of Kawiti's strong- 
hold is approached. At the head of boat-navigation on the Kawa- 
kawa River a fortified camp was established in the pa of a friendly 
chief, Tamati Pukututu. Here troops, guns, and stores were 
landed, and Commander Johnson, of the " North Star," was given 
charge of the post with seventy men. Captain Graham, of the 
frigate " Castor," was senior naval officer at the seat of war, and 
his bluejackets and those of the " North Star," " Racehorse," and 
" Elphinstone " were useful in the heavy work of transporting the 



artillery. The march of the combined naval and military force 
was a fine feat of pioneering, for it was necessary to make roads, 
fell bush, roughly bridge streams, and to use block and tackle in 
hauling the guns over rough ground and up steep hills. The 
men were compelled to carry, in addition to their arms and equip- 
ment, boxes each containing a 24 lb. or 32 lb. shell. The way in 
places led over fern hills and ridges ; in places it plunged into 
patches of heavy timber. 

Before narrating the events of that midsummer of 1845-46, 
let us view " The Cave of the Bats " as it exists to-day, and 
observe how the soldierly genius of Ngapuhi selected and fortified 
a position of strategic value — commanding, remote, and difficult 
of approach. 

Passing a lonely little schoolhouse perched on a hilltop, eleven 
miles by the present road from Kawakawa, the traveller descends 

Plan of Rua-pekapeka Fortification. 

into a gully, with a flat-topped hill, some 800 feet in altitude, 
above him on his left. It was on this level ridge that the British 
column in 1845 obtained the first sight of the Ngapuhi stronghold, 
and here the batteries were planted and began to shell the pa at 
1,200 yards' — long range for the artillery of those days. Climbing 
the opposite side of the valley we find ourselves on a level stretch 
of ground, which the army chroniclers of Heke's day described as 
a " small plain." It is of very inconsiderable extent, and falls 
steeply away on either hand into the valley. Here the final 
British camp was pitched, and the guns advanced for the bom- 
bardment of the hill-fort, at a range of about a quarter of a mile. 
On this ridge, fringed and dotted with piiriri trees, is an isolated 
farmhouse. Just before it is reached the fern-grown remains of 
the British entrenchments are passed ; the main road, in fact, 



goes through the centre of the position. Somewhere here, too, 
are the unmarked graves of the Imperial men who fell in the 
attack. The exact place is forgotten ; maybe one rides over the 
spot where the bones of the redcoats and bluejackets lie. In the 
yard under the great twisted puriri, whose boughs trembled before 
the reverberations of Despard's guns, the farmer's children are 
playing a game of bowls of their own devising with four cannon- 
balls — rusty old round shot that were hurled from British 
6-pounders and 12-pounders. 

Beyond the farmhouse the road dips into a little hollow, 
flanked by thick forest on the left and a grass paddock on the 
right. We halt on the other side of the valley, beneath a grove 
at the intersection of two roads, and there, before us and above 
us, in the fork of the roads, is Rua-pekapeka pa — its palisades long 
demolished except for charred posts here and there, its crumbling 

Mf«t w 

From Royal Navy Officers' Survey, 1846.] 

Cross-section of Rua-pekapeka Pa. 
(W. to E.) 

parapets clothed with fern and flax and koromiko. This spot is 
very nearly 1,000 feet above sea-level ; it is the northern face 
of the Tapuaeharuru (" Rumbling Footsteps ") Range. On either 
hand the ground slants steeply down into forested depths ; this 
narrow neck on which we stand was the only route by which the 
pa could be approached. Ascending the hillside we soon come to 
the ruined ramparts. Half-burned puriri logs, almost imperish- 
able, lie about the hillside ; there are the stumps of trees felled 
by the Maoris when clearing the glacis of the pa. Three or four 
stockade-posts, roughly trimmed puriri trunks, stand on the line 
of the double stockade ; they resist age and weather to-day as 
they did the British round shot and fire-stick long ago. One of 
these stockade-posts stands at the lower end of the fort, near the 
north-west angle. It leans over the track, a tree-trunk of irregular 



shape, with a rough elbow where the main branch had been lopped 
off ; it stands 12 feet high, and is about 14 inches in diameter in 
the butt. \\ hite and spectral with age, it is still charred in places 
with the fire of 1846. This part of the work must have presented 
a formidable face to the attacking force ; even now the height 
from the bottom of the outer ditch to the top of the fern-grown 
ma i or 0, or earth wall, at the north-western bastion is 15 feet. On 
the south side of the pa a post standing 8 feet above the ground, 
with a diameter of 1 foot by 8 inches, a mossy old puriri trunk, 
still bears the marks of the axe. A fern-hung pit proves to be 

Detail of north-west angle, Rua-pekapeka. 

From sketches by J. Cowan, 18th March, 1919.} 
Remains of palisade and well, south side of fortification. 
Sections of Rua-pekapeka Pa. 

one of the Maori wells marked on the British naval officers' plan 
of the pa drawn in 1846 ; at its bottom is a pile of posts and 
battered saplings from the demolished stockade. There is another 
well on the sketch-plan ; this we presently discover inside the pa. 
From this side, the south and west, the ridge drops quickly to 
the valley lying 500 or 600 feet below and spreading away into 
the distances of bush and smoky-blue ranges. 

At the rear (the east end) of the pa is another lichen-crusted 
stockade-post, standing on the edge of the track which trends 
out through the olden gateway. At another part of the outer 


entrenchment we find a squared post, mossy with age, lying on 
the ground ; it is between 4 feet and 5 feet in length ; its butt is 
sharpened to a point in order to enable it to be driven into the 
ground — one of the line of smaller stakes between the whole-tree 
him it. 

The pa slopes to the west and north, inclined towards the 
ridge by which the troops advanced, and therefore its interior lay 
exposed to artillery fire from the far side of the little valley 
intervening between the batteries and the range-face ; but the 
system of shot-proof and bomb-proof ruas, or underground shelters, 
protected the garrison from the guns of those days. We descend 
into one of these ruas near the centre of the pa. Its mossy floor 
is 6 feet below the surface of the ground ; it has a narrow entrance 
or shaft, and then it opens out fanwise underneath into a com- 
paratively wide chamber. The interior is partly blocked up with 
the fallen debris of seventy-six years, but sufficient of its original 
shape and dimensions remain to convince us of its convenience 
and safety in the siege-days, when its 
top was roofed over with logs and 
earth, and when subterranean ways 
connected it with the neighbouring 
ruas and the main trench. The whole 
place is pitted with these burrow-like 
ruas. The parapets and trenches are 
in the most perfect state of preserva- Kawiti's Carronade. 

tion on the western and south-western A broken 12-pounder lying 
aspects. Here the trench is 5 feet in rear of Rua-pekapeka pa, 
deep, and from the ditch-bottom to l8th March ' IC)IC) - 
the top of the parapet the height is 

8 or 10 feet. The trench system would still conceal a little 

Due north, blue-shimmering in the haze, is Russell Bay, with 
the islands of the outer bay sleeping on its breast ; beyond again, 
the ocean. The Maoris from here could see the ships lying at 
anchor twenty miles away, could mark every daylight movement 
in their direction, and could even see the flagstaff hill, the root of 
all these troubles. 

The pa was about 100 yards in length and 70 yards in 
width, with flanking bastions of earthwork and palisade. A plan 
drawn by the master of H.M.S. " Racehorse " shows that in the 
small bastion on the east face, the highest part of the pa, a 
double ditch and an earthed-over bell-shaped shelter separated 
the two outer rows of palisade (the pekerangi and kiri-tangata) 
from a high inner stockade. To-day there are indications that 
on a portion at least of the west end also a row of palisades 
stood on the inner side of the ditch. The work was much 
broken into flanks for enfilading-fire, and the trench was cut 


with traverses protecting the musketeers against a raking fire 
or a ricochet from a cannon-shot. 

The advance from Kororareka occupied the troops from the 
8th until the 31st December, by which time the column pitched 
the last camp' and threw up field-works on the level space 
described. Mohi Tawhai with his Mahurehure friendhes had 
pushed on ahead and quickly constructed a stockade on this 
small plateau 600 to 700 yards from the pa. The guns were 
brought up by horses and bullock teams, with the assistance 
of man-power at many a hill and watercourse. It wa? the 
1st January, 1846, before Kawiti's garrison made any attempt 
to bar the slow but certain progress of the British troops towards 
their mountain fort. On that day a small party of the pa 
defenders made a sortie from the pa and engaged a number of 
the friendly Maoris in the bush. The chief Wi Repa, one of the 
best fighters in the native auxiliary force, was severely wounded. 
The enemy cut off and killed one white man, a volunteer Pioneer 
from Auckland. On the same day Colonel Despard sent a strong 
body of infantry into the forest on the narrow plateau that 
separated him from his antagonists, and this force took up a 
position on a partly cleared space within a quarter of a mile of 
the stockade. Here, under cover of the timber which screened 
the troops from the view of the Maoris, a palisade and earthwork 
were commenced, and by nightfall the position was ready for a 
battery. A large body of Maoris sallied out from the pa and 
made an attempt to turn the flank of the advanced party. 
They were engaged by Tamati Waka and his brother Wi Waka 
Turau, Nopera Pana-kareao, and Mohi Tawhai with two hundred 
men. It was a tree-to-tree fight in which only Maoris could 
well be engaged. Kawiti's men were driven back with a loss 
of several men killed and nearly a score wounded. On the 
Government side five Maoris were wounded. 

Another stockade was built considerably in advance and more 
to the right, facing the south-western angle of the pa. This 
position was not more than 160 yards from the front of Kawiti's 
position. An 18-pounder and a 12-pounder howitzer were 
mounted here. In the larger stockade, about 350 yards from 
the pa, there were mounted two 32-pounders and four mortars. 
Despard's main camp on the 5th January was about 750 yards 
from the pa. Mounted in front of this position, with thick 
woods in its front and rear, were three guns — a 32-pounder, 
a 12-pounder howitzer, and a light 6-pounder, besides rocket- 

The Pioneer axemen attacked the heavy timber immediately 
in front of the advanced gun-positions, and the greater part of 
the Maori stockade soon lay exposed to cannon-fire. The small 
battery in the valley below the pa commanded a range along 











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both west and south flanks, and concentrated its fire on the 
south-west angle. 

It was the morning of the 10th January before the grand 
bombardment began. All the batteries were complete, and 
sufficient supplies of ammunition were brought up, the Maoris 
of the friendly contingent assisting. Every gun spoke, the three 
naval pieces hurling their 32 lb. round shot against the palisade- 
front, the 18-pounder and 12-pounder in the advanced stockade 
throwing their metal against the south-west timber bastion, and 
the smaller guns and the rocket-tubes attending to the interior 
defences and searching the huts and mas. There were two pieces 
of artillery in the pa, a 12-pounder carronade and a 4-pounder ; 
one of these Kawiti had placed in position at the east, or rear, 
end ; the other in an emplacement just inside and above the 
trench on the western face. There were gunners among the 
Maoris able to lay and fire these pieces, but, as at Ohaeawai, there 
was a shortage of projectiles. The 12-pounder came to grief 
early in the bombardment ; an 18 lb. shot from the advanced 
battery in the hollow struck it in the muzzle and smashed it. 

The storm of shot and shell, kept up with little intermission 
all day, soon began to make impression on Kawiti's puriri war- 
fence. vSome of the palisade-posts, nearly 20 feet high and more 
than 1 foot in thickness, were battered to pieces by the impact 
of the 32 lb. and 18 lb. balls, and some of the less deeply set 
were knocked out of the ground. By the afternoon a breach 
had been made in the stockade at the north-western bastion, 
and at a point midway between that salient and the south-west 
angle. This face was the lowei end of the pa, and the efforts 
of the artillerists were centred on demolishing the palisade here 
and widening the breaches sufficiently for a general assault, for 
which the impatient Despard longed. The Colonel had, indeed, 
intended launching a storming-party against the pa when the 
first breach was made, but the Governor, Captain Grey, vetoed 
the proposal, which would simply have resulted in another 
Ohaeawai. Mohi Tawhai, too, had entered a protest immediately 
upon learning of Despard's intention. 

Governor Grey was an eye-witness of the whole of the 
operations ; indeed, he was more than a mere spectator, for 
he sighted one of the guns, and he had reconnoitred the pa 
under fire more than once. Sergeant Jesse Sage (58th) recounted 
that the young Governor frequently walked through the bush to 
a position well within musket-range from the pa ; he would take 
a sergeant or corporal of an advanced picket with him, and, 
bidding the non-commissioned officer take cover, would stand 
with his telescope examining the stockade, shots flying around 
him — " fearlessly doing his duty," said Sage, " as brave a man 
as ever walked." 




Nightfall brought no cessation of the cannonade, for each gun 
was fired every half-hour, and rockets were frequently thrown 
into the pa, to prevent the garrison from repairing the damage 
to the stockade. The guns were laid with great accuracy 
throughout the firing ; the directing officers were Lieutenant 
Bland (H.M.S. " Racehorse ") and Lieutenant Leeds (H.E.I.C.S. 
" Elphinstone ") ; Lieutenant Egerton (H.M.S. " North Star ") 
was in charge of the war-rocket tube. 

It was discovered afterwards that the shelling had effectually 
swept the pa, so much so that some of the projectiles had gone 
right through several stockade-lines ; holes were found ripped in 
the rear palisades. " We were safe underground when the big 
guns began to hurl their mata-purepo at us," says old Rihara 
Kou, of Kaikohe. " What had we to fear there ? " But the 
persistent showering of cannon-balls by night as well as day 
made life in the pa so uncomfortable that the garrison now began 
to fear that the place could not be defended much longer. 

Hone Heke, recovered from his wound, had only arrived in 
the pa on the night before the bombardment, with a body of his 
tribesmen from Tautoro and Kaikohe. His contingent brought 
the forces in the Rua-pekapeka up to about five hundred men. 
That day under the artillery fire convinced him that the pa 
must be evacuated, and he counselled Kawiti to take to the 
forest and fight the soldiers there, where they could not haul their 
heavy guns. But Kawiti determined to fight his fort to the end. 

The following morning, nth January, was Sunday. The 
artillery fire was continued from all the batteries. There was 
no answering fire of musketry from the pa loopholes. A dozen 
Maori scouts, under Wi Waka Turau, worked up to the stockade 
near the south-west angle and crept in through one of the breaches 
made by the guns. Wi Waka signalled to his brother Tamati 
Waka, who was with Captain Denny and a hundred men of the 
58th awaiting the result of the reconnaissance. The troops came 
up with a rush and were inside the double palisade and trench, 
and pushing up over the hut-and-fence-cumbered ground towards 
the higher end, before their presence was detected and the yell 
of alarm raised, " The soldiers are in the pa." 

The garrison had nearly all left the pa by the hidden ways 
that morning, and were sheltering behind the rear earthworks 
and stockade in a dip of the ground — some for sleep undisturbed 
by rockets and shells, some to cook food, the majority for 
religious worship. Kawiti himself, sturdy old pagan, remained 
in his trenched shelter with some of his immediate followers. 

The alarm given, the astonished Kawiti and his Maoris gave 
the troops a volley. Running out to the east end, they joined 
Heke and his men. A determined effort was made to regain the 
stronghold; but the stockade now became the troops' defence. 



Meanwhile Colonel Despard had rushed up strong reinforcements, 
and presently hundreds of soldiers were within the pa, pouring 
a heavy fire from the east and south-east faces upon the Maoris, 
who took cover behind trees and breastworks of logs, and 
maintained a fire upon the pa. A crowd of soldiers and sailors 
rushed out through the rear gateway and attacked the Maoris 
on the edge of the bush. A number of the " Castor's " bluejackets 
dashed into the bush and became easy targets for Kawiti's 
musketeers, who shot several of them dead. The 58th and qqth, 
more seasoned to native tactics, took advantage of all the cover 
that offered, and killed and wounded a number of their foes. 
The skirmish developed into an ambush, skilfully laid by Kawiti, 
who directed Ruatara Taura- 
moko to feign a retreat with 
a party of men in order to 
draw the soldiers and sailors 
into the forest, while he lay 
in wait on either side behind 
the logs and trees. This piece 
of Maori strategy proved suc- 
cessful. Surprise volleys were 
delivered from cover, and a 
number of whites fell ; the 
others discreetly retreated, tak- 
ing advantage of the plentiful 
cover. In this bush battle 
some hundreds of men were 
engaged, and Kawiti certainly 
made a stout fight to retrieve 
his fallen fortunes. Every tree 
concealed a Maori sniper; 
every mass of fallen logs was 
a bush redoubt. Corporal 
Free saw a Maori shot in a 
purivi. " He had been potting 
away at us from the branches, 
or three of our men. At last we noticed the bullets striking the 
ground and raising little showers of dust and twigs, and looking 
up we discovered the sniper. Several of us had a shot ; one of 
my comrades got him, and he came tumbling to the ground, 
crashing through the branches and turning round and round as 
he fell." 

The forest engagement lasted until 2 o'clock in the after- 
noon. Before that time Kawiti and Heke had determined to 
withdraw all their people to the inaccessible back country ; the 
fight in the rear of the pa was prolonged in order to give time 
for the wounded to be carried off. As in old Maori warfare, the 

Ruatara Talramoko. 
(Uri-Taniwha hapu, Ngapuhi Tribe. 

said the veteran, " and shot two 



picked nun, the young toas, such as Ruatara, fought a hard 
rearguard action, then vanished into the bush to rejoin the main 
body. They lost heavily ; behind one log where the troops 
had been held up for more than half an hour Mr. George Clarke 
found nine stalwart young men lying side by side. 

Thus fell Rua-pekapeka. The British loss was twelve killed 
— seven of whom were " Castor " men — and thirty wounded, 
including Mr. Murray, a midshipman of the " North Star." 

Colonel Despard, who had by this time come to admit the 
Maori's originality and skill in fort-building, declared in his 
despatches that " the extraordinary strength of this place, par- 
ticularly in the interior defence, 
far exceeded any idea that could 
have been formed of it." Every 
hut, he found, was a little 
fortress in itself, strongly stock- 
aded all round with heavy 
timbers sunk deeply in the 
ground and placed close to each 
other, with a strong earthwork 
thrown up behind them. 

It was apparent that the 
garrison had been in straits for 
food-supplies. Little was found 
in the pa except fern-root. 

The troops set fire to the 
huts and stockading, but the 
earth-works and the trench 
system were of such dimensions 
that Despard decided to leave 
them undemolished and march 
his troops back to the Bay of 

This success ended the 
Northern War. 

Brave old Kawiti, while can- 
didly confessing at a meeting at Pomare's pa that he had had 
enough of war as waged by his " fighting friends " the British, 
consoled himself with the knowledge of having acted a valiant 
part: "Peace, peace — that is all I have to say. I did not 
commence the war, but I have had the whole brunt of the 
fighting. Recollect, it is not from fear, for I did not feel fear 
when the shot and shell were flying around me in the pa." And 
there was a very proper warrior pride in Kawiti's declaration to 
a chief after the meeting : "I am satisfied ; I intend making 
peace, but not from fear. Whatever happens to me hereafter, I 
have one consolation — I am not in irons, nor am I in Auckland 

Maihi Paraone Kawiti. 

(Son of Kawiti, the defender of Rua 



Gaol. I have stood five successive engagements with the soldiers 
belonging to the greatest white nation in the world, the soldiers 
that we have been told would fight until every man was killed. 
But T am now perfectly satisfied they are men, not gods [atua], 
and had they nothing but muskets, the same as ourselves, I should 
be in my pa at the present time." 

At this meeting it was stated by Heke's and Kawiti's Maoris 
that the casualties on their side since the taking of Kororareka 
were sixty killed and about eighty wounded. 

— - /pr^'Tfi., 

Drawing by A. H. Messenger, after a sketch, 1852.] 

The British Frigate " Castor." 

H.M.S. "Castor" was an oak frigate of 1,293 tons, built in 1832. She 
took part in the Syrian campaign of 1840, and shared in the bombardment 
of St. Jean d'Acre. After cruising on the coast of Ireland she was sent 
out to the East Indies Station and New Zealand. Seven of her men were 
killed in the fighting at Rua-pekapeka pa, nth January, 1846. H M.S. 
" Dido " arrived at Auckland from the East Indies on the 2nd June, 1847, 
and relieved the " Castor," which sailed for England three days later. In 
1852 the "Castor" was Commodore Wyvill's ship on the Cape Station, 
and her commander was sent to the scene of the wreck of the transport 
" Birkenhead " to render help. The frigate remained afloat for seventy 
years. For many years she was employed at South Shields as drill ship 
for the Royal Naval Reserve. 

A Proclamation by the Governor permitting those who had 
been concerned in the war to return peacably to their homes was 
received with relief by Ngapuhi and their allies. Proclamations 
raised the blockade of the east coast from Whangarei to Mangonui 


and Doubtless Bay, and also relieved the Bay of Islands district 
within a circle of sixty miles in any direction from Russell from 
the operation of martial law, which had existed since the 26th 
April, 1845. So peace came, a peace unembittered by confiscation 
of land or by vendettas provocative of future wars. 

Heke lost the war, but carried his point. In 1848 he declared 
that the Uipapaku (the corpse) of the flagstaff at Kororareka 
should not be roused to life, because those who had died in 
cutting it down could not be restored to the land of the living. 
This attitude he maintained to the day of his death (1850). 
While he lived, and while Kawiti lived, the signal-mast was not 
re-erected on Maiki Hill. This was the chief point in dispute, 
and tactfully the new Governor did not insist upon the restora- 
tion of the tupapakit. The Port of Russell carried on without 
a shipping signal-station until 1853, when Maihi Paraone Kawiti 
— son of Heke's ally — and his kinsmen set up a new mast in token 
of the friendship between the two races. Governor Grey's wisdom 
in refraining from confiscation of land was justified by results, for 
Ngapuhi have ever since 1846 been loyal friends of the whites. 
The forfeiture of lands would have bred not only intertribal feuds 
but long resentment against the Government. That Ngapuhi were 
given no opportunity of cherishing such memories is something for 
which we have reason to be thankful to-day, for it was this tribe 
and its neighbours, with the loyal Ngati-Porou of the East Coast, 
that made the strongest contribution to the Maori battalion in 
the Great War. Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, and kindred tribes of the 
north of Auckland sent over six hundred of their young men to 
join the contingent which fought so well on Gallipoli in 1915, and 
later did good work as Pioneers in France. 




The north pacified, Governor Grey turned his attention to the 
Cook Strait settlements, where the position for the last year had 
verged upon war. The New Zealand Company's loose methods 
in the purchase of native lands had been followed by the 
repudiation of bargains, the estrangement of the two races, and 
the blocking of settlement. But the warriors who insisted upon 
muskets, gunpowder, and shot as the chief portion of the payment 
for the land upon which Wellington now stands were not at all 
dissatisfied in 1840 with the bargain they had made. They had 
secured arms, without which their tenure of the district in those 
days of almost constant intertribal jealousy and conflict would have 
been precarious, and they had given nothing of great value in 
exchange ; for they were mentally resolved, if it had not been 
openly stated, that they would not suffer their existing cultiva- 
tions and other grounds valuable as food-producing places, such 
as the portions of the forest richest in birds — the kaka, pigeon, 
and hti — to pass away for ever out of their hands. 

Colonel Wakefield and his coadjutors in the first work of 
settlement suffered to a considerable extent from their want of 
knowledge of Maori laws and customs with respect to land, 
and also from their inability to make the natives understand 
the precise tenor of their questions and their documents. Richard 
Barrett, the whaler and trader, upon whom they placed reliance as 
interpreter and go-between, was illiterate, and his knowledge of 
the Maori tongue scarcely extended beyond colloquial phrases. 
Wakefield does not appear to have given close attention to the 
validity of the native vendor's title ; so long as he found a chief or 
gathering of chiefs willing to sell such-and-such an area of bush, 
mountain and plain, he was satisfied. He was presently to gain by 
tragic experience a knowledge of the time and care necessary to 
complete a really safe and satisfactory purchase of land from the 
Maori. Doubtless there was at the back of Wakefield's mind a 
feeling that once the lands were settled by a strong body of British 


settlers, ready and able to hold their farms against all comers, the 
native population would quickly diminish in importance, if not in 

Mr. Spain, the Land Claims Commissioner, in 1845 awarded 
the New Zealand Company 71,900 acres of land in Wellington and 
vicinity, excepting the villages and the lands that were actually 
occupied by the natives and thirty-nine native reserves. At the 
same time the Commissioner disallowed the Company's claims to 
the Wairau and Porirua lands, and in the end it was arranged 
(1847) that the sum of £2,000 should be paid to Ngati-Toa and 
their kindred for the disputed territory at Porirua, and £3,000 for 
the Wairau. 

There seems to have been considerable uncertainty among 
settlers and Maoris alike as to the exact situation and boundaries 
of some of the reserves, more especially those in the Hutt Valley, 
and to this lack of precise information much of the trouble 
with the discontented tribes was due. In 1846 we find even the 
consistently friendly chief Te Puni complaining that the Ngati-Awa 
reserves at the Taita were occupied by European settlers. As the 
result of the failure to inform the Maoris of the position and bounds 
of the areas reserved for them, the natives in some instances cleared 
tracts of land outside the reserves, and in other cases occupied 
and cleared bush land that had been sold to settlers : disputes 
and suspicion were thus engendered. 

The principal opposition to the white occupation of Hutt lands 
came in the first case from a chief named Taringa-Kuri (" Dog's 
Ear "), otherwise known as Kaeaea (" Sparrowhawk "). He de- 
rived his first name from his preternatural keenness of hearing ; 
when out scouting, say the Maoris, he would put his ear to the 
ground and detect the approach of an enemy at a great distance. 
" Dog's Ear " headed the Ngati-Tama Tribe, connected both with 
Ngati-Awa and with Ngati-Maniapoto. The clan had fought its 
way down the west coast as allies of Te Rauparaha and Te Rangi- 
haeata in the " twenties." He and his people received a sixth 
part of the goods first given by Colonel Wakefield in payment for 
the Wellington lands. W 7 hen the disputes arose as to the owner- 
ship of the Hutt Valley, " Dog's Ear " and his people cut a line 
through the bush as a boundary dividing the lower valley from 
the Upper Hutt, contending that the upper part should be reserved 
for Ngati-Tama* and their friends Ngati-Rangatahi. In 1842 he 

* Not many of the Ngati-Tama Tribe were engaged in the war in the 
Hutt Valley. The majority had gone with Pomare Ngatata to the Chatham 
Islands. Later, a number of Ngati-Tama, as the result of quarrels with 
Xgati-Mutunga at the Chathams, migrated to the Auckland Islands in a 
French whaler. To their disgust they found that the climate of the Aucklands 
was so wet and cold that their potatoes would not grow. They were 
removed a few years later and returned to the Chatham Islands. 



built a village called Makahi-nuku, fortified with palisades, on the 
banks of the Hutt about two miles above the present Lower Hutt 
Bridge, and cleared and cultivated part of a section purchased 

fa Stockade . 


•3£t& *t. 

Font- Richmond . 

The Valley of the Hutt, Wellington, 
Showing stockades and scenes of engagements, i S |6. 

from the Company by Mr. Swainson. This section became the 
chief centre of contention between the whites and the natives 
In this action " Dog's Ear " was supported by the direct 


instructions of Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata. But he had 
stated in his evidence before Mr. Spain's Court that Ngati-Awa 
and Ngati-Rangatahi sold the Hutt lest the}' would be invaded 
by Te Rauparaha with his Ngati-Toa, and Te Whatanui with his 
Ngati-Raukawa, from Otaki and the Manawatu. Those leaders 
were much offended at Ngati-Awa having taken possession of and 
sold the lands in the Hutt Valley. The Ngati-Rangatahi came 
originally to Porirua from the upper part of the Wanganui River ; 
their leading men in the war-time migration were Kapara-te-hau, 
Te Oro, Te Kohera, and Kaka-herea ; the last-named died in 
1844. Ngati-Rangatahi shared in the Wairau affair in 1843, and 
soon afterwards occupied land on the banks of the Hutt under 
Te Rangihaeata's encouragement. The sum of £400 was paid to 
Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata by the Government on behalf 
of the New Zealand Company, bj' way of second purchase of the 
Hutt Valley ; nevertheless the actual occupants of the land did 
not benefit by this payment, and they declined to remove. 

By the end of 1845 the New Zealand Government had the 
support of five British ships-of-war and nearly a thousand Regular 
troops. These forces, with the exception of some men of the 58th 
stationed at the Bay of Islands and two companies left in Auck- 
land as a garrison, and the frigate " Racehorse " and the brig 
" Osprey," left at the Bay, were now available for the restoration 
of order in the Wellington settlements. There was also available 
a considerable and already fairly well-trained body of Militia, 
organized under the Militia Ordinance passed at Auckland on 
the 5th March, 1845. Under this enactment a citizen force was 
constituted for military service, composed of all able-bodied men 
between the ages of eighteen and sixty. Militiamen were liable 
for service within twenty-five miles of the post-offices in their 
towns, and their period of drill was twenty-eight days in the year. 
In Wellington the news of the war in the north and the disputes 
in the Hutt Valley had stimulated a volunteer spirit indepen- 
dently of the conscription measure, and in April, 1845, the daily 
musters of townsmen for military drill on Thorndon Flat and 
at Te Aro totalled 220 of all ranks. These drills were held at 
5 o'clock in the evening ; in addition there was a morning daily 
drill for the more enthusiastic held alternately on the parade- 
ground at either end of the town. The Militia drilled with the 
old Tower flint-lock muskets imported by the New Zealand Com- 
pany for bartering with the Maoris ; they were exactly the same 
make as the guns with which the Company had purchased the 
Wellington lands from the Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Awa. Later, per- 
cussion-cap guns were served out. The uniform was not elaborate 
or showy, but it was more suitable for campaigning than the tight 
red tunics, high stocks, and awkward headgear of the Regulars. 
The oldest surviving pioneer of the Hutt recalled that it consisted 


of a blue shirt, a cap similar to that worn by sailors, and " any 
kind of trousers." 

A redoubt was built on Mr. Clifford's property on Thorndon 
Flat, very close to where the Normal School now stands (Hobson 
Crescent). It has sometimes been described as a stockade, but it 
was simply a square earthwork with a surrounding trench. The 
parapet of sods and earth was reinforced with timbers at intervals 
inside. All round the parapet were wood-framed loopholes for 
musket-fire ; the timbers forming them net only kept them clear 
of earth but strengthened the parapet. In 1846, when the troops 
were on field service, a Militia guard of a sergeant, a corporal, and 
twelve men did duty daily at the fort. 

A more extensive work was that constructed at the southern, 
or Te Aro, end of the town, as a place of refuge for the citizens. 
This was a large earthwork forming two sides of a redoubt ; the 
other two sides were left open, but the houses which stood there 
were capable of defence. A pioneer resident of Wellington, Mr. 
John Waters, who landed in Port Nicholson in 1841, describes this 
Te Aro fortification as follows : — 

" The earthwork consisted of a ditch 
and a strong parapet. The trench was 
6 feet deep, and the sod wall was about 
6 feet high. The area enclosed was 
the ground between Manners Street Froma Zunly judge h. s. chap- 
and the sea, which then flowed to the »»«« *» letter, -^45] 

ground on which the Town Hall now C ross- section of Field- 
stands. The longer side of the earth- work at Te Aro, Wel- 
work was that which ran from Manners lington. 
Street a short distance westward or 

inland of what is now Lower Cuba Street. There was an acre 
of land fronting Manners Street between the Bank of New Zealand 
(present Te Aro branch) and the angle of the work. The length 
of this side of the fortification was about 330 feet. The other 
flank, which was considerably shorter, ran at right angles inland 
along the north side of Manners Street towards its present 
intersection with Willis Street. The Wesleyan Chapel in Manners 
Street was just on the opposite side of the street to the earth- 
works. The trench and parapet enclosed several large buildings, 
including Bethune and Hunter's and other brick stores, the bank, 
and some houses. There was a boatbuilding yard, besides jetties 
and store buildings, down on the beach inside the wall. I do not 
recollect any guns in this fortification. 

" On the eastern side of Lower Cuba Street, close to what 
is now Smith's corner, was a stockade enclosure in which the 
Government commissariat-stores building stood. This stockade 
was constructed somewhat after the manner of a Maori palisaded 
pa. It consisted of large split totara posts sunk in the ground at 


intervals, the space between them closely fenced with high slabs 
or pickets with pointed tops, and fastened with horizontal rails 

These defences of 1845 were not the first field-works con- 
structed in Wellington for protection against the Maoris. After 
the Wairau tragedy in 1843 measures were taken by the New 
Zealand Company and the townspeople, independently of the 
Government, to fortify the northern and southern ends of the 
settlement, and guns were mounted in the works. These were 
18-pounders which had originally been mounted on Somes Island, 
which the New Zealand Company in 1840 regarded as a suitable 
site for a fort. One of the fortifications of 1843 was in Thorn- 
don ; one was a small battery constructed on Cla} 7 Point, in the 
southern part of the settlement. " It was on the seaward ex- 
tremity of the flat above Pipitea," says the pioneer settler already 
quoted, Mr. John Waters, " that the first Thorndon redoubt was 
built, or rather commenced. I remember that very well, because 
I saw it being built by the volunteers of the town in 1843, just 
after the Wairau fight, and, in fact, assisted in the work as a boy. 
It stood very close to the cliff above Pipitea, between the present 
steps at the foot of Pipitea Street and the English Church of St. 
Paul's, but much nearer Pipitea Street than the church. Just 
below it on the beach-front, now Thorndon Quay, was the police- 
station, a long whare thatched with raupo. We boys were given 
a holiday one day to help the men by carrying the sods which had 
been cut close by to the workers, who placed them in position on 
the parapet. The earthwork was not completed ; the rear was 
left open. It consisted of three sides of an oblong, the longer side 
facing the sea, and the flanks extending back a short distance 
westward. It was not of any great size. The redoubt ditch was 
about 5 feet in depth and the same in width. We boys used to 
amuse ourselves by helping to deepen it. The earth parapet was 
about 6 feet high. The later redoubt was built in a different place 
altogether, further in on Thorndon, towards what is now Fitzher- 
bert Terrace." The southern fortification was the battery on Clay 
Point, Clay Hill, or Flagstaff Hill, as the spot was variously named; 
after the construction of the work it was named " Waterloo 
Redoubt." Clay Point (now demolished) was the abrupt termi- 
nation of a ridge which trended down to the sea at the place 
which is now the junction of Lambton Quay and Lower Willis Street. 
The sea then flowed and ebbed where the Bank of New Zealand 
now stands, and the cliff jutted out steep-to above the narrow 
beach, then the only thoroughfare. After Wairau, the townspeople 
formed a working-party, cut a track to the flat top of the hill, 
and dragged up three of the New Zealand Company's guns — 
ship's howitzers (18-pounders) on wooden carriages. The work 
was not an enclosed redoubt, but a parapet facing the sea — an 



emplacement and protection for the guns, with a trench 9 feet 
wide. The work was completed in one day. 

The infant Town of Nelson also had its fortification in 1843, 
when the episode of the Wairau and reports of coming Maori 
raids stimulated the people to vigorous measures, with the result 
that the place was provided with the strongest fort south of 
Auckland. The resident agent of the New Zealand Company, 
Mr. Fox (afterwards Sir William Fox), agreed to advance the 
necessary funds for the work, protesting at the same time that 
the provision of means of public safety was the duty of the 
Government. Nelson's fort, named after Captain Arthur Wake- 
field, who fell at Wairau, occupied the most conspicuous place 
in the middle of the settlement, the hill at the top of Trafalgar 
Street on which Nelson Cathedral now stands. The following 

Drawn from a sketch by the late Hon. J. W. Barnicoat, M.L.C.] 

Fort Arthur, Nelson, in 1843. 
(Nelson Cathedral now occupies the site of this fortification.) 

description of the redoubt and stockade was given in the Nelson 
Examiner of the 23rd December, 1843 : — 

" Fort Arthur enclosed the hill forming part of Trafalgar Square. It 
was built from the design and under the superintendence of Mr. J. S. 
Spooner. It covers rather more than an acre of ground. It is built in the 
form of an oblong hexagon, with bastions at each angle. The embank- 
ments, or ramparts, and the bastions are of earth, faced with sods, squared 
and laid in courses. It is surrounded by a moat, 8 feet deep and T2 feet 
wide, over which is placed a drawbridge at the north end. Inside the 
rampart is a trench, 5 feet deep, for musketry. On an inner and level 
elevation, and enclosing the church and Survey Office, is a stockade, 
7 feet high, built of 2-inch planking, double, with a space between of 
2 inches filled with earth, making it ball-proof, and surmounted with a 
cheveaux de /rise. It is in the shape of an oblong square, 156 feet by 
48 feet, with flanking towers at the corners 10 feet high ; pierced through- 
out with loopholes for rifles and musketry, and ports for the great guns 
(long 18-pounder carronades)." 


Nelson was not the only place in the South Island in which 
it was considered necessary in 1843 to erect fortified posts. The 
English and French residents of Akaroa resolved that three small 
blockhouses should be erected as a provision for the safety of 
the settlers and their families. One of these blockhouses was 
built at the eastern end of Akaroa Town, near the beach at the 
mouth of the Oinaka Stream ; the Bruce Hotel now occupies the 
site. Another was placed midway along the bay, on the water- 
front, near the spot where the police-station now stands. The 
third was erected in Otakamatua Bay, near the head of the 
harbour. These buildings were the first posts of the true block- 
house type, with overlapping upper storeys, built in New Zealand. 

The settlers of the Hutt Valley acutely realized their defence- 
less state, and early in the year 1845 they decided to assure some 
measure of protection by building a stockaded fort in some 
central position, a garrison station to which they might hurry 
their families in the event of a conflict. The site selected was 
the left (east) bank of the Heretaunga, at the bridge ; the exact 
spot is now a bed of gravel in the middle of the river, about 
100 yards below the present Lower Hutt Bridge. The fortifica- 
tion was designed by a settler who was officer in command of the 
Hutt Militia, Captain George Compton ; he had lived in the 
backwoods of North America, and he planned the stockade upon 
the pattern of the forts built by the United States pioneers for 
defence against the Indians. Fort Richmond, as it came to be 
called, in compliment to Major Richmond, the Superintendent of 
the Southern District, was a square work 95 feet each way, with 
flanking bastions at two diagonally opposite angles, commanding 
the bridge and the river on both sides. The walls were built of 
large slats of timber, 9 feet 6 inches in height above the ground 
and 5 to 6 inches in thickness. The flanking bastions were small 
two-storeyed blockhouses, one 15 feet and the other 12 feet square ; 
the upper storey was not set square with the lower, but diagonally 
across it (as shown in Mr. Swainson's sketch in the Wellington 
Art Gallery collection). This design, an idea originating on the 
American frontier, enabled a fire to be directed from above upon 
any attack on the base of the bastion. A better method of con- 
struction, however, was generally adopted in the blockhouses on 
the New Zealand frontiers in the " sixties," in which the upper 
storey projected over the lower by 2 or 3 feet all round. The Fort 
Richmond stockade was loopholed on each side, and the block- 
houses in each storey ; these apertures for musket-fire were about 
4 feet apart. The one-armed veteran John Cudby (in 1919 ninety 
years of age) informed the writer that he helped to cart the 
timber for the fort. Most of the timber was cut in the forest 
which then covered the flat a little to the south of the present 
Lower Hutt Railway-station, the Pito-one side. The stockade 



slabs were chiefly pukatea, a light but tough and strong wood ; 
totara and kahikatea pine were mostly used for the block- 
houses. The cost of the construction of the fort was set down 
at £124 ; this was exclusive of the value of the timber, which 
was given free by Captain Compton, and voluntary labour by 
settlers estimated at a value of £54 10s. The stockade was 
completed in April, 1845, and the Militia company of the Hutt 
occupied it until a redcoat garrison, a detachment of the 58th 
Regiment, marched in on the 24th April. 

That little fort in the forest-clearing, guarding the Hutt 
bridge-head, and embodying the spirit of adventure and peril 
that entered into the life of frontier settlement, was in essentials 
a replica of the border posts in the American Indian country. 
It was the first of scores of stockades and blockhouses on the 

From a drawing by W. Swainson.] 

Fort Richmond and the Hutt Bridge (1847). 

Maori border-line throughout this North Island, the advanced 
settler's refuge and protection, many of them garrisoned until the 
early " eighties." The sketches and descriptions that remain of 
Fort Richmond, and many a post of military settlers or Armed 
Constabulary in the later wars, recall like scenes in the Ameri- 
can woods pictured for us in Whittier's poem, " The Truce of 
Piscataqua " : — 

Once more the forest, dusk and dread, 
With here and there a clearing cut 
From the walled shadows round it shut ; 
Each with its farmhouse builded rude, 
By English yeomen squared and hewed, 
And the grim hankered blockhouse bound 
With bristling palisades around. 


Not only the New England and Kentucky stockades but the 
forts of the Hudson Bay Company, scattered over the northern 
continent from the Atlantic to Vancouver, were in design the 
prototypes of our New Zealand stockades. Their walls were built 
of slabs and solid tree-trunks, as high as 20 feet, with bastioned 
angles for enfilading-fire. Fort Douglas, which stood on the Red 
River a hundred years ago, an illustration of which is given in 
Bryce's work on the history of the Hudson Bay Company, was 
very similar to Fort Richmond. It had a close-set palisade of slabs 
and tree-trunks facing the river ; at the corners were tower-like 
timber flanking bastions. 

The Karori settlers followed the example of those at the Hutt 
in the construction of a small fortified post, in order to guard 
against an attack from Ohariu. This place of defence, built in 
May and June, 1846, was surrounded by a ditch, and the site 
chosen for it was on rising ground in the oldest settled part of 
Karori, a clearing walled in by a densg and lofty forest, 600 feet 
above sea-level. It was built exactly on the crown of the gentle 
rise of ground in Karori Township, on the right-hand side of the 
deep cutting in Lancaster Street as one walks up from the main 
road, and only a few yards from the electric-car line. This was 
the most central and commanding spot in the Karori clearings 
of 1846 ; the ground about it was still encumbered with half- 
burned logs and stumps. The forest had been felled for about 
100 yards from the stockade on the south and west sides, but 
there was standing timber in the little valley alongside which 
the main road runs to-day. The stockade was small, measuring 
about 28 or 30 feet in length by 20 feet in width ; its greatest 
axis ran about north-east and south-west. Around it was dug 
a trench, 3 feet in width and 4 feet in depth ; this ditch 
filled with water in the winter soon after it was excavated. The 
stockade was constructed of heavy timbers, chiefly rimu (red- 
pine) and miro. The logs were split, squared up with the axe, 
and roughly trimmed into points at the top ; these timbers 
measured 6 or 7 inches in thickness, and when firmly sunk 
in the ground close alongside each other formed a solid wall 
10 feet high. Loopholes for musket-fire were made by cutting 
away with saw and tomahawk a piece in the sides of a number 
of the timbers before they were set in the ground ; the apertures 
so formed were shoulder-height from the ground, between 2 and 
3 feet apart, and measured about 5 inches in length vertically 
by 3 inches in width. Between the foot of the stockade and the 
surrounding small trench there was a space of 3 to 4 feet ; the 
earth from the trench was packed firmly against the base of the 
timbers. The space thus left enableel the sentries on duty at 
night to walk around the post between trench and wall. The 
doorwav in the stockade faced the south ; the door was of thick 


slabs, and for want of iron hinges it was pivoted on timber 
sockets, after the manner still seen in some remote settlements. 
Within the stockade the settlers built a small house of sawn 
rintu, roofed with kahikatea shingles ; this house measured about 
16 feet by 12 feet, and was divided into two rooms. One of 
these rooms was for the men of the Militia garrison, and the 
other for the women and children of the settlement in the event 

From an oil-painting by C. D. Barraud.] 

An Early Colonial Home. 

Judge H. S. Chapman's residence, " Homewood," Karori, Wellington, 
in 1849. The site of this pioneer dwelling, in the rata and rimu forest, is 
now the heart of the suburban Township of Karori. The Hon. F. R. 
Chapman, son of the first Judge of the Southern District of New Zealand, 
was born in "Homewood." The place was temporarily abandoned during 
the war of 1S46. 

of a Maori attack. In one corner was a fireplace with chimney of 
clay. The floor was the bare earth. There was a clear space of 
10 feet all round between this house and the stockade-wall.* 

* This description of the Karori stockade is the first yet published. 
The details were given chiefly by Mr. George Shotter. one of the earliest 
settlers at Karori (died 1920L 


The Karori Militiamen who built the stockade, assisted by a 
party of bluejackets from H.M.S. " Calliope " and by a detach- 
ment of the armed police from Wellington under Mr. A. C. Strode, 
numbered thirty or forty small farmers, sawyers, and bullock- 
team drivers. The post was designed chiefly as a protection 
against possible attack from the natives at Ohariu Bay and the 
mouth of the Makara Stream, and in the nights of alarm a good 
lookout was kept in that direction. Some of the settlers worked 
on their holdings with cartridge-belts over their shoulders and a 
" Brown Bess " lying close by. However, most of the Ohariu 
Maoris left by canoe for Porirua and places higher up the coast. 
There was greater danger from kokiris, or small raiding-parties, of 
Rangihaeata's force. The armed settlers formed sections each of 
eight or nine men for garrison duty, and these detachments in 
turn occupied the stockade-house at night. The Militia mustered 
for drill three times a week — two hours' drill on each muster-day. 

On a commanding position on the Wellington- Porirua Road a 
stockade was built on Mr. Johnson's land, Section 11/181, now 
the heart of the Township of Johnsonville. The stockade was a 
structure of thick slabs, with slits for musket-fire. There was a 
small loft, to which access was given by a ladder. 

On Sunday, the 20th April, 1845, a report reached Wellington 
that a strong body of natives " all painted and feathered " had 
descended on the Lower Hutt Valley, and had given notice of 
their intention to attack the whites' stockaded pa next day. 
Major Richmond ordered fifty men of the 58th Regiment to the 
Hutt. The quickest means of reaching the scene of trouble was 
by water. The brig " Bee " was lying at anchor off the town 
ready for sea, and the soldiers were boated aboard her. Making 
sail for Pito-one, the brig landed her troops on the beach. At 
3 o'clock in the morning of the 21st the detachment marched into 
the stockade, relieving the little garrison of Militia and forestalling 
the native plan. A few days later two 18-pounder guns belonging 
to the New Zealand Company were sent out from town and 
mounted on the bastion blockhouses. 

During 1845 two companies of Regulars had been stationed in 
Wellington. As soon as it was possible to withdraw troops from 
the Bay of Islands preparations were made for a transfer of the 
military forces to Wellington, and on the 3rd February, 1846, a 
body of nearly six hundred men under Lieut. -Colonel Hulme em- 
barked at Auckland for the south. The fleet which transported 
them consisted of the British frigates " Castor " and " Calliope," 
the war-steamer " Driver " — which had just arrived from the 
China Station — the Government brig " Victoria," and the barque 
" Slains Castle." Inclusive of a detachment of the 99th Regi- 
ment, lately arrived from Sydney in the barque " Lloyds," the 
following was the detail of the force : 58th Regiment — one field 






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4— N.Z Wars 


officer, two captains, four subalterns, and 202 non-commissioned 
officers and privates ; 99th Regiment — one field officer, two 
captains, six subalterns, and 250 non-commissioned officers and 
privates ; 96th Regiment — one captain, four subalterns, and 
seventy-three non-commissioned officers and privates ; also a 
detachment of Royal Artillery. 

The excitement created by the opportune arrival of so large a 
body of British soldiers, bringing the total force of redcoats in 
Wellington up to nearly eight hundred men, was heightened by 
the novel spectacle of a steam-vessel. H.M.S. " Driver " was the 
first steamship to visit the port ; she was a wonderful craft to 
many a colonist, and amazing to the Maoris, who congregated to 
watch the strange pattella ship, driven by fires in her interior, 
moving easily and rapidly against wind and tide. The " Driver " 
was a paddle-steamer of 1,058 tons, with engines of 280 horse- 
power ; she was rigged as a brig. She was armed with six guns. 
Her crew, under Commander C. O. Hayes, numbered 175 officers 
and men. The vessel had recently been engaged in the sup- 
pression of piracy in the East Indies. Her figurehead attracted 
much attention : it represented an old-time English mail-coach 
driver with many-caped greatcoat and whip. 

On the 27th February some of the troops marched to the 
principal village occupied by the Maoris on the Hutt banks and 
destroyed it. The natives had abandoned their homes on the 
advance of the soldiers, and were camped in the forest above 
Makahi-nuku. The Governor sent a missionary, the Rev. Richard 
Taylor, as a messenger to the Ngati-Tama and Ngati-Rangatahi, 
promising that if they left the place peaceably he would see they 
were given compensation for their crops. The destruction of the 
village appears to have been rather hasty, for Kapara-te-Hau, the 
principal chief, had agreed to the terms, and promised to leave 
the following day. 

In retaliation for the destruction of their villages and cultiva- 
tions on the banks of the Hutt the Maoris on the 1st and 3rd 
March, easily eluding the troops who were in camp, carried out 
systematic raids of plunder and destruction on the farms of the 
white settlers. Dividing into small armed parties and moving 
with rapidity and secrecy upon the Hutt and the Waiwhetu, they 
visited each home separately, stripped the unfortunate people of 
all their property but the clothes they were wearing, destroyed 
furniture, smashed windows, killed pigs, and threatened the settlers 
with death if they gave the alarm. They took away such goods 
as they could carry, and destroyed the rest, but did not burn 
the houses. Little bands of distressed settlers and their families, 
robbed of nearly all they had in the world, and temporarily 
without means of livelihood, trudged into Wellington. By order 
of Governor Grey the plundered people were supplied with rations. 


The numbers of persons to whom rations were served out on 
the 5th March were : Adults, 79 ; children, 140 ; infants, 17 : 
total, 236. 

The troops remained inactive on the day of the principal raid 
(1st March), greatly to the indignation of the civilians. Then it 
became known that the Governor was undecided whether or not 
to proceed with hostile measures against the natives. He had been 
advised by the Crown law authority that he was acting illegally 
in evicting the Maoris, inasmuch as the grants issued by Governor 
Fitzroy after the purchase of the valley had excepted all native 
cultivations and homes. The legal adviser, further, was of the 
opinion that the natives were justified in resisting such eviction 
by force of arms. 

Captain Grey, however, was not long influenced by this opinion. 
He quickly made up his mind to protect the settlers at all hazards, 
and on the 3rd March he issued a Proclamation declaring the esta- 
blishment of martial law in the Wellington District, bounded on 
the north by a line drawn from Wainui (near Pae-kakariki) on the 
west coast to Castle Point on the east. 

The first shots in the campaign were fired on the morning of 
Tuesday, the 3rd March, 1846. A party of natives under cover 
of the bush and felled trees fired on Captain Eyton's company of 
the 96th, who were stationed some distance in advance of the camp 
at Boulcott's Farm, two miles above Fort Richmond. Several 
volleys were fired into the camp. The fire was returned effectively, 
and "the Maoris were obliged to retreat. When the news of the 
definite outbreak of war reached the Governor in Wellington he 
ordered H.M.S. " Driver " to weigh anchor and steam to Pito-one 
with troops. The soldiers embarked were Captain Russell's com- 
pany of the 58th, twenty men of the 99th, and thirty of the 96th, 
under Lieutenant Barclay. A party of men of the three regiments 
was also despatched to the Hutt. 

On the 2nd April a Lower- Hutt settler named Andrew Gillespie 
and his young son Andrew were attacked and so terribly toma- 
hawked that they both died. Gillespie was the first settler placed 
in possession of the land at the Hutt from which the natives had 
been evicted in the previous month. Te Pau, of Ngati-Rangatahi, 
was the leader of the raiding-party. The Gillespie tragedy stirred 
Governor Grey to speedy action. A police party set out for 
Porirua, as the result of a message received by the Rev. O. Hadfield 
from Rauparaha, who gave a hint that the slayers might be found 
in his district. Then, for the first time, it was discovered that the 
hostile hapus had built a stockaded and entrenched stronghold at 
the head of the Paua-taha-nui arm of the Porirua Harbour, five 
miles from the open sea. Porirua, the Governor perceived, was 
practically the key of the west coast ; a military station there 
would keep communications open, and would also directly menace 


Eangihacata and his insurgents, and strike at the rear of any 
force attacking the Hutt. A body of 250 men of the 58th and 99th 
Regiments, under Major Last, embarked in the warships " Driver " 
and " Calliope " and the barque " Slains Castle " ; on the 9th 
April the three vessels sailed up the coast to Porirua, where the 
troops were landed. The force encamped on the low sandy point 
near Toms' whaling-station, just within the mouth of the harbour, 
and presently their tents gave place to a barracks of stone, 
surrounded by a stockade. At the same time the Governor 
took measures for the construction of a good road from Wel- 
lington to Porirua bv the military, under Captain Russell (58th 
Regiment).* Another useful step was the formation of an armed 
police force of fifty men, under the command of Major Durie 
as inspector, with Mr. Chetham Strode sub-inspector. The police 
company was divided into four sections, each consisting of ten 
whites and one Maori, under a sergeant ; small detachments were 
stationed at the outposts at the Hutt, Porirua, and Ohariu. At 
the end of April H.M.S. " Calliope " was despatched to Porirua, 
and then began a boat patrol of the shallow inner waters, which 
the warship could not enter. 

* Mr. Kilminster, of Karori Road, Wellington, who arrived from London 
in the ship " Ladv Nugent" in 1S11 and landed at Pipitea, gives the 
following information (1020) regarding the military stockades which in 
[846 protected the Wellington Porirua Road: — 

" When I was a boy I frequently went out along the Porirua Road 
with my father, who was engaged in transport work for the troops, and I 
remember the old stockaded posts very well. First of all, as one went out 
from Wellington there was a small outpost at Khandallah, not fortified ; 
this was popularly known as ' Mount Misery,' and officially as ' Sentry-box 
Hill,' now abbreviated to ' Box Hill.' The present road over Box Hill, 
Khandallah, passing close to the little church, goes almost exactly over 
the spot where the outpost was quartered. This was a kind of midway 
lookout place between Wellington and Johnsonville, and was garrisoned 
by a few men from Johnsonville. At Johnsonville — then known as ' John- 
son's Clearing ' — there was a stockade, strongly built of roughly squared 
timbers. Then there were stockades at intervals down to Porirua Harbour 
— Middleton's, Leigh's, and Elliott's. Leigh's stockade stood on Tawa Flat. 
Fort Elliott stood near the head of the harbour. From Porirua there was a 
ferry service in large boats down the harbour to Fort Paremata. These 
places of defence along the road between Johnson's and Porirua were built 
in this way : A trench was dug, and large split trees and small whole trees 
were set in close together, and the earth firmly filled in round them ; this 
palisade was loopholed for musket-fire." 



Two miles above the stockade at the Hutt Bridge a pioneer 
settler, Mr. Boulcott, had hewn a home out of the forest. His 
clearing bordered the left bank of the river ; most of it was in 
grass ; the rough edges of the farm were cumbered with half- 
burned logs and stumps, and on three sides was heavy timber ; 
the fourth side faced the river and the fringing thickets on the 
other bank ; beyond were the wooded steep hills that hemmed 
in the Hutt Valley on the west. A rough and narrow bush road, 
" corduroyed " with fern-tree trunks in the marshy portions, 
wound through the forest from the bridge at the fort ; it was 
little more than a track, and in many places the branches of the 
rimu and rata met overhead and kept the road in dampness and 
shadow. Here and there were settlers' clearings, with houses oi 
sawn timber and shingled roofs, or of slabs and nikau palm or 
raiipo reed thatch ; crops of wheat, oats, and potatces were grown 
in these oases in the desert of bush. Where rows of shops, cottages, 
and bungalows, with beautiful orchards and gardens, cover the 
floor of the Hutt Valley to-day, there were but these roughly 
trimmed forest homes. 

The most advanced post of the Regular troops in May, 1846, 
was on Boulcott's Farm, where fifty men of the 58th Regiment 
were stationed under Lieutenant G. H. Page. Some little distance 
higher up the valley, at the Taita, an outpost was established near 
Mr. Mason's section, where a small detachment of the Hutt Militia 
was stationed. Half the force of soldiers at Boulcott's were 
quartered in a large barn, around which a stockade of slabs and 
small logs had been erected and loopholed for musket-fire. The 
rest of the troops were accommodated in small slab outhouses near 
the barn and in tents. Lieutenant Page and his soldier servant 
occupied Mr. Boulcott's cottage ; the owner of the place and his 
two men servants used a small house adjoining. It was upon 
this post that the Maoris, under Rangihaeata's orders, and led by 
Topine te Mamaku (otherwise Te Karamu), of the Ngati-Haua-te- 
Rangi, Upper Wanganui, made a desperate assault at daybreak 
on the morning of the 16th May, 1840. 


During the week preceding this attack a general opinion was 
entertained at the Hutt that some sudden movement was con- 
templated by Rangihaeata. A naval reconnoitring-party had been 
fired upon by the hostiles at Paua-taha-nui, and the failure of the 
authorities to retaliate had, as it proved, emboldened Rangihaeata 
and his fellow-warriors to launch one of those lightning blows in 
which the Maori bush fighter delighted. Te Puni's warning and 
offers of help were disregarded, and even a word of caution from 
Rauparaha did not seem to stir the Superintendent from his 
indifference. The Governor was now absent at Auckland (the 
troublesome Taringa-Kuri had gone with him in the " Driver "J. 
Rauparaha, in a letter received in Wellington some days before 
the attack, stated that when Major Richmond and Major Last 
were at Porirua during the previous week he said to them, in 
bidding them to be on their guard against a sudden attack, " Kei 
Heretaunga te huaki ai ; kia mohio ; huihuia atu nga pakeha " 
(" At Heretaunga the assault will be made. Be wary ; concen- 
trate the white men "). As if that were not enough, a chief of 
the Pipitea pa, Wellington, called on Major Richmond on Friday, 
the 15th May (the day before the attack), to warn him of 
the danger and to offer the assistance of his people. But no 
extra precautions were taken. Maori and settler alike knew 
that Rangihaeata would strike ; the civil and military heads 
alone seemed blind or indifferent. For economy's sake Major 
Richmond disbanded the Militia in Wellington, and reduced the 
company at the Hutt to twenty-five men ; this was a few days 
before the blow fell.* 

The fog of early morning enveloped bush and clearing that 
dawn of Saturday, 16th May ; a white band of denser vapour 
coiling down the valley above the tree-tops showed the course of 
the silent river. The sentry near the river-bank, in front of the 
inlying picket's tent, shivered with the chilly touch of the hour 
that precedes daybreak. As he turned to pace his beat, with 
musket and fixed bayonet at the slope, his glance fell upon some 
low bushes seen obscurely through the curling mist a few yards to 
his front. They seemed nearer, he thought, than they had been 
a few moments before. Next instant he caught a glimpse of a 

* The Hon. Dr. Pomare, M.P., narrates an incident illustrative of the 
insurgents' strategy. His informant was old Tungia, of Ngati-Toa. A day 
or two before the attack on Boulcott's Farm either Rangihaeata or Te Mamaku 
sent a scout up to the Tinakori Range, near the present wireless station. 
Here the man lit a large fire, and he employed the earlier part of the night 
in walking round and round this fire with the idea of giving any watchers 
below the impression that a large force of warriors was gathered there to 
descend on Wellington, and so diverting attention from the Hutt. A con- 
siderable part of the British force at the Hutt was presently ordered into 
the town, and was in Thorndon barracks when Te Mamaku descended on the 
post at Boulcott's. 


shaggy head and a gun-barrel above one of those bushes. The 
Maoris were creeping up on the camp, with bushes and branches 
of scrub held before them as screens. " Maoris !" he yelled as 
he levelled his " Brown Bess " and fired, then snatched another 
cartridge from his pouch and ran to the picket tent, trying to 
reload as he ran, but was overtaken and tomahawked. 

A volley was delivered from fifty Maori guns. The Maoris 
fired low, to rake the floor of the tents. A second volley ; another 
from a different flank ; then on came the enemy with the toma- 
hawk. Not a soldier of the picket escaped. Those who were not 
killed by the volley fell to the short-handled patiti. in and about 
the picket tent four soldiers lay dead. One of these was William 
Allen, whose name will be remembered so long as the story of 
Boulcott's Farm is told. Allen was a tall, young soldier; he was 
bugler to his company. When the sentry's shot was heard he 
leaped up, seized his bugle, and, running outside the tent, he put 
the bugle to his lips to blow the alarm. In the act of sounding 
the call he was attacked by a Maori, who tomahawked him in the 
right shoulder, nearly severing his arm, and felled him to the 
ground. Struggling to rise, the brave lad seized the bugle with 
his left hand and again attempted to warn his comrades, but a 
second blow with the tomahawk, this time in the head, killed 
him. The bugler's call was not needed, however, for the whole 
camp had been awakened by the sentry's shot and the answering 

The garrison of Boulcott's, now reduced to forty-four or 
forty-five men, was confronted by quite two hundred warriors — 
Rangihaeata's band and Te Mamaku's musketeers from the Upper 
Wanganui. Lieutenant Page's house was surrounded by the 
Maoris in a very few moments after the destruction of the picket. 
Page, on the first alarm, had snatched up his sword and loaded 
pistol, and rushed out with two men, but was confronted by scores 
of the natives. Driven back into the cottage, the three sallied out 
again, and, joined by several soldiers from one of the sheds, they 
fought their way to the barn, firing at close quarters at their foes, 
who attempted to charge in upon them with the tomahawk. 
The party of men in the barn, three sections, each under a sergeant, 
fought their post well and successfully, taking turns in firing 
through the light stockade and in returning to the shelter of the 
building to reload. 

The Maoris evidently had calculated on completely surprising 
the troops ; but what they did not accurately estimate was the 
steadiness of disciplined Regular troops. Lieutenant Page, having 
hacked and shot his way to the stockade, assembled his men, and. 
leaving a small party to hold the fort, came out into the open 
again and boldly attacked his antagonists. Extending the men 
in skirmishing order, with fixed bayonets, he advanced. In the 








height of the engagement a party of seven of the Hutt Militia, 
who had been disbanded on the previous Monday, but who fortu- 
nately retained their arms, came gallantly to the assistance of the 
hard-pressed troops, and fought side by side with the redcoats. 
Their arrival was the turning-point in the fight. The rebels, 
seeing these Militia men dash into the battle, began to retire, and 
at last were driven across the Hutt, after an engagement lasting 
about an hour and a half. The Maoris formed up on the west 
side and danced a war-dance. Page estimated their numbers at 
about two hundred. 

A little later that morning John Cudby, then a youth of seven- 
teen, who was engaged in carting commissariat from Wellington to 
the troops at Boulcott's Farm (for Mr. W. B. Rhodes, the con- 
tractor for supplying rations), harnessed up in the yard of the 
" Aglionby Arms," Burcham's Hotel, near the bridge stockade, and 
drove out into the bush for the front, unaware of the fight which 
had just been waged a short two miles away. \n this duty it 
was the practice of Cudby and the other carters to bring out their 
loads along the beach road as far as Burcham's in the afternoon, 
stay there that night, and go on to Boulcott's Farm or the Taita 
in the morning. Cudby had previously had the protection of an 
escort of fifteen men under a non-commissioned officer, but, to use 
his own words, " the poor fellows at the stockade were worked to 
death, and so I said I'd do without them in the future." His sole 
companion henceforth was a clerk, the military issuer. A double- 
barrel gun loaded with slugs was carried in the cart, but it never 
became necessary to use it. (This gun was the means of depriving 
Cudby of his left arm a few months later in Wellington ; one of 
the barrels accidentally exploded, the charge shattering the lad's 
hand and necessitating amputation of the arm at the elbow.) The 
carter and his companion were in the middle of the bush, jolting 
over the boggy " corduroy " patches of road, when they were met 
by two men in a cart driving furiously from the camp. One of 
them shouted : " Go back, boy, go back ! The Maoris have 
attacked the camp !" 

But Cudby did not turn his team. " I durscn't go back," he 
cried in his broad English dialect, " I dursen't go back ; I've 
got the rations to deliver." 

The two carters whipped up their horse and hurried on toward 
Fort Richmond, while Cudby, in fear every moment of receiving a 
volley from ambush in the dark timber that almost overhung him, 
but resolved to fulfil his duty, drove on to Boulcott's. When he 
arrived at the camp he saw laid out in the barn six dead bodies, 
the soldiers who had fallen ; one of them was Bugler Allen, whom 
he knew. It was Cudby who, later in the day, took the bodies 
in his cart to a spot on the river-bank where they were temporarily 
buried — a place since washed away by floods. 


Meanwhile bodies of troops despatched by Major Last — who had 
been informed of the attack by messenger from the front — were 
on the march out from Thorndon barracks and the Hutt stockade 
to reinforce the camp. These troops reinforcing Page drove the 
Maoris into the bush and silenced them. 

Six whites lay dead, and four were severely wounded. Two 
of the wounded, Sergeant E. Ingram and a civilian named 
Thomas Hoseman, an employee of Mr. Boulcott, died some days 
later. The losses of the Maoris were not accurately known, for 
all who fell were carried off, but two were seen shot dead, and ten 
or more were wounded, some of them severely. 

Now the authorities, civil and military, were compelled by 
the pressure of public opinion to accept Te Puni's generous offer 
to arm his Ngati-Awa men for the campaign. A hundred stand 
of arms were supplied to the hapus at Pito-one, and the men 
at the town pas were also given muskets. Mr. David Scott, a 
colonist who understood the Maoris and their ways, was appointed 
to act as the European staff officer of the native contingent, 
co-operating with the chiefs Te Puni, Wi Tako Xgatata, and 
other tribal heads. The quality of the arms supplied the natives 
for their guerilla work was poor — so poor that many of the 
guns were unfit for use, and the ammunition had become wet 
and unserviceable. These friendly Maoris, however, made no 
delay in taking the field. Their total numbers were about two 
hundred and fifty ; most of these assembled at Pito-one two or 
three days after the fight, and then marched out to a position 
between Fort Richmond and Boulcott 's, where they built a 
temporary kainga. 

The olden battle-ground is now the golfers' links. Boulcott 's 
homestead of 1846 (Section 46/1 11) was close to the spot where 
the Lower Hutt Golf Club's house now stands. The frequent 
floods and the repeated changes of the river's course have con- 
siderably altered the original contour of the place, and the actual 
site of the stockade has been transformed to a gorse-covered 
waste of gravel. 

The citizens appealed for arms. Muskets, accoutrements, and 
ammunition were served out to a large number of men, who were 
sworn in as Volunteers. The residents of Te Aro formed a 
Volunteer Corps a hundred and fifty strong, under Mr. Edward 
Daniell as captain, Mr. Kenneth Bethune as lieutenant, and 
Mr. G. D. Monteith as ensign. Nightly patrols were established to 
guard against an expected at ack on the town, and strong lines 
of pickets of the Regulars, Volunteers, and Militia encircled the 
town and patrolled the outskirts. Captain Stanley, landed seventy 
" Calliope " sailors to assist in the event of a hostile visit. 

On the 15th June the Maoris killed with the tomahawk another 
settler, Richard Rush, near the present Lower Hutt Railway-station. 


On the 16th June a composite force marched out from Boy- 
cott's Farm on a reconnaissance towards the Taita district and the 
stretch of the Hutt River near that post. The object of Captain 
Reed, in command, was to acquaint himself with the tracks in 
the neighbourhood of the Taita and the fords across the river, 
and also to ascertain the position of the Maoris, who were 
believed to be in the vicinity. The force consisted of about 
fifty Regular troops, nine of the Hutt Militia, and fifteen Ngati- 
Awa Maoris. The main body of the Ngati-Awa, under Te Puni, 
meanwhile remained in their camp near the stockade. The track 
to the Taita was narrow and wet ; the high jungly bush was on 
both flanks. When within about half a mile of the outpost at 
the Taita (which was two miles from Boulcott's Farm) the 
advance-guard emerged upon a new clearing, most of it a mass 
of fallen trees, forming perfect cover for an ambush. As 
the clearing was entered one of the Ngati-Awa men in the 
advance mounted a log to obtain a view of the surrounding 
felled timber and the track ahead. Just below him he saw 
some armed natives crouching. Firing his musket and shouting 
an alarm, he leaped down from the log and threw himself flat 
on his face on the ground. A volley followed instantly, delivered 
at about fifteen paces from behind the logs on the left flank of 
the road. The Ngati-Awa scouts and advance-guard, from cover 
on the same side of the track as the enemy, returned the fire ; 
and the white troops, extending in skirmishing order, held the 
cover on the right flank of the road. Presently it was discovered 
that they were being outflanked, and a retirement was found 
necessary. The column fell back in good order on Boulcott's, 
carrying several wounded men. 

Lieutenant Herbert was wounded. Half-way to the stockade 
the force was met by a relieving body headed by the subaltern 
in charge of the post and by Te Puni with a hundred men. The 
senior officer directed the subaltern to form an advance-guard 
in the direction of Boulcott's, and the stockade was reached at 
dark. The combined Ngati-Awa force, after seeing their white 
comrades into camp in safety, doubled back towards the scene 
of the action. Some of the enemy had gone ; the others were 
busying themselves in digging up potatoes from one end of the 
clearing — it was partly for this purpose that they had crossed 
the river that day. Te Puni and his active fellows engaged those 
still on the ground, and the skirmish resulted in the withdrawal 
of the rebels, who recrossed the river near the Taita and took 
to the safety of the bush on the western hills. 

In the meantime the Hutt Militiamen stationed at the Taita 
post — a small blockhouse surrounded by a stockade — had heard 
the sound of the battle in the bush, and had engaged in a brisk 
little skirmish of their own. Ensign White left the stockade 


with a sergeant and twelve men, and advanced in the direction of 
the firing. The little party of Militia came under fire very soon 
after they had entered the bush. They replied to the Maoris 
with coolness and skill, taking cover behind trees and fallen 
timber, and continued the engagement for more than an hour. 
At last, realizing that his detachment was in danger of being 
outflanked and surrounded by a superior force of the enemy — 
many of whom were armed with double-barrel guns — Mr. White 
withdrew to the stockade. 


Mr. Peter Speedy, of Belmont, Lower Hutt, who was born in Wellington 
in 1842, informs me that the Belmont Creek, which runs out through his 
property, was an old war-track of the Maoris between the Heretaunga and 
the Porirua districts. The trail led up the rocky bed of the creek for about 
half a mile to a place where the stream forked ; thence there was an ascent 
up a steep and narrow forested spur. The natives had cleared a part of this 
ridge, which was only a few yards wide, and when Speedy was bushfelling 
there many years after the war he found the remains of huts which had 
been roofed with totara bark, also stones used in the earth-ovens, a rusted 
bayonet, a musket-barrel, and other relics of 1846. The lofty ridge was an 
excellent position for defence, and it had evidently been used as a temporary 
pa in the war-days. The ground falls precipitously away for several hun- 
dreds of feet on either side into the canon-like valleys. It was no doubt 
by this route that the war-party descended on Boulcott's Farm in May, 
1846 ; and it was this track also that the Militia and friendly natives took 
in the march to Paua-taha-nui. The track entered the gorge very close 
to the spot where the Belmont Railway-station now stands. The Maori 
name of the range in rear of Belmont is Te Raho-o-te-Kapowai. 

Another Porirua war-track ascended the hills on the west side of the 
Hutt about a mile lower down the valley, not far from the present railway- 
station of Melling ; it trended across the hills on the northern side of the 
peak called Pokai-mangumangu. When the Hon. Dr. Maui Pomare was 
clearing the site for his present home overlooking the Hutt he discovered 
the remains of an old Maori camp on a wooded terrace commanding a wide 
view over the valley. The track was up the adjacent spur near Mr. B. M. 
Wilson's house. 



To the relief alike of Wellington townsmen, outlying settlers, 
and Ngati-Awa friendlies, Governor Grey returned to Port Nichol- 
son from Auckland on the ist July in H.M.S. " Driver," and 
immediately infused energy into the lagging campaign against 
Te Rangihaeata. He revisited the military posts, made arrange- 
ments for the more speedy construction of the Wellington- Porirua 
Road and the road up the Hutt towards the Wairarapa, and had 
mutually satisfactory interviews with Te Puni and his leading 
chiefs. On the 12th July the " Calliope " landed at Paremata 
Point Major Last and a small reinforcement of twenty men of the 
58th and forty-two of the 99th, under Lieutenants Page and De 
Winton and Ensign Blackburn. The frigate also took to Porirua 
a boat intended to be used as a gunboat in patrolling the inner 
shallow waters of Porirua and the Paua-taha-nui arm. The little 
craft was the longboat of the barque " Tyne," which had been 
wrecked on the Rimurapa rocks at Sinclair Head. An energetic 
midshipman of the " Calliope," Mr. H. F. McKillop, soon after- 
wards promoted to a lieutenancy, was given charge of the gun- 
boat, which proved highly useful in the task of reconnoitring the 
upper waters and in occasional skirmishes with Rangihaeata's men. 
Mr. McKillop had already made a reconnaissance of Rangihaeata's 
position in a light four-oared boat, and had discovered that the 
rebel pa, although apparently not formidable in construction, was 
strategically strong in situation, being at the extreme head of 
Paua-taha-nui Inlet, partly surrounded by water, swamp, and 
bush, and difficult of approach either by land or by sea. This 
expedition (10th May) was a lively morning's adventure, in which 
McKillop and his comrades narrowly escaped being cut off. 

McKillop's patrol would have been outmatched in a contest 
with the war-canoes which made a barbaric parade on the lake- 
like waters of Paua-taha-nui. A naval boat several times ven- 
tured up near the head of the arm, and on two occasions was 
compelled to retreat before these craft packed with Maoris. Two 
or three of the largest canoes were each manned by about fifty 
warriors, most of them armed with double-barrel guns. When, 



however, the longboat of the barque " Tyne " was procured and 
converted into a gunboat (oars and sail) with a 12-pounder 
carronade mounted in the bows, besides a small brass gun lent by 
Captain Stanley of the " Calliope " frigate, the scales were more 
evenly balanced. McKillop felt, with these two pieces of artillery 
and the addition of six bluejackets to his crew, that his little 
man-of-war was fit match for the whole of Rangihaeata's canoe 

On the morning of the 17th July the young naval officer, 
scanning the wooded coasts and the placid waters of the sea-lake, 

»H MS. Calliopes 

observed a large number of dark figures on the cleared part of a 
long point of hilly land which formed the largest promontory on 
the southern side of the Paua-taha-nui, and distant a little over 
a mile from Paremata camp. Through the narrow sea-passage 
where the railway-bridge now crosses the water near the Pare- 
mata fishing village McKillop followed the main channel of the 
tidal basin north-eastward until he was abreast of the promon- 
tory (to-day known as Long Point). Nothing was stirring on 
shore ; every figure had vanished ; but the officer ordered his 


crew to pull close in to the shore, and when within a few yards 
of the rocks fired a charge of canister into the manuka and small 
ngaio trees. Yells of mingled pain, fright, and rage arose, and 
from the bushes leaped a horde of shaggy-headed figures with 
flashing gun-barrels. It was only for a few seconds that their 
dusky faces were seen ; they quickly took cover and opened a 
hot fire on the bluejackets. The gunners again raked the foliage 
with canister, and this fire brought out the Maoris. Firing as 
they came, they rushed into the open, and, seeing that the boat 
was within a few yards of the shore, many of them dashed into 
the shallow water on the edge of the main creek, attempting to 
board the boat. The men's beds and blankets had been lashed 
up in their hammocks and fastened round the top-sides and gun- 
wale of the boat, forming a bullet-proof inner breastwork. The 
encounter was at such close quarters that it was almost impos- 
sible for the warriors to miss. Nearly every bullet struck the 
boat, and although she was coppered almost up to the gunwale 
many balls passed through, to be stopped by the sailors' bedding 

The Maoris, it was now seen, were led by Te Rangihaeata 
himself. For the first time in the campaign he personally headed 
his men in a charge against the whites. The warriors made an 
attempt to board the boat, imagining that she was aground, so 
close was she to the point. One party made an attack upon the 
quarter, and, as the carronade in the bows did not bear upon 
these men, McKillop slewed his brass gun, which was on a swivel, 
and fired at them. The gun burst ; the midshipman was knocked 
down, his eyebrows were singed off, and for some moments he 
was blinded by the explosion, and the flying lock cut his head. 
Fortunately, no other harm was done, and when McKillop had 
recovered from the shock and had washed the powder out of his 
eyes he was relieved to find that the Maoris had been beaten back 
from the boat's side, and that a charge of canister had checked 
the main party of assailants. Again the warriors came on, led 
by Rangihaeata, dashing out through the shallow water, some 
firing one barrel as they came and reserving the other for the 
boarding rush. The continued fire of canister from the carronade 
and McKillop 's accurate use of his double-barrel gun finally beat 
back the assailants. 

The crew completed their victory by firing several 12 lb. solid 
shot into the bushes where the Maoris had taken cover, and 
returned to Paremata. 

By Proclamation dated the 18th June, signed by Captain 
George Grey, Lieutenant-Governor, the operation of martial law 
in the " Island of New Ulster," as the North Island was officially 
styled, was extended from Wainui to Wanganui. The district 
under martial law was now the whole of that part of the Island 



to the southward of a line drawn from Wanganui on the west to 
Castle Point on the east coast ; the Town of Wellington itself 
was excluded. Reinforcements were hurried round the coast to 
Porirua. This was the result of alarming news received from the 
north. A large war-party of Upper Wanganui natives was on 
the march down the coast to reinforce Te Rangihaeata and Te 
Mamaku ; the main body had by this time reached Rangitikei, 
while an advance-party was at Waikawa, near Otaki. The expe- 
dition was headed by the fighting chiefs Ngapara (who was a near 
relative of Te Rangihaeata) and Maketu, two of the most turbu- 
lent warriors of the Wanganui country. This news was brought 
by a young Wanganui settler, Richard Deighton, who had chanced 

Photo, J. C, 1918.] 

Ruins of Fort Paremata, Porirua. 

to obtain sight of a letter bearing Te Rauparaha's signature, 
addressed to the inland and up-river natives of the Wanganui 
tribes, urgently inviting them to join their chief Te Mamaku and 
his ally Te Rangihaeata in the campaign against the European 
settlements. Mr. Deighton went to Mr. Samuel King, the Police 
Magistrate in Wanganui, and told him the substance of the letter, 
informing him also that he believed a war-party was being 
organized up the river with the object of joining the rebels in 
the Wellington district. In confirmation of this, the residents 
of Wanganui a few days later were startled by the appearance 
in the town of a body of over two hundred Maori warriors. 
Deighton, knowing this to be a subterfuge, induced the Magistrate 


to write a despatch to the Governor at Wellington, undertaking 
to deliver it into Captain Grey's hands in time to prevent the 

Wanganui war-party's coalition with the rebels at Porirua and 
the Hutt. The letter was written on very thin paper in Indian 
ink, and one of Deighton's sisters sewed it in the collar of his 
coat. On the following day the war-party left the Wanganui 
bank and set out on the march, accompanied, as was the Maori 
way, by a number of women, who carried food and cooked for 
their lords on the journey. Some of these women had their young 
children with them. The pakeha despatch-bearer joined them and 
marched with them, telling the leader Maketu that he was anxious 
to reach Wellington as soon as possible, as there was a box of 
goods awaiting him there from his father in England. After a 
series of adventures Deighton reached Wellington just in time to 
catch Governor Grey as he was about to leave for Auckland, and 
delivered to him not onlv the W T anganui despatch but also a letter 
to Rauparaha which Maketu had confidingly entrusted to him. 
He had left the Maoris at Rangitikei. 

Grey acted quickly after assuring himself of Rauparaha's 
duplicity. He ordered a force of troops and armed police aboard 
the warship " Driver," with some bluejackets from the " Calliope." 
The " Driver " next morning anchored off Waikanae, in the strait 
between Kapiti Island and the long beach where the Waikanae 
River issues from its sand-dunes. Here Captain Grey went ashore 
and visited the Ngati-Awa Tribe ; they were gathered in their pa, 
under Wiremu Kingi te Rangitaake, who afterwards fought the 
British troops in the Taranaki War. To Wiremu Kingi and his 
chief men the Governor explained the danger which existed of 
a coalition between the Wanganui war-party and Rangihaeata's 
force, and requested the assistance of the Waikanae people in 
preventing a junction. Kingi promised that if Maketu brought 
his tana along the beach through Xgati-Awa territory they would 
intercept and attack him, but told Grey that they could not take 
the tribe into the bush if the expedition left the coast route and 
travelled through the ranges to the head of Paua-taha-nui or the 
Hutt. With this attitude the Governor was satisfied ; he satisfied 
himself also, from what he heard at Waikanae, that Rauparaha 
was playing the Government false. This fully decided him in his 
decision to strike swiftly. Rowing off again to the " Driver," 
Grey requested the commander to get under way and steam down 
past Porirua, as if going to Wellington, and then return after dark 
and anchor off the entrance to the harbour. This stratagem lulled 
any suspicions the Xgati-Toa and their war}' chief might have 
entertained when they observed the warship on the coast. 

The Ngati-Toa village of Taupo, where Te Rauparaha dwelt in 
fancied security with his wives, tribesmen, and slaves, stood on 
the northern side of the entrance to Porirua Harbour ; the 

ii 4 


thatched, low-eaved huts, fenced in with palisading, occupied the 
sandy foreshore exactly where the seaside Township of Plimmer- 
ton stands to-day. A small stream flowed into the bay on the 
Paremata side of the settlement ; the other or seaward side was 
bounded by a little knoll of a cape, the wahi-tapu, or holy place 
of the pa ; it remains the only bit of Taupo held inviolate by the 
modern remnant of Ngati-Toa. The British military encampment 

^ a* 


From a drawing by Charles Heaphy, about 1840.] 
Te Rangihaeata. 
(" The Dawn of Day.") 

on the Paremata sandy flat in the inner bay was about three- 
quarters of a mile distant from the pa. 

In spite of the naval patrol on the waters of the inner harbour 
the hostile Maoris maintained their communication with Raupa- 
raha and his people at Taupo, either by canoe at night or'by the 
bush tracks on the northern side of the Paua-taha-nui arm. Gun- 


powder and other supplies for Rangihaeata's men were carried 
through the bush by these tracks from Pae-kakariki and Taupo. 
Unknown to the British, Rangihaeata himself was in Taupo pa 
about a week before the " Driver " made her surprise visit. He 
spent a night in Rauparaha's house. In the morning his mind 
was filled with forebodings. He said to his kinsman, " O Rau, 
last night I dreamed a dream, a dream of evil to come. It will 
be well if you come away with me. Leave this place ; it is full 
of danger." 

He strongly counselled Rauparaha to leave the sea-coast and 
go with him to Pana-taha-nui, where he would be safe. But Rau- 
paraha, although uneasy, declined to leave Taupo. His wife Te 
Akau was ill and unable to travel. Te Akau was his chief wife ; 
she had come down the west coast with him from Kawhia in the 
great migration of Ngati-Toa a quarter of a century previously, 
and he was not willing to leave her now, when she was unable to 
move. Despite his nephew's premonition and warning, therefore, 
he decided to remain at Taupo for the present. Rangihaeata 
himself returned at once by the bush track to his pa at the 
head of the harbour. 

It was towards midnight on the 22nd July that the " Driver " 
with her force of special-service men anchored off the bay. The 
Governor and Captain Stanley sent for Mr. McKillop, the mid- 
shipman of the " Calliope " who had distinguished himself on the 
Paua-taha-nui patrol. To the young officer the Governor unfolded 
his scheme. Te Rauparaha was to be arrested on a charge of 
treason ; the chief Te Kanae and several other Maoris of Taupo 
were also to be captured. It was necessary to take the wily old 
man by surprise, and McKillop was chosen for the task, as he was 
acquainted with the Maoris and their village. Major Durie, the 
officer in charge of the Wellington armed police, was requested 
to capture Te Kanae and the other men. Mr. Deighton was 
instructed to go ashore with the party and interpret the charge 
of treason to Rauparaha and assist in making him a prisoner. 

With the first glimmering of day McKillop and his boat's crew 
landed on the rocks about a quarter of a mile eastward of the pa. 
The other boats were busily employed landing the two hundred 
redcoats and bluejackets and the police. 

" If the natives come out of their pa take no notice of them, 
but follow me silently," said the interpreter to McKillop ; " I 
know where the old man's house is." Wading the small stream 
near the pa, the little party ran as quietly as they could up to 
the middle of the village, and Deighton pointed out Rauparaha's 
whare. It was now fully daylight. The arresting-party hastened 
on to the chief's house, and there they came upon Rauparaha ; 
the suspicious old warrior had just crawled out through the low 
doorway into the thatched porch. His wife Te Akau was by his 


side ; she called the customary greeting, " Haere mai, /mere mail " 
Deighton informed Rauparaha that the force had come by the 
Governor's order to take him on board the man-of-war to be tried 
for having given the arms, ammunition, and provisions with which 
he had been supplied by the Government to Te Rangihaeata, then 
in open rebellion against the Government. 

The interpreter had scarcely spoken the words before the old 
savage, who was seated immediately in front of the low doorway, 
threw himself back with an extraordinarily active movement for 
a man of his age, and in an instant seized a taiaha, with which he 
made a blow at his wife's head, realizing that she had been the 
indirect cause of his arrest. McKillop, who had been standing on 
the alert within arm's reach of Rauparaha, jumped forward and 
warded off the blow with his pistol. At the top of his voice the 
chief shouted, " Ngati-Toa e! Ngati-Toa el" It was a call to 
his tribe for rescue. Out from the whares rushed the Maoris, but 
their chieftain was already in the grip of the sailormen. McKillop 
had him by the throat, while his four men secured him by legs 
and arms, and held him in spite of his desperate struggles and the 
fact that his naked body was as slippery as an eel's, coated with 
a mixture of kokowai, or red ochre and shark-oil. The coxswain 
of McKillop's boat, an old sailor named Bob Brenchley, was the 
first of the men to grip an arm of the prisoner. Rauparaha 
savagely fixed his teeth in Brenchley 's bare arm. The bluejacket 
laughingly shook his arm free, and with his open hand lightly 
smacked Rauparaha's face, exclaiming, " Why, ye damned old 
cannibal, d'ye want to eat a fellow up alive ? " Rauparaha, in 
spite of his struggles, was carried down to McKillop's pinnace, 
which had been rowed along to the beach in front of the pa. 
The village was by this time surrounded by the force from the 
" Driver," and any attempts at rescue were useless. Captain 
Stanley, of the " Calliope," who had just come ashore from the 
" Driver," called out, " Here, you, Mr. Deighton, it was you who 
discovered the old devil's treachery ; you shall, if you like, have 
the honour of taking him off." 

The interpreter thanked the naval captain, and jumped into 
the boat. Mr. McKillop remained ashore to complete his work, 
and the captive was quickly rowed off to the war-steamer. As 
the crew pulled out they passed Motuhara, a small beach settle- 
ment where some of the Ngati-Toa lived. Rauparaha again lifted 
up his voice in a cry to his tribe for rescue: "Ngati-Toa el 
Ngati-Toa el" The interpreter told the chief that if a canoe 
did put off to the rescue it would only take back a dead man, 
for he (Deighton) would certainly shoot him first. The old man, 
looking the interpreter directly in the eyes, said bitterly, " Shoot 
now ; it would be better I were dead among my own tribe than 
alive as a prisoner and slave in the hands of an enemy." 


II 7 

Major Durie and his police had little trouble in arresting the 
minor chiefs, Wiremu te Kanae, Hohepa Tamaihengia, and two or 
three others. Every whare in Taupo and in the villages out west- 
ward of the point, Motuhara and Hongoeka, was searched for 

From a drawing by John Barn-bridge, at St. John's College. Tamaki, Auckland, iO'h June. 1847. 

Te Rauparaha. 

guns and ammunition. Over thirty muskets, many tomahawks, 
a quantity of ball cartridge, eight casks and kegs of gunpowder, 
cartouche-boxes, and a small 4-pounder cannon were seized. 


While the sailors and police were transferr'ng the captured 
arms to the boats the word came that a large party of Rangi- 
haeata's men was putting off in canoes to assist Rauparaha, the 
alarm of an attack on Taupo pa having reached the stronghold 
at Paua-taha-nui. McKillop and his bluejackets were quickly 
aboard their gunboat and pulling up towards Paua-taha-nui to 
meet the Maoris. There were fifty men in a war-canoe paddling 
down the arm, but they put about and retreated at their utmost 
speed. The naval boat rowed up in pursuit until the shallows 
at the harbour-head were reached, opening fire with the bow 
carronade. The Maoris were chased back into their pa with 
McKillop 's round shot flying about them ; then five or six shots 
were fired into the stockade on the hill where the midshipman 
had enjoyed his morning's reconnaissance some weeks previously. 

A few hours later Wellington was astonished by the news of 
the Governor's well-planned coup. The chiefs were transferred 
to the " Calliope," and in that frigate they were detained as 
prisoners of war. No charge was formulated against them, but 
it was undesirable that they should be at large, and the cause of 
peace was certainly advanced by their capture. Te Rauparaha 
was well treated ; he was a guest rather than a prisoner. He was 
taken to Auckland in the frigate, and was permitted to visit his 
son, Tamehana te Rauparaha, at St. John's College, Selwyn's esta- 
blishment at the Tamaki ; he was given numerous presents, and 
entertained with the consideration to which his rank in the Maori 
nation entitled him. It was his delight to appear in a naval 
captain's epauletted uniform ; our sketch — the best drawing of 
Te Rauparaha in existence — shows him attired in this costume on 
his visit to St. John's College in 1847. He was not permitted to 
return to his tribe until January, 1848, when he was landed at 
Otaki by H.M.S. " Inflexible." By that time his power for strife 
had passed. Possibly he was a more dignified figure as a captive 
than in his olden home at Otaki, shorn of its ancient savage 
glory. In Tamehana te Rauparaha's manuscript narrative of his 
father's life (Grey Collection, Auckland Public Library) there is a 
poetic speech delivered by the old man to his son when in deten- 
tion aboard the " Calliope " in Port Nicholson after Tamehana's 
return from the North : " Kei mea mai te tangata ienei ait te noho 
pouri nei ia au e noho taurekareka atu net i runga i taku kaipuke 
manuao nei i a ' Karaipi ' ; kaore rawa aku pouri, kaore au e mohio 
ana e noho taurekareka ana an. Ki taku whakaaro e noho rangatira 
ana an, he whare rangatira i a aku korero e korero atu." {" Let 
not men think that I abide in grief as I now remain in slavery 
aboard my warship the ' Calliope ' ; no, it is not so. I know 
not any grief, though I so remain a prisoner. In my mind 
I am abiding here as a chief, and my abode is an abode of 
a chief.") 


The son in his manuscript likens these words to those of the 
Apostle Paul, who declared that his prison-house was a royal 
dwelling. A pakclia poet had expressed very much the same 
sentiment when he wrote, long before Rauparaha's day — 

Stone walls do not a prison make, 
Nor iron bars a cage. 


The incident of Rangihaeata's dream (moemoea) and his warning to 
Rauparaha, and the old chief's attack upon his wife, was related to me by 
the nearest surviving relative of Rangihaeata, Heni te Whiwhi (died 1921), 
of Otaki. She said the reason Rauparaha made a blow at Te Akau when he 
was informed that he was under arrest was that he instantly remembered 
that had it not been for her illness he would have been in a safe retreat 
inland. McKillop and the other Europeans imagined erroneously that Rau- 
paraha struck at his wife because he believed she had betrayed him. 

After the war a block of land on the coast at Hongoeka, near Plimmerton, 
was made over by Rangihaeata to some members of the Ngati-Mutunga 
Tribe in return for their services in carrying gunpowder from the coast to 
his pa at Paua-taha-nui. These Ngati-Mutunga, some of them old men, 
made up small casks of powder in flax-basket pikaus or back-loads, and 
transported them through the forests and ranges of Pukerua and along the 
northern shore of the bay. 



A traveller taking the main road north from Wellington City 
and driving round the head of the Paua-taha-nui Inlet will pass 
within a few yards of the spot where Te Rangihaeata and his 
men built their palisaded and rifle-pitted stronghold . in 1846. 
The exact site of the pa can readily be identified. The spot 
is occupied to-day by a steepled church of old-fashioned 
design, crowning as in a picture the green hill above the 
one-street village of Paua-taha-nui — now misspelled Pahau- 
tanui. The salt water once flowed at high tide nearly to the 
foot of that rounded hill ; the land was raised several feet by the 
earthquake of 1855, and now the one-time flats of sand and mud 
are covered with grass, and the beach where Maori war-canoes 
and pakeha boats lay long ago has become a sheep-paddock. 
A little stream comes down from the hills around the eastern 
and southern foot of the mound, and joins the sea 200 yards 
below the place where our main road crosses on a wooden bridge. 
The hill is small-wooded like a park ; white grave-stones gleam 
among the shrubs and trees on its seaward face. It is a slumberous 
pretty spot — 

This old churchyard on the hill 

That keeps the green graves of the dead. 

Transformed as the place is by the lapse of nearly three- 
quarters of a century, one still may reconstruct in imagination the 
hilltop as it was in Rangihaeata's year of war. It was a cleverly 
chosen retreat, convenient to the canoe-stream and the harbour, 
yet sufficiently removed from deep water to be unapproachable 
by heavily gunned war- vessels, and beyond effective musket-range 
from any but the smallest boats. It was protected on three 
sides by water and marshes. On the south and south-east there 
was a cliff, at its highest about 30 feet, now thickly covered with 
trees, dropping to a backwater of the little river. On the scarped 
front — the west — were the curving stream, with its swampy 
borders, and the salt water ; on the north and north-west were 
swamps and small streams. The stream on the south was 
navigable for good -sized boats and canoes, which could be brought 



close up under the walls of the pa. The grass- and shrub-grown 
scarps in the English churchyard appear to mark the line of olden 
ditch-work on the south and south-west faces of the pa. In the 
paddock in rear of the church there are shallow trench and 
potato-pit excavations and levelled spaces indicating the sites 
of houses. 

Rangihaeata's stronghold, on the spot where the church now 
stands, was in the form of a parallelogram, with two rows bl 
palisades, a ditch within the second row, 6 feet wide and 5 feet 
deep, and whares with underground communication. The outer 
stockade was a weak curtain, but the inner palisades were heavy 
timbers up to 10 inches or a foot in thickness and about 15 feet 
high. The fort was about eighty paces in length and half 
that in width ; there were flanking defences, and there were 

Ground-plan of Rangihaeata's Pa, 
At the head of Paua-taha-nui Inlet, [846. 

intricate interior passage-ways, some on the surface fenced with 
manuka stakes, so narrow that only one man could pass at a 
time, and some underground. Shell-proof shelters covered with 
slabs and tree-trunks and earth were connected with the main 
trench by covered wars, and the main trench itself was cut with 
traverses protective against an enfilading lire down the ditch. 
The rear, as usual in Maori pas, was the weakest in defence ; but 
the problem would have been to reach this part, naturally guarded 
as it was by water, swamp, and bush. 

Captain Grey decided to approach the pa from the rear. He 
ordered a body of Militia, police, and Ngati-Awa friendlies to 
inarch across the hills from the Hutt and endeavour to carry 
the place by surprise. The Regular soldiers were excluded from 
the expedition, not being suitable troops for bush-work. On the 


afternoon of the 31st July this force, consisting of fifty men of 
the Hutt Militia, thirteen of the armed police, and 150 Ngati-Awa 
Maoris, left the Hutt Valley on their march over the hills. The 
Militia were under the command of Captain McDonogh and 
Lieutenant White, and the police under Mr. Chetham Strode. One 
Imperial officer, Ensign Middleton, of the 58th Regiment, accom- 
panied the expedition, and Mr. Ludlam and Mr. Stilling joined as 
volunteers. The native friendlies were under the charge of Mr. D. 
Scott. The column ascended the hills on the western side of the 
Hutt River nearly opposite Boulcott's Farm stockade, and followed 
a native track over the ranges to the upper valley of the Paua- 
taha-nui ; this track was the route used by the enemy in their 
raids from the Porirua district upon the Hutt. Next morning 
(1st August) the two foremost guides encountered a scout of the 
enemy, a minor Upper Wanganui chief named Whare-aitu, other- 
wise known grotesquely as " Martin Luther." He was captured. 
(In September he was court-martialled for rebellion and hanged 
at Paremata.) The capture was made within half a mile of the 
pa, and the incident was seen by some women from the hill 
stockade, which was now visible. Screaming out an alarm, they 
ran off to the pa. The main body and the Militia and police now 
came doubling up, and the whole force moved quickly forward. 
The pa had just been evacuated when the force rushed it. 

The next stage in the history of Paua-taha-nui pa was its 
conversion into an Imperial military post. It was garrisoned by 
detachments of Regular regiments, and for a considerable period 
after hostilities had ceased it was occupied as an advanced post 
covering the construction of the main road northward to Pae- 
kakariki and Waikanae by a company of the 65th, who had 
arrived in Wellington on the 22nd July, 1846, by the barque 
" Levant " from Sydney — the first of that regiment to reach New 
Zealand. The force landed by the " Levant " consisted of 
Captain O'Connell, Captain Newenham, Lieutenant McCoy, 
Lieutenant Turner, and Assistant-Surgeon White (65th) ; Ensign 
Barker (58th) ; eight sergeants, seven corporals, and 162 rank 
and file of the 58th and 65th Regiments. 

Our illustration showing the Paua-taha-nui post as it was at 
this period, with the main Maori stockading retained, is from a 
water-colour drawing by Lieut. -Colonel W. A. McCleverty, who 
was sent to Wellington from Sydney at the end of 1846 as Land 
Claims Commissioner, and was afterwards given command of the 
military operations at Wanganui. 

The scene of hostilities now shifted northward. Te Rangi- 
haeata, it was discovered, had taken post in the wooded ranges 
high up above the Horokiri (now usually known as Horokiwi), 
a small river which has its source in the broken country 
immediately east of Pae-kakariki. The Government forces were 



strengthened — in numbers, at any rate — by the addition of over 
a hundred Xgati-Toa men from the Porirua villages, under their 
chief Rawiri Puaha. On the 3rd August, 1846, a forward move- 
ment was commenced. The forces assembled at Rangihaeata's 
lately abandoned quarters totalled 250 bayonets — Regulars of 
the 58th, 65th, and 99th, the Hutt Militia, and the Wellington 
armed police — and the highly useful Ngati-Awa friendlies, number- 
ing 150. On Monday, 3rd August, the force began the march 
up the thickly wooded valley of the Horokiri, the natives in the 
advance. Puaha led his tribe ; Mr. D. Scott and Mr. Swainson 

From a drawing by Colonel II". A. McCleverty, 1849.] 

Paua-taha-nui Stockade. 

were in command of the Ngati-Awa. The troops were commanded 
by Major Last, with Major Arney second in command. Captain 
Stanley, of the " Calliope," accompanied the expedition. A number 
of bluejackets from the frigate came up on the following day, 
under Mr. McKillop. A recent camp of Rangihaeata, in the un- 
roaded woods three miles from the harbour, was occupied for the 
night. Suspended from the roof of one of the whares the Militia 
found the bugle which had been taken from the gallant bugler 
William Allen, killed in the fight at Boulcott's Farm. 



The Maori party in the advance continued the march early 
next day (4th August), leaving the rest of the expedition to await 
their report. The natives wore blue-serge blouses, with " V.R." 
in large white letters front and back, a precaution necessary in 
bush warfare, where it was otherwise difficult to distinguish between 
friendly and hostile Maoris. The Maori scouts followed the trail 
until they found that the enemy's position was on the summit 
of the high steep range to the right (east) of the narrow gorge, 
where the flooded Horokiri came pouring down into the valley. 

Early on the 6th August Major Last gave orders for the 
advance up this range to the east of the gorge. The white force 
was in two divisions. The first consisted of seven officers and 
127 rank and file of the seamen from the " Calliope," the Regular 

soldiers, the Militia, and the armed police, 
under Major Arney (58th). The second 
division, of five officers and 117 men 
of similar detail, was under the command 
of Captain Armstrong (99th). The Maori 
allies under thei r white officers and tribal 
chiefs led the way, feeling for the enemy ; 
then came a detachment of Pioneers with 
axes and other tools to cut a way through 
the bush. These Pioneers were troops 
who had been employed on the Porirua 
roadworks ; they were under the com- 
mand of Lieutenant Elliott (99th). The 
troops began to advance at 9 a.m., and 
struggled up through the wet bush that 
choked the mountain-side. The steep 
lower slopes surmounted, the column 
worked up along a narrow ridge, which 
On the site of Rangihaeata's p r0 ved to be that selected by Rangi- 
iortification. haeata for his temporary fortification. 

The crest of the range was toilsomely 
approached ; the axes of the Pioneers made the forest ring. It 
was a curious method of advancing to attack, for every tree felled 
ahead of the troops made their position more vulnerable. An 
old colonial officer, describing to the writer his bush-fighting 
experiences in the " sixties," expressed the basic principle of 
forest warfare exactlv when he said, " We very soon learned to 
look on a tree as a friend." The Imperial soldier had not 
gripped that useful lesson in the " forties." Major Last's idea 
of skilful tactics was to " cut away the wood," as he expressed it 
in his despatch, in his advance upon the bush-entrenched foe. 

The friendly natives now reported that Te Rangihaeata's posi- 
tion was right ahead on the crown of the ridge. At a point where 
it narrowed to a few yards, above a very steep slope, they had 


Tht" English Church at 



dug a trench and constructed a parepare, or breastwork of tree- 
trunks and earth ; in front of this a fairly clear glacis had been 
made by felling the bush for a short distance, so that no sheltered 
frontal attack could be made. Major Last, after reconnoitring 
the place, came to the conclusion that the fortification was " very 
strong," composed, as he believed, of logs of timber placed hori- 
zontally one over another, with loopholes for musketry fire. In 
reality the breastwork was not a formidable affair, but the enemy 
held a naturally very strong position, only assailable with success 
by turning the flanks, an operation for which the Regular troops 
could not be used in such country. 

A party of about twenty, consisting of soldiers, bluejackets, 
and Militia, under Lieutenant G. H. Page (58th), Ensign H. M. 
Blackburn (0,9th), Mr. McKillop, and Lieutenant McDonogh, ad- 
vanced to within about 50 yards of the enemy's position. The 
main body of the troops was halted in close formation about 
100 yards below the crest of the ridge. The customary method 
of the frontal rush so much favoured by British officers of that 
day was suggested, but now Major Last, warned by the experience 
of his fellow -soldiers in Heke's War, declined to expose his force 
to so great a risk. As it was, the charge thus far proved fatal 
to three of the British. Ensign Blackburn, who was acting- 
brigade-major, was killed by a Maori concealed in a tree. The 
troops fell back a few yards, and most of them took cover behind 
a large tree which had been felled across the ridge some 80 yards 
below the pa, and under a breastwork thrown up at this spot by 
the Pioneers. 

For several hours an irregular but heavy fire was maintained 
by the troops and their native allies, and some thousands of 
rounds were expended for very little result. Firing lasted until 
about dark, when Major Last, fearing that the enemy would attack 
the troops in this position, very unfavourable for defence against 
a night raid, marched the greater number of the soldiers down the 
hill to the camp on the flat. The bluejackets meanwhile were 
despatched back through the bush to their boats at Paua-taha- 
nui, with orders to go to the Paremata fort and bring up two 

McKillop and his sailors, with a number of Royal Artillery 
men, returned on the following day (7th August), bringing two 
small mortars and ammunition. It was a wearisome march from 
the Paua-taha-nui to the camp at the foot of the range, for every- 
thing had to be carried on the back over the narrow and slippery 
bush trail. The pieces were mounted on a terrace close to the 
right bank of the Horokiri Stream, and served by a detachment 
of a dozen Royal Artillery men under Captain Henderson. The 
shelling occupied most of the day on the 8th August, at a range 
of about three-quarters of a mile ; about eighty shells were fired. 



At the same time the Militia, armed police, and friendly natives, 
joined by a number of the more energetic Regular officers, 
skirmished with the enemy in the bush near the pa. The 
artillerymen soon found the range, and many shells fell in and 
around the rebel position. 

Major Last by this time had come to the conclusion that it was 
not desirable either to advance his Regulars farther or to remain 
in his present camp. On the ioth August the troops were marched 

Drawn by A. H. Messenger, from a water-colour sketch by Lieutenant 
G. H. Page (58th Regt.), 1846.] 

The Attack on Rangihaeata's Position, Horokiri. 

back to Paua-taha-nui, whence the majority were boated down 
the harbour to the main camp. The natives remained on the 
range for a week longer, working at their palisades and occasionally 
skirmishing with the foe. On the 13th it was discovered that 
Te Rangihaeata and his whole force had quietly abandoned the 


place under cover of darkness and rain. The weather was now 
exceedingly wet and stormy, and the friendlies were unable to 
take up the chase until the 17th. The enemy had retired north- 
ward along the narrow forested ridges east of Horokiri and Pae- 
kakariki. The Ngati-Awa Maoris took the lead, under their chiefs 
Te Puni and Wi Tako Ngatata ; the white officers with them were 
Mr. Servantes, of the 99th Regiment, interpreter to the forces, 
and Mr. D. Scott. 

The scene of the engagement of the 6th August, 1846, is the 
summit of a steep and lofty range on Mr. N. Abbott's sheep-run 
at Horokiri. Mr. Abbott's homestead, near the foot of the range 
and just at the entrance of the Horokiri Gorge (through which 
the main north road runs to Pae-kakariki), is on or very close 
to the site of the main camp of the troops, under Major Last, 
on their expedition to Rangihaeata's mountain stronghold. 
The summit of the steep and narrow ridge on which the 
rebels made their stand is about three-quarters of a mile north 
of the homestead, and probably between 700 and 800 feet 
above sea-level. Far below it on the west runs the main road, 
winding through a deep and narrow wooded gorge ; the bottom 
of the ravine is occupied by the Horokiri Stream. We take a 
leading spur which leads to the main ridge, and we find that 
we are following the same route as that taken by the troops 
when all this region was blanketed with unroaded bush. A little 
distance up the spur there is a trench or long rifle-pit, now more 
than half filled in and softly grassed ; it does not run across the 
spur but almost parallel with it. Several hundred feet higher up 
we climb on to the knife-back which leads to the knoll on the 
sky-line where the Maoris lay behind their parepare, or breastworks 
of earth and logs. Fire-charred logs lie about the hillside, and 
the slopes are black-pencilled with the stumps of the wheki, a 
fern-tree whose butt is as hard as ironbark and almost inde- 
structible. It was this fern-tree that the Maoris largely used in 
building up their parepare of horizontal timbers. In a slight dip 
in the ridge a line of depression in the turf running partly across 
the narrow saddle is readily recognized as the trench cut by the 
Government forces on the 6th August, after the encounter in which 
Lieutenant Blackburn was killed. The spot is about 100 yards 
below the fortified summit of the ridge. A few yards onward 
the ridge rises into a small knoll ; passing over this there is 
a rather steep ascent to the crest of Battle Hill, as the site of 
the pa is locally called. The advance is not in a direct line ; the 
sharp main spur, running rough!} 7 north and south, now twists 
to the north-east, until the narrow crest of the range is reached, 
when it again trends due northward. From east to west the top 
of the hill is only ten paces in width, and forty paces on its greater 
axis north and south. The face of the Maori breastwork was 



' ii 
Summit of thh Ridge, Horokiri, held by Rangihaeata, 1S46. 

m W^m 

Photos by F. G. Layton, 1920.] 

The Rear of Rangihaeata's Position, Horokiri, 1846. 


immediately on the south end of the crest, completely commanding 
the troops' line of approach from the south and south-west. All 
traces of logwork have long since disappeared, but the trench 
and the shelter-pit dug immediately in rear of the parepare are 
readily traced. The ruined trench, after the lapse of three- 
quarters of a century, is still about 3 feet deep, and its ditch-like 
terminal on the verge of the precipitous slope on the south- 
east side is well marked. The trench extends across the ridge 
a distance of 26 paces ; it is roughly zigzag in outline, and 
about its centre there is an advanced rifle-pit ; the breast- 
work in front of this would have formed a bastion for enfilading 
the front of the work on right and left. Four paces in rear of 
the line of trench, at the north end, there is a grassy rua, a pit 
g feet long and 3 feet deep, occupying half the width of the ridge- 
crown. It was originally roofed over with earth and timber as 
a shell-proof shelter. 

The Regular troops and the Militia having been withdrawn 
from the field, the operations in the forest chase were left entirely 
to the Ngati-Awa allies, with their white officers, and the Ngati- 
Toa, under Rawiri Puaha. The scene of the pursuit was the 
roughest imaginable terrain for campaigning. Te Rangihaeata's 
refuge was the broken country a few miles east of the coast be- 
tween Pae-kakariki and Waikanae. Here the forested ranges slant 
steeply to the narrow belt of coastal flats ; inland the landscape 
is a confusion of sharp and lofty ridges and narrow canon-like 
valleys each discharging a rocky-bedded rapid stream. Into this 
wild bit of New Zealand range and wood Te Rangihaeata and his 
band were driven, more than half-starved, short of ammunition, 
but determined to make no submission. They could move but 
slowly because of the number of women and children, and this 
consideration impelled them to construct temporary fortifications 
at suitable places, similar to that at Horokiri, where they could 
make a stand and give the non-combatants time to move ahead. 
It would have been a simple matter to have descended to the 
level country on the sea-coast north of Pae-kakariki, but here 
retreat would have been barred by Wiremu Kingi and his branch 
of Ngati-Awa, who had promised Governor Grey to block the 
progress of rebel war-parties either north or south along the 

There was one sharp skirmish in the pursuit ; this was on the 
seaward side of the Pouawha Range, inland of Wainui. A volley 
killed three of the Ngati-Awa friendlies ; in the fight which 
followed their antagonists lost four shot dead, including Te Pau, 
a chief of Ngati-Rangatahi, who had led the party that killed 
the Gillespies at the Hutt. The fugitives made good their retreat 
along the ranges inland of Waikanae and into the Manawatu 
country. Te Mamaku and his men returned to Wanganui. The 
5— N.Z. Wars. 


second Wanganui war-party, whose intentions had been frustrated 
by Mr. Dcighton's march with a despatch to the Governor, had 
abandoned the expedition on hearing of the arrest of Te Rauparaha. 
Te Rangihaeata entrenched himself with about a hundred men on 
a mound called Paeroa, which rose like an island from the swamps 
between Horowhenua and the Manawatu. Here he declared the 
soldiers would never get him. The pa was named Poroutawhao ; 
the site is now a native farm, between Levin and Foxton. The 
low hill upon which the palisaded stronghold was built was all 
but surrounded by miles of deep flax-swamps, threaded with slow- 
running watercourses, and dotted with lagoons swarming with wild 
ducks. Here, like Hereward the Wake on the mound that was 


The Site of Rangihaeata's Entrenchment, Horokiri Ridge. 

his last stand amidst the fens of Ely, Te Rangihaeata and his 
company of fight-loving patriots lived in barbaric independence, 
and feasted on the eels that teemed in the swamps and the wild- 
fowl the}' snared on the lagoons and rushy runways. 

Te Rangihaeata died at Otaki in 1856, from measles aggra- 
vated by a cold bath in a river. He was buried at his pa in 
Poroutawhao. So passed a type of the old pagan order, a true 
irreconcilable, averse to anything of the white man's but his 
weapons of war. He was seldom seen in any dress but the 
picturesque native garments of flax ; and a commanding figure 
he was, tomahawk in hand, standing 2 inches over 6 feet, draped 
in a finely woven and beautifully patterned parawai or kaitaka 



The New Zealand Company's settlement at Wanganui — or 
Petre, as it was officially named in compliment to Lord Petre, 
one of the directors of the Company — was the most unfortunate 
of all the colonies planted by the Wakefields. The first settlers 
under the Company took up their land there in 1841, but the 
natives very soon disputed their title to many of the sections, 
declaring that the}' had never sold the land. " Our case is indeed 
a hard one," Dr. Wilson, of Wanganui, wrote in his diary in 1846. 
" Up to the commencement of our present war state we had 
waited more than six years for the proprietorship of land here 
which we paid for in London upwards of seven years ago ; but 
that promised land has never yet been delivered up to us." When 
some of the unfortunate settlers, despairing of ever being esta- 
blished in secure occupation of their farm sections outside the 
Town of Wanganui, applied to the Company for land elsewhere 
in New Zealand they were informed that only in the Wanganui 
district had they a claim for land. Those who left Wanganui 
were compelled to purchase afresh elsewhere, and those who 
remained presently found themselves compelled to arm for defence 
against the Maoris with whom they had hoped to live in neigh- 
bourly peace. The Company blamed the Government for pre- 
venting selection according to the conditions of sale, but Governor 
Mobson declared that nothing contained in the agreement between 
the Government and the Company had any such reference to their 
engagements with private parties, and held that the Company was 
bound to fulfil the conditions it had entered into for the disposal 
of their lands. Neither Hobson nor Fitzroy, however, was able 
to improve the unhappy position. Not until a campaign had been 
fought and Wanganui relieved from a state of siege, and the 
troubles adjusted by Governor Grey and Mr. (afterwards Sir 
Donald) McLean, was the peaceful progress of the district assured. 

In 1845 there were not many more than two hundred Euro- 
peans in Wanganui ; there were about sixty houses. This little 
outpost of colonization was practically surrounded by Maoris. 
The native population along the Wanganui River was estimated 
in 1846 at four thousand, most of whom were on very friendly 
terms with the settlers themselves, though they had no love for 
the New Zealand Company. Living was rough and primitive, but 



food was abundant ; the Maoris of the numerous villages from 
Wanganui Heads inland plied a diligent canoe-paddle, bringing in 
their cargoes of pigs, potatoes, kumara, vegetable marrows, and 
pumpkins for sale by barter. Governor Grey in 1846 investigated 
the condition of the settlement, and made arrangements for the 
completion of the purchase of 40,000 acres. Major Richmond, the 
Superintendent of the Southern District, was deputed to settle the 
details. It was not until 1848, however, that the sale was finally 
closed. The area of purchase was increased to 80,000 acres, 
extending to the Kai-iwi River. 

In December of 1846 the frigate " Calliope " and the Govern- 
ment brig " Victoria " brought up from Wellington and landed 
at Wanganui 180 men of the 58th Regiment, under Captain Laye 
and Lieutenant Balneavis, four Royal Artillery men with two 
12-pounder guns, Lieutenant (afterwards Captain) T. B. Collinson, 
R.E., and Mr. Tyrone Power, D.A.C.G. These troops set about 
the work of fortifying the town. The warship also brought 
up the small gunboat which had been used in the Porirua 
patrols. Lieutenant Holmes, R.N., was detailed to command 
the gunboat - crew ; with him was a young midshipman of 
the " Calliope." On the 16th April, 1847, a minor chief of the 
Wanganui people, by name Ngarangi, went to the midshipman's 
quarters to receive payment for some work done. The juvenile 
officer, by way of a joke, presented a pistol at him ; the 
charge exploded, and Ngarangi received a wound in the head. He 
was well tended, and soon began to recover. He told his people 
that the wound was accidental ; nevertheless a small party deter- 
mined to exact ittu for the blood-letting, and so precipitate war. 
Six of them attacked the home of Mr. J. A. Gilfillan, in the 
Mataraua Valley, severely wounded Gilfillan, and killed his wife 
and three children with the tomahawk ; a daughter of sixteen was 
wounded. Five of the murderers were captured by a party of 
friendly natives, under Hone Wiremu Hipango, and four of them 
were court-martialled in Wanganui and hanged on the Rutland 
Stockade hill. 

The natives attached to the Europeans by ties of friendship 
or by the teachings of their missionary, Richard Taylor, agreed 
that the execution of the tomahawk-party was a proper punish- 
ment. By far the greater number of the Wanganui warriors, 
however, resolved to take up arms to avenge the deaths of the 
four. The execution of Whare-aitu by the military at Paremata 
in the previous year was also a provocative factor. 

The fortification which came to be called the Rutland Stockade 
was constructed on a sandy hill about 70 feet above the level of 
the river, near the northern end of the then small settlement of 
Wanganui. This height, the most commanding ground in the 
town, was known to the Maoris as Puke-namu (Sandfly Hill). 
It was the terminal of a gentle ridge which extended westward 



to the long hill whose forested slopes were given the name of 
St. John's Wood. The space enclosed by the stockade on the 
level summit of the hill measured 60 yards by 30 yards. The 
palisading consisted of rough timbers and whole trees, 9 inches 
or more in thickness, set closely together, sunk 3 or 4 feet in the 
sandy soil, and standing 8 feet high above ground. The tops 
of the logs were pointed ; this shed the water off and prevented 
decay. These uprights were braced by two inner horizontal 
rails, and loopholes for musket-fire were cut in the stockade all 
round. The two 12-pounder guns landed by the " Calliope " 

Rutland Stockade and Blockhouses, Wanganui. 

This photograph, taken in the early "eighties," shows in the foreground 
the monument to the friendly Maoris killed in the battle with the Hauhaus 
on Moutoa Island, Wanganui River, in 1864. 

were mounted in the stockade, one at each end. 

enclosure were built two strong wooden blockhouses 

Within the 
the first 
blockhouses with overhanging upper storeys built in the North 
Island. Upon the plan of these structures were modelled most 
of the frontier blockhouses built during the wars of the " sixties." 
The larger of the two, designed for the accommodation of eighty 
soldiers, consisted of two buildings, one 60 feet by 20 feet, on 
the ground-floor plan, and one, at right angles to it, measuring 
20 feet by 20 feet. The smaller blockhouse, with a ground 
floor of 40 feet by 20 feet, was occupied by twenty soldiers. 


These blockhouses were of two storeys, the upper floor pro- 
jecting 3 feet over the lower building. The lower storey was 
10 feet high and the upper one 8 feet. The lower walls were 
built of heavy and thick timbers, proof against all projectiles 
likely to be used by the Maoris. The main uprights, 6 feet apart, 
were 12 inches square ; the intervening spaces were filled in with 
horizontal pieces 6 inches square, and the whole was lined 
inside with i-inch boards. Smaller scantlings, bullet-proof, were 
used in the upper storey. The flooring of the upper storey was 
2 } inches thick. The projecting part of the upper floor could 
be raised on hinges between each girder, for musketry fire. Both 
storeys were loopholed with horizontal slits, 4 feet in length and 
6 inches in width, filled in with glass and shuttered outside. 

This well-planned and solidly constructed fort, frowning over 
the little town and inspiring confidence in the settlers, cost 
between £3,000 and £4,000. For many a year it stood there on 
Puke-namu Hill, garrisoned by Imperial soldiers until well on 
toward the end of the " sixties," and was afterwards used by 
the Armed Constabulary. When the 57th Regiment arrived the 
original palisading was replaced by sawn timbers. So well-built 
were the stockade and the blockhouses that they would have 
stood to this day, a memorial to the troubled days of Wanganui's 
infancy, had not an unsentimental municipality demolished them 
in the " eighties," greatly to the disgust of patriotic colonists. 

On a smaller mound, Patu-puhou (or Patu-puwhao), south- 
ward of Puke-namu, the military erected another fortification, 
a stout stockade enclosing barracks. This post was named the 
York Stockade. The business heart of modern Wanganui occupies 
the space between these two fortress hills, now converted into 
public parks. 

In May H.M.S. "Inflexible," a paddle - steamer like the 
" Driver," landed at Wanganui the Grenadier Company of the 
65th Regiment, a hundred strong, from Auckland. This rein- 
forcement brought the garrison up to a strength sufficient to hold 
their positions, but insufficient to make any active aggressive move. 

In the meantime the natives from many of the up-river 
settlements, from Tunuhaere as far up as Taumarunui, had united 
in a strong expedition against the white settlement, and came 
sweeping down the river in their war-canoes, chanting their 
paddling time-songs and their war-cries, gathering in fresh parties 
at each village. When the combined tana halted a few miles 
above the town its strength was five or six hundred, armed with 
muskets or double-barrel guns and well provided with ammuni- 
tion. The principal chiefs were Topine te Mamaku, with his 
warriors of the Ngati-Haua-te-Rangi Tribe ; Pehi Turoa ; Mawae, 
with the Xgati-Ruaka ; Tahana, with Patu-tokotoko ; Ngapara, 
and Maketu. For some days the hostiles remained out of sight 
of the town, plundering and burning settlers' houses, killing 



cattle, and lying in wait for stragglers. A soldier of the 58th, 
who had gone ont a mile or two into the country contrary to 
orders, was caught and tomahawked. His mutilated body was 
brought into town on the 14th May. 

Captain Laye, fearing a night attack on the town, advised 
all the residents to leave their homes each night and spend the 
hours of darkness in the partly fortified houses of three of the 

From an oil-painting by G. Lindauer, in the Municipal Art Gallery, Auckland.'] 

This old warrior was prominent in the fighting at the Hutt (1S46) and 
Wanganui (1847). He was the principal chief of the Ngati-Haua-te-K. 1 gi 
Tribe, of the Upper Wanganui. One of his honorific names was " Te Ika 
nui o roto o te Kupenga " (" The Great Fish in the Net "). A celebrated 
tribal proverbial saying in reference to Te Mamaku was : Ka unuunu te 
puru Tuhua, ka maringiringi te ivai pitta," meaning, " If you withdraw 
the plug of Tuhua you will be overwhelmed by the flooding hordes of the 
north," in allusion to this chieftain's strategic position, holding the passage 
of the Upper Wanganui. Te Mamaku died at Tawhata in 1887. 


principal settlers, named Rees, Nixon, and Smith. This practice 
was observed throughout the investment of the town by the 

Next day (19th May) an attack in some force was delivered 
against the town. The armed Maoris first appeared from the 
seaward and western sides of the town, and as there were others 
on the north the settlement was practically invested on all sides 
but the river. The besiegers were extended in parties along the 
sandhills, and a large number took up a position on the southern 
side of Patu-puhou Hill. When the action began a party of 
fifteen armed civilians held the crown of this hill, but they were 
soon ordered to retire, and the enemy, sheltered by the ridge 
from the fire of the Puke-namu stockade, plundered the houses 
of several residents in the southern part of the town. The houses 
raided and sacked were those of Messrs. Allison, Campbell, Chur- 
ton, Deighton, Day, Small, and Wilson. Some of these dwellings, 
near the riverside, were within short musket-range of the lower 
stockade (which enclosed the Commercial Hotel on the flat), and 
the troops in that post, numbering about sixty, opened fire on 
the raiders. The soldiers were not permitted to leave either of 
the stockades. Lieutenant Holmes brought his gunboat down 
the river from her usual anchorage under Shakespeare Cliff and 
fired several rounds of canister from the bow gun. The chief 
Maketu — he who had headed the reinforcements for Rangihaeata 
in the previous year — was mortally wounded, and Tatua, of 
Ngati-Rangatahi, also fell. 

Some arrangements were made by Captain Lave and 
Lieutenant Holmes for the better defence of the place ; a 
small howitzer was brought down from the Rutland Stockade 
to the lower fortified post, and the carronade mounted in the 
gunboat was hoisted on to the deck of the topsail schooner 
" Governor Grey," where it would be of greater use, and would 
enable the naval officer in command to protect vessels and 
troops arriving. 

Governor Grey landed from H.M.S. " Inflexible " on the 24th 
May ; with him came the old hero of the northern war, Tamati 
Waka Nene, the Waikato chief Potatau te Wherowhero (after- 
wards the first Maori King), and several other chiefs from 
Auckland. The rangatiras accompanied Captain Grey to the 
friendlies' village at Putiki, where Waka endeavoured to stimulate 
the missionary party to a decided course of action against the 
hostiles. Next day the Governor, with over three hundred soldiers 
(58th and 65th) and a number of armed settlers, made a recon- 
naissance in force of the ground occupied by the enemy ; the 
limit of the march was a point about three miles above the town. 
Simultaneously the gun-schooner and two armed boats went 
up the river covering the military's right flank. A few rockets 
were thrown in among distant groups of Maoris. 


June of 1847 was a month of harassing blockade for the whites 
cooped up in the narrow limits of Wanganui Town, unable to 
venture in safety beyond musket-shot of the stockades. One 
or two skirmishes enlivened the futile weeks. Reinforcements 
under Lieut. -Colonel McCleverty having arrived from Wellington 
by the war -steamer "Inflexible" and the frigate "Calliope," 
further reconnaissances in force were made up the valley of 
the Wanganui. The natives' position was six or seven miles 
above the town ; they had fortified temporary pas, and imme- 
diately in their rear was the forest, where they could not 
be followed with any chance of success for British arms. The 
extremely cautious tactics of the British commander excited the 
impatience of the civilians, who candidly criticized the careful 
defensive attitude maintained by the troops. There were between 
five and six hundred soldiers in the garrison, now outnumbering 
the Maoris, but their commander, McCleverty, had no intention 
of attempting any bold movement. The only enterprise displayed 
was on the part of the armed settlers, who now and then scouted 
out in small parties to the abandoned farms and drove in such 
cattle as had not been killed by the raiders. 

Even the enemy by this time had been dissatisfied with this 
inconclusive kind of warfare. The soldiers would not come out 
and attack them on the ground that suited the native manner 
of fighting, and they could not touch the soldiers in the stockades. 
The potato-planting season was approaching, and it would soon 
be necessary for the warriors to return to their homes up the 
river and attend to their crops. Before they took to their canoes, 
however, they resolved to make an attack upon the town with 
their full force and endeavour to draw the troops out from the 
forts. This decision produced the most important action in the 
tedious campaign. 

On the 20th July the Maoris, numbering about four hundred, 
appeared on the low hills inland of the town, moving down 
towards it in skirmishing order. The larger number occupied the 
level ridge above the bush known as St. John's Wood, a little 
over a mile south of the town stockade ; at the southern end of 
this ridge was a gully cutting off the terminal of the height from 
the main ridge ; on each side of this pass they had dug trenches 
and rifle-pits and thrown up breastworks. In these entrench- 
ments and in the cover of the bush on the hill-slopes the main 
body awaited the issue of the preliminary skirmishing, hoping 
that the soldiers would be induced to come out and meet them 
on the ground where the lightly equipped and mobile Maori would 
hold the advantage. Small parties of warriors were scattered 
over the ground between the ridge and the town and on the hills 
to the north. The bush and height of St. John's Wood were 
difficult to approach, for a large ranpo swamp then stretched 
along the eastern foot of the ridge ; this marsh contained a lagoon. 



The only convenient approach from the town was along a narrow 
strip of low ground, with the pools and bogs of the swamp on either 
side. Two daring fellows of the enemy ope, skirmishing close up 
to the town and attempting to cut off a settler who was driving 
in his cattle, provoked Lieut. -Colonel McCleverty into action. 
He despatched two detachments of troops from the stockades in 
pursuit ; these parties were under Lieutenant Pedder (5Sth) and 
Ensign Thelwall (65th) ; after them was sent a reinforcement from 
the 58th under Ensign Middleton. These troops, eager to meet 
the enemy at last with the bayonet, chased the two Maoris, who 

From a sketch by Lieutenant G. H. Page ( 581I1 Regt.), 1847.] 

The Skirmish at St. John's Wood, Wanganui. 

retired across the swamp and up through the trench-flanked 


The first parties were soon in action, and reinforcements were 
despatched from the stockades, until at last four hundred soldiers 
were engaged in the skirmishing. In the meantime Lieutenant 
Holmes and Midshipman Carnegie, of the " Calliope," manned the 
river gunboat, and with the 12-pounder carronade and muskets 
checked a party of Maoris advancing along the right bank of 
the Wanganui. The Royal Artillery detachment, under Captain 
Henderson, advanced towards the edge of the swamp with two 
field-guns, a brass 3-pounder and a 4^-inch howitzer, and opened 
fire. The Colonel now shifted his guns with a view to drawing 


the enemy down into the open, and the troops in the advance 
began to retire across the swamp. The Maoris leaped from their 
cover and followed closely on the troops, some firing, some dashing 
in with their long-handled tomahawks. The line of withdrawal 
was along the natural causeway through the swamp. The little 
rearguard faced about when the foremost of the enemy were within 
about 15 yards and charged. Several Maoris were bayoneted in the 
melee. Other detachments coming to the help of the rearguard, 
the further advance of the Maoris was stopped, and the main 
body of the enemy reoccupied the trenches and breastworks and 
the slopes of the hill south of the gully. From these positions 
they continued to fire on the troops so long as the latter were 
within range. So indecisively ended the day's engagement. The 
Maoris held their position under musketry and field-gun fire, but 
they had had a taste of the British bayonet. Two British soldiers 
were killed, and one died of his wounds. Ten soldiers and one 
Ngati-Toa Maori were wounded. Of the enemy three were killed 
and ten or a dozen wounded. The natives carried off and buried 
the body of one of the soldiers — Private Weller, of the 58th — who 
was killed in the bayonet charge. 

The scene of this action, known in local history as the Battle 
of St. John's Wood, has been transformed completely. The olden 
lagoons and rushy sv/amps have long been drained, ploughed, 
and planted ; part of the battle-ground is now occupied by the 
buildings of the Wanganui Collegiate School and beautiful homes 
and gardens. But the contour of the ridge is unaltered, and the 
gap separating the southernmost hill from the once-wooded land 
to the right, as one views it from the College grounds, is easily 
recognized to-day as the pass each side of which was trenched 
and rifle-pitted. 

The 23rd July saw the Maoris' final appearance in force before 
the town. Some occupied the heights above St. John's Bush and 
the fortified hill commanding the pass from the swamp ; on this 
knoll they planted a red flag. From these positions small parties 
skirmished out on the hills towards Puke-namu stockade and were 
saluted with a few rounds of shot and shell. Next day there was 
a general retirement up-river. 

Early in 1848 the Governor concluded an amicable arrange- 
ment with the lately hostile chiefs. Their rebellion was condoned 
on condition that the stock driven off from the settlers' farms 
was restored. A few cattle were returned ; the rest had gone 
into the rebels' stomachs. The settlers whose cattle had dis- 
appeared were ordered — with an unconscious humour which 
did not appeal to the unfortunate farmers — to pay is. 6d. per 
head to the natives who drove back any of their stock and 
delivered them in the town. The peace now established on the 
Wanganui River remained unbroken until the first Flauhau War 



Land disputes troubled the Settlement of New Plymouth 
almost from the day of its foundation. Commissioner Spain, 
who in 1844 investigated the New Zealand Company's claims, 
awarded 60,000 acres to the Company on payment of £200 ; but 
Governor Fitzroy set aside this award, considering that it would 
be an injustice to a very large number of Te Atiawa (Ngati-Awa) 
who were absent at the time their land was said to have been 
sold. Later, various blocks of land were purchased to satisfy 
the demands of the settlers. The principal transactions of this 
nature were carried out by Mr. F. Dillon Bell (afterwards Sir 
Dillon), who was sent in 1847 from Nelson by the New Zealand 
Company to supersede Mr Wicksteed as the Company's agent 
in New Plymouth. Mr. Dillon Bell had joined the New Zealand 
Company in England in 1839, an d was sent to Nelson in 1843. 
His excellent work in Nelson led to his selection for the delicate 
task of satisfying the mutually antagonistic elements in Taranaki. 
His chief purchases were the Omata Block, of 12,000 acres, and 
the Hua territory, of 1,500 acres (from the Puketapu Tribe), which 
was named the " Bell Block." Both these settlement areas 
were to become famous in after-years, when the settlers built 
fortifications thereon and prepared by force of arms to maintain 
their rights to the land upon which they had made their homes. 
Katatore, a tragic figure in Taranaki history, stoutly opposed 
the sale of the Bell Block by Rawiri Waiaua and others in 1848, 
and he had a singular pole carved and erected on the right bank 
of the Wai-whakaiho River, alongside the track, as a symbol of 
protest against the encroachment of the pakeha. This post, a 
puriri spar about 30 feet high, was named by the Maoris " Pou- 
tutaki," and came to be known by the Europeans as the " Fitzroy 
pole" from its proximity to the Fitzroy Village, now a suburb 
of New Plymouth. It had two life-sized figures in bold relief, 
representing the pakeha cowering beneath a Maori warrior ; the 
native figure was intended as a presentment of a chief of 
Puketapu, one Parata te Huia. The post was intended to mark 
the limit of European settlement ; no pakeha, according to the 


Maoris, was to own any land between that spot and the Auckland 
District. It was 1853 before the natives would permit settle- 
ments on the Bell Block. The return to Waitara from Waikanae 
in 1848 of the greater part of the Atiawa (or Ngati-Awa) Tribe 
further complicated the progress of the white settlement in 
Taranaki. These people, sections of whom had sold much of 
the land about Wellington to the New Zealand Company — they 
had conquered those lands from the original holders — conceived 
a desire to return to their ancestral homes on the Waitara, and, 
in spite of the opposition and even threats of Governor Grey, 
carried out their undertaking successfully. Grey eventually 
withdrew his opposition in consideration of the help afforded 
to the Government by the Atiawa at Waikanae and Wellington 
in crushing Rangihaeata's rising in 1846. Wiremu Kingi te 
Rangitaake, the head chief of the Waikanae people, had given 
valuable protection to the Wellington Settlement at a very critical 
period. The Governor could not very well ignore this. Crying their 
farewells to their lands and the few people whom they left at 
Waikanae and Otaki, the Atiawa emigrants set sail up the coast 
in April, 1848. The flotilla consisted of forty-four canoes of large 
size, four open boats, and a small sailing-craft. A few people 
also travelled overland on horseback. The total number of the 
Atiawa who thus returned and landed joyfully on the shore of 
their ancient home-land was 587, consisting of 273 men, 195 
women, and 119 children. These were the people who in i860 
came into conflict with the Administration over the purchase of 
the 600-acre block on which the Town of Waitara now stands. 

Wiremu Kingi and his tribe set to work industriously to 
cultivate their lands on the left (or west) side of the Waitara 
River mouth, and in a few years had a number of comfortable 
settlements near the river, with large crops of wheat, maize, 
and potatoes, and a considerable number of horses and cattle, 
besides ploughs and other agricultural implements. In 1856 
they sent to market about £8,000 worth of produce, and spent 
the proceeds on goods in New Plymouth. Their desirable 
lands inevitably excited the envy of the pakeha settlers, who 
presently moved the authorities to extend their purchases towards 
the Waitara. 

In the meantime the growing native jealous} 7 of the pakeha 
took formidable form in a combination to prevent further land- 
sales. This powerful movement, to which was conjoined an 
effort to found a Maori kingdom, was initiated shortly after New 
Zealand received its Constitution Act bestowing representative 
government upon the colony. The connection between these most 
important political developments may be rather difficult to trace 
exactly, but the coincidence is certainly remarkable. The Maori 
was not to be behind the white in his struggle for national 


power, and while the settlers had been successful in their 
agitation for self-determination, he was determined that the 
newcomers should be restrained in their race for Maori lands.* 

The anti-pakeha crusade was given its first expression in a 
great conference of the west-coast tribes held in 1854 at Manawa- 
pou, a large settlement of the Ngati-Ruanui, at the mouth of the 
[ngahape River, on the South Taranaki coast. The site of this 
celebrated meeting is still plainly to be traced, although it is now 
part of the farm of a white settler. Manawa-pou is a beautiful 
terrace overlooking the sea, on the south side of the mouth of 
the Ingahape River, where the stream comes curving out of a 
deep grassy valley. On the hill 300 feet above are the earth- 
works of the Imperial redoubt of Manawa-pou, dating back to 
General Cameron's campaign. Here in the " fifties " was the 
home of a section of the Ngati-Ruanui, notable for the large 
stature of its men. The tribe built an unusually large meeting- 
house for the gathering ; it was 120 feet long and 35 feet wide. 
" Taiporohenui," the name given to the assembly - house, was 
originally that of a sacred house of instruction in Hawaiki, 
according to Taranaki tradition. A great patriotic song was 
chanted by the people at the opening of " Taiporohenui." It 
began : — 

J: kore Taranaki e makere atu I 

E kore Taranaki e makers atu ! 

Kei marca mai — kei mavea mai ! 

Tika tonu mai ki a. Piata-kai-manawa , 

I Piata-kai-manawa. 

Ka turu 

Ko te whakamutunga , 

E kapa-ii, kapa-ti ! 

E—i—e ! 

In this chant the spirit of determination to hold fast to the 
ancestral lands was made manifest — "Taranaki shall not be 
lost, shall not be abandoned to the stranger." The conference 
of the tribes determined that no more land should be sold to 
the Europeans without the general consent of the federation, and 
that Maori disputes should not be submitted to European juris- 

* " If Englishmen could occasionally be brought to face the fact that 
since the institution of their nationality and language no permanent English 
community has ever passed under a foreign yoke, they would be better 
able to understand how impossible it is for a dominant race to do complete 
justice to a subject people, and how hollow is the pretence that impartial 
justice is rendered to such people. The strong natural sense of justice 
which animates Englishmen, and their intense respect for the rights of 
property, have doubtless helped to a vast degree to counteract the evils of 
domination and disparity ; but if we could view the question from a national 
Maori point of view we should find much to approve of in the principle of 
the League." — Mr. Justice Chapman, in his " History of New Zealand " 
( Dunedin). 


diction but should be settled by tribal runanga (councils). At 
this meeting, too, the idea of a Maori king for the Maori people 
was discussed and fervently approved. 

The differences between the adherents of the Land League 
and those who wished to sell developed into murderous intertribal 
feuds. On the 3rd August, 1854, Rawiri Waiaua, who offered the 
Government a disputed area at Taruru-tangi, in the Puketapu 
Block, was fatally shot, with several of his followers, by Kata- 
tore and a party of twenty-eight men representing the non-sellers. 
The Government professed itself powerless to interfere. The 
quarrelling factions fortified themselves in their pas, and an in- 
termittent skirmishing warfare prevailed for many months. The 
rival parties often selected the vicinity of the white settlements 
for their guerilla warfare. The Administration was appealed to 
for troops for the protection of New Plymouth, and on the 19th 
August, 1855, the first British garrison of the province arrived. 
This was a portion of the 58th Regiment, numbering about 270 
men and officers, under Captain Seymour, with some Royal Artil- 
lery men and several field-guns, and some sappers and miners. 
In September the force was increased by the arrival from Wel- 
lington of some two hundred of the 65th Regiment. 

The native-land vendetta was resumed in August, 1857, when 
Ihaia te Kiri-Kumara, who was very friendly to the Government 
and had sold some land, laid an ambush for his enemy Katatore 
on the road through the Bell Block Settlement. The settlers heard 
the firing in the morning early as Katatore was shot down. In 
the intertribal war thus renewed Katatore's slayer was driven 
out of his pa, which was sacked and burned. All north Taranaki, 
or at any rate the native portion of the population, was almost 
continually under arms. 

The period 1858-59 was one of continual internecine strife in 
the district between the Bell Block and the Waitara. Ihaia's pa, 
Ika-moana, near Puketapu, was evacuated and destroyed in Feb- 
ruary, 1858. Ihaia and his party, the land-sellers, were then 
besieged at the Karaka, on the Waitara. On the 10th March, 
1858, Mr. S. Percy Smith (afterwards Surveyor-General) rode 
down to the Waitara with Mr. Parris, Civil Commissioner, who 
was in charge of native affairs in Taranaki, and made sketches 
under fire of the pa* occupied by Ihaia and Wiremu Kingi. 
" Plenty of bullets flying over my head while sketching," wrote 
Mr. Smith in his diary. 

The following description of the fighting at the Bell Blcck 
arising out of the Puketapu feud over the sale of lands to the 
Government is from the pen of Mr. A. H. Messenger, son of the 
late Colonel W. B. Messenger, of New Plymouth : — 

" Some curious incidents occurred in the native war waged 
over the newly made farms of the settlers from Devon and 


Cornwall. As a boy living in one of the Taranaki frontier posts, 
I heard the story of those stirring times recounted by my father. 
The opposing tribes fought back and forth with varying fortune 
over the undulating country of the Waiwhakaiho River, and out 
on to what was later known as the Bell Block. The settlers in 
1857-58 were witnesses of many thrilling incidents, and it was 
a frequent occurrence to have to stop work in the middle of a 
fencing or ploughing job and retire to the security of the farm- 
house while a fierce skirmish took place in which numerous 
casualties occurred on both sides. Though bullets were flying in 
all directions, the white settlers were never molested, and their 
stock also was under strict tapu, and was not interfered with. 
An episode typical of those thrilling days was described by a 
Devonshire settler who in the midst of ploughing operations 
suddenly found himself in a Maori battle. The opposing war- 
parties had skirmished up towards one another through the high 
fern surrounding the little farm, and finished up with a charge 
and close hand-to-hand fighting with tomahawk and mere over 
the newly ploughed ground. For a moment the settler thought 
that his end had come, but the brown warriors took no notice of 
his presence, and as the battle passed on he found himself still 
standing, hand on plough, gazing in bewilderment at several stark 
figures that lay sprawled in the attitude of sudden death amid 
the newly turned furrows. As night fell groups of warriors, many 
of whom bore fresh wounds from musket-ball or blow of toma- 
hawk, gathered round the nearest farmhouse and deposited their 
guns with the white settlers, telling them that they would call 
for them on the morrow, when fighting was resumed in the same 

" In another case a settler received a message from each of 
the opposing forces to the effect that a fight would take place 
on his farm in the morning, and that it would be well for him 
to remain in his house until the tide of war had passed by. Taking 
due heed of this warning, the settler was witness on the following 
morning of a battle in his pastures. Many bullets struck the 
house, and one random shot killed a sheep ; otherwise no damage 
was done to his property. The nervous tension brought on by 
these conditions of life proved too much for several of the 
settlers, who finally left the district in search of more peaceful 



It was Tamehana te Rauparaha, the son of the great Ngati- 
Toa conquistador, who first suggested the establishment of a king 
or high chief for the union of Maori tribes. Tamehana had made 
a voyage to England, and, being an exceedingly shrewd and 
observant man, he returned with many ideas for the betterment 
of his countrymen. The principal reform he felt impelled to 
propose was the setting-up of a king under whose control the 
people should live in harmony with each other and with their 
pakeha neighbours. His kinsman Matene te Whiwhi, of Otaki, 
seized upon the notion with patriotic enthusiasm, and travelled 
among the tribes advocating union and the election of some high 
rangatira as head of the Maori nation. 

The members of the confederation of the anti-land-selling 
chiefs and people found considerable difficulty in the selection of 
a head for the union of the tribes. Many men of high pedigree 
were approached, but one after another declined the troublesome 
office of king. One of the chiefs whom Matene te Whiwhi and 
his fellow-leaguers urged to accept the kingship was Whitikau, of 
the Nga-Rauru Tribe, Waitotara. He refused ; so did Tamati 
Hone, the man of highest standing in Ngati-Ruanui. A deputa- 
tion of chiefs went to Wanganui and placed the position before 
Pehi Turoa, who refused. Te Heuheu Iwikau, of Taupo, similarly 
declined the offer. 

The Waikato tribes held a very large meeting in 1857 at 
Paetai, on the Waikato River, at which the question was debated 
by delegates from all the tribes of the confederation, as well as 
others outside the league. The Arawa people of Rotorua and 
Maketu were represented at this gathering by Temuera te Amo- 
hau. Eloquent efforts were made to induce the Arawa to join 
the Kingites. Temuera refused, saying, " One of our chiefs, 
Timoti, was the only man of the Arawa people who signed the 
Treaty of Waitangi, but we shall not depart from the pledge he 
then gave. We will not join the king tribes. My king is Queen 
Victoria." (" Takit kingi ko Kuini Wikitoria.") 



From a photo 

Wiremu Tamehana Tarapipipi te Waharoa. 


Temuera was taunted by some of the Waikato chiefs with the 
defeat Te Waharoa had inflicted on the Arawa twenty years 
previously at Mataipuku, near Ohinemutu. He retorted with an 
allusion to Te Waharoa having been taken prisoner and spared by 
the Arawa in his infancy. " As for us Arawa," he said, " we shall 
stand as firmly as a rock in the ocean. Upon that rock shall be 
shattered the waves of your kingdom." (" Ka tu a te Arawa Jiai 
ioka hi moana, e pakaru ai nga ngaru to Kingitanga.") Temuera 
concluded by telling the Waikato that if they wished to set up a 
Maori king they should apply to the highest chief in New Zea- 
land, Te Kani-a-Takirau, of the East Cape. 

This suggestion is said to have led to an offer to the chief 
named to become king of the federated tribes, but here again the 
leaguers met with a refusal. Te Kani, in any case, was not a 
suitable selection. He was a very high-born rangatira, but a man 
of no force of character, and his territory was remote from the 
chief seats of agitation. 

A conference was also held in 1857 at Pukawa, Lake Taupo, 
and was attended by chiefs from all over the Island. The chiefs 
finally selected Potatau te Wherowhero, who had no desire for 
the honour. He was a very old and feeble man, but his warrior 
reputation, his exalted lineage, and his widespread tribal connec- 
tions qualified him as the necessary figurehead behind whom 
Wiremu Tamehana and his fellow-reformers might carry out their 
schemes of self-government. 

The late Te Heuheu Tukino, the head chief of the Ngati- 
Tuwharetoa Tribe, described to the writer as follows the highly 
ceremonious manner in which the chiefs of the various tribes 
assembled at Pukawa in 1857 centralized their mana and be- 
stowed it upon Potatau te Wherowhero, who was then chosen as 
the king of the confederated tribes : — 

" Te Heuheu Iwikau, who was head of our tribe since the 
death of my grandfather, Te Heuheu Mana-nui, in the landslip 
at Te Rapa (1846), caused a high flagstaff to be erected on the 
marae, the meeting-ground, at Pukawa. At the masthead he 
hoisted a national flag ; the pattern was that of the flag given 
by King William IV of England to the northern Maori tribes at 
the Bay of Islands some years before the signing of the Treaty 
of Waitangi. Beneath this flag at intervals down the mast he 
had long ropes of plaited flax attached. The flagstaff symbolized 
Tongariro, the sacred mountain of our tribe. The Maoris were 
assembled in divisions grouped around the foot. Te Heuheu 
arose and said, indicating a rope, ' This is Ngongotaha ' (the 
mountain near Rotorua Lake). ' Where is the chief of Ngongo- 
taha who shall attach this mountain to Tongariro ? ' The lead 
ing chief of the Arawa Tribe, of Rotorua, rose from his place in 
the assemblage, and taking the end of the rope fastened it to 


a manuka peg, which he drove into the ground in front of his 
company. The next rope indicated by the Taupo head chief 
symbolized Pu-tauaki (Mount Edgecumbe), the sacred mountain 
of Ngati-Awa, of the Bay of Plenty. The next was Tawhiuau, 
the mountain belonging to Ngati-Manawa, on the western border 
of the Urewera country. Each tribe giving its adherence to the 
king movement had its rope allotted to it, representative of a 
mountain dear to the people. Hikurangi, near the East Cape, 
was for the Ngati-Porou Tribe, Maunga-pohatu for the Tuhoe 
(Urewera), Titi-o-kura for the Ngati-Kahungunu Tribe, Kapiti 
Island for the Ngati-Toa, and Otairi for the Ngati-Apa. 

" The great mountains of the South Island also were named. 
Each had its symbolic rope — Tapuae-nuku and Kaikoura, and the 
greatest of all, Aorangi. Those were for the Ngai-Tahu Tribe, 
whose representative at the meeting was Taiaroa. Returning 
to the North Island mountains, our ariki took in turn the ropes 
emblematic of the west coast and the Waikato, and called upon 
the chiefs from those parts to secure them to the soil. These 
mountains were Para-te-tai-tonga (the southern peak of Ruapehu), 
for the Whanganui tribes ; Taranaki (Mount Egmont), for Tara- 
naki, Te Atiawa, and Ngati-Ruanui tribes ; Pirongia and Taupiri, 
for the Waikato clans ; Kakepuku, for the Ngati-Maniapoto ; 
Rangitoto, for Ngati-Matakore and Ngati-Whakatere ; Whare- 
puhunga, for Ngati-Raukawa ; Maunga-tautari, for Ngati-Haua 
and Ngati-Koroki ; Maunganui (at Tauranga), for Ngai-te-Rangi ; 
Te Aroha, for Ngati-Tama-te-ra ; and finally Moehau (Cape Col- 
ville Range), for the Ngati-Maru Tribe. 

" Each of the ropes representing these sacred mountains of 
the tribes was hauled taut and staked down. So in the middle 
stood Tongariro, the central mountain, supported and stayed by 
all these tribal cords, which joined the soil of New Zealand to 
the central authority. Above floated the flag, emblem of Maori 
nationality. Thus was the union of the tribes demonstrated so 
that all might sec, and then did Te Heuheu and his fellow-chiefs 
transfer to Potatau all the mana-tapu of the soil and acclaim him 
as the king of the native tribes of New Zealand." 

While the scheme for a king for the Maori people originated 
with the two chiefs of the Ngati-Toa at Otaki, it was not long 
before the leading rangatira of the Ngati-Haua, in the Waikato- 
Waihou country, emerged as the great advocate of the doctrine 
of Maori self-government. Wiremu Tamehana was a master of 
logical argument expressed in plain words, and his deep know- 
ledge of the Scripture enabled him to give point to his addresses 
and his letters with quotations from the Testament. Governors 
and Ministers were indeed hard put to it to confute his reasoning 
or demolish his pleas for Maori rights. Sir John Gorst, his 
friendly antagonist in Waikato politics, told me in 1906 that he 


considered Tamehana one of the most able debaters and keenest 
thinkers he had ever met. The kingmaker's appeals to the 
pakeha Administration read pathetically. With all the powers of 
a well-balanced brain he contended for the right of the Maoris 
to administer their own affairs within their own boundaries. He 
quoted the sales of native land for very small prices, only to be 
cut up and sold for much greater sums. "Have we not better 
right to this advanced price than the pakeha?" The land, 
always the land, was the theme of his earnest argument. " Surely 
that it is unoccupied now is no reason why it should always 
remain so. I hope the day will come when our descendants will 
not have more than they really require. As to a king, why 
should not ever} 7 race have a king of its own ? Is not the 
Queen (Enghsh), Nicholas (Russian), Bonaparte (French), Pomare 
(Tahitian), each for his own people ? If all the countries were 
united the aloofness of the Maori might be reprehensible, but they 
are not." 

" My friends," he wrote, " do you grudge us a king, as if it 
were a name greater than that of God ? If it were so that 
God forbade us, then we would give it up ; but he forbids not, 
and while only our feUow-men are angry we will not relinquish 
it." In another letter to the Government he defined the reasons 
for the appointment of a Maori king : "to put an end to land 
feuds, to put down troubles, to hold the land of the slaves, and to 
judge the offences of the chiefs." And this desire for a high 
chief for the Maori was not inconsistent with loyalty to the 
accepted principle of British eminent domain. He had seen 
the evils of disunion among the tribes, the failure of the white 
Government to stop bloodshed over land disputes. His ideal 
was peaceful union and civilization for the Maori, under the 
benevolent control of Christianized chiefs. " Te Whakapono, 
te Aroha, me te Ture " (" Religion, Love, and the Law ") was 
the watchword of his political faith. But the altruistic king- 
maker was in advance of his contemporaries in the colony, 
Maori and pakeha. Had Sir George Grey been Governor in 1857 
both the Waitara blunder and the Waikato War would probably 
have been avoided. But the mischief was done by Governor Gore 
Browne and his advisers, and when Grey returned to New Zea- 
land in 1861 he found upon his hands the legacy of folly of the 
war in Taranaki and an inevitable outbreak in Waikato. In its 
beginning the king movement might have been turned to a 
blessing to the Maori people. Grey, indeed, did endeavour to 
meet the crisis by an offer of a semi-independent provincial 
government for the Maori people ; but the antagonism of the 
more violent sections of Waikato and their co-clans had by then 
reached a stage at which compromise" was impossible. 



The complicated history of the Waitara purchase may be 
reduced to a simple summary. Teira, a minor chief of the 
Atiawa, living with his fellow-tribesmen on the ancestral lands 
on the Waitara, was persuaded to offer 600 acres of the land to 
the Government, at a price of £1 per acre. This block was on 
the left side of the Waitara, near the mouth, and included the 
ground on which the present Town of Waitara stands. A 
number of Teira's people supported him, but the majority of the 
Atiawa, headed by Wiremu Kingi te Rangitaake, opposed the 
transaction, and made vehement and repeated protest. It was 
acknowledged that Teira was the occupier of a portion of the 
land, and the Government contention — on the advice of Mr. Parris, 
its local native agent — was that a native had a right to dispose 
of his individual interests in land. But this was long before 
the establishment of the Native Land Court. Titles in native 
land had not been individualized ; it was practically impossible 
to determine the precise extent of Teira's interests. The case 
for the opponents of the sale was that while individual cultivation 
rights existed no one had a right to part with the tribal estate 
without general consent. The land was the common property 
of the people, and it was against accepted tribal policy to permit 
a wedge to be driven into the estate by deed of sale without the 
acquiescence of all concerned. While the whole tribe might be 
called upon to fight to maintain any or every member of the tribe 
in possession, so no member was justified in parting with the 
joint property of the clan. This land had always been thickly 
populated, and was the property of a great many families, and 
Wiremu Kingi, as the paramount chief, undoubtedly exercised 
his right in vetoing the sale. Moreover, it is known that Wiremu 
Kingi was the victim of a private feud. He and Teira had quar- 
relled, and Teira, in order to obtain revenge, deliberately proposed 
the sale in order to bring trouble upon his antagonist and the 
tribe. This was a common mode of action among the Maoris. 
The determined opposition of Wiremu Kingi — who was no fire- 



brand, but a well-wisher of the whites and a man of high intel- 
ligence and cool reasoning — should have been sufficient warning 
to the authorities, at any rate, to treat the matter delicately and 

Te Ncjapar-a 

Tr«c k . 

Plan of the Pekapkka Block, Waitara. 

(Inset, Te Kohia pa, called the " L " pa from its shape.) 

It was the dispute over the defective purchase of this land by the 
Government that caused the Taranaki War. Waitara Town now occupies 
part of the block. 

to submit the dispute to a competent tribunal. Possibly a 
proposal to rent the land would have been more favourably 
received by the Atiawa. But in the existing tension of feeling 


among the natives, the Waitara, with its fairly numerous 
population and its highly complicated system of ownership, was 
the worst possible spot that Governor Gore Browne's advisers 
could have selected for a demonstration of their announced 
intention to bargain with individual owners. 

As was often the case in native disputes, a quarrel over a 
woman was one of the roots of dissension. The following is a 
statement by a Kingite survivor of the wars : — 

" Our troubles which led to war began when our people lived 
in their pa called Karaponia (California), on the left (west) side 
of the Waitara River, at the mouth. A woman, Hariata, was the 
cause. She was the wife of Ihaia te Kiri-kumara, and because 
of her unfaithfulness Ihaia had her seducer, Rimene, killed. 
The man's body was buried in the pa. Because of the wrong 
done to him Ihaia sought for further revenge and sought compen- 
sation in land. The tribe would not agree to this, inasmuch as 
the offence had already been paid for sufficiently by the death 
of the man Rimene. Ihaia, however, would not listen to this 
agreement, and he joined with Teira and sold some of the land 
of Te Rangitaake to the Government in order to obtain compen- 
sation for the adultery of his wife. Hence this haka song of the 
Atiawa : — 

" The land was seized upon because of the woman, 
At Karaponia it all began. 
E Mau na wa !" 

The case for the European settlers of Taranaki lay in 
the necessity for obtaining more land for the extension of 
the settlements. With thousands upon thousands of acres of 
beautiful and fertile but unused territory around them, it 
was very natural that they should urge the Administration to 
purchase new blocks for farms. Immigration was increasing, and 
the large families of the original settlers made obvious the need 
for more land. The vigorous men of Cornwall and Devon, who 
formed the larger proportion of the settlement-founders, were not 
disposed to permit a few hundreds of natives to bar the way to 
the good acres lying waste under fern and tutu. Hemmed in as 
they were between the mountains and the sea and between the 
domains of the Maori tribes, they were impatient for expansion 
of their landed possessions. The Maori, on the other hand, had 
become very uneasy at the steady incoming of immigrant ships, 
and feared that the pakeha, with whom at one time he would 
have been content to live in friendship, would presently outnumber 
and overrun the native people. Wise statesmanship might have 
averted a clash, but, unfortunately, the one man who could have 
devised a method of conciliating the antagonistic factions was 
absent from the colony. 


Thoughtful men such as Sir William Martin vigorously con- 
demned the Waitara blunder. Many years later Dr. Edward 
Shortland made the following comment on the land dispute 
and its causes in his book " Maori Religion and Mythology " : 
" It is a recognized mode of action among the Maoris, if a chief 
has been treated with indignity by others of the tribe and no 
reasonable means of redress can be obtained, for the former to 
do some act which will bring trouble on the whole tribe. This 
mode of obtaining redress is termed whakahe, and means putting 
the -other in the wrong. There appears little reason to doubt," 
Shortland concluded (p. 104), " that Teira's proposal to sell 
Waitara was prompted by a vindictive feeling towards Wi Kingi, 
for he knew well that by such mode of proceeding he would 
embroil those who would not consent with their European neigh- 
bours. At the same time it is a rather mortifying reflection 
that the astute policy of a Maori chief should have prevailed to 
drag the colony and Her Majesty's Government into a long and 
expensive war to avenge his own private quarrel."* 

* See Appendices for Sir George Grey's memoranda on the Waitara question. 



The completion of the Waitara purchase, in spite of Wiremu 
Kingi's repeated protests, was resolved upon by the Governor in 
Council at Auckland early in i860. It was decided to have the 
block surveyed, and to protect the survey-party with an adequate 
military force if obstruction were offered, and if necessary to 
call out the Taranaki Militia and Volunteers for active service 
and proclaim martial law. The Auckland Militia, it was further 
decided by Governor Gore Browne and his Executive Council 
(the Stafford Ministry), should be enrolled and armed ; all males 
between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five were liable for service. 
The fateful decision to proceed with the survey was communi- 
cated to Lieut. -Colonel Murray, temporarily commanding in New 
Plymouth, who immediately had the country between the town 
and the Waitara reconnoitred for the purpose of selecting suitable 
places for camps and redoubts on the disputed block and along 
the road. On the 20th February, i860, the title to the block 
was put to the test. Mr. Octavius Carrington, Chief Surveyor, 
and Mr. Charles Wilson Hursthouse (afterwards District Surveyor 
and later Chief Engineer of Roads and Bridges) and a party of 
chainmen went to the Waitara to commence the survey of the 
land. Mr. Parris, the Government's principal instrument in the 
purchase, accompanied them. The Maoris obstructed the sur- 
veyors and prevented them beginning their work. The party 
returned to New Plymouth. Lieut. -Colonel Murray gave Wiremu 
Kingi twenty-four hours to apologize and withdraw his opposi- 
tion. The old chief replied that he did not desire war, that he 
loved the white people very much, but that he intended to hold 
the land. Thereupon (22nd February) Murray proclaimed martial 
law in the Taianaki District. The Militia and the Taranaki Rifle 
Volunteers were called out for active service, and a small mounted 
corps was organized and armed with carbines, revolvers, and 
swords. The country settlers began their migration to the town, 
abandoning their homes, which presently were to go up in flames. 

New Plymouth in i860 had a white population of about two 
thousand five hundred, of whom between five and six hundred 


were men and youths of fighting-age. They could have claimed, 
as Nelson wrote of his " Agamemnons " in 1794, " We are few, 
but the right sort." Nearly twenty years of Taranaki life had 
developed many a settler into an expert bushman, familiar with 
the forest tracks, and fairly well able to meet the Maori on level 
terms. Such families as the Atkinsons, the Smiths and Hurst- 
houses, the Bayleys, Messengers, and Northcrofts produced ideal 
frontiersmen, schooled in the rough work of settlement, trained 
to act upon their own initiative, and quick to. adapt themselves 
to the special conditions of Maori warfare in a country admir- 
ably fitted for guerilla fighting. From this material was formed, 
besides a useful body of Militia and a small cavalry corps, a 
Volunteer rifle force which will live in history as the first British 
Volunteer corps to engage an enemy in the field. This body, the 
Taranaki Rifle Volunteer Company, a hundred strong, was formed 
in New Plymouth towards the end of 1858. The first commander 
was Captain I. N. Watt ; but when the war began the corps was 
divided into two companies — No. 1 Company under Captain Watt, 
and No. 2 Company under Captain Harry Atkinson (afterwards 
Premier of New Zealand). Major C. Herbert was in general 
command of the Taranaki Volunteers and Militia. The Rifles 
distinguished themselves at the outset by their gallantry and 
efficiency in the Battle of Waireka, and a little later at Mahoetahi. 
Unfortunately, during the first war they did not always receive 
due credit for their work from the Imperial officers, who underrated 
not only the military genius of the Maori but the soldiering capa- 
city of the settler Volunteers. But as the war developed it was 
found that the quickly trained civilian element was better fitted 
to deal with certain emergencies in the field than the slow-moving 
and often badly led Regulars ; and Atkinson and his picked men 
became increasingly useful as scouts and forest rangers. 

Shortly after the war began the effective garrison of New Ply- 
mouth and its outposts numbered about twelve hundred men, of 
whom the 65th Regiment made up about half. Marsland Hill, 
the ancient Maori pa Pukaka, was an excellent headquarters site 
and place of refuge in case of emergency. It overlooked the town 
and the country for many miles, and its position just in the rear 
of the central settlement made it a suitable citadel. As the war 
went on and the out-settlers were driven in, and New Plymouth 
was reduced practically to a state of siege, it was deemed neces- 
sary to constrict the occupied area and to entrench the town. 
The accompanying plan shows the line of ditch and parapet, 
roughly triangular in figure. The sea-beach formed the base, and 
Marsland Hill citadel the apex ; one side of the triangle was along 
the line of Liardet Street and the other along Queen Street. There 
were gates on the Devon Road line where this entrenchment inter- 
sected it. There were several outposts, some of which were 



earthwork redoubts, others timber blockhouses. The British war- 
ships sent to the aid of Taranaki, besides the " Niger," were the 
"Iris," a 26-gun sailing-frigate, the "Cordelia," and the "Pelorus," 
both steam-corvettes ; and later in the year the Victorian Govern- 
ment's fine barque-rigged war-steamer " Victoria " arrived from 

Plan of New Plymouth, 1860-61, 

Showing the line of entrenchment surrounding the town, with Marsland 

Hill as the citadel. 

Melbourne, having generously been lent for the assistance of the 

New Plymouth Town, crowded to excess, was now lively with 
all the business of preparation for war. Governor Gore Browne 
came down from Auckland. With him in the " Airedale " came 



Colonel Gold, who took over the Taranaki command until Major- 
General Pratt arrived. The garrison was reinforced at the same 
time by the headquarters and three companies of the 65th, a 
splendid regiment of stalwart bearded men, mostly Irishmen, 
young in years, but already veterans in service. H.M.S. " Niger," 
a barque-rigged screw-corvette under the command of Captain 
Cracroft, anived on the same day (1st March), bringing a very 
able young Royal Artillery officer, Lieutenant MacNaghten, and 
some gunners. The " Niger " had a few Auckland lads in her 
crew ; they had joined her in January. Her armament consisted 

• S — -y :> -. 

From a drawing by W. Strutt, 1858.] 

Marsland Hill, New Plymouth. 

of twelve 32-pounder broadside guns, ten of which were slide-guns 
with elevating-screws; the two after -guns were the old Nelson 
type. Mounted forward was a 68-pounder gun (95 cwt.) working 
on brass slides ; it could fire either to port or to starboard, and 
was a first-class gun for those times. The " Niger " also carried 
a 12-pounder brass field-piece for Naval Brigade work ashore. 
This gun was landed, and a body of fifty bluejackets and marines 
entrenched themselves on a hill on the east side of New Plymouth, 
which became known as " Fort Niger." 



On the 5th March Colonel Gold moved upon the Waitara with 
a force of four hundred officers and men of the 65th Regiment, 
some artillery, and the newly formed Mounted Rifles (Captain Des 
Veaux), and a long baggage-train of wagons and carts. Camp was 
pitched on the disputed land, on ground overlooking the mouth of 
the Waitara. Here a large redoubt was built, and it became the 
main camp for operations which lasted just twelve months. 


Plan of Marsland Hill, New Plymouth, 

Showing British fortifications and barracks, i860. The hill was formerly a 
Maori stronghold, called Pukaka. 

The Maori forces opposed to the troops were not numerous 
until the war had been some time in progress, when many fighting- 
men of Ngati-Maniapoto, Waikato, Ngati-Haua, and the south 
I naki tribes as far as the Waitotara, with some of the Wha- 
nganui, came to Wiremu Kingi's aid. They did not at any time 
outnumber or even equal the whites under arms, but man for man 


they were better campaigners so long as they were able to choose 
the ground of battle. In the bush they were only outmatched, 
later on, by the picked forest rangers of Atkinson's Volunteers. 
They were fairly well provided with ammunition when the war 
began, thanks to a Government Proclamation of 1858 relaxing the 
restriction on the purchase of guns, powder, lead, and percussion 
caps, but they had no regular means of renewing their supplies. 

The first shot was fired on the 17th March, i860. Wiremu 
Kingi and his Atiawa followers, with the fiery chief Hapurona as 
the war-leader, determined to maintain their right to their tribal 
lands. They quickly constructed a strongly entrenched and 
stockaded fort just within the boundary of the disputed block at 
Te Kohia, close to the Devon Road (seaward side), at about nine 
miles from New Plymouth and a little under two miles from the 
Waitara River. (The site is a few chains fiom the present road, 
just before the road crosses the railway-line to Waitara.) This 
pa Te Kohia, more generally known as the L pa from its shape, 
was no feet in length and 33 feet in width on each of its two arms, 
and within the double row of palisading was a series of rifle 
trenches and pits, most of which were roofed over with timbers, 
fern, and earth. The place was well provisioned with potatoes, 
maize, fish, and fruit. The garrison consisted of about a hundred 
men of Te Atiawa. Early in the afternoon of the 17th Colonel 
Gold attacked the pa with a force composed of three companies 
of the 65th Regiment and a few sailors from H.M.S. " Niger " 
(which had anchored off the mouth of the river) with a rocket - 
tube, twenty of the Royal Artillery with a 12-pounder and two 
24-pounder field-guns, ten sappers and miners, and twenty of the 
Volunteer cavalry. 

The artillery and the rocket-tube first opened fire at a range 
of 750 yards, and later were moved to within 400 yards of the pa. 
The guns made better practice at the reduced range, and many 
shells burst in the fortification. As the artillery range was 
shortened the hidden Maori musketeers opened a sharp fire, which 
was replied to by the infantry skirmishers. The Maori fire pre- 
sently ceasing, some of the Volunteer cavalry rode up very close 
to the pa and fired their revolvers off, and two of them seized 
and carried away the war-flag (a red colour, bearing the name 
" Waitaha ") ; the staff had broken and was hanging down out- 
side the stockade. A sudden volley from the pa mortally wounded 
a young cavalryman named J. Sarten, and he dropped from his 
horse, the first man to fall in the Taranaki War. A sailor of the 
" Niger " and a private of the 65th Regiment gallantly carried 
Sarten off under fire. 

The troops spent the night entrenched behind a low breast- 
work in the form of a half-moon, with the guns and wagons in the 
rear. A fire was kept up by the Maoris for some time after dark 


Their palisading had been battered considerably by the shells and 
solid shot, and, recognizing that they could not hope to hold the 
position much longer, they prudently evacuated it before daylight 
on ihe morning of the 18th. 

At dawn the guns moved up close and again opened fire, and 
a breach was made at the south end of the stockade, through 
which Lieutenant MacNaghten, R.A., and some of his gunners 
and a portion of the 65th rushed, only to find the place empty. 
It is said that MacNaghten had informed Gold on the previous 
evening that a practicable breach had been made, but although 
the 65th soldiers were greatly excited and eager to rush the pa 
the cautious commander would not give the word to assault. The 
British casualties were slight ; besides Sarten, a soldier of the 
65th was mortally wounded, and a cavalryman and an infantry- 
man each wounded, but not severety. The Maori losses were 
about the same as those of the attackers. 

The next encounter was a much sharper affair — the engage- 
ment at Waireka, in which for the first time in New Zealand 
Volunteers bore the most conspicuous part. By this time the 
stout-hearted settlers of Omata and the Bell Block had con- 
structed substantial little forts on commanding hills in their 
districts, and these two outposts, one on either side of New 
Plymouth, were held continuously throughout the war, even 
when New Plymouth was closely hemmed in by the Maoris. 
They were not of a uniform type : each owed its design to the 
sound sense and native military instinct of the local farmers. 

The Bell Block stockade was built on a grassy hill, flat on top, 
with a rather steep face towards the principal part of the settle- 
ment. Traces of the olden trenches are still to be seen on this 
hill, which is close to the seaward side of the Devon Line, as 
the main road to Waitara is known, four miles and a half from 
New Plymouth. Below, on the flat near where the dairy factory 
now stands, is the spot where Katatore, the leader of the anti- 
land-sellers, was ambushed and shot in 1857. The settlers of 
the district, numbering about seventy men, held a meeting, when 
martial law was proclaimed, and appointed a committee to design a 
suitable place of defence to enable them to hold fast to their lands. 
Every able-bodied man was speedily at work felling, splitting, and 
carting timber, and soon a hundred bullock-cart loads of timber 
were on the spot selected for the post. The Imperial military 
authorities in New Plymouth, with an ineptitude unfortunately 
characteristic of headquarters in the first Taranaki War, stopped 
the work for a time, but after the Militia and Volunteers were 
called out it was resumed. The buildings and entrenchments were 
completed by Ensign (afterwards Colonel) W. B. Messenger, a 
member of one of the pioneer families of Omata, and a party of 
Militia. It consisted of a strong blockhouse, 62 feet long, 22 feet 



The Bell Block Stockade, Taranaki. 

From drawings by Frank Ar den, iS6j.] 

Blockhouse and Towers, Bell Block Stockade. 
6— N.Z. Wars. 


wide, and n feet high, with two flanking towers each 22 feet high 
at the diagonally opposite angles, all loopholed, with a surrounding 
ditch enfiladed by the towers. Later, the position was enlarged 
by the construction of a timber stockade and a trench close to 
the blockhouse, and enclosing a considerable space, which was for 
some time occupied by a hundred and fifty Imperial troops with 
a couple of field-guns. In the fort there was a flagstaff for sema- 
phore communications with Marsland Hill in New Plymouth, and 
when Mata-rikoriko and other stockades were erected near the 
Waitara it was doubly useful as a half-way post for signalling 
with the town. In those days a column of two hundred or two 
hundred and fifty men, with a howitzer (drawn by bullocks), was 
required to escort the provision-carts from New Plymouth to the 
Bell Block. 

The Omata stockade, three miles and a half south of New 
Plymouth, was built early in i860 entirely by the settlers of 
the district without any assistance from the Imperial troops. 
Travelling along the south road through a beautiful and closely 
settled farming district, with Taranaki's snow peak soaring aloft 
on the left and the green valleys dipping to the blue ocean on 
the right, we pass on the inland side, just above the road, a 
symmetrical grassy mound, about 60 feet high, and perfectly 
rounded as though artificially formed, with a ring of trench 
indenting its summit. This is the Omata fort hill, once known 
among the Maoris as Ngaturi. It was the site of an ancient pa. 
The entrenched crown of the mound measures 25 paces by 
13 paces ; the ditch which encloses it is about 10 feet wide, and 
12 feet deep from the top of the parapet. The stockade which sur- 
mounted the hill — all traces of the timber-work have long since 
disappeared — owed its construction in the first place to two settlers 
of the district, Mr. T. Good and Mr. G. R. Burton, both of whom 
received commissions in the Militia. Mr. Good, the first planner 
of the stockade, was often seen working alone upon the forti- 
fication before others took up the task, but sixty or seventy 
settlers, the pioneers of Omata, joined in and toiled vigorously 
to provide themselves with a place of refuge and a fort to 
command the settlements. 

This Omata post was so skilfully designed, so serviceable, and 
withal so picturesque a little fort, set sentry wise there on its 
round hill, that it is worthy of a detailed description. The 
figure of the post was oblong. The stockade was constructed of 
heavy timbers, some of which were as large as could be hauled 
up by a team of bullocks. They were either whole trunks of 
small trees or split parts of large ones, and were sunk 3 feet to 
4 feet in the ground all round. The height of the solid timber 
wall so formed was 10 feet. The timbers were roughly trimmed 
with the axe to bring them as close together as possible and to 



.IE A J-'roma.Sk*bc:„by 7Good/.£ns T if 

Drawn by Major-General Sir James E. Alexander, 1861.] 
Ground Plan. 

The Omata Stockade, Taraxaki. 



remove any knots outside which might assist an enemy to scale 
the stockade. The small spaces left between the logs were covered 
inside with an upright row of thick slabs. The tops of the timbers 
were sawn off straight, and sawn battens, 6 inches broad by 3 inches 
thick, were laid along the top and fastened to the stockade with 
7-inch spike nails. The average thickness of the heavy timbers 
was about 12 inches, and the whole was proof against musket- 
balls, and against rifle-balls except at very close range. A row of 
loopholes was cut all round about 5 feet above the inside floor, 
and there was a double row in the two small flanking bastions. 
These bastions were of two storeys each, loopholed on all four sides. 
The lower part was a sleeping-apartment ; the upper was a post 
for sentries at night and in bad weather. The roof of each bastion 
was clear of the wall-plate, and was made to project about a foot 
beyond the wall of the building. This arrangement admitted of 
the sentries keeping a good lookout all round, and at the same 
time protected them from the weather. It also allowed of firing 
through the spaces between the roof and the wall-plate when more 
convenient to do so (as was often the case at long range) than 
through the loopholes. The roof of the sides and end of the main 
building within the walls projected about a foot beyond the 
stockade so as to make it practically impossible to scale. The 
deep and wide ditch was crossed by a drawbridge which had a 
span of 10 feet and worked on strong hinges ; by ropes fastened 
to its front edge and running through blocks on top of the inner 
posts it was lifted up perpendicularly at night. The entrance-gate 
was made of two thicknesses of timber, each 2| inches thick, the 
outer timbers running up and down, the inner diagonally, and 
strongly fastened with spike nails riveted. This formed a solid 
door 5 inches thick. Around the inner walls were built the 
garrison's quarters, leaving an open courtyard in the middle of 
the stockade. The loopholes were cut at such an elevation as 
enabled the men to use their rifles clear of the roof, and also to 
cover any object down- to the bottom of the ditch, as well as 
from the outer edge of the ditch down the glacis, and everywhere 
around the stockade. There was no "dead ground" around the 
little fort ; and, whatever the weather, the men were firing under 
cover. Outside, on the inner edge of the trench, stood the signal- 
staff, worked from within the building. It was a single tree, 
60 feet long, sunk 6 feet in the ground, and secured by stays 
and guys. 

Mr. G. R. Burton, who designed the interior arrangements, 
was Captain in the Militia, and he received high praise for his 
amateur military engineering-work from so competent an authority 
as Colonel (afterwards Major-General) Sir James E. Alexander, 14th 
Regiment, who wrote in i860 a report on the Omata stockade for 
the technical papers of the Royal Engineers' Institute, England. 


P R C L A M A T I N. 

Hit' inliabilaiits Hill iu future be required to 
have a candle or lamp at their front windows 
at night ready to light in ease of alarm, and 
are desired to secure their doors and lower 
windows. The Police to see to this. 
C. E. MILD, 
Colonel ComiuandiMg the Forces 

i\ew Zealand. 
Xew Plymouth, 20th April, IS60. 


All families numbering Ave children »r up- 
wards drawing rations wiil hold themselves in 
readiness to proceed to Port Cooper by the first 
opportunity. Passages will be provided, and 
every attention sha.II De P&ld to their comforts. 
Lads over 16 may be excepted. 

(Signed) C. E. GOLD, 

Colonel Commanding the Forces 

Xew Zealand. 
Friday, 27th July, I860. 

Proclamations under Martial Law, New 



The gully-riven littoral of Waireka, five miles south-west of 
New Plymouth, was the theatre of an engagement (28th March, 
i860) which proved the fighting - capacity of Taranaki's newly 
trained Volunteers and Militia, and saved the town from direct 
attack by the united strength of the southern tribes. The 
encounter was doubly memorable because it was the first occasion 
on which a British Volunteer corps engaged an enemy on the 

The British move upon the Waitara was quickly followed by 
the decision of Taranaki, Ngati-Ruanui, and Nga-Rauru, the three 
principal tribes of the coast curving round from Ngamotu to the 
Waitotara, to come to Wiremu's Kingi's aid. Ten days after the 
taking of the L pa five hundred warriors of these people, the best 
fighting-blood on the whole west coast south of New Plymouth, 
had arrived within six miles of the town. After ceremonious 
welcomes at Ratapihipihi and other settlements they gathered in 
a strongly entrenched and stockaded pa at Kaipopo, the most 
commanding part of the hills at Waireka. The fortification was 
alongside the road from Omata, and about a mile and a half south 
of the stockade commanding that settlement ; the surf-beaten 
shore was less than three-quarters of a mile away. The district 
was already partially settled by Europeans, and farmhouses were 
scattered over the much-dissected coastland between the ranges 
and the sea. Clear streams, rock-bedded, coursed down through 
the numerous narrow wooded valleys. One of these was the 
Waireka (" Sweet Water ") ; it was joined just at the beach by 
a smaller hill-brook, the Waireka-iti. This broken terrain, with 
its spurs, knolls, and ravines giving abundance of cover, was 
an admirable country for the Maori's skirmishing tactics. The 
natives who composed the fighting force on this side of New 
Plymouth were chiefly Taranaki, composed of Ngamahanga, 
Patukai, Ngati-Haumia, Ngarangi, and other hapus, under Kingi 
Parengarenga (afterwards killed at Sentry Hill), Hori Kingi, the 
celebrated Wiremu Kingi te Matakaatea (not to be confused with 
Wiremu Kingi te Rangitaake, of Waitara), and Arama Karaka. 


A war-party of Ngati-Ruanui, chiefly the Ngaruahine Iiapn of the 
Waimate Plains, arrived just in time for the battle ; their principal 
rangatira was Te Hanataua. The men were armed with double- 
barrel shot-guns, and were well supplied with powder and lead ; 
several carried rifles. 

On the 27th the first blood was shed in the Omata district. 
Two farmers (S. Shaw and H. Passmore) and a New Plymouth 
business man (Samuel Ford) were shot and tomahawked by ambush- 
parties on the roadside near the Primitive Methodist Chapel ; 
next day the bodies of two boys (Pote and Parker), similarly killed, 
were found. On the morning of the 28th, when New Plymouth 
was in a state of intense excitement over the news of these murders, 
the military authorities decided to despatch an expedition to Omata 
for the purpose of rescuing the Rev. H. H. Brown and his family, 
and several other settlers who had remained on their farms. The 
chiefs, however, had made proclamation that Mr. Brown would be 
protected, and a notice in Maori was posted at Omata declaring 
that the road to his place and to his neighbours' must not be trodden 
by war-parties. The minister was tapu because of his sacred 
office ; as for the others enumerated, one settler was Portuguese 
and one French ; the war was only with the British. The force 
detailed for the expedition consisted of three officers and twenty- 
five men of the Royal Navy (H.M.S. " Niger " ), four officers and 
eighty-four rank and file of the 65th Regiment, with 103 officers 
and men of the Taranaki Rifle Volunteers and fifty-six Taranaki 
Militia. Lieut. -Colonel Murray was in command. Lieutenant 
Blake was in charge of the bluejackets (who were to be followed, 
if necessary, by a larger force from the " Niger " ). The colonial 
force was under the command of Captain Charles Brown, who had 
with him the following officers : Militia — Captain and Adjutant 
Stapp, Lieutenants McKechney and McKellar, Ensign W. B. 
Messenger ; Volunteers — Captain Harry A. Atkinson, Lieutenants 
Hirst, Hamerton, Webster, and Jonas. 

The first blunder made by the Imperial officers was the division 
of this small force despatched into hostile territory. Captain 
Brown, in command of the settlers, was ordered to march by the 
sea-coast, keeping along the beach until he reached the rear of the 
Maori positions at Waireka. The Regulars, under Lieut. -Colonel 
Murray, marched by the main road for the announced purpose of 
dislodging a war-party reported to be at the spot known as the 
" Whalers' Gate," about three-quarters of a mile on the town side 
of the Omata stockade. The Volunteers and Militia were expected 
to recover the out-settlers supposed to be in danger, and to march 
back by the road, joining Murray at the " Whalers' Gate." The 
force was not sent from town until after 1 p.m. (the colonials 
starting first) , yet the order was given by Colonel Gold that it must 
be back by dark. Lieut. -Colonel Murray's implicit but unintelligent 



obedience to this order involved, as it developed, the desertion of 
the settlers' column at a critical juncture in the combat of the 

Murray did not meet with any opposition at the " Whalers' 
Gate," where there was no trace of Maoris. He moved leisurely 
along the south road until, near the Omata stockade, the sound 
of rapid firing about two miles off, near the sea, indicated that 
the civilian force was hotly engaged. He despatched the naval 
detachment and some of the 65th, under Lieutenant Urquhart, 
to Brown's assistance, while he took the main body along the road 

Sir Harry Atkinson, Mai or, N.Z.M. 

Captain Harry Atkinson commanded No. 2 Company, Taranaki Rifle 
Volunteers, in the Battle of Waireka. He fought at Mahoetahi and in many 
other engagements, and commanded a company of Bush Rangers, 1863-64. 
He was promoted to be Major in 1864. He was Premier of New Zealand, 
1876-77, 1883-84, and 1887-91 ; was knighted in 1888, and was Speaker 
of the Legislative Council when he died in Wellington in 1802. 

and down a lane which turned off on the right to the sea. Some 
distance down the lane he turned into a grass paddock, entrenched 
his men, and opened fire on the Maori skirmishers at long range. 
He had a rocket-tube, and fired some rockets into a wooded gully 
on his left front, up which some of the Maoris were moving to cut 
him off from the main road, as he thought. Accordingly he took 


up a position in the lane so as to secure the main road, and confined 
himself to firing rockets at the distant pa and any groups of Maoris 
observed, and rifle-fire on the native skirmishers over the spurs 
and in the ravines, until he considered it time to sound the 
" Retire." 

Meanwhile the Volunteers and the Militia were fighting a 
desperate battle on the slopes above the beach. Captain Brown, 
who had not had any previous experience of soldiering, had wisely 
requested his adjutant, Captain Stapp, to take command, and that 
veteran of the " Black Cuffs " conducted the afternoon's operations 
with the coolness characteristic of the well-skilled regular soldier. 
He had an old comrade with him who put good stiffening into 
the civilian ranks, Colour-Sergeant (afterwards Lieutenant) W. H. 
Free ; both had been corporals in the 58th in Heke's War. The 
Volunteers were armed with medium Enfield rifles (muzzle-loading) ; 
the Militia had the old smooth-bore muskets (percussion cap), such 
as were first served out in the late " forties." Of ammunition 
there were only thirty rounds per man ; no reserve supply was 

When the W T aireka was reached where it runs down on the 
ironsand beach the advanced guard under Colour-Sergeant Free 
caught sight of a large number of armed Maoris coming down at a 
run from their pa on the Kaipopo ridge nearly a mile away. Free 
fired the first shot in the engagement, and Volunteer Charles 
Wilson Hursthouse (the surveyor) the second, at 400 yards range. 
Free and his party doubled forward and took cover behind a 
furze hedge and rail fence to prevent the Maoris seizing it. 
Resting his Minie rifle on the lowest rail of the fence, Free sighted 
for 300 yards and drilled a conspicuous warrior through his 
cap-band as was afterwards discovered. " Good for you, Free," 
shouted one of the veteran's comrades. Captain Atkinson rushed 
up the leading company (comprised of half the column, Volunteers 
and Militia mixed) in support, and took post on high ground on 
the south side of the Waireka, where his accurate fire kept the 
Maoris back for a time. However, as the number of the assailants 
was increased every minute by reinforcements from the pa, and as 
he was in danger of being outflanked, Captain Stapp ordered a 
retreat on Mr. John Jury's farmhouse, a small building on a terrace 
above the beach. Captain Atkinson, on his own suggestion, was 
sent to an excellent strategic position above the Waireka Stream 
and on the edge of the cliff overlooking the sea ; from here he 
could command the flanks and rear of Jury's homestead and the 
mouth of the Waireka. Holding this position until the battle 
ceased, Atkinson and his men inflicted numerous casualties on 
Ngati-Ruanui. Captain Brown, with the second company of the 
Volunteers and Militia, occupied some rising ground immediately 
on the other side of the Waireka, and devoted his attention to a 



large number of Maoris who were firing from the cover of the bush 
and flax in the lower part of the river-gully. Here he was joined 
presently by Lieutenant Urquhart and about twenty-five men of 
the 65th, several of Lieutenant Blake's bluejackets (Blake had been 
rather badly wounded on the plateau above while endeavouring 
to clear the natives out of the gully), and twenty-five Militia and 
Volunteers under Lieutenant Armstrong from the Omata stockade, 
also Lieutenant MacNaghten, R.A. 

The Maoris were gradually forced back into an upper gully, 
but, as Captain Brown perceived an attempt on their part, under 
cover of the high flax-bushes, to cut off the way of retreat to the 

Charles Wilson Hursthouse. 

The late Mr. Hursthouse, who was Captain in the New Zealand Militia, 
carried out pioneer survey-work in Taranaki and the King Country under 
adventurous conditions In i860, at the age of nineteen, he surveyed the 
disputed Pekapeka Block, Waitara. He served in the Taranaki Rifle 
Volunteers at Waireka and Mahoetahi and in numerous other engagements 
and skirmishes, and later was an officer in the Military Settlers Force and 
Volunteer Militia Scouts. He became Chief Engineer of Roads and Bridges 
for New Zealand. 

Omata stockade, he sent Urquhart to hold the commanding ground 
on the opposite (north) side of the Waireka-iti Stream, and so 
place the natives between two fires. The 65th lieutenant was 
doing good work here in an excellent position when he was recalled 


I 7 I 


w ^ 



by Lieut. -Colonel Murray. " I must go," he told a Volunteer 
regretfully ; " the ' Retire ' has sounded three times." With great 
reluctance he moved off at last, and the colonials now found 
themselves without support from the Regulars, save for three 
bluejackets and eight 65th men who had been left with Brown 
and Stapp. 

Murray, oblivious to everything but the duty of obeying diis 
superior officer's order to be back in New Plymouth by dark, 

Captain (afterwards Colonel) W. B. Messenger, N.Z.M. 

(Died, 1922.) 

As Ensign of Militia, William B. Messenger fought at Waireka and 
Mahoetahi and in other engagements. He became Captain in 1863, and 
served in the Military Settlers, and later in the Armed Constabulary as 
Sub-Inspector. For some years he was in command of the frontier redoubt 
at Pukearuhe, White Cliffs. In 1885 he was appointed to the command 
of the Permanent Artillery at Wellington, and in 1902 he went to South 
Africa in command of the roth New Zealand Contingent. His military 
service extended over forty-three years. 

marched his force along the main road homeward, and left the 
hard-pressed settlers to extricate themselves in the best way they 


could. It was now nearly dark, and the Maoris were swarming 
over the broken ground above the positions of the Volunteers 
and Militia, although many were picked off by Atkinson's company. 
The little force had suffered several casualties : a sergeant of 
Militia (Fahey) and a corporal of marines from the " Niger " 
had been killed and eight men wounded, including Lieutenant 
Hamerton and Private W. Messenger (father of Ensign Messenger). 
The latter had his right elbow shattered. Atkinson stood fast in 
his position, while the rest of the force concentrated on Stapp's 
post, Jury's farmhouse. Hurriedly they put the place in a state 
of defence, throwing together a breastwork of all sorts of material 
— firewood, fence posts and rails, and even sheaves of oats from 
stacks near the house. 

The settlers were in a serious state, for their ammunition was 
almost done, and they believed that the Maoris would rush them 
when night fell. The utmost care was exercised in firing, and 
Ensign Messenger, at Captain Stapp's request, went round and 
saw that each man had a cartridge for the expected rush ; there 
would then be only the bayonet. 

Suddenly, just at dusk, the distant sound of firing and then 
loud cheering was heard from the direction of Kaipopo pa. What 
did it mean ? Had Murray returned and attacked the pa after 
all ? Some of the Volunteers went up the spur to see what it was, 
and found the natives falling back in great haste upon their fort. 
It was not considered wise, however, to march the force up towards 
the pa, ammunition being so short, and the wounded needing 
removal to Omata. The moon was near its setting, and as soon 
as it was down Captain Stapp gave the order to march, and 
the little force commenced its return over the hills and gullies, 
Atkinson's men forming the rearguard with the eight soldiers of 
the 65th who had remained with the settlers. Bearing their dead 
and wounded, the two companies retired on the Omata stockade, 
and half an hour after midnight reached the town, escorted in the 
last stage of the tramp by a body of soldiers and Volunteers who 
had gone out to look for them. 

Turn now to the Kaipopo pa. The shouting and firing which 
had puzzled the beleaguered force at the Waireka, and the sudden 
withdrawal of the Maoris, were explained when the Omata stockade 
was ieached. The diversion that saved the settlers from a rush 
and perhaps annihilation was due to the energy and courage of 
Captain Peter Cracroft, the commander of H.M.S. " Niger." At 
the sound of alarm guns from Marsland Hill, fired early in the 
afternoon to warn the women and children to take refuge in the 
fort, Cracroft landed a party of bluejackets and marines with their 
officers, numbering sixty in all. Colonel Gold had heard that the 
town was to be attacked by the Atiawa from the north, aided 
by some Waikato and other natives, hence his signal for another 


landing-party. With the reluctant consent of Colonel Gold, who 
was nervous for the safety of the town, the naval column set out for 
the Waireka. The sound of heavy firing was plainly heard in New 
Plymouth. Cracroft was guided out by a young mounted Volun- 
teer, Frank Mace (afterwards Captain and a New Zealand Cross 
hero), who had ridden from the battlefield with a message for 
assistance, and narrowly escaped being shot by some Maoris whose 
intended ambush he had detected, and who fired on him as he 
was cutting across some paddocks to avoid them. At the 
Omata stockade two more young Volunteers, C. and E. Messenger, 
joined as guides, and led the " Nigers " by the nearest road 
to the Maori pa. Cracroft communicated with Murray, who 
was on his right and just about to faU back, and, regardless 
of messages to retire, he proceeded in his direct sailor fashion 

to attack. It was now about half 
past 5, and nearly dark. After sending 
some rockets into the Maori position 
at a range of 700 yards, he rapidly 
led his men against the pa, turning 
its right flank, and stormed it most 
gallantly. The bluejackets did their 
work in the traditional Navy manner, 
mostly with the cutlass. Charging up 
the hill and making little account of 
the fire from the rifle-pits, they dashed 
at the stockade with a tremendous 
cheer. Three flags bearing Maori war- 
devices were seen waving above the 
Captain Peter Cracroft, smoke-hazed palisades. " Ten pounds 
RN. to the man who pulls down those flags ! " 

shouted Cracroft. Yelling, shooting, 
and slashing, the Navy lads were over the stockade in a few 
moments, " like a pack of schoolboys," in the phrase of a sur- 
vivor of Waireka. The first man in was William Odgers, the 
Captain's coxswain. He charged through to the flagstaff and 
hauled down the Maori ensigns. One was a flag with the 
patriotic emblems of Mount Egmont rising above the blue, the 
Sugarloaf Island (Ngamotu), and a bleeding heart. For this 
exploit Odgers received the first V.C. awarded in the New Zealand 

" We made good quick work of it," says a veteran of the 
"Niger" party (Mr. R. B. Craven, of Parakai, Helensville). 
"Our loss was light, but we laid out about a hundred of the 
Maoris. They slashed at us with their long-handled tomahawks 
from their fire - trenches inside, and a few of our boys were 
cut about the legs in this way, but we soon disposed of all 


Cracroft attributed his small casualties (four men wounded) 
to the rapidity of the attack and to the semi-darkness, which 
favoured the small party and spoiled the aim of the pa defenders. 
Sixteen Maoris were killed in the trenches and several others 
outside. The majority of the garrison made a quick retreat into 
the cover of the bush and the ravines below. Such was the 
dashing Royal Navy way. It might not have been so successful 
earlier in the day, and it could not have been carried out 
effectively in the darkness. The attack came just at the right 
moment, and in the right manner to divert the natives' attention 
from the settlers' force and upset the usual Maori tactics. 

New Plymouth was frantic with mingled excitement and alarm 
that 28th March. The women and children, hurrying to Mars- 
land Hill citadel at the sound of the guns, awaited in intense 
anxiety the news from the scene of battle, where the settlers and 
townspeople, young and old, were fighting on the Waireka banks. 
Like the Maoris, fathers and sons and brothers and cousins fought 
together that day. Four of the Messengers were on the field, 
and several Bayleys, and members of many other pioneer Taranaki 
families. When Lieut. -Colonel Murray returned after nightfall, 
and it became known that he had left the civilian force fighting 
against heavy odds, indignation ran high ; and on the arrival 
later of Cracroft's force, with the bluejackets displaying the 
captured flags but unaccompanied by the Volunteers and Militia, 
the tension and fears increased. At lasc, at 11 o'clock at night, 
a relief force of soldiers and citizens marched out to the rescue 
under Major Herbert, but they had not gone far down the south 
road before they met Brown's weary force tramping in. The 
scenes of rejoicing in the town must have gladdened the hearts 
of Cracroft and his sailor lads, but for whom it would indeed have 
been a disastrous night for the settler families of Taranaki. 

The European casualties totalled only fourteen killed and 
wounded. The Maoris lost heavily through the accurate fire of 
Stapp's and Atkinson's men and the quick attack of Cracroft. 
Their killed amounted probably to fifty, with as many wounded. 

The tribes concerned dispersed southward, removing their 
casualties in bullock-carts, and the combined movement on New 
Plymouth was abandoned. The Rev. H. H. Brown and his family 
and several other settlers came into town safely the day after the 
fight under Volunteer escort. 

The popular opinion of Colonel Gold's methods of command 
and the failure of Lieut. -Colonel Murray to temper his rigid 
obedience to orders with some intelligence or initiative was 
expressed in strongly condemnatory terms. A Court of inquiry 
sat to consider Murray's conduct ; the president was Colonel 
Chute (afterwards General), of the 70th Regiment ; the evidence 
was sent to England. Captain Charles Brown and Captain Stapp 


rs : or their I work at V Captain 

ceived his majority in 1864-* 

Waireka t'... N fige flew the three 

- at her mainmast-head. Next day she 

st and ai the reef-fringed shore 

at V- ere ther-. - rge ] xopied by a 

hundred I 3 The shi] . with shells and rockets. 

g ■ the long g Dot mucl - - ne. 

In as - 5 and large sap] 

stores t New Plymouth from Australia. H.M. 

rvettes and " Pelorus," and the steamers 

ty of Hobarl and " Wongawong 

ral himdred men of the 13th and 40th Regiments 

Artillery. The warships landed some parties 

rines . there was now N gade of 

ree himdred men on shore, under command of Commodore 

Jcestei the " Peloras." 

st - arship, the Vict tiful auxiliary- 

screw lent by the Government of Victoria, arrived soon 

I sixty men. who helped to garrison Fort 
Nigei sailors' redoubt, on a hill which is now a recreation 

resei n the eastern side of the town. Others garrisoned a 

ted on the small hill called Mount Eliot, close to 
the beach and adjoining the sag! staff and surf-b fas 

A I s expedition along the coast 3 athward as far as 

- the principal military operation during April, : v 

movement was direct inst the Taranaki and Ng .:> 

_ii Tribes who had fought at Waireka. The column con- 

s - I e£ Royal Navy seamen and marines. 2$o of the 05th, 

g ty Volunteers and Militia, forty Royal Artillery" with two 

24-pounder and four 6-pounder field-: - and twenty R 

Eng rs nel Gold was in command, and Commodore 

:hamp- Seymour accompanied him. It as rough march 

ss numerous ravines and unbridged rivers, and through bush 

and scrub. Wareatea, Mokotura. Warea, and other settlements 

* C Mess - . - - ... at Wair 

fc of this ■ : — 

"When tc hold an inquiry into Lieu- 

- i on the b. - _ lay of 

the batf s sent for 1 . information about tl ng - ment. 

-■-;•. " Do I understar. t g iown there on your 

rig th Maoris and that the troops 

rth s the Maoris 

that is s 

d ' [meaning the troops" ' ought to have 
ght, sh I replied. 

- 1 


T 77 

were entered ; several pas were demolished, wheat-stacks were 
burned, a flour-mill rendered useless, and cattle and horses looted. 
On the return journey a force of two hundred men was left in an 
entrenched position on the Tataraimaka Block as an advanced 
outpost for the settlements. This force was withdrawn later. 
It was in retaliation for the destruction of villages and other 
property on this expedition that the Taranaki Maoris presently 
devastated the whole of the abandoned pakeha settlements, and 
systematically pillaged and burned nearly even* house outside 
New Plvmouth. 

The steam-oorvetta - -land 

rnment by the - boxia - in the Maaa 

?~: snip- Qt for an Australasian colony 
launched at Liniehouse Dockyard, London, in 1S55, from the yards of 

Messrs. Young. S Magn S -a beautifully modelled screw- 

58c as : - as barque-rigged to royals. 
Her anna:: ant, supplied from 1 

ade guns. He: _-. : - - 



The winter of i860 drew on with its heavy rains, which 
converted the roads and tracks, cut up by the continuous mili- 
tary traffic, into mud-channels, and the difficulties of campaigning 
were correspondingly increased. The rivers were often in a state 
of high flood, and the swamps became almost impassable. Under 
these conditions the Imperial forces fought an action which 
developed into the most disastrous affair for the British in the 
first Taranaki War. 

Half a mile south-east of Te Kohia (the L pa) the native 
belligerents constructed two forts close together and supporting 
each other, on small mounds called Puke-ta-kauere and Onuku- 
kaitara. Outside these strongholds were numerous rifle-pits and 
trenches, well masked by the high fern and tutu bushes. The 
double fortification was on considerably higher ground than the 
British main camp at Pukekohe, on the Waitara, and its situa- 
tion was admirably chosen for defence. The spur on which the 
twin knolls were embossed lay between two small swampy water- 
courses which joined a short distance to the north-east and ran 
through a deep morass of flax and toetoe to the Waitara River, 
half a mile distant from Puke-ta-kauere, the northernmost pa. 
The forts thus were situated in a kind of V, with the apex towards 
the river. The ferny plateau south of the swamps and extending 
to the cliffs of the Waitara offered suitable ground from which a 
flanking fire could be poured on any attacking-party. The Onuku- 
kaitara pa was the larger of the two. The other was notable 
for its strong earthwork defences ; it was surrounded with two 
trenches ; the scarp of one of these ditches presented a face 
nearly 20 feet high. To all intent the places were impregnable 
to assault. Unfortunately for the British, the commander at the 
Waitara neglected to have the approach to the pas properly 
scouted, and lack of knowledge of the ground, conjoined to an 
ignorance of Maori field-engineering genius and skill in skir- 
mishing tactics, was responsible for a defeat which enormously 
heartened up the pakehas antagonists, and deepened the dissatis- 
faction of the Taranaki settlers with the Imperial command. The 


British main camp was only a mile away, and the building of the 
pas was carried on in plain view of the soldiers. From the 
Onuku-kaitara pa flagstaff flew a Maori ensign, white with a 
black cross. A reconnaissance-party from the camp was fired on. 
The senior officer, Major T. Nelson (40th Regiment), a veteran 
of the Indian and Afghan wars, then determined to attack. 

The garrison of the double fort was much better fighting- 
material than the purely Atiawa force which had built and 
evacuated Te Kohia at the beginning of the war. Reinforcements 
of warriors had arrived from the Upper Waikato and the district 
afterwards known as the King Country, and from the southern 
parts of the west coast. The tribes which confronted Nelson 
and his 40th, besides Te Atiawa and Taranaki, were Ngati-Mania- 
poto and Ngati-Raukawa, Nga-Rauru (Patea and Waitotara), and 
Whanganui. Waikato as a tribe did not come, but some of their 
eager young men (such as Mahutu te Toko, a near relative of 
the Maori King) had joined Ngati-Maniapoto. 

Te Huia Raureti, of Ngati-Maniapoto, one of the few survivors 
of the Orakau defence, gave me an account of his tribe's first 
participation in the Waitara war. He said that when the news 
of the quarrel over the Waitara reached the Upper Waikato the 
runanga (council of chiefs) of Ngati-Maniapoto discussed the ques- 
tion of assisting Wiremu Kingi. This runanga consisted of Rewi 
Maniapoto (the tumuaki, or head of the council), his cousins Te 
Winitana Tupotahi and Raureti te Huia Paiaka, Epiha Tokohihi, 
Hopa te Rangianini, Pahata te Kiore, Matena te Reoreo (the 
clerk), and several other chiefs. Kihikihi Village was at that time 
the headquarters of Ngati-Maniapoto, and the runanga met in a 
large house which bore the famous old Hawaikian name " Hui-te- 
rangiora." This house of assembly was destroyed by the troops 
when Kihikihi was invaded in February, 1864. The conclave of 
chiefs did not act hastily. Two delegates, Raureti te Huia Paiaka 
(father of the narrator) and Pahata te Kiore, were despatched to 
Taranaki by the runanga to investigate the dispute and its causes. 
Their inquiries satisfied them that Wiremu Kingi's cause was 
just. " My father and Pahata," said Te Huia Raureti, " came 
to a decision adverse to Ihaia te Kiri-kumara, the Government 
adherent, because he had taken sufficient utu for his personal 
wrongs (the seduction of his wife) by killing the offender, and 
there was no just cause {take) for parting with tribal lands in 
order further to involve Wiremu Kingi's people. On the return 
of this deputation to Kihikihi the runanga considered their report, 
and Rewi Maniapoto then went down to Ngaruawahia to lay the 
matter before King Potatau and his council. He requested the 
King to consent to a war-party of Ngati-Maniapoto marching to 
Taranaki in order to assist the Atiawa. The proposal was assented 
to. The old King delivered his command to the assembly of 


chiefs in these words : ' Ngati-Maniapoto, haere hei kai ma nga 
manu o te rangi. Ko koe, e Waikato, ko Pekehawani taku rohe, 
kaua e takahia.' (' Ngati-Maniapoto, go you as food for the 
birds of the air. As for you, Waikato, Pekehawani is my 
boundary, do not trespass upon it ! ') 

Pekehawani, an ancient Hawaikian name, was here used by 
Potatau as an honorific term for the Puniu River, the boundary 
between the Waikato and the territory of Ngati-Maniapoto. 
Rewi Maniapoto's tribe only he released for the war, but in all 
probability the fiery Rewi would have gone in spite of a royal 
prohibition. Waikato and Ngati-Haua were restrained for the 
present, but after the news of the Maori victory at Puke-ta-kauere 
arrived they could no longer be held back from the war. The 
usual route taken by the Ngati-Maniapoto and the Waikato on 
their journeys to Taranaki was down the Mokau River by canoe 
from Totoro to Mokau Heads, thence along the beach by Tonga- 
porutu and the White Cliffs to Waitara. War-canoe expeditions 
down the rapid-whitened Mokau frequently covered the distance 
from Totoro to the Heads (forty-five miles) in one day, and by a 
forced march the warriors often reached Urenui or the Waitara at 
the close of the second day. 

It was scarcely daylight on the morning of the 27th June when 
Major Nelson moved out from W T aitara camp to the attack. He 
was accompanied by Captain Beauchamp-Seymour, commanding 
the Naval Brigade of H.M.S. " Pelorus." The force, totalling 
about three hundred and fifty, was divided into three. The 
main body, under Nelson, crossed the Devon Road and marched 
across the fern plain. A detachment of sixty men of he 40th 
Regiment, under Captain Bowdler, marched to the left, with 
orders to occupy a mound south-east of the camp, in order 
to prevent the natives escaping along the left flank of the main 
body and attacking the camp. If this was not attempted, 
Bowdler was to double up to the support of his Major. The 
other division, 125 strong, consisting chiefly of the Grenadier 
Company of the 40th, under Captain Messenger (a cousin of 
Ensign W. B. Messenger, of the Taranaki Militia), was detailed 
to get possession of Puke-ta-kauere mound, to cut off the retreat 
from the other pa, and to bar the way to Maori reinforce- 
ments. The main body (Naval Brigade numbering sixty-five, 
Royal Artillery with two 24-pounder howitzers, Royal Engineers, 
and the Light Company of the 40th) moved in extended order 
towards the south-west side of the fortifications, and was soon 
engaged by the Maoris in large force. 

The artillery opened fire at 7 a.m. from level ground north- 
west of Onuku-kaitara, but failed to make a large-enough breach 
in the stockade — in the Major's view — to justify an order for the 
assault. The Maoris, however, did not wait to be attacked in 




their forts, but came out into the fern and manned their outlying 
trenches. Their first fire was directed upon Captain Messenger, 
who was struggling around to the rear of the position on the 
Waitara side ; but Nelson and Beauchamp-Seymour were soon in 
the thick of it. Large Maori reinforcements hurried down from 
the Kairau and other settlements in the rear, and quickly worked 
round the British right flank. Captain Bowdler now brought his 
division up at the double, but the combined strength was not 
sufficient to deal with the foe, who were fighting with the utmost 
fearlessness and determination. The bluejackets and marines, led 
on by their captain and supported by the Light Company of the 
40th, carried a long trench on the right front, but were held up by 
a deep gully and two more entrenchments dug on the slopes in 
the fern, and found themselves under a destructive fire from the 
Maori double-barrel guns, loaded and discharged with lightning- 
like rapidity. Some survivors declared the fire encountered was 
hotter than anything in the great Indian battles or in the attack 
on the Redan in the Crimea. The British right flank came under 
what was described as a terrible fire from a series of trenches on 
the sides of the gullies. 

In this tight corner Major Nelson looked anxiously, but in 
vain, for expected reinforcements from New Plymouth. He had 
arranged with Colonel Gold, Officer Commanding, who had left 
the time of attack to him, that he would signal with ship's rockets 
on the night before the movement against the pas, Gold under- 
taking to march at daylight with four hundred men and two guns 
and take the "Maoris on their left flank. Through an artillery non- 
commissioned officer's default this signal — which would have been 
seen at the Bell Block stockade and repeated to Marsland Hill — 
was not sent up. The sergeant forgot to use the rockets, and Gold 
was unaware of Nelson's attack until the heavy firing was heard 
in New Plymouth. The force which was then hastily marched to 
the relief only got as far as the Waiongana. The river was in 
flood, and, as the firing had ceased, Gold considered there was no 
need for assistance, and marched his men back to town. 

Meanwhile Major Nelson's force and the division under Cap- 
tain Messenger had desperate work, and the 40th suffered a heavy 
defeat at the hands of the Maori musketeers. Nelson's regiment 
and the " Pelorus " men fought well, but they were no match for 
their active opponents, who came at them with the long-handled 
tomahawk when the commander began the heavy task of with- 
drawing his force from the field. It was with great reluctance 
that he gave the order to sound the " Retire," but there were 
many casualties, the obstacles in his front were great, there was 
no sign of reinforcements, and ammunition was running short. 
With the utmost difficulty the force was extricated ; the Light 
Company was the rearguard. There was ferocious fighting in 


the fern at close quarters. The killed and many of the wounded 
were left behind. Captain Beauchamp-Seymour was shot in the 
leg, and had to be carried oft the held. The howitzers, under 
Lieutenant MacNaghten, R.A., covered the retreat with a steady 
fire of case shot. 

Captain Messenger's division of the 40th, which was given a 
difficult task, suffered most of all. Messenger, whose subalterns 
were Lieutenants C. F. Brooke and Jackson, took his men along 
a flat near the Waitara, and up towards the right rear of 
the Maori entrenchments. The route was full of obstructions — 
swamps, gullies, and high fern and scrub — and the Regulars 
were soon in trouble. It was unfortunate for them that none 
of Stapp's or Atkinson's settler riflemen were on the field that day. 
Approaching the double-ditched Puke-ta-kauere pa from the rear, 
Messenger was assailed in great force by Ngati-Maniapoto and Te 
Atiawa. The high fern and heavy fire caused confusion, and the 
40th were soon scattered in groups, fighting a hopeless fight 
against a skilfully directed enemy. Messenger got some thirty 
men together and worked his way on in rear of the pas until he 
passed over the ground from which the main body had retreated, 
and caught up to Major Nelson, who sent him back to bring in 
the rest of his men. He found Jackson and many of his party 
fighting their way out. Lieutenant Brooke had been killed in the 
deep swamp on the Waitara side of the Maori position. Some 
accounts say that Brooke surrendered, offering his sword, hilt first, 
to his captor, but in the heat of the battle it was impossible to 
spare him. He, like some of his men, was waist-deep in the 
swamp, which few but the half-stripped Maoris could cross. " We 
killed them in the swamp," says a Maori who fought there. " We 
used chiefly the tomahawk. Such was the slaughter of the soldiers 
in that swamp that it came to be called by us Te Wai-Kotero 
[meaning a pool in which maize and potatoes are steeped until 
they become putrid] ; this was because of the many corpses which 
lay there after the battle." 

In small groups or one by one the survivors floundered through 
the morass and broke their way through the fern, and were picked 
up by Messenger and Jackson. Others hid in the fern and crawled 
out cautiously to the camp. There were many desperate hand- 
to-hand encounters. A curious report, given currency by Major 
Nelson in his official report, was that a European, supposed to be 
a military deserter, was shot dead while leading on a party of 
Maori skirmishers. Four members of the Taranaki Rifles were 
on the field that day and under a heavy fire. George Hoby 
was mounted orderly to Captain Beauchamp-Seymour ; George F. 
Robinson, Oliver Hoby, and Isaiah Freeman drove transport 
teams hauling ammunition and the howitzers, and taking the 
wounded off the battle-ground. 


The British casualties were thirty killed and thirty-four 
wounded, or about 18 per cent, of the force engaged. The 
heaviest losses fell upon the Grenadier Company of the 40th. 
The Maori casualties were relatively much lighter. Among the 
killed were two chiefs of Ngati-Maniapoto, Pahata te Kiore (one 
of Rewi's first delegates to Wiremu Kingi) and Wereta. One of 
the leaders of this tribe's war-party was Epiha Tokohihi, a 
member of the Kingite runanga at Kihikihi. Hapurona directed 
the skirmishers of his tribe, Te Atiawa. 

The defeat at Puke-ta-kauere and the increasing confidence of 
the Maoris made it dangerous for the hemmed-in citizens of New 

' L A M A T I N. 

llu< h irregularity, delay and inconvenience 
to Ihe pnblie service beins caused by families, 
ordered lo embark on board the steamers pro- 
vided lor their conveyance, disobeying (he or- 
ders Ihey receive. The Major-General directs 
il to be noiilled dial be will be compelled lo 
employ tbe power wilh which be is invested 
lo enforce tbe embarkation of sneb persons 
But he trusts Ilia) the good sense of Ihe in- 
habitants nil! render unnecessary his hating 
recourse lo a measure so repugnant lo bis 

By Command, 

Lirul .-Colonel, 
Depuh Idjnlajri-General. 

Nen Plymouth, :tnl September, Istio. 

Proclamation under Martial Law, New 

Plymouth to venture out beyond the precincts of the town. It 
was now that the central portion of the settlement was entrenched, 
and it was considered necessary to remove the women and children. 
A proclamation calling upon the families to prepare for departure 
by sea was issued by Colonel Gold. Steamers were sent to take 
the women and children to more peaceful homes until the war 
was over, and most of them went to Nelson, where they were 
treated with great hospitality ; but there were some stout- 
hearted wives and mothers who steadfastly refused to leave their 
husbands and sons, defied the authorities to shift them, and 
remained to share the alarms and privations of a state of siege. 


Reinforcements of men and artillery came in from Auckland ; the 
principal addition to the garrison was the headquarters of the 40th 
Regiment (Colonel Leslie), nearly two hundred and fifty strong. 
Major-General Pratt arrived from Melbourne (3rd August) in the 
Victorian Government's warship "Victoria," with his Deputy 
Adjutant-General, Lieut. -Colonel Carey. 

During August, i860, the Taranaki and their southern allies 
became particularly daring, and numerous skirmishes occurred close 
to the town. Fort Carrington blockhouse and Fort Niger were 
fired on, and a lively skirmish occurred on the 20th August 
within half a mile of the barracks on Marsland Hill. Lieut. - 
Colonel Murray led out three companies of the 65th and a 
detachment of "Iris " bluejackets against a body of Maoris esti- 
mated at over two hundred. The natives, who left several dead 
on the field, were driven back into the bush. In a previous 
skirmish Captain Harry Atkinson, with his Volunteers and Militia, 
when out on an expedition to bring in settlers' property, fell in 
with a Maori marauding-party, whom, after a sharp engagement in 
the open, he followed into the bush, inflicting loss on them. In 
August two naval 32-pounders were emplaced on the end of the 
spur in the rear of Marsland Hill fort, in order to sweep the ground 
to the south of the town. 

By night the blaze of fires, and by day columns of dark smoke, 
announced the destruction of many a settler's deserted home. The 
Village of Henui, only a mile from the town, was burned. The 
Maoris, however, invariably respected the churches in the aban- 
doned settlements, and those at Henui, Bell Block, and Omata 
were found untouched at the end of the war. The town defences 
were reorganized by Major-General Pratt, and every Volunteer and 
Militiaman knew his place in the trenches in case of an attack. 

The Taranaki Maoris, with some Ngati-Ruanui, laboured with 
enormous energy at the construction of a system of field-works 
on the south side of the town. They dug trenches and rifle-pits 
on the Waireka hills to menace Major Hutchins, who was in 
charge of a redoubt erected on the site of the Kaipopo pa. 
Tataraimaka was thick with well-designed entrenchments, repre- 
senting a great amount of spade-work. There were frequent 
skirmishes about the Omata and the Waireka ; at the latter place 
the Taranakis were shelled from the redoubt. 

On the Waitara Major Nelson was busy. He took a column 
of the 40th and a Naval Brigade across the river and destroyed 
the large Atiawa villages Manu-korihi (" The Singing Bird") and 
Tikorangi. He also cleared the country near the road between 
the Waitara and the Bell Block, and demolished the fortified 
villages at Ninia and Tima. 

On the 4th September a large composite force in three divisions, 
under Major-General Pratt, marched out to Burton's Hill, four 



miles south of the town, near Waireka. This place had been 
entrenched by the southern tribes, but was found deserted, the 
Maoris having gone home to plant their crops. The roughest 
work was performed by the division of Rifle Volunteers and 
Militia under Major Herbert ; it penetrated into the bush on 
the march round to the rear of Burton's Hill, and burned the 
pa at Ratapihipihi on the return journey. The night and day 
march covered twenty miles under very wintry conditions. 

On the 9th September Major-General Pratt, with the largest 
force yet taken into the field in New Zealand — it numbered 
fourteen hundred men, including a Naval Brigade, detachments 
of the 12th, 40th, and 65th Regiments, Rifle Volunteers, and 
artillery — marched out to Kairau and Huirangi, on the plateau 
above the left bank of the Waitara. The force burned four 

British Positions at the Mouth of the Waitara. 

entrenched villages and looted many horses and cattle — some of 
which had, no doubt, previously been looted from the settlers. 
There was a sharp engagement near a large grove of peach-trees 
at Huirangi with some of the Atiawa under Hapurona, and the 
bush and trenches which sheltered the Maori tupara men were 
raked with grape and canister shot from the field-guns. A stock- 
aded blockhouse was erected at Onuku-kaitara, on the site of the 
palisaded pa which had been evacuated by the Maoris soon after 
their victory in June. 

On the 19th September a force of six hundred men under Major 
Hutchins (13th Regiment) marched for the southern settlements, 
and went as far as the Kaihihi River, where three occupied pas 
close together were discovered. It was found that twenty-six 
settlers' homes had been burned on the Tataraimaka Block, and 


about a hundred in the Omata and Waireka districts. The loss 
in stock driven off from the Tataraimaka was a hundred head of 
cattle, between two and three thousand sheep, and many horses. 

On the gth October a composite column numbering over a 
thousand — bluejackets, Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers, 12th, 
40th, and 65th detachments, Volunteers, and Militia — marched 
from New Plymouth along the south road with the object of 
reducing the fortifications on the Kaihihi River. Major-General 
Pratt was in command. The Taranaki Rifles, Mounted Rifles, 
and Militia numbered- 105, and there were 150 friendly natives 
of Te Atiawa under the charge of Mr. Parris, of the Native 
Department. After a march of twenty miles across difficult 
country for the large cart-train which accompanied the column, 
the force entrenched itself on the north side of the Kaihihi 
River and within three-quarters of a mile of the principal pa, 
Orongomaihangi. On the nth October a sap was commenced 
towards the fortification by Colonel Mould, R.E. (Pratt believed 
in approaching such positions by means of a sap in order to avoid 
loss of life, and his extraordinarily long advance upon Te Arei 
later in the campaign remains a classic example of slowness and 
caution in warfare.) The outer palisade of the pa was covered 
with green flax (as at Ohaeawai in 1845), and the artillery — a naval 
68-pounder, two 24-pounder howitzers, and a Coehorn mortar — 
failed to breach it until next morning (12th October), when a small 
opening was made. Preparations were being made to blow up part 
of the stockade with a bag of powder, and an assaulting-party was 
ready, when the garrison of the fort rushed out at the rear, and 
the place was taken. The Kaihihi River was crossed, and the 
Mataiaio pa, a square fort, was rushed by the 65th and found 
empty. The remaining pa was Puke-kakariki, a fort on the edge 
of the river-cliff, about 300 yards from the first pa taken ; after 
a short bombardment it was captured without opposition by 
Captain Stapp's Rifle Volunteers and the friendly natives. All 
three pas were double-palisaded and well rifle-pitted, with shell- 
proof dugouts. Ropes of plaited flax hanging from the cliff-top at 
the first pa taken showed the way by which the Maoris escaped 
into the bed of the Kaihihi. All three pas were destroyed. 
Orongomaihangi was a particularly interesting example of Maori 
military engineering. Its front, with a prominent sharp salient, 
resembled the figure of a Vauban trace, familiar to students of the 
science of fortification. 



The Upper Waikato contingent had gone home after Puke- 
ta-kauere to tell of their victory over the pakeha, exhibit their 
trophies of battle, and plant their crops. The news of their 
prowess in the field, and the sight of the soldiers' caps and red 
coats in which some of them paraded, their newly gotten rifles, 
bayonets, and cartridge-pouches, aroused at once the admiration 
and the jealousy of their neighbours. Ngati-Maniapoto's exploits 
fired all the Waikato tribes with ardour for the field. Ngati-Haua's 
war-fever could no longer be allayed even by the peace-loving 
Wiremu Tamehana. The stalwart men of Matamata, Tamahere, 
and Maunga-tautari had reluctantly remained in their kaingas 
when Potatau forbade Waikato and Ngati-Haua to cross the 
Puniu River and released only Ngati-Maniapoto for the war on 
the Waitara. But now the old King was dead, and his ninanga 
at Ngaruawahia had little control over Ngati-Haua of the plains. 
Why should Ngati-Maniapoto have all the joy and glory of killing 
the pakeha ? Were not Ngati-Haua the kin of the great Waharoa, 
the most renowned warrior of the Island ? So spake Te Wetini 
Taiporutu and other fiery blades. In vain Wiremu Tamehana 
urged prudence and foretold disaster. Wetini and his war-party 
must off to Waitara to kill soldiers themselves. The new season's 
potatoes planted, the Waikato - Waipa basin and the plains of 
Matamata were alive with parties of young musketeers marching off 
for the summer's shooting in Taranaki. Nearly every village from 
Ngaruawahia southward sent its squad to join the war-parties 
in reinforcement of Wiremu Kingi. Ngati-Maniapoto provided 
the larger part of the force ; but Ngati-Haua sent a company 
about eighty strong of the finest fighting-men that ever carried 
tupara and tomahawk. They were the flower of the tribe — tall 
athletes, fit successors of the invincible warriors whom Waharoa 
had led against many a stockade. Wetini Taiporutu (" The 
Surging Sea ") was at their head. The other tribes which 
swelled the strength of the columns marching southward were 
Ngati - Raukawa and Ngati - Koroki, and these subtribes of 
Waikato : Ngati- Apakura (from Rangiaowhia), Ngati-Ruru (Te 


Awamutu), Ngati-Koura (Orakau), Ngati-Kahukura, and Ngati- 
Mahuta. Rewi Maniapoto (or Manga, as he was more usually 
known by his own people) was the leader of the numerous hapus 
which mustered at Kihikihi ; with him were Epiha Tokohihi, 
Te Paetai te Mahia, Mokau (of Ngati-Raukawa, at Orakau), and 
several other chiefs. Rewi was a veteran of the Waitara trail ; 
as a boy of twelve he had marched on his first war expedition in 
1832, when a Waikato army made one of its periodical raids on 
Puke-rangiora. Wetini's war-party marched apart from the others, 
eager to reach the scene of war and uphold the name of Ngati- 
Haua. From Mokau Heads they made a forced march along the 
beach, and, crossing the Waitara, met their allies on the strongly 
fortified plain at Kairau. Anxious to distinguish themselves 
in a battle of their own, they stayed not long at the Kairau, 
where they were joined by other Waikato tribes, but pushed on 
to Mahoetahi, an old practically unfortified pa on a gentle mound 
of a hill alongside the Devon Road, two miles and a half from 
Waitaia and seven miles and a half from New Plymouth. Wetini 
took up this position as a deliberate challenge to the British 
General. He had sent an invitation to combat quite in the 
manner of the knights of old. The gage was thrown down in a 
letter to Mr. Parris, the Assistant Native Secretary in Taranaki : 
" Come inland and let us meet each other. Fish fight at sea ! 
Come inland and tread on our feet. Make haste! make haste! " 
This metaphorical trailing of Ngati-Haua's blanket was taken 
up by the pakeha with spirited alacrity. It was on the evening 
of the 5th November that Major-General Pratt was informed 
that Wetini's contingent had crossed the Waitara, and that pos- 
sibly next morning they would be in the vicinity of Mahoetahi. 
It was thought that they were marching on New Plymouth. Their 
numbers were greatly exaggerated. Pratt immediately issued 
orders for a British column to march from New Plymouth, and 
another from Waitara, to meet at Mahoetahi next forenoon, and 
so take the Maoris between two fires. At dawn of day a young 
Militia officer, Lieutenant F. Standish, with a friendly Maori 
chief named Mahau, reconnoitred in the direction of Mahoetahi, 
and saw the Ngati-Haua and Waikato enter an old village on the 
hilltop. At 5 o'clock on a beautiful clear morning the General's 
column left the town. It was composed chiefly of the 65th, 40th, 
and 12th Regiments, with some Royal Artillery manning two 
24-pounder howitzers, a few sappers and miners, and two 
companies of the Taranaki Rifle Volunteers and Militia, with 
twenty of the Volunteer cavalry. The total strength of the force 
was 670 ; of this force the Volunteers made up about 130. Some 
friendly Maoris also went out, but took no part in the assault. 
On the march out the advance-guard, in extended order, consisted 
of a company of the 65th Regiment, under Captain Turner, with 



a company of Volunteers and Militia as a flank guard on the left, 
and another company of the 65th flanking the advance on the 
right. The colonial officers who took part in the expedition were 
Major Herbert (late 58th Regiment), Captains C. Brown, Harry 
A. Atkinson, and W. S. Atkinson (the last-named in charge of the 


Mahoet-jhi hill 

toohma towards Waitara 

ShcniriQ ijrave °r Fdlle,, warnors 

ff h »*-* 

A* Ql "'»* F 

ftgjd from 
/Ven Plymouth 

7% Mile* 

Cross at Mlhoetahi 

Road to Wa, tira 


' ' '" 1% 

The Battlefield of Mahoetahi, 

Showing site of Maori position stormed by the Imperial and Colonial troops, 
6th November, i860. 

Maori contingent), Lieutenants Hamerton, Morrison, Webster, and 
Standish, and Ensign W. B. Messenger. Mr. R. Parris, who 
accompanied the force, also had a captain's commission, and later 
was promoted to major. 


Soon after crossing the Mangaoraka the firing commenced, the 
Maori skirmishers falling back upon the Mahoetahi Hill as the 
troops advanced. The advance-guard formed a line of skirmishers 
and moved quickly towards the Maori position, which was visible 
on the high ground across a narrow swamp directly in front, and 
just to the left of the main road where it curved inland to avoid 
the Mahoetahi ridge. Several casualties occurred among the 65th 
before the swamp was crossed. 

The advance-guard halted and lay down on the low ground 
close to the swamp. " Fix bayonets and prepare to charge " was 
the next order. Meanwhile the two howitzers, under Captain 
Strover, R.A., opened fire on the position. The mounted scouts 
had just reported to the General that the British column from the 
Waitara was near at hand, moving towards the Maori left rear. 
The order to cross the swamp was given, and the troops dashed 
through the muddy water or jumped from tussock to tussock. 
Re-forming on the other side, they saw before them two low mounds, 
beyond which was the level top of the Mahoetahi Hill, with no 
stockade or regular entrenchment showing. The Taranaki Rifles 
and Militia were to the north-west of the pa (the sea side), with 
two companies of the 65th, facing the west flank of the hill, and 
another company continuing the line inland, covering the Maori 
left front. In the rear of the 65th were the reserves, consisting 
of the 12th and 40th, under Lieut. -Colonel Carey, Deputy Adjutant- 

" Charge ! " was the next order, and then there was a desperate 
race for the top of the mound. Volunteers and Militia were 
determined that no Regulars should deprive them of the honour of 
being first in the pa. The front line of the 65th received a heavy 
volley from the hill and was stayed for a moment or two, but 
the supporting company came up, and the hilltop was gained. 
The Taranaki men, led on by Major Herbert, sword in hand, were 
just breasting the upper slope when the Maoris gave them the 
next volley. But a moment before it was delivered Major Herbert 
shouted " Down ! " and dropped fiat on the ground, and every 
man followed his example on the instant. The bullets went over 
their heads. Leaping up, the men were into the Maori position, 
bayonet and bayonet with the big Irishmen of the 65th on their 
right. No Maori, however brave, could stand in the open before 
that line of steel. Most of Wetini's men, after the first volley, 
took cover behind an old parapet, the remains of the ancient 
fortification which had enclosed the centre of the hilltop, and in 
a number of excavations, whare sites, besides some dilapidated 
huts and fern, and masked potato-pits, which made good rifle- 
pits. Having only taken post in the old pa that morning, they 
had not had time to entrench themselves properly. From such 
cover as there was Ngati-Haua fired heavily, inflicting several 


casualties on the 65th and the Volunteers. Charging across the 
pa, Herbert's settler soldiers received a heavy volley delivered 
by the Maoris just under the crest on the reverse slope of the hill ; 
but the fire was too high, and there were no casualties. Meanwhile 
the 65th had cleared the centre of the hill with the bayonet. 

The Maoris retreated to the edge of the swamp on the Waitara 
side, and Regulars and Volunteers and Militia charged down the 
slope after them. Now came the most desperate work of the day. 
Ngati-Haua and their kin of Waikato and Maniapoto turned on 
the troops like lions. When there was no time to reload their 
tuparas or their rifles they threw down the now-useless weapons 
and countered bayonet with tomahawk. There were not more 
than a hundred and fifty Maoris, but, outnumbered as they were, 
they fought with a splendid heroism. If they were rebels they 
were glorious rebels. Their one thought now was to hapai-ingoa 
— to uplift the tribal name and fame. 

By this time the column from the Waitara side, commanded 
by Colonel Mould, R.E., had crossed the Waiongana River, and 
had deployed into line on the inland side of the pa, and when 
the Maoris were driven into the swamp they found their right 
flank assailed by this force. Mould's column consisted of several 
companies of the 40th under Major Nelson, a company of the 
65th, and a party with a 24-pounder howitzer. A few shells were 
thrown into the Maoris (narrowly missing the troops), and then 
the Regulars joined in the attack pursuit. 

On the fern flat below the swamp many of the Maoris took 
cover in old potato-pits and fired upon their foes on the other 
side. But the weight of the combined advance was irresistible. 
Fighting yard by yard the gallant Ngati-Haua were forced back. 
At last they turned and fled, leaving more than a score lying dead 
among the tufts of tussocks and flax and in the reddened pools of 
water. Rifles, double-barrel guns, and cartridge-belts strewed the 
ground of the retreat. With the bursting shells of the howitzers 
and six hundred Enfields and bayonets compelling their flight, 
they retreated across the Waiongana towards Huirangi. Wetini 
Taiporutu himself was killed early in the retreat. His chivalrous 
challenge won him undying fame, but cost Ngati-Haua two score 
men. The chase across the Waiongana was carried as far as Nga- 
tai-pari-rua and Puke-ta-kauere ; thence the pursuers returned to 
the captured hill and marched back to quarters. Colonel Mould 
was left at Mahoetahi with a force to hold the hill. The friendly 
Maoris searched the swamp and the hillside for the slain, and 
collected thirty-seven slain Maoris, most of whom were buried in 
a large grave dug on the western slope of Mahoetahi. The bodies 
of Wetini Taiporutu and two other chiefs, identified by the cap- 
tured Maoris, were taken into New Plymouth and buried in St. 
Mary's Churchyard. More bodies were discovered on the line of 


retreat, and the total loss of the Maoris was estimated at about 
fifty killed and as many more wounded, out of not more than a 
hundred and fifty engaged. In spite of shell and bullet, they 
carried away many of their wounded to Huirangi. 

The British casualties were four killed and seventeen wounded. 
The Rifle Volunteers, who shared the honours of the day with the 
Regulars, divided with them the losses ; two of their number 
were killed (Privates F. Brown and H. Edgecombe), and four were 

New Plymouth rang with stories of the combat in the swamp. 
An Irish private of the 65th, the moment after shooting a Maori, 
brained another with the butt of his rifle. " There was some good 
bayonet-work at Mahoetahi," said a veteran of the Taranaki 
Rifles, Sergeant W. H. Free (ex 58th), to the writer. " One of 
our men, W. Marshall, had an encounter in the swamp with a 
powerful Maori, who tried to wrest his rifle from him. Marshall 
at last got his arms free, and sent his bayonet clean through 
his opponent's body up to the locking -ring." A Maori got 
a soldier of the 65th face downwards in the muddy swamp- 
water, and would have drowned him but for a bullet from a 
fellow-soldier which stretched the Ngati-Haua dead. A soldier 
of the same regiment bayoneted a Maori through the chest, but 
the amazing warrior gripped the barrel of the rifle with his left 
hand and tomahawked his opponent on the arm before he fell. 

Wiremu Kingi and his Atiawa held aloof from their brave 
allies on the battle-day, although they could have altered the 
fortunes of the day in some degree by coming up in the rear and 
checking the British attack. But Wetini and his men were afire 
with a desire to fight for their own hands that day, and the 
Atiawa contented themselves with the part of distant spectators. 

Many a village of the Waipa and the Matamata plains re- 
sounded with the tangi of grief for the men when the wounded 
remnant of Wetini's contingent made their painful way home. 
There were some ghastly wounds among the warriors. The 
venerable half-caste chief Pou-patate Huihi, of Te Kopua, who 
fought at Mahoetahi and saw Wetini Taiporutu shot, says, " One 
of our men, Te Whitu, had his lower jaw carried away by a 
bullet. We bound it up with a cloth round his head, and he came 
home with us, recovered, and lived for many years afterwards." 
Besides Wetini, a number of chiefs of importance fell at Mahoe- 
tahi. The principal man of Ngati-Maniapoto killed was Te Paetai 
te Mahia, from Kihikihi. Ngati-Ruru (Te Awamutu) lost Hakopa, 
and Ngati-Raukawa the chief Mokau te Matapuna, of Orakau. 
" When the survivors returned to the Waikato," says Te Huia 
Raureti, of Ngati-Maniapoto, " the grief of our people at this 
disaster was intense, and it was felt that the defeat could never 
be avenged in full." The survivors did not return, however, with- 
7— N.Z. Wars. 


out an effort to obtain utu for the loss of so many comrades. It 
was not many weeks after Mahoetahi before Ngati-Maniapoto and 
Waikato made a most determined attack upon No. 3 Redoubt at 
Huirangi, and only drew off after losing more than fifty men. 
The cumulative effect of these disasters was to heighten the war 
feeling throughout the Waikato and hasten the outbreak in the 
Auckland Province. 

To this day a song of lamentation, composed by a woman 
named Hokepera for those killed at Mahoetahi, is heard among 
the people of Ngati-Maniapoto. This waiata (chanted to the 
writer by the two old comrades Te Huia Raureti and Pou-patate) 
is as follows : — 

Kaore taku huhi, taku raru, ki a koulou, 
E pa ma, c haiipn mai ra ! 

Ka hua hoki an ki a Epiha ma e hui nei ki te runanga, 
He kawe pai i te tika. 
Kaore he mahi nui i nga maunga a Whiro kua wareware. 

Hare ra, e Tima, i te riri kaihoro a Ngati-Haua ; 
Kaore i ivhakaaro ko te kupu pai a Haapurona. 
Ko te aha, e Rau (Raureti) , e Rewi, ma korua nei ? 
Heoi ano ra ma koutou he kawe tangata ki te Po, 
Aue i te mamae ra — i ! 

Anea kau ana te whenua, tangi kotokoto ai te tai o Puniu. 
E ivhakahakiri ana nga tohu te rangi, e — 2. 

Kanapa kau ana te uira i runga o 'Tautari, te hiwi ki Rangitoto ; 
Ko te tohu te mate ra — i ! 

Ka riro Paetai, Mokau, Tainui, Te Arawa, Raukawa, Motai — i ! 
E koa ra e rau tangata ka takoto kau to moni ! 
Tenei taku poho e tuwhera kau nei, he wai kokiringa mo 
Kiri-kumara, te tangata whakanoho i te riri. 
Te kino, e — : — i ! 


Alas ! my grief, my woe ! Alas, for you, my chieftains, lying in 
heaps on yonder mound of death ! Ah ! once I listened to Epiha and 
his chiefs in council ; then I thought their words were laden with goodness 
and with truth. On the dark hills of Death their plans were brought to 

Farewell O Tima, overwhelmed in the flood of battle. 'Twas the fatal 
deed of Ngati-Haua, they who heeded not the wise counsel of Hapurona. 
What of your words, O Raureti, O Rewi ? 'Tis enough that you have 
borne warriors down to the black night of Death. Ah me ! the sorrow of it ! 

The land is swept by war's red tide. Mournfully roll the waters of 
Puniu ; the waters sob as they flow. I heard the thunder's distant mutter, 
the rumbling omen of the sky. I saw the lightning's downward flash, the 
fire of portent, on Tautari's peak, on Rangitoto's mountain height — the 
finger of Death to the tribes ! 

Thou'rt gone, O Paetai ! Thou'rt gone, O Mokau ! Swept away are 
the heroes of Tainui, Te Arawa, Raukawa, Motai. Our foes in multitudes 
rejoice ; the treasure is laid bare and desolate. See now my unprotected 
breast, naked to the spear of Kiri-kumara. 'Twas he who raised this storm 
of war. Alas ! the evil of it ! 



The composer of this song of lamentation over the dead refers to the 
Maori belief that the passing of the spirits of chieftains was accompanied 
by thunder and lightning, and that the rumble of thunder along certain 
mountain-peaks was a portent of disaster or death to the people. The 
downward play of lightning upon sacred mountains was regarded as a sign 
that death would strike or had stricken members of the tribe. Thus Maunga- 
tautari was a maunga-hikonga-uira (lightning peak) of the Ngati-Raukawa 
Tribe ; Rangitoto was the lightning mountain of the Ngati-M miapoto. 

Major-General Sir James Alexander narrates this story of Mokau te 
Matapuna's end : " Mokau, retreating, saw at the edge of it [the swamp] 
a friend lying mortally wounded. He stopped, and, though the avengers 
were close behind, he seized the hand of the dying man and stooped to say 
farewell and to press noses in the native fashion. Raising himself up, he 
himself was shot through the heart, and fell across the body of his friend. 
His noble act of friendship had thus a fatal result." 

The site of the Battle of Mahoetahi is easily identified to-day. The 
main road (Devon Road) from New Plymouth to Waitara cuts through 
the inland (south-east) end of the pa hill at seven miles and a half from 
New Plymouth. On the seaward end of the hill, which is about 60 feet 
high, trending at right angles to the road, there is a wire-fenced enclosure, 
with numerous large boulders scattered about, and the turf is uneven with 
the remains of olden trenches, rifle-pits, and sites of dug-in whares. This 
was the position, stormed by the troops. On the slope of the hill facing 
New Plymouth is a smaller enclosure, with a large timber cross, lichen- 
crusted. This is the sacred spot where nearly forty of the Maori defenders 
were buried. The inscription on the cross reads : — ■ 

" He whakamaharatanga i nga Rangatira toa o Waikato a Wetini 
Taiporutu ma, i hinga ki konei tata i te Parekura i turia i te 6th Nowema, 

The meaning of this legend is : — 

" In remembrance of the brave chiefs of Waikato, of Wetini Taiporutu 
and his comrades, who fell close to this spot in the battle fought on the 
6th November, i860." 

On the reverse side of the hill, which presents a steeper slope than the 
western side, the ground falls to a narrow swamp, the place where so many 
of the Ngati-Haua made their last stand. The Devon Road intersects this 
part of the battlefield, and passes on the right the ancient settlement Nga- 
puke-tu-rua, with its two tree-grown mounds, on one of which a British 
stockade was built shortly after the engagement at Mahoetahi. 



The defeat at Mahoetahi, so far from crushing the Maori 
spirit, hardened up the fighting-fibre of Wiremu Kingi's northern 
allies. Reinforcements from Ngati-Maniapoto and Waikato came 
marching down the coast, and the story of the losses in the 
Mahoetahi marsh set the warrior soul athirst for revenge. Those 
who had lost relatives sallied out on scouting expeditions, laying 
ambuscades and cutting off European stragglers. Several pakeha 
settlers out seeking cattle or horses were shot and tomahawked 
within a short distance of New Plymouth during the summer 
of 1 860-61. At this time the garrison of Taranaki had been 
reduced by several hundreds of Imperial troops, who were con- 
sidered necessary for the protection of Auckland, owing to an 
alarm of coming hostilities with Waikato. By December, i860, 
the Maori belligerents had constructed a series of field fortifications 
on the plateau bounding the Waitara River on the south (left 
bank) , and garrisoned these works with considerably over a thousand 
men. Kairau and Huirangi were the principal defences — skilfully 
engineered lines of rifle-pits, trenches, and covered ways, their 
flanks resting on the thickly wooded gullies that dissected the 
edges of the tableland. These works barred the way inland to 
the historic hill pa, Puke-rangiora, high above the Waitara. A 
new system of fortifications on the front of this ancient strong- 
hold was named Te Arei (" The Barrier "), and was designed as 
the citadel of the Atiawa. 

Major-General Pratt took the field once more towards the end 
of December, when he concentrated a force of a thousand strong 
on the Waitara. Heavy artillery suitable for siege operations 
had been obtained from Auckland and from several of the ships 
of war, and with this battering-train Pratt moved from Waitara 
towards the Kairau forts on the 29th December. The first 
operation was the reduction of the stockaded trenched pa at 
Mata - rikoriko ("Winking Eyes"), a short distance inland of 
Puke-ta-kauere and somewhat nearer the Waitara River. The 
column numbered nine hundred men of all arms, with four 
guns. When the force reached the site of the old Kairau 
pa (destroyed on the nth September), about 1,100 yards from 
Mata-rikoriko, a large redoubt was commenced for the accom- 


modation of five hundred men. This redoubt was intended as a 
depot for the attack on the pa, and also for a movement against 
Huirangi. Working-parties of one hundred and fifty men were 
employed, under a brisk fire nearly all day from well-masked 
rifle-pits on the edge of a deep wooded gully about 150 yards 
from the redoubt. The garrison had a sleepless night, for the 
natives kept up a fire, with little intermission, until daylight 
next morning. On the 30th December the Royal Engineers and 
the rest of the working-parties raised and improved the parapets, 
formed firing-steps, and made barbettes and platforms for the 
guns. Two 8-inch guns were mounted on the left face of the 
redoubt, pointing towards Mata-rikoriko. The firing on both 
sides was exceedingly heavy. It was estimated that the British 
troops expended 70,000 rounds of rifle ammunition in less than 
twenty-four hours, besides about 120 rounds of shot and shell. 
On the morning of the 31st the pa was found to have been 
evacuated during the night, and it was quickly occupied by two 
companies of the 65th under Colonel Wyatt. The British lost 
three killed and twenty wounded. The Maoris, so far as is 
known, had six killed. A number of the 56th Regiment remained 
in occupation of Mata-rikoriko. 

This episode was soon followed by a general advance upon 
the Huirangi works and Te Arei. The operations now developed 
into the most extensive field-engineering works ever undertaken 
by British troops in New Zealand. Major-General Pratt was a 
disciple of the slow, sure, and safe method of warfare ; he did 
not believe in wasting lives in dashing assaults when the objective 
could be obtained less swiftly, but with less expenditure of man- 
power, by means of pick and shovel and artillery. Pratt exposed 
himself to much criticism, and his leisurely approach even excited 
the ridicule of his antagonists in Te Arei, who, however, came 
at last to realize the certainty of defeat by the inexorable sap, 
the covering redoubts, and the pounding artillery. The advance 
upon Huirangi and then upon Te Arei was enlivened by many 
skirmishes, which at times became sharp engagements involving 
hundreds of rifles. The work of the Royal Engineers, with the 
troops of the line pressed into the role of sappers and miners, 
was, however, the great feature of the move across the plains of 
Kairau and Huirangi. These operations were directed by Colonel 
T. R. Mould, R.E., the designer of numerous redoubts and block- 
houses in Taranaki and Waikato. 

Colonel Mould's fort-building in the Waitara campaign had 
begun with the construction of a strong stockade on the ridge 
on which the Puke-ta-kauere and Onuku-kaitara pas had stood. 
The work was erected on the centre of the site of Onuku-kaitara, 
and was arranged to accommodate fifty men. The rough split 
timbers of the stockade, hauled in carts from the Waitara camp, 



averaged 8 inches in diameter and were 14 feet in length ; they 
were sunk 4 feet in the ground, touching each other. A working- 
party of sixty men was employed, with fifty men thrown out as 
a covering-party. A ditch was dug around the palisades. The 
banks of the Puke-ta-kauere pa were levelled, and the ditches 
were filled in. After Mahoetahi a stockade was built on one of 
the two knolls at the ancient settlement of Nga-puke-tu-rua ("The 
Two Hillocks "), 800 yards on the Waitara side of Mahoetahi. 
Forty men were left here as a garrison. The next post built was 
a stockade with blockhouses on the site of the captured pa 
at Mata-rikoriko. This compact little fort (see illustration) was 


From a drawing by Lieutenant H. S. Bates (b$th Regt.), 1S61.] 

The Mata-rikoriko Stockade. 

similar in construction and arrangement to that at Onuku-kaitara. 
It was garrisoned by sixty men, with a howitzer. When the 
Maori flanking entrenchments outside the pa at Mata-rikoriko 
were examined by the Engineers it was found that one fire- 
trench was 178 paces in length, and another 104 paces ; others 
measured 74, 73, and 32 paces. 

On the 14th January Major-General Pratt with a force of 
between six hundred and seven hundred men — 12th, 14th, 40th, 
and 65th detachments, and a Naval Brigade — marched from 
Waitara towards Huirangi, and came under a heavy fire from the 
Maoris, who had manned their rifle-pits and trenches between 


Kairau and Huirangi. The guns from the Kairau (No. 1 Redoubt) 
and the rifles of the troops replied briskly, and under fire the 
Royal Engineers, with working-details, commenced the construc- 
tion of a redoubt (No. 2) about 500 yards on the right front 
of the Kairau Redoubt. This work was 26 yards square inside 
the parapet, which was 7 feet high and averaged 6 feet in thickness. 
Banquettes were formed and a barbette raised for the howitzer 
on the right-front salient angle. The redoubt, finished in eleven 
hours, was garrisoned by one hundred and twenty men, with 

On the 18th January the General moved out again to the front 
with a force a thousand strong, and under an all-day fire from 
the Maori rifle-pits a third redoubt was begun to cover the British 
advance towards Huirangi. This field-work, soon to become 
celebrated for a daiing attack made by the Kingites, was built 
about 400 yards to the left front of No. 2. It consisted when 
complete of three squares closely placed en echelon ; the middle 
redoubt was 30 yards each way inside the parapet. The parapets 
of all these works were made with earth and fern in alternate 
layers, after the Maori manner. Two howitzers were mounted 
in the main redoubt, and an 8-inch gun on the front face of the 
right wing. A garrison of about three hundred men, including 
the headquarters of the 40th Regiment under Colonel Leslie, was 
placed in No. 3. 

While the General was steadily making his way across the 
Kairau plateau, the Taranaki and Ngati-Ruanui Tribes on the 
southern section of the coast dug themselves in very strongly 
on the hills at Waireka, and completely barred the roads by 
a remarkably skilful system of trenches, rifle-pits, and stockaded 
pas. Several expeditions from New Plymouth during the summer 
of 1861 engaged the natives at Waireka Hill, Burton's Hill, and 
the vicinity of Omata, but without serious casualties on either 
side. The Rifle Volunteers and Militia, under Herbert, Stapp, and 
Atkinson, were conspicuously useful in the trying work of patrols 
and reconnaissances until the end of the war. One affair, though 
not an official expedition, demonstrated the pluck and coolness 
of the Volunteers. Fourteen young men, under Sergeant E. Hollis, 
were gathering peaches one Sunday morning (3rd March, 1861) at 
Brooklands (now Mr. Newton King's property), near the town, 
when they were ambuscaded by about double their number of 
Maoris, who gave them a volley from the cover of a ditch and 
hedge at very close range. Volunteer Edward Messenger, brother 
of Ensign W. B. Messenger, was shot dead, and a comrade, W. 
Smart, severely wounded. The lads returned the fire, recovered 
their comrade's body and arms, and kept off the Maoris until 
assistance arrived from the town. 



It was the practice of the troops to stand to their arms an hour 
before daybreak as a precaution against surprise. In the raw and 
chilty early morning of the 23rd January, 1861, the Regulars in the 
Kairau and Huirangi redoubts turned out as usual and stood in 
silence awaiting the sunrise. Suddenly a single gunshot came 
from the fern 100 yards to the right of No. 1 Redoubt. This 
was a Maori signal-gun. The next instant the fringes of the 
murky plain were a blaze of fire, and the roar of musketry ran 
along the fern on the right and left flanks of the British posts. 
The soldiers replied with their Enfields — though there was nothing 
but the flashes at which to fire — and the gloomy morning, so 
quiet a few moments before, was thunderous with the bellow and 
crackle of musketry. Presently the firing near No. 1 Redoubt and 
No. 2 Redoubt ceased : it was a Maori feint to divert attention 
from the real attack. No. 3 (400 yards in advance of No. 2) was 
the objective, and as the excited soldiers in the rear field-works 
peered through the darkness they saw the advanced redoubt, 
which had only been completed by the 40th Regiment the previous 
evening, all at once encircled by a darting ring of flame that lit 
up the darkness like a blaze of tropical lightning, followed by an 
incessant roll of small-arms fire and presently the explosion of 

The garrison of No. 3 Redoubt (the headquarters of the 40th, 
under Colonel Leslie) had a crowded half-hour of fighting before 
dawn that morning. While the natives in the rifle-pits and the 
British trenches that flanked the line of advance were making 
ready to open their feint attack, a picked party of a hundred and 
forty warriors — Ngati-Haua, Ngati-Maniapoto, Waikato, and Te 
Atiawa — crept up to the redoubt, and about half of them silently 
entered the ditches on the left and right faces of the redoubt — the 
two unflanked sides. Their leaders were Manga (Rewi Maniapoto) 
and Epiha Tokohihi, from Kihikihi, and Hapurona. Some were 
armed with double-barrel guns or with rifles ; others carried only 
long-handled tomahawks for close-quarters combat. They were 



supported by some hundreds of tribesmen in firing-trenches within 
close range of the redoubt. 

The storming-party stealthily began to cut steps with their 
tomahawks in the earth of the newly scarped parapet. When 
they were about to attempt the assault a sentry of the 40th fired 
at a Maori just outside the trench. A return shot killed the soldier, 
and the next moment the 40th were at grips with their determined 
foes. The ditch was crowded with Maoris, some firing at the 
line of heads above them, some furiously springing up the scarp 
and slashing at the soldiers with their tomahawks. The men 
fired into the trench as fast as they could load their Enfields, and 
others threw short-fuse shells into the ditch. Lieutenant Jackson, 
of the 40th, was leaning over the parapet firing his revolver into 
the mass of Maoris when he was shot through the forehead. The 



'WMM/w/Mzzzm , 








w»»A fcWHVM 


No. 3 Redoubt, Huirangi. 
The flank A — B was the one first attacked by the Maoris 

attackers (including the supports in the fern) and the garrison 
were nearly equal in numbers. 

Although the British musketry and the exploding shells and 
hand-grenades spread death and wounds among the warriors in 
the trench, the Maori forlorn hope stuck to their work tenaciously. 
Again and again those daring spirits essayed to scale the straight- 
cut scarp, only to be shot down or bayoneted by the soldiers. So 
the struggle went on until reinforcements came doubling up and 
cleared the ditch of all but the dead and dying. 

A vivid account of the morning's fight is contained in an un- 
published manuscript written by Colonel H. Stretton Bates, then 
a young ensign, who was an eye-witness of the combat. Colonel 
Bates was in No. 1 Redoubt with his regiment, the 65th — the 
" Royal Tigers " — nearly all stalwart Irishmen with experience of 


more than one combat. His story, after narrating the beginning 
of the attack, describes the despatch of reinforcements and the 
final scenes : — * 

" It was evident to us in No. i that the surprise had failed, 
but the defenders of No. 3 were hard pressed. The heavy firing 
continued, and the cheers of the gallant 40th mingled with the 
wailing cries of the attackers- as they adjured each other to be 
brave ( ' Kia toa ' ) and to slay the soldiers. But hark to the 
clear notes of a bugle ringing out in the morning air from the 
advanced post ! We recognize the regimental call of the ' Royal 
Tigers,' followed by the advance. ' Whew ! ' muttered our Colonel 
Wyatt, ' the 40th are calling for trumps ' ; and he ordered two 
companies of the ' Tigers ' and one of the 12th, a detachment of 
which corps was with us in No. 1, to proceed at once to the help 
of the defenders of No. 3 Redoubt. The great bearded fellows, 
looking more like bushrangers than soldiers, fell in without a 
moment's delay, and ere the bugle had sounded a third appeal 
for help the column of fours was out of the redoubt and, under 
command of the senior captain, who was destined to receive a 
brevet majority for his morning's work, was making its way over 
the plain at a steady double. The remainder of the ' Tigers,' 
leaning over the parapet, watched the drama which was being 
enacted in front. As the three companies passed No. 2 Redoubt 
the occupants gave them a loud cheer, and in a few minutes more 
the advanced redoubt was reached. 

" Day was now breaking ; the fire was not so continuous as 
before, and what there was came mostly from the front face. 
Loud cheers rose from the 40th, and they called out to the 
reinforcers that the ditch in front of the redoubt was crammed 
with natives, but that the thickness of the parapet and want of 
flanking defence prevented their rifles being sufficiently depressed 
so as to reach the Maoris. There was a hasty consultation, and 
then the ' Tigers ' descended into the wide ditch on the right of 
the work, and the company of the 12th Regiment into the ditch 
on the left, and both parties made their way towards the front of 
the redoubt. 

' The ditch in front was crowded with the attackers. Poor 
fellows ! they had felt confident of surprising the soldiers, and 
had evidently come to stay, for they had brought provision of 
Indian corn with them. Better that they had brought ladders 
or bundles of faggots to enable them to scale the parapet. One 
of their number was a native catechist, who repeated prayers 

* Manuscript narrative by the late Colonel H. S. Bates, of England, 
lent by his son, Mr. H. D. Bates, of Wanganui. Colonel Bates served with 
the 65th Regiment in New Zealand for several years, and was a staff 
interpreter under General Cameron in the Waikato in 1863. 


incessantly from the Church of England prayer-book all through 
the struggle. His blood-stained prayer-book was found on his 
body. Though the warriors were comparatively sheltered from 
musketry fire as they huddled together in the ditch, still ghastly 
wounds were being inflicted, as the soldiers lighted and flung 
over hand-grenades amongst the crowded mass, while some of the 
artillerymen, finding it impossible to depress the muzzles of the 
guns sufficiently, got shells and, having cut short the fuses, ignited 
them and rolled them over the parapet, so that falling they 
exploded, spreading havoc around them. In vain the doomed 
wretches tried to pick up the spluttering hand-grenades and fling 
them back ; the natives were packed too closely together, and the 
horrid things exploded amongst them with grim result. The Maoris 
feared to quit the ditch and endeavour to retire, as to do this 
would have exposed them to the fire of the rifles which lined the 
parapet ; besides, amongst the warriors were many of the warlike 
Ngati-Maniapoto and other Waikato tribes, whose motto was 
' Death before dishonour.' On came the ' Tigers ' along the side 
ditch. It was evident that a volley would greet the head of the 
little column as it turned the corner to make its way into the 
front ditch which the attackers occupied. 

" Half a dozen guns ring out and down goes our leading man 
with a bullet through his forehead. A comrade staggers against 
the counterscarp, for a ball has struck him in the face and carried 
away part of his upper lip and some of his teeth. But on go 
the ' Tigers ' with a wild shout. For a moment the leading files 
cross bayonet with tomahawk. Ugly wounds are inflicted by the 
whirling tomahawks and thrusting bayonets, and then the dusky 
warriors turn and scramble as best they can out of the ditch, 
endeavouring to gain the shelter of the fern and the forest. The 
occupants of the redoubt fire one round at the fugitives, and then 
hold their hand to avoid hitting the ' Tigers ' and the 12th men, 
who have scrambled up the counterscarp of the ditch and are 
now scattered in pursuit of the flying foes. There is no time to 
reload, and the bayonet does its deadly work. The swifter-footed 
of the fugitives gain the shelter of the bush, and then the 
bugles sounding the 'Recall' check the pursuit. The repulse is 

" The dead and wounded are collected. There are between 
forty and fifty natives left on the field, and most of the wounds 
are mortal. 

" Amongst the wounded was one youth of striking aspect. 
His long black hair and regular features would have made him 
appear effeminate but for the length of limb and splendid 
muscular development which caught the eye even as he lay on 
the ground, looking like a dusky Antinous. A good-natured 
soldier, one of the ' Tigers,' hearing him moaning something 


which sounded like ' wai ' (water), was trying to make him drink 
from his canteen, saying, ' Here, Jack, here's wai for you.' The 
soldiers always addressed the Maoris as ' Jack,' and the Maoris 
the soldiers as ' Tiaki ' also. My knowledge of the language 
enabled me to recognize that the wounded man was moaning 
' Kia maranga,' meaning that he desired to be raised up. I 
noticed the small red mark in his chest which showed that a 
bullet had probably penetrated a lung, the bleeding from which 
was choking him. So kneeling down and putting my arms round 
him I raised him gently and supported him in a sitting position. 
He smiled and whispered, ' It is well ' ; but the blood gushed 
from his mouth, and he fell heavily back in my arms as I knelt 
behind him. After a little he rallied, and I heard him panting 
as in whispers he endeavoured to repeat the Maori rendering of 
the Lord's Prayer, ' Miirua o matou hara' ('Forgive us our tres- 
passes '). So far he got in an agonized and almost inaudible 
whisper, and then the blood poured from his mouth again ; there 
was a short struggle, and the weight I was supporting became 
very heavy. Slowly I laid him down, and I am not ashamed to 
say that my eyes grew dim as I thought how desolate some 
heart in the far Waikato land would be when the morning's 
work was known. 

" As I turned away I saw sitting near me, propped up with 
a bundle of rugs and mats, an elderly grey-haired Maori, whose 
name I afterwards heard was Marakai, or Malachi. (This was a 
man of Ngati-Mahuta.) He was gravely smoking, and had been 
watching the poor youth's end. From him I learned the lad's 
name, and that he was one of the Ngati-Maniapoto Tribe. The 
name I treasured in my memory, and some two years later, when 
I had been sent on a political mission to the warlike and resentful 
Ngati-Maniapoto, I found myself one night at the village from 
which the dead warrior came, and was able to relate to his 
mother the particulars of her son's death. Several of my then 
hearers confessed that they had been of the attacking-party on 
that 23rd January, and proudly exhibited the scars of bullet- 
wounds on their bodies. They told me that their original design 
had been to make a simultaneous attack on all three redoubts. 

" Knowing that Marakai was wounded, I inquired if he was 
in much pain. With a courtly, half-sarcastic smile he inclined 
his head so as to direct my attention to his knee, which had 
been frightfully damaged by the explosion of a shell or hand- 
grenade, quietly remarking, ' With a wound such as that one 
must suffer somewhat.' Poor old fellow ! What a noble man 
he was ! A nobleman in fallen circumstances if you like, but 
always a nobleman. I heard that he afterwards bore the 
amputation of his leg in the most plucky manner, but sank a 
day or two after the operation. 


" Leaving the ghastly hne of dead or dying Maoris I passed 
into the redoubt, where in a tent were lying our dead and 
wounded men. In his own tent was lying poor old Lieutenant 
Jackson, of the 40th, who had received a bullet through his 
forehead while leaning over the parapet at the beginning of the 
attack and firing his revolver at the natives." 

The British losses in the No. 3 Redoubt fight were five killed 
and eleven wounded. The Maoris lost quite ftft}' killed outright 
or mortally wounded. Among the dead were the chiefs Te 
Retimana and Paora te Uata (Ngati-Raukawa), and Ratima te 
Paewaka, of Waikato. Thirty-seven double-barrel and single- 
barrel guns and flint-lock muskets were found on the field, besides 
some stone meres and many tomahawks. 



In the beautiful midsummer weather the advance upon Te 
Arei was carried on under conditions which made soldiering life 
a pleasure in spite of the harassing tactics of the Maori snipers 
and the toil of redoubt-building. The tardy progress towards 
Hapurona's fortress was enlivened by numerous skirmishes, and 
there were casualties nearly every day. The flanks of the 
British advance were as animated as beehives with the native 
musketeers, whose guerilla activities kept the Regulars' covering- 
parties busy. No Volunteers or Militia were employed on these 
operations — their attention was concentrated on the patroUing of 
New Plymouth and its outskirts ; but they could have been of 
assistance to the General in scouring the bush and working round 
to the rear of Te Arei. Pratt, however, made no attempt to 
engage his antagonists otherwise than by a frontal advance. 
Like his successor, General Cameron, he had a horror of bush 
warfare, in which the mobile Maori had so great an advantage 
over the soldier of the line. Yet there were not only settler- 
soldiers but many of the veterans of the 65th who could have 
been formed into an excellent forest-ranging corps, competent to 
follow the Maori into the roughest country if given a free hand 
and unhampered by the rigid Imperial methods. But it was not 
until 1863 that the value of such bush-fighting companies was 

The advance was along a plateau of inconsiderable width 
with a ver}^ gentle upward slant inland to Te Arei, bordered on 
either flank by deep lateral valleys and ravines filled with karaka 
and rata trees and other timber. On the left these gullies fell 
steeply to the Waitara River ; on the right they were enclosed 
by rolling hills, all densely wooded. In the rear was a forest 
country practically untrodden by Europeans ; it was known, how- 
ever, that in there were large plantations at Mataitawa and 
other well-sheltered retreats of the Atiawa. Day after day the 
Maoris in their fern-masked firing-pits on the edges of the plateau 
made practice with their tupara at the working-parties and the 
covering-details. Nightly the soldiers, withdrawn into their field 



fortifications, heard the distant doleful sound of the putatara and 
the tetere, the warriors' war-horns, and the high, long-drawn chants 
of the whaka-araara-pa, or sentinel songs. As the summer weeks 
went on, the troops became impatient for. the order to advance 
at a pace somewhat quicker than Pratt's mile a month. "When 
are we going to rush the pa?" many a Regular asked, with his 
eyes lifted to the entrenched positions of his foe. " Look ye 
here, towney," a big 65th man was heard to say to his comrade, 
" two glasses of rum and a shout, and we'd be into them rifle-pits 
and picking the Maoris out with our bay 'nits." 

The work on the long series of saps carried towards Huirangi 
and Te Arei was begun on the afternoon of the 22nd January, 
the day before the attack on No. 3 Redoubt. A double sap, 
termed also a "gabionnade" in the Royal Engineers' technical 

From a drawing by Lieutenant H. S. Bates (65th. Regt.).] 

The British Positions at Huirangi, 1861, 
Showing Maoris sniping from the edge of the bush. 

phraseology, directed towards the centre of the Maori position, 
was commenced from the front of No. 3 Redoubt, and nearly 
200 feet were excavated by dark. The working-party consisted 
of fifty men with five Royal Engineers. During the following 
eleven days the sap was steadily pushed forward, often under fire. 
The total length of this double sap dug was 768 yards, crossing 
the Maori rifle-pits when they abandoned the Huirangi position. 
The manuka gabions used were generally made at the Waitara 
camp by men of the Naval Brigade, assisted by soldiers, under 
the direction of Royal Engineers non-commissioned officers. 

Another redoubt, called No. 4, was constructed on the 27th 
and 28th January, 310 yards ahead of the place where the 


sap was commenced. This was a small square work, measuring 
i ;.\ yards each side inside the parapet ; it was garrisoned by 
fifty men. 

A fifth redoubt, 24 yards square, was built 200 yards farther 
on, and 260 yards from the nearest of the Maori rifle-pits. It was 
garrisoned by a hundred men, with a 24-pounder howitzer. 

On the afternoon of the 1st February the Maoris were dis- 
covered to have abandoned their position at Huirangi, falling back 
on the main fortress on the height at Te Arei, the north-west 
front of the famous old pa of Puke-rangiora, several hundreds 
of feet above the Waitara River. No. 6 Redoubt was built at 
Huirangi, its front slightly in advance of the abandoned Maori 
rifle-pits, in the middle of a field of high Scotch thistles ; its 
left-front angle was close to a patch of dense bush extending 
to the left and front. A portion of this bush was cleared by 

From the end of the double sap at Huirangi a short single sap, 
90 yards, was carried on in the direction of Te Arei. Fifty men 
were employed in filling in the native rifle-pits to the right of 
No. 6 Redoubt ; they extended for half a mile. No. 6 was 
garrisoned by the headquarters of the 65th Regiment, and a 
platform was laid for an 8-inch gun. 

No. 7 Redoubt was now constructed (10th to 12th February), 
about 1,300 yards ahead of No. 6, and about 800 yards from the 
front of Te Arei pa. Its building was carried on on the first day 
under a sharp fire from a line of Maori rifle-pits in commanding 
positions, and from the pa itself. This fire was replied to by a 
line of British skirmishers, supported by four guns and howitzers. 
Captain Strange (65th Regiment) was mortally wounded. The 
redoubt was garrisoned by four hundred men, including the head- 
quaiters of the 40th Regiment. The front face and part of the 
left face were surmounted with gabions filled with earth, with 
sandbag loopholes at intervals to protect the interior from the 
natives' plunging fire. A man had been killed and an officer and 
a man wounded within the redoubt. A screen for an 8-inch gun 
was erected on the left flank of the redoubt ; it was 12 yards in 
length, and was formed of two rows of gabions surmounted by a 
third row, all filled and backed up with earth from a ditch in the 
front. A parapet was also thrown up on the right of the redoubt 
outside as a cover for field-guns. 

On the 16th February the sappers were again set to work. A 
single sap was commenced from the right-front angle of No. 7 
Redoubt, being directed to clear the Maoris'' rifle-pits close to the 
precipitous banks of the Waitara. This sap was continued, often 
under heavy fiie, until the 25th ; 452 yards had been excavated 
5 feet 6 inches wide. The first 62 yards of the sap were without 
traverses ; thenceforward the work was protected with traverses 


at intervals at from 10 to 12 yards. Meanwhile No. 7 Redoubt 
was considerably strengthened. The parapets were raised, and 
the ditch was widened to 9 feet, the earth being laid to form a 
glacis outside. The sap was now abreast of a hill called by the 
troops " Burnt Hill," about 500 yards distant. The Maoris dug 
rifle-pits on the slope of this hill, and their fire considerably 
annoyed the working-parties. 

On the morning of the 25th February the direction of the sap 
was changed towards the left of Te Arei pa, and it was carried 
on as a double sap. A demi-parallel was commenced on the left, 
about 40 yards from where the double sap commenced. 

The slow but sure approach of the sappers was now seriously 
disturbing the Maoris, who decided that it was time to interfere 
more actively than by sniping from distant cover. Accordingly, 
on the night of the 27th February, when the troops had with- 
drawn to the redoubts, a large body of natives crept silently out 
of the pa and vigorously set to work to fill in the trenches. They 
destroyed the whole of the double sap, the portion of demi- 
parallel, and more or less filled in nearly 150 yards of the single 
sap. They carried some of the gabions into the pa, and burned 
others, and removed also the sap-rollers. 

Next day, to guard the progress of the sap, another redoubt 
(No. 8) was constructed ; its front face was 34 yards from the 
end of the single sap. This field-work, the last of the elaborate 
series, was square, with a side of 16 yards within the parapet. 
It was occupied nightly by a guard of fifty men. 

On the morning of the 1st March the whole of the old double 
sap was filled in, and the single sap was connected with the ditch 
of the rear face of No. 8 Redoubt. A new double sap was then 
commenced from the centre of the front ditch of the redoubt. It 
was directed to the right (the British left) of the entrance to Te 
Arei fortress. The traverses were at intervals of 10 yards. This 
day it was seen that the Maoris had put the stolen gabions to 
use by setting them up as a screen in front of the entrance 
to the pa. 

By the 3rd March the workers in the sap came under a heavy 
plunging fire from the front of the pa. A demi-parallel was now 
thrown out to the left, about 50 yards in front of No. 8 Redoubt, 
and was continued to the edge of the cliff above the Waitara 
River. This work was 43 yards in length ; the last 20 yards were 
converted from a line of Maori rifle-pits. 

Under many interruptions the sap was pushed forward. The 
ground being commanded from the pa and the rifle-pits, the sap 
was deepened to 4 feet 6 inches ; the traverses were placed from 
8 feet to 10 feet apart, and made two gabions in height. The 
demi-parallel to the river-cliff was connected by an approach with 
the left-front angle of the redoubt, and about 10 yards of the 



dcmi-parallel was made into a battery for howitzers and a mortar. 
On the afternoon of the 5th March a party of warriors from the 
pa crept through the bushes on the edge of the precipice to the 
left and fired a volley into the sap, killing one man and wounding 
four others. To draw attention from this point of attack the 
native garrison had commenced a brisk fire from the bush on the 
right rear of No. 7 Redoubt, and continued it along the whole line 
of their entrenchments. 

As the ground rose towards the pa the traverses were placed 
14 yards apart and made one gabion in height, and the trench 
was excavated to the depth of 3 feet only. Heavy rain for two 
days interrupted progress, then the work was pushed on again 
steadily. Slight changes in the contour of the ground involved 
alterations from time to time in the intervals between the 

From a drawing by Lieutenant H. S. Bales (65th Regt.).] 

The Attack on Te Arei, 
Showing the advanced British positions, 1861. 

traverses. On the nth March the sappers were making the 
traverses 12 yards apart and one gabion in height. 

For three days (12th, 13th, and 14th March) hostilities and 
engineering-work were suspended at the request of Wiremu Tame- 
hana, who had just arrived from the Waikato to negotiate for 
peace. His efforts were not successful at the time, but peace was 

On the 15th March, the truce having expired, the works were 
recommenced, and a demi-parallel was begun at the left of the 
sap at 236 yards from No. 8 Redoubt. The object was to drive 
the natives from their rifle-pits along the precipice to the British 
left front. This trench was dug about 50 yards in two days, and 


carried to the verge of the cliff into the rifle-pits, which were 

Two days were spent by strong working-parties enlarging No. 7 
Redoubt and constructing platforms and cover for heavy artillery, 
which presently opened on the pa. The Maoris on the afternoon 
of the 15th March carried on a very heavy musketry fire all along 
their front. That night they made an attempt to carry off the 
sap-roller at the end of the demi-parallel, but their scheme was 
violently frustrated by the explosion of an 8-inch shell which had 
been placed behind it, and connected with it and a friction-tube 
by a lanyard. (The sap-roller was a large cylindrical bundle of 
manuka-branches and fern, bound round gabions filled with earth, 
and 6 or 7 feet thick. It was rolled along in front of the advanced 
sappers for head-cover.) 

Two important additions to the Imperial field force arrived in 
January, 1861 — the 14th and 57th Regiments. The 14th came to 
Auckland from Cork in the auxiliary-screw ship " Robert Lowe " 
and the ships " Boanerges " and " Savilla." Their Commander was 
Colonel (afterwards Major-General) Sir James E. Alexander, an 
officer of great experience in many climes. The 57th (First Middle- 
sex), the famous " Die-Hards " of Albuera glory, under Major 
Logan — who was followed by Colonel (afterwards General) Sir 
H. J. Warre — arrived from Bombay in the ships "Star Queen" 
and "Castilian." The " Die-Hards" proved highly competent in 
frontier warfare, and in after-years they were called upon for a 
great deal of hard fighting under General Chute. They shared, 
in fact, with the veteran 65th the toil and the honours of the 
most arduous service in the campaign undertaken by the Imperial 

Between the Maoris and some of the troops fighting at Te 
Arei the war was conducted quite in the spirit of a chivalrous 
tournament. The 65th, who had had very friendly relations with 
the Taranaki natives in the intervals of peace, were singled out 
for good-humoured banter and frequent injunctions from the rifle- 
pits to "Lie down, Hiketi Piwhete, we're going to shoot." Some- 
times, as the sap drew near the pa, there would come a loud request, 
"Homai te tupeka," and when in response a packet of tobacco was 
thrown over into the Maori trenches, back would come a basket 
of peaches or a kit of potatoes. These amenities did not extend 
to the other regiments ; the 57th were bidden " go back to India." 
For all the amusing interchange of courtesies between the opposing 
lines there was a great deal of hot firing, though with little result. 
Sergeant-Ma j or E. Bezar (ex 57th), of Wellington, recalls that one 
morning before breakfast every man in his part of the advanced 
trenches had expended all the ammunition he had brought — 120 
rounds. Bezar himself one morning fired 160 rounds. It must be 
remembered that the Enfields which the troops used were muzzle- 



loaders, with necessarily a rather long interval between each shot, 
so that the barrel did not heat so greatly as that of a modern 
magazine rifle. 

There was now a heavy siege-train battering away at the Maori 
defences. The storm of shot and shell compelled the garrison to 
take to their underground quarters, but even there they were not 
always safe when the Armstrongs began to play on them. There 
were in front of Te Arei two 8-inch naval guns, two 8-inch and 



The British Sap at Te Arei. 

(i.) Cross-section of sap, with traverse and gabions. 
(2.) Head of the sap, close to Maori works, Te Arei in March, 1861. 
(3.) Remains of sap near north face of Te Arei pa, as existing at the 
present time. 

two 10 -inch mortars, four Coehorn mortars, two 24 -pounder 
howitzers, three 12-pounder and one 9-pounder field-guns. The 
large-calibre mortars and the Armstrong field-pieces had been 
brought in the ship " Norwood " to Auckland (arriving 4th March, 


1861) by the Royal Artillery, under Captain Mercer (killed 
at Rangiriri, 1863). The mortars and half the field-guns were 
landed at the Waitara River in surf-boats on the 13th March, 
and commenced firing on the pa from No. 7 Redoubt on the 
15th March. The precision of the gunnery and the destruction 
caused by the bursting shells, added to the harassing effect of 
the night firing of the artillery, convinced Hapurona and his allies 
that their stronghold was no longer tenable. 

On the 17th March the demi-parallel reached a- point at a bend 
in the rifle-pits where a palisade on the cliff-edge barred further 
passage. Near here Lieutenant MacNaghten, R.A., was shot dead. 
It was he who had fired the first shot in the Waitara war, exactly 
a year before his death. Next clay the sap, which had been 
suspended since the 11th, was recommenced, and 27 yards were 
formed during the day. The last two shells thrown into Te Arei 
were fired from the big mortars mounted at No. 7 Redoubt at 
4 a.m. on the 19th March, 1861. The Maori white flag went up 
about 6 o'clock. The working and covering parties were then 
withdrawn and hostilities ceased. 

The total length of the sap executed in this advance on Te 
Arei was 1,626 yards, exclusive of the 45 yards double sap filled in 
after having been destroyed by the Maoris, and of the final 
demi-parallel, 67 yards. This length is made up as follows : Double 
sap from No. 3 Redoubt to Huirangi, 768 yards ; single sap 
(stopped), go yards ; sap from No. 7 Redoubt towards Te Arei 
(single sap), 452 yards ; from No. 8 Redoubt (new double sap) 
316 yards : total, 1,626 yards. 

The war was terminated by an agreement between Hapurona 
and the Government, Wiremu Kingi having gone to Kihikihi, 
Upper Waikato, to live with his friends the Ngati-Maniapoto. 
Mr. Donald McLean (afterwards Sir Donald), Native Secretary, 
and the Rev. J. A. Wilson, of the Church Missionary Society, were 
the chief agents of the Government, and after some days' dis- 
cussion they persuaded Hapurona to accept the conditions laid 
down by the Governor in Council, the Waikato tribes agreeing at 
the same time to return to their homes. The terms agreed upon 
included the investigation of the title to the Waitara Block and 
the completion of the survey, restoration of plunder taken from 
the settlers, and the submission of the Atiawa to the Queen's 
authority. Hapurona and Wiremu Ngawaka Patu - Kakariki 
signed the peace treaty on behalf of the Maoris. Ngati-Ruanui 
declined to sign, pending a meeting of the Waikato tribes to 
discuss the war. 

The net result of the war was the enormous destruction of 
settlers' property at comparatively small cost to the Taranaki 
Maoris. More than three-fourths of the farmhouses at Omata, 
Bell Block, Tataraimaka, and settlements nearer the town had 


been burned or sacked. The premises of 187 farming families were 
destroyed, many of them in daylight, and some within rifle-range 
of the stockades. The total value of homes and stock lost was 
estimated at £200,000. The blunder of the Waitara purchase had 
set the province back well-nigh twenty years. The Government 
made some compensation, but the parliamentary vote for the pur- 
pose (£25,000) went only a very small way to satisfy the ruined 
settlers' claims. Further financial assistance, however, was granted 
later on. 


A considerable portion of the sap towards Te Arei pa, Puke-rangiora, 
is still to be seen. The traveller turning up from the New Plymouth - 
Waitara Road from near Kairau drives along a plain studded with the ruins 
of British redoubts and Maori entrenchments, and when within about half 
a mile of Te Arei may observe on the left-hand side, in the paddocks between 
the road and the Waitara River, the depression in the turf which marks the 
line of the sap. At the end of the plain before the ascent to Te Arei 
begins the earthworks of No. 7 Redoubt are seen in the middle of a field 
on the left of the road as one goes from Kairau. Tall pine-trees grow on 
the grassy parapets and cast their shade over the many-angled redoubt, 
a camping-ground sixty years ago for four hundred Imperial troops. A 
little beyond this, parallel with the road, the shallow dip in the grass 
indicates the olden sap, and when the Government fenced scenic reserve 
is reached on the slant upwards to Te Arei the long trench is more clearly 
defined. About 200 yards of the sap, ending within 100 yards of the Maori 
position, are in almost perfect order. The trench here is 10 to 12 feet wide 
and 6 feet deep, with a low parapet on either side formed by the earth 
thrown up. The traverses (mounds of earth left alternately right and 
left in the trenches to guard against a raking fire) are still intact, as shown 
in sketch-plan; they are about 12 paces apart. A little above the" end of 
the sap there are partly filled-in Maori rifle-pits and a small redoubt on 
the brink of the Waitara River cliff, with thick bush below, affording 
perfect cover for the defenders, pickets of the pa garrison. Above are the 
high fern-grown parapets of Te Arei. 

Sergeant-Major E. Bezar (late 57th Regiment) supplied the following 
note, under date 13th January, 1921, regarding the death of Lieutenant 
MacNaghten, R.A., at Te Arei on the 17th March, 1861 : " I have seen 
different accounts of the way this gallant and popular officer met his death, 
but they all differ. Possibly I am the only man now living who witnessed 
the event, and I can positively say I was the last man to speak to him 
before he went to his death. We were at the head of the sap. It was 
afternoon, and the enemy were very busy and excited, and we deemed it 
necessary to be prepared for a sudden rush over our way, and we fixed 
bayonets. Lieutenant MacNaghten expressed a desire to go to the top 
of the rise we were cutting through, and I remarked that it was very 
risky, seeing how the bullets were coming over. He climbed out of the 
trench and crawled through the fern to the top of the rise. I fancy they 
must have noticed the moving fern. He was lying flat and looking through 
his glasses when he received the fatal shot. A year ago that day he fired 
the first howitzer shot at the enemy. He was not laying a gun on this 
occasion, as I have seen stated, for there was not a gun nearer than No. 7 
Redoubt, several hundred yards to the rear. I have a very vivid recollec- 
tion of this sad event, and I never took my eyes from the officer, for the 
bullets were pinging over that rise by the dozen." 



Before the winter of 1861 most of the troops in Taranaki 
were withdrawn to Auckland, Colonel Warre remaining in New 
Plymouth with his regiment, the 57th. Major-General Pratt left 
for Melbourne after the arrival of a new Commander-in-Chief, 
Lieut. -General Sir Duncan Cameron, who had led the 40th Regi- 
ment at the Battle of the Alma, and the Highland Brigade at 
Balaclava and the siege of Sebastopol. Many of the troops sent to 
Auckland were employed on the Great South Road, which was 
being cut through the forest from Drury to the Waikato River. 
In Taranaki the Atiawa were amicable, but the Ngati-Ruanui and 
their kin remained unfriendly. 

An incident of 1862 (1st September) was the wreck at Te 
Namu, near Cape Egmont, of the steamer " Lord Worsley," 
600 tons, carrying passengers, mails, and gold from Nelson to 
New Plymouth and Auckland. Wiremu Kingi te Matakaatea and 
Eruera te Whiti (afterwards the celebrated prophet of Parihaka) 
befriended the shipwrecked people, numbering sixty, who were 
permitted to go overland to New Plymouth with their baggage, 
after this had been examined by the Kingite customs officers ; 
each person had to pay 5s. on passing the Maori toll-gate esta- 
blished as the result of a large Maori conference at Kapoaiaia. 
Mr. Robert Graham, Auckland, who was a passenger, pluckily 
saved the gold that was on board, and twice traversed the 
hostile territory, carrying his loads safely into New Plymouth. A 
young half-caste named Hori Teira (George Taylor), who was 
one of the keepers of the toll-gate, obtained a horse for Mr. 
Graham and otherwise assisted him, and this act of friendship 
brought its unexpected reward in the following year, when Hori 
lay in prison in Auckland. 

Soon after Sir George Grey had succeeded Colonel Gore 
Browne as Governor of New Zealand, arriving at Auckland on 
the 26th September, 1862, in H.M.S. "Cossack," from Cape 
Town, a new native policy was promulgated. A Commission had 
investigated the proprietary interests in the Waitara lands, and 
as the outcome of its inquiries the Governor issued, on the nth 


May, 1863, a Proclamation announcing the abandonment of the 
purchase of Teira's block and the renunciation by the Govern- 
ment of all claims to that area of land. This tardy vindica- 
tion of Wiremu Kingi s cause had unfortunately been preceded 
by the armed occupation of the Tataraimaka Block, which had 
temporarily been abandoned in i860, and which the Maoris now 
claimed by right of conquest. Three hundred officers and men 
of the 57th, under Colonel Warre, marched out along the south 
road, and on the 4th April encamped on Tataraimaka, and built 
a redoubt on Bayley's Farm, near the Katikara River. The 
Taranaki Tribe had previously informed the Governor and General 
Cameron that Tataraimaka would not be given up unless the 
British first gave up the Waitara. The march upon Tataraimaka 
was naturally accepted as an act of war, and Taranaki promptly 
sent out appeals for assistance to Ngati-Ruanui and Nga-Rauru, 
and to Ngati - Maniapoto and Waikato ; a letter was sent 
to Wiremu Kingi at Kihikihi. Five weeks elapsed before the 
Government made amends for the error of Gore Browne and his 
advisers, and in the meantime hostilities had commenced. 

The Ambush at Wairau. 

The first shot in the second Taranaki campaign was fired on 
the 4th May, 1863. The Taranaki and Ngati-Ruanui planned 
ambuscades to cut off communications between Tataraimaka and 
New Plymouth, and warnings of these intended ambush tactics 
had been sent to the authorities in New Plymouth by friendly 
natives, but were lightly regarded. Sir George Grey was in the 
habit of riding out to the military post at Tataraimaka (fifteen 
miles from New Plymouth), and on the morning of the 4th May a 
party of thirty or forty young warriors lay in ambush waiting 
for the Governor and his party, who were expected to pass along 
the beach road that day. Among the ambush -party was the 
young half-caste Hori Teira, already mentioned as one of the 
keepers of the Maori toll-gate. His father was a ship's carpenter, 
and his birthplace Kororareka, Bay of Islands. Hori was a lad 
of eighteen. He had been educated at the mission school, and 
had been brought down to Taranaki by his mother's people just 
before the war began. 

The ambuscade was laid on the coast just beyond the Oakura, 
at a place where two small streams, the Waimouku and the 
Wairau, flow down to the shingly beach. (The spot is on the farm 
of Captain Frank Mace.) Low but thick bush and brushwood 
grew close to the beach here, and in its cover between the mouths 
of the two streams, which are not more than 100 yards apart, the 
Maoris awaited their unsuspecting enemy. The Governor did not 
pass that day, but a small military party did. This was an escort 


of the 57th taking a prisoner of the regiment into New Plymouth 
from Tataraimaka. There were six soldiers, under Colour-Sergeant 
Ellers and Sergeant S. Hill. With them also were travelling two 
officers, Lieutenant Tragett and Assistant - Surgeon Hope, who 
were mounted. The officers were riding along the beach a little 
ahead of the soldiers. Young Hori and his companions lying in 
ambush let the mounted men pass by, and then fired a volley 
into the detachment of soldiers at a range of a few yards. 
Hori, relating the story, said that to his astonishment the British 
officers, instead of making their escape as they could easily have 
done, turned their horses and joined the soldiers, and so they, 
too, were shot down. Nine were killed, and the only man who 
escaped was Private Florence Kelly. A Maori named Tukino 
fired at one of the officers, Dr. Hope, and shot him in the face. 
Tukino immediately raised a yell of "Mate rawa!" ("He is 
killed ! ") but the officer rose and confronted his enemies again. 
Thereupon Hori Teira and some of his comrades fired and shot 
him dead The young half-caste rushed out to plunder the dead 
officer — his first blood, or mataika. It was the first man he had 
helped to slay. He took a watch and chain and a ring from 
Dr. Hope's body, and two rifles from the dead soldiers. 

It was a war custom among the Taranaki Maoris that any 
plunder or trophies taken from a foe whom a warrior had killed 
in his first battle — the " first fish " — should not be retained by 
the slayer, but should be given away to some other person in 
order to avert ill luck. It was inviting an aitua (a serious 
misfortune, even death) to keep the first spoils of war. So, on 
returning to the Maori headquarters, Hori was advised by the 
chiefs and elders to give away his war-trophies, and so placate 
the war-god. Hori insisted on wearing the watch and ring, 
declaring that they were too valuable and fine to be given away 
because of an old-fashioned superstition. 

The ill-gotten ring brought its aitua. Three weeks after the 
ambuscade at the Wairau a small party of young warriors, of 
whom Hori Teira was one, laid another ambuscade near the 
Poutoko Redoubt, about eight miles trom New Plymouth. They 
attacked a mounted officer, Lieutenant Waller, of the 57th. His 
horse was hit, and both fell. Hori, imagining that the officer 
was mortally wounded, and yelling " Ki an te tupapaku ! " (" Mine 
is the dead man ! ") rushed out, dropping his rifle, and snatched 
out his short-handled tomahawk to deliver the finishing blow. 
But the officer was by no means a dead man. Jumping to his 
feet, he drew his revolver and fired several shots at Hori. One 
struck the young half-caste in the side. He was not seriously 
wounded, but he could not retreat, as his comrades did when 
a force sallied out from the redoubt. Hori was captured and 
identified as one of the Maoris who had ambushed Dr. Hope and 


his party. The fatal ring was on his finger, the watch was in his 
pocket, and one of the rifles was identified as Dr. Hope's. He 
was charged with murder — although in Maori eyes this ambush 
was thoroughly in accordance with the rules of war — was tried 
and found guilty, and sentenced to be hanged. He was taken 
to Auckland for execution, but his sentence was commuted to 
imprisonment for life. In prison a white man came to see him. 
This was Mr. Robert Graham, Superintendent of the Province 
of Auckland, the " Lord Worsley " passenger whom Hori had 
befriended on the Taranaki coast the previous year. Hori had 
cast his bread upon the waters. Mr. Graham rejoiced in the 
opportunity of repaying the kindness. He persuaded the Governor 
to reduce the sentence. Hori was released after serving four 
years, and he went no more upon the war-path.* 

The war renewed, troops were again moved to Taranaki. The 
Militia and the Volunteers were once more required for guard and 
patrol duty around New Plymouth. 

At the beginning of June more effective methods of frontier 
warfare were introduced by the formation of settler and Volunteer 
corps for the special purpose of following the Maoris into the bush 
and clearing the country surrounding the town of hostile bands. 
The soul of these free-roving tactics was Captain Harry Atkinson. 
His party of fifty men of No. 2 Company, Taranaki Rifles, was 
the first corps of forest rangers to take the field in New Zealand. 
The force, as the war went on, was increased to two companies, and 
was styled the Taranaki Bush Rangers. Day after day Atkinson 

* Hori Teira, who is now a farmer near Parihaka, Taranaki, narrated 
this adventure of his youth to the writer. 

Sergeant-Major Bezar, who, with a party of men, captured Hori Teira, 
says, — 

" Hori Teira was the first prisoner taken in the war of 1863. We 
were in St. Patrick's Redoubt at Poutoko, and I was looking out over the 
parapet when I saw a man hurrying up the hill towards us on foot, and as 
he came closer I saw he was an officer. Seeing an officer dismounted, I 
immediately concluded something was wrong, and I called to some of the 
men, ' Get your rifles, men, quick, quick ! ' so that by the time the officer, 
Lieutenant Waller, came up we were ready. He told me what had happened, 
and I took my party over a short-cut to the place where he had been fired 
at. It was only 500 yards below our redoubt, and about four miles from 
where the ambush had occurred three weeks previously. We skirmished 
up quickly to the belt of bush where Waller had been fired at, and did it so 
quickly that I think we were there scarcely more than five minutes after 
he reached the redoubt and told me what had happened. All the Maoris 
but one had bolted into the bush. This one was Hori Teira. I found him 
crouching in the scrub. A soldier made for him with his bayonet, but I 
stopped him from killing him, saying that I wanted to get the young fellow 
to tell us where they had buried Ryan, one of the nine men killed in the 
previous ambuscade, whose body was still missing. This Teira did, and 
we found the body. I marched him to the redoubt and handed him over. 
Teira told me also that the Maoris had intended the ambush for Sir George 
Grey and General Cameron, whom they had planned to kill." 



led out his war-party of practised bushmen-settlers and scoured 
the forest and the native tracks, and soon had the country free 
from hostiles for a radius of many a mile from New Plymouth. 
The Bush Rangers were armed with Terry breech-loading carbines 
and revolvers. Atkinson's principal fellow-officers in this highly 
useful commission were Captain F. Webster and Lieutenants 
Brown, Jones, McKellar, and Messenger. 

The Storming of Katikara. 

Early in June General Cameron moved out against the southern 
tribes who were resisting the Government's title to the Tatarai- 


ZR Msorf a K.lle 

$ = 

Old C«/f.„f,„ s 

4- 8 Inci, 3 u 

The Battlefield of Katikara (1863). 

maka Block. At St. George's Redoubt, the post which he had 
established at Tataraimaka, he concentrated a considerable force, 
having previously arranged that H.M.S. " Eclipse " should co-operate 
by shelling the Maoris. The Taranaki, Ngati-Ruanui, Nga-Rauru, 
and Whanganui men had entrenched themselves in a position 
above a mile beyond St. George's Redoubt and near the mouth of 
the Katikara River. Falling in at daybreak on the 4th June the 
57th (under Colonel Warre) and the 70th crossed the Katikara 
River and advanced upon the native entrenchments, while a 
preparatory bombardment was carried out by the " Eclipse " — ■ 
which had anchored off the mouth of the river more than a mile 
from the pa — and by an Armstrong battery posted on the edge 


of the cliff above the river near the redoubt. After the shelling 
the 57th carried the position at the point of the bayonet, cleared 
the rifle-pits and trenches, and pursued the beaten foe inland. 
Sergeant-Major E. Bezar, one of the few surviving veterans of the 
57th, took part in the charge ; he thus described to the writer the 
storming of the trenches : — 

" The Taranaki natives' position had not been completed when 
we attacked it. The place was about fifteen miles from New 
Plymouth, on the southern side of Tataraimaka and more inland. 
St. George's Redoubt at Tataraimaka was about a mile away. 
After leaving the redoubt our force had to cross a river and then 
advance in single file up a rough ferny ridge ; at the top we halted 
so as to give the men time to come up, and it was a considerable 
time before we had enough men there to enable us to rush the pa. 
The distance we had to charge across the open was about 150 yards. 
In the meantime Ensign Duncan with fifty men of our regiment 
had been sent on to cut off the Maoria' retreat in the rear. Duncan 
marched up from the redoubt to within a short distance of the pa, 
but instead of taking post in the rear, as he should have done, 
he simply came up along the right flank of the Maoris and rushed 
in at the front of it as we did. Had he done his duty properly 
the Maoris would have been surrounded, and probably the war 
would have ended there. 

" The place, properly speaking, was not a pa, as there was no 
parapet or palisade. It consisted simply of trench-work and rifle- 
pits. The main trenches, about 4 feet wide or so, roughly formed 
three sides of a parallelogram, with the longer side on the front 
which we rushed. Inside the trenches was a series of rifle-pits — 
three or four of them — and within again were two or three large 
wharepunis, sunk in the ground after the usual native fashion, with 
low roofs ; they were thatched with raupo. 

"We charged in across the trench with the bayonet, and the 
Maoris were soon bolting out at the rear. The glacis across which 
we rushed was a potato cultivation ; on the south there was a 
maize-field. I saw one man running down across this field, and 
I took a shot at him and dropped him. By the time I had 
loaded again and caught up to my men we were in the pa. The 
whares were set fire to, or caught fire from the shooting close 
to the thatch, and as they burned the raupo fell in. There 
were several men's bodies under the burning debris when the 
fight was over. 

" When the action was over we collected the dead and wounded. 
Three of our men were killed. The Maoris lost about forty killed. 
We carried twenty-eight bodies out across the trenches and laid 
them in a long row in front of the works they had defended. Then 
General Cameron came up with Sir George Grey, and complimented 
our captain, Russell, on the day's work. The dead Maoris were 


loaded into carts and taken down to the Tataraimaka, and all 
were buried in one large square pit close to our redoubt. 

" A picture in the Illustrated London News, 1864, is a very 
inaccurate drawing of the fight. There was no large earthwork 
as shown in the sketch — only trenches and rifle-pits. 

" Ensign Duncan, so far as I know, was never taken to task 
for his blunder ; but there is no doubt that his fifty men could have 
disposed of the Maoris had they been in their proper position in 
the rear. 

" The surviving Maoris, we heard afterwards, held a meeting 
at night in the bush, and they all decided to wage war to the 
uttermost in revenge for their losses that day." 

A number of Upper Wanganui natives were killed in this 
attack, and these losses accounted in part for the readiness with 
which the river tribes embraced the Hauhau fanaticism in 1864. 

The principal trophy captured on this successful expedition 
was the large board on which the list of Maori tolls was painted, 
set up originally by the Kingites near Te Ika-roa-a-Maui, the 
large assembly-house at Kapoaiaia, near Warea, and afterwards 
brought to Puke-tehe, in the vicinity of Tataraimaka. The tolls 
demanded ranged from £500 for a pakeha policeman to 6d. for a 
Maori pig carried in a cart. The board was put on board H.M.S. 
" Eclipse " for Auckland. 

As the 'Waikato War had now begun, the Ngati-Maniapoto 
and other northern fighters who had gone to Taranaki in response 
to the appeal from the runanga at Mataitawa, when the troops 
occupied Tataraimaka, returned to defend their own territory, 
and left the west-coast tribes to continue the hostilities. There 
was intermittent skirmishing for some months ; in these events 
the Taranaki Rifles Volunteers and the Militia played a conspicuous 
part. The principal engagement during the latter part of 1863 
was an encounter on the 2nd October at Allen's Hill, or Hurford 
Road, five miles and a half from New Plymouth along the south 
road. Colonel Warre took out a strong force of the 57th and 
the settler-soldiers, and there was some brisk fighting on the hill 
and in the fields around the homestead to the west of it. Captains 
Atkinson, Webster, and W. B. Messenger were in charge of the 
Volunteers and Militia, numbering between ninety and a hundred. 
Captain Frank Mace and some of his mounted men were also 
engaged. Two V.C.s were won at Allan's Hill, by Ensign J. T. 
Down and Drummer D. Stagpoole, of the 57th, who went to the 
rescue of a mortally wounded comrade under fire near the bush. 

Now and again the Regular troops, in emulation of Atkinson's 
active Bush Rangers, essayed to lay ambuscades for the Maoris. 
An incident of this kind was the ambushing of a small party of 
natives at the foot of the Patua Range, on which the Kaitake pa 
was built, by a detachment of the 57th, under Captain H. R. 


Russell, from the Poutoko Redoubt. Seven natives were killed 
in this morning surprise. 

The Tataraimaka Block was once more temporarily abandoned 
to the Maoris, and the available forces were concentrated on the 
defences of New Plymouth and its outposts as far as Omata and 
Poutoko on one hand and the Bell Block on the other. The bush- 
scouring parties of the Volunteers were now most useful in patrol- 
ling the broken forest country in rear of the town, and in blocking 
communication between the southern tribes and the Atiawa. 

An example of the numerous bush skirmishes in which the 
settlers' corps were engaged in 1863-64 is described by Captain 
J. R. Rushton, now living at Kutarere, Ohiwa Harbour. Captain 
Rushton says, — 

" Upon my arrival in New Plymouth, a few days after the 
ambuscade of Lieutenant Tragett and Dr. Hope at the Wairau, 
I joined the Bush Rangers, a scouting corps, under Captains 
Atkinson and Webster. Our duties were to patrol on the outskirts 
of the town, which was now isolated from other parts of the colony, 
the Maoris having burned down many houses and murdered some 
settlers. This is how we foiled a Maori ambuscade, through the 
smoke from the pipes : We had been out all night some distance 
past the Bell Block, and, not meeting with the enemy, started to 
return by the edge of the bush, through Street's Clearing, swinging 
along at ease in single file on the bullock-cart road. I was near 
the front with Bill Smart and others. The fern was high, but 
looking over we saw distinctly, at about 250 yards, at the edge of 
the bush, a small curl of smoke ahead, and upon looking again 
saw a group of Maoris in their mats leaning upon their guns. 
Captain Atkinson now got up to us and saw the Maoris, and about 
fifteen or eighteen of us actually formed up in line, and at the word 
' Fire,' gave them a volley. We expected to get their killed and 
wounded, but before we got across the swamp they had dragged 
those hit or killed into the bush. So we did not venture in after 
them, being not far from Mataitawa pa. We got many mats with 
holes through them, and, I think, some guns. We now continued 
our way in the direction of Bell Block, and at a small rise we got 
a volley from behind logs. Following up the Maori party, we 
killed two. We now started again for home, in the direction of 
the Bell Block, and had not gone far when we saw coming 
towards us two bullock-carts. There was a strong wind blowing 
from them, and they told us that they never heard the firing. 
It was a most wonderful escape. The two ambuscades were ready 
for the firewood-carts from Bell Block, and it was evident that the 
second ambuscade never heard our first volley. We now started 
for town, having done a good morning's work. 

" Just a word for my old comrades, the Taranaki boys. The 
Maoris had no chance with them, man for man, in the bush. 



Skirmishing with them under Captain (afterwards Major) Sir Harry 
Atkinson taught me much about taking cover in bush fighting 
that served me well in other campaigns during nearly eight years 
active service in the Maori wars. It is always pleasing to an 
old soldier to be able to remember with affection his old officer. 
When spoken to by Sir Harry Atkinson one knew that he was a 
kind friend as well as a commanding officer." 

Kaitake Pa. 

South of New Plymouth towards the end of 1863 the chief 
activity of the Taranaki was the construction of a strongly 
entrenched position at Kaitake, on a north-western spur of the 

tfj Armstrcnj jw 

Plan of the Attack on Kaitake (1864). 

Patua Range ; the pa was on the bold skyline of this ridge as seen 
from the main road at Oakura. The distance from the Oakura 
River mouth to the pa was about three miles. The local chief 
and engineer of this fortification was Patara Raukatauri, of the 
Taranaki Tribe ; he afterwards gained celebrity as one of the 
emissaries or prophets sent out by Te Ua to preach the fanatic 
gospel of the Pai-marire among the East Coast tribes. (Patara, 
however, was a man of far milder character than his fellow-prophets, 
and did not enter into the deeds of savagery of which Kereopa 
was guilty.) Kaitake was a well-planned stronghold, situated in 
an excellent position for defence, on a steep, high ridge, with a 
frontal stockade covering the terminal of the spur, and two 
parapeted redoubts, one in rear of the other, on the heights. 


There were also skilfully arranged rifle-pits flanking the direct 
approach to the pas. In December, 1863, Colonel Warre shelled 
the place with the Armstrong field-guns, but the final operations 
were deferred until the following year. The Government was now 
bringing in military settlers, many of them from Victoria, and the 
force in the province amounted to about two thousand men, 
including a thousand Regular troops. 

Kaitake was stormed and captured by the troops on the 25th 
March, 1864. A force of 420 of the 57th, 70th, and Volunteers 
and Militia, with four guns, under Colonel Warre, moved out from 
New Plymouth to the base of the range. The guns were placed 
in position about 1,500 yards from the right of the Maori rifle-pits, 
and made such accurate practice that most of the defenders were 
driven out of those portions of the works. In the meantime a 
party of eighty Military Settlers, under Captain Corbett, who had 
left their redoubt at Oakura about 1 a.m., with great labour worked 
their way to the base of the spur on which the rifle-pits had been 
made, and took the positions in reverse. They were nine hours 
advancing two miles and a half through the bush. At 10.30 a.m. 
the guns ceased firing. The main body of the troops advanced 
to within 800 yards of the works, while the Volunteers and 
Military Settlers ascended the spur and carried in succession the 
rifle-pits and the pas, pouring a reverse fire into the trenches 
behind the line of palisading. The Maoris held these trenches 
until a portion of the main body had ascended a ridge on their 
extreme left. Both flanks having been turned, the Maoris retired 
through the bush in their rear. A redoubt for a hundred men 
was immediately constructed on the site of the uppermost pa. 
The enemy's works were gradually destroyed, the bush in the 
vicinity was cut down, and a practicable road was made to the 
position. A party of rejoicing settlers, including a lady, drank 
champagne in the captured stronghold the day after its capture. 
However, four days after the storming of the position the Maoris 
laid an ambuscade within 150 yards of the redoubt, and killed one 
soldier and wounded another. 

It is now necessary to break the narrative of events in Taranaki, 
where the fighting assumed a new phase with the rise of the 
Pai-marire religion, and turn to the outbreak and progress of the 
Waikato War, 1863-64. 



Ka ngapn te whenua ; 

Ka haere nga tangata ki whea ? 

E Ruaimoko 

Purutia ! 

Tawhia ! 

Kia ita ! 

A — a — a ita ! 

Kia mau, kia man ! 

The earthquake shakes the land ; 

Where shall man find an abiding-place ? 

O Ruaimoko 

(God of the lower depths), 

Hold fast our land ! 

Bind, tightly bind ! 

Be firm, be firm ! 

Nor let it from our grasp be torn ! 

— Kingite War-song. 

This chant, often heard even at the present day, embodied the 
passionate sentiment of nationalism and home rule for the Maoris 
which developed into a war-fever in Waikato. From first to last 
the wise and patriotic Wiremu Tamehana was a restraining force, 
and with him a few of the more temperate-minded of the Waikato 
chiefs, such as Patara te Tuhi, nephew of the old King Potatau 
te Wherowhero. Potatau was a firm friend of the pakeha, and, 
had he been a younger man, his undoubtedly great influence, born 
of his warrior reputation and his aristocratic position, probably 
would have prevented the Waikato throwing themselves into a 
test of arms with the Government. In the beginning of the King 
movement, as has already been explained, there was no desire to 
force a war. The great meetings at which the selection of Potatau 
as King was confirmed were attended by numerous Europeans. 
Government officials, missionaries, and traders were alike welcome 
guests at Ngaruawahia, Rangiaowhia, and the other centres of the 
home-rulers. The more intelligent of the Maoris saw clearly that 
there was nothing to be gained by a rupture of relations with the 
pakeha. But the irritation caused by the inevitable friction over 
8— N.Z. Wars. 


European encroachment, the treatment of the natives by the lower 
class of whites, the reluctance of the authorities to grant the 
tribes a reasonable measure of self-government, and, lastly, the 
sympathy with Taranaki and the bitterness engendered by the 
loss of so many men in the Waitara campaign, all went to mould 
the Waikato and their kinsmen into a powerful foe of the Colonial 

In the beginning the natural desire of the natives for a better 
system of government could have been turned to beneficial account 
by a prescient Administration. At a large meeting at Paetai, near 
Rangiriri, on the 23rd April, 1857, Potatau, Te Wharepu, and 
other chiefs asked the Governor, Colonel Gore Browne, for a 
Magistrate and laws, and runanga or tribal councils. To this 
request the Government responded by the experimental esta- 
blishment of civil institutions in the Waikato, under Mr. F. D. 
Fenton, afterwards Judge of the Native Land Court. The new 
machinery, however, was not given time to develop into a useful 
and workable system before Mr. Fenton was recalled, and the 
field was left free for the exponents of Maori independence to 
develop their own schemes of government. 

An account has been given in a previous chapter of the 
first meetings in connection with the establishment of the Maori 
kingdom. The Paetai meeting of 1857 was a highly picturesque 
gathering. The Lower Waikato people were assembled to meet 
their guests from up-river, the Ngati-Haua and Ngati-Maniapoto 
and some of the Waikato hapm, who came sweeping down the 
river in a grand flotilla of nearly fifty canoes. Wiremu Tame- 
hana and his Ngati-Haua set up on the marae or village campus 
the flag of the newly selected King ; this ensign was white, with 
a red border and two red crosses, symbolic of Christianity; it 
bore the words "Potatau Kingi o Niu Tireni." The speeches 
breathed intense patriotism. " I love New Zealand," cried one old 
blanketed chief. " Let us have order, so that we may increase like 
the white man. Why should we disappear from the land ? Let us 
have a king, for with a king there will be peace among us. New 
Zealand is ours — I love it." Another, Hoani Papita, of the 
Rangiaowhia people, Ngati-Hinetu and Ngati-Apakura, made an 
eloquent plea for independence and nationalism. " Fresh water 
is lost when it mingles with the salt," he said. " Let us retain 
our lands and be independent of the pakeha." And he began the 
chant which heads this chapter, " Ka ngapu te whenua." The 
whole two thousand natives gathered around took up the song 
and chanted it in a tremendous chorus. That old heart-cry of 
nationalism still holds power to electrify the Maori. 

The formal investiture of Potatau with the dignity of King of 
the Maori Kotahitanga, or confederation of tribes, took place in 
1858 at Ngaruawahia, and was followed by a large gathering at 


Rangiaowhia, the great granary and orchard of the Upper Waikato, 
not far from Te Awamutu, where presently Mr. Gorst (afterwards 
Sir John Gorst) was placed by Sir George Grey as one of the 
" spades " wherewith to accomplish the downfall of the Maori 
national flag. The aged King Potatau died in the winter of i860, 
and his son Tawhiao, grotesquely baptised Matutaera (Methusaleh), 
became the figurehead of the kingdom in his place. 

Governor Browne and his Ministers consistently declined to 
recognize the Maori King or Maori nationality, but when Sir George 
Grey became Governor, and a peace Ministry was formed under 
Mr. Fox (afterwards Sir William Fox), efforts were made to con- 
ciliate Waikato. In 1861 the Governor sent John Gorst into the 
Waikato as Magistrate and Commissioner to watch the native 
political feeling and to establish European institutions in the heart 
of the Maori country. Grey and his Ministers introduced also a 
system of local government ; under this plan the Maori country was 
to be divided into districts and " hundreds," over each of which a 
Civil Commissioner was to be placed to grapple with the task of 
governing the natives in his zone of influence, with the assistance 
of salaried Maori Magistrates, assessors, and policemen. The new 
institutions were first introduced in the Ngapuhi country and on 
the Lower Waikato, where the salaries and privileges were received 
with enthusiasm, but it was too late to entice the Kingites into the 
Government fold with such devices. The King's runanga of chiefs 
at Ngaruawahia told Mr. Gorst thajt if some plan of the kind had 
been carried out five or six years previously there would never 
have been a Maori King. Still they were willing, if the Governor 
was willing to let their King and flag stand, to adopt his plans and 
work with him for the good of all. But the Kingitanga was the 
stumbling-block. Grey, for all his kindly feeling towards his native 
friends, would have nothing to do with an alien flag, and he 
declared at last, at a Waikato meeting, that although he would 
not fight against the Maori kingdom with the sword, he would 
" dig around it " until it fell. This ominous figure of speech, 
combined with the always suspicious presence of a Government 
agent in the heart of the King's country, and, finally, the com- 
mencement of the military road from Drury through the forest to 
the Waikato River, fostered the Maori disbelief in the friendly 
intentions of the pakeha. 

The Kingites' suspicions of the Governor and his Ministers were 
aggravated by the attempt to establish a Government constabulary 
station at Te Kohekohe. Grey's plan was to police the Lower 
Waikato district by this post, which was close to Te Wheoro's 
settlement on the west bank of the Waikato River, a few miles 
above the mouth of the Manga-tawhiri, but on the opposite side. 
The station or barracks was planned so as to be converted readily 
into a defensible place in the event of war. Te Wheoro, who 



Sir George Grey. 
(Period about 1S60.) 


afterwards became a major of Militia in charge of the contingent 
of Ngati-Naho friendly natives, espoused the Government's side. 
The Lower Waikato people were sharply divided in politics. Most 
of the Ngati-Tipa also favoured the Government, and their chief, 
Waata Kukutai, became an assessor like Te Wheoro. Ngati- 
Tamaoho and Ngati-Pou, on the other hand, were staunch Kingites ; 
these were the people who inhabited Tuakau, Pokeno, and other 
parts close to the great westward bend of the Waikato. Two songs, 
current to this day among the Waikato, voice the opinions of the 
two factions. In one " Te Kohi," as the natives called Mr. Gorst, 
was urged to make the Manga-tawhiri River a close frontier against 
the Kingites : — 

Koia e Te Kohi, 
Purua i Manga-tawhiri, 
Kia puta ai ona pokohiwi, 
Kia whato tou 
E hi na wa ! 

In other words, the Civil Commissioner of Waikato was requested 
to " plug up " the boundary river between pakeha and Maori lands, 
and prevent the King's followers passing below its mouth to trade 
in Auckland, so that presently they would be reduced to a ragged 
condition for want of European clothing. To this piece of political 
persiflage the Kingites retorted with a waiata prompted by the 
Government proposal to establish a police-station at Te Wheoro 's 
village : — 

Kuini i Te Kohekohe, 

Whakaronga mai ra nge, 

Ka pohntu atu nga papa, 

Kei Te la. 

Man na wa I 

O Queen at Te Kohekohe, 

Listen to me ! 

Presently we'll send your timbers splashing, 

To float down to Te la. 

This threat was soon fulfilled, for a party of King supporters 
came down the river, took possession of the sawn timber that had 
been stacked at Kohekohe for the construction of the Government 
station, threw it into the river, and rafted it down to Te Ia-roa 
("The Long Current'*), called by the Europeans " Havelock." 
There they landed it in front of a trading-store kept by a young 
Scotsman, Mr. Andrew Kay. 

The eviction of Mr. Gorst from the Waikato was the next step 
in the Kingites' clearance of aU forms of European authority from 
their land. Mr. Gorst (who had at first thought of entering the 
Melanesian mission work under Bishop Selwyn) came under the 
magic spell of Sir George Grey's personality soon after his arrival 
in New Zealand and he became an enthusiastic instrument of the 



Government in the task of civilizing and educating the Maori 
youth. The Church Missionary Society lent its 200 acres of land 
at Te Awamutu, with school-buildings, to Sir George Grey as a 
technical-education establishment, and there Mr. Gorst for some 
time carried on a useful work, schooling Maori boys in the arts 
of civilized life and at the same time occasionally exercising his 
magisterial office. 

From a portrait by G. Lindauer, in tin- Auckland Municipal Gallery.' 

Tawhiao, thk Waikato King. 

(Died 1894.) 

The story of Gorst's little newspaper, Te Pihoihoi Mokemoke 
i te Tuaniti, or " The Lonely Lark on the House-top " (there being 
no sparrows in Maoriland), established by way of a counterblast 
to the Kingite print Te Hokioi ("The War-bird "), is a pivotal 
incident in the history of the Waikato. The pungent tone of the 



Pihoihoi particularly incensed Rewi and his fellow-chiefs, and the 
mnanga at Kihikihi determined to suppress Gorst and his paper. 
On the 25th March, 1863, when Mr. Gorst was absent at Te 
Kopua, on the Waipa, Rewi and a war-party of Ngati-Maniapoto, 
numbering eighty, invaded Te Awamutu. Wiremu Kingi te Rangi- 
taake, of Waitara fame, accompanied Rewi. A minor chief, Aporo 
Taratutu, was the active agent in the raiding of the station. The 
Government printing-press, type, and paper, and printed copies of 
the fifth number of the Pihoihoi, were seized. Mr. Gorst was now 
ordered to leave Te Awamutu. When he refused, Rewi wrote to 
Governor Grey (then in Taranaki) requesting him to withdraw his 

The Right Hon. Sir John E. Gorst. 

(Died 1916.) 

Sir John Gorstjcame to New Zealand in i860, in the ship " Red Jacket," 
from Liverpool. He was Civil Commissioner in the Upper Waikato, 1861-63. 
His life in the Maori country and his association with the Waikato chiefs 
are. described in his books " The Maori King " and " New Zealand Revisited." 

official. Wiremu Tamehana sadly begged Gorst to leave. " If 
you stay," he said, "some of the young men may grow desperate, 
and I shall not be able to save you." Grey recalled Gorst, who 
left Te Awamutu on the 18th April, 1863. He took a last look at 
it from the heights above the Manga piko as he rode away ; and it 
was more than forty-three years before he saw it again, when he 


revisited Waikato (December, 1906), and was warmly greeted by 
some of the very people who had turned him away.* 

So abruptly ended the Governor's effort to wean Waikato from 
the charms of kingism. Rewi was condemned by Wiremu Tame- 
hana, Patara te Tuhi, and others of the moderate party, but the 
great majority were delighted with Ngati-Maniapoto's coup, and 

* Curious histories attach to the printing plants of the Pihoihoi Moke- 
moke i te Tuanui and the Hokioi. The Pihoihoi press and the type, 
after being seized by the Ngati-Maniapoto at Gorst's station, Te Awamutu, 
in 1863, were carted up to Kihikihi, the headquarters of the tribe. Several 
of the young men helped themselves to a little of the type from the 
cases as curiosities ; otherwise there was no interference with the plant. 
A few days later the press and type were carted to the head of navigation 
and taken in a canoe down the Waipa and Waikato Rivers to Te Ia-roa 
(Havelock), at the mouth of the Manga-tawhiri, where they were handed 
over to Mr. Andrew Kay (later of Orakau), who was then a trader on 
the river. The property was stored in the trading-house, and Mr. Kay 
reported to the Government, whereupon it was sent for and carted off to 
Auckland. It was afterwards used in printing the Gazette and other 
Government work. A legend gained currency that the type of the 
Pihoihoi was melted down by the Kingites and moulded into bullets to 
fire at the British soldiers. Mr. Kay's statement and the testimony of 
the Maoris make it clear that the press was returned almost intact to the 
Government. The small quantity of type taken by Rewi's young men 
at Kihikihi would not have made many bullets. 

The story of the Hokioi press is even more interesting. It goes back 
to the year 1859, when the Austrian frigate " Novara " was in Auckland 
Harbour on a cruise round the world. Dr. Hochstetter, the geologist of 
the expedition, was treated with much kindness by the people of Waikato 
when he made his tour through the interior; and when the "Novara" 
sailed two chiefs of the King's party, Hemara te Rerehau (Ngati-Mania- 
poto) and Wiremu Toetoe (Waikato, of Rangiaowhia), were taken round 
the world in her as guests of the Austrian Government. In Vienna they 
were introduced to the Emperor Franz Josef, and the Archduke Maximilian 
entertained them, and on parting asked the Maoris what they would 
like him to give them as a present. They answered, " A printing-press 
and type." These were given them and brought out to New Zealand. 
The printing-apparatus was taken to Mangere, where King Potatau some- 
times lived. One of Mr. C. O. Davis's nephews, who had learned the art 
of composing type at the New-Zealander printing-office, instructed some 
of the young Maoris. The plant was taken to Ngaruawahia, and was 
used there for the printing of the Kingite proclamations and the Hokioi 
e Rere Atu na, a name which bore reference to a mythological bird of omen, 
a kind of war-eagle. Patara te Tuhi (Tawhiao's cousin) was in charge 
of the Hokioi and wrote the Kingite articles, and his brother, Honana 
Maioha — who, like Patara, had taken a prominent part in the setting-up 
of the Maori King — was one of the compositors. When the troops 
advanced up the Waikato at the end of 1863 the Hokioi press and type 
were taken for safe keeping to Te Kopua, on the Waipa, and there they have 
remained to the present day. The rusted remains of the press lie on the 
river-bank ; and a settler ploughing his land at Te Kopua has turned up 
some of the scattered type. The local Maoris turned the old hand-press to 
account in another way — to press their cakes of torori or home-grown tobacco. 

The Hokioi is the rarest of all New Zealand prints ; there are very 
few copies in existence. One in the writer's possession bears the date 
Hanueri (January) 13, 1863. It is a four-page paper, single-column, 
1 1 inches by 9 inches. 



Waikato was soon afire with the war-passion. The first shots were 
fired in less than four months after the raid on Te Awamutu. 

The Kingite plan of operations was detailed by Mr. James 
Fulloon, native interpreter, in reports to the Government in June, 
1863. (Mr. Fulloon, who was a half-caste, a surveyor by pro- 
fession, was killed by the Hauhaus at Whakatane in 1865.) The 
original scheme of war against the pakeha, according to accounts 
given by the Maoris, was arranged in 1861, after Governor Gore 
Browne's threatening Proclamation. The Waikato were to come 
down in a body to take up a position at Paparata, in the Tirikohua 
district, making that their headquarters. Thence parties were to 

From a photo by Mr. Hugh Boscawen, at Mangere, zqoi.] 

Tatar a te Tuhi. 

This chief oi Ngati-Mahuta, Waikato, was one of the leaders in the 
Maori King movement, and was the editor of the Kingite paper Te Hokioi, 
printed at Ngaruawahia. He visited England in 1884 with Tawhiao and 
other chiefs. His attitude before the war was moderate and conciliatory, 
and, like Wiremu Tamehana, he endeavoured to avert hostilities. 

occupy Maketu, an old pa east of Drury — there was an ancient 
track to that spot from Paparata — and Tuhimata, the Pukewhau 
Hill (now Bombay), overlooking Baird's Farm ; also the Razor- 
back Range (Kakaramea). The Maketu position would menace 
Drury and Papakura, and from the Pukewhau and Kakaramea 
Hills the military traffic along the Great South Road could be 


attacked and the bridges destroyed. On the other side of the 
road (the west) the Ngati-Pou and other tribes were to attack 
Mauku and other settlements. 

There was an alternative plan, which was favoured by most 
of the Kingites, and in the end was adopted ; it was far more 
ambitious and daring than the first. The proposal was to execute 
a grand coup by attacking Auckland by night-time or early in the 
morning. The Hunua bush was to be the rendezvous of the main 
body, and a portion of the Kingite army was to cross the Manukau 
in canoes and approach Auckland by way of the Whau, on the west, 
while the Ngati-Paoa and other Hauraki coast tribes were to gather 
at Taupo, on the shore east of the Wairoa. The date fixed for the 
attack was the ist September, 1861, when the Town of Auckland 
was to be set on fire in various places by natives living there for 
that purpose ; in the confusion the war-parties lying in wait were 
to rush into the capital by land and sea. Certain houses and 
persons were to be saved ; the dwellings would be recognized by 
a white cross marked on the doors on the night for which the 
attack was fixed. With the exception of those selected in this 
latter-day passover, the citizens of Auckland were to be slaughtered. 
This was only a part of a general sudden blow against the 
pakeha race ; similar attacks were urged upon the natives in the 
Wellington District. It was an exceedingly bold and hazardous 
scheme ; nevertheless it would have been attempted had Governor 
Gore Browne remained in New Zealand. It was only the news 
that Sir George Grey was returning to the colony as its Governor 
that averted the general rising. The Maoris looked forward to his 
coming as the beginning of a different policy and a more friendly 
attitude towards their political aspirations. Then, when after all 
it was seen that war was inevitable, and when Governor Grey 
and his Ministers began an aggressive movement towards Waikato, 
the original plan of campaign discussed in 1861 was taken up — 
the raiding of the frontier settlements, with Paparata as a base of 
operations and camps in the Hunua fojest. 

In i860 Mr. C. O. Davis informed the Government that gun- 
powder was being made at Tautoro (near Kaikohe, in the Ngapuhi 
country), and in the Waikato territory. It was believed that a 
Maori who had been in Sydney had learned the manufacture of 
powder there, and that Europeans assisted in the work. It is 
known that later on in the wars a European (Moffat) made a 
coarse gunpowder at a settlement near Taumarunui, on the Upper 
Wanganui. But it is improbable that the Maoris relied on locally 
made gunpowder to any great extent ; they had sources of supply 
from traders, and for several years before the Waikato War had 
been laying in stocks of powder, lead, and percussion caps. Large 
quantities of ammunition were traded to the natives at Tauranga 
up to the beginning of the war. Tauranga was, in fact, one of the 
avenues of supply for Ngati-Haua as well as the Ngai-te-Rangi 


and other coast tribes. A common trick to evade the authorities 
when, the restrictions on the sale of munitions were in force was 
for a coasting-vessel to clear outward at the Auckland Customs 
for Tauranga or other ports with a cargo ostensibly of empty casks 
(for pork) and bags of salt ; each cask as often as not contained 
several kegs of gunpowder, and the bags were filled with lead and 
boxes of percussion caps. American whalers calling in at East 
Coast ports were believed to have bartered ammunition to the 
natives in return for provisions, and Sydney trading-vessels sur- 
reptitiously supplied munitions, but most of the guns and powder 
reached the Maoris from Auckland trading-houses. 

The war now waged was very different from Hone Heke's 
chivalrous tournament of 1845. It was a racial war ; the Maori 
aim was to sweep the pakeha to the sea, as the pakeha Govern- 
ment's object was to teach the Maori his subjection to British 
authority. The Europeans were not without warning that the sharp 
and barbarous old Maori methods of warfare were to be revived. 
Wiremu Tamehana himself, deeply as he sorrowed over the 
inevitable conflict, was compelled to place himself in line with his 
countrymen. He warned Archdeacon Brown, at Tauranga, that he 
— meaning his race — would spare neither unarmed persons (tangata 
ringa-kore) nor property. In August, 1863, he wrote to the Governor 
cautioning him to bring " to the towns the defenceless, lest they 
be killed in their farms in the bush." " But," he concluded, 
" you are well acquainted with the customs of the Maori race." 
The frontier settlers who remained on their sections did so at their 
own risk. No chief, not even the King or the kingmaker, could 
restrain a party of young bloods on the war-path seeking to flesh 
their tomahawks. They would quote the ancient war-proverb, 
" He mar or kokoti ihu waka " ("A flying-fish crossing the bow of 
the canoe ") in allusion to any luckless persons whom a fighting 
tana might find in its path, and in the stern logic of the 
Maori there could be no reasonable protest against the practical 
application of the aphorism by cutting short the career of 
the " flying-fish." 


During the Taranaki and Waikato Kingite wars some of the leading 
natives conducted correspondence on war subjects by means of a cipher 
code. The following is the key to the cipher, which came into possession 
of the Governor, Sir George Grey, about 1863 : — 

Letters. Ciphers. Letters. Ciphers. Letters. Ciphers. 

A . . 1 K . . 7 P . . 9 

E . . 2 M . . 6 R . . 7 

H .. 8 X .. o T ..= 

I .. 3 O .. 4 U .. 5 

W . . A mark resembling the symbol for " per." 

NG . . O followed by an S crossed like the American dollar symbol, 
but with one line only. 

The figure 7 stood for both K and R, but no doubt there was some 
distinguishing mark or variation for one of the letters. 



In three months after the firing of the first shot in the 
Waikato War the whole of the able-bodied male population 
of Auckland between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five was on 
active service, bearing arms and doing duty as regular soldiers. 
The same conditions prevailed in Taranaki. The military ex- 
penditure of the Government was about £12,000 per month, and 
was on an increasing scale as the campaign developed. In 
addition to the equipment and pay of the Volunteers and Militia, 
a flotilla of armoured river-steamers and small gunboats was 
provided, and a field battery of six 12-pounder Armstrong guns. 
All this expense devolved upon the Colonial Government, besides 
a liability of £40 per head per annum to the Imperial Government 
on account of the Regular troops employed in the war. These 
British troops ultimately numbered about ten thousand. In a 
memorandum by the Defence Minister, Mr. Thomas Russell, the 
Volunteers and Militia on duty in the Auckland District were 
stated to total 3,176. The Cavalry Volunteers numbered 188, 
and the Rifle Volunteers 150. The local corps organized and 
armed were : Waiuku, 70 ; Mauku, 70 ; Pukekohe, 40 ; Wairoa, 
60 ; Papakura Valley, 20 ; Henderson's Mill, 40 ; North Shore, 
125 ; other places, 422 : making a total of 847. 

In addition to these Volunteers and Militia there were colonial 
permanent forces enrolled for the war, consisting chiefly of regi- 
ments of military settlers recruited in Australia in 1863 by Mr. 
Dillon Bell (Native Minister), Mr. Gorst, and Colonel Pitt. " The 
1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Regiments of Waikato Militia raised in this 
way gradually relieved the Auckland Volunteers and Militia of 
the duties at the various posts on the Great South Road. Each 
regiment consisted of ten companies of 100 men. Out of the 
land confiscated from the Maoris each officer and man was entitled 
to a farm section, ranging from 400 acres for a field officer to 
50 acres for a private. By October, 1863, there were about 
two thousand five hundred of these military settlers from Victoria, 
New South Wales, and Otago on permanent service in the field. 


A highly useful arm of the colonial service was the 
Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, armed with sword, carbine, and 
revolver. There were two troops of Nixon's Cavalry, as this 
corps was locally called, in the Auckland District. There were 
also troops in Hawke's Bay, at Wellington, and at Wanganui ; 
the total strength of the regiment was 375. In the Imperial 
Transport Service, receiving colonial pay, there were, when the 
war was at its height, 1,526 officers and men, with 2,244 draught 
animals. Captain Jackson's corps of Forest Rangers, numbering 
sixty, was soon augmented by a second company. Major-General 
Galloway was appointed to the command of the colonial forces, and 
gave his services to the colony gratuitously. 

The Auckland Militia of the first class, unmarried men of between 
the ages of sixteen and forty, were first called out for active 
service on the 23rd June, 1863. There were no conscientious 
objectors in those days (or if there were they did not raise their 
voices), and any shirkers were dealt with severely. The first 
draft was 400 men, some of whom were despatched to the main 
camp at Otahuhu, and thence in companies to the various out- 
posts as far as Drury. Others were retained for city patrol duty ; 
as the war went on the older and married men relieved them of 
the town guard work and left the first class available for field 
service. The citizen recruits, drawn from all classes and occupa- 
tions, were drilled in the Albert Barracks ground by the Regular 
Army instructors ; morning after morning the drill was continued 
until the raw material was considered sufficiently advanced ir 
the elements of infantry work to be despatched to Otahuhu. The 
duties of soldiering fell very severely upon many of the towns- 
people called upon to make heavy marches and live under rough 
camp conditions in the depth of winter, and to toil at redoubt- 
building and trench-digging. The large camp at Otahuhu was 
rather badly organized in the first hurry of war preparations, 
and the inferior hutting and feeding of the troops caused much 
sickness. The pay was half a crown a day with rations ; this 
was increased by a shilling a day at the front. 

The citadel of Auckland, Fort Britomart, stood on a com- 
manding promontory, faced with pohutukawa-f ringed cliffs 40 feet 
high. Major Bunbury and other commanders in Auckland had 
partly fortified the position, which was considerably strengthened 
by Major-General G. Dean-Pitt, a Peninsular War veteran, who 
commanded the forces in the colony from 1848 to 185 1. The 
parapet was revetted with sods reinforced with layers of fern — 
an idea borrowed from the Maori />«-builder — and pierced with 
embrasures on the sea faces. On the land face there was a deep 
ditch in front of the parapet, with a. stockade close to the 
counterscarp — another fashion in native fortification. Twelve 
fortress guns were mounted — -long 24-pounders and 32-pounders, 

2 3 8 


on iron garrison carriages; and there were also six 24-pounder 
howitzers and six 6-pounder field-guns. Within the fort were 
barracks for a hundred Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers men, 
officers' mess-room and brigade offices, military storehouses and 
magazines, and a main-guard house inside the gate at the trench 
bridge. Inland of the fort, and crowning the beautiful hill which 
the Maoris called Rangipuke (a large part of which is now the Albert 
Park), the Albert Barracks were constructed under Governor Grey's 
orders shortly after the conclusion of Heke's War. The barracks 
(accommodating a thousand men) were surrounded by a massive 
stone wall 12 feet high, broken into flanking bastions and loop- 
holed for rifle-fire, with a firing-step or banquette running along 
the inside of the parapet. The wall was of hard blue volcanic 

.. 1 j. 

From a drawing in the Old Colonists' Museum, Auckland.] 

Fort Britomart, Auckland, 1869. 

stone ; the construction was carried out by Maori labour under 
the Royal Engineers. The two gates, opening into Princes Street 
and Symonds Street, were protected by two flanking bastions. 
The area covered was sufficient to accommodate a strong garrison, 
and also give shelter to all the women and children in the town 
in case of a raid. A small section of the stone wall, ivy-grown 
and venerable, is still standing as portion of a boundary-wall 
near Government House grounds in Princes Street. 

These defences were not alone intended for defence against 
Maori attack. There were even in that day fears of a foreign 
war which would involve the British colonies ; the aggressive 
actions of the French in the Pacific, especially the annexation of 


New Caledonia, had given rise to the fear that an invasion of 
Auckland was not unlikely. 

The protection of the South Auckland outlying settlements 
and of the military road through the forest to the nearest point 
of the Waikato River necessitated the construction of many 
fortified posts, most of which were earthwork redoubts, others 
timber stockades. At Otahuhu, the principal field headquarters, 
there was a large fortified camp. At Ho wick, which was con- 
sidered a vulnerable position owing to its proximity to the Wairoa 
Ranges, and open as it was to attack by war-canoe crews from 
the shores of the Thames Gulf, a field-work was erected. A large 
earthwork redoubt, called " St. John's Redoubt," after an officer 
placed in charge of it, was built between Papatoetoe and Papa- 
kura. The Village of Papakura was protected by the erection on 
the Auckland side of the settlement of a small redoubt, which 



'. ... ;.. ,? " 

From a drawing by Lieut. -Colonel A. Morrow, Auckland.] 

St. John's Redoubt, Papatoetoe, 1863. 

stood near the junction of the Great South Road and the Wairoa 
Road, and by the fortification of the Presbyterian church at the 
other side of the village. The redoubt was the camp of the local 
Volunteers and the Militia and a party of the 65th Regiment. 
The church was made bullet-proof by packing sand between the 
outer wall and the lining, a method used in most of the block- 
houses built in the Maori campaigns. The walls were loopholed 
for rifle-fire. A correspondent, describing the remarkable sight of 
the country churches being stockaded and pierced for rifle-fire, 
remarked of the Papakura church, loopholed and bastioned, that 
it was a " visible transubstantiation of a bulwark of faith into 
a bulwark of earthly strength." 

At Kirikiri, on the Papakura- Wairoa Road, a redoubt was 
thrown up on a commanding site two miles from Papakura ; 
this came to be known as " Ring's Redoubt," after the captain 
of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment, who garrisoned it with his 


company in the early part of the war. A short distance farther 
along the Wairoa Road the " Travellers' Rest," an inn, store, and 
farmhouse combined, kept by Mr. W. B. Smith — a sturdy veteran 
of the Californian diggings and an old sailor — was put into a 
state of defence, and the owner and his family occupied it all 
through the war. The building was reinforced with heavy timbers, 
and rifle-slits were cut in the walls. The inn was the head- 
quarters of Jackson's Forest Rangers during the early part of 
the war, and some of the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry were 
stationed there. 

The Wairoa South Settlement (now Clevedon), eight miles from 
the mouth of the Wairoa River, was defended by the building of 
a redoubt on the left bank (west side) of the river and a stockade 
on the opposite side. The redoubt, a square work with flanking 
bastions, was built on Mr. Thorpe's farm. It was held by Major 
(afterwards Colonel) William C. Lyon and two hundred men, 
mostly Militia from Auckland. The stockade on the east bank 
was a formidable-looking post, a structure of heavy palisade 
timbers. It was 60 feet square, with very thick walls, bullet- 
proof and loopholed. Inside the stockade a corrugated-iron house, 
40 feet by 16 feet, was built. This place, designed for from fifty 
to sixty men, was built by Mr. Snodgrass for the Auckland Pro- 
vincial Government, and was occupied by the armed settlers of 
the district, the Wairoa Rifle Volunteers. Later, a redoubt was 
built lower down the river, on Mr. Salmon's property near the 
mouth of the Wairoa. 

At Drury (the Tauranga of the Maoris), the head of naviga- 
tion for cutters from Onehunga, there was a large military 
establishment, and a redoubt was built on the highest part of 
the settlement. At Pukekohe East (the present site of Pukekohe 
Town was then dense bush) the little Presbyterian church was 
enclosed by a trench and a stockade of logs laid horizontally. 
At Mauku the English church was stockaded and loopholed. 
Major Speedy 's house, " The Grange," at Mauku, was loopholed 
and garrisoned by the settlers for defence ; later, a stockade 
was built at the landing-place. A similar place of defence was 
provided at the Waiuku Settlement. 

In many instances the settlers in the bush districts refused 
to leave their homes, and remained to brave the dangers of life 
on a troubled frontier. 

From Drury the Great South Road through the forest to Pokeno 
was safeguarded by redoubts at short intervals. The principal 
posts were at Sheppard's Bush (Ramarama) ; Martin's Farm, on 
the plain a short distance north of Pukewhau Hill (now Bombay) ; 
Baird's Hill stockade, at the north end of Williamson's Clearing 
(the present site of Bombay Township) ; the Razorback Redoubt, 
on Kakaramea Hill, Pokeno Ranges ; and then the field head- 


quarters at Queen's Redoubt, on Pokeno Flat. At "The Bluff," 
on the right bank of the Waikato River just below Te Ia-roa, at 
the mouth of the Manga-tawhiri Stream, a strong timber stockade, 
50 feet by 46 feet, enclosing a blockhouse, was erected ; two guns 
were mounted here. At Tuakau the 65th Regiment, soon after 
the beginning of the war, constructed a large redoubt in an 
excellent strategic position on the level top of a high bluff above 
the river : this post was named the Alexandra Redoubt. 

At the few settlements on the Coromandel Peninsula there was 
some danger of attack from the Ngati-Paoa and other Kingite 
natives. A veteran Forest Ranger, Mr. William Johns, of Auck- 


From a drawing by Lieutenant H. S. Bates (65th Regt.).} 

The Queen's Redoubt, and Encampment, Pokeno. 

land, recalls the fact that temporary defences were provided 
at Cabbage Bay, under the western side of the Moehau Range, 
where there was a large sawmill owned by an Auckland firm. 
Johns, who had been a sailor and served in the Royal Navy, was 
early in 1863 in charge of a cutter, the " Miranda," trading between 
Auckland and the Cabbage Bay mill. The natives in the district 
came under suspicion, as it was believed they would join the 
Kingites, and so one day the master of the cutter found twenty 
stand of arms ("Brown Besses" and a few rifles) delivered on the 
cutter by order of Colonel Balnea vis, then Adjutant-General, for 
the defence of the mill workers and the other residents of Cabbage 



Bay. The guns were landed at the bay, but it was not many 
days before they were all stolen by the Maoris, who went on the 
war-path rejoicing. The mill hands built a stockade for the 
defence of the place, encircling the sawmill with a palisade of 
3-inch planks 12 or 14 feet high. However, the men were soon 

At Raglan, on the Whaingaroa Harbour, west coast, there 
was fear that the small European settlement would be attacked 
by the Kingites from Kawhia or inland. Many of the settlers 
sent their families to Onehunga by the trading-vessels, but some of 
the women and children remained. A place 
of defence was considered necessary, and Mr. 
Richard Todd, a Government surveyor (who 
was shot on Pirongia Mountain by the 
Kingites in 1870), took charge of the work 
of fortification, and employed a number of 
friendly natives in digging a trench around 
the Courthouse and gaol, and in making rifle- 
pits to protect the principal houses. The 
entrenchment defending the Government 
buildings took in about an acre of ground. 
The main building was strengthened with 
thick timbers, and was loopholed. Early in 
1864 a redoubt was built at the head of 
Raglan Harbour by Colonel Waddy's expe- 
ditionary force (50th Regiment and three 
hundred Waikato Militia). 

The military road through the forest and 
over the range from Drury to the Manga- 
tawhiri River was constructed in 1862 by a 
body of Imperial troops, the 12th and the 
14th Regiments at the Pokeno end, and the 
65th and 70th at the Drury end, with some 
Royal Engineers to direct the details of the 
work. Tieut. -General Cameron, in execution 
of Grey's plan for the employment of the 
troops in this work, fixed his headquarters at 
Drury Camp. Colonel Sir James Alexander (14th) was in com- 
mand at Pokeno, where the Queen's Redoubt was built. The 
troops in December, 1861, marched along the Maori track over 
the range called the Razorback, and camps were established at 
points along the route, at which redoubts were afterwards built. 
Colonel Wyatt commanded the 65th at Drury, Colonel (after- 
wards General) Chute the 70th at Kerr's Farm. Brigadier-General 


Queen's Redoubt, 
Pokeno, as it is 

* The middle of the entrenchment is occupied by a farmhouse. The 
work is 100 yards square; there were originally tour small angle bastions. 



Galloway and Lieut. -Colonel Leslie (40th) established a camp at 
Baird's Farm, and Lieut. -Colonel Nelson, with a detachment of 
the 40th, was at Rhodes's Clearing, on the southern end of the 
range, overlooking the Pokeno plateau. Of the twelve miles of 
good road cleared a chain wide, formed, and metalled (18 feet 
9 inches wide) by the troops, seven miles penetrated the heavy 
forest . 

From a drawing by Lieutenant H. S. Bates (6jth Regt.), i56j.] 

The Bluff Stockade, Havelock, Lower Waikato. 



On the gth July, 1863, the Government issued an order 
requiring all natives living in the Manukau district and on the 
Waikato frontier north of the Manga-tawhiri to take the oath of 
allegiance to the Queen and to give up their arms, and warning 
the Maoris that those refusing to range themselves on the side of 
the British must retire to the Waikato. Those not complying 
with this instruction were to be ejected from their settlements. 
This ultimatum was followed by the following Proclamation sent 
to the Kingites summarizing the reasons which prompted the 
military measures adopted by the Government : — 

Chiefs of Waikato, — 

Europeans living quietly on their own lands in Waikato have 
been driven away ; their property has been plundered ; their wives and 
children have been taken from them. By the instigation of some of you, 
officers and soldiers were murdered at Taranaki. Others of you have since 
expressed approval of these murders. Crimes have been committed in 
other parts of the Island, and the criminals have been rescued or sheltered 
under the colour of your authority. 

You are now assembling in armed bands ; you are constantly 
threatening to come dow-n the river to ravage the Settlement of Auckland 
and to murder peaceable settlers. Some of you offered a safe passage 
through your territories to armed parties contemplating such outrages. 
The well-disposed among you are either unable or unwilling to prevent 
these evil acts. I am therefore compelled, for the protection of all, to 
establish posts at several points on the Waikato River, and to take 
necessary measures for the future security of persons inhabiting that 
district. The lives and property of all well-disposed people living on the 
river will be protected, and armed and evil-disposed people will be stopped 
from passing down the river to rob and murder Europeans. 

I now call on all well-disposed natives to aid the Lieutenant-General 
to establish and maintain these posts, and to preserve peace and order. 

Those who remain peaceably at their own villages in Waikato, or 
move into such districts as may be pointed out by the Government, will 
be protected in their persons, property, and land. 

Those who wage war against Her Majesty, or remain in arms, 
threatening the lives of-Her peaceable subjects, must take the consequences 
of their acts, and they must understand that they will forfeit the right to 
the possession of their lands guaranteed to them by the Treaty of Waitangi, 
which lands will be occupied by a population capable of protecting for the 
future the quiet and unoffending from the violence with which they are 
now so constantly threatened. 

G. Grey, 

Auckland, nth July, 1863. Governor. 


On the 12th July General Cameron detailed a force from his 
army encamped at the Queen's Redoubt at Pokeno to make the 
first advance into the Waikato. The second battalion of the 14th 
Regiment, under Lieut. -Colonel Austen, crossed the swamp-fringed 
Manga-tawhiri Stream at the termination of the military road, 
and took up a position to the left, on the site of an old pa 
on a hill above the river, a spur of the Koheroa Range. A few- 
days later this body was reinforced by detachments of the 12th 
and 70th Regiments, and was now five hundred strong. Three 
field-works were thrown up on the hill. 

The process of ejection of those natives who could not bring 
themselves to abandon their fellow-countrymen was now carried 
out at the Manukau, Papakura, Patumahoe, Tuakau, and other 
districts between Auckland and the frontier waters. The principal 
tribe evicted was Ngati-Pou, who had a settlement on the right 
(north) bank of the Waikato at Tuakau, with large cultivations 
of food crops and fruit-groves. In the middle of July Mr. Dillon 
Bell, Native Minister, and Mr. Gorst carried out a rather perilous 
mission in the forested ranges above Papakura, at a small settle- 
ment called Te Aparangi, on the Kirikiri Stream, about two miles 
east of Papakura. Here a considerable number of Maoris had 
congregated, and, as most of these were known to be Kingites 
in politics, it was considered necessary to remove them south of 
the border-line. Te Aparangi was the village of the old chief 
Ihaka Takaanini and his people of Te Akitai and Te Uri-a-Tapa, 
hapus of the Ngati-Tamaoho ; another rangatira of Te Akitai 
was Mohi te Ahi-a-te-ngu. The permanent population of the 
settlement was small, but some scores of young men from the 
Auckland side who had decided to join the Kingites had made it 
their rendezvous, and were believed to be fortifying themselves 
in the bush. Just above Te Aparangi on the foothills of the ranges 
is a level-topped hill known as Puke-kiwi-riki, formerly a strongly 
trenched fort belonging to the Ngati-Tamaoho Tribe. The ancient 
pa presented a tempting site for a freebooting stronghold. Mr. Bell 
gave the Akitai and their kin the choice of making a declaration 
of allegiance to the Queen or of going unmolested to the Waikato. 
He urged the former course, saying that the Government had no 
wish to drive them from their land. Mohi spoke in appreciation 
of Mr. Bell's generosity in going unarmed among the Maoris at 
such a time to carry a message of peace and good will, and declared 
that if the Minister had arrived a few days earlier with such an 
offer he and most of his people would have remained peacefully 
in their homes. But the Governor had crossed the Manga-tawhiri 
and invaded Waikato, and the Ngati-Tamaoho hapus, who pre- 
viously had opposed Rewi and his war-party, now felt it their 
duty to join Waikato. 

When the Minister and Mr. Gorst rode back to Drury that 
afternoon thev heard the news of the first blow of the war. A 


settler named Michael Meredith and his young son had been found 
tomahawked on their bush farm near Ramarama, about four 
miles from Drury ; they were out fencing when the marauders 
caught them. Some blamed Ihaka's people, but wrongly ; the 
killing was the deed of a party of young men who sought to 
distinguish themselves by drawing first blood. A force of Nixon's 
Cavalry (Otahuhu troop, numbering thirty) and the 65th Regiment 
(three hundred) invaded Te Aparangi and took prisoner Ihaka 
and a number of others, chiefly old men and women and children, 
but the young armed men escaped and joined their relatives at 

Canoe-paddles dipped and flashed all along the broad Waikato 
as the Upper Waikato tribes and Ngati-Maniapoto, Ngati-Haua, 
and Ngati-Raukawa came hurrying down the river, eager to 
measure their strength with the pakeha. There were men even 
from Taranaki and the Upper Wnanganui among the war-parties. 
Before the main body of the Kingites had had time to concentrate 
on the south side of the Manga-tawhiri the first encounter of the 
war was precipitated by an advance force of W T aikato, numbering 
between two and three hundred, under Te Huirama, a near relative 
of King Tawhiao. Te Huirama had a fortified position at Te 
Teoteo, an old Maori pa on a bluff immediately overlooking the 
Whanga-marino Stream, which joins the Waikato a short distance 
above the present Township of Mercer. From this point the range 
of the hills on which Te Teoteo stands trends in a crescent, the 
northern horn curving in again towards the Waikato at the point 
where the Manga-tawhiri comes down into the swamps near the 
main river. Near the tip of the northern horn of the hills was the 
British advanced camp, under Lieut. -Colonel Austen. Te Huirama 
and his men hastened to provoke an attack from the British troops, 
and dug a succession of trenches across the narrow ridge. 

The movements of Waikato were observed from the 14th 
Regiment's camp on the south side of the Manga-tawhiri on the 
forenoon of the 17th July. Lieut. -Colonel Austen immediately 
ordered his battalion under arms, and moved out to meet the 
Maoris, followed by a detachment of the 12th and 70th Regiments. 
General Cameron, from the Queen's Redoubt, overtook the 
column on its march to the ranges, over low hills covered with 
fern and manuka. 

The force had advanced in skirmishing order for about two 
miles when the Maori outposts opened fire. They fell back, 
taking advantage of the broken ground to continue their firing. 
From their rifle-pits they opened a heavy fire when the leading 
troops were well within gunshot, and the young soldiers of the 
14th hesitated momentarily after some men had fallen. The 
gallant General Cameron rushed forward waving his cap, and 
shouted to the 14th to come on. Cheering, the young battalion 




now swept forward at the charge, their officers — Captains Strange 
and Phelps, and Lieutenants Glancy and Armstrong — leading 
them sword in hand ; and the lines of entrenchments were 
taken at the point of the bayonet. The Maoris, leaving many 
dead in and around the trenches, retreated south along the fern- 
hills, fighting as they fell back from one line of defence to the 
next, until they were driven to the heights above the Maramarua 
and Whanga-marino. Some escaped down a gully on the east, 
but lost a number of men to the heavy converging fire from the 
high ground on either flank. The majority of the survivors made 
for the south side of the Whanga-marino and thence to Meremere ; 
others took to their canoes in the creek and paddled out into the 
Waikato River. The creek and the great swamp beyond stayed 
the further progress of the troops. The British loss was one killed ; 
twelve were wounded, including Colonel Austen. (This officer 
afterwards was fatally wounded at Rangiriri.) Of the Maoris, the 
leader, Te Huirama (Xgati-Mahuta), and about thirty others were 
killed, many of them with the bayonet ; a number of wounded 
were taken away in canoes. Many spades and some double- 
barrel guns, antiquated flint-lock pieces, and tomahawks were 
found on the battlefield. 

After this sharp bayonet- work a British detachment was sent 
to hold a position on the south side of the heights commanding 
the Whanga-marino Stream. The spot selected was the summit 
of a bluff close to the old Maori pa Te Teoteo, and a short distance 
east of the junction of the Whanga-marino with the Waikato. 
(The redoubt-site is almost immediately above the spot where the 
Great South Road crosses the Whanga-marino about half a mile 
south of Mercer.) This post was armed with two field-guns, under 
Lieutenant Pickard, R.A. 

The Waikato Maoris, in referring to the engagement on the 
Koheroa Hills, speak of it as the fight at Te Teoteo. 

The second skirmish of the campaign was the first of a series 
of surprise attacks upon British convoys and pickets along the 
Great South Road. The fight occurred on the 17th July, the same 
day as the engagement at Koheroa. A war-party of Xgati-Paoa, 
under Hori Xgakapa and some other chiefs, laid an ambuscade on 
the forest road at the northern base of the Pukewhau Hill (now 
Bombay). Here a settler named Martin had his farm, a small 
clearing cut out of the dense puriri forest. Much of the beautiful 
woodland still exists close to the road. A mile and a half to the 
north was the Sheppard's Bush Redoubt (Ramarama) ; the nearest 
redoubt on the south side was the post at Baird's Hill, on the 
northern slope of Williamson's Clearing (the site is that of the pre- 
sent Bombay Presbyterian Church and burying-ground). A convoy 
of six carts, escorted by fifty men of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment, 
under command of Major Turner and Captain Ring, was passing 



along the road over the Pokeno Ranges from the Queen's Redoubt 
to Drury. On the left (west) side of the road there was a small 
stream ; on its banks, thickly clothed with a jungly undergrowth, 
part of the Kingite ambush-party crouched ; others occupied the 
cover near-by on the opposite side, within a few yards of the 
metalled road. The escort was marching at ease, unsuspicious 
of danger, when heavy fire was opened from both sides of the 
road. The first volley killed and wounded several soldiers, and 

Photo by lies, at the That! 

Hori Xgakapa te Whanaunga. 

This warrior chief was one of the leaders in the attack on the British 
escort at Martin's Farm, Great South Road, 17th July, 1863. He was the 
head of the Xgati-Whanaunga. a subtribe of Xgati-Paoa, of the Hauraki 
Gulf coast. In 1S51 he was a leader of the war-canoe expedition of Xgati- 
Paoa to the Town of Auckland (see note in Appendices). Hori fought 
at Rangiriri, and escaped by swimming across a lagoon. His brave wife, 
Hera Puna, accompanied him on the war-path in 1863. 


some of the cart-horses were hit. The natives attempted to cut 
off the rearguard of about a dozen men from the main body, but 
the party, some of whom had been wounded, charged with the 
bayonet and fought their way through. The convoy was set under 
way again, and the soldiers resumed their march for Ramarama, 
doing their best to keep the Maoris off until reinforcements arrived. 
The Ngati-Paoa skirmished from tree to tree along both sides of 
the road, keeping up a hot fire. A detachment of the 18th came 
doubling up in the rear from Baird's Hill ; other reinforcements 
presently arrived from the direction of Drury, and the attackers 
retreated. The British casualties were five killed and eleven 
wounded. The Maori loss was slight ; they carried off their 
disabled men.* 

The next engagement — Kirikiri (22nd July) — -was fought still 
nearer Auckland. A number of settlers whose farmhouses stood 
on the fringes of the Hunua forest, from Papakura to Drury, had 
remained on their holdings, believing that they were unlikely to be 
attacked by the Kingites. In several instances here, as elsewhere, 
two or three families from the out-districts had taken up their 
quarters with friends in the larger houses for mutual protection. 
One of the pioneer settlers was Mr. Hay, whose home stood close 
to the Great South Road between Papakura and Drury ; the site 
is very nearly that of the present Opaheke Railway-station. 
Captain Clare, an Indian Army veteran, had come into Mr. Hay's 
with his family from the Hunua bush ; a member of the family 
was Mr. J. M. Roberts (now Colonel Roberts, N.Z.C.) On the 
morning of the 22nd July the alarm was given at Hay's that the 
Maoris had shot a man named James Hunt, cutting timber with 
his employer, Mr. Greenacre, and two others. A band of forty or 
fifty natives had surprised them in the bush, and, after giving them 
a volley, pursued them. Hunt fell with a fatal wound ; the others 
escaped to Hay's. Mr. Roberts rushed to load all the rifles in 
the. house. His responsibilities were heavy in the event of an 
attack, for there were four women dependent on his protection ; 
one was his mother. He got up on the roof of the kitchen and 
kept a lookout for the Maoris. The raiders, however, were diverted 

* The Martin's Farm ambush was the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment's 
first taste of Maori warfare. This fine corps served in most of the actions 
of the Waikato War, and later was transferred to the west coast. The 
Royal Irish (2nd Battalion) came out from Portsmouth in the ships 
" Elizabeth Ann Bright " and " Norwood " ; it was a new battalion 
recruited at Inneskillen in the late " fifties." The " Elizabeth Ann 
Bright " arrived at Auckland on the 2nd July, 1863, and the " Norwood " 
on the 2nd August ; the strength landed was seven hundred officers and 
men. The Royal Irish Regiment was the last Imperial corps to leave 
New Zealand ; the main body sailed from Auckland on the 28th February, 
1870, leaving between three hundred and four hundred men who had taken 
their discharges to settle in the country. 



by the arrival at the double of a small detachment of Militia from 
Papakura, under Captain Clare ; these men were soon joined by a 
hundred of the 18th Regiment, under Captain Ring, from the 
newly built redoubt at Kirikiri. 

The Imperial soldiers found the Militia already in action on the 
edge of the bush. The united force skirmished with the Kingites 
in the bush in the direction of the hill Puke-kiwi-riki, above the 
deserted settlement of Ihaka Takaanini at Te Aparangi. The 
natives were gradually driven up into the hills, and occupied 
Captain Ring's first entrenchment on a knoll in a small clearing. 
From this place they were forced back by the Militia and the 18th, 

Ki ri Ki ri 




<-»To PapaKura 

"lb Clevedon 

Remains of Ring's Redoubt, Kirikiri, 192 i 

The redoubt at Kirikiri (now locally misspelled Kerikeri) came to be 
known as Ring's Redoubt, after the captain in command. Like the Queen's 
Redoubt at Pokeno, its walls and trench, partly demolished, now enclose 
a farmhouse. The old fort stands alongside the main road two miles from 
Papakura on the way to Clevedon, Wairoa South. It is on part Section 29, 
Hunua Parish, and is the homestead of Mr. C. J. Hibbard. 

but they presently threatened the flanks of the British force, which 
was almost surrounded. One of Ring's men had been killed at 
close quarters, and his rifle and bayonet seized by the Maoris. 
Under cover of the earthworks and logs the troops kept the Maoris 
back by heavy and accurate firing, and awaited reinforcements. 
Their position was now one of some anxiety. It was near sunset 
when Colonel Wyatt, with a force of the 65th and some of Lieu- 
tenant Rait's Mounted Artillery troopers, armed with swords and 


revolvers, came to the rescue and vigorously engaged the Maoris, 
whose numbers seemed also to have been reinforced. The troopers 
dismounted to enter the hush with the 65th, and this diversion 
compelled the Maoris to draw off from Ring's force. The united 
column, after recovering the body of the soldier killed, withdrew 
from the forest, and Ring returned to his redoubt above Kirikiri. 
This was the first occasion on which The Militia had been engaged 
with the Maoris, and (dare's few men behaved with skill and courage 
in the forest skirmish. 

On the ioth August a scouting-party of thirty-five men of the 
Wairoa Rifle Volunteers and No. 4 Company, Auckland Militia, under 
Lieutenant Steele, discovered the greal secret encampment of the 
Kingites in the Hunua Ranges, which it was believed had been 
prepared for a war-party essaying an attack upon Auckland from 
the east. This party, marching from the Wairoa stockade, ex- 
plored the bush through to Drury. Passing Buckland's Clearing, 
a tract of open fern land in the bush, the scouts came to another 
fern opening, and advanced in skirmishing order upon a large 
encampment intended as the headquarters of a Maori army. This 
»»&<m-thatched township consisted of thirty-one whares from 20 feet 
to over 100 feet long, and capable, in Steele's opinion, of contain- 
ing about fifteen hundred people. This camp was in the open, 
where the bush road from Drury emerged from the forest. On the 
road, and about a mile nearer Drury, they found a few small whares, 
and again some huts three-quarters of a mile farther on. which 
appeared to have been used as advance posts. 

The Kingite Maoris who gathered in the Hunua. and Wairoa 
Ranges and thence made their forays were chiefly members oi the 
Ngati-Paoa Tribe, from the llauraki coast villages, under Hori 
Ngakapa and other chiefs ; the Koheriki, a hapu of that tribe, 
headed by Wi Koka, from the country around the mouth of the 
Wairoa River ; some of the Ngati-Haua, from the Upper Waikato 
and the Upper Thames Valley ; and a number of the Ngai-te-Rangi 
and Piri-Rakau Tribes, from Tauranga, Led by Hori Ngatai and 
fitipa. The Koheriki part} did not number more than thirty to 
thirty-five fighting-men, but they were all active and ruthless 
fellows: they fought right through the war, and the survivors 
shared in the defence oi the (.ate Pa a1 Tauranga in E864. With 
them were some women; one oi these was a remarkably gifted 
and courageous young half-caste woman, Heni te Kiri-karamu — - 
later otherwise known as Hem Pore (holey) -who followed her 
brother Xeri into the war ; she was armed with a gun and used it. 
She took her young children with her, and her mother and sister 
accompanied her on the bush trail. 

Mos1 of the outlying farmers had abandoned their homes and 
were serving in the district Militia or Volunteers, but tb< smoke 
rising from the chimneys in some of the forest-clearings showed 
that a few stout-hearted settlers had determined to remain on their 


sections. One was Captain Calvert, whose home was on the Papa 
kura-Wairoa Road, three miles from Papaknra and a mile beyond 
Captain Ring's redoubt at Kirikiri. Early on the 24th July the 
alarm was raised at Calvert's that a party of armed Maoris was 
surrounding the house. The captain jumped out of bed, and just 
as he had snatched up his revolver some of the natives rushed into 
the kitchen, and one of them fired at the inmates. Calvert and 
his son Sylvester, a boy of sixteen, fired in return. The lad was 
mortally wounded. The captain, having emptied his revolver, 
rushed furiously at the enemy with his sword. They retreated 
before the brave old soldier, and fired heavily on the house from a 
hillock. The firing was heard at the Kirikiri Redoubt, and a party 
of soldiers drove the Maoris into the forest. Young Calvert was 
carried to the redoubt, where he died. On the same day Mr. George 
Cooper, a settler in the Wairoa Ranges, was shot down and killed 
when he went out to drive his cows up for milking. These attacks 
on bush-country settlers gave impetus to the formation by the 
Government of a special corps of guides or bush fighters, and the 
first company of the Forest Rangers, under Lieutenant Jackson, was 
soon enlisted. 

After the attack on the Imperial convoy at Martin's Farm on 
the 17th July measures were taken to destroy the cover for the 
Maori parties in the most dangerous parts of the Great South Road, 
and the felling of the forest, making clearings a quarter of a mile 
wide, was begun on botli sides of the road in Sheppard's Bush, at 
Martin's Farm, and along the west slope of Pukewhau Hill and 
part of the Razorback Range. This work was done chiefly by con- 
tract, under the superintendence of Mr. Martin. General Cameron 
ordered that the bushfellers should in every case be protected by 
a covering-party. The neglect of this precaution in one instance 
involved a party in a one-sided skirmish which provided the Maori 
raiders with a welcome supply of arms. This attack occurred on 
the west face of the Pukewhau Hill ; the site, then known as 
Williamson's Clearing, is the present settlement of Bombay. On 
the 25th August twenty-five men of the 40th, under a non-com- 
missioned officer, besides some bushmen, were engaged felling 
timber, leaving their rifles piled on the edge of the road in charge 
of a sentry. Suddenly a volley was fired from the bush, and two 
of the 40th fell. A party of Maoris rushed out from their ambush 
and easily captured the stacked rifles, twenty-three in number, and 
the pouches of ammunition. The bushfellers were rescued by the 
advance-guard of a convoy escort from Drury, under Captain 
A. Cook, of the 40th, and retired after fighting a skirmish with 
further reinforcements. Three of the natives were shot in the 
skirmish, and one of the 18th was wounded, besides the two shot 
dead in the first attack. 

On the morning of the 2nd September, 1863, Ensign C. Dawson 
(2nd Battalion, 18th Royal Irish), subaltern in charge of the 


Pokeno picket, had a lively skirmish with a large body of Maoris 
within a short distance of the Queen's Redoubt. The picket., 
consisting of two sergeants and sixty men of the 18th, left the 
redoubt at 7 a.m., and marched towards the Pokeno native 
village (which had been deserted by its owners, the Ngati- 
Tamaoho, on the outbreak of the war). Near the village the 
force was fired upon from the rear by a large body of Maoris. 
Dawson faced his men about and charged with the bayonet. 
He drove them down a gully towards the swamp and into the 
bush on the east side of Pokeno. After following the Kingites 
for about half a mile on the track inland towards Paparoa, he 
heard veils in the direction of the village in his rear, and returned 
with hi? force. He was saluted with a volley from Maori mus- 
keteers extended across the clearing, encumbered with logs and 
felled trees, between him and the settlement, and also was fired 
upon by some men in the bush on his right, near the hills. The 
soldiers, taking cover, in skirmishing order, kept up a steady fire 
and inflicted some casualties ; the Maoris were seen carrying 
off their wounded. At this stage Captain Trench, of the 40th, 
came up with supports from the redoubt, and the reinforced 
skirmishers advanced and drove the Maoris out of the kainga 
and the log clearing into the bush. 

A few days later (8th September) some of the Maoris attacked 
the British redoubt which had been erected on the top of 
Kakaramea, the northern spur of the Pokeno Ranges, over which 
the Great South Road was cut, between Williamson's Clearing 
and Rhodes's Clearing, overlooking Pokeno. This field-work was 
perched on the narrowest and most commanding part of the 
ridge which carried the road, but there was a higher hill a short 
distance to the east. The present road cuts through the western 
angle of the old fortification. A sentry outside, about 60 yards 
from the redoubt, at 10 a.m. saw a Maori stealing up on him 
through the bush. He fired at him, and the fire was returned by 
a war-party from the partly cleared hill about 100 yards on the 
east side of the road. The garrison (one hundred of the 65th 
Regiment, under Lieutenant Talbot) turned out and kept up a 
steady fire on the natives, who had the cover of felled timber and 
stumps. Ensign Ducrow, of the 40th, came up with forty men 
from Rhodes's Clearing, the next post on the south, and Talbot 
took half the detachment at the post and skirmished out, driving 
the attackers into the bush. Further reinforcements arrived from 
Williamson's Clearing, but they were not needed. The dead body 
of a Maori was afterwards found ; there were no British casualties. 

On the north bank of the Lower Waikato, between the 
Tuakau Redoubt and the Heads, an army depot had been esta- 
blished as a half-way station for stores shipped up the river to 
the British field headquarters. This station, named Camerontown, 
after the General, was in charge of two Europeans, and was 


guarded also by friendly natives, chiefly Ngati-Whauroa, who 
had a small pa on a hill, weakly stockaded. Mr. James Armitage, 
the Resident Magistrate on the Lower Waikato, was engaged in 
superintending the work of taking the stores up the river ; this 
was done by Maoris, under Wiremu te Wheoro, of Kohekohe, and 
Waata Kukutai, of Kohanga. The tribes engaged in this canoe 
transport were chiefly Ngati-Naho and Ngati-Tipa. The barque 
" City of Melbourne," laden with stores, was lying at anchor inside 
the Waikato Heads early in September, and Mr. Armitage was 
busily loading his flotilla of large canoes and despatching them 
up to the Manga-tawhiri. On the 7th September he had returned 
to the depot from the Bluff stockade at Te Ia-roa, when he 
was shot down in his canoe by a party of Maoris and killed, 
together with the two men of the Camerontown station (William 
Strand, a carpenter, and Heughan, a blacksmith), a half-caste 
named Wade, and a friendly Maori, one of the canoe -crew. 
Ngati-Whauroa did not attempt to defend the Europeans from 
their assailants, mostly Ngati-Maniapoto ; but Te Wheoro and 
his tribe, who arrived from Te Ia-roa in several canoes shortly 
after the ambuscades, engaged the enemy at Camerontown, and 
fought a skirmish in which a great deal of ammunition was fired 
away for little result. The hostile force was estimated at about 
a hundred. The Kingites sacked the stockade of the friendly 
Maoris above the depot, and destroyed a large quantity of com- 
missariat stores. The Kingites' antipathy to Mr.' Armitage (" Te 
Amatiti " of the Maoris) arose not so much from the fact that he 
was a Magistrate — -in that capacity he had been greatly esteemed 
along the Lower Waikato — as from his participation in the work 
of military transport. His companion, Mr. Strand, formerly of 
Kohanga, had assisted in the piloting of the war-steamer " Avon " 
up the river. 

The heavy firing in the skirmish between the friendly natives 
and the Kingites at Camerontown was heard at the Alexandra 
Redoubt, Tuakau, and a party of Maoris came paddling up in 
great haste to report the death of Mr. Armitage and the burning 
of the stores. Captain Swift, of the 65th, who was in charge of 
the detachment at the redoubt, marched at once for Cameron- 
town, with Lieutenant Butler and fifty men, in an attempt 
to intercept the attacking-party. The senior non-commissioned 
officer of the detachment was Colour-Sergeant E. McKenna. An 
engagement which took place that afternoon in the bush near 
Camerontown resulted in the death of Captain Swift and three men, 
and the disabling of Lieutenant Butler. Swift, as he lay dying, 
ordered McKenna to lead on the men, and the non-commissioned 
officer conducted the bush skirmishing with great skill and judg- 
ment. His little party sustained a heavy fire from the natives, 
and had to spend the night in the forest, struggling out to Tuakau 
in the morning. The colour-sergeant estimated the Maori loss 



at between twenty and thirty killed and wounded. He saw seven 
shot dead ; their bodies were dragged into the bush by their 
comrades. Lieutenant Butler recovered from his severe wound. 
McKenna was awarded the Victoria Cross for his valour, and was 
also given a commission as ensign in his regiment. He settled in 
New Zealand, and was for many years a stationmaster in the 
Government railway service. Lance-Corporal Ryan was also 
awarded the V.C., but before he received it he was drowned in 
the Waikato in an attempt to save a comrade. Four of the 
privates engaged — Bulford, Talbot, Cole, and Thomas — were each 
decorated with the medal for distinguished conduct in the field. 

After the tragedy at Camerontown the Ngati-Whauroa, with 
their chief Hona, who up to this time had nominally been friendly 
to the Government, turned to the Kingite side and joined their 
kinsmen in the war. 

From a sketch (1863) in the " Illustrated London News."] 

The Alexandra Redoubt, Tuakau. 

This large redoubt, on the right bank of the Lower Waikato, was built 
in July, 1S63, by a detachment of the 65th Regiment. The position, on 
a bold bluff about 300 feet above the river, was commanding and of great 
strategic importance. The redoubt is the best preserved of all the military 
posts built in 1863-61. The present entrance is from the roadway in the 
rear into the north-west flanking angle, where a monument erected by the 
Government bears the names of British soldiers who fell in the district. 
The redoubt covers an area of about three-quarters of an acre, and is a 
parallelogram, with the usual two flanking angles at diagonally opposite 
corners of the work. The surrounding trench is still in most places 4 feet 
or 5 feet in depth, and from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the 
fern-grown parapets the height varies from 10 feet to nearly 20 feet. 



The cautious camp, the smother'd light, 
The silent sentinel at night. 

— Joaquin Miller (" The Ship in the Desert "). 

The crossing of the Manga-tawhiri River by Cameron's troops 
was immediately followed by Maori attacks upon some of the 
venturesome settlers who remained upon their farms on the 
frontier, and even after the army had advanced up the Waikato 
its rear was threatened by roving bands of Kingites. The broken 
forest country of the Hunua and Wairoa Ranges, bordering the 
left flank of the British advance, was the camping-place and war- 
ground of these natives, who from the cover of the bush could 
raid farmhouses and ambush military convoys with little loss to 
themselves. Neither the Regular soldiers nor the newly enrolled 
city Militia were competent at the time to pursue the Maoris 
in their forests, and it soon became clear to the military heads 
that a special force was necessary to meet the natives on their 
own ground and levy guerilla war with the object of clearing the 
bush on the flanks and safeguarding the army's communications 
and the out-settlements. Taranaki had set an example in the 
formation of a corps of Bush Rangers, composed largely of 
country settlers and their sons. There was equally good material 
in the Auckland settlements, and there was also at hand a body of 
gold-diggers at Coromandel ready to turn to new adventures now 
that the excitement and the profits in the primitive mining of that 
period were dwindling. The Government, urged by the Press and 
the public, resolved to form a small corps of picked men, used 
to the bush and to rough, travelling and camp life, to scout the 
forests and hunt out the parties of marauders. 

9— N.Z. Wars. 


In the first week of August, 1863, the following attractive 
invitation to arms appeared for several days in the Southern Cross 
newspaper, Auckland : — 


ACTIVE YOUNG MEN, having some experience of New Zealand Forests, 
may now confer a benefit upon the Colony, and also ensure a comparatively 
free and exciting life for themselves, by JOINING a CORPS of FOREST 
VOLUNTEERS, now being enrolled in this province to act as the Taranaki 
Volunteers have acted in striking terror into the marauding natives, by 
operations not in the power of ordinary troops. 

By joining the Corps the routine of Militia life may be got rid of and 
a body of active and pleasant comrades ensured. 

Only men of good character wanted. 

For further information apply to the office of the Daily Southern Cross, 
O'Connell Street, Auckland. 

31st July, 1863. 

This appeal soon filled the ranks of a company of Forest 
Rangers, sixty strong, under the command of Lieutenant William 
Jackson, a young settler of the Papakura district (afterwards 
Major Jackson and M.H.R. for Waipa). Towards the end of 
the year a second company was formed under the command of 
Captain Von Tempsky. The pay at first was 10s. a day, but it 
was later reduced to 4s. 6d. a day and rations, and a double 
ration of rum on account of the rough character of the work. 

The Rangers' arms were a breech-loading Calisher and Terry 
carbine, a five-shot revolver, and, in Von Tempsky's company, 
a bowie - knife with a blade 10 inches or 12 inches long. Von 
Tempsky took intense interest in teaching the men the use of 
the bowie-knife, gripped in the left hand (the right was for the 
revolver), with the blade along the arm. There was a drill for 
it — a perfect method of guard and attack in hand-to-hand action. 
As King Agis answered the Athenians who laughed at the short 
swords of the Spartans, " We find them long enough to reach our 
enemies with," so the Rangers could have said of their bush- 
knives that they were quite long enough for close quarters. They 
were more useful than bayonets or cutlasses in the tangled forest. 
Von Tempsky was a master of the weapon, the use of which he had 
learned in Spanish America in guerilla warfare. In instructing his 
men he challenged them to stab him, and demonstrated his perfect 
ability to defend himself. The knife could also be thrown with 
deadly effect, being so heavy. When slashing a way through the 
supplejacks and other undergrowth in the trackless bush it was a 


first-class tool. Captain Jackson affected to despise the knife as 
a war-weapon, but one or two of his men adopted it. 

Colonel J. M. Roberts, N.Z.C., who began his military career 
in the Forest Rangers, and was a subaltern in No. 2 Company, 
1863-64, was one of the young bushmen-soldiers who appreciated 
the bowie-knife. " It was rather awkward in the bush some- 
times," he says, " for it was nearly as long as a bayonet, but it 
certainly was very handy for cutting tracks. We were taught to 
hold the knife with the blade pointing inward and upward, laid 
alon? the inner arm. With the arm held out, knife-defended 

Major William Jackson. 

In 1863-64 Major Jackson commanded No. 1 Company of Forest Rangers. 
In the " seventies " he was in command of Te Awamutu troop, Waikato 
Cavalry Volunteers, formed for the protection of the Upper Waikato frontier. 

thus, a blow could be warded off, and then out would flash the 
blade in a stab. When we were in camp at Paterangi in 1864 
my fellow-subaltern Westrupp and I frequently went out in the 
manuka together and practised the fighting drill. At Orakau we 
found the knife very useful — not for fighting, but for digging in. 
Our position was on the east side of the pa, a cultivation-ground 
bordered with low fern — a place very much exposed to the Maoris' 
fire. We lay down on the edge of this cultivation and went to 


work as hard as we could with our long knives, each man digging 
a shallow shelter for himself and throwing up the earth in front ; 
the bullets were coming over thick that day." 

The men who were provided with these arms were as efficient 
as the weapons the}' carried. They were a varied set of adven- 
turers. The bush-trained settlers of Papakura, Hunua, and the 
Wairoa were the dependable nucleus of the corps, and to their 
ranks were added sailors, gold-diggers, and others who had seen 
muclr of the rough end of life. Von Tempsky, describing (in an 
unpublished manuscript journal) his company of fifty men at the 
end of 1863, wrote : " Like Jackson, I had two black men, former 
men-o'-war's-men ; one had also been a prize-fighter. I had men 
of splendid education, and men as ignorant as the soil on which 
they trod." All nationalities were in the ranks — English, Welsh, 
Scotch, Irish, Germans, and Italians. Some of Von Tempsky's 
best volunteers had been members of the 1st Waikato Regiment 
of Militia. 

The Rangers' field equipment was simple. On the war-path in 
the Wairoa and Hunua bush their bed was a bundle of fern, and 
the forest was their tent. " In our campaigning in the Waikato," 
says a survivor of the corps, " we used blue-blanket tents. These 
were army blankets, with fastenings for use as bivouac shelters ; 
there were two blankets to every four men. Two of the four 
would carry the blankets when on the march, and the other two 
would pick up and carry along sticks for tent-poles (unless, of 
course, they were in the bush). The two blankets joined over a 
ridge-pole sheltered the four men ; at any rate, they kept off the 

An important item of Ranger equipment was the rum-bottle, 
cased in leather to prevent breakage. Two good tots a day was 
the allowance. " It was the rum that kept us alive," says one 
of Jackson's veterans, ex-Corporal William Johns ; "we had so 
much wet, hard work, swimming and fording rivers and creeks, 
and camping out without fires. When we camped in the bush on 
the enemy's trail it was often unsafe to light a fire for cooking 
and warmth, because we never knew when we might have a volley 
poured into us. So we just lay down as we were, wet and cold, 
and we'd have been dead but for the rum." 

In the early expeditions the work of the Rangers was carried 
out in the forest hills of Wairoa, above Papakura and Hunua, and 
the ranges trending to the Thames Gulf and the Manga-tawhiri 
•headwaters. The Wairoa frequently had to be crossed, and when 
in flood it was a dangerous river. Most of the Rangers could 
swim, but there were always several men who had to be helped 
over by their comrades, in this fashion : Large bundles of dry 
fern were cut and placed under the non-swimmer's chin and breast 
as he took the water, and he was hauled across with hastily 



made flax ropes by his mates, the fern making a temporary float. 

Always in crossing a river in the enemy country the best swimmers 
went over first, holding their carbines over their heads. These 
men would be ready at once to act as advance guard on the 
farther bank and cover their comrades' crossings. The marching 
was very severe — far more so than that of any other corps as 
the men were at work continuously covering large areas of ru 
country, and it was necessary to take special care of the feet. 
Many a man knocked up, and comparatively few went through 
the campaign from beginning to end in the Rangers. 

Major Von Tempsky. 

In 1863-64 Yon Tempsky was Captain of No. 2 Company 01 Foresl 
Rangers. He afterwards served in the West Coast campaigns, and was 
killed at Te Ngutu-o-te-manu in 1868. 

Of the Rangers' two commanders, Gustavus Von Tempsky, 
Captain of No. 2 Company, was by far the more experienced 
bush fighter. Of aristocratic Polish blood, he began his military 
life in the Prussian Army in the early " forties," but quickly 
sought a career more to his taste. In Central America he com- 
manded at one time an irregular force of Mosquito Coast [ndians 
against the Spanish, and he guided British naval parties against 


Spanish stockades in one of the little wars in those parts. Later, 
we find him trying his fortune in California in " the days of Foity- 
nine," and travelling adventurously through Mexico. The news 
of the gold find at Coromandel brought him to New Zealand from 
Australia, and when the Waikato War began he was working 
No. 8 claim on the diggings. The first shots of the Waikato War 
excited the old war-fever, and after trying unsuccessfully to form 
a diggers' corps at Coromandel captained by himself — there was 
some prejudice against him on the score of his nationality — he 
joined the Southern Cross newspaper in Auckland as a temporary 
war correspondent, hoping presently to have an opportunity of 
getting into action. Lieutenant Jackson he frequently met at the 
first Forest Rangers' headquarters, the " Travellers' Rest " inn, 
on the Papakura-Wairoa Road. He accompanied Jackson as 
correspondent on one of the early expeditions into the Wairoa 
Ranges ; and it was on this excursion, lasting three days, that 
the young Rangers' officer discovered that the lean, swarthy ex- 
digger with the very pronounced foreign accent was far better 
fitted than himself to command a fighting corps. So Von Tempsky 
soon found himself invited to join the Rangers as subaltern and 
military adviser, and the Government gave him a commission as 
ensign. The early prejudice against the roving soldier soon dis- 
appeared when his comrades realized his soldierly talent, and 
when he was commissioned to enlist a company of his own he 
was able to pick a little body of first-class men from the many 
recruits offering. The first body of Rangers was disbanded after 
three months' service, and toward the end of the year 1863 two 
companies were formed, each of fifty men. 

Paparata and a Scouting Adventure. 

From the hills near the Queen's Redoubt the fortified position 
of Paparata, on the open country to the east, was plainly visible, 
a long line of freshly turned yellow clay showing against a pro- 
minent fern ridge. This was a Kingite half-way post between the 
Waikato River and the shores of the Hauraki ; from its shelter 
war-parties could raid in either direction, or could enter the Wairoa 
Ranges at will. Below was a valley covered with fields of wheat, 
potatoes, and maize, and with many groves of peach-trees ; the 
Manga-tawhiri, here a clear gravelly stream, flowed through the 
cultivations. Here and there along the rim of the valley were 
patches of native forest. The distance from the Queen's Redoubt 
was about ten miles, but the most convenient approach was from 
the Koheroa ridge, on the south of the Manga-tawhiri. 

General Cameron was anxious, after a futile reconnaissance 
towards Paparata, ist-2nd August, to obtain accurate informa- 
tion regarding the route and the character of the fortifications, 


and Von Tempsky and Thomas McDonnell volunteered to scout 
the position. McDonnell (afterwards colonel in command of the 
Armed Constabulary Field Force) was, like Von Tempsky, well 
qualified for the enterprise. He was a young officer in Nixon's 
Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, was eager for any dashing and 
perilous mission, and had a perfect knowledge of the Maori tongue. 
The two scouts set out from the Whanga-marino Redoubt at night, 
after reconnoitring their route with field-glasses from the Kohi roa 
hills. The track lay in a general north-east direction from the 
ridge, along an open belt of fern land with swamps on each side. 
Each scout was armed with two revolvers, and McDonnell carried 
a tomahawk and Von Tempsky his bowie-knife. 

The two scouts crossed the open ground in the darkness, and just 
before daylight found themselves almost within the first line of 
the Maori entrenchments. They had intended to take cover in a 
neighbouring belt of bush, but it was fortunate for them that they 
were unable to do so, for soon after daylight the bush was swarm 
ing with Maoris pigeon-shooting. Hidden in high flax-bushes on 
the edge of the swamp and alongside the track from Paparata to 
Meremere, they watched their enemies all day through the loop- 
holes of leaves. Once they were all but discovered by a pig- 
hunting dog. When it began to rain in the afternoon and the 
Maoris retired to their whares the scouts felt themselves secure ; 
they knew also that the rain would obliterate their footmarks 
near the hiding-place. It was dark before they ventured to leave 
their flax-clump, after light-heartedly laying a train of broken 
biscuits from their nest in the flax to the track, by way of 
puzzling the Maoris next morning. They returned safely from 
their perilous mission, and for the information they were able 
to give the General they were highly complimented. Both soon 
afterwards received commissions as captain. Von Tempsky fell at 
Te Ngutu-o-te-manu in 1868. McDonnell lived to receive the 
decoration of the New Zealand Cross for his scouting-work at 

The remains of biscuit and some empty meat-tins which the 
officers left at their hiding-place had a curiously important effect 
upon the Maoris and the campaign. It came to be known some 
time afterwards that the natives were so disturbed by this evidence 
of pakeha scouts in their midst that they concluded their stronghold 
would soon be untenable, and it was not long before they evacuated 
it. In December, after the troops under Lieut. -Colonel Carey had 
built a chain of redoubts across the ridges from the Miranda, Von 
Tempsky, with his subaltern, Mr. Roberts, and a dozen men, 
made a reconnaissance of the scene of his scouting exploit. The 
Surrey Redoubt had been built on the south-eastern rim of the 
Paparata Valley, and the Ranger officers, accompanied from the 
redoubt by McDonnell, explored the works before which they had 


crouched in the flax-clump. " From what we saw," wrote Von 
Tempsky in his journal, " it appears that we had been encircled 
within two hundred yards of a zigzagging line of rifle-pits travers- 
ing nearly the whole valley. A sharp elbow of the river (the 
Manga -tawhiri), with its convex angle towards Koheroa, had been 
taken advantage of in the following way : The inner side of the 
bank had been dug out in proper traversed shape in their usual 
fashion of rifle-pits, but the earth had been thrown into the river, 
so that an enemy could never have expected the existence of 
these rifle-pits till within a dangerous distance of a volley from 
pieces resting on the very ground on which you trod. Moreover, 
a few withered bushes had been allowed to remain immediately 
in front to mask still more the formidable line. W hares with 
bullet-proof flax mats for roofs were built all along inside the 
rifle-pits." On the ridge above was the stockaded and rifle-pitted 
pa. The whares in the various entrenchments were capable of 
accommodating nearly a thousand men. 

_X Vv< ^ fe ^ 



Looking due east from the higher part of Pukekohe Town one 
will see on the skyline, a mile and a half air-line distant, an isolated 
dot of white. In the late afternoon the speck of a building becomes 
a heliograph when the westering sun strikes flashes from its 
windows across the valley. This is the little Presbyterian church 
of Pukekohe East, a monument to-day to the pluckiest defence 
in the South Auckland War of 1863. Stockaded and occupied as a 
garrison-house by the settlers of the place, it was the scene of an 
attack by a strong war-party of Kingite Maoris, against whom it 
was held successfully by only seventeen men until reinforcements 

The Pukekohe East church, two miles from Pukekohe Rail- 
way-station by the road, stands in a commanding position on the 
eastern and highest rim of a saucer-shaped valley, the crater basin 
of an ancient volcano, about half a mile across at its greatest axis, 
east and west. The lower lip, facing Pukekohe Town, has been 
eroded through to the level of the old crater-floor, and a small 
stream, rising in the bushy slopes below the church and flowing 
through a swampy valley, issues from this break. The trench, 
6 feet wide and 3 or 4 feet deep, which surrounded the church 
is still plainly to be traced ; a regular grassy depression about 
1 foot deep remains, and the small flanking bastions are well 
marked. Splintered bullet-holes can be seen in the building and 
in a gravestone on the edge of the hill. The church is a plain 
little building with tiny porch and belfry ; it was built in 1862 
of totara and rimu. In dimensions it is, only 30 feet by 15 feet. 
Unlike the Mauku Church of St. Bride's, the building itself was 
not loopholed, but was defended by a surrounding stockade in 
which openings were cut for rifle-fire. 

Pukekohe East was first settled in 1859 by people from 
Scotland and Cornwall — the families of McDonald, Comrie. Scott, 



Roose, Robinson, Hawke, Easton, and others. The Comries came 
fiom Perthshire. The Roose family, from Cornwall, arrived at 
Auckland by the ship " Excelsior " in 1859. Adjoining their 
holding .md l)tt ween the church and the site of the present Town 
of Pukekohe was the section of the Scotts. When the war began the 
abli-bodied men — in fact, every man and youth who could handle a 
rifle — were formed into a company of the Forest Rifle Volunteers 
to defend their district, and their families were sent to Drury or 
Auckland. Sergeant Perry, the only drilled man in the district, 
was pi. in <1 in charge of the stockade now commenced. Lieutenant 
D. H. Lusk, in command of the defences from Waiuku to 




I Church. I 

&////////S, A ft//S 



Ground-plan of Pukekohe East Church Stockade, 1863. 

The south-east angle (front), facing the road and covering the right flank 
and the entrance, was defended by Joseph Scott and James Easton. 

Pukukohe East, hurried the settlers in their entrenchment- 
work, but in spite of his warnings they had not completed it in 

The stockade was built at a distance of 10 feet from the church 
all round ; outside it was the trench, the earth from which was 
thrown up against the timbers. The stockade consisted of tree- 
trunks, small logs from the bush, averaging about 6 inches in 
diameter, and not set upright, as was the usual way, but laid 
horizontally on one another and spiked to posts. This wall was 
to have been 7 feet high all round, but it had not been completed 


when the place was attacked, and was not more than 5 feet high 
in most places, and gave poor head-cover. The stockade was to 
have been reinforced with a front of thick slabs set upright outside 
and spiked to the logs, but this work had only partly been 
carried out when the Maoris delivered their assault. The timbers 
for the walls were hauled from the bush across the road in front of 
the church on the east and south sides, and some of the material 
(slabs) was brought from Mr. Comrie's homestead, where it had been 
cut for a new house. Rifle loopholes were cut in the upper and 
lower logs, about 10 inches in length, vertical, by 3 or 4 inches 
m width. In places the logs did not fit very closely, and Maori 
bullets came through the interstices. The taller men had to stoop 
to avoid the enemy's fire ; the top logs of the stockade had not 
been spiked on when the attack came. The defence work, as 
measured by the trench depression in the ground to-day, was 
21 paces long by 13 paces wide at the flanking bastions. 

On the 31st August Lieutenant Lusk found the stockade in an 
incomplete state, and made the Volunteers strengthen the foot of 
the log wall by piling up the earth from the trench. The garrison 
neglected, however, to clear the bush to a safe distance from the 

Four young men, members of the stockade garrison, Privates 
Joseph Scott (afterwards Captain Scott, of Epsom, Auckland), 
Elijah Roose, and Hodge, and a special constable sent up from 
Drury, had a perilous adventure the day before the attack. A 
fortnight previously Mr. Scott, sen., had been mortally wounded 
on his farm by a party of Maoris ; and the four Volunteers, too, 
fell in with a war-band when they visited the farm to see to the 
stock. Taking cover behind some rimu logs, they opened fire 
on the raiders, but found that another small party of natives was 
in their rear. The four men separated, Scott and Roose keeping 
together as they ran for the shelter of the bush, and the other 
two making for the stockade. Hodge and his companion were not 
pursued far, and they safely reached the post. Scott and Roose 
raced for the bush in the valley on the west ; the Maoris were 
between them and the stockade. As they were crossing a fence 
they received a volley at less than 40 yards. Scott happened to 
turn his head to look behind him, and a bullet grazed his right 
eyebrow. The Maoris usually fired too high at close range ; seven 
bullet-holes were afterwards found in a tree at that spot, at about 
12 feet above the ground. The fugitives ran through one small 
patch of bush and then took shelter in the main tract of forest, 
about 60 acres in extent, in the bottom of the valley. The 
Maoris surrounded this bush and parties of them searched it for 
the settlers, who kept moving about as they heard the voices of 
the enemy, creeping up after them so that they could keep within 
hearing and retreating when they heard their pursuers returning. 



As night came on the Maoris lit large fires in the fern around the 
bush, illuminating the whole place and making it impossible for 
the two men in hiding to emerge without being seen. At last, 
however, a storm of wind and rain extinguished the fires, and after 
midnight the two fugitives scouted cautiously out of their refuge, 
and reached the stockade in the early morning in time to take 
part in the defence. 

Between 9 and 10 o'clock on Monday morning, the 14th 
September, while some of the men were cleaning their rifles and 
others engaged in the cooking-shed a few yards in front of the 
stockade gateway, a single shot was fired from the bush on the 
right front. The puriri forest almost surrounded the stockade ; on 

The Pukekohe East Presbyterian Church. 

This historic little church still bears marks of the Maori attack in 1863. 
.in- two bullet-holes in the front of the porch (one of these, however, 
appears too small and clean cut for the large-calibre bullets of the " sixties "), 
;n\<l there is one inside in the rear wall, above the pulpit, besides several 
splintered bullet-holes in the ceiling. The shingled roof has been replaced 
by iron, but the original ceiling lining remains. Outside in the rear wall, 
high up, there is another bullet-hole. This was drilled by a shot fired from 
a rimu tree which stood on the steep side of the gully below the church. 
A .Maori was shot down from the upper branches of this tree during the 
fight. In the burying-ground the oldest memorial is one which made a 
target for a bullet fired from the rimu tree. This gravestone bears an 
msrription to the memory of " Betsy, the beloved wife of William Hodge, 
who died July 3rd, 1862, aged -'4 years." In the back of the tombstone 
there is a large splintered bullet-hole. The stone is just outside the south- 
west cornei ol the stockade line. 


the side first attacked it was within 40 or 50 yards of the defences ; 
some isolated trees were nearer, and at most parts the bush was not 
100 yards away, and logs and stumps gave cover for attackers. 
The first shot was followed by a charge. In an instant scores of 
figures leapt out from the trees, fired heavily on the stockade 
and on the riflemen running for shelter, and rushed down on the 
log fence, darting from stump to stump, some firing the remaining 
barrel and reloading, others reserving their fire for close quarters. 
With the warriors was a woman, armed with a single-barrel gun, 
a cartridge-belt buckled about her waist. The little clearing, so 
quiet a few moments before, was filled with the bellowing of heavily 
loaded tupara and the sharp crack of rifles. High above the 
other sounds rose the screaming voice of the Maori amazon as she 
exhorted her warrior comrades, " Riria ! Riria! " ("Fight away ! 
Fight away ! ") 

The defenders of the stockade numbered seventeen. They 
were Sergeant Perry, Privates Joseph Scott, Elijah Roose, William 
Hodge, George Easton, James Easton, and three generations of 
the McDonald family (Alexander McDonald, his son James 
McDonald, and grandson James), besides nine volunteers enrolled 
as special constables. The young boy, James McDonald, pluckily 
helped by carrying out ammunition from the church to the* 
riflemen. There were three other members of the garrison, 
J. Comrie, J. B. Roose, and T. Hawke, but they were absent when 
the attack was made. Comrie and Roose, who had been on leave 
to see their families, were returning on horseback from Drury 
when they saw the church was attacked, and they galloped back 
to Drury for reinforcements. 

Sergeant Perry's first order to his little force was " Fix 
bayonets ! " He ordered them on no account to fire a vollev. 
The reason was that while the defenders were reloading their 
muzzle-loading Enfields the Maoris might charge in. Each man 
ran to a loophole, and in a moment the outer wall was bristling 
with bayonets projecting through the rifle-slits. Independent 
firing began, and for the next six hours the settlers and their 
comrades the special constables fought a battle against many times 
their number of brown skirmishers, who kept up an extraordinarily 
heavy fire from behind trees, logs, and stumps, and from the tree- 
tops, and others from the shelter of a house (Easton 's), about 
100 yards away, above the gully on the defenders' right flank. 
Every tree along the ragged edge of the bush on the front and the 
flanks covered its musketeer. Most of the Maoris, after the first 
rush, took cover on the right front, where some of the ancient 
puriri survive to-day. 

The war-party was estimated by some of the garrison at three 
to four hundred men, but according to a Maori survivor, the old 
warrior Te Huia Raureti, of Ngati-Maniapoto, it did not exceed 




two hundred men. Te Huia (at Te Rewatu, on the Puniu River, 
14th November, 1920) said : — 

" Our ope which attacked the Europeans at Pukekohe East 
barracks [i.e., the stockade] consisted of a part of mv tribe, 
Ngati-Maniapoto, some other Upper Waikato people, and the 
Ngati-Pou, of Lower Waikato. In all we numbered between a 
hundred and seventy and two hundred. With us was a fighting- 
woman named Rangi-rumaki ; she was an elderly woman, of 
determined countenance, and perfectly fearless. We came down 
the Waikato River from Meremere in three war-canoes, and were 
joined by Ngati-Pou. We landed near Tuakau, and were guided 
through the bush to Pukekohe by Ngati-Pou, whose land it had 
been. At Tuakau we had a preliminary skirmish ; we gathered 
in the bush on the ridge near the British pa [the Alexandra 
Redoubt] and fired heavily on the British soldiers, who replied as 
heavily. We had plenty of ammunition, and we fired much of 
it away there. Then we marched inland and north, keeping to 
the level forest land on the west of the Pokeno and Pukewhau 
Ranges. We slept one night in the bush on the way ; it was a 
Sunday. At our bivouac that night the chiefs Raureti Paiaka 
(my father) and Hopa te Rangianini spoke in council, saying, 
' In the battle to come let us confine ourselves strictly to fighting ; 
let no one touch anything in the settlers' houses, or their stock, 
or otherwise interfere with their property.' To this all the warriors 
agreed. At daylight in the morning the march was resumed. 
Wahanui Huatare with a number of his Ngati-Maniapoto men 
went on ahead, keeping under the shelter of the bush. We saw 
them enter a settler's house and loot it, removing the goods it 
contained. This breach of our agreement made us angry ; it was 
a bad omen for us in the fight that presently began. It was not 
right that Wahanui and his comrades should thus trample on our 
accepted rules of fighting. Then the leading sections made a 
dash for the stockade, which stood in a small clearing. The rest 
of us, under Raureti and Hopa, also charged along the level ground. 
Raureti and Maaka, with whom was the woman Rangi-rumaki, 
saw a sentry on a stump outside the defences and fired at him ; 
he ran inside the stockade, which enclosed a building [the church]. 
Rangi - rumaki was exceedingly active and courageous. She 
charged daringly close up to the stockade, armed with a single- 
barrel gun ; round her waist was buckled a cartridge-belt. An 
old Waikato fighting-man, Rapurahi, was the leader of the charge, 
and the woman was close up to the front ; Renata and Arama 
followed. When we reached the front of the stockade we saw 
the muzzles of the guns with fixed bayonets pointing at us, and 
we seized some of the guns by the end of the barrel and tried to 
pull them out through the loopholes, but the rifle-slits were not 
large enough to let the stocks come through." 



Soon after the first dash of the Maoris had been stayed, the 
attackers, as they fell back to take cover, seized the defenders' 
dinner of meat and potatoes, which was cooking in iron pots in 
the shed in front of the stockade. It was a perilous enterprise, 
within a few yards of the log wall, and several warriors fell dead 
or wounded, but the natives succeeded in carrying off the pots, 
and feasted on their contents in the gully below the right front of 
the church. 

Hour after hour the firing continued in the smoke-filled clearing. 
The powder-grimed garrison, with smarting eyes and parched 
throats, stuck manfully to their posts, firing with care, for their 

Captain Joseph S. Scott. 

Captain Scott (No. 3 Company, Pukekohe Rifles, 1872), of Epsom, 
Auckland, is one of the three survivors of the Pukekohe East Church 
Stockade defence. At the time of the attack he was a private in the newly 
formed Forest Rifle Volunteers, Pukekohe Company, numbering twenty- 
three all told. 

ammunition was running short. It was only the sight of the 
bayonets projecting from the loopholes that prevented the Maoris 
from charging over the unfinished stockade. The angle holding 
the narrow gateway on the right front of the stockade was 
defended by two men, Joseph Scott and James Easton. They 
had the hottest work of all, for most of the attackers were 


concentrated on that section of the front. Both were good shots 
and did not waste cartridges. 

Many Maoris fell ; the dead and wounded were swiftly 
removed by means of supplejacks fastened round the ankles 
by men who crawled up on their hands and knees ; the fallen 
ones would be seen disappearing over the face of the hill into 
the valley, or hauled by unseen hands into the cover of the 

On the south-east face, just on the road-boundary of the church- 
grounds, not more than 20 yards from the stockade, stood a large 
puriri tree. Some of the Maoris climbed the tree, and from the 
cover of the thick flax-like growth of wharawhara, or astelia, in 
the forks of the main branches, fired over the log wall. One at 
least of these snipers was shot. Another of the attackers, firing 
at the garrison from the roof of Easton's house under cover of 
the wide slab chimney, received a bullet as he incautiously exposed 
his head and shoulders for a moment, and came tumbling to the 

Some of the Maoris came up so close that they threw sticks 
over the wall and challenged the defenders to come out in the open. 
One warrior took cover behind a puriri stump just outside the 
stockade, so close up that he was unable to move to load his gun 
and had to crouch down low under the loopholes. The woman 
Rangi-rumaki gave inspiration to the attack with her loud cries' of 
encouragement — " Riria, riria, riria!" — but even her exmple and 
her war-shouts could not prevail upon her men to hurl themselves 
upon the sharp steel that glinted in the rifle-flash from each fire- 

The first reinforcements were joyfully greeted by the out- 
numbered little garrison about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, when 
Lieutenant Grierson and thirty-two men of the 70th Regiment 
arrived from the Ramarama post. Grierson had heard the firing 
at 10.30 a.m. Skirmishing with the besiegers at the edge of the 
bush, they advanced at the double across the clearing and joined 
the defenders in the stockade. It was the salvation of the 
garrison, whose ammunition-supply was very low ; some men had 
only a round apiece remaining. The strengthened force now was 
able to keep the Maoris close to their cover. 

A detachment of the 1st Waikato Militia, under Captain Moir, 
with three carts containing ammunition, reached the stockade from 
Drury in the afternoon, and there was a sharp encounter with the 
Maoris in the clearing. One of the Militia was shot in the knee 
and wounded by a tomahawk-cut in the head. About 4 o'clock in 
the afternoon the sound of British bugles was heard in the bush, 
and 150 soldiers of the 18th Royal Irish and the 65th charged 
across the clearing and engaged the Maoris, who were then within 
40 yards of the stockade. The troops were led by Captain Inman 



and Captain Saltmarshe ; the latter received a severe wound in 
the mouth. The fighting that followed, lasting for about an hour, 
was chiefly on the right front and flank of the church. Many 
ol the Maoris held the cover in the hollow immediately below 
the church-ground on the south side, and stood their ground 
there until several had been killed. Five natives were buried 
here, on Easton's land ; the spot is in a field sloping steeply 
to the gully, just outside the churchyard fence on the south, 
a few yards from the road. The British loss was three killed 
or mortally wounded, and eight wounded. Not a man of the 
stockade-defenders was struck by a bullet ; the one casualty 
was a slight wound inflicted by a flying splinter of wood. The 
garrison's only loss was a good dinner, which had gone into the 
Kingites' stomachs. The little church showed many a scar and 
splinter of battle : the upper parts were well riddled with bullets, 
and many of the window-panes were either perforated or broken. 

A curious incident of this combat was narrated by some of 
the defenders. A native pigeon, dazed by the firing and the 
smoke of battle, and frightened out of the bush by the yells and 
shooting of the Maoris, flew on to the high-pitched roof of the 
church and remained there for some time, unhurt by the bullets 
that whistled about it. The beautiful kerern perched in such 
a precarious sanctuary seemed a harbinger of hope and an omen 
of success to the hard-pressed settlers. The story is one of those 
legends of the past of which it is difficult now to obtain con- 
firmation. Captain Joseph Scott says that he did not himself 
see the pigeon ; it would be difficult for most of the defenders 
to see anything on the ridging from within the stockade, owing 
to the narrow space between the log wall and the church. 
However, he considers the incident is probably authentic. The 
Hon. Major B. Harris, M.L.C., who was on active service in the 
district at the time, though not a member of the Pukekohe 
church garrison, says, " I believe it is true that a bush-pigeon 
settled on the roof of the church during the firing, and was 
regarded by the defenders as a mascot, or a bird of good omen." 

" In this encounter," says Te Huia Raureti, " we lost, I think, 
more than forty men killed. Ngati-Pou suffered most ; they 
had about thirty men killed. Most of the dead were carried 
off the field, but we had to leave them on the way, and some of 
the bodies were concealed in the hollows and the branch forks 
of large trees, among the wharawhara leaves, so that our enemies 
should not find them. We had no time to bury them. Of our 
party from up the river the killed included Te Warena, Wetere 
Whatahi, Moihi Whiowhio (of the Ngati-Matakore Tribe), and 
Matiu Tohitaka (Ngati-Rereahu). Te Raore Wai-haere, brother 
ot Rewi M;miapoto, was wounded. My father, Raureti Paiaka, 
was wounded in the right arm." 



On the day following the engagement a detachment of Militia, 
from Drury, arrived to garrison the church and relieve.' the 
volunteers and special constables. Sergeant Perry, in recognition 
of his capable leadership in the defence, was given a commission 
as ensign in the 2nd Regiment, Waikato Militia. 

The Attack on Burtt's Farm, Paerata. 

On a partly wooded upswell of land at Paerata, midway 
between Pukekohe and Drury by a branch road, stands an old 
farmhouse of the substantial kind built by the frontier pioneers. 
" Glenconnel " is painted on the road-gate, but its name in 1863 
was Burtt's Farm, a name associated with one of the incidents 
which proved the spirit of the settlers who remained on their 
farms after the outbreak of war. The homestead was attacked 
by a party of Maoris on the 14th September, 1863, the same day 
as the Battle of Pukekohe East Church Stockade, a few miles 

Paerata Bluff and Burtt's Farm. 

A fortified pa of the Ngati-Tamaoho Tribe, named Te Maunu-a-Tu 
(" The War-god's Lure "), stood on the western end ol the Paerata lidge 
in ancient days. 

away. Burtt's Farm is three miles from Pukekohe by the road 
which diverges to the eastward of the railway-line at Paerata, 
then crosses a stream flowing from the Tuhimata hills, and 
winds up a steep hill, terminating on the westward in a bold 
bluff like a battleship's ram bow. The southern and south- 
western sides of the hill are wooded, and many great oak-like 
puriri shade the approach to the homestead. Sweet-peas and 
roses climb the front of the dwelling, a comfortable old place, 
with the high-pitched roof and wide veranda that distinguished the 
homes of the early days. James Burtt, an Auckland merchant, 
built this place about 1859, when heart of kauri and totara and 
the best rimu were used. There are two bullet-holes, made by 
large-calibre balls, in the front weatherboards near a window 



on the veranda, and another hole drilled in 1863 is to be seen in 
tin front of a square, strongly built workshop of pit-sawn timber 
111 rear of the farmhouse ; the building is almost hidden in ivy. 

On the morning of the 14th September a war-party of about 
twenty Maoris from the Lower Waikato, chiefly Ngati-Pou, came 
up through the puriri and rata forest on the south side of the 
Paerata ridge and surrounded the homestead. The occupants 
of the place were Mr. Watson, manager for Mr. Burtt, and his 
family, three sons and two daughters, and two farm workers 
named Knight and Hugh McLean. The men had rifles, and they 

Photo, J. C, 1920.] 

Burtt's Farmhouse, Paerata Hill. 

were accustomed to take their arms with them when they went 
to their work about the farm. That morning Watson and one 
of 1 lis sons (Robert) were engaged in putting up a fence some 
distance from the house, and McLean and the eldest son, John 
Watson, were ploughing near the bluff on the west, a third of a 
mile from the house. Mrs. Watson was lying ill in bed in the 
house. The attack began about 10 o'clock, when shots were fired 
at Watson and his son, and the boy Robert, a lad of fourteen, 
was mortally wounded. Watson and Knight took cover, and 
replied to the Maori fire with their rifles until they had exhausted 



their ammunition. They were cut off from the house by the 
Maoris, about a dozen of whom had commenced firing into it. 
In the other direction the ploughman McLean and young John 
Watson, a lad of eighteen, were at work when they heard shots, 
and running towards the house they found it surrounded by 
natives. Ten Maoris engaged McLean, who used his rifle bravely 
against them, while Watson got the ammunition ready. The 
cartridges were soon expended, and McLean ran down the hill 
eastward, chased by several Maoris. John Watson, taking off 
his boots, ran for his life to summon help. He caught up with 

From a water-colour drawing by Major Von Tempsky, i86j."\ 

The Maori Attack on Burtt's Farmhouse. 

The three figures on the right in the picture are Mr. Hamilton, Miss \\ 

and Alex. Goulan. 

one of his brothers, William, who had been sent off by his 
father for assistance. They gave the alarm at Drury, and an 
armed force was soon on the way to raise the siege. 

In the meantime ten or a dozen Maoris were firing into the 
doors and windows of the house. Mrs. Watson, in her terror, got 
under the bed for safety, while one of the daughters ran through the 
thickly planted garden at the side unobserved by the Mai iris, and 
under cover of the bush raced down across the slopes and up the 


opposite hill to the home of the nearest neighbour, Mr. James 
Hamilton, half a mile away to the east, near Tuhimata. Mr. 
Hamilton and his employee, Alexander Goulan, had already 
heard the firing, and had armed themselves with Enfield rifles 
and bayonets (they were Militiamen), and were coming to 
the rescue. Taking advantage of the bush cover, they opened 
fire on the Maoris, who were peppering the house briskly 
with their guns. Keeping well concealed and firing rapidly, they 
drove the Kingites off from the house into the puriri bush. 
Imagining that they were attacked by a considerable number 
of pakehas, the Maoris retreated, and the relieving - party met 
Mr. Watson and his man, who had been cut off from the home, 
and entered the house to find the invalid woman very frightened 
but unhurt. 

A party of troopers (Mounted Artillery), under Lieutenant Rait, 
presently galloped up from Drury, followed by forty infantrymen ; 
but the Maoris by this time had retreated into the forest. The 
courage and prompt action of Hamilton and Goulan deserved all 
the praise bestowed by the military, for they had not hesitated 
a moment to come to the rescue, against great odds, and by 
their skill in using the cover around the house they succeeded in 
concealing the weakness of their party. 

Burtt's Farm people were escorted into Drury, Mr. Watson 
carrying his mortally wounded son. The boy died in the military 
hospital. After their departure the Maoris returned and sacked 
the house. A few days later the body of Hugh McLean was 
found in the swamp, shot through the heart ; his rifle had been 
carried off. 

Burtt's Farm now was made the headquarters for a time of 
a Flying Column (or Movable Column) formed, under the command 
of Colonel Nixon, for the purpose of scouring the tracks in the 
bush between the Great South Road and the Waikato River. It 
was also used by Jackson's Forest Rangers as a convenient field 
base in scouting- work around the district. 

John Watson's Narrative. 

The following account of the attack on Burtt's Farm is contained in 
a letter (7th May, 1922) from Mr. John Watson, of Riversdale Road, 
Avondale, Auckland ; he was one of the two boys who escaped from the 
Maoris and ran for help to Drury. Mr Watson is the last survivor of the 
family. After confirming the narrative given in this chapter, he wrote : — 

" The Paerata farm, belonging to Mr. James Burtt, consisted of 
900 acres. The road going over the Paerata Hill cut the farm in two 
sections, the homestead on one side and the bluff on the other. There 
was a very high rata tree growing on the bluff side of the road, towering 
above the rest of the trees in the clump of bush there ; it could be seen 


for miles around. My father was on Paerata farm in 1859; the rot ol 
us went out in 1861. At that time there was no one living within three 
miles except Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Samuel Luke. The latter lived down 
in the valley behind the Paerata farm ; he was very fortunate, for he and 
his wife left for Drury two or three days before the raid in September, 
1863. The Maoris camped in his house the night before they attacked 
us, or the night after. 

" As you correctly state, Hugh McLean and I were ploughing on the 
bluff when the attack was made. The mornirg was beautifully fine and 
calm. About 10 o'clock we heard firing in the direction of Pukekohe Easi 
Church Stockade. It was not five minutes later when firing comment ed 
at our house. We at once unharnessed our horses and turned them adrift. 
Then we made for the house as fast as we could run. Instead of keeping 
the direct road which led through thick scrub and tea-tree we made a 
half-circle round the bush and came out in the open in front of the house. 
It was well we did so, for otherwise we would have been tomahawked, as 
four or five of the Maoris came from the road we always used except this 
time. When we were about 400 yards from the house we saw five or six 
natives come up the rise from where we afterwards were told they attacked 
my father and brother and the man Knight. McLean opened fire on 
them. He had a rifle. I had nothing unfortunately ; I left mine at home- 
that morning. The firing brought out of the scrub the Maoris who were 
lying in wait for McLean and me, and we had five more on the other side 
closing in on us like the letter V. Their fire became too hot for us, and 
we had to retreat. There was no cover for us to take shelter in. I took 
the road to Drury, and McLean turned to the right, in an easterly direction. 
There was a redoubt with troops about two miles from Drury that could 
be seen from our side ; it would be between two and three miles across 
country, more than two miles nearer than Drury, but it was through fern 
hills and swamps. Lndoubtedly it was for this redoubt McLean was 
making. I preferred to keep the road to Drury ; I was afraid of the 
swamps after winter rains. As we took different directions one half the 
Maoris followed McLean, the others followed me and kept up a running 
fire. I had some narrow^ escapes, but I got out of their range when I 
was half-way to Drury. McLean, after getting about half-way to the 
redoubt on the south road, got stuck in a swamp, where he was evidently 
shot at close quarters. 

" Our retreat drew at least ten of the Maoris from the attack on the 
house, and enabled my father and Knight to join Mr. Hamilton and Alex. 
Goulan, who stuck to their posts until a detachment of Mounted Artillery 
arrived. As soon as I arrived at the camp at Drury and reported they 
were in their saddles and off, but when they got to the farm the Maori- 

" When my brother — the one who was with my father and the man 
Knight — was shot by the Maoris he took cover in a thicket of scrub. He 
was able to tell us before he died that he heard the natives passing quite 
near him, but they did not find him. That was how he escaped being 

Regarding his sister's share in the events of that perilous morning, 
Mr. Watson said : — 

" There were two girls in the house, my s^ter>. When the firing 
commenced, Mary Ann — she was the one that had the most pluck to do 
anything — rushed out of the house to let a watch-dog off the chain, hut 
the dog was so furious about the firing she could not undo the strap. 
She had to return to the house for a knife to cut the strap. While she 
was doing so she was fired on, but escaped. The dog then rushed into the 
bush. He was a savage one to strangers : it took the Maoris some time 
before they got him killed. In the meantime Mary Ann made ,,|t as fast 


as she could run for Mr. Hamilton's. When about half-way she met 
Hamilton and his man, who had hurried off when they heard the firing. 
As to Mr. Hamilton arming my sister with a rifle [as shown in Yon Temp- 
sky's sketch], I do not remember hearing about that, nor do I think it 
was possible for him to do so, because it is not likely he and Goulan 
would take more arms than they could use. If Von Tempsky sketched 
her carrying a rifle he could have done it when he was billeted in the 
house. He with Captain Jackson and Captain Heaphy — afterwards Major 
Heaphy, V.C. — put up in the house at night for three weeks. The 
Forest Rangers had no tents. Colonel Nixon and the Flying Column 
were camped on the road on the top of the hill. It is quite likely that 
Yon Tempsky sketched her for amusement. Every one connected with 
the attack is dead but myself — my sisters and all. Before Von Tempsky 
came to New Zealand he was in the California gold rush, and at night 1 
have heard him telling the other officers of the wonderful adventures he 



In September of 1863 the Koheriki and other parties of Kingites 
who roamed the ranges of Wairoa South and the Hunua turned 
their attention to the scattered settlements on the lower part of 

Prawn by Lieut -Colonel A. Morrow.] 

Camp of a Movable Column, near Papatoetoe (1863). 

This column, consisting of detachments of the 70th Regiment, Pitt's 
Militia, and the Auckland Rifle Volunteers, was encamped for a time between 
St. John's Redoubt, Papatoetoe, and the hills on the west side of the Wairoa. 

the river. Thev pillaged the houses of outlying farmers who 
had gone into the stockade opposite the Galloway Redoubt or 
into Papakura, and scouted the edge of the bush awaiting an 
opportunity to cut off settlers returning to their sections. Majoi 
Lyon, a Crimean veteran, was in command of the Militia district, 
with his quarters in the Galloway Redoubt. To relieve the 
Militia garrison doing duty in the redoubt, detachments of the 
Auckland Rifle Volunteers were sent down to the Wairoa in the 



rnment armed steamer " Sandfly." It was on this service 
that the city Volunteers hist engaged the Maoris ; their previous 
duty had chiefly been in garrison in Auckland, varied bv service 
at Otahuhu and Drury. and an expedition as pan of a " Flying 
Column " with the 70th Regiment, encamped near St John's 

ubt. Papatoetoe. 
(hi the 15th September some of the garrison when playing 
cricket, and a fatigue-party getting slabs, near the stockade, were 
fired on at a distance of about 150 yards, and heavy bring followed. 
Two days later a detachment of fifty-five men led by Major Lyon 
marched up the valley towards Otau in pursuit of a large raiding- 
party which had been plundering settlers' houses on the outskirts of 



I , ■^■■■H 

From a L nut. -Colonel A . Morrow.] 

The Galloway Redoubt. Wairoa South 

the village. In the skirmish which followed the Volunteers behaved 
with steadiness and judgment, and inflicted some casualties on the 
Kingites. Lyon extended his small force across the face of the 
hill surrounding the native village and kept up a heavy fire, to 
which the Maoris replied bv independent bring as well as by volleys 
from numbers of men formed into large squares. Each square, 
having delivered a volley, fell back behind the :. I reload. 

Before daylight on the morning following this engagement 
• Lyon marched from the Galloway Redoubt with a force 
composed of fifty men from the Auckland Rifle Volunteers and 
twenty Wairoa Rifles from the stockade, under Lieutenant Steele. 
to deliver an attack upon the natives at Otau. The troops 
silently took up a position on the bank of the flooded river opposite 


the whores, and in the gray dawn opened a heavy fire on the 

sleeping camp. It was a complete surprise, for the Maoris had 
not expected a renewal of the attack so soon. There were between 
one hundred and fifty and two hundred natives in the settlement. 

The rudely aroused men, women, and children rushed out in great 
confusion and took shelter in the bush. A number of them replied 
to the Volunteers' fire, but the whole body soon retreated into the 

Among the Maoris was the young half-caste woman Heni te 
Kiri-karamu, who had gone on the war-path to share the fortunes 
of her brother Neri (Hone te Waha-huka), of the Koheriki. 
Describing the surprise attack Heni said, " We had intended to 
march down and attack the pa of the soldiers on the Wairoa, but 
they forestalled our plan. We camped in some deserted w hares 
near the river-bank, and did not expect an early-morning visit, 
so there was a panic when we were awakened at daybreak by a 
terrific volley fired into our huts. The troops had lined up on the 
opposite side of the Wairoa, and at short range volleyed at us ; 
it was a wonder that any of us escaped. Instead of making a 
stand w r e retreated rapidly into the forest. I carried my baby on 
my back. Most of us were assembled in a large whare, and in 
running out of it the chief Titipa, from Tauranga, was shot dead 
just in front of me. Another man from Tauranga named Tipene 
was killed, and many were wounded. The Tamehana boys, of 
Ngati-Haua, were both there." 

As the river was still flooded, the European force could not 
cross to follow up the Maoris, so Major Lyon marched his men 
back to the redoubt. Later on in the day twenty men of the 
18th Regiment, under Lieutenant Russell, were despatched to 
occupy the position in front of the Maori camp which had been 
held in the morning, while the commanding officer, with seventy- 
five of all ranks, marched by a track on the other side of the river 
to take the settlement in the rear. The troops found, however, 
that the natives had evacuated the place. 

In these skirmishes the Maoris lost eight nun killed. 

On the 13th October a party of the Koheriki retaliated with 
an attack on unarmed Europeans within a short distance of the 
Galloway Redoubt. An elderly man named Job Hamlin was 
killed, and his companion, a boy named Joseph Wallis, about 
thirteen years of age, was terribly tomahawked, but by a miracle 
survived his wounds. Joseph Wallis's people were shifting their 
property to town from their farmhouse near the Wairoa Road, 
for fear of the Maoris, and Job Hamlin was employed in carting 
the goods, which were loaded into a bullock-dray. The boy was 
riding on horseback, and Hamlin was driving the team. Suddenly 
some Maoris ran out from the bush and fired on them. The boy's 
horse refused to go on, and when he got off it to lead it. or to run 


the Maoris chased him. One of them caught him and delivered 
two tomahawk-cuts crosswise on the side of his head and face, 
inflicting an X -shaped wound. The top of his head was also 
smashed in with the butt of a gun. The soldiers at the redoubt 
ran up on hearing the firing, and found him lying there apparently 
dead ; he was taken to the camp hospital at Papakura. Job 
Hamlin was found dead, tomahawked. The Maoris had left Wallis 
for dead. He recovered, and he is to-day farming in the Waikato, 
but he has suffered all his life from the gun-butt blow. He is 
the younger brother of Mrs. Harris, wife of the Hon. Major B. 
Harris, M.L.C. 

On the 15th October an old soldier named Fahey and his wife, 
who were settled on a small bush farm near Ramarama, were out 
milking their cows when they were surprised by some of the 
Koheriki and shot and tomahawked. Mrs. Fahey was dead when 
found, and her husband died soon afterwards. 

A party of twenty Koheiiki natives on the 26th October raided 
Kennedy's Farm at Mangemangeroa, a few miles beyond Howick 
in the direction of Maraetai. Mr. Trust, who was in charge of the 
farm, was away in Auckland at the time, but there were three of 
his sons in occupation, besides two men, Courtenay and Lord. 
Ambrose Trust was the eldest son ; the others, Richard and 
Nicholas Trust, were nine and twelve years of age. Lord, who 
was a workman on the place, was leaving the farmhouse at about 
7 o'clock to go to his house when he saw a number of armed Maoris 
crouching in a ditch near the house. Lord and Courtenay escaped, 
but the latter was wounded. The Maoris fired through the front 
window. Ambrose Trust, taking his little brothers by the hand, 
ran out at the back and hurried in the direction of the nearest 
neighbours. The Maoris gave chase and shot down the two small 
boys. Ambrose, wounded in the shoulder, with difficulty escaped. 
The boys were tomahawked. 

Major Peacocke, in command of the redoubt at Howick, started 
in pursuit of the Koheriki with some Militia, and a detachment 
of the Defence Force Cavalry and Otahuhu Volunteers, numbering 
fifty, took up quarters at Kennedy's Farm. Peacocke followed 
the track of the Maoris for some miles, but they had made off in 
the direction of the Hunua Ranges. H.M.S. " Miranda " steamed 
down the gulf in the afternoon with a force of a hundred Auck- 
land Naval Volunteers and the same number of Rifle Volunteers, 
under Major de Ouincey, and anchored off Mangemangeroa, but 
the raiders by that time had crossed the line of posts between 
Wairoa and Papakura, and there was therefore no chance of cutting 
them off. 

Some weeks after these events at the Wairoa the Forest 
Rangers made a successful surprise attack on a camp of the 
Koheriki hapu in the heart of the ranges. By this time (14th 



December) the Rangers had been reorganized, and two companies 
were formed, one under Jackson and the other under Von 
Tempsky. Jackson's No. 1 Company had the skirmish all to 
themselves ; Von Tempsky, to his great disappointment, missed 
the opportunity, although he had observed the native tracks, by 
following a trail which led him towards Paparata. Jackson, 
setting out from the Papakura Camp with Lieutenant Westrupp 
and twenty-five men, marched to Buckland's Clearing in the 
Hunua Ranges, and descended into the densely wooded upper 
valley of the Wairoa River. Maori tracks were found leading 
toward the source of the Wairoa, and a lately deserted camp 
was passed. The trail led across the head of the Wairoa and for 
several miles beyond into the terra incognita towards the river- 
sources near the higher parts of the Kohukohunui Range. The 

L li |l|»„„ 

Maori War Flag captured by the Forest Rangers. 
(14th December, 1863.) 

trail at last was lost, but smoke was seen rising from a distant 
gorge in the forest, and as the Rangers scouted in that direction 
they heard a cow-bell ringing irregularly, as if a child were play- 
ing with it. The sound guided them toward a secluded camp by 
the side of a creek. Ensign Westrupp with six or eight men 
cautiously advanced down the rocky stream. A coloured man, 
George Ward, who was the first to emerge from the bush, found 
a Maori bathing ; the astonished Maori, thinking Ward possibly 
a friend, beckoned to him to approach, but the Ranger shot him 
dead. Westrupp dashed into the camp, followed by the rest of 
the party. The Maoris were taken completely by surprise. It 
was a Sunday ; they had had a religious service, and some of 
the party were cleaning their guns, while others were bathing. 


A few of th iii made desperate resistance, and there were one or 
two hand-to-hand combats, but it was very soon over. Several 
fired, but had no time to reload before the Rangers' carbines and 
revolvers laid them low. A woman was shot accidentally while 
assisting a wounded warrior who was endeavouring to give the 
pakehas a final shot. A tin box containing three flags was 
captured by Corporal W. Johns. One of these was a red-silk 
flag, bearing a white cross and star and the name " Aotearoa " ; 
it had been made by Heni te Kiri-karamu for her chief Wi 
Koka. It is now in the Auckland Old Colonists' Museum. 
Four dead Maoris were left on the ground, and three dead were 
seen carried off ; several were wounded. The Rangers sustained 
no casualties. 

" Shortly before this," narrated Heni te Kiri-karamu, " it had 
been decided that we should make for the Waikato, and we 
were to travel south through the bush by way of Paparata. In 
our party was an old tohunga, a man named Timoti te Amopo ; 
he was gifted with the power of matakite. or second sight. As 
the result of some vision or foreboding — a warning from his 
personal god, Tu-Panapana — Timoti advised us not to follow the 
track which ran straight toward Paparata, but to disperse into 
small parties and make our way through the bush to the common 
meeting-place, so as to throw the troops off our trail. A number 
of our people, however, did not accept the seer's advice, and 
continued on the well-marked track, while the rest of us, with 
Timoti, split up into small sections and struck into the trackless 
parts of the forest for a rendezvous to the southward. The 
consequence was that we escaped, while those who disregarded 
the old seer's counsel fell in with the Forest Rangers and had 
several men killed and wounded, It was on a Saturday that we 
parted company ; the fight took place next day. The survivors 
of this skirmish joined us in the forest near the headwaters of 
the Manga-tawhiri River." 

This surprise attack in the forest took place deep in the 
ranges near the sources of the Wairoa and the Manga-tawhiri. It 
is sometimes described as having occurred at Paparata, but this 
is an error ; the spot was nearer Ararimu, in the Upper Wairoa 

" One of the Maoris in the camp," said Heni, " was a man 
named Te Pae-tui. He was terribly wounded, shot through both 
hips. His elder brother, Te Tapuke, seeing him fall, ran back to 
his assistance, and stood by him reloading his double-barrel gun, 
determined to defend his brother to the death. Te Tapuke a few 
moments later received a bullet through the forehead and fell 
dead by his wounded brother. After the fight the Forest Rangers 
attended as well as they could to Te Pae-tui's injuries, laid him on 
blankets found in the camp, and gave him drink and food. His 



wife came out from the bush, weeping over her husband, and 
they treated her kindly, but they could do nothing more for 
her husband, and they left her there. She remained tending the 
mortally wounded man until he died several days later. She was 
all alone then. She could not shift him, so she dug a grave herself 
and buried him there in the forest." 


The following is the roll of Jackson's Forest Rangers engaged in the 
fight in the Wairoa Ranges, 14th December, 1863 : William Jackson (Captain 
Commanding), Charles Westrupp (Lieutenant), A. J. Bertram (Sergeant- 
Major), Thomas Holden, William Johns, John Smith, Robert Alexander, 
Robert Bruce, William Bruce, Lawrence Burns, George Cole, Robert Gibb, 
Joseph Grigg, William Thomson, Henry Hendry, Richard Fitzgerald, Harry 
Jackson, Patrick Madigan, Stephen Mahoney, John Roden, Henry Rowland, 
Charles Temple, James Peters, Matthew Yaughan, James Watters, George 
Ward, and William Wells. 

^ s, i 

The Settlers' Stockade at Wairoa South. 

This stockade (see pages 240 and 282) was held by the Wairoa Rifle 
Volunteers. It was the scene of an attack on the 15th September, 1863. 
The drawing is after a sketch by Lieut. -Colonel A. Morrow, of Auckland, 
who served in the operations at Wairoa South as an ensign in the Auckland 
Rifle Volunteers. 



The Mauku and Patumahoe districts, contiguous to Pukekohe 
and extending to the southern tidal waters of the Manukau 
Harbour, are attractive to-day with the twin charms of natural 
landscape beauty and the improvements made by the farmers' 
hands during more than sixty years of settlement. Even before 
the Waikato War the Mauku, first settled in 1856, was a fairly- 
well-peopled locality, when the site of the present Town of Puke- 
kohe was still a forest of puriri and ritnu. The branch railway-line 
from Pukekohe to Waiuku passes within a short distance of the 
pretty, antio^e-featured building upon which the war-history of 
Mauku is centred. The Church of St. Bride's is of an eye-pleasing 
design that belongs to many of the churches planted by the pioneers, 
whose first care, after establishing their homes, was to set up a 
place of worship in their midst. Built of totara, its shingled roof 
dark with age, its spire, lifting above the tree-tops, it stands 
picture-like on a green knoll in the midst of its little church- 
yard. Walk round its walls and count the rifle loopholes in its 
sides — narrow slits that remind one that the place was once a 
fort as well as a church. There are fifty-four of those rifle-slits, 
now neatly plugged with timber or covered with tin and painted 
over. The cruciform design of the building exactly lent itself 
to fortification, and gave the defenders the necessary flanking 
bastions. When the Mauku men erected their stockade of split 
logs, small whole tree-trunk; and heavy slabs, 10 feet high, they 
planted the timbers alongside one another close up against the 
walls of the building. The openings for rifle-fire were cut through 
walls and stockade ; the garrison therefore could point their 
long Enfields through the double defence. These loopholes, at 
regular intervals all round the church, at about 5 feet from the 
floor, are 9 inches in length vertically by about 3 inches in 
width ; the cuts in the palisade were necessarily a little wider 
to give the rifles play. 

At the tidal river-landing, about a mile distant to the west, 
stood the Mauku stockade, a small iron-roofed structure defended 


by a wall of upright logs. This stood at the spot where cutters 
from Onehunga landed stores for the local forces. 

The first alarm of a racial war occurred in October, i860, 
when a Maori of the Ngati-Tamaoho Tribe named Eriata was 
found shot dead in the bush at Patumahoe. The natives 
imagined he had been murdered by a European, and a war- 
party of Waikato and Ngati-Haua came down in canoes to Te 
Purapura to investigate the matter. Wiremu Tamehana accom- 
panied them to exercise a restraining influence, for the chiefs of 
the war-party had declared that if it were true that a pakeha 
had killed the Maori they would begin a war. Possibly war 
would have been precipitated but for the intervention of Bishop 
Selwyn and Archdeacon Maunsell, who met Tamehana and the 
tana and persuaded the force to return. Mr. Donald McLean 
and Mr. Rogan, of the Native Department, also went to investi- 
gate the matter and met the Patumahoe people. The conclusion 
arrived at was that the Maori had accidentally shot himself. 

It was Mr. Daniel H. Lusk (afterwards Major Lusk), a 
surveyor by profession — he had helped to lay out the City of 
Christchurch in 185 1 — and owner of a bush farm in the dis- 
trict, who was chiefly instrumental in forming the Forest Rifle 
Volunteers. Mr. Lusk had been in New Zealand since 1849 ; 
he was a frontiersman of the best kind, energetic and observant, 
used to the bush, and endowed with a natural gift of leader- 
ship.- To him more than to any other settler-soldier the credit 
was due of placing the district west of the Great South Road 
in a state of defence. He had organized local Volunteer corps 
during the first Taranaki War. When that campaign ended in 
1861 many settlers imagined that fighting had definitely ceased 
in New Zealand, and most of the rifles at the Mauku were 
returned to store. However, Mr. Lusk was firmly of opinion 
that there would be war in the Auckland District, and early 
in 1863 he was the principal means of forming three companies 
of Forest Rifles — one at Mauku, one at Waiuku, and one at 
Pukekohe East. 

The first skirmish in which the Forest Rifles were engaged 
was fought on the 8th September — the morning after the 
encounter near Camerontown in which Captain Swift, of 
the 65th, was killed. Early that morning a small body of 
colonial troops, consisting of about thirty-five of the Forest 
Rangers, under Lieutenant Jackson and Ensigns Von Tempsky 
and J. C. Hay, and fifteen of the Mauku Company of Forest 
Rifles, under Lieutenant Lusk, started out from the Mauku 
stockade on a bush-scouting expedition in search of Maoris. 
They began by reconnoitring the forest and the bush-clearings 
in the direction of Patumahoe and Pukekohe. They reached the 
farms of Lusk and H. Hill, between Patumahoe and Pukekohe 
10 — N.Z. Wars. 






Hill, and found that the Maori marauders had been there. 
Lusk's house had been pillaged. On the edge of what was 
known as the " Big Clearing," belonging to Mr. Hill, they found 
traces of the raiders. The Maoris shot a bullock in this 
clearing, which was nearly half a mile square, covered with 
burnt stumps and logs. The force, hearing the shots, divided, 
and twenty, under Jackson, Lusk, and Von Tempsky, scouted 
about the fringes of the paddock, keeping under cover of the 
bush. They received a sudden volley at a range of a few yards, 
and replied briskly. The natives were sheltered behind masses 
of fallen trees and undergrowth interlaced with supplejack. The 
other party of Rangers skirmished up on Jackson's left and 
joined their comrades. At last the Maori fire grew slacker, and 
the Rangers and Mauku Rifles charged into the bush, but their 




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Sketch-plan, J. C, 1920.] 

Plan of Mauku Church, 
Showing positions of loopholes in the walls. 

opponents had disappeared. An encampment was found with 
about a dozen rough huts. Only fleeting glimpses of the Maoris 
had been obtained during the skirmishing, and any killed or 
wounded were carried off the field. It was reported afterwards 
that five had been killed. The war-party was composed chiefly 
of Patumahoe natives, the Ngati-Tamaoho and other hapus, who, 
after deserting their settlements, were prowling about the bush, 
plundering the outlying homesteads. The European force suffered 
no casualties, although several of the men had received bullets 
through cap or clothes. 

It was the maiden fight of the Rangers and Mauku Rifles. 
The guerilla veteran Von Tempsky in his journal gave high 


praise to some of the settler-soldiers. Lusk he described as " a 
man of consummate judgment about Maori warfare." In the 
height of the skirmish he found time to admire the sang froid 
of the Mauku men : " There are some cool hands amongst those 
Mauku Rifles. There are big Wheeler and little Wheeler, and 
Kelahan, watching the Maoris like cats ; they have holes 
through their coats, but none through their skins as yet. Lusk 
is cool and collected, keeping the men together." The best 
marksmen were Jackson and Hay, both crack shots. 

This was one of the first fights in the war conducted after 
the traditional manner of North American Indian warfare, 
skirmishing from tree to tree. For some time after this skirmish 
the Forest Rangers remained at Mauku, making the fortified 
church their headquarters and scouring the bush.* 

The Engagement at Titi Hill, Mauku. 

Less than a mile south of the Mauku church and village is 
a gently rounded hill of red volcanic tufa, crowned by a farm- 
homestead and crossed by a road. In 1863 this hill, known as 
the Titi, was a partly cleared farm belonging to Mr. Wheeler. 
Beyond, on the southern side, the land slopes deeply to a 
valley, on the farther side of which, nearly a mile distant, are 
the heights known as the Bald Hills. The distance of the 
Titi from the nearest part of the Waikato River is about six 
miles; the intervening country in the war -days was mostly 
dense forest, threaded by one or two narrow tracks — old Maori 
fighting trails. 

Early on the morning of the 23rd October, 1863, the sound 
of heavy firing in the direction of the Bald Hills was heard by 
the little garrison of Forest Rifles and Militia at the Mauku 
church stockade and the lower stockade near the landing. 
Lieutenant Lusk, commanding the Forest Rifles, was at the lower 
stockade at the time, and, thinking that possibly the church 
was being attacked, he advanced quickly with twenty-five men 
to St. Bride's to reinforce the force there. Then it was thought 

* The skirmish in Hill's Clearing, near Patumahoe, west of Pukekohe, 
was fought on a level tract of country traversed by the present road from 
Pukekohe. The scene of the principal fighting, as nearly as can be located 
now, is on the right-hand side (north) of the main road from Pukekohe to 
Mauku and Waiuku, after passing the turn-off to Patumahoe at Union 
Corner, three miles from Pukekohe and the same distance from Mauku. 
Soon after passing Union Corner (Steinson's) the traveller will notice on 
the right a very large puriri stump, forming part of the post-and-rail 
fence dividing the road from the fields : this stump indicates the scene of 
some of the skirmishing in the edge of the bush. There are still remnants 
of the olden puriri forest on both sides of the road. 

Major Von Tempsky's MS. narrative of this skirmish is given in the 



that the volleys in the distance might be the Waiuku Volunteers 
out practising, and Mr. John Wheeler and a comrade scouted 
up through the bush and the clearing to reconnoitre. They 
discovered Maoris shooting cattle on Wheeler's Farm, between 
the Titi summit and the Bald Hills. When Lieutenant Lusk 
received this report he despatched a man to the lower stockade, 
instructing Lieutenant J. S. Perceval, who had been left in charge 
of the Militia (ist Waikato Regiment), to join him at once at the 
church with half his force. At the same time one of the settler 
Volunteers, Mr. Heywood Crispe, was sent off to Drury for 
reinforcements. Lieutenant Perceval set out as ordered, at the 
head of twelve men, but instead of following instructions to join 
the others at the church he struck off to the right for the crown 

The Maukl* Church, Present Day. 

of the Titi Hill, with the object of taking the Maoris in the rear. 
These rash tactics quickly involved Perceval and his small party 
in a perilous position from which it was necessary for Lusk to 
extricate them. Perceval entered the bush, but the natives, 
having ended their cattle-shooting, came skirmishing over the 
hill and almost surrounded the Militia. The fight was now 
visible from the church stockade, where Lusk had been waiting 
for Perceval to join him, and in a few moments the Forest 
Rifles were dashing up the rise towards Wheeler's Clearing. 
Perceval when joined by the church-stockade party was retiring 
in good order, hotly pressed, but without casualties so far. 
At this time Lieutenant Norman, a Militia officer who was in 
charge of the church garrison, and who had ridden into Drury 


for the men's pay, returned and, armed with a rifle, caught up 
to the fighters on the hill. 

Lieutenant Lusk, considering his force of about fifty was strong 
enough to drive back the Maoris and enable him to return, 
now boldly attacked, and before the steady advance with fixed 
bayonets the raiders fell back through a strip of Wheeler's felled 
but unburned bush to the open ground. The Maoris, however, 
skirmished rapidly through the standing puriri and rata forest on 
Lusk's left flank, and as they greatly outnumbered the riflemen 
it was necessary to retire in order to avoid being outflanked 
and surrounded. The Kingites were endeavouring to cut the 
little force off from the church stockade, and Lusk had need 
of all his bush-fighting skill to counter their tactics. When 
recrossing this ragged strip of felled timber, taking advantage 
of every bit of cover and fighting from behind logs and stumps 
as they fell back, the Volunteers and Militiamen were charged 
fiercely by the warriors in their full strength, about a hundred 
and fifty. 

Now came a desperate close-quarters battle, lasting ten minutes 
or a quarter of an hour. At very short range — Lieutenant Lusk 
afterwards stated it at 20 yards — the opposing forces poured 
bullets into each other as fast as they could load and fire. 
Every log and every stump and pile of branches was contested. 
In the centre, facing the Maoris' front, the gallant Perceval reck- 
lessly exposed himself, and it was with difficulty that the Mellsop 
brothers, three young settlers, prevented him from charging at 
the enemy. Twice they saved his life by pulling him under 
cover. At last, after shooting several of his nearest opponents, 
he was shot himself, and fell dead in front of his men. Lieutenant 
Norman also was shot dead, and several other men fell. Some 
of the Maoris, throwing down their guns, charged upon the bayonets 
with their long-handled tomahawks. Lusk, finding himself out- 
flanked on both sides, ordered his men to take cover in the bush 
on the right. In this movement the troops had to run the 
gauntlet of a heavy cross-fire, and man after man was hit. One 
of the Forest Rifles, Private Worthington, was tomahawked as 
he was reloading his rifle ; another man was killed with the 
tomahawk while he was in the act of recovering his bayonet 
which he had driven through a Maori's body. One of the 
wounded, Johnstone, was assisted by two comrades into the bush, 
and as he could not walk he was concealed in a hollow rata 
tree, where he huddled until the relief force rescued him on the 
following day. 

Lender cover of the bush Lusk's force had a short breathing- 
space, and their accurate shooting soon cleared the smoky clearing 
of the Maoris, but it was impossible to venture into the open 
space to carry off the eight dead who lay there. The officer in 



command re-formed his men and retired in good order upon the 
church stockade, keeping carefully to the timber cover most 
of the way. This rearguard action, firing by sections as the 
retirement was made, was carried out with excellent judgment, 
and the little force behaved with the steadiness and coolness of 
veterans. The headquarters at the stockade and the post at 
the church were reached without further casualty. The force 

Major D. H. Lusk. 
(Died 1921.) 

After his active service in command of the Forest Rifles, Major 
Lusk joined General Cameron's army in the Upper Waikato as an 
officer attached to the Transport Corps. When the steamer " Avon " 
sank in the Waipa River with her cargo of supplies (February, 1864) he 
succeeded in getting commissariat through to the troops at Te Rore with 
a Militia force, by rapidly cutting a pack-track from Raglan Harbour 
over the ranges to the Waipa, and kept the army supplied in this way 
till the " Avon " was replaced. 


lost two officers and six men killed ; but grief at the fall of good 
comrades and at the necessity of leaving their bodies to the 
tomahawk was tempered with the satisfaction of having killed 
or wounded several times that number of the enemy. 

Lusk and his comrades during the fight had cast "many an 
anxious glance towards the village in the direction of the church 
stockade, hoping for the reinforcements from Drury. But when 
the long-awaited troops at last arrived all was over, and the 
battle-grimed Volunteers and Militia were back in their quarters. 
Hey wood Crispe, who had galloped the twelve miles to Drury 
in three-quarters of an hour, had an exasperating interview with 
the Imperial officers at the camp. " Colonel Chapman was in 
charge there," narrated Mr. Crispe, " and with him was young 
Colonel Havelock (Sir Henry Havelock, son of the Indian Mutiny 
hero), who was on General Cameron's staff. I told them that 
I had seen the Maoris shooting cattle, and they almost laughed 
me to scorn, and said it was impossible for natives to be there. 
I most earnestly solicited them to send for Major Rutherford's 
' Flying Column,' which I knew was in camp at the Bluff near 
Pokeno, and get the force to go through Tuakau and on to 
Purapura, on the Waikato, where they would be sure to intercept 
the Maoris returning from Mauku, as it was their only way of 
retreat to cross the Waikato." Crispe also begged, for mounted 
men, some of the Defence Force Cavalry, to be hurried off to 
the Mauku, but all that was done was to send two companies of 
infantry — the Waikato Militia — who arrived there in the evening, 
too late to be of any use. 

Farly next morning firing was heard in the direction of the 
Bald Hills, and- some natives were seen there, but when a force 
of about two hundred men advanced to the Titi Farm the Kingites 
had disappeared. It was learned afterwards that these Maoris 
were some who had met the returning war-party on the Waikato 
River, and, on hearing that they had not fired a volley over the 
battle-ground after the battle by way of claiming the victory, 
had marched in themselves and fired oft their guns near the 
spot. The troops found the bodies of the slain men, all toma- 
hawked and stripped of arms and equipment and part of their 
clothes, laid out side by side on the grass in the clearing. A pole 
on which a white havereack had been tied indicated the place. 
The bodies, with the exception of Worthington's, which was 
buried at Mauku, were sent in to Drury for burial. A force was 
sent through the bush to Purapura, following the trail of the 
Maoris, and numbers of kauhoa or rough bush-stretchers for carrying 
the dead and wounded were found. It was estimated that the 
natives had lost between twenty and thirty killed, besides many 
wounded. The " Flying Column " had in the meantime marched 
across countrv via Tuakau to intercept some of the raiders, but 


they only reached Rangipokia, near Purapura, in time to open 
fire on the last of the canoes crossing the river. The Maoris 
returned to Pukekawa, the field headquarters of Ngati-Maniapoto. 


This curious story with reference to Lieutenant Norman was related 
to me by Major D. H. Lusk : — 

Lieutenant Norman, who had just returned from Drury with the pay 
for the Mauku Forest Rifles and Militia garrison, had about ^200 in his 
possession, mostly in bank-notes. He was shot through the chest and 
killed ; the fatal shot was fired at such close range that his clothes were 
forced into the wound. When the body was searched next day the money 
could not be found. Its disappearance remained a mystery to Lusk for 
nearly fifty years. Then a half-caste member of the Ngati-Maniapoto 
Tribe told him that some years after the war a Maori brought him one 
day a bundle which proved to be a large roll of bank-notes stuck together 
with earth and blood. With much care the notes were separated and 
dried, and in the end the Maoris succeeded in passing them at the banks. 
This bundle, the natives said, formed part of the loot brought by Ngati- 
Maniapoto from the Titi fight in 1863. Without a doubt it was the 
missing pay for the Mauku men, and the blood which caked the notes 
together was Norman's life-blood. 

The Maoris took a prisoner, a Portuguese named Antonio Arouge, in 
the employ of the Crispe family. He was captured by the cattle-shooting 
party and tied to a tree. After the fight he was taken into the Waikato, 
and remained a prisoner for some months, when he was allowed to return 
to the Europeans. It was, no doubt, his swarthy skin that saved him. 

Many stories were told of the brave conduct and accurate shooting 
of the Volunteers and Militia. There were also a few good shots among 
the natives. Just before Lusk advanced from the church stockade to 
Perceval's relief he saw, through his field-glasses, a Maori marksman in 
a conspicuous dress taking deliberate sniping shots from the cover of a 
log. Although the sniper was quite 1,000 yards away he put a bullet 
through the soft-felt hat of Tom Harden, a Volunteer a few feet away from 
Lusk. and sent two or three other bullets remarkably close to him. The 
Maori was evidently using a captured British rifle. Lusk wa« a good 
rifle-shot, and, sighting for 1,000 yards, his first shot made the Maori 
sniper leap back hurriedly for cover. In the skirmish which followed as 
the force advanced Tom Harden had the satisfaction of taking compensa- 
tion for his damaged hat by killing the native marksman. 

Lusk in his report gave praise to Sergeant Harry W. Hill and Private 
John Wheeler, of the Forest Rifles, who distinguished themselves by their 
determined gallantry. Another settler who behaved with special courage 
was Felix McGuire, afterwards a member of the House of Representatives. 

Major Lusk narrated this incident which immediately preceded the 
outbreak of the war : — 

The Ngati-Pou and Ngati -Tamaoho Tribes, of Waikato and Patu- 
mahoe, had, it is believed, fixed a day for a general attack on the settlers. 
By a curious coincidence it happened to be the date on which the pak?ha 
residents were loyally celebrating the marriage of the Prince of Wales 
(afterwards King Edward VII) and the Princess Alexandra of Denmark. 
The frontier settlers kindled bonfires at dark that night on prominent hills, 
and those of the Mauku, including Lusk and some neighbours, lit theirs 
on the Bald Hill, where it was visible for many miles around and as far as 
the Waikato River. The Maoris, it was said, were about to start out on 



their raid, anticipating the British declaration of war, but the unexpected 
glare of the bonfires alarmed them into the belief that their plans had been 
discovered, and that the fire was a signal for a general attack on the 
Kingites. Lusk and several fellow-settlers were returning from the bonfire 
hill late at night, when they met a party of about fifteen Maoris, some of 
them armed, who had evidently been to Lusk's house. He demanded their 
business there. They replied that they had been alarmed by the bonfires 
and inquired if they were a signal for an attack upon the natives. Shortly 
after this incident Major Speedy (a retired Imperial officer), who was Resident 
Magistrate and Native Agent for the Mauku, Waiuku, and Pukekohe districts, 
was directed to read the Governor's Proclamation to the natives requiring 
them either to take the oath of allegiance to the Queen and to deliver up 
their arms or to retire into the Kingite country, so that the Government 
might be able to discover who were their friends. As it was evident that 
the Maoris would not willingly give up their arms and leave their land, 
Major Speedy instructed Lieutenant Lusk to organize all the able-bodied 
settlers of the districts into three rifle volunteer companies, which came to 
be known as the Forest Rifles. 

Mrs. Jerram (Remuera. Auckland), a daughter of the late Major Speedy, 
of Mauku, says that the family's home at " The Grange," near the Mauku 
landing, was loopholed and garrisoned by the settlers for defence against 
the natives in 1863. This was before the stockade was built at the 
landing-place. Mrs. Jerram and Mrs. B. A. Crispe describe the scene in 
" The Grange " in the time of alarms, when for three nights the women 
and children of the settlement took shelter there, waiting for the cutter 
which was to take them to Onehunga. The armed settlers kept guard in 
twos ; those off guard lay down on the floor in their blankets, their loaded 
rifles on the table. There were numerous false alarms, especially just 
before the dawn, the Maoris' favourite time of attack. " The Grange " 
was not the best of places as a defensive shelter, for there was a thick 
growth of trees and creepers close up to the house, affording perfect cover 
for an enemy. 

Tohikuri, of the Ngati-Tamaoho Tribe, Pukekohe, gives the following 
explanation of the place-name Patumahoe, that of the gently rounded hill 
near the battlefield of Hill's Clearing : — 

The chief Huritini, of the Ngaiwi or Waiohua Tribe, of the Tamaki 
district, came to these parts to make war upon tliku-rere-roa and Te 
Ranga-rua, the leaders of the Ngati-Tamaoho Tribe, six generations ago. 
The pa of Ngati-Tamaoho was on the Titi Hill. The battle began on 
the western side of the present Mauku Railway-station, near the church. 
Huritini was killed with a blow delivered with a niahoe stake or part of a 
sapling snatched up hurriedly from the ground by a Ngati-Tamaoho chief 
who had dropped his weapon ; and the Ngaiwi men were defeated and 
driven from the district. Hence the name : Patu, to strike or kill ; niahoe, 
the whitewood tree ( Melicytus ramifiorus) . 

Tohikuri is a direct descendant of Ranga-rua. 



The South Auckland District, 
Showing military posts and scenes of engagements, 1863. 



It was necessary to organize a small fleet of protected 
vessels for the Waikato River in order to carry the war into 
the Kingite territory. The first craft procured was the little 
paddle-steamer "Avon," of 40 tons, 60 feet in length, and draw- 
ing 3 feet of water. She had been trading out of I.yttelton 
before the purchase by the Government. She was brought up 
to the Manukau, and at Onehunga was armoured for the river 
campaign. She was armed with a 12-pounder Armstrong in the 
bows. The work of making the hull bullet-proof was carried 
out by the engineer, Mr. George Ellis (now of Auckland), who 
states that the " Avon " was converted into an armoured 
steamer bv having iron plates bolted inside her bulwarks. These 
plates were I inch thick and measured 6 feet by 3 feet. The 
wheel was enclosed by an iron house of similar-sized plates, with 
loop-holes. " I put the same thickness of iron protection on 
some smaller craft," said Mr. Ellis. " These were armed barges 
for towing troops. The gunboat-barges were each 30 feet to 
35 feet in length ; they had been open fore-decked cutters in 
Auckland Harbour, and were taken over on trucks to Onehunga. 
I armoured them with lengths of bar iron, \ inch thick and 
3 or 4 inches in width, along the outside of the hull from the 
gunwale to the water-line. In the bows of each boat was a 
gun-platform for a 12-pounder. The troops were put into these 
barges, which were towed up by the steamers. The bulwarks 
protected the soldiers quite well, but the barges were never 
attacked. There was: another vessel, the ' Gymnotus,' but she 
was not armoured. She was a curious-looking craft like a long 
narrow canoe, and had been built for ferry service on Auckland 
Harbour. She was the first screw steamer on the Waikato, 
and was employed in carrying stores up the river." 

The paddle-wheeler " Avon " was the first steam-vessel to 
float, on the waters of the Waikato. She was towed to Waikato 
Heads on the 25th July, 1&63, by H.M.S. "Eclipse," and Captain 
Mavne, the commander of that ship, took her inside the Heads 


and anchored that night eight miles below Tuakau. Next day, 
watched with intense excitement by the Maoris, friendlies, and 
hostiles alike, she reached the Bluff, otherwise known as Have- 
lock — Te Ia-roa of the Maoris — just below the junction of the 
Manga-tawhiri with the Waikato. She was not fired upon, 
contrary to the expectations of her crew, who expected a vollev 
from the southern bank of the river at the narrower parts. 
Mr. Strand, of Kohanga, assisted to pilot the " Avon " up the 

On the 7th August Captain Sullivan (H.M.S. "Harrier"), 
senior naval officer in New Zealand, took the vessel on a 
reconnaissance up the river, and near Meremere she became a 
target for Maori bullets for the first time. A volley from some 
Maoris under cover on the river-bank was replied to with the 
12-pounder Armstrong. On several occasions later in the cam- 
paign the " Avon " was under hre. This little pioneer of steam 
traffic on the Waikato proved an exceedingly useful vessel. When 
the army reached the Waipa Plains she carried stores up as far 
as Te Rore, on the Waipa ; it was near there that Lieutenant 
Mitchell, R.N., of H.M.S. " Esk," was killed on board her 
(February, 1864) by a volley from the east bank of the river. 
Lieutenant F. J. Easther, R.N., was in command of the "Avon."* 

The second steam-vessel of war placed on the Waikato was 
the " Pioneer " — a name that more properly might have been 
bestowed on the " Avon." The " Pioneer " was specially designed 
for navigation in shallow waters, and was a well-equipped river 

* Mr. George Ellis, of Auckland, who was engineer of the " Avon," 
says : — 

" Lieutenant Mitchell's death occurred in this way : We carried out 
rather dangerous work in the later stages of the war when running up and 
down the Waipa River. Sometimes we took shots at anything that offered 
on the banks, and even landed to go pig-hunting. One very warm summer 
day, when steaming up the Waipa near Whatawhata, Mr. Mitchell remarked 
that it was too hot to remain in the iron wheel-house and that he would 
go outside ; he declared that he would not be shot that day. He walked 
out on to the open part of the bridge-deck, and Lieutenant Easther (in 
command) and Midshipman Foljambe (father of the present Lord Liverpool) 
followed him. They had not been long there before a sudden voile}- was 
fired from the scrub-covered bank of the river — the east or proper right 
bank. The three officers were close together, with Mr. Mitchell in the 
middle, and, curiously, it was only the man in the middle who was hit. 
The volley was fired at an oblique angle. Mr. Mitchell was shot right 
through the breast, and died next day. We never saw a Maori, so thick 
was the cover on the bank." 

The " Avon," besides plying on the Waipa, made a number of trips 
from Ngaruawahia to General Cameron's advanced camp at Pukerimu. 
This, perilous passage through the hostile country was generally made at 
night. The " Avon " was never fired at on this part of the Waikato — 
usually called the Horotiu above Ngaruawahia — but there were anxious 
moments when she was passing through the narrows, where the high 
banks closely approach each other, above the present town of Hamilton. 



gunboat. She was built for the New Zealand Government by 
the Australian Steam Navigation Company at Sydney, and was 
an iron flat-bottomed stern-wheel paddle-steamer of nearly 
300 tons, with a length of 140 feet and beam of 20 feet, drawing 
only 3 feet of water when fully loaded. The engine-room and 
other vital parts of the vessel were all well protected. Her 
most conspicuous deck feature was the pair of iron turrets or 
cupolas, 12 feet in diameter and 8 feet in height. Each tower 
was pierced for a 12-pounder gun and for rifle-fire. (One of 
these cupolas afterwards stood on the river-bank at Mercer for 
many years ; it was at one time used by the police as a lock-up. 
It now forms the lower part of Mercer's memorial to the local 
soldiers in the Great War.) 

The " Pioneer," rigged for the voyage as a three-masted 
fore-and-aft schooner, left Sydney for the Manukau on the 

The River Gunboat " Pioneer." 

This drawing, from a sketch in 1863, shows the " Pioneer " in 
seagoing rig. The mainmast was removed before she entered operations 
on the Waikato River. 

22nd September, 1863, in tow of H.M.S. " Eclipse," and, after a 
stormy voyage, reached Onehunga on the 3rd October. She was 
taken into the Waikato later in the month, after undergoing 
a few alterations, and until the end of the war was actively 
engaged in reconnaissances and conveyance of troops and supplies. 

The four small armoured barges, or gunboats, mentioned by 
Mr. Ellis were taken into the Waikato about the same time, 
and each of them was placed under the command of a junior 
naval officer. Midshipman Foljambe (father of Lord Liverpool, 
recently Governor of New Zealand) was in charge of one of 
these boats, which he called the "Midge"; it was manned by 
seven sailors, and was armed with a 12-pounder and a 4f-inch 
brass Coehorn mortar. 

Later in the war two stern-wheel iron gunboats, called the 
"Koheroa" and the "Rangiriri," were procured in Sydney, and 



were brought over in sections and put together at the Govern- 
ment's dockyard and stores depot at Putataka, Port Waikato. 
The high bulwarks of each steamer were pierced for rifle-fire, 
and there was a gun-position on the lower deck amidships. The 
" Koheroa " on one occasion towards the close of the campaign 
went up the Waikato River as far as a point near the present 
town of Cambridge. 

Without this river flotilla General Cameron could not have 
carried on the Waikato campaign. The gunboats and the troops 
they carried enabled him to outflank the Maori positions at Mere- 
mere and Rangiriri, to capture Ngaruawahia unopposed, and to 
keep his army fed and equipped on the Waipa Plain. It was 
the great water-road into the heart of the country, Waikato's 
noble canoe highway, that gave the British troops command 
of the Kingite territory and prepared the way for the permanent 
European occupation. 

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. 



Some small vessels were necessary for despatch and patrol 
work on the coast. The Colonial Government bought, the s.s. 
:< Tasmanian Maid," 90 tons, renamed her the " Sandfly," and 
armed her. Under the command of Captain Hannibal Marks, the 
"Sandfly" carried out useful work as a gunboat and despatch- 
vessel on the east coast, particularly in the Hauraki Gulf and 
in the coast operations near Maketu (1864). The " Sandfly" 
was protected against a sudden attack by canoe-crews by an 
arrangement of galvanized wire stretched between stanchions 
fitted on the bulwarks, thus forming a strong boarding netting. 
As a further defence, canvas mattress-cases stuffed with flax 
were provided, to be placed against the wire netting as a bullet- 
proof barrier. Another patrol-vessel was a fore-and-aft schooner, 


Aftei a sketch by Mr. S. Percy Smith.'] 

Putataka, Port Waikato, 1864. 

Extract from Mr. S. Percy Smith's diary : " 10th October, 1864. — 
Pulled from survey camp at Maioro down to Putataka to take some 
angles and spend a couple of hours in looking about the place. There were 
the steamer ' Koheroa ' undergoing repairs, the ' Avon ' being dismantled, 
having done her work on the Waipa nobly, and the ' White Slave,' a 
new steamer, being built, besides the building of barges and boats. 
There are several large and good stores for commissariat purposes, both 
Imperial and colonial, barracks, and officers' quarters on a hill overlooking 
the dockyard ; a few men of the 14th Regiment are in garrison." 

the " Caroline," armed with a gun ; she was used for a time in 
Auckland waters, and on one occasion took a party of Naval 
Volunteers on a cruise in search of a schooner trading in 
contraband of war. 



The British Screw Corvettes " Miranda" and " Fawn." 

Before coming to New Zealand the " Miranda," a fifteen-gun corvette, 
had been engaged in the blockade of Archangel during the war with 
Russia, 1853-54. She was employed in the Hauraki Gulf in the Maori 
War of 1863, and in 1864 was sent to Tauranga, where the Captain 
(Jenkins) and a detachment shared in the disastrous attempt to storm 
the Gate Pa. The " Fawn, " which was at Auckland in 1862, was a 
seventeen-gun corvette. 

From a painting by II'. Forster.] 

The Gun-schooner " Caroline," 1863. 

The small schooner " Caroline " (afterwards the " Ruby ") was used 
by the Government in 1860-63 as a despatch and patrol vessel on the 
west coast and in the Hauraki Gulf. She was armed with a gun. At one 
time she was commanded by Lieutenant S. Medley, R.X. 



Other vessels used on the Hauraki Gulf patrol were the 
s.s. " Auckland," which carried two 12-pounder guns, and the 
cutter " Midnight," 33 tons, armed with a 4-pounder gun and 
manned by a crew of fifteen Auckland Naval Volunteers. 

The Naval Brigade, made up from the crews of the several 
naval ships in New Zealand waters, was a highly useful reinforce- 
ment to the land army. In October of 1863 there were five ships 
of the Australasian Squadron, all with steam-power, lying in the 
Auckland and Manukau Harbours. The flagship was the steam- 
frigate " Curacoa " (Commodore William S. Wiseman), mounting 
twenty-three guns — sixteen plain-bored 8-inch guns on her main 
deck, six 40-pounder Armstrong guns on her quarter-deck, and 
one no-pounder Armstrong pivot gun on her forecastle. Her 
tonnage was 1,571 tons, and her engines were 350 horse-power. 

H.M.S. " Eclipse." 

The " Eclipse," first under Commander H. G. Mayne and afterwards 
under Captain (now Admiral) Sir E. R. Fremantle, carried out much 
useful service on the New Zealand coast, 1863-65. She was the first 
vessel of the British Navy to enter Waikato Pleads. The " Eclipse " 
was a barque-rigged steamer of 750 tons, capable of steaming 11 knots 
per hour. She had a crew of ninety men, and was armed with a 
no-pounder Armstrong gun and a 68-pounder, both pivot guns, besides 
two 32-pounders. The " Eclipse " served on the Taranaki coast and in 
the Manukau, and later (1865) was engaged in operations against the 
Hauhaus in the Bay of Plenty and about the East Cape. 

The " Miranda," Captain Robert Jenkins, was one of the screw 
corvettes of the " Niger " order ; she measured 1,039 tons, 
carried fifteen guns, and had engines of 250 horse-power. The 
" Esk " was the latest addition to the squadron. She was one 



of a numerous family of twenty-one-gun corvettes, of 1,169 tons, 
with engines of 250 horse-power. Her armament was powerful 
for those days, consisting of sixteen plain-bored 8-inch guns, 
four 40-pounder and one no-pounder Armstrong field-guns. 
The " Esk " was under the command of Captain John Hamilton ; 
he fell in the assault of the Gate Pa in 1864. 

The two remaining ships, " Harrier " (700 tons) and " Eclipse " 
(750 tons), were the guardians of the Manukau waters. 

The British Troopship " Himalaya." 

The ship-rigged steamer " Himalaya," 3,570 tons, was a celebrated 
British transport in the days of the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny, 
and carried many thousands of troops to the East. .She was built in 
1S53 for the P. and O. Company. On the 14th November, 1863, she 
arrived at Auckland from Colombo, bringing the 50th Regiment, numbering 
819 officers and men, under Colonel Waddy, C.B. Captain Lacy commanded 
the " Himalaya." 



Maori artillery, emplaced on the long narrow ridge of 
Meremere, saluted the first steam-craft that came paddling up 
the Waikato. The roar of these Kingite-manned guns — old 
ship's pieces conveyed with great labour from the west coast 
and loaded with a strange variety of projectiles — gave a deeper 
note of determination to the struggle for independence. Every 
tribe acknowledging the authority of the Maori King sent its 
warriors to garrison Meremere. At one period of its occupation 
there were more than a thousand men there, from the tribes 
of Waikato, from Ngati-Maniapoto, Ngati-Haua, Ngati-Koroki, 
Ngati-Raukawa, Ngati-Tuwharetoa, and even from Taranaki and 
the Upper Wanganui. Inland again, in the direction of the Wairoa 
and the Hauraki, was the Paparata series of entrenchments, 
designed to bar the British advance on the eastern side, and 
to keep communication open with the Thames Gulf and the 
Wairoa Ranges. On the other side of the Lower Waikato, in the 
elbow of the river, was Pukekawa, the advanced field base of 
Ngati-Maniapoto ; from its domed crown they could overlook the 
river and the movements of the troops from Whangamarino down 
to Tuakau and Camerontown. Meremere held the centre ; it 
was the key of the Waikato, and had the Kingites been armed 
on equal terms with the British they might, for all their inferior 
numbers, have swept the river clear, and maintained indefinitely 
the independence of the interior. 

The Great South Road, which skirts the proper right bank 
of the Waikato south of Mercer, cuts through the site of the 
Meremere fortifications of 1863. The principal remains of the 
Maori works extend obliquely along a ridge — now a dairy farm — 
rising in places in irregular terraces parallel with the river, on 
the southern side of the Whangamarino flax swamp. A system 
of marshes, converted into lagoons in time of flood, bounds the 
long Meremere ridge, or succession of ridges, on the east, and 
when the Waikato ran high the Maori position was practically 
an island. At its greatest elevation it was about 130 feet above 
the river. The northern terminal of the ridges is about two 
miles south of the Mercer Railway-station. As the Great South 
Road, after crossing the swamp, ascends this end of the long 
hill it intersects the ruins of the first line of rifle-pits ; on the 



clay spur, grown with gorse and pine-trees, the remains of the 
Maori trenches and shelter-holes are still plainly to be traced. 
From this point southwards for nearly half a mile the road runs 
close to the lines of trenches. On the edge of the steepest part 
of the slope above the Waikato irregular outlines of rifle-pits and 
dug-in whares are traceable in the uneven turf of the paddock. 
On the opposite side of the road (east), about 150 yards from the 
highway and on the crest of the ridge, are the well-preserved 
remains of the British redoubt constructed upon the site of the 
Maori tihi or citadel. This field-work, cut in a stiff clay, retains 
its original proportions well; the trench shows 15 feet scarp at 
the highest point, with a counterscarp of about 6 feet. 

The Maori artillery in the Meremere works consisted of three 
ship's guns, which the natives regarded with great pride ; they 


The Maori Entrenchments at Meremere, 1863. 

expected with them to prevent any pakeha vessel running the 
blockade of the Waikato. Patara te Tuhi, who was in Mere- 
mere with his tribe, informed me that two if not all of the guns- 
had been given to the Ngati-Tahinga Tribe, at Whaingaroa, on 
the west coast, many years before by the trader Captain Kent 
(" Te Amukete " of the Maoris). They had been transported 
over the ranges by man-power, and taken by canoe from the 
Waipa down to Meremere.* The native gunners were taught 

* Tohikuri, of Ngati-Tamaoho. gives the following names of the largest 
war-canoes manned by the Waikato tribes during the river war of 1863 : 
Maramarua, Tawhitinui, Te Marei, Te Aparangi, Te Ata-i-rehia, Te Winika, 
Tahere-tikitiki, Ngapuhoro, and Te Toki-a-Tapiri. The last-named was. 
among the canoes belonging to the Ngati-te-Ata seized by the NavaL 
Volunteers in the Manukau creeks ; it is now in the Auckland Museum. 



the art of loading, laying, and firing the pieces by a European 
who lived in the Maori country before the war. This was an 
old East India Company's gunner, who was detained by the 
Kingites until he had trained the brown artillerymen. Tohikuri, 
of Xgati-Tamaoho, says that the guns were under the charge 
of Xganiho Panapana, a relation of Major te Wheoro, of the 
Ngati-Naho Tribe. This gunner succeeded one day in firing 
a steelyard weight into the " Pioneer." His difficulty was the 
want of proper projectiles ; for lack of shot he loaded his guns 
with pieces of iron chain and with paoro weeti (pound weights) 
taken from the traders' stores. Panapana afterwards was taken 
prisoner at Rangiriri, and was one of those who escaped from 
Kawau Island in 1864. Tai-whakaea te Retimana was one of 
the gunners ; he had worked as assistant to a blacksmith. Later 
on he was in charge of the two guns which the Kingites emplaced 
in Paterangi pa, in the Upper Waikato. 

The first line of defence began at a palisading close to a belt 
of bush on the Maoris' extreme right, on the edge of the Whanga- 
marino Swamp and close to the river. In front of the landing 
two ship's guns were in place ; one of these was a small swivel 
6-pounder. There were two embrasures in a kind of chamber 
cut in the clay bank ; these openings covered the approach up 
or down the river, and the gun was shifted from one embrasure 
to the other with rope tackle. In rear of the battery were 
eleven tiers of traversed pits, covering the landing. A covered 
way led from the first gun to the second, which was mounted 
on a rough carriage with wooden wheels. The next system 
of entrenchments consisted of lines of rifle-pits, extending for 
several chains along the face of the ridge. Here a 24-pounder 
gun was emplaced. Beyond these pits, and on the summit of 
the hill, was the trenched pa, 28 yards by 20 yards, lightly 

On the 6th August the " Avon," commanded by Captain 
Hunt, when steaming up the river eight miles above Te Ia-roa, 
was fired on from the left bank. The Maori bullets flattened 
harmlessly on her plates. The steamer fired six rounds from 
her Armstrong gun, besides three war -rockets, and inflicted 
some casualties. On the 12th August the " Avon," with General 
Cameron on board, made a reconnaissance of Meremere. Anchor- 
ing within 1,000 yards of the pa, she sent some shells and rockets 
into the Kingite rifle-pits. The Maoris had begun their fire on 
the steamer from the bush on the bank, and as she swung round 
to return down the river they fired one of their pieces of artillery 
at her at point-blank range — about 100 yards. The gun was 
loaded, in lieu of other shot, with long iron nails, which furrowed 
the water astern of the gunboat. One of the seamen received a 
slight scalp-wound. 



On the 29th and 30th October the gunboat " Pioneer " 
made reconnaissances of the Meremere position. General Cameron 
and his staff were on board. The gunboat was fired on heavily 
by the Maoris, who used their cannon as well as small-arms, but 
the fire was not effective. Most of the shots fell short, but on 
the 30th a 71b. steelyard weight fired from the upper gun, a 
24-pounder, penetrated the upper works of the gunboat and 
lodged in a cask of beef. Fragments of iron used as projectiles 
rattled against the phting and the cupolas, but did no damage. 
On the first day's reconnaissance the " Pioneer " replied to the 
Maoris' cannonade with her gun, and the 40-pounder Armstrongs 
in the Whangamarino redoubt also sent several shells into the 
Meremere entrenchments. 

Drawn from a sketch by an officer of H.M .S. " Curacoa."] 

The Gunboat " Pioneer " at Meremere. 

On the 20th October, 1863, the " Pioneer," with Lieut. -General Cameron 
and staff on board, reconnoitred the Kingite entrenchments on the 
Meremere ridge. The gunboat anchored in the Waikato 300 yards from 
the shore, and remained there for more than two hours under fire. A 
correspondent in the " Pioneer," describing the reconnaissance, wrote : — 

" A cloud of white smoke burst from the bank at the landing. The 
Maoris had fired their lower guns. . . . Another puff of smoke 
sprang up, this time from a kind of embrasure in the upper line of 
rifle-pits. This shot fell short, endangering the Maoris more than the 
people in the steamer. Again the same gun fired, and with similar effect, 
the langridge splashing up the water, but nearer to the rifle-pits than 
to the steamer. The gun at the landing belched out again, and a jet of 
water spouted up alongside the gunboat ; she was hit at last. A broken 
rocket-tube fell on board, but without any injury resulting. The natives 
had evidently dug up this projectile and used it as a charge of langridge. 
The side of the steamer was in a moment enveloped in white smoke, and 
the fragments of a shell tore up the ground about the rifle-pits at the 
landing. Another followed, and another, while not a movement was made 


in the native position. Now a sharp crack was heard in another direction, 
followed by a sustained hissing sound — the 40-pounder Armstrong gun had 
sen! its shell from Whangamnrino, and this burst over the long line of 
rifle-pits on the hilltop. The steamer again fired, and alternately the 

I j pounder fired, the missiles bursting over every part of the position. 

The time-fuse appeared rather short for the jo-pounder range, and the 
shells burst in the air, but the percussion fuse exploded the other shells as 
they struck the ground, and each sent a shower of earth into the air. The 
natives made no reply for a time, but at length, from a point near the water, 
where a palisade had been erected to arrest the march of any troops that 
might attack the place from the Whangamarino side, a sharp volley of 
musketry rattled out, succeeded by another, and then came a dropping 
fire from the whole extent of rifle-pits. The balls pinged on the steamer 
and pattered on the iron plating, occasionally going through an opening 
or glancing sharply off the cupolas. No one was struck, save perhaps 
some man in his coat-skirt or the brim of his hat. For half an hour now 
the steamer lay without firing a shot. General Cameron and his staff had 
now made themselves acquainted with the nature of the position ; at each 
loophole a sketch was being made, while the natives expended their 
ammunition in vain." 

The " Pioneer " again reconnoitred the Meremere entrenchments on 
the 30th October and was fired on heavily. 

After the reconnaissance in the " Pioneer" on the 30th October 
General Cameron returned to the Queen's Redoubt, and orders 
were given for the embarkation of ■ a column of six hundred 
men, consisting of detachments of the 40th and 65th Regiments, 
and two gun detachments of the Royal Artillery. These marched 
to the naval camp on the Manga-tawhiri, and were taken off to 
the " Pioneer " as she lay at her moorings in the Waikato near 
the Bluff. The expedition before daybreak on the 31st October 
had passed the enemy's position at Meremere, fired upon by the 
upper and lower battery and rifle-pits as she steamed up the 
flooded river. Without returning the fire, the " Pioneer," accom- 
panied by the " Avon," and having in tow several of the small 
gunboats, steamed for about eight miles above Meremere, and the 
force was landed. An entrenchment was thrown up on the high 
ground on the right bank and on the track from the landing to 
Rangiriri and Meremere. Three guns were got into position early 
in the day. One of the small gunboats was left in the river to 
cut off the Maoris' communication from the interior by water, 
and the "Pioneer" and "Avon" returned, towing the remaining 

The Maoris realized the importance of this move, and 
attempted to dislodge the British force by an attack on the 
field-work early next morning, but they were repulsed. A force 
of about six hundred men was to have embarked on the 
1st November to form a junction with the advance force and 
march back to Meremere, attacking it about dawn on the left 
flank and rear. The Maoris forestalled this movement by a retreat. 
The flooded state of the country favoured their escape from the 
rear ; and about 2 o'clock a despatch from Captain Phelps, of 


the 14th Regiment, in command at Whangamarino, gave the first 
news that the natives were crossing the lagoon in canoes from 
Meremere towards Paparata and the Thames. General Cameron, 
accompanied by his staff, immediately left the Queen's Redoubt, 
and in passing the Koheroa redoubts gave orders for 250 men 
of the 12th and 14th Regiments to embark in the " Pioneer." 
The General went ahead in the "Avon" to reconnoitre, and on 
being joined by the " Pioneer " the expeditionary force landed. 
Meremere was found deserted ; two of the .heavy guns, one 
musket, and three canoes were all that were captured. The 
troops occupied the position, and built a redoubt on the highest 

The Miranda Expedition. 

On the 16th November a force of about nine hundred men, 
under Lieut. -Colonel Carey, embarked at Auckland for the 
Thames Gulf. The object of the expedition was to occupy the 
principal Maori settlements on the western shore of the gulf, 
whence men and supplies had been sent to the Waikato, and 
to establish a line of forts across country from the sea to 
the Queen's Redoubt. The Kingite position at Paparata still 
threatened the rear of Cameron's army, and raiding-parties were 
able to cross the frontier at will and rove the Wairoa Ranges. 
Carey's expeditionar}' force consisted of two companies of the 
Auckland Coastguards (Naval Volunteers). (Captain William C. 
Daldy), sixty of the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry (Captain 
Walmsley), detachments of the 12th and 70th Regiments, and 
the 1st Regiment of Waikato Militia. The warships "Miranda" 
and " Esk " headed the fleet of transports, which included the 
Government gunboat " Sandfly,' the steamers " Corio " and 
"Alexandra," the brigantine "Jessie," and seven or eight cutters. 
The cavalrymen and their horses were taken down in the 
" Corio " and " Alexandra." 

For eight days the vessels lay at anchor in Waiheke Passage, 
weather-bound. At last the fleet brought up off Wakatiwai, 
north of the Pukorokoro, a small stream which flows out into 
the mangrove-fringed gulf near the spot now known as Miranda. 
The Coastguards were boated ashore at Wakatiwai, and, cutting 
their way through bush and scrub, they reached the main ridge 
and marched along it towards the Pukorokoro, about six miles. 
In the meantime the gunboat steamed southward. From 
Wakatiwai a beautiful shelly beach extended nearly to Pukoro- 
koro. This stretch of beach and the rising ground behind were 
thick with enemy rifle-pits, in two lines, extending over about 
a mile north and south. The Maoris had also blocked the 
mouth of the Pukorokoro with large limbs of pohutitkawa trees. 
(The "Miranda" and "Sandfly" had reconnoitred Pukorokoro a 



fortnight previously, when three of the native villages were shelled.) 
The Coastguards, hurrying along the ridge, were just in time to 
see the Kingites retreating quickly across the creek in the direction 
<i| Waitakaruru and the Piako Swamp. The officer commanding 
the Coastguards (who had by this time been joined by the rest 
of the military force) obtained permission to lead the attack on 
tin native village at Pukorokoro, which stood a short distance 
south of the stream. Doubling up past the Regulars and Militia, 
the bluejackets took the lead and crossed the creek. The Maoris 
made no stand, but quickly retreated along the narrow level 

The Esk Redoubt. 

This redoubt, for 150 men, named after H.M.S. " Esk," was constructed 
it the end of November, 1863, by the force under Colonel Carey It was 
situated on a commanding ridge between the Miranda post (Pukorokoro) 
and the Surrey Redoubt, south of Paparata, and formed one of the chain 
of redoubts from the Thames Gulf to the Waikato River. 

belt between the mangroves and the hills for about two miles 
towards the Piako Swamp. 

On the bluff above the creek-mouth the troops built a redoubt 
for 120 men. It was named the Miranda, after the warship. 
Working detachments were sent out later along a route west- 
ward selected for a line of posts to the Waikato, and two 
redoubts, named the Esk and the Surrey, were constructed along 
the Miranda-Manga-tawhiri line, linking up with the Queen's 

navals service on the manukau. 315 

Operations of the Naval Volunteers. 

The Auckland Coastguards — later known as the Auckland 
Naval Artillery — who took a prominent part in the Miranda 
expedition, performed very useful service during the year in 
scouring the shores of Manukau Harbour and the Hauraki, and 
(in conjunction with the Onchunga Naval Volunteers) in seizing 
the flotilla of Maori war-canoes in the South Manukau creeks. 

Lieut. -Colonel Henry Parker, of Devonport, who served for 
nine months as a seaman in the Auckland Coastguards, narrating 
the services of the corps (1918), stated that the first call to 
war came on the 18th July, 1863. The corps had a flagstaff 
near Government House, overlooking the town and harbour, and 
a gun was mounted there. The signal went up to muster, and 
at 2 p.m. the company fell in at Princes Street fully armed 
and accoutred, under Lieutenants Guilding and Stevenson. On 
reaching the rendezvous the Navals found that sixty armed 
friendly Maoris were to accompany them to the Manukau. 
They objected to march with the natives unless the latter were 
disarmed, as they did not trust them. The Defence Minister, 
after a conference with his officers, had the rifles and ammunition 
taken from the Maoris. The Volunteers marched out to One- 
hunga, and on reaching the Manukau were embarked in cutters. 
With the flood tide the flotilla stood up the south bay, and 
at 2 o'clock next morning the force landed at a point on the 
left-hand side of the tidal river, sailing up. Here there was a 
settlement of Kingite Maoris (Ngati-te-Ata) who were in possession 
of many large canoes ; these canoes, it was believed, were to be 
used to transport war-parties of Kingites across the Manukau to 
Blockhouse Bay for an attack upon Auckland. Immediately the 
Maoris in the fenced village of raupo huts observed the presence 
of an enemy in the channel they opened fire on the troops. In 
the meantime a considerable number of the men had landed and 
gained the shelter of the cliff. The company advanced, and when 
the natives discovered the landing-party they retreated. The 
Volunteers suffered only one casualty — Seaman Thomas Barron 
(afterwards a well-known Auckland oarsman), who was hit in 
the ankle by a slug from a Maori gun. The force on returning 
to the village threw the Maori drays, ploughs, and other movable 
property into the harbour. After enjoying the kumara and other 
stores, the men endeavoured to set fire to the timber palisading 
around the pa, but it would not burn. The Navals explored 
the Papakura Creek, where H.M.S. "Harrier" was lying, and 
searched all the native villages. One of the main objects <>t 
the expedition, the capture of the enemy's means of transport 
across the Manukau, was successfully accomplished. Twenty-one 
large canoes were secured; these wakas were capable of carrying 


from thirty to fifty men each. The force also found an historic 
craft, the war-canoe " Toki-a-Tapiri " (" Tapiri's Axe ") — which 
now reposes in the Auckland Museum. The "Axe " could carry 
quite a hundred warriors. At Onehunga the canoes were handed 
over to the troops. Most of them were broken up and used for 
firewood or otherwise destroyed. The contingent then marched 
back to Auckland, after an absence of a week. 

The Auckland Coastguards' next warlike mission was a minor 
expedition to carry despatches. Ten of the volunteer blue- 
jackets, under Chief Petty Officer (afterwards Captain) W. C. 
Daldy, were ordered to carry despatches to the head chief of the 
native hapu on the Wairoa River ; this was Hori te Whetuki, 
of the Koheriki Tribe. The detachment embarked in the gun- 
schooner " Caroline," Captain Hannibal Marks. Arriving off the 
mouth of the Wairoa in the early morning, the schooner anchored, 
and the boat's crew was ordered away to carry the despatches 
up the river. Chief Petty Officer Daldy and four men formed 
the crew, Daldy steering ; one of the oarsmen was Seaman 
Parker. The bluejackets had pulled about two miles up the 
river when they were fired on by a party of natives in the bush 
on the bank. In the bottom of the boat, under the thwarts, 
were loaded Enfield rifles, but as the crew was so small it was 
deemed advisable not to return the fire. Not a Maori could be 
seen — only the smoke that hung about the edge of the bush. 
This hostile reception compelled the despatch-can iers to return 
to the schooner. They pulled down the river and out to the 
" Caroline," and a few hours later were back in Auckland. 

Three days later the Coastguards received orders to go to 
the Wairoa again. The Government had chartered the steamer 
" Auckland," and Nos. I and 2 Companies (the second company 
had just been formed), totalling about two hundred men, were 
ordered aboard, and all preparations were made for fighting. 
The steamer anchored off Ponui (Chamberlin's Island), several 
miles off the mouth of the Wairoa, and all the boats were put 
into the water. The force rowed ashore, but not a Maori was 
found ; all the coast settlements were deserted. The expedition, 
finding no foe whereupon to play Enfield and cutlass, returned 
to town. 

A week later the Coastguards were ordered out to the military 
camp at Drury. For several weeks the Volunteers were employed 
on convoy duty in the district between Drury, Mauku, and the 
Queen's Redoubt. On one occasion, the day after the fight at 
the Titi Farm, Mauku, a convoy of the Coastguards was ordered 
to take stores of food up to the soldiers at the Mauku stockades. 
The convoy had covered about half the distance, over a very 
bad road cut through the dense forest, when the bullock-drays 
became bogged. Some Maoris had taken post in a wooded 


gully flanking the road. By this time it was dark, and the Maori 
fires could be seen twinkling through the screen of foliage. The 
enemy opened fire on the convoy. The fire was effectively 
returned, the natives were driven off, and the convoy delivered 
the stores at Mauku and returned to Drury without further 

This convoy duty and working cargo on the Drury tidal 
landing from the small craft that plied from Onehunga were 
arduous, but were cheerfully undertaken by the Coastguards. 
They openly rebelled, however, against an order to build a redoubt. 
Captain Daldy paraded the corps one day, and informed them 
that orders had been given by the Imperial officers to turn to 
and build an earthwork for the troops. This order met with 
very strenuous objections from the men, who protested that they 
had come to fight and not to build redoubts for the Regulars. 
They considered that as there were then some thousands of 
soldiers at Drury the troops could set to at their own fortifications. 
The protest held good. The officer in command rescinded his 
order, and the Coastguards presently received orders to return 
to Auckland. 

In the town the Coastguards were continuously engaged in 
garrison duty ; the pay was two guineas per week. 

Later in the year (November) an expedition of Onehunga 
Navals and Rifle Volunteers, under Captain Purnell, scoured the 
southern and western shores of the Manukau in the s.s. "Lady 
Barkly," and brought in canoes overlooked by the first expedition. 
The " Toki-a-Tapiri," which had not been removed by the force 
in July — only the stern portion of the hull had been taken — ■ 
was brought up to Onehunga. At Waiuku it was learned that 
a party of Maoris had cut down the signal-mast at the South 
Manukau Head, and had taken away two boats. The shore was 
searched, but the raiders had disappeared. A few da}'s later 
there was another expedition in the steamer, this time to Awhitu, 
where it was reported that Kingite Maoris had appeared in 
force. The Navals landed, and in skirmishing order rushed 
the kainga, but the Maoris took to the bush, where it was not 
practicable to follow them. 



Fifty-six miles south of Auckland the Main Trunk trains pass 
the station of Rangiriri. Nothing is to be seen there of the 
battle-ground of the 20th November, 1863 — the view is of swamps 
and lagoons and a forest of weeping-willows bordering the Waikato 
River — but from the line a little distance north of the station 
one may see, a mile away, the hill where the engagement was 
fought. Westward of the railway is the still, sedge-bordered 
Lake Kopuwera, now a bird-sanctuary, alive with wild duck and 
swans and wading-birds. This lagoon extends to the eastern base 
of a ridge marked by a dark plantation of pines : that is the 
spot where the Maoris of Waikato built their redoubt and dug 
out their rifle-pits and trenches to resist General Cameron. On 
the west side sweeps the Waikato River, here a full third of a 
mile wide. The Great South Road, running west of the railway, 
traverses the battlefield. Half a mile before reaching Rangiriri 
Township going south from Auckland the traveller motors or 
rides over the actual site of the entrenchments. The central 
redoubt of Rangiriri was just on the western side of the present 
road. The trenches and rifle-pits extended down the slopes on 
either side to the Waikato on the west and to the small lake on 
the east. The long double trench and parapet on the north (or 
front) face of the position can still be traced from the hilltop ; 
it is about three-quarters of a mile in length, stretching from 
water to water. The redoubt in the centre of the works, the 
apex of the ridge, is indicated by a ditch still about 6 feet deep, 
with a parapet extending westward over the crown of the hill. 

In rear of the left centre of the main line and at right angles 
to it there was a line of trenches and rifle-pits parallel to the 
Waikato River, designed to resist troops landing from the war- 
steamers. In rear again and some distance from the pa there was 
a separate earthwork on the spur, the southern terminal of the 
ridge. This work General Cameron had observed on a recon- 
naissance, and arranged to attack it by landing a force from the 
steamers simultaneously with the land attack on the front of the 
main position. The distance between the central redoubt on the 


ridge and this entrenchment in rear immediately overlooking 
the swamps and lakes was about 500 yards. The whole of the 
Kingite defences consisted of earthworks ; no palisading was 

General Cameron, after reconnoitring Rangiriri on the 18th 
November in the " Pioneer," moved against the Kingite strong- 
hold on the 20th. The whole of the river fleet was engaged in 
taking up sailors and soldiers from the Manga-tawhiri, while the 
troops encamped at Meremere and Takapau marched up along 
the right bank of the river. The " Pioneer " and '.' Avon " brought 
up the headquarters of the 40th Regiment, about 320 strong. In 
tow of the steamers were the four armoured gunboats filled with 
men. Commodore Sir William Wiseman commanded the flotilla. 
A Naval Brigade of a hundred men, under Lieutenant Alexander, 
of H.M.S. " Curacoa," marched up the bank with the infantry 
column. The force which assembled on the north front of 
the Rangiriri ridge at 3 o'clock in the afternoon after a hot 
march totalled about 850, made up as follows : Royal Navy, 
100 officers and men, with a 6-pounder Armstrong ; Royal Engi- 
neers, 15 ; Royal Artillery, 54, with two Armstrong guns ; 12th 
Regiment, 112 ; 14th Regiment, 186 ; 65th Regiment, 386. On 
the river side of the operations much delay was caused, as the 
" Pioneer " became unmanageable and was not able to anchor 
at the point arranged, owing to the powerful current of the 
flooded Waikato and the strong wind blowing. 

The attack began with an artillery bombardment at a range 
of about 700 yards. The three Armstrong guns shelled the 
Maori works for nearly two hours ; a fire was also directed 
on the pa from the gunboats. The solid earthworks suffered 
very little from the shelling, but many casualties were inflicted 
on the Maoris crowded in their trenches and pits. The heaviest 
gun employed was a 12-pounder Armstrong. Then General 
Cameron, concluding that this artillery preparation was sufficient, 
ordered an assault of the Kingite trenches. For this task the 
65th Regiment was detailed. The leading company, under 
Lieutenant Toker, carried scaling-ladders and planks ; with the 
stormers was a small detachment of the Royal Engineers, under 
Captain Brooke. Three companies of the 65th followed, with 
the 14th in support. The storming-party, with fixed bayonets 
at the charge, swept gallantly up the manuka-grown slope of the 
hill, and quickly forced the defenders out of the first line of 
entrenchments, but lost several men. A bullet smashed Captain 
Gresson's right arm. 

The Kingite warriors fell back to defend the second line of 
rifle-pits, and for a few minutes held the position with great 
determination, but this system of defences also was captured at 
the point of the bayonet. 



%of^ ra 



The long lines of outer works were now in the British hands, 
and the greater number of the defenders crowded into the central 
redoubt, a rectangular citadel of high and broad parapet sur- 
rounded by an unusually wide ditch. The scarp of the earth- 
works was 17 or 18 feet in height from the bottom of the trench. 
From the rough banquette inside the rampart the defenders, 
resting their guns on the top, fired heavily on the troops. Many 
of the Maoris, however, were unable to reach this redoubt on the 
hilltop. When the outer trenches were stormed the musketeers 
on the Maori right flank ran for the lagoon and the swamps in 
the rear, but were fired on hotly by detachments of the 65th, 
which pursued them. Some of these were hit and wounded in 
swimming away, and most of the other fugitives lost their guns. 

Parapet" unsucccss fu//y 
aaaau/tec/ by British 
Storming/ parties 


63 Feet 


63 Faet 

Cross-sections of the Central Redoubt, Rangiriri. 

The 40th Regiment, late in the afternoon, succeeded in 
landing from the steamers where the present township of 
Rangiriri stands, in rear of the pa, and attacked and captured 
a series of entrenchments on a spur above. The defenders of 
this outwork fled across the swamps and made for Lake Waikare, 
which they crossed in canoes. A portion of the 65th Regiment 
now worked round to the Maoris' left rear, crossing the deserted 
double trench and parapet which extended from the crown of 
the ridge to the Waikato River. By this time an attempt by 
the main body of the 65th and the 14th to storm the central 
redoubt failed, because the ladders brought were too short to 
reach to the top of the parapets ; and although a few did 
mount the high rampart they were hurled back or shot down. 

The Maoris in the main work were now fighting with desperate 
determination, firing at close range as quickly as they could 
11— N.Z. Wars. 


load their guns. There were women among them : after the battle 
a beautiful girl was found lying dead on the hilltop, killed by 
a fragment of shell. 

Late in the afternoon General Cameron issued the most 
extraordinary order of the day. A detachment of the Royal 
Artillery, armed with revolvers and swords, was to storm the 
redoubt. Captain Mercer led thirty-six of his men to the 
assault. Leaping into the wide trenches, they attempted to 
gain the top of the parapet, but only one or two succeeded in 
planting foot upon it. Sergeant-Ma j or Hamilton reached the 
top and fired his revolver into the Maoris, but was forced back 
with a severe gunshot wound in the right arm. Captain Mercer 
fell, mortally wounded, outside the trench ; he was shot through 
the mouth. 

This repulse only strengthened Cameron's stubborn resolution 
to take the redoubt, and another assault was ordered. This 
time the Royal Navy men were selected for the forlorn hope. 
Captain Mayne, of H.M.S. " Eclipse," was directed to make a 
frontal attack with ninety sailors of the Naval Brigade, consisting 
of portions of the crews of the " Eclipse," " Curacoa," and 
" Miranda." The bluejackets, with rifle and cutlass, dashed at 
the works and endeavoured to swarm up the straight-scarped 
parapet, but once more the stormers were thrown back, and 
dead and dying men strewed the ditch and the ground in front 
of it. A few reached the top of the parapet. Midshipman 
Watkins was one of them ; he fell back into the trench with a 
bullet through his head. Commander Mayne was severely wounded 
in the left hip ; Lieutenant Downes, of H.M.S. " Miranda," was 
shot through the left shoulder ; and two officers of the " Curacoa " 
suffered bad wounds, Lieutenant Alexander in the right shoulder 
and Lieutenant C. F. Hotham (afterwards Admiral) in the right 

When this attack failed a party of seamen, under Commander 
Phillimore, of the " Curacoa/' charged up to the ditch and threw 
hand-grenades over into the redoubt, but this attempt did not 
alter the position. In the Naval Brigade was Midshipman C. G. 
Eoljambe (" Curacoa "), afterwards Earl of Liverpool and father 
of a recent Governor of New Zealand. He and his comrades 
made several attempts to scale the parapet, but the task was 

It was now almost night, and the General was compelled by 
the darkness to cease the waste of brave men's lives. The pa 
was surrounded by the troops in readiness to renew the combat 
in the morning, and sailors and soldiers lay in the main ditch all 
night listening to the shouts and war-songs of the maddened 
Maoris, and occasionally returning the fire directed at them from 
the parapet. Many of the Maoris contrived to escape during 





the night ; among them was Te Wharepu, a leading warrior, 
who was severely wounded. Hand-grenades were thrown into 
the redoubt in the darkness and caused a number of casualties. 

The British casualties in this second Ohaeawai totalled 128. 
Of this number two officers were killed outright (Mr. Watkins, 
R.N., and Lieutenant Murphy, 14th Regiment), four died from 
their wounds (Lieut. -Colonel Austen, 14th, Captain Mercer, R.A., 
Captain Phelps, 14th, and Ensign Ducrow, 40th), and nine others 
were wounded. Forty-one men were killed or died of wounds, 
and seventy-two were wounded. The Maori losses were greater ; 
thirty-six dead were buried after the capture of the pa on the 
following day, and many were shot or wounded in escaping 
across the flooded lagoons. 

Before daybreak next morning (21st November) the men of 
the Royal Engineers, under Colonel Mould and Captain Brooke, 
made an attempt to mine the main pa, and a gallery was run in 
under an angle of the parapet for the purpose of blowing it up 
and making a breach. It was found, however, that the fuses 
had been mislaid on board the " Pioneer." Picks and shovels 
were afterwards used to bring the parapet down, but shortly 
after daybreak the Maoris ceased firing and hoisted a white flag 
in token of surrender. 

One of the staff interpreters, Mr. Gundry, was sent forward, 
and after some discussion the principal chiefs, headed by Tioriori, 
of the Ngati-Koroki (a section of Ngati-Haua), agieed to submit 
unconditionally. The gallant Tioriori had sustained three wounds 
when chivalrously attempting to remove a wounded officer out 
of the line of fire. The defenders surrendered to the number 
of 183, and gave up 175 stand of arms of vaiied makes, 
chiefly double-bairel shot-guns. The troops entered the redoubt 
— a pitiful scene after the battle — and the prisoners of war were 
escorted to the native church near the river; they w r eie after- 
wards taken down the Waikato in the "Pioneer," and marched 
from the Manga-tawhiri to Auckland. 

Soon after the surrender of the pa a large force of Maoris was 
seen near Paetai, on the south side of the Rangiriri Stream. An 
interpreter found that they were a body of reinforcements, under 
Wiremu Tamehana. The leader was desirous of surrendering, 
and sent his greenstone mere to the General as a token of peace. 
His men, however, were strongly opposed to giving up themselves 
or their arms, and Tamehana accordingly retired with them to 

Many prominent Kingite chiefs were captured when Rangiriri 
surrendered, besides Tioriori. The Maori of highest rank was 
Ta Kerei (".Sir Grey") te Rau-angaanga, a near relative of the 
Maori King. Others who surrendered were Wiremu Kumete 
(Whitiora), Tarahawaiki, Te Kihirini, Te x\ho, Tapihana (of 
Kawhia), Wini Kerei, and Maihi Katipa. Te Wharepu, the 



principal engineer in the construction' of the pa, escaped badly 
wounded. Among the men of importance killed were Te Tutere, 
of Ngati-Haua, and Amukete Ta Kerei, son of Ta Kerei te Rau- 
angaanga. The total Maori loss in killed was between forty and 

A veteran of the Ngati-Tamaoho Tribe says that the principal 
reason for the surrender of Rangiriri on the second day was the 
fact that all the ammunition was expended. "The highest chief 
who remained in the pa, Ta Kerei te Rau-angaanga, spoke to the 

The Entrenchments at Rangiriri, Present Day. 

This photograph, taken from the site of the central redoubt of 
Rangiriri pa (intersected by the Great South Road), shows the long 
parapet and double ditch extending westward from the hilltop to the 
Waikato River. 

interpreter sent forward by the General and said, ' Kaorc e man 
te rongo ' (' Peace shall not be made '). In response to the 
summons to surrender he declared, ' We will fight on.' Then 
he made the request, ' Ho mai he paara ' (' Give us some gun- 
powder '). He thought it would be fair play if the soldiers gave 


the Maoris some powder to continue the fight. But the inter- 
preter said, ' No.' Ta Kerei and his people therefore decided 
to surrender." 

The same authority says, " Wiremu Kingi te Rangitaake, of 
Taranaki, was in Rangiriri at the beginning, but retreated when 
he saw the war-steamers coming up the river." 


The Escape from Kaivan Island. 

On the night of the nth September, 1864, the Waikato prisoners of 
war taken at Rangiriri escaped from Kawau Island to the mainland. The 
escape was planned chiefly by Tapihana, of Kawhia ; other leading men 
in the party were Wi Karamoa (the Waikato lay reader, who was the only 
man to surrender at Orakau) and Wiremu Kumete te Whitiora, of Ngati- 
Mahuta. Tioriori and Ta Kerei had been released. The prisoners, after 
a confinement of many months in the hulk " Marion " in Auckland Harbour, 
under a guard of fifty Militia (Captain Krippner), had been removed to the 
Kawau, but no charge was laid against them, nor were they tried by any 
tribunal. This uncertainty and their home-sickness were quickened by 
wild reports that they were to be taken out to sea in a vessel and sunk by 
gun-fire — a story which had gained currency owing to a warship having 
carried out target practice off the island. Their quarters were near the 
old sulphur- workings on the Kawau. They were allowed the use of boats 
for fishing, but the oars and rowlocks were locked up at night. To the 
number of nearly two hundred they crowded into the boats, taking all the 
craft on the island, and worked their way across to the nearest point of 
the mainland with their spades and shovels and pieces of board which 
they had shaped into paddles. The fugitives landed at Waikauri, and 
ascended the mountain Otamahua, overlooking Omaha and Matakana. 
There they entrenched themselves on a narrow ridge commanding a 
view over the surrounding country for many miles. Their nikau -hut 
camp, partly fenced and ditched around, was about 150 yards in length 
by 15 to 20 yards in width; on either side were precipices, and the 
only approach was up a steep spur. Here they watched for pursuers, 
and were visited by many of the neighbouring Ngapuhi people, who 
supplied them with food. They were visited also by Government agents 
and their late keeper, who tried to coax them back to their prison 
island ; but Wiremu Kumete asked sardonically, " How many birds, having 
escaped from the snare, return to it ? " The Government wisely left them 
alone, and they presently made their way across to the Kaipara, and thence 
to West Waikato. 

There had been some discussion between the Governor and his 
Ministers with regard to the treatment of the prisoners from Rangiriri, 
and some ill-natured critics even professed to believe that Sir George 
Grey had connived at their escape from his island home, the Kawau. Upon 
this the entertainer Richard Thatcher, whose topical songs were highly 
popular among the Auckland audiences of the " sixties," wrote and delivered 
a song (to the old-fashioned tune of " Nellie Gray "), one verse of which 
ran — 

Oh, ka kino ! Hori Grey, 

For you let us get away, 
And you'll never see your Maoris any more ; 

Much obliged to you we are, 

And you'll find us in a pa 
Rifle-pitted on the Taranaki shore. 



The trumpet-call of " Boot and saddle " in the cavalry and 
mounted artillery camps, and the infantry " Assembly " bugle, 
set all hearts bounding when the news came that Cameron's 
march for the Upper Waikato had begun. Already large infantry 
detachments had gone forward from the advanced camp at 
Rangiriri to Ngaruawahia, where the British flag was hoisted on 
the 8th December, and the main army was now to be transported 
into the heart of the Maori country. Horse, foot, and guns 
streamed southward in the beautiful midsummer weather ; in 
their train came an endless procession of munitions and stores 
in transport-carts. The river was alive with the steam flotilla 
and the boats and canoes of the transport service. Bend after 
bend of the broad Waikato was invaded by the steadily churning 
gunboat - paddles and the flashing oars of the heavy boats 
manned by the newly organized Water Transport Corps. The 
time-songs of Te Wheoro's and Kukutai's friendlies rang like 
war-cries along the Waikato as they came sweeping up in their 
long canoes, carrying thirty or forty men apiece, and loaded, 
like the boats, with commissariat stores. Then, too, one would 
hear English sea-songs strangely far inland, for most of the 
pakeha Water Transport Corps were sailors, and they chantied 
as they stretched out on their oars that they would "go no 
more a-roving," and at their camp-fires they raised the old 
choruses of " Good-bye, fare you well," and " Rio Grande." 
And many a man of Jackson's and Von Tempsky's Forest 
Rangers — now two independent companies — swinging light- 
heartedly along the bank, joined in the chanties, for a large 
proportion of the blue-shirted carbineers had at one time or 
another followed the sea. 

Crying their farewells to their old homes and chanting the 
ancient tangi laments over sacred Tanpiri, their mountain necro- 
polis, the Kingites abandoned their hold on mid-Waikato and 
drew off to the open delta that lay between the Horotiu and 
the Waipa. They realized now that the pakeha would not be 
satisfied until the garden of the Upper Waikato was occupied. 


and that Cameron intended to break the Maoris by cutting them 
off from their main source of food-supply, the cultivations at 
Rangiaowhia and the surrounding districts. So, after evacuat- 
ing Ngaruawahia, they set desperately to work fortifying the 
principal avenues of approach to the central granary of the 
Kingitanga. Two main tracks led to Rangiaowhia from the 
river highways. The usual route was from the Waipa at Te 
Rore in an easterly direction across the hills of Paterangi and 
Te Rahu ; this was a Maori cart-road used for the transport of 
wheat and flour to the Auckland market. The other was from 
Kirikiri-roa (now Hamilton), on the Horotiu — the name for the 
upper part of the Waikato River, where the current is swift 

This drawing was made by Lieutenant (afterwards Colonel) H. S. 
Bates, of the 65th Regiment, staff interpreter, in the early part of 1863, 
before the war. The sketch shows the junction of the Waikato and Waipa 
Rivers, and the Kingite village, the site of the present town and railway- 
station, of Ngaruawahia. 

and the banks high, from the water-junction at Ngaruawahia to 
the rapids near the base of the Pukekura Range. There was 
also a track from Ngaruawahia parallel with the Waipa, 
passing Tuhikaramea, Whatawhata, and Pikopiko. At Pikopiko 
(Puketoki) and Paterangi the Maoris now constructed the most 
formidable systems of redoubts and entrenchments built in this 
campaign ; and in rear again they threw up fortifications almost 
as strong, at Rangiatea and Manga-pukatea, completely barring 


the way to Rangiaowhia. Wiremu Tamehana's people, the 
Ngati-Haua, presently occupied a stronghold of their own at 
Te Tiki tc Ihingarangi, on the west bank of the Waikato, a 
short distance above the present Town of Cambridge. Paterangi 
was the headquarters ; here at one time in the early part of 
1864 nearly two thousand Maoris were in garrison, the largest 
Kingite force ever assembled in the war. 

The Maoris had made some preparation for the defence of 
Ngaruawahia. When, on the 8th December, General Cameron's 
advanced force occupied the abandoned Kingite capital and 
hoisted the British colours on Tawhiao's flagstaff it was found 
that some trenches and rifle-pits had been dug on the point 
of land at the junction of the Horotiu and the Waipa, and a 
partly constructed earthwork pa, 30 yards square, overlooked 
the mouth of the Waipa, about 200 yards up the bank of that 
river. A suggestion had also been made to bar the progress 
of the troops at Taupiri, where the opposing lofty ranges made 
a grand natural gateway, forested Taupiri on the east side and 
a spur of the Hakarimata Mountain on the west. But without 
artillery the defence of these points was hopeless against 
Cameron's armoured gunboats. 

The small steam fleet on the Waikato was now busy trans- 
porting troops from a point near Rangiriri to Ngaruawahia, and 
by the end of 1863 there were nearly three thousand soldiers, 
Imperial and colonial, assembled at the apex of the Waikato- 
Waipa delta for the conquest of the territory to the southward. 
General Cameron moved his field headquarters forward to Tuhi- 
karamea, with the Waipa River on his right flank. By this water 
highway great quantities of army supplies were hurried to the 
front. Later, supplies were also brought across by packhorse 
from Raglan, when the "Avon" was temporarily out of service 
through striking a snag and sinking in the Waipa. At the end 
of January Cameron moved the army headquarters forward to 
Te Rore, three miles from Paterangi, and Colonel Waddy, with 
six hundred men, took up an advanced position three-quarters 
of a mile from the pa* 

* Describing the advance on the Kingites' new positions, Von Tempsky 
wrote in his journal: — * 

" On the 27th of January, 1864, the two columns from Tuhikaramea 
and Whatawhata started on the main road for Pikopiko. For miles ami 
miles now there was an unbroken stream of soldiers, bullock-drays, 
artillery, packhorses, and orderlies meandering over the plains and fern 
ridges of the sacred Maori delta. Yellow clouds of dust hovered along our 
road, to the great disparagement of our faces, sight, and clear speech. 
We had the special honour to escort on the first day some Armstrong guns 
dragged by bullocks. On a low backed ridge of considerable width, near 
a deserted village, the army encamped under their blanket tents. I saw 
[ackson's blue -blanket tents in the Tuhikaramea column. We had 



discarded even that trouble and slept in the tern, in line of battle, at the 
most exposed flank, opposite the bush. 

" On the following morning we sighted Pikopiko, and one's heart 
began to beat as soon as the General began to mass his troops in columns 
before the Maori stronghold. There it lay, no despicable object even in 
the eyes of the greatest ignoramus of works of defence. There were the 
Maoris — at least, their black heads visible on the parapet ; here and there 
sentries walking on the parapet, and again, some fellows dancing on it 
and waving to us and shouting ' Come on ! 

" For more than an hour we were kept in suspense regarding the 
intentions of the General. (The loyal chief Wiremu Neera, of Raglan, 
now made his appearance with a party on horseback.) Our suspense was 
broken at last by the columns filing away to the west, past Pikopiko, 
towards the Waipa, and this night we camped unmolested near Te Rore. 
Our encampment extended nearly a mile from the banks of the Waipa to 
the hills opposite Paterangi. The headquarters were pitched in a grove 
of fruit-trees on an eminence isolated by gullies on three sides, and at the 
foot of it the two companies of Forest Rangers were ordered to pitch their 
camp. Wc had also charge of a picket guarding the entrance to a valley 
on the Waipa where all the commissariat stores and munitions of war were 
kept. We were, moreover, to be ever ready to move to any one point, be 
it night or be it day ; and we felt proud of this kind of honour, and to 
the last man in the two companies our alertness was never found deficient. 

" From our most advanced post, under Colonel Waddy, of the 50th 
Regiment, you could see the daily life going on at Paterangi. A little 
battery of Armstrongs kept the alertness of the Maoris somewhat in 
practice, and from a still more advanced hill a picket amused itself daily 
by long shots at the Maoris. 

" f had a great desire to make a sketch of Paterangi," Von Tempsky 
continued, " so, getting leave of the General, I took five men with me and 
started. I had chosen five of my best shots, to keep heads below the 
parapet while I made my sketch, and I also had chosen them from 
amongst the new men to see what effect the whistle of a bullet would have 
upon them. I passed the picket hill, and, leaving my men with Roberts 
in some fern, I advanced to see how far the Maori sharpshooters would 
allow me to come. An Enfield bullet striking the ground at my feet soon 
convinced me that I was far enough. On returning to my men I told 
them to commence whenever they saw a shot. I also began my sketch. 
It was not long, however, before another Enfield bullet struck within a 
foot at my right. I shifted to the left. Another one checked as closely 
as before my shifting in that direction. However, I persevered with my 
work, and my men blazed away as happy as larks — till again that same 
rifle cracked and a bullet struck the ground in front of me. I shifted once 
more, but got two more close shaves from the same rifle (evidently out of 
a casemate hole), and having finished my sketch I waved a complimentary 
adieu to my friend with the Enfield rifle and departed, highly contented 
with the behaviour of my men and with the acquisition of the sketch, 
which I had intended for the General." 

" It was little wonder," says a veteran of Nixon's Cavalry, 
" that General Cameron declined to assault Paterangi pa. The 
place was immensely strong. We felt very dubious about it as 
we watched it week after week and waited for the General's 
decision. An attempt to storm it would have cost even more 
lives than Rangiriri." And an Imperial officer who had fought 
in the Crimea declared, when he inspected the fortifications later 



.1 a.- -Wffil 


in the year, that the Paterangi works were stronger and more 
skilfully designed than even the Redan. Some of Cameron's staff, 
like Despard at. Ohaeawai, declined to believe that the Maoris 
were capable of planning such ingenious defences, and imagined 
that some European must have assisted them. It was difficult 
to convince some of the Regulars that, like Kawiti and Pene 
Taui in 1845, the men who drew the lines of the Paterangi 
redoubts and intricate trench-system, though none of them held 
a Royal Engineers commission or had gone through a staff 
college course, were military engineers of a high order. 

The Paterangi works occupied a bold and commanding site, 
formidable of front, with a comparatively open rear. The highest 
central part only was stockaded ; the rest of the works consisted 
of a network of trenches and parapets. The frontal earthworks 
were unusually solid and broad ; and it was on these parapets 
that the natives, as they saluted the coming of the troops with 
a great war-dance, gave many of the troops their first view of 
the Maori forces in large numbers. The hill-crest which formed 
the front is the western terminal of a long ridge trending east 
and west, with low and swampy country on three sides of it. 
It overlooked the whole valley of the upper Waipa, from the 
mountain-range of Pirongia on the west to Maunga-tautari on 
the east. The position can readily be identified to-day, and an 
exploration of the hill and the sloping ground on the south 
reveals many traces of the works of 1863-64. As in so many 
battlefields of the Waikato, a road passes through the middle 
of the works. This is the road connecting Pirongia and Te Rore, 
on the Waipa, with the Ohaupo-Te Awamutu main road on 
the east. Paterangi village and churches are one mile east of 
the pa site, and the Township of Pirongia is three miles to the 

Our plan of Paterangi, from a survey made by Captain 
Brooke, R.E., in 1864, shows how cleverly the Maori engineers 
entrenched the whole western and south-western faces of the 
ridge with works completely blocking an advance over the 
ground between the flanking swamps. The central works, on the 
hilltop, consisted of three strong redoubts ; the two on the east 
— separated from the other by the present line of road — were 
connected with the western hill-crest pa by a line of covered 
way, about 100 yards in length, a deep ditch with a frontal 
parapet and a roofing of timber and earth. Close to this trench 
was a deep well. From the south side another trench with a 
high rampart curved down the hillside and across the road to 
a hollow under the slopes. In this depression was a spring of 
water ; the trench and the wall, about 10 feet high, protected 
the water-carriers from observation. Thence the line of ditch 
and bank extended in a south-easterly direction to the lower hill 




of the ridge, and effectually barred any attempt to mount the 
ridge on that side. The native cart-road which ran from the 
Waipa landing at Te Rore through Paterangi to Te Rahu and 
Rangiaowhia, across which the entrenchments were made, is 
followed almost exactly by the modern road. A portion of the 
parapet, about 6 feet high, defending the way to the water- 
spring, is still standing, on Mr. H. Rhodes's property, " Parekura," 
on the south-west slope of the hill. 

The general outline of the main redoubt and trenches on the 
level crest are indicated by slight depressions extending over an 
area of about 2 acres, and on the eastern side of the road the 
traces of a pa converted into a British redoubt after the occa- 
pation are equally plabi in the turf. Te Huia Raureti, when 
pointing out the sites of the redoubts, showed a depression in the 
ground which marked the place where a large shell-proof whare 
was constructed by Ngati-Maniapoto and occupied by Rewi, 
Raureti, and their party. This slight hollow, retaining the shape 
of a house-excavation, is near the southern end of the main 
works on the hilltop west of the road. About it are the traces 
of other excavations and of parapets. The roofs of some of the 
shell-proof ruas (or dug-in shelters) and ivhares in the pa were 
so strong, covered with heavy timber and with earth, that drays 
were driven over them. These drays were used by the Maoris 
in carting in provisions to the pa from Rangiaowhia, ten miles 
in the rear. 

On the western side the hill of Paterangi falls steeply to a 
narrow swamp of raupo and manuka, on the opposite side of 
which the land rises into undulating country about 200 feet below 
the level of the pa on the crest. The scrub- and fern-covered 
slopes here and the swampy valley were the favourite lurking- 
grounds of the Maoris, who were accustomed to skirmish daily 
with the troops, without much damage to either side. From 
the large expenditure of ammunition there the natives gave the 
place the name of " Maumau-paura," or " Waste of gunpowder." 
The advanced British camp, under Colonel Waddy, was on the 
slightlv rising ground to the south of Maumau-paura and about 
south-west of the pa / the road now passes through the spot, 
half a mile from the site of the fortification. The Armstrong 
guns were posted there, and frequently threw shells into Pate- 
rangi without inflicting much damage. 

Te Huia Raureti states that Rangiatea was the first fortifi- 
cation built for the defence of the Rangiaowhia country. The 
second pa constructed was Manga-pukatea, intended to block 
the road from Kirikiri-roa via Ohaupo ; it was built by Ngati- 
te-Kohera, from West Taupo. When these forts were completed 
the united force of the Kingites threw up the large defences 
of Paterangi. The entrenchments at Pikopiko — usually called 



Puketoki (Axe Hill) by the Maoris — were made by Ngati-Apakura 
and other Waikato tribes ; the place is two to three miles north 
of Paterangi. 

As in Meremere, the Kingites in Paterangi derived some moral 
support from the possession of artillery of a kind. They had 
two cannon — old ship's guns, originally from Kawhia Harbour. 
A Ngati-Maniapoto veteran, Pou-patate Huihi, of Te Kopua, 
who was with Raureti in the Paterangi trenches, says that these 
guns had been carried overland to Te Kopua long before the 
war, and stood near the mission station there. They were borne 
over the Rau-a-moa spur of Pirongia Mountain from Oparau, via 
Hikurangi, slung on strong poles, which were shouldered by parties 
of men in frequent reliefs. The guns lay on the bank of the 
Waipa at Te Kopua for many years. When Paterangi was 
fortified thev were taken down in canoes to Te Rore and carted 

From a skeich by Captain E. Brooke, R.E.] 

No. i Redoubt, Paterangi Pa, 1S64. 

This Maori redoubt was one of a series of strong field-works on 
Paterangi Hill, connected by lines of trench and parapet. The site is 
very close to the present homestead of Mr. H. Rhodes. The view is 
south-west, looking towards No. 3 Redoubt, on the crest of the bill ; 
Mount Pirongia in the distance. 

to the fort, where they were mounted behind the parapets (in 
which there were embrasures) on the south-west front, in a posi- 
tion that would sweep the only road by which the troops could 
advance. The gunner who had charge of them was Te Retimana, 
who had had experience with the artillery at Meremere. He was 
a man of very short stature, belonging to Ngati-Wairangi, a liapu 
of Ngati-Raukawa. Retimana had been in a blacksmith's emplov 
before the war, and spoke English. The cannon were loaded 
with heavy charges of powder and crammed with pieces of 



bullock-chain (tini-kau), steelyard-weights, and scraps of iron. 
The little gunner had a small fire burning close by, and in this 
he had an iron heating, ready to fire the guns. He slept by his 
artillery ; he was ever on the alert for the advance of the soldiers. 
But the troops did not come within range, to Retimana's great 
disappointment, and so the guns were never fired. They were 
reserved for the always-expected rush. The two pieces were 

& - 1 1 >'VV 

". 1 J 'V-. \ 

■<■ \ 

\ Hi 


■A . \. -l^-&\ 


1 .' ",'r ' '— 


w, / 


W if 

From a plan by Captain E. Brooke, R.E.] 

The Maori Entrenchments at Pikopiko (Puketoki). 

within a few yards of each other, one on either side of the road. 
Stout sections of tree-trunks were sunk in the ground, and each 
gun was made fast to these posts with aka vines, in lieu of rope 
breeching, to prevent capsize from the recoil. One of the guns 
now lies in the disused well on the eastern side of the road. 

Rangiatea pa, a strong fortification, was built in rear (east- 
ward) of Paterangi in order to cover more effectually the sources 


of food-supply at Rangiaowhia. The pa was on the crown of 
a narrow ridge of land, and the trenches ran down to a deep 
swamp on one hand and the swampy bolder of the Ngaroto lakes 
— now partly drained — on the other. It was along this ridge 
the prolongation of the Paterangi high ground, that the Maori 
cart-road passed from Rangiaowhia to Paterangi and to the canoe- 
landing at Te Rore. The present road from Pirongia and Pate- 
rangi eastward to the Ohaupo-Te Awamutu main road and Te 
Rahu passes through the Rangiatea works, long, since obliterated 
by the road and by filling-in and ploughing. The spot is on 
Mr. W. Taylor's farm, a quarter of a mile west of the junction 
of the Paterangi, Te Awamutu, and Ohaupo Roads. On Mr. 
George Finch's farm, along the same road, near the Lake Road 
Station, are the tree-covered remains of a fort named Tauranga- 
mirimiri, occupied for a time during the war period 1863 64. 
The position is on a commanding hill, with the Ngaroto lakes 
below on the northern side. Near the eminence known as 
" Green Hill," overlooking Te Awamutu, there was a Maori 
settlement named Te Rua-kotare, but this was not occupied as 
a fortification. 

The Engagement at Waiari. 

As the expected assault on Paterangi was never delivered, 
the fighting was mostly long-range sniping, varied by occasional 
shelling from the British guns ; but the period of waiting for 
action was relieved on the nth February, 1864, by a sharp 
skirmish at Waiari, on the Mangapiko River, a mile south of 
the fortifications. In this encounter five soldiers and forty-one 
Maoris were killed. The central scene of the engagement is an 
ancient earthwork fortification of the Ngati-Apakura Tribe, built 
in a loop of the Mangapiko. The river doubles back on itself 
here, and across the narrow neck of land on the left bank of 
the stream are three lines of very high and broad parapet and 
deep ditches. Covered with thick manuka and fern in 1864, t ne 
place is in very much the same jungly condition to-day. Just 
above the pa the river is very narrow, at one place not more 
than 15 feet in width, and across this deep run at the time of 
the fight there lay a precarious Maori bridge, a single tree-trunk, 
smoothed on the upper surface. A short distance from the old 
fortress was a large pool which the soldiers in Colonel Waddy's 
advanced camp used as a bathing-place. 

Colonel Waddy's camp, the most advanced British post, was 
situated on a hill with an abrupt front towards Paterangi, and a 
gentle slope at the back where the tents of the 40th and 50th 
were pitched, sheltered from Maori bullets. The native scouts 
reported that if they worked round to the rear of the hill they 
would be able to surprise the camp by night from that side. 



The Patcrangi leaders therefore planned an attack to be delivered 
by about a hundred warriois, who could conceal themselves 
during the day at the Mangapiko Creek, below the camp. After 
their first volleys on the camp in the night they were to be 
supported by large bodies from Paterangi. However, Colonel 
Waddy bad sent that day a large bathing-party of the 40th 
Regiment to the creek. The Maoris were hidden in the bushes 
on the south side, close to the water and a short distance from 
Waiari pa. They could not resist firing on the bathing-party 
and the small covering detachment of soldiers. The soldiers were 

From a water-colour drawing by Major Von Tempsky, 1864.] 

The Forest Rangers at Waiari. 
(nth February, 1864.) • 

soon reinforced by two hundred men of the 40th and 50th from 
the advanced camp, under Lieut. -Colonel Havelock. With the 
reinforcements came Captain William Jackson, of No. 1 Company 
Forest Rangers, and Captain C. Heaphy, of the Auckland Rifle 
Volunteers. In the skirmishing that followed Jackson shot a 
Maori in the river, and secured his double-barrel gun. 

Some of the troops crossed the stream and closely engaged 
the Maoris in the manuka and fern ; others fired across the 



narrow gully of the river. The natives were driven down-stream 
and took cover in the overgrown ditches of Waiari. 

Reinforcements were hurrying down from Paterangi and 
threatening the British rear and flanks. Von Tempsky and half 
of the Forest Rangers were in their camp at Te Rore, two miles 
away, when the firing began, but with their usual eagerness they 
rushed off at their utmost speed when the news of the fight 
reached them. Colonel Havelock, carbine in hand, was directing 
the attack when Von Tempsky and his panting Rangers reached 
the southern side of the Mangapiko. He requested Von Tempsky 

Photo by J. Cowan, 1920.] 

The Mangapiko River and Waiart. 
(From the north bank.) 

to clear out some Maoris who had taken cover in the thicket 
that filled an olden trench in the rear of the British party, 
and away the Rangers went. " A ditch of the breastwork 
of an ancient pa sloped down into the river," Von Tempsky 
wrote. " It was densely covered with scrub, as well as the 
banks of the river. My men bounded down into it like tigers. 
On our hands and knees we had to creep, revolver in hand, 

.; i" 


Looking for our invisible foes. The thumping of double-barrel 
guns around us announced soon that we were in the midst of 
the riest. I had in all about thirty men. Some were stationed 
on the top of the bank, others in the very river, and the rest 
crawling through the scrub. There were some strange meetings 
in that scrub. Muzzle to muzzle, the shot of despair, the repeat- 
ing cracks of revolvers and carbine thuds, and the brown bodies 
of Maoris made their appearance gradually, either rolling down 
the hill or being dragged out of the scrub." 

It was nearly dark by the time the old pa was finally cleared 
of the Maoris, and the troops returned to camp, skirmishing 
with large bodies of Maoris under cover of low bush and mantika- 
on the right flank of the route. The Rangers covered the return 
of the force and remained in action until darkness fell. 

Soon after the battle opened at Waiari Captain Charles 
Heaphy, of the Auckland Rifle Volunteers, performed a deed 
for which he was promoted to Majoi and received the only 
Victoria Cross awarded to a colonial soldier in the Maori wars. 
Heaphy was attached to the force as staff surveyor. He had 
arrived in the colony in 1839 as one of the New Zealand Com- 
panv*s survey staff, and had distinguished himself as an explorer 
in the South Island. While trying to rescue a wounded soldier 
he raised the man's head in his arms, and in doing so received 
a volley from thick cover, at close range, five bullets grazing and 
contusing him. A soldier of the 40th came to his assistance, and 
Heaphy directed others to where the natives were ; five of the 
Maoris were shot. 

The Maoris who fell in this skirmish numbered forty-one. 
Twenty-eight bodies were counted ; others fell in the river. 
Two wounded prisoners were taken. Many of those engaged 
were Kawhia men who had only recently arrived at Paterangi. 
One of their principal chiefs killed was Te Munu Waitai, of 
Ngati-Hikairo ; others were Taati, Ta Kerei, Taare, Te Kariii, 
and Hone Ropiha (Ngati-Maniapoto). Some of the dead were 
buried on the north side of the river, and close to their graves 
the troops, soon after this fight, built a redoubt to guard the 
crossing at Waiari. The parapets and trench of this redoubt (on 
Mr. H. Rhodes's farm) are still well preserved, and are marked 
by a grove of acacia. 



The summer of 1864 was well advanced before General 
Cameron found himself able to execute the final strategic move- 
ment of the campaign, the outflanking of the Kingites' heavy 
defences at Paterangi and Rangiatea. Two half-caste guides 
attached to headquarters, James Edwards and John Gage, who 
had lived in Rangiaowhia and Kihikihi before the war, furnished 
the staff with detailed information about the country, and a 
surprise expedition was planned to advance on the Maoris' chief 
sources of food-supply by way of the mission settlement at Te 
Awamutu. The forward move was made under cover of darkness 
on the 20th February. At half-past 10 o'clock at night a force 
of nearly a thousand men (about half the troops at head- 
quarters) fell in at Te Rore ; the others were to follow in the 
daytime with the baggage and supplies, leaving a sufficient 
garrison in front of Paterangi. The utmost silence was preserved. 
No bugle sounded ; the swords and bridle-chains of the cavahy 
were muffled with cloth. The advance-guard, commanded by 
Captain Von Tempsky, consisted of No. 2 Company of the 
Forest Rangers, with one hundred men of the 65th Regiment, 
under Lieutenant Tabuteau ; Colonel Nixon's Colonial Defence 
Force Cavalry corps and Rait's Mounted Artillery, doing dutv 
as cavalry, followed. The main infantry body was composed of 
detachments of the 50th, 65th, and 70th Regiments, with No. 1 
Company of the Forest Rangers as rearguard. The guide was 
Mr. Edwards (" Himi Manuao " of the Maoris). The route was 
via Waiari, where the Mangapiko was crossed, thence well across 
the fern ridges to Te Awamutu, passing near the old pa Otawhao 
(in the neighbourhood of the present railway-station at Te 
Awamutu). Bishop Selwyn rode with General Cameron. The 
spire of the Rev. John Morgan's mission church was in sight 
at daylight. The troops made no halt at Te Awamutu, but 
pushed on to Rangiaowhia, three miles distant, along a hilly 
road above the deep swamps and kahikatea forest that fringed 
the Manga-o-Hoi Stream. The ridge of Hairini surmounted, 
about a mile and a half from the mission station, the large 
unfortified settlement of Rangiaowhia came in sight, a scene of 
peace and beauty. Fields of wheat, maize, and potatoes extended 
over long gentle slopes, and peach -groves shading clusters of 
thatched houses were scattered along a green hill trending north 




and south, the crown of the village, with the steeples oi two 
churches rising above the trees, a quarter oi a mile apart. In 
the swampy and part-wooded valley of Pekapeka-rau, below on 
the left as the invading army marched along the southern rim oi 
the Rangiaowhia basin, the morning mists curled up from the 
raupo-bordeied waters of a little lagoon, the dam which sup].]] d 
the power for a Hour-mill. 

Nixon's cavalry galloped ahead, and the crack of carbines 
and popping of revolvers, replied to with double-barrel guns, 
broke the quiet of Rangiaowhia. The main forces of the Kingites 
were in Paterangi and Pikopiko ; those occupying Rangiaowhia 
were chiefly people of the Ngati-Apakura and Ngati-Hinetu 
sections of Waikato, engaged in supplying food to the garrisons 
at the front. There were about a hundred nun in the settle- 
ment, with many women and children. Alongside the road, 
lined with whares extending from the south end of the village 
to the hill on the north where the Roman Catholic church 
dominated Rangiaowhia, great quantities of food were laid out 
potatoes, kumara, pigs, and fowls — packed ready for carting to 
Paterangi. The Maoris, recovering from their first astonishm< nt 
at the attack, took cover in their rai/po huts and in one or two 
houses of sawn timber, and opened fire on the cavalrymen. The 
Rangers were soon up in the centre of the village, followed 
by the 65th, and the skirmish spread along the street between 
the rows of houses. The cavalry gave their attention to some 
large whares to the south and south-east of the English church ; 
these houses, one of which was the home of the chief Ihaia 
("Isaiah"), of Ngati-Apakura, were clustered at a spot called 
Tau-ki-tua, about the head of a long swampy valley which ex- 
tended in a northerly direction ; a little to the south was Tioriori 
kainga. Lower down this valley, the Rua-o-Tawhiwhi, was a 
flour-mill similar to that at Pekapeka-rau. The Forest Rangers 
found the Roman Catholic church crowning the mound at the north 
end of the settlement, called Karanga-paihau, crammed with aim d 
Maoris, who show r ed a white flag, and so were not pressed further. 
In rear of the church, surrounded by lines of wlianakc or < ahha-e- 
trees (these whanake, now grown to enormous trees, Mill adorn 
the old village-site), was the kainga Te Reinga, the headquarters 
of Hoani Papita ("John the Baptist ") and his people of Ngati- 
Hinetu. Between the church and this settlement was the house 
of the priest of the district. The Rangers, fired at here and 
there from whares — one or two of these snipers were women — 
hurried down to the right, where heavy firing was now going 
on. The English church, too, was filled with Maoris, and some 
shots came from the windows, but the action centred in one oi 
the large houses on the slope above the spring at the head of 
the little valley. Close by was a house which belonged to a 
European, a man named Thomas Power, who had a Maori wife. 
In both of these houses a number of Maoris had taken refuge. 



Colonel Xixon's cavalrymen, dismounting, surrounded the 
whares near the swamp-head (the spot is in the angle formed 
by the junction of the present Kihikihi - Rangiaowhia main 
road and the road eastward from Te Awamutu to Puahue 
and Panehakua). The Colonel sent Lieutenant McDonnell and 
Ensign William G. Mair (interpreter — afterwards Major Mair) to 
summon the Maoris in the large house to surrender, assuring 
them of good treatment. The reply was a volley. Then 
began independent firing from scores of carbines, rifles, and 
revolvers, perforating the raupo walls of the house everywhere ; 
the troops were drawn round the place on three sides. The 

The English Church at Rangiaowhia. 

This historic mission church was built for the Ngati-Apakura people 
some years before the Waikato War, and was one of many churches 
established under the first Bishop Selwyn. It is now used by the European 
residents of Rangiaowhia and Hairini. The principal scene of the fighting 
on the 21st February, 1864, was a short distance to the right of the picture, 
and many Maoris took refuge in the church. 

occupants of the whare, however, had good cover for a time, 
as the interior was excavated a foot or two below the level of 
the ground outside, and, crouching on the floor, the Maoris could 
deliver their fire through holes in the bottom of the walls, as 
in a shallow rifle-pit. An excited cavalryman, Sergeant McHale, 
rushed forward eager to storm the whare. He reached the low 



doorway, and was stooping firing into it with his revolver when 
he was shot dead and dragged inside. A 65th soldier was also 
shot dead in front of the house. The Maoris secured McHale's 
carbine and revolver, with about twenty rounds of carbine 
ammunition, and, using the captured firearms and their own 
guns, continued their resistance. Hundreds of shots were poured 
into the whare, and Colonel Nixon himself fired into it with his 
revolver. He was shot through the lungs from the open door- 
way, and fell in front of the house. McDonnell and Mair ran 
to his assistance, and Mair pulled off a door from a hut and laid 
the mortally wounded colonel on it. Some of the neighbouring 
whares were now on fire, either ignited by the firing through the 
thatch or set on fire by the troopers. 



i %«< 

Ftom a drawing by J. A. Wilson, 1864.] 

The Fight at Rangiaowhia. 

(21st February, 1864.) 

The soldier shown falling is Colonel Marmaduke Nixon, commanding 
the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, who was shot from the doorway of the 
Maori house in the middle of the picture. 

Von Tempsky came running up with his Rangers, and, 
followed by a dozen of his men, rushed at the doorway of 
the large whare. Sergeant Carron thrust his head into the 
low doorway, seeking a target in the gloom of the house, 
but could see nothing at which to fire. At this moment 
Corporal Alexander, of the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, 
ran up and, crouching at the open door, was about to fire his 
carbine into the house when he was shot dead. The Rangers 


..I the dead corporal away from the door, and Von 
rempsky quickly fired the five shots of his revolver into the 
corner from which he had heard the last report. Then he 
pulled the body of the 65th soldier away and drew his men off 
a little distance. One of the Rangers, a young Canadian named 
John Ballender — a surgeon by profession, and a very brave 
fellow and a fine shot — fell wounded in the hip; he died from 
his injury some months later. Four cavalrymen, including 
Sergeant Hutchinson and Trooper E. Mellon, rushed forward 
with a stretcher and carried Colonel Nixon out of the line of 
fire. Then they went back for Trooper Alexander, who was 
lying outside the door shot through the throat. The shot had 
been fired at so short a range — only a few feet — that his 
whiskers were burned by the powder-flash. 

The garrison whare was now on fire, like the neighbouring 
huts. A veteran of the cavalry says that one of the troopers 
had run round to the rear of the hut and set it alight ; but an 
old Forest Ranger considers that the thatch may have been 
ignited by the firing. " We put the muzzles of our carbines 
close to the raupo walls," he says, " and fired through the 
thatch. The Maoris inside were doing the same, and naturally 
the inflammable w T alls would soon catch fire from the flash and 
the burning wadding." 

The flames at last drove one of the occupants out. A tall 
old man, clothed in a w r hite blanket, which he was holding about 
his head, emerged from the doorway of the burning house. His 
upstretched arms showed that he had no weapon. He advanced 
towards the crescent of troops in surrender, facing a hundred 
levelled rifles. " Spare him, spare him ! " shouted the nearest 
officers. But next moment there was a thunder of shots. 
Staggering from the bullets, the old hero recovered his poise for 
an instant, stood still with an expression of calm, sad dignity, 
then swayed slowly and fell to the ground dead. The episode 
enraged the chivalrous officers who had entreated quarter for 
him, and young St. Hill, of the General's staff, pointed to a 
soldier of the 65th Regiment and shouted, " Arrest that man ! 
I saw him fire ! " But Leveson-Gower, the captain of the 
detachment, replied, " No, I'll not arrest him ; he was not the 
only one who fired." The truth was that the troops clustered 
promiscuously about the burning houses were not under the 
immediate control of their officers at the moment of the Maori's 
surrender ; and there were many who burned to avenge the fall 
of their beloved Colonel Nixon. 

NO more Maoris surrendered after that sacrifice. The house 
was now wrapped in flames. A man stepped out of the pit of 
death, stood in front of the doorway, and fired his last shots 
from his double-barrel gun. A volley from the soldiers, and 
he fell dead. Yet another appeared from the doorway and was 


shot dead while aiming at his foes. The burning house crashed 
and fell inward. When the troops were able to approach it 
they found in the smoking ruins the charred bodies of Sergeant 
McHale and seven Maoris. The brave little garrison had num- 
bered ten, opposed to some hundreds of the invaders, and the 
taking of the raitpo hut cost, besides, three whites shot dead and 
two mortally wounded. 

None of the other whores was defended in this determined 
manner. About a dozen houses were burned down ; some of 
their occupants had dispersed to the northward, making across 
the slopes for the Catholic church on the hill ; others took refuge 
in the swamp or fled eastward into the bush. At the Catholic 
church some of Hoani Papita's men made a short stand. Twenty 
or thirty of them rushed into the church and fired through the 
windows, and it was thought at first that they intended standing 
a siege there, but they discovered that the weatherboards were 
not bullet-proof. The Rangers and some Regulars attacked, and 
the church-walls were soon perforated with bullets. At last 
the defenders dashed out through the door on the northern side, 
and fled to the swamps.* 

Twelve Maoris, including the chiefs Hoani and Ihaia, were 
killed in the morning's encounter, and above thirty prisoners, 
some wounded, were taken. 

The Battle of Hairini. 

The news of the General's surprise expedition and the attack 
on Rangiaowhia brought the main body of the Waikato and 
their allies pouring eastward into the invaded village, and a few 
hours after the fight the leaders were hastily planning the 
fortifications for the defence of their supply headquarters. They 
realized now that Paterangi, Pikopiko, and Rangiatea repre- 
sented so-much heavy labour lost as the result of the British 
turning movement, and those forts were evacuated immediately. 
A position was selected for an entrenchment to block the road 

* Mr. William Johns, of Auckland, who served as a corporal in the 
Forest Rangers, says, regarding the firing at the Roman Catholic church, 
Rangiaowhia : — 

" The Natives took cover in the Roman Catholic church after most of 
the whares on the lower ground had been cleared of them ; the huts were 
nearly all set on fire by natives firing through the raitpo walls at the troops. 
The church was held by them for only a brief period ; they retreated quickly 
before the advancing Forest Rangers and troops. The Rev. Father Yinay, 
who resided at the church for many years after the war, cleverly effaced 
and closed up the bullet-holes left in the building during the skirmish, and 
yet these were long visible upon close inspection. The temporary stand 
made by the natives in the church formed the closing scene of that morning's 

" A great deal of wild talk arose as to the burning of the Maori whares 
designedly, but the firing of Maori guns and of soldiers' rifles at close range 
into dry raupo whares is a sufficient explanation." 


from Te Awamutu to Rangiaowhia. The place chosen was the 
cresl of a ridge at Hairini (" Ireland "), the highest part of the 
approach to Rangiaowhia from the west. An old line of ditch 
and hank, fencing in some large cultivations, crossed the crown 
of the height from north to south. This line the Maoris quickly 
strengthened on the morning after the invasion of the village, 
deepening the ditch and converting the bank into a strong parapet, 
with a stake fence surmounting it. The road was blocked by 
a rifle-trench with a narrow opening. The entrenchment ran 
down the hill on the north side — the defenders' right flank — 
into a deep swamp ; on the south side the ditch and bank 
extended along a slope to the cover of thick bush and manuka, 
which continued thence steeply down to the kahikatea forest in the 
swampv valley of the Manga-o-Hoi. The flanks of the Kingites 
were thus well protected. Members of many Kingite tribes 
shared in the work of defence. Besides numerous subtribes of 
Waikato, there were many Ngati-Maniapoto, one of whose chiefs 
was Wahanui — a gigantic figure of a man, afterwards the most 
celebrated orator of the King party — some men of Ngai-te-Rangi 
from Tauranga, and a contingent of nearly a hundred Urewera 
warriors, under Piripi te Heuheu, Hapurona Kohi, Te Whenuanui, 
and Paerau. With the Ngai-te-Rangi was a savage fellow of 
Ngati-Rangiwewehi from Rotorua, named Kereopa te Rau ; he 
became notorious in the following year as Kereopa Kai-Karu (the 
" Eye-swallower "), the Hauhau apostle who put the missionary 
Volkner to death at Opotiki. 

On the morning of the 22nd February, the day following 
the attack on Rangiaowhia, an outlying picket on the north 
side of the Manga-o-Hoi Stream at Te Awamutu was fired upon 
by a party of Ngati-Maniapoto from the cover of some manuka 
at Matariki, on the river-bank a short distance above the bridge. 
The troops in the camp at Te Awamutu had been reinforced 
by a large body from Te Rore, including the 50th Regiment 
(under Brevet-Colonel Weare), a detachment of Royal Artillery, 
and a party of Royal Navy men from the ships at Auckland, 
with two 6-pounder Armstrong guns and a naval 6-pounder. 
The soldiers were just preparing for dinner when the "Assembly" 
sounded. The Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, under Captain 
Pye, V.C., and Captain Walmsley, led the advance upon Hairini 
which was now ordered, and the Forest Rangers, as usual where 
there was fighting in prospect, were well ahead of the other 
infantry corps. The General, immediately on learning that the 
natives had taken up a position on Hairini Hill, determined to 
attack before they had time to strengthen their defences, and 
early in the afternoon nearly a thousand bayonets flashed back 
the sun as the column advanced in fours along the narrow road 
towards the ridge with high fern on either side. (The present 


main road follows exactly this route.) A mile from Te Awamutu 
the route led under the southern crest of a rather steep spur ; 
below was a gully of scrub and bush and swamp. A Maori 
skirmish line under cover of a hedge was driven in, and on a hill 
about 500 yards in front of Hairini height the guns were placed 
and opened fire on the entrenchments, now manned by five or 
six hundred men. The infantrv went on and halted in the 


From a painting by G. Lindauer, in Auckland Municipal Art Gallery.] 

Wahanui Huatare. 

Wahanui, whose home was at Hangatiki, received a slight wound in the 
fight at Hairini. He was the most prominent chief of Ngati-Maniapoto 
after the war, and was the leading representative of the Maori King party 
in the negotiations with the Government. 

ferny hollow between the two hills, awaiting the order to storm 
the position. Just outside the road gateway at the trenches a 
wild figure leaped and brandished a taiaha, yelling defiance at 


the troops, and encouraged his comrades with cries of " Riria, 
riria! Patua, fiatua!" (''Fight on, fight on! Strike, kill!") 
This was Kereopa te Rail. The field-pieces fired shells over the 
heads of the Forest Rangers (mustering seventy-nine) and the 
50th (480 strong) — the 65th were in support, and the 70th Regi- 
ment in reserve — and the Maoris all along the line replied heavily 
with their double-barrel guns. " It was as pretty a bit of hot 
firing as I have ever seen," says a veteran of Jackson's company 
of Rangers. " The Armstrongs were sending their shells screeching 
over us, and the Maori bullets were cutting down the fern near 
me with as even a swathe almost as you could cut it with a 
slash-hook. We were lying down within 300 yards of the enemy. 
At last the 'Charge' was sounded, and away we went, the whole 
of us, we Rangers making for the Maoris' right flank, and the 
50th Regiment, on our right, for the centre. With a great cheer 
the 50th swept splendidly up to the parapet with bayonets at 
the charge. We on their left stormed the Maori line on even 
terms with them ; we had no bayonets, but used our revolvers 
for close-quarters work " 

The Kingite warriors maintained a heavy fire, but their 
bullets flew too high, and as the fatal line of steel approached 
they broke into confusion and flight. Some raced down to the 
left into the shelter of the deep swamp on the north side, and 
struggled across it in the direction of Rangiaowhia ; others fled 
across the hill in the rear and into the cover of the bush on 
the south. 

Now came the opportunity for the cavalry. One detachment 
of the Colonial Defence, under Captain Walmsley, advanced on 
the right flank, taking the high ground overlooking the Manga- 
o-Hoi Valley ; the other troop, under Captain Pye, galloped up 
on the left, crossing a maize-field above the swamp, with its 
patches of kahikatea bush. The trumpet sounded the " Charge," 
and the troopers rode into the Maoris with their sabres, cutting 
down a number as they went over them. Some of the warriors 
bravely faced the horsemen. Captain Pye's men met a volley. 
" Our detachment," says a veteran of this troop, " got in among 
a party of Maoris who attempted to resist us. I made a cut with 
my sword at one man, but he jumped aside and I missed him. 
As I passed ahead I looked round and saw another trooper, 
Middleton, running his sword through him. Some of the Maoris 
ran down on the south side of Hairini, where we could not follow 
them ; others retreated across the swamp at Pekapeka-rau, where 
the Maori dam and flour-mill were." This was one of the few 
occasions on which cavalry charges were practicable in the Maori 
wars. Cavalry were used at Orakau, a few weeks after the 
Hairini fight; the other principal instances of charges with the 
sabre occurred at Nukumaru, on the west coast, in 1865, and 
at Kiorekino, on the Opotiki Flat, in the same year. 


The Forest Rangers, under Von Tempsky, meanwhile were 
firing from a peach-grove on the left upon the Maoris escaping 
through the swamp, and they, with some of the 50th and the 
70th, skirmished up towards Rangiaowhia, where the fighting 
ended. The village was looted, and the Rangers and many other 
troops returned to Te Awamutu laden with spoils in the way of 
food and Maori weapons. 

The day's casualties numbered two soldiers killed, one of 
the Defence Force Cavalry mortally wounded, and fifteen others 
wounded, including Ensign Doveton, of the 50th. The Maoris 
lost about a score killed, besides many wounded, some of whom 
were captured and treated in the field hospital at Te Awamutu. 
The troops probably would have suffered more severely when 
doubling along the road to the assault but for the clouds of dust 
that obscured them. 

A British redoubt was built at Rangiaowhia, near the brow 
of the hill Hikurangi, overlooking the Manga-o-Hoi forest and 
swamp (the district school now stands close to the spot). The 
post was garrisoned by a company of the 65th Regiment, under 
Captain Blewitt. In later years, when the Waikato frontier was 
threatened by the King Country Hauhaus, a blockhouse was 
built on the site and held by the armed settlers, some of whom 
were old Forest Rangers of Jackson's No. 1 Company. 

Other Operations. 

The whole of the mid-Waikato and the fertile plain of the 
delta between the Waipa and the Horotiu (upper Waikato 
River) as far south as the Mangapiko River was now under 
British occupation. General Cameron left detachments to 
garrison Te Rore, Pikopiko, and Paterangi, and at Kirikiri-roa, 
on the Horotiu, established a post which became the present 
Town of Hamilton. The gunboats " Pioneer " and " Koheroa " 
steamed up the Horotiu for the first time on the 2nd March, 
1864, with a eletachment of the 65th, and anchored below the 
deserted native settlement of Kirikiri-roa. Next day the 
" Koheroa, " under command of an officer of H.M.S. " Eclipse," 
ascended the strong river as far as Pukerimu, and the officers 
and surveyors on board made a rapid reconnaissance of the 
country. Redoubts were built soon after this at Pukerimu and 
Kirikiri-roa, and were garrisoneel by detachments of the [8th 
and 70th Regiments ; later, the settlements were occupied by 
men of the Waikato Militia. The Ngati-Haua and their allies, 
including many Ngai-te-Rangi from Tauranga, hael now strongly 
fortified themselves at Te Tiki-o - te - Ihingarangi, where the 
Pukekura Range, an out -spur of Maunga-tautari, terminates 
above the precipitous left bank of the Waikato River. Soon 
after the first visit to Pukerimu the General advanced with 


.1 force of several hundred men from Te Awamutu and skir- 
mished towards the Ngati-Haua positions. After a little firing 
at comparatively long range the troops retired. The pa was 
occupied for several weeks, but at last was evacuated before 
Cameron had made up his mind to attack it. This was the 
only strong position in the Waikato country remaining to the 
Kingites in March. There were now nearly five thousand troops, 
Imperial and colonial, distributed in the occupied territory ; 
the greater number was encamped at Te Awamutu, where the 
army spent the winter of 186.4. 

The headquarters of the Ngati-Maniapoto Tribe, the large 
village of Kihikihi, three miles south-east of Te Awamutu, was 
invaded on the 23rd February. It was an attractive place in 
those days, with its clusters of thatched houses spaced over a 
considerable area of hill and valley, shaded by peach-groves and 
surrounded bv large cultivations of potatoes and maize which 
extended in the direction of the Puniu River to the south and to 
the outskirts of the forest and swamps on the east. Here was 
Rewi Maniapoto's home : and on the gentle southern slope of 
Rata-tu Hill, on which the principal settlement stood, was the 
carved house " Hui-te-Rangiora," in which Rewi and his runanga 
of chiefs had framed the belligerent policy which precipitated 
the Waikato War. No attempt was made by Ngati-Maniapoto 
to defend Kihikihi. They could have blocked for a time the 
advance of the troops from Te Awamutu by entrenching the 
steep northern and north-west face of the ridge on which Kihi- 
kihi stood (the present road ascends this face), and extending 
the wings of the defences to the swamps on either flank. But 
Rewi and his people abandoned Kihikihi after the fighting at 
Rangiaowhia, and, crossing to the south side of the Puniu River, 
encamped at Tokanui, on the slopes overlooking their old homes. 
From there they saw the flashing of the bayonets as a body 
of troops marched into Kihikihi, and presently watched the 
smoke and flames ascending from their council-house, destroyed 
by the soldiers. Rewi's flagstaff was also demolished, and the 
village was looted by the Regulars and the Forest Rangers. A 
redoubt was soon afterwards built on the crest of the Rata-tu 
Hill, a commanding site overlooking the whole of the Kihikihi 
and surrounding country for many miles. This post was first 
garrisoned by detachments of the line regiments, and afterwards 
by a force of the 1st Waikato Militia, under Colonel T. M. Haultain. 

Numerous scouting expeditions were made from headquarters 
at Te Awamutu by the Forest Rangers and by the Colonial 
Defence Force Cavalry. It was after one of the troopers' rides 
to the neighbourhood of Kihikihi, where Maoris were again seen 
to be gathering — one was shot at long range by Lieutenant 
(afterwards Colonel) McDonnell — that it was decided to build 



the redoubt just mentioned. An expedition marched before 
daylight one morning, under Colonel Waddy and Colonel Have- 
lock, with the Forest Rangers, as usual, forming the advanced 
guard, to pay a surprise visit to Kihikihi, but the natives 
again retired in time. Von Tempsky went on through some 
maize-fields and skirmished across a swamp with some of the 
Maoris, but did not get close to them. That night he took the 
men into the kahikatea bush and swamp which flanked Kihi- 
kihi, in an attempt to reach the Maoris who had retreated into 
some distant whares on a rise, and after a very rough experience, 







: l 

Photo by W. Beattie, 1906.] 

St. John's Church, Te Awamutu. 

This mission church was built in the early " fifties," when Te Awamutu 
was the station of the Rev. John Morgan, of the CMS. who introduced 
civilization and English methods of agriculture among the tribes of the 
Upper Waikato. Mr. Morgan carried on mission work and industrial 
education here from 1841 until the beginning of the Waikato War. The 
soldiers who fell at Orakau and other fights in the district were buried in 
the churchyard. 

scrambling through the swamp and jungle in the darkness, 
reached the whares at daylight and rushed them, but found 
them empty. Sergeant Carron reported that there were Maoris 
in the bush which nearly surrounded this settlement, a little 
12 — X.Z. Wars. 


distance to the eastward of Kihikihi Village. Von Tempsky 
withdrew his men from the whares, and received a harmless 
volley from the bush-covered hill. He took up a position 
within .500 yards of the huts, under cover of logs and fern, and 
awaited a Maori advance, but the Ngati-Maniapoto party wisely 
remained in their cover. The Rangers returned to Kihikihi, 
and from the central hill that afternoon they saw some hundreds 
of Maoris in the distance driving their cattle and horses into 
safety southward of the Puniu. 


The site of Rewi Maniapoto's council-house " Hui-te-Rangiora," burned 
by the troops, is a little distance to the south-west of the present 
Presbyterian church in the Kihikihi Township. Near this church is the 
house which the Government built for Rewi shortly before the Kingites 
finally made peace in 1881 ; close to the house at a street-corner is his 
grave ; he died in 1894 The name " Hui-te-Rangiora," celebrated in 
Maori-Polynesian tradition, is still honoured among Ngati-Maniapoto ; it 
has been given to the house (a gift from the Government) on the south 
bank of the Puniu River in which Rewi's widow, Te Rohu, now lives. 

The redoubt on Rata-tu, the highest part of the Kihikihi ridge, was 
a military post for about twenty years after its construction. It was 
occupied as a barracks by the Armed Constabulary, 1870-83, and was 
an important place in the chain of defences along the frontier against the 
often-threatened Kingite and Hauhau invasions of the Upper Waikato. 
The lines of the redoubt can be traced just behind the present police- 
station in Kihikihi Township. 

The head of river navigation for the wheat-growers of Kihikihi, the 
headquarters of Ngati-Maniapoto, was at Tokatoka, afterwards known 
as Anderson's Crossing, on the Puniu River, about two miles from the 
village. Large canoes carrying sixty or seventy men could come up the 
Puniu River in the old days, before it was blocked with willows, and 
cargoes of wheat and potatoes loaded there were taken down into the 
Waipa, and thence into the Waikato for Auckland. A mile north of the 
Tokatoka landing was the flour-mill of the Kihikihi Maoris ; the water- 
power was supplied by a small stream which drained the Whakatau- 
ringaringa swamp on the west and south-west side of the Kihikihi ridge. 



Three miles to the east of General Cameron's advanced post 
at Kihikihi the village of Orakau (" the Place of Trees ") lay 
among its fruit-groves and its cultivated fields, gently tilted to 
the quarter of greatest sunshine. This easy northward-looking 
slant of the country is a topographical feature particularly marked 
in these parts of the Waipa basin. The contour of Rangiaowhia, 
Orakau, and the neighbouring terrain of Otautahanga and Para- 
wera is distinguished by a gradual upward slope to the south, 
and then a sudden break in a descent of a hundred or two 
hundred feet to the swamps and wooded levels. The Orakau 
settlement, a collection of thatched hamlets, was spread over 
half a square mile of the slopes and plain extending from the 
ridge called Karaponia, on the south, to the edge of the swamps 
and kahikatea forest through which the Manga-o-Hoi coiled in 
its sluggish course to join the Mangapiko at Te Awamutu on 
the west. These swamps and the creek separated the Orakau 
country from the higher land of Rangiaowhia. To the east the 
range of Maunga-tautari made a rugged skyline ; to the south 
the blue mountains of Rangitoto marked the source of the Waipa 
River in the heart of the Ngati-Maniapoto country. The crest 
of the Orakau ridge broke off abruptly to a manuka swamp ; 
from the northern part of this swamp watercourses drained into 
the Manga-o-Hoi, and from the southern side of the imperceptible 
watershed the eel-waters flowed toward the Puniu, a clear stream 
running over a gravelly bed in a westerly course two miles 

Orakau was an idyllic home for the Maori. Like Rangiao- 
whia, it was a garden of fruit and root crops. On its slopes 
were groves of peaches, almonds, apples, quinces, and cherries ; 
grape-vines climbed the trees and the thatched raiipo houses. 
Potatoes, kumara, maize, melons, pumpkins, and vegetable- 
marrows were grown plentifully. Good crops of wheat were 



grown in the "fifties" and early "sixties" on the northward- 
sloping ground between Karaponia* Hill crest and the groves 
of Orakau and Te Kawakawa. The Maoris at one time were 
paid I2s. a bushel for the wheat from Rangiaowhia and Orakau. 
" Ah," said old Tu Takerei, of Parawera, who was born in 
Orakau, "it was indeed a beautiful and fruitful place before 
the war. The food we grew was good and abundant, and the 
people were strong and healthy — there was no disease among 
them ; those were the days of peace, when men and women 
died only of extreme old age." 


Locality Plan 



Orakau and Surrounding Country, 
Showing the routes of the British march, 1804. 

* The oame Karaponia (" California "), bestowed upon the hill of the 
wlnat-fields at Orakau, has a curious history. One or two natives of the 
district who had gone to Auckland in the early " fifties " shipped in a New- 
Zealand vessel bound for San Francisco, where the gold-diggings of the 
Sacramento had created a demand for wheat, flour, and potatoes from 
the South Pacific colonies. Alter trying their luck at the diggings they 
found their way ba< k to New Zealand, and when they reached their homes 
narrated their travels to California (Maorified into " Karaponia "). The 
word appealed to the native ear as a pleasant - sounding name — Hi 
ingoa rekareka, i)i^<>a ngawari," says the Maori. So " Karaponia" presently 
came to be given to the wheat-farm terminating in the ridge on which 
the British guns were emplaced in 1864. 



The people of Orakau were the Ngati-Koura hapu of Waikato, 
with a section of Ngati-Raukawa. The focus of the settlement 
was the Maori church, which stood on the crown of a knoll on the 
west side above a deep but narrow swamp, through which a small 
watercourse, the Tautoro, flowed toward the Manga-o-Hoi. (On 
this elevation Mr. W. A. Cowan, father of the present writer, 
built his homestead a few years after the battle.) Near the church 
the chief Te Ao-Katoa, of Ngati-Raukawa, lived before the war. 
He was a tahunga of the ancient Maori school ; later, he became 
a war-priest of the Hauhau fanaticism. To the north a short 

The Battlefield of Orakau, Present Day. 

The eucalyptus tree in the foreground was planted by the Armed 

Constabulary in the " seventies " to mark the position of the British 
Armstrong guns on Karaponia Hill. 

distance] along [the slopes were the wharcs and peach-groves of 
Te Kawakawa; beyond was Te Ngarahu, where under the acacias 
on the swamp-edge Dr. R. Hooper lived (1848-63) ; he had a 
half-caste wife, and received a small salary from the Government 
for dispensing medicines to the natives. 

Such, before the war, was Orakau, soon to become a place of 
sadness and glory, the spot where the Kingites made their last 


hopeless stand for independence, holding heroically to nationalism 
and a broken cause. 

There was a military expedition to Orakau a month before the 
construction of the pa to which the British troops laid siege. 
This was on the 29th February, 1864, when Colonel Waddy, of 
the 50th, led a column out from Te Awamutu, six miles away, 
with the object of dispersing some Maoris who it was reported 
were digging rifle-pits. The Forest Rangers were in the advance. 
A little more than half-way between Kihikihi and Orakau (at a 
spot where the present main road ascends a small hill above a 
narrow swamp) the Rangers encountered a newly built stake 
fence ; a high bank rose behind it, and the crown of this bank 
looked suspicious to Von Tempsky. He ordered his men to throw 
down the fence, making a gap ; they then rushed the bank. As 
expected, there was a line of rifle-pits there ; the trenches were 
masked with branches of manuka stuck into the earth. The 
position was deserted, but a few shots were fired at long range 
by some Maoris, who fell back on Orakau. The village was 
abandoned, and the Rangers went through it in skirmishing order. 
The natives made no stand, but drew off eastward in the direction 
of Otautahanga, and the troops, after burning some of the whares, 
returned to Te Awamutu. 

After the defeats at Rangiaowhia and Hairini, and the British 
occupation of Kihikihi, Ngati-Maniapoto with some of the other 
tribes gathered at Tokanui, below the group of terraced hills now 
called the " Three Sisters." Thence they travelled southward to 
Otewa, on the Waipa, and from there they were called to a 
conference at Wharepapa, a large village about three miles south 
of the Puniu. The gathering discussed two questions : (1) Whether 
or not the war should be renewed ; (2) whether a fortified position 
should be taken up on the northern side of the Puniu River or 
on the southern side. The decision to continue the war was 
unanimous. As to the site of the new fighting pa, it was resolved 
to confine the war, if possible, to the northern side of the Puniu. 
Rewi made a proposal to consult Wiremu Tamehana at the 
stronghold Te Tiki o te Ihingarangi, on the upper Waikato, on 
the question of the future conduct of the campaign. It was 
decided to send to the kingmaker and ask his advice, and 
Rewi and a small party of his men set out for Te Tiki. 
They marched by way of Ara-titaha, on the southern spur of 
Maunga-tautari. There they met an Urewera (Tuhoe) war-party, 
140 strong, under the chiefs Piripi te Heuheu, Hapurona Kohi, 
Te Whenuanui (Ngakorau), the old warrior Paerau te Rangi-kai- 
tupu-ake, Te Reweti (of the Patu-heuheu), Ngahoro (of Ngati- 
Whare), and Hoani (Tuhoe and Patu-heuheu). Tuhoe proper 
numbered fifty ; the Xgati-Whare and Patu-heuheu party was also 
fifty strong. The prophet Penewhio sent two toHungas, Hakopa 


and Tapiki, with the contingent. In the contingent were twenty 
men of the Ngati-Kahungunu Tribe, from the Wairoa, Hawke's 
Bay, under Te Waru Tamatea. The main body of this force, 
numbering a hundred, led by Piripi te Heuheu, had fought in 
some of the engagements of the war, including Hairini, and had 
helped to garrison Manga-pukatea and Paterangi. The Ngati- 
Kahungunu party did not arrive until after Hairini had been 
fought. About the end of 1863 Rewi had made a recruiting 
journey to the Rangitaiki country and to the Ngati-Whare and 
Tuhoe headquarters ; there were old ties of friendship between 
his section of Ngati-Maniapoto and the Warahoe people and 
some of their Urewera kinsmen. Rewi visited Tauaroa, Ahikereru, 
and Ruatahuna, accompanied by Te Winitana Tupotahi and Hapi 
te Hikonga-uira, and aroused the fighting-blood of the mountain 
tribes by his appeal for assistance and his chanting of two thrilling 
war-songs. The first was the Taranaki patriotic chant beginning 
" Kohea tera maitnga e tu mai ra ra ? " (" What is that mountain 
standing yonder ? ") referring to Mount Egmont. The second 
was the song that began " Pithi kura, puhi kura, puhi kaka " (" Red 
plumes, red plumes, plumes of the kaka"), his favourite battle- 
chant. These impassioned war-calls intensely excited the young 
warriors of Tuhoe, and in spite of the advice of some of 
the old chiefs they raised a company for the assistance of the 
Maori King. Two casks of gunpowder were given to Rewi's party. 
One of these — presented by Harehare, Te Wiremu, and Timoti. of 
the Ngati-Manawa, at Tauaroa — had been sent from Ohinemuri by 
the old cannibal warrior Taraia Ngakuti, of Ngati-Tamatera. The 
tohungas had recited charms over the cask of powder to render 
the contents doubly efficacious against the pakeha ; and it had 
been given a name. " Hine-ia-Taraua." Takurua Koro-kai-toke 
joined Rewi ; he was the elder brother of Harehare. the present 
chief of Ngati-Manawa at Murupara, on the Rangitaiki. He and 
his wife Rawinia (Lavinia) were both wounded at Orakau. Hare- 
hare himself, having no grievarce against the Europeans, did not 
join, saying that he would fight the troops if they invaded the 
Rangitaiki country, but not otherwise. But Tuhoe and Ngati- 
Whare entertained no such punctilio ; the} 7 were eager to make- 
use of their weapons, and would travel far for the pure love of 
fighting. A small war-party of Tuhoe had already gone to the 
Waikato. This tana consisted of twenty men from Ruatahuna. led 
by Piripi te Heuheu. These warriors assisted Ngati-Maniapoto in 
the Lower Waikato in the latter part of 1863, but did not share 
in the defence of Rangiriri, and returned to Ruatahuna. It 
was then in response to Rewi's appeal for reinforcements that 
the larger expedition was formed. It numbered a hundred 
men (rau taki-tahi). After Hairini, the Urewera remained at 
Arohena with Ngati-Raukawa ; and the Ngati-te-Kohera section 


of this tribe was assembled with them at Ara-titaha when Rewi 
reached that village. 

The Urewera chiefs, strongly supported by Ngati-Raukawa, 
urged that a fort should be built at or near Orakau as a challenge 
to the troops, and Te Whenuanui chanted a song composed by 
the chief tohunga of the Urewera, prophesying the defeat of the 
Europeans and the reconquest of the land by the Maoris. Rewi 
replied that he had no faith in such a prophecy, and proposed 
that the chiefs should all consult Tamehana before renewing the 
war. He opposed the suggestion to fortify Orakau, but the 
Urewera were persistent. Their tohungas, Hakopa and Tapiki, 
said, " Let us go on ; let us challenge the pakeha to battle. We 
are bearing heavy burdens [guns and ammunition] ; let us use 
them." Rewi angrily replied, " If you Tuhoe persist in your 
desire for battle I alone will be the survivor " ; and he chanted 
this song of warning, foretelling defeat : — 

Tokotokcma na te halt tawaho, 
Koi toko atu 
E kite ai an 
I Remit waho ra, 
I kite ai ait, 
I Remutaka ra, 
I kite ai ait 

Mate kiiku ki Wai'mata ra e. 
Tohungia mai e te kokoreke ra 
Katahi nei hoki ka kite 
Te karoro tua ivai, 
Tu awaawa ra. 
Na te kahore anake 
E noho toku whenua kei tua. 
Tera e whiti ana, 
E noho ana, 
Ko te koko koroki ata, 
" Ki — ki — iait." 

In this chant, a mata or prophecy, Rewi in figurative language 
endeavoured to dissuade Tuhoe from again entering the campaign. 
He sang of the winds of war., of the enemy troops gathering at 
the seaports, in the south and on the Waitemata, to sweep over 
the lands of the people ; and concluded with an allusion to the 
koko (tui) singing in the dawn. He was the bird of dawn; by 
this he meant that he would be the lone survivor of the battle. 
"But this," says an Urewera survivor, "did not change our 
purpose, although Rewi repeated his warning and again declared, 
'If you persist I alone will be the survivor,' for he had a strong 
presentiment that we would be defeated." 

Rewi, abandoning his visit to Tamehana, gloomily returned 
to Waikeria. He had dreamed, he told his people, that he was 
standing outside the church in Orakau and flying a kite, one of 


the large bird-shaped kites made of raupo and adorned with 
feathers. At first it soared strongly upwards to the clouds ; 
then it broke loose and came to the ground in pieces. The 
shattering of the kite he interpreted as a portent of the utter 
defeat of the Maoris. But Rewi's recital of his matakite, or 
vision of omen, did not turn his tribe from their resolve to 
renew the war ; they were burning to join the Urewera and 
strike another blow in defence of their land. Now, reluctantly 
and against his better judgment, he acceded to the general wish. 

The war-parties united at Otautahanga, and marched to 
Orakau, two miles to the west, to select a site for the fort. Near 
Ara-titaha some of the people had begun to fortify a mound 
called Puke-kai-kahu, but the majority of the warriors demanded 
that a position be taken up nearer the British advanced post. 
One important reason for the selection of Orakau was that it was 
in a convenient position for the supply of food to the garrison. 

Only a few of the Waikato people living at Orakau joined in 
the forlorn hope of the Kingites. The greater number of Ngati- 
Maniapoto had gone southward for safety, and did not return in 
time for Orakau, and the war-party of that tribe consisted chiefly 
of Rewi's immediate kinsmen, in number about fifty. The back- 
bone of the defence was furnished by the war-loving Urewera 
and Ngati-te-Kohera. 

The ground chosen for the fort was the gentle slope of 
Rangataua, in the midst of the Orakau peach-groves.* Rewi 
saw the folly of constructing the works in such an exposed 
position, and urged, now that he had consented to the building 
of a pa, that it should be placed more to the north, on the 
lower part of the Orakau slopes and close to the kahikatea forest 
of the Manga-o-Hoi ; this bush would afford a way of retreat. 
Others suggested that the site should be near the church at the 
edge of the hill above the Tautoro swamp on the west ; the 
land here fell rather steeply on the Kihikihi face, and could be 
entrenched strongly. But these counsels were overruled ; and 

* Pou-patate, of Te Kopua, who was sent as one of the messengers to 
assemble the people at Wharepuhunga and other places for the defence 
of Orakau, states that a proposal was made by some of Ngati-Maniapoto, 
when the refugees were gathering near the Puniu, to build a fort at Kiharoa. 
This is on the crown of the high ground just to the north of the three round 
hills at Tokanui. two miles south of the Puniu River, on the road from 
Kihikihi to Otorohanga. But by this time the chiefs had decided upon 

Another Maori survivor says that when the warriors gathered at 
Orakau to select the site of the pa it was seen that the crest of the hill at 
Karaponia was the most suitable spot, but upon consideration it was 
disapproved because there was no water there, and Rangataua was chosen 
because it was close to a water-spring and also was in the middle of the 
food cultivations. 

3 62 


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on the crown of the slightly rising ground at Rangataua, about 
400 yards from the native church and 250 yards from the 
southern crest of the Karaponia ridge, the lines of the Orakau 
entrenchments were drawn. 

The main work thrown up by the natives, working in 
relays because there were not sufficient spades, was oblong in 
figure, about 80 feet in length by 40 feet in width, with its 
greatest axis north and south. The design was an earthwork 
redoubt with external trench and a broad parapet, inside which 
was another ditch, well traversed against an enfilading fire, and 
converted into a series of ruas, or burrows, parti v covered over 
for protection from shell-fire. The main parapet was about 6 feet 
thick ; the height from the bottom of the ditch was 6 to 8 feet. 
In constructing the rampart the builders used alternate layers 
of earth and armfuls of newly pulled fern ; the fern helped to 
bind the friable soil, and gave the wall an elastic quality which 
greatly reinforced its resistance to shot and shell. The interior 
scheme, divided into a number of ruas, also neutralized to some 
extent the shell-fire ; a shell dropped into one of these burrow- 
like compartments would have a very circumscribed radius of 
damage. In portions of the earthwork the builders made long 
horizontal rifle loopholes or embrasures., with sections of board 
for the upper part and short pieces of timber at the sides. 
There was no palisading, but surrounding the redoubt was a post 
and three-rail fence. This fence, harmless-looking enough, was in 
reality a serious obstacle to any rush ; it was partly masked 
by flax-bushes, high fern, and peach-trees. The pa was built 
in a scattered grove of peach-trees, and the defences were only 
a few feet above the general level of the ground. Orakau pa, 
flimsy as it was, proved an unexpectedly difficult problem for 
the assaulting forces. 

In advance of the north-west angle of the redoubt, and 
connected with it by a short trench, a small outwork was built 
by the Ngati-te-Kohera and Ngati-Parekawa. This bastion was 
not completed when the attack began, and the outer trench was 
not more than 3 feet deep. There was a proposal to strengthen 
the fortifications by constructing another redoubt on the crest 
of the ridge at Karaponia — where the British headquarters 
presently were fixed and where a blockhouse was built during 
the Hauhau wars — and connecting the two works by a parapet 
and double trench. This would greatly have increased the 
defensible value of Orakau, but the swiftness of the British 
attack prevented any extension of the kind. 

While the people were entrenching the position several men 
were sent, on the suggestion of a prophetess, to procure some 
otaota (fern, or leaves of shrubs) from the scene of the bloodshed 
at Rangiaowhia. The olaota was to be used in ceremonies to 



propitiate the deities and ensure the successful defence of the 
fort. But the scouts did not reach Rangiaowhia. One of them 
was shot in an encounter with some troops near the Manga-o- 
Hoi, and the others returned without the material for the luck- 
bringing rite. 

The builders and defenders of the fort in the peach-groves 
numbered scarcely more than three hundred ; among them were 
about twenty women and some children. The units were — 
Urewera, Ngati-Whare, and Ngati-Kahungunu, about 140 ; Ngati- 
Raukawa and Ngati-te-Kohera, with a few of Ngati-Tuwharetoa, 

From a sketch-plan by Captain \V . N . Greaves, April, 1864.] 
Plan of Orakau Pa. 

The shaded parts indicate the trenches and the dug-outs for shelter 
from shell-fire. Maori survivors of Orakau state that this is a more accurate 
plan of the redoubt than the one which follows. The flanking bastions 
at the north end are here shown of a rounded form, resembling the plan 
usually adopted in a British field-work. The defences at the north end 
(foot of the plan) had not been completed by Xgati-Parekawa and other 
hapus when the troops attacked the position. 

about 100 ; Ngati-Maniapoto, 50 ; Waikato, 20 : approximate 
total, 310. A number of the wives and sisters of Urewera and 
other warriors shared in the toil and peril of the enterprise, 



and several of the Orakau families joined the garrison and 
carried in food-supplies. Ngati-Maniapoto held the south-east 
angle and the east flank ; the Urewera the south-west angle 

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and part of the west Hank, facing Kihikihi ; the north-west 
angle and the outwork were defended by Ngati-Raukawa, Ngati- 
te-Kohera, and some men of Ngati-Tuwliaretoa. 


Rewi Maniapoto was by common consent the chief in 
supreme control, but he consulted his fellow-chiefs on important 
questions. The principal men of the various tribes under Rewi's 
generalship were : Ngati-Maniapoto — Te Winitana Tupotahi, 
Raureti Paiaka, Te Kohika ; Waikato — Wi te Karamoa (Tu- 
manako), Te Paewaka, Aporo, Te Huirama ; Ngati-te-Kohera, 
Ngati - Parekawa, and allied sections of Ngati-Raukawa — Te 
Paerata, his sons Hone Teri and Hitiri te Paerata, Henare te 
Momo, Hauraki Tonganui ; Ngati-Tuwharetoa — Rawiri te Rangj- 
hirawea, Nui, Rangi-toheriri ; Urewera — Te Whenuanui, Piripi 
te Heuheu, Paerau, Hapurona Kohi ; Ngati-Kahungunu — Te 
Waru Tamatea, Raharuhi. 

One of Rewi's lieutenants, his cousin Te Winitana Tupotahi, 
was a man of enterprise and some adventures. He was one 
of several Maoris who had voyaged to Australia, attracted by 
the gold rushes of the " fifties " in Victoria. Tupotahi worked 
on the diggings at Ballarat, and returned with a little hoard of 
gold, although he had suffered losses by robbery on the gold- 
fields. At the gold - diggings he learned a good deal about 
shaft-sinking, tunnelling, and boarding - up, and this knowledge 
he turned to account in military engineering when the Waikato 
War began. Tupotahi was severely wounded at Orakau. Another 
notable man was Te Waru Tamatea, the leader of the small 
Ngati-Kahungunu party ; his home was at Te Marumaru, Wairoa 
(Hawke's Bay). He was a veteran of the olden Maori wars, a 
figure of the pre-European era in his attire of flax-mats, with 
his long hair twisted up in a knob on top of his head and 
adorned with feathers. His son Tipene te Waru, who was taken 
prisoner and had an arm amputated after Orakau, became a 
desperate Hauhau in the war of 1868-70. At last he and his 
father surrendered. Another warrior of the ancient type was 
Te Paerata, the leader of the Ngati-te-Kohera. When his party 
reached Orakau, the ancestral home of his people, he declared, 
" Me mate au ki konei " (" Tet me die here "), and he and his 
son Hone Teri insisted on the pa being built where he halted on 
Rangataua Hill. They both fell on the last day of the battle. 
There were lay readers or minita of the Church of England in the 
garrison — -Wi Karamoa, of Waikato, was the principal minita — 
who led in the religious services, but the ancient Maori rites 
were not neglected. Most of the people, including Rewi himself, 
while adopting the faith of the missionaries, turned to the old 
religion in their extremity. When the ancient Celts and Norsemen 
began to amalgamate, the people are described as having been 
" Christians in time of peace, but always certain to invoke the 
aid of Thor when sailing on any dangerous expedition." There 
was as curious a mixture of Christian and pagan beliefs in the 
hearts of the Orakau defenders. The principal tohunga Maori, 


or men skilled in ceremonies and incantations and arts of 
divination, were Apiata and Tiniwata te Kobika ; and the 
latter's wife, Ahuriri, was gifted with the powers of matakitc, 
or " second sight," and of prophecy. There was also an old 
tohunga named Te Waro, who had fought in the Taranaki Wars. 
Pou-patate says that Te Waro was the priest of the god Tu-kai- 
te-uru, whose aria, or visible form, was a fiery glow on the horizon 
seen on certain occasions. 

Not all the garrison were armed with guns. Peita Kotuku, 
a veteran of the first Taranaki War, says that he laboured in the 
building of the Orakau pa, but he had no firearm. Te Huia 
Raureti says : " Our weapons were mostly double-barrel guns, 
with some flint-muskets and a few rifles ; some of us also 
carried greenstone and whalebone mere, taiaha, and tomahawks. 
We carried our ammunition, roughly made up in paper-cased 
cartridges, in wooden hamanit, or cartridge-holders, fastened on 
leather belts, which we wore either as cross-shoulder belts or 
buckled around the waist. These hamanu were made out of 
kahikatea, pukatea, or iawhero wood : they were curved in form 
so as to sit well to the body, and each was bored with auger- 
holes for eighteen or twenty cartridges. Many of us wore three 
hamanu buckled on for the battle. We were, however, short of 
ammunition ; most of our powder and lead had been left in our 
deserted villages, and the troops were in occupation before we 
could obtain it." Before the attack a man was sent to Kihikihi 
to recover a bag of bullets left there, but he found a sentry 
walking up and down on the very place where it had been buried. 
Pou-patate was armed with a Minie rifle ; it was one of fifteen 
captured rifles which had been brought from Taranaki by the 
victors of Puke-ta-kauere in i860. 

As for food, there was little in the pa when the attack began, 
but under cover of night and the bushes some of the young men 
stole out during the siege and brought in kits of maize, potatoes, 
pumpkins, and kamokamo, or vegetable marrows. The water- 
supply on the east side was cut off early in the battle, and all the 
defenders then had to quench their thirst were raw potatoes and 
kamokamo. The women, who worked under fire like the men, 
ground flour from wheat in small steel hand-mills (such as were 
in general use in the country at that period), and baked bread 
at the beginning of the siege. Potatoes also were cooked in the 
excavations on the inner side of the main parapet, but the 
people were unable to swallow this food when the water-supply 
in calabashes (kiaka) was exhausted. 

On the morning of Wednesday, the 30th March, two surveyors, 
Mr. Gundry and Mr. G. T. Wilkinson, from the eastern hill of 
Kihikihi observed through a theodolite telescope a large number 
of natives at Orakau working at entrenchments. Lieutenant 


Fmm a photo by Pulman, Auckland. 1883.] 

Rewi Maniapoto (Manga) 
(Died 1894.) 


Lusk, of the Mauku Forest Rifles, attached to the Transport Coq:s, 
also reported the presence of Maoris at Orakau. The news was 
sent to headquarters, and Brigadier-General Carey, who Mas 
then in command — General Cameron was at Pukerimu — at once 
organized an expedition. Three columns were despatched, with 
the object of surprising and surrounding the Maoris. No. 1 
column, starting from Te Awamutu about midnight, was to take 
the natives in the rear ; it consisted of about half of Von Tempsky's 
company of Forest Rangers as the advance guard, and detach- 
ments of the 40th and 65th Regiments, the whole numbering 
about three hundred men, and commanded by Major Blyth, of 
the 40th. This force marched to the west of Kihikihi, flanking 
the Whakatau-ringaringa swamp, fording the Puniu, and taking 
a track along the south side of the river as far as Waikeria, where 
the Puniu was recrossed and a route followed that brought the 
column well in rear of Orakau. John Gage, half-caste, who had 
lived in Kihikihi before the war, was the guide. No. 2 column, 
the main body, consisting of six hundred men of the various 
regiments, with two 6-pounder Armstrongs, under Brigadier- 
General Carey, started from Te Awamutu shortly after daylight, 
and marched by the cart-road to Orakau, picking up at the Kihi- 
kihi redoubt a detachment of the 65th and a company of the 
1st Waikato Militia (Colonel Haultain). Lieutenant Roberts and 
nineteen men of the Forest Rangers marched with this body, 
holding the usual post of honour as advance guard. (Jackson's 
company was camped at Ohaupo, and did not arrive till the next 
day.) No. 3 column was a smaller force — detachments of the 65th 
and Waikato Militia from the redoubt under Captain Blewitt's 
command at Rangiaowhia ; this force crossed the Manga-o-Hoi 
River and advanced through the bush and swamp, guided by 
Sergeant Southee, of the Forest Rangers. 

Major Blyth 's column, after a rough and wet march, came out 
on the Orakau-Aratitaha track soon after daylight, at a spot near 
the old pa Otautahanga, and close to where Mr. Andrew Kay's 
homestead now stands. Here Von Tempsky's leading men fired 
at five Maoris at the head of the swampy gully on the right 
(north) and killed one (Matene), hit by Sergeant Tovey. Then, 
quickly advancing westward again in extended order, Major 
Blyth moved in the direction of heavy firing which was 
now heard, and came in sight of the Orakau ridge, veiled in 

The first attack on the pa was delivered early in the morning 
of the 31st March by the Forest Rangers (the advanced guard 
of Carey's main body) and 120 men of the 18th Royal Irish, 
under Captain Ring, supported by a company of the 40th 
Regiment. The work of the garrison in relays of diggers had 
gone on continuously for two days and two nights, but the parapets 


and post-and-rail fence on the east side and the outwork at the 
north-west angle were still unfinished. Most of the Maoris were 
outside the fort, and were holding morning prayers when the 
troops were first seen. " Wi Karamoa, the lay reader, was praying 
to Jesus Christ to guard and uphold us, and protect us against 
the anger of the pakeha," said Tupotahi, narrating his experiences 
in the battle, "and the people were bowed with their hands over 
their eyes, so. I was a little distance away, and happened to 
look toward the parapet, and saw a Ngati-Raukawa man beckon- 
ing to me and pointing. I looked towards Kihikihi, and there 
I saw in the distance the bayonets and rifles of the soldiers 
glinting in the morning sunshine. I waited until prayers were 
over, and then gave the alarm. Then, too, Aporo, who from his 
post on the parapet had seen the soldiers, raised the shout, He 
whakaariki ! He whakaariki — e ! (A war-party, a war-party !) 
and each man ran for his gun." 

Now Rewi gave his orders for defence, as the British column 
came marching in fours along the track past the groves of Te 
Kawakawa and into the fields of Orakau. The majority of the 
garrison he had instructed to take post in the outer ditch, leaving 
about forty, including the older warriors, inside the parapet. 
He bade the tupara men hold their fire until the soldiers were close 
up to the post-and-rail fence, and then fire one barrel in a volley, 
reserving the other barrel for a second volley. 

The troops could see little of the defences as they approached 
through the fern and the fallow cultivations. All that were visible 
were low parapets of freshly turned soil in a grove of peach- 
trees, with a post-and-rail fence. The line advanced in skirmishing 
order on the west and north-west sides of the position, the Forest 
Rangers on the left of the line. The bugle sounded the " Charge," 
and the Royal Irish, led by Captain Ring, and the Rangers, under 
Lieutenant Roberts, dashed at the apparently weak position. 
The Maoris held their fire until the attackers were within 50 yards. 
Then Rewi shouted to the defenders in the outer trench " Puhia ! " 
(" Fire ! ") Two hundred guns thundered as a line of flashes 
and smoke-puffs ran along the front of the works and back again. 
The tops of the flax-bushes and the fern were mowed off in 
swathes, and but for the usual Maori fault of too heavy a charge 
of powder and too high a fire the British losses would have been 
heavy ; as it was the first rush was stopped. Captain Ring fell 
mortally wounded near the ditch, by Lieutenant Roberts's side, 
and several others of his regiment were hit. The " Retire " was 
sounded, and the assaulting column fell back to re-form, and 
was reinforced by another company of the 40th. But the second 
bayonet charge was no more successful than the first. Reserving 
their fire, the garrison waited until the leading files were close 
to the fence ; then Rewi gave the orders, " Puhia, e waJw ! Puhia, 


e rotof" ("Fire, the outer line! Fire, the inner line!") and 
the volleys swept the glacis. Several men of the 18th and 40th 
were killed, and Captain Fischer (40th) and some men were 
wounded. Captain Baker, of the 18th, who was Deputy Adjutant- 
General, galloped up on Captain Ring's fall, dismounted, and 
rallied the men of his regiment ; but this gallant effort was also 
repulsed by the heavy fire from the trenches at point - blank 
range. Lieutenant Roberts and his Rangers advanced to within 
a few yards of the defenders, who had now all retired behind the 
parapet, and a few of the men got into the outer ditch, close 
enough to get a glimpse of the dense row of Maoris lining the 
earth-wall, with many a long-handled tomahawk gleaming for the 
expected combat at close quarters. The natives yelled defiance 
and derision as each storming-party fell back ; some of them 
cried in English, " Come on, Jack, come on ! 

A soldier had fallen just outside the fence. The old warrior- 
tohunga Te Waro, of Ngati-Paea, seeing the man lying there, 
pulled out his knife, and called to some of the young men to rush 
out of the fort and drag the body into the ditch, in order that he 
might cut out the heart for the rite of the whangai-hau. The 
heart of the first man killed (the mata-ika) must be offered in burnt 
sacrifice to Uenuku, the god of battle. But Rewi and his fellow- 
chiefs and Wi Karamoa, the lay reader, forbade this return to 
the savage war-rites of old. Te Waro argued that if the heart 
of the mata-ika were not offered up to Uenuku the garrison would 
be deserted by the Maori gods. " I care not for your Atna Maori," 
said Rewi, " we are fighting under the religion of Christ." 

Finding that the pa was a more formidable place than it 
appeared at first view, the Brigadier drew off his troops, and, 
as Major Blyth and Captain Blewitt were now at their appointed 
posts, he determined to invest the place closely and play upon it 
with artillery. The two 6-pounder Armstrongs were brought 
up and emplaced on the highest part of the Karaponia ridge. 
At a distance of 350 yards the guns began to throw shells into 
the redoubt, but the shells made very little impression on the 
earthworks, resilient with their packing of fern. 

The Brigadier now decided, upon the suggestion of Lieutenant 
Hurst, of the 18th, acting Engineer officer, to approach the 
redoubt by sap. A trench was opened on the western side of 
the pa, in a slight hollow covered by some peach-trees and flax, 
about 120 yards from the Maori position. The sap was first 
carried in a northerly direction, crossing the line of the present 
road, and then continued easterly towards the pa, with many 
turns and angles, and traversed every few yards. The necessary 
gabions for head-cover were first ordered up from Te Awamutu, 
where a supply had been prepared for an impending attack upon 
Wiremu Tamehana's pa at Te Tiki o Te Ihingarangi, and a party 


of the 40th Regiment was sent down to the edge of the swamp 
on the south to cut manuka and make more gabions. 

On the east side of the pa the cordon of troops was completed 
by Von Tempsky and his Forest Rangers, who were stationed 
under the fall of the ground near the swamp which trended toward 
the Manga-o-Hoi. Von Tempsky, observing that a large party 
of Maori reinforcements had appeared in the distance eastward, 
placed a picket of his men near a sawn-timber house (formerly 
occupied by a European named Perry) which stood on a hill on 
the east side of the swamp, commanding a view of the quarter 
from which the Maori relief was coming. 

The Maoris in the pa had early observed the approach of 
reinforcements, and raised loud shouts in chorus and fired 
volleys, which brought responsive calls, although the intervening 
distance was more than a mile. A warrior in the pa, pitching 
his voice in the high-keyed chant that carries over long distances, 
called route directions to the advance skirmishers of the relief 
who had made their way across the swamps. Then the British 
riflemen and the sap-workers heard the Orakau garrison burst 
into the stamp and chorus of a war-dance. One of the songs 
chanted, as Tupotahi narrated, was the Kingite haka composition 
likening the Government and its land-hunger to a bullock 
devouring the leaves of the raurekau shrub : — 

He kau ra, 
He kau ra ! 

U—u ! 

He kau Kawana koe 
Kia miti mat te raurekau 
A he kau ra, he kau ra ! 

U — u — u ! 

Oh, a beast, 
A beast that bellows — 
Oo — 00 ! 

A beast art thou, O Governor, 
That lickest in the leaves of the raurekau — 
A beast — oh a beast ! 
Oo — 00 ! 

The Maori reinforcements (Ngati-Haua, Ngati-Raukawa, and 
other tribes) who were gathered at Otihi, on the Maunga-tautari 
side of the Manga-o-Hoi swamp, responded to this bellowing 
chorus with volleys of musketry and the chanting of war-songs. 
The Orakau garrison saw them rush together in close column 
and leap in the action of a peruperu, or battle-dance, with their 
guns and long-handled tomahawks flashing in the sun as they 
thrust them above their heads at arm's length. The action 
and the rhythm told the watchers that the peruperu was the 



great Taupo war-song " Uhi mat te waero." Skirmishers from 
the party of reinforcements soon appeared on the nearer edge 
of the bush and fired at long range at the Forest Rangers' line, 
but could not venture across the intervening open ground. 

The Forest Rangers had a rather uncomfortable position in 
their hollow on the eastern flank of the pa, for the soldiers who 
covered the sap-workers with their rifle-fire dropped many of 
their bullets into the lines on the other side. Heavy firing 
continued all the afternoon, and all night long there was an 
intermittent fire from the Maoris and the troops. The soldiers' 

Photo by J. Cowan, at Te Rcwatu, iqio.} 

Te Huia Raurett. 

This veteran of Ngati-Paretekawa hapu, Ngati-Maniapoto Tribe, is a 
nephew of Rewi Maniapoto. and with his father, Raureti Paiaka, shared in 
the defence of Orakau pa, and helped to safeguard Rewi on the retreat 
to the Puniu. Te Huia was born about the year 1840. Much of the 
information embodied in these chapters was given by him. 

investing detachments, lying in the sap-trenches or in shallow 
holes scraped with bayonet and bowie-knife, heard bullets 
whistling over their heads, cutting off the fern or dropping in 
their midst, until the early hours of the morning 

All night the 


Royal Artillery troopers, under Lieutenant Rait, patrolled the lines. 
The strength of the force investing the redoubt had now been 
increased to about fifteen hundred men by the arrival of two 
hundred more of the 18th Regiment, under Captain Inman, from 
Te Awamutu. 

In the pa the sentinels, or kai-whakaaraara-pa, paraded the 
rampart, chanting their high songs and bidding the garrison be 
on the alert. The first of these inspiriting watchmen, Aporo, 
of Ngati-Koura, was shot dead before night. The second was 
Te Kupenga, of Ngati-Raukawa ; but he made a whati, or 
break, in one of his chants, which was unlucky ; and his place 
was taken by Raureti Paiaka, of Ngati-Paretekawa (Ngati-Mania- 
poto), who continued to chant sentinel songs and war-cries until 
the last day of the siege. 

" The second morning of the battle dawned," narrates Te 
Huia Raureti. " A thick fog enveloped the pa, and completely 
concealed the combatants from each other. By this time Tupo- 
tahi had discovered that the greater part of our ammunition 
had been fired away, and that there was no reserve of powder 
and bullets ; also that there was no water, and that the people 
were eating raw kamokamo and kumara to relieve their thirst. 
Tupotahi therefore made request of the council of chiefs that 
the pa should be abandoned, in order to save the lives of the 
garrison, under cover of the fog. The runanga considered the 
question, but resolved not to abandon the pa. This was the 
announcement made by Rewi Mania poto : ' Listen to me, chiefs 
of the council and all the tribes ! It was we who sought this 
battle, wherefore, then, should we retreat ? This is my thought : 
Let us abide by the fortune of war ; if we are to die, let us die 
in battle ; if we are to live, let us survive on the field of battle.'* 
So we all remained to continue the fight. When the sun was 
high the fog lifted from the battlefield, and then again began 
the firing. When the sun was directly overhead we made a 
sally from the pa — a kokiri, or charge, against the troops on 
our eastern flank. Every tribe took part in this kokiri, which 
was directed against the troops who formed a cordon between 
us and the quarter from which we expected relief. Most of us 
rushed out on that flank, but on all four sides of the pa warriors 
leaped outside shooting at the soldiers. The Lrewera, Xgati- 
Maniapoto, Waikato — all sallied out. My father, Raureti, was 
on top of the parapet, firing. Just before we rushed out many 
of us formed up on the east side of the works, and there we 

* Rewi's words translated above were : " Whakarongo mai te runanga, 
me una iwi : Ko te whawhai tenei i whaia mai e tatou, a i oma hoki hei aha ? 
Ki toku mahara hoki, me mate tatou mate ki te pakanga, ora tatou ora ki te 
marae o te pakanga." 


leaped in the movements of the war-dance and we chanted the 
war-song of the Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Maniapoto : — 

"Awhea to ure ha rir% ? 
Awhea to ure ka tor a ? 
A ko te tai ka wiwi, 
A ko te tai ka waiva " 


Oh, when will your manhood rage ? 
Oh, when will your courage blaze ? 
When the ocean tide murmurs, 
When the ocean tide roars 

" But we were too impatient to finish the chant. When we 
shouted the word ' wawa,' with one accord we all dashed out 
of the pa to meet the soldiers. Rewi Maniapoto directed the 
charge from the parapet, and as we rushed out to the east 
we heard his voice crying, Whakaekea, whakaekea! ('Dash 
upon them, charge upon them ! ') Only one man was in high 
command, and that was Rewi. He carried a famous hardwood 
taiaha, called ' Pakapaka-tai-oreore ' ; it had been taken in battle 
long ago in the Taupo country ; in his belt glistened a whalebone 
club, a pahi-pavaoa. I lay down and reloaded after firing off 
my two barrels as the troops fell back before us, and fired again. 
In reloading my tit para I did not wait to use the ramrod, but 
dashed the butt of the gun on the ground to settle the bullets 
down ; this was our way with the muzzle-loader when we were 
in the thick of a fight. Our charge down the slopes extended 
as far as from here to yonder fence ["about 200 yards). One of 
our chiefs, Te Huirama, was shot dead ; he fell near the grove 
of elderberries below the pa, close to where a tall poplar-tree 
now stands on the right-hand side of the road as you descend 
the hill eastward. We fell back on the pa as quickly as we 
could, but some of us were cut off from the work by the lines 
of soldiers, and had to lie concealed in the fern and creep back 
under cover of night. 

" We were in better spirits after our fight in the open ; 
nevertheless we realized that our position was hopeless, short 
of food and water, short of lead, and surrounded by soldiers 
many times outnumbering our garrison, and with big guns 
throwing shells into our defences." 

Further reinforcements arrived on the second day (1st April), 
including Jackson's No. 1 Company, Forest Rangers, from Ohaupo. 
There were now a hundred Rangers with their carbines and 
five-shot revolvers guarding the east flank. 

The sap was pushed on vigorously, in spite of two kokiri, or 
rushes, made by the warriors, who delivered their fire as they 
charged into the head of the trench. The Armstrongs threw 
some shells at the Maori reinforcements near the Manga-o-Hoi. 
On the hills to the east, in the direction of Owairaka. were some 


XiMti-Tuwluiretoa, from West Taupo, under Te Heuheu Horo- 
nuku, but they were powerless to assist the garrison. 

The day had been very hot, and the garrison, surrounded by 
that ring of fire and helpless to stay the steady approach of the 
sap, were quite without water. Wounded men were lying about 
the pa tortured with thirst. That night a young warrior, Hitiri 
te Paerata, crept out through the British lines to the spring in 
the gully on the cast side and returned with a calabash of water 
for the wounded. Hitiri, narrating this, said, " I passed right 
through the line of soldiers. Perhaps they knew what I wanted 
the water for, because they did not fire at me." A British sentry 
told his comrades next day that when on duty in the night on 
the east side of the pa he saw a woman creeping down through 
the fern to the spring to obtain water, and he allowed her to pass, 
pretending he did not see her. 

That evening Tupotahi proposed to Rewi that the garrison 
should fight their way out of the pa under cover of darkness. 
Rewi agreed, and suggested that he should speak to the other 
chiefs in their trenches and obtain their opinions. After dark 
the chiefs assembled and discussed the question. Rewi declared 
in favour of evacuating the pa that night. Hone Teri te Paerata 
strongly opposed this. " If we do not break out through the 
soldiers to-night," said Rewi, " we will all perish. If we retreat 
in the darkness we will be able to light through with little loss. 
Do not wait for daylight, but go to-night, so that the soldiers 
will be confused and will not know our line of retreat." Rewi 
pointed out the way of flight he suggested, in the direction of 
the Maori force on the north-eastern side of the Manga-o-Hoi. 

But the Paerata family and the Urewera chiefs were stubborn 
in their decision not to retreat but to continue the battle. 
(" Kaore e pat kia haere, engari me whawhai tonit.") " E pai 
ana" ("It is well — so be it"), said Rewi, submitting to the 
general voice of the council. 

The supply of lead was now running very short, although 
there was some powder in reserve. Rewi instructed his people 
to reserve their bullets for daylight firing, and to use pieces of 
wood for the night fighting. The chiefs experimented with the 
wood of peach and apple trees and manuka, cut up into small 
pieces, about 2 inches in length. The sections of apple-branches 
proved the most solid and carried the farthest. That night 
X^ati-Maniapoto and their allies fired chiefly wooden bullets. 
Several of the men smashed off the legs of their iron cooking- 
pots for projectiles ; others fired peach-stones. Some of the old 
smooth-bores began to give way from the heavy powder-charges 
and the jagged iron bullets, to the rage of their owners, who 
made shift heroically with their damaged guns. In spite of 
tin' poorness of the ammunition, the Maori shooting was accurate 
enough to make the troops keep close to cover. 


THE SIEGE OF ORAKAU— continued. 
The Last Day. 

As the first faint glimmer of coming dawn spread over the 
battlefield, the chiefs of the beleaguered redoubt held council. 
Tupotahi, as shrewd a soldier as his cousin Rewi, realized that 
now or never was the hour to make a dash for liberty, with 
a fighting chance of escaping in the uncertain light. He pro- 
posed to Rewi that the pa should be evacuated at once. 
" Let us charge out before it is day," he said ; "if we 
retreat now we may fight our way through." Rewi smiled 
grimly, and bade Tupotahi consult Raureti Paiaka and the 
other chiefs. When the question was put to Raureti he 
refused to abandon the pa. Nor would any of the other 
tribal leaders agree to the proposal. " We shall remain here," 
they declared; "we shall fight on." But many of Ngati-Mania- 
poto were of like mind with Tupotahi, and voiced their anger 
at Raureti's stubbornness. They stood by their chiefs, however, 
and all prepared to resist to the end. 

Rewi's first order to his people, as early morning came, was 
to cook food. They roasted potatoes in the excavations on 
the inner side of the parapets, but the parched throats refused 
the food. There was not a drop of water in the redoubt. 
Rewi went from man to man of his tribe questioning him about 
the meal, and each one returned the same answer, " I cannot 
swallow the potatoes." Rewi returned to his quarters in the 
centre of the pa. " We shall have to go," he told his fellow- 
chiefs, " but we shall not go as Waikato did at Rangiriri 
[as prisoners]. We shall retreat fighting." He strapped six 
cartouche-boxes about him — three in front and three at the back 
— and took two guns. Hone Teri te Paerata suggested that all 
the best men should be gathered to start the rush through the 
British lines. But now it was too late ; it was clear daylight. 
The morning haze swept away from the battlefield, and the smoke 
of heavy musketry took its place. 


The morning grew warm, and the sufferings of the thirst- 
racked garrison increased. The sappers had been at work all 
night, and early in the forenoon the trench had reached the 
post-and-rail fence and was within a few yards of the north- 
west outwork. Lieut. -Colonel Sir Henry Havelock, D.A.O.M.G., 
came in from Pukerimu via Ohaupo, and with him came some 
of the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, leading packhorses loaded 
with hand-grenades. The sap was now close enough to the 
outwork for the grenades to be thrown over the parapet, and 
this service was carried out by Sergeant MacKay, R.A., under a 
hot fire. Two colonial officers distinguished themselves by their 
gallantry at the head of the sap — Captain Herford, of the Waikato 
Militia, and Lieutenant Harrison, of the same corps, both of 
whom fought at the head of the sap, keeping down the fire of the 
Maoris with their rifles. Captain Herford, in attempting to cut 
down a post of the fence later in the day, was shot in the head 
and lost an eye. The bullet remained in the back of his head, 
and caused his death some time afterwards at Otahuhu. Captain 
Jackson, of the Forest Rangers, who was a very good shot, also 
assisted with his carbine in covering the workers at the head 
of the sap. 

In a short kokiri or rush out of the pa in the morning two 
old men were killed ; one was Te Waro, the waxrior-tohunga who 
had predicted misfortune after the chiefs prevented him from 
cutting out the heart of the first soldier killed. 

At noon General Cameron and his staff arrived from Pukerimu 
with an escort of the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry. There 
were now eighteen hundred British and colonial troops surround- 
ing the pa. One of the 6-pounder Armstrong guns was taken 
into the sap near the head, and opened fire on the outwork, 
making a breach in the defences. Under the storm of shells, 
hand-grenades, and rifle-bullets, the garrison now r suffered many 
casualties. Dead and wounded were lying in every trench, but the 
desperately pressed men and women still held the fort. By noon 
some of them were quite out of ammunition, but most were 
reserving one or two cartridges for the last rush. Pou-patate, 
who was one of the few armed with rifles, was sparing of his 
ammunition, which could not be replaced. In the first day's 
fighting, he says, he expended twenty cartridges — a pouchful. 
On the last day he had ten cartridges left at the close of the 
fighting ; he was reserving them in case the British pursuit 
was continued. One of the Urewera survivors, Paitini, says 
that he fired during the siege thirty-six rounds, the contents of 
two holders, or hamanu. The British, man for man, fired a far 
greater amount of lead than the Maoris. 

The defenders hurriedly buried their dead in shallow graves 
scooped in the pits and trenches. One man, Matiaha, of Ngati- 


Tamatea and Ngati-Ruapani (grandfather of Hurae Puketapu, 
of Waikaremoana), was blown to pieces by the explosion of a 
shell. The casualties included several of the women. 

The first of the hand-grenades (rakete, or " rockets," the Maoris 
call them) thrown into the pa from the head of the sap had long 
fuses, and some daring fellows snatched out the burning fuses 
(wiki, or " wicks ") and poured the powder out for their own 
cartridges. Others they threw back into the sap before the} 7 
had time to explode, and they burst among the men who had 
hurled them. One of the warriors who returned the grenades 
in this way was Hoani Paruparu, of Ngati-Maniapoto ; he had 
become familiar with the action of shells in the Taranaki War. 
But the Royal Artillery men shortened the fuses, and when 
Hoani attempted to repeat his performance he was killed by the 
explosion of one of the bombs.* 

Early in the afternoon General Cameron, impressed by the 
Maoris' courage, decided to give the garrison an opportunity of 
making surrender. The buglers sounded the " Cease fire," and two 
interpreters of the staff, Mr. William G. Mair (afterwards Major 
Mair), then an ensign in the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry, and 
Mr. Mainwaring were sent into the sap with a white flag to invite 
the natives to capitulate. The din of musketry was stilled, and 
the Maoris crowded the walls as the interpreters approached the 
head of the sap, now within a few yards of the north-west out- 
work. Many of them were suspicious of the flag of truce ; the 
Urewera at first imagined it a piece of deceit on the part of the 
British. Controversy has raged over the details of this historic 
interview ; many a picturesque fiction has been printed, and 
artists have depicted Rewi Maniapoto posed in a heroic attitude 
on the parapets hurling defiance at the troops. The bare .facts 
are sufficiently thrilling and inspiring without the decorations of 
fiction. The British and Maori versions of the " challenge scene " 

* At Ohaeawai in 1845 many of the shells thrown into Pene Taui's pa 
by Colonel Despard's artillery proved harmless, as the fuses were defective 
and the shells did not explode. A good deal of powder was thereby furnished 
to the Maoris, who poured the powder out of the shells to make their 
cartri Jges. 

An incident curiously resembling the episode of the hand-grenades at 
Orakau occurred in 1844 in the French-Tahitian war, when the natives of 
the Society Islands resisted the aggression of Admiral Du Petit Thouars 
and Commandant D'Aubigny, and when Queen Pomare took refuge in a 
mountain-camp on the island of Raiatea. In a fight in rear of the present 
town of Papeete the natives lost about seventy and the French twenty-five 
killed. Being in want of gunpowder, and discovering the secret of the 
explosion of the shells fired by the French artillery, the Tahiti warriors 
watched for the alighting of the projectiles, when they fearlessly seized 
them and removed the fuses on the instant before they had time to explode. 
From each shell or bomb they obtained powder for many musket-charges. 
The emptied shells they converted into drinking-cups. 

3 8o 


differ in some details, as will be shown, but the essential facts 
remain. The men and women of Orakau chose death on the 
battlefield rather than submission. Another fact which emerges 
from the many narratives gathered is that Rewi Maniapoto did 
not personally confront the General's messenger, but remained 
with the council of chiefs, delegating the delivery of the 
ultimatum to others. 

Major W. G. Mair. 

Major William Gilbert Mair and his younger brother, Captain Gilbert 
Mair, N.Z.C., were two of the most distinguished colonial soldiers who 
fought in the Maori wars. William Mair, after Orakau, was. Resident 
Magistrate and Government Native Agent in various districts. As an 
officer in command of Arawa and other Maori contingents he fought the 
Hauhaus in the Bay of Plenty and the Urewera country, 1865-69. One 
notable success was his capture of Te Teko pa, on the Rangitaiki River, 
by means of sap, which forced a surrender (described in Vol. II). For 
many years after the wars he was Judge of the Native Land Court. 

An account of the interview with the garrison given to the 
writer in 1906 by Major Mair, the interpreter who spoke to the 
Maoris, is of first importance, as it preserves the actual phrases 


used in demanding the surrender, and the words of the Maori 
reply. Mair wrote the account in the form of a letter to a 
relative shortly after the capture of the pa : — 

" I got up on the edge of the sap and looked through a gap in the 
gabions made for the field-piece. The outwork in front of me was a sort 
of double rifle-pit, with the pa or redoubt behind it. The Maoris were in 
rows, the nearest row only a few yards away from me. I cannot forget 
the dust-stained faces, bloodshot eyes, and shaggy heads. The muzzles of 
their guns rested on the edge of the ditch in front of them. One man 
aimed steadily at me all the time — his name was Wereta. 

" Then I said, ' E hoa ma, whakarongo ! Ko te kupu tenet a te Tienara : 
ka nui tona miharo ki to koutou maia, kati me mutu te riri, puta mai kia 
matou, kia ova koutou tinana.' (' Friends, listen ! This is the word of the 
General : Great is his admiration of your bravery. Stop ! Let the fighting 
cease ; come out to us that your bodies may be saved '). 

" I could see the Maoris inclining their heads towards each other in 
consultation, and in a few minutes came the answer in a clear, firm tone : — 

" ' E hoa, ka whawhai tonu ahau ki a koe, ake, ake !' (' Friend, I shall 
fight against you for ever, for ever!')* 

" Then I said, ' E pai ana tena mo koutou tangala, engari kahore e tika 
km mate nga wahine me nga tamanki. Tukuna mai era' (' That is well for 
you men, but it is not right that the women and children should die. Let 
them come out '). 

". Some one asked. ' Na te aha koe i mohio he wahine kei konei ? ' 
(' How did you know there were women here ? ') 

" I answered, ' / rongo ahau ki te tangi tupapaku i te po ' ('1 heard 
the lamentations for the dead in the night '). 

"There was a short deliberation, and another voice made answer: — 

" ' Ki te mate nga tane, me mate ano nga wahine me nga tamanki ' 
(' If the men die, the women and children must die also'). 

" I knew it was over, for there was no disposition on the part of the 
Maoris to parley ; so I said, ' E pai ana, kua mutu te kupu ' (' It is well ; 
the word is ended '), and dropped quickly into the sap. 

" Wereta, the man who had been aiming at me, was determined to 
have the last say in the matter, and he fired at me. His bullet just tipped 
my right shoulder, cutting my revolver-strap and tearing a hole in my 
tunic. Wereta did not long survive his treachery, for he was killed by a 
hand-grenade soon after. 

" The people in this outwork were Ngati-te-Kohera, of Taupo, under 
their chief Te Paerata, whose sons, Hone Teri and Hitiri, and his daughter, 
Ahumai (wife of Wereta), were with him in the trench. There were also 
some of the Urewera under Piripi te Heuheu. Very few of them escaped." 

Mair reported the interview to General Cameron, who was 
greatly impressed with the stubborn devotion of the Maoris. 
"He certainly does not like killing them," wrote Mair. "Colonel 
Sir Henry Havelock said, in his jerky way, ' Rare plucked 'uns, 
rare plucked 'uns I ' " 

* The Maori accounts differ somewhat from Major Mair's in regard to 
the answers given by the chiefs. A current version of the defenders' reply 
to the demand to surrender gives it in these words : " Ka whawhai tonu 
matou, ake, ake, ake ! " (" We shall fight on, for ever, and ever, and ever ! ") 
The actual phrase of defiance used by Rewi and repeated by the people, 
according to Ngati-Maniapoto, was " Kaore c mau te rongo — ake, ake!" 
(" Peace shall never be made — never, never ! ") n 


Raureti Paiaka, the Ngati-Maniapoto survivors state, was the 
principal intermediary between the council of chiefs, headed by 
Rewi, and the General's interpreter. A Ngati-te-Kohera account, 
obtained at Taupo, states that Hauraki Tonganui replied to 
the first demand for surrender by a refusal, and added, " Hoki- 
hoki kouton katoa ki Kihikihi, ka hoki matou ki to matou 
kainga, me waiho atu Orakau nei" ("Let all of you return to 
Kihikihi, and we will go to our homes and abandon Orakau "). 
Te Huia Raureti, son of Raureti te Paiaka, agrees that such a reply 
was given to the first demand, but says it was uttered by his 
father, and that it voiced the opinion of Rewi and most of the 
chiefs. Rewi was at that time sitting inside the parapets, near 
the north end of the pa. The first message was taken to him 
by Te Paetai, a man of Ngati-Maniapoto. Rewi himself did not 
see the interpreter at that time. Some of the chiefs in council 
proposed to accept the offer of peace, but Rewi and others 
dissented (they had Rangiriri in their minds), and they proposed 
that the troops should leave the battlefield, and that the Maoris 
on their part should evacuate the pa. After discussion it was 
decided to refuse the General's offer and to continue the defence. 
Rewi cried, " Kaore e man te rongo — ake, ake ! " ("Peace shall 
never be made — never, never ! ") Raureti returned to the outer 
parapet, stood up on the firing-step a few yards from Mair, 
and delivered this decision, and all the people shouted with one 
voice, "Kaore e man te rongo — ake, ake, ake!" Rewi came out 
to the north-west angle when the final decision had been made, 
and stood in the trench a few yards in rear of Raureti. " As to 
the reported words, ' Ka whawhai tonn matou, ake. ake, ake!'' 
says Te Huia, " I did not hear them uttered." 

That is the version of Ngati-Maniapoto. But a different story 
is given by some of the Ngati-te-Kohera and Ngati-Tuwharetoa. 
Moetu te Mahia (died 1921), whose home was at Kauriki, near 
Manunui, on the Main Trunk Railway, declared that it was Hauraki 
Tonganui who delivered Rewi's reply to Mr. Mair. Moetu fought 
at Orakau ; he was then about twenty years old. He and Hauraki 
were both of Ngati-Tuwharetoa and Ngati-te-Kohera, and were 
first cousins. Rewi Maniapoto was a cousin of theirs several 
times removed. Hauraki was a man with a very powerful 
voice, and Rewi kept him with him throughout the siege to act 
as his spokesman. Hauraki's voice, according to Moetu, could be 
heard at times above the din of battle. Apparently Hauraki 
was used as a kind of crier or human megaphone for Rewi, 
and no doubt it was he who called route directions to the 
reinforcements in the distance during the siege. If he replied 
to Mair on behalf of Rewi — and this Ngati-Maniapoto, in their 
Highlander-like clan jealousy, will not admit — he apparently did 
not use his leader's exact words, but improved upon them with 


the phrase reported by the interpreter, "E hoa, ka whawhai tonu 
ahau ki a koe, ake, ake!" 

The request to send the women and children out of the pa 
was taken to Rewi, Te Huia Raureti believes, by a Tuhoe man ; 
this probably was Hapurona. But the women did not wait for the 
decision of the chiefs. Ahumai, a tall handsome young woman, 
daughter of the old West Taupo chief Te Paerata, stood up and 
made heroic reply, " If the men are to die, the women and 
children must die also." It was her husband, Wereta, who all 
the time had his gun steadily aimed at Mair. 

" Wereta," says Te Huia. " was standing beside me in the 
trench while my father, standing on the earthwork a little 
above me, was speaking to the General's messenger. He was 
a tattooed man, of the Ngati-te-Kohera. He loaded his gun 
in a furious hurry and, resting it on the parapet, aimed at 
the pakeha. As the last words were spoken I saw that Wereta 
was on the point of firing, and I caught hold of him and tried to 
pull him back, but he pressed the trigger just as I caught him. 
His aim, however, was bad through his excitement, or else I 
diverted it, for the bullet only grazed the pakeha, though the range 
was so close." It was Te Huia, therefore, who saved Mair's 
life that day.* 

* Neither Mair nor his comrades then knew any of the Maoris ; but 
long after the war the Major, then Judge of the Native Land Court, met 
the aged Hauraki Tonganui, of Ngati-te-Kohera and Ngati-Tuwharetoa, who 
reminded him of the day they confronted each other at Orakau. Mair 
then, after inquiry, came to the conclusion that it was Hauraki who 
spoke to him from the parapet and delivered the Maori reply to the 
demand for surrender. No doubt more than one man spoke to Mair. 
One thing is certain, that Rewi himself did not appear on the ramparts or 
speak to the interpreter. 

The following note is made for the guidance of artists who may essay 
some day to paint the historic scene at Orakau : — 

Te Huia Raureti said (31st May, 1920) : " My father, Raureti Paiaka, 
who delivered the final reply of Rewi and his fellow-chiefs to the British 
General's demand for their surrender, wore this costume : Shirt and 
waistcoat, rapaki (waist-garment) of white calico, and a piece of red calico 
worn like a shawl over the left shoulder, where it was tied, and under the 
right arm. He wore three hamanu, or cartridge-belts — two round the waist 
and one over the left shoulder. These were leather belts with wooden 
boxes each bored for about eighteen cartridges ; one of these ammunition- 
holders came across the breast, one was in front of the waist, and one at 
the back. Raureti Paiaka was a partly tattooed man with a short greyish 
beard. He was about the same age as his cousin Rewi." 

Tupotahi described Rewi Maniapoto's war-dress, an historical derail 
which may also be of use to our artists when the incidents of Orakau come 
to be painted. " Rewi wore," he said, " a short parawai, a mat of soft 
flax, about his waist ; over that he had a flax piupiu kilt ; he also wore a 
shirt and waistcoat. In his girdle was a whalebone mere, or patu-paraoa." 
Many Maoris wore pakeha waistcoats when fighting, for the reason that the 
pockets were very convenient for holding percussion caps. 


Now the firing recommenced hotter than ever. The hand- 
grenades hurled in from the sap-head killed and wounded man) 7 . 
Te Huia says the casualties through the explosion of these 
bombs numbered scores. The artillery-fire at short range also 
inflicted losses, besides battering the works. Two attempts to 
rush the north-west outwork were made by the Waikato Militia 
and other men, but were repulsed with loss. It was now 
4 o'clock in the afternoon. The sap was within a few feet of 
the outwork. The end was near. 

The story of the last day in Orakau imperishably remains 
as an inspiration to deeds of courage and fortitude. Nowhere 
in history did the spirit of pure patriotism blaze up more 
brightly than in that little earthwork redoubt, torn by gun- 
fire and strewn with dead and dying. The records of our land 
are rich in episodes of gallant resistance to overwhelming force, 
but they hold no parallel to Orakau. Suffering the tortures of 
thirst, half-blinded with dust and powder-smoke, many bleeding 
from wounds which there was no time to stanch, ringed by 
a blaze of rifle-fire, with big-gun shells and grenades exploding 
among them, the grim band of heroes held their crumbling fort 
till this hour against six times their number of well-armed, well- 
fed foes. Now they must retreat, but they would go as free 

Rewi and the chiefs sent round the word. Those who still 
had cartridges loaded their guns for the last time ; others 
gripped long-handled tomahawks. The sap had been connected 
with the trench of the outwork, and Ngati-te-Kohera fell back 
into the main work. The women and children were placed in 
the middle of the massed warriors, and with the best men in 
advance to fight a way through the)' broke down a part of 
the earthwork on the south-east angle of the pa and rushed 
out. Only one unwounded man remained in the pa. This was 
the lay reader, Wi Karamoa Tumanako, of Ngati-Apakura, who 
stayed to surrender, holding up a stick with a white cloth.* 

" Haere ! Haere ! " shouted Rewi when lie ran out from 
the pa. It was the Maori " Sauve qui pent." But the people 

* Wi Karamoa was the only man who advocated acceptance of the 
( reneral's offer. When the council of chiefs resolved to continue the defence 
of the pa he stood up and declared that he would make peace. Rewi and 
his fellow-chiefs told him that they would not suffer their people to be made 
prisoners. " Wait until we have left the pa," said Rewi, " then you can 
make your own peace." 

" At 3.30 the enemy suddenly came out of their entrenchments into the 
open, and in a silent and compact bod}' moved without precipitation. 
There was something mysterious in their appearance as they advanced 
towards the cordon of troops, without fear, without firing a shot, or a 
single cry being heard even from the women, of whom there were several 
among them " — ( Journals of Lieut. -Colonel D. J. Gamble, D. p. M.G., published 
by the War Office.) 


preserved a solid formation for some distance, going at a steady 
trot, as a survivor narrates, and there was some firing from both 
flanks. By this time the soldiers in the sap-head had rushed 
into the pa, and some were firing at the retreating Maoris 
from the parapets. The last to leave the fort encountered the 
bayonet, and the troops on either side closed in towards the 
natives ; but here the hesitation to fire for fear of hitting each 
other was the salvation of many of the Maoris. 

The main body of the fugitives made for the dip in the lower 
end of the ridge, just to the east of the hill on which the Orakau 
blockhouse was afterwards built. Here there was a steep fall of 
20 or 30 feet to the fern flat at the edge of the manuka swamp. 
Along the lower face of the ridge there was a scarped bank 
with a ditch, made by the Maoris to keep'* the wild pigs out of 
the cultivations. Immediately below this was a thin cordon of 
soldiers, men of the 40th Regiment, under Colonel Leslie ; others 
were employed at trie edge of the swamp cutting manuka for 
sap-gabions. Before the leading men had reached the edge of 
the dip the close body of fugitives had been broken up into 
groups and the pace became a run. 

Yelling and shouting in pursuit came the soldiers, the various 
corps all mixed up, eager for a final shot at their enemies. 
Down over the gully-rim poured the fugitives. The surprised 
40th were unable to stay the rush, although they shot or 
bayoneted some of the leaders. A man named Puhipj was 
killed in penetrating the line, and the foremost men momentarily 
hesitated ; but Raureti Paiaka and his comrade Te Makaka dashed 
at the nearest soldiers and broke through, and the rest of the 
fugitives followed them. As the leaders leaped down over the 
scarped bank Raureti shot two soldiers, one with each barrel, 
close to the ditch. He received a slight wound in this dash 
for freedom. Another man who distinguished himseif was the 
half-caste Pou-patate, a tall, athletic young man (his figure is 
stalwart to-day, but he is quite blind). " Pou-patate was a 
hero that day," says Te Huia. " He was a very quick, active 
man in breaking through the line of troops." Another warrior, 
Te Kohika, uncle to Te Huia, was armed with a gun, but 'his 
ammunition was all expended. Glancing back as he rushed 
through the cordon for the swamp, he saw a Maori fall, shot dead, 
and thinking it might be his brother he stopped and turned 
back. He was surrounded by a group of soldiers, who tore his 
gun from him and tried to bayonet him, but, leaping aside, 
he escaped. His knee was badly hurt by a blow with the 
butt of a rifle. A shot at very close quarters missed him, but 
so narrowly that the powder scorched his bare shoulder. He 
reached the swamp, where he lay concealed in the manuka until 
night, and then he hobbled along to the Puniu, suffering great 
13 — X.Z. Wars. 



pain from his injured knee, and joined the survivors on the 
south side of the river. As for Rewi, his retreat through the 
swamp of death was safeguarded by a devoted body-guard 
consisting of twelve of his kinsmen, including Raureti Paiaka 
and his son Te Huia, Pou-patate, Matena te Paetai, Rangi-toheriri, 
and Tamehana. 

Pou-patate, describing the flight, gave a dramatic narrative 
of his retreat with Rewi to the gully and through the swamp 
from which the Manga-ngarara Stream flows to the Puniu. " The 


(Xgati-Raukawa and Ngati-te-Kohera, West Taupo.) 

Hitiri and his sister Ahumai were the only survivors of their family at 
Orakau. Their father, the old chief Te Paerata, was killed in the retreat 
on the 2nd April, 1864. 

bullets," he said, " were flying all around us ; they whistled 
whi-u ! whi-u! about my ears. When we were in the manuka 
the tops of the bushes were cut off by the bullets, swishing like 
a storm through the swamp. Yet not one touched me. I saw 
Hepi Kahotea shot dead there. The soldiers were massed all 
along the Karaponia ridge, firing down into the manuka and 


raupo. There were hundreds of rifles blazing into us. Then, 
on the other side of the swamp were more foot soldiers and 
some mounted men hurrying round to cut us off." 

Rewi escaped unwounded. He and his tribe suffered less 
than the Urewera and the Ngati-te-Kohera, whom he had 
vainly tried to dissuade from the building of the challenge fort 
at Orakau. Many years after the war, standing on the sacred 
soil of Orakau pa, he gave a narrative of the siege. His story 
of the last day and the flight to the Puniu reveals the curious 
mingling of ancient and modern religious beliefs in the Maori 
mind, and the reversion to the ancient faith in hours of peril 
when the soul of man is laid bare. 

" When we rushed out of the pa," said Rewi, " I prayed to 
God. The words of my pra} 7 er were, ' E Ihowa, tohungia ahan, 
kaua e whakaekea tenei hara ki runga i a au ' (' O Lord, save me, 
and visit not this sin upon me'). Just then I stumbled and 
fell down, which made me ver}' dark in my heart, for it was an 
evil omen. I rose and started on again, but had onl} 7 gone a 
short distance when I stumbled and fell once more. When I 
rose the second time I recited this prayer : — 

Wetea mai te whiivhi, 
Wetea mai te hara, 
Wetea mai te tawhito, 
Wetea kia mataratara, 
Tawhito te rangi, ta taea." 

[In this karakia Rewi besought his Maori gods to remove from 
him all sins or transgressions of which he or his male relatives 
might have been guilty.] 

" Then I slapped my thighs, and I cried out — 

" Tupe runga, tupe raro, tupe haha, 
Kei kona koe tu mai ai, 
Ki konei au rere ake ai, 
Rere huruhuru, rere a newa a te rangi." 

[This karakia was used by the Maoris when after a battle 
the defeated warriors were being pursued by the victors. A 
chief singled out one of the enemy for pursuit, and this charm 
had the effect of causing the pursued one to fall or stop to 
be captured. Rewi used it here with the object of stopping 
the pursuit by the soldiers. The translation of the expression 
beginning "Kei kona koe tu mai ai" is "Remain there where 
you are. T will flee on from here, fly like a bird, rising high 
toward the heavens.""] 

" I went on across the fern slope towards the swamp," 
continued Rewi. "I was not yet clear of the soldiers. There 
were three parties of them. My only weapon was a short- 
handled tomahawk. I had dropped my two guns when I fell 


down ; my younger brother took them. I called out to some of 
my people who were a little ahead of me and who had guns, 
' Come here ; one of you fire there ' ; to another, ' Fire over there ' ; 
to one who was standing close to me I said, ' You fire right in here.' 
We descended the hill and jumped down over the bank. We 
were fired upon here, but although the soldiers were close they 
did not hit us, as we were over them and they had to fire 
upwards. At my call one of my companions shot a soldier who 
had fired at me. The soldiers gave way before us, and we rushed 
down into the swamp. My comrades kept firing as we went 
on. The troops were on either side of us, on the high ground, 
firing across at us as we fled through the manuka. Now I 
prayed again. I uttered the words, 'Matiti, matata /' That was 
all my prayer.* 

" Continuing our retreat through the swamp we overtook an 
elderly relative of mine named Mau-pakanga. He had two guns. 
I took one of them. Mau-pakanga soon was shot by some of the 
soldiers who were firing at us from the hills. Next we overtook 
Hone Teri. I said to him, ' Don't run ; go easily.' A short 
distance farther on a soldier took aim at Hone Teri and shot him 
dead. I went up to him to take his gun (he was shot in the 
head, and his gun was lying under him), and cried a farewell to 
him and his parents. Then we continued our flight to the Puniu 
River, some of us returning the fire of our pursuers. Raureti and 
his companions shot two troopers out of their saddles. A soldier 
on the Ngamako spurs rode in chase of a native named Ngata. 
I called to Te Whakatapu, who was reloading as he ran, to stand. 
The cavalryman jumped off and got behind his horse to avoid 
being shot by Te Whakatapu ; but Ngata had by this time taken 
cover in the swamp, and having a good view of the soldier he shot 
him. Hurrying on, we forded the Puniu, and on the south side 
rested ourselves and collected the survivors ; there were sixty of 
us there. Others came in later." 

The Forest Rangers and the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry 
with some of Rait's Royal Artillery troopers had pushed on along 
the line of steep-faced hills on the south-eastern side of the long 

* " Split up ! Open up ! " is the meaning of this magic formula, which 
is used only in the last extremity. In Maori mythology it was the charm 
uttered by the Arawa hero Hatupatu when making his escape from the 
clutches of the witch-goddess Kura-ngaituku — " Kura-of-the-claws." The 
ogress was about to seize him when he came to a great rock — it is identified 
to-day with a curious volcanic rock by the roadside at Ngatuku Hill, near 
Atiamuri — and exclaiming, " Matiti, matata ! " the rock opened to receive 
him, and closed after him. To the Maori the expression carries the 
significance of the Christian hymn " Rock of Ages, cleft for me." 
Fortunately for Rewi, this " open sesame " proved as successful as in 
Hatupatu's case ; at any rate, he escaped unscathed when his comrades 
were falling all round him. 


swamp in order to cut off the retreat. Von Tempsky was at his 
post in the valley on the eastern side of the pa when the loud 
cheering from the hill and the intensified volume of rifle-fire told 
him that at last the Maoris had broken cover. The pa ridge 
was thickly veiled in gunpowder-smoke, and the heavy rattle of 
musketry was uninterrupted. The Rangers, led by Von Tempsky 
and Lieutenant Roberts, dashed off southward along the Ngamako 
ridge, crossing small gullies and swamps, and came within shot of 
the fugitives as their foremost men ascended a sharp spur of fern 
land called Ti-kiore. The Armstrong gun on the Karaponia ridge 
threw some shells into the body of fugitives. The cavalry headed 
the Maori leaders off into the swamps again by a rough cross- 
country gallop, but as the first of the troopers, Rait's men, to 
come up with the natives had only revolvers besides their swords, 
they were compelled to stand off when the fugitives turned on 
them with their double-barrel guns, killing one or two horses and 
wounding some men. The Rangers by this time, having taken 
a short-cut across the broken ground, began to drop Maori after 
Maori with their accurate carbine-fire. Many warriors were shot 
down after delivering their last barrel. The troopers were out- 
distanced by the strong runners of Von Tempsky's and Jackson's 
corps. " There v/as Roberts ahead of us all," wrote Von Tempsky 
in his journal, "with Thorpe, of Jackson's company, and two or 
three others, the fleetest of the corps. That day I christened 
Roberts ' Deerfoot ' as I panted behind him, bellowing my lungs 
out in shouting to the men and directing the pursuit." The 
Rangers followed their game for several miles ; some of them 
crossed to the south side of the Puniu in the eagerness of the chase. 
About a hundred men of various regiments who had followed the 
escaping garrison through the swamp, using their Enfields, joined 
in the pursuit along the ridges to the Puniu, but they could not 
keep up with the Rangers, who could load their breech-loading 
carbines as they ran. It was dusk when the pursuit ended, at 
the sound of the distant bugles, and the Rangers, on recrossing 
the Puniu, met Colonel Havelock collecting the troops for the 
return to camp. 

As the straggling pursuers marched back across the broken 
country they found several of their victims. One mortally 
wounded Maori, raving with thirst and fear, they tended and 
carried along till he died. Another was borne campward till he ; 
too, expired from his terrible wounds. Some of the 3rd Waikato 
Militia were also succouring the wounded, and they and the 
Rangers carried into Orakau a warrior with a broken thigh. 

At the camp-fires were told some of the episodes in the first 
rushing of the pa. Dead and wounded lay about the pa. Among 
the wounded were several women, and even these did not escape the 
bayonets of the maddened Imperials. The colonial troops behaved 



better. In the flight to the Puniu a half-caste girl, shot through 
the arm, was on the point of being bayoneted by a soldier when a 
Forest Ranger saved her ; and Von Tempsky's favourite scout, 
Sergeant Southee, protected another. In the pa, however, there 
was a pitiful tragedy. Mr. Mair, rushing in with the stormers, 
found some Regulars about to bayonet a wounded woman who had 
scraped away the light layer of earth covering the body of her 
slain husband for a last look at him, weeping as she brushed the soil 
from his face. Mair tried to beat the men back with his carbine, 
and knocked one of them into the ditch ; then he turned to attend 


Tupotahi, who was cousin to Rewi Maniapoto, was one of the leading 
men in the defence of Orakau, and was severely wounded in the retreat. 
His narrative is given in these chapters. 

to the poor woman. She was Hine-i-turama, a high chieftainess 
of the Arawa people, ninth in direct descent from Hinemoa, and 
celebrated as a composer of songs ; she had been the wife of Hans 
Tapsell, the trader of Maketu, and on coming to Orakau to visit 
her daughter, the wife of Dr. Hooper, had been detained by the 
Kingites, and married another man, Ropata, who fell in the 
siege. Mr. Mair carried her to an angle, and then went to attend 
to another wounded woman ; but when he returned Hine-i-turama 


had been bayoneted to death by some brutal soldiers in avenge- 
ment of fallen comrades.* 

The splendid devotion and fearlessness displayed by the 
Maori heroes of that retreat aroused the admiration of their 
enemies. Colonel Roberts, N.Z.C. — the " Deerfoot " of Von 
Tempsky's journal — narrates one poignant episode of the Forest 
Rangers' chase. " Most of the troops," he says, " abandoned the 
pursuit at the Puniu River, but several of us Forest Rangers and 
two or three men of Rait's Artillery crossed the river and went on 
in chase for a little distance. We caught up on one Maori, who 
repeatedly turned and deliberately knelt and levelled his single- 
barrel shot-gun (he was endeavouring to cover the retreat of some 
of the wounded). I and the Ranger who was near to me took 
cover among the wiwi rushes and scrub, fired, and were reloading 
as we lay there. The Maori retreated a few yards, then turned 
and presented his gun at us as before. Several shots were fired 
at him, but he did not reply. At last one of us shot him dead. 
We went up to the plucky fellow as he lay there in the rushes, and 
we found that his gun was empty ; he had not a single cartridge left. 
On the middle fingers of the left hand he wore a little bag which 
held a few percussion caps. I was terribly grieved — we all were — 
to think that we had killed so brave a man. Of course we did 
not know he was pointing an unloaded gun at us ; we had to save 
ourselves from being potted, as we thought. Had he dropped 
his useless gun, and stood up and shown that he was unarmed 
and helpless, we would have been only too glad to have spared 
him. But at that time none of us knew enough Maori to call 
upon him to surrender, "f 

* Major Mair said, " There was great indignation in camp at Te 
Awamutu over the bayoneting of the woman Hine-i-turama, and I went 
with Lieutenant Albert. Jackson, of the 18th Regiment, through the tents 
of one regiment hoping to defect the men, but 1 could not identify them." 

f Captain Gilbert Mair, N.Z.C, narrates another incident of heroism 
in this retreat from Orakau. In the year 1888 he was interpreting an 
account given by Hitiri te Paerata in Parliament House, Wellington, 
describing the Battle of Orakau. Major Jackson, M.H.R. for Waipa, who 
at Orakau commanded No. 1 Company of the Forest Rangers, asked, 
" Who was the Maori in the white shirt whom I was chasing ? " It was 
stated that this Maori was assisting a young woman who was wounded 
to escape. Hitiri remembered the incident. The young Maori warrior 
described succeeded in helping this girl, who was wounded in the thigh, 
through the cordon of soldiers, and through the swamp and scrub to the 
Puniu. He kept his pursuers in check by repeatedly turning, kneeling 
down, and aiming his gun at them, while the girl hobbled on towards the 
river and safety. At last the pair crossed the Puniu, and in the Maori 
country they came to a sheltered place where there was a grove of peach- 
trees. There they remained, resting, and living on the peaches, until the 
girl was able to travel to her people. 

" Well, what happened ? " Hitiri was asked. 

" Oh, nothing happened ; but what I was going to tell you was that 
the Maori's gun was unloaded all the time. He had not a charge left when 
he knelt down and kept the troops off with his levelled tupara." 


The British casualties in the three-days battle were seventeen 
killed or died from wounds and fifty-two wounded. The dead 
were buried in the English Mission Churchyard at Te Awamutu. 

More than half the gallant Maoris lay dead when the sun went 
down that night of the 2nd April. Out of a very few more 
than three hundred, quite one hundred and sixty were killed, and 
of the survivors at least half were wounded. Of the twenty-six 
prisoners taken nearly all were wounded, and several died in the 
field hospital at Te Awamutu. Brigadier-General Carey reported 
101 killed, besides eighteen to twenty stated by the Maoris to have 
been buried in the pa. The total killed was, however, heavier 
than this estimate. Forty were buried by the soldiers in the 
trenches on the northern side of the pa (the spot is just within 
the farm-fence on the north line of the present main road). As 
many more were buried on the edge of the swamp near the place 
where the fugitives broke through the lines of the 40th Regiment, 
and many were laid to rest on the spur on the opposite side of 
the swamp, near Ngamako, and further along the line of retreat 
to the Puniu. The dead at the pa were buried in their own 
trenches on a beautiful sunny morning, and so near to the surfaec 
that one clenched hand rose above the surface, and a soldier 
trampled on it to press it under 

Ngati-te-Kohera and the Urewera suffered the heaviest 
casualties. Hitiri te Paerata and his sister Ahumai were the 
only survivors of a family- Their father, the old warrior Te 
Paerata, his son Hone Teri, and several others of the house 
fell in the retreat. Ahumai — she who declared that the women 
would remain in the pa and share the fate of the men — was 
wounded in four places. She was shot through the body, the 
bullet going in on her right side and coming out on the left, 
through the shoulder, and through the wrist, hand, and arm. 
Yet she survived that terrible flight and recovered from her 
wounds ; she died at Mokai, near Taupo, in 1908. The 
Urewera lost thirty killed, and a great many were wounded ; 
they sustained probably over 50 per cent, of casualties. Paitini 
te \Yhatu, who was badly wounded, and whose father was 
killed, gives the following list of the principal people of the 
contingent of Urewera and their kin who fell at Orakau ; the 
killed, he states, included three out of the six women who 
were with the company : Piripi te Heuheu and his wife Mere, 
Te Kaho, Rakuraku, Te Parahi, Wiremu Tapeka (Paitini's 
father), Paiheke, Te Teira, Penehio, Kaperiere, Hoera, Reweti 
te Whakahuru and his wife Marata Kopakopa ; also Matiaha, 
of Xgati-Tamatea, and Raharuhi Tamatea, of Ngati-Kahungunu. 
Paitini, describing his experience in the retreat, said : "I 
fired a shot and brought down a soldier as we descended the 
steep bank above the manuka swamp. In fact, I dropped down 



the bank on to the man I shot, and I could not recover my 
double-barrel gun. A soldier shot me in the left thigh, causing 
a very bad wound. I managed to reach the cover of the 
manuka and went slowly along toward the Puniu, bleeding very 
much and in great pain. Many of our wounded lay out in the 
swamp all that night and next day. My father was killed in 
the retreat, outside the pa. He< was behind me ; I did not see 
him fall. Our chief Piripi te Heuheu was killed in the pa. 

V) > f >. |» ? 

From a drawing, at Taupo, by Captain T. Ryan.] 

Ahumai te Paerata. 

Ahumai was the woman who made the heroic reply at Orakau that 
the women would die with the men. She was very severely wounded in 
the retreat. In the following year she saved the life of Lieutenant 
Meade, R.N., who was in danger of death at the hands of the Ngati- 
Raukawa Hauhaus, near Taupo. 

Paraki Wereta, now living at Te Umuroa, escaped from Orakau 

Peita Kotuku, who is part Ngati-Maniapoto and part Patu- 
heuheu, was a member of the Urewera contingent. He narrates 

* Statement by Paitini te Whatu, to the writer, at Omakoi, Urewera 
country, 23rd January, 1921. 



that a pom, a thick shaggy shoulder-cape of flax, which he was 
wearing deflected one or two bullets that struck him. Four of 
his mother's people, the Patu-heuheu, were killed in the battle ; 
one was his uncle Peita, whose name he took in memory. The 
old chief Paerau, of Tuhoe, escaped, and, like Peita, became a 
strong Hauhau partisan. 

Ngati-Maniapoto did not suffer so severely as the other clans 
— at any rate, none of their leading chiefs was killed. Tupotahi 
had his collar-bone broken by a bullet when he was leaving the 
pa. The wiry old chief, a small-framed man like Rewi, narrated 
that the bullet went out at the back of his right shoulder, and 
the arm hung helpless. He picked up his gun in his left hand, 
and ran on after his comrades, supporting his right arm by 
clenching the fingers between the teeth. At last he had to drop 
his gun and support his right hand and arm with his left, and 
so hurried on to the swamp. Men fell all around him, but he 
was not hit again. Half-dead with pain and loss of blood and 
tortured with thirst, he lay in the manuka for some time unable 
to move. At last, when it was dark, he rose and struggled on 
through the scrub to the Puniu. With many of the other 
wounded he was taken to the Otewa Village, on the Waipa, 
where his hurt was tended. Some of the survivors gathered at 
Korakonui and Wharepapa, a few miles south of the Puniu ; 
others of Ngati-Maniapoto returned to Hangatiki. 

The Urewera survivors collected at Ara-titaha and Waotu, 
and made their way home to their mountains, travelling slowly 
because of their many wounded. Harehare, of Ngati-Manawa, 
says: "We who had remained at home at Tauaroa (on the 
Rangitaiki) waited anxiously for news of our relatives and friends. 
One of our old men had a premonition of disaster. He beheld 
a wainia — an apparition — which he interpreted as a message 
from the dead, and he told us that misfortune had befallen our 
people in the Waikato. A few days later the morehu ■ — the 
survivors — began to arrive, among them my brother Takurua and 
his wife, both wounded, and then we found that' the Battle of 
Orakau had been fought just about the time the vision appeared 
to our old seer." 


The present main road from Kihikihi eastward toward Maunga-tautari 
passes through the site of Orakau pa. A stone monument on the roadside 
now marks the spot. The only trace on the roadway of the olden entrench- 
ment is part of a ditch on the southern side of the road-cutting. Just 
inside the fence of the field on the northern side, where the north-east angle 
of the pa stood, there is a large mound surrounded by uneven lines of 
depression, indicating trenches. This is where forty Maoris were buried in 
the outer trench by the troops. This sacred spot was fenced in over 



m u 

O 3 



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39 6 


fifty years ago by the then owner of Orakau, Mr. W. A. Cowan, and was 
planted with blue-gums; but the little cemetery is now part of a paddock, 
and the fence and the memorial trees have disappeared. Great poplar-trees, 
planted about the same time, line the southern side of the road. For 
many years after the war the bullet-riddled peach-trees stood dotted about 
the battlefield. The outlines of the British sap of 1864 are now in- 
distinguishable except for a few yards in the field on the north side of 
the road where a slight depression in the turf indicates the olden trench 
towards the position on the round of the hill. Te Huia Raureti, when 
pointing out the line of the sap, said it was started in a peach-grove in the 
western side of the gentle rise about 150 yards from the pa. The first 
trench ran northward, parallel to the west flank, for a few yards and crossed 
the line of the present road ; then the sap was directed toward the north- 
west angle of the fort and zigzagged (haere kopikopiko ana) easterly, parallel 
with the road. The sap was traversed every few yards, and was cut with 
many turns. There were also demi-parallels, occupied by the covering- 
parties of riflemen. The sap was not very deep, said the old warrior, but 
the soldiers digging it were sheltered by means of peke cmecme (gabions, 
large wicker baskets made of manuka and filled with earth from the trench) 
placed along the edge of the ditch for head-cover. At the head of the 
sap as it went on they rolled along a pekc rakau — a sap-roller — made of 
green manuka tightly bound together, 4 or 5 feet in thickness, for protection 
from the Maoris' fire. There was a good deal of cover on the ground 
traversed by the sap — peach-trees and flax and fern. 

Among the wounded prisoners taken at Orakau (2nd April, 1864) was 
a young warrior named Tipene te Waru, whose after-career was rather 
remarkable. He was taken to the military hospital at Te Awamutu, 
where his left arm was amputated by Dr. Spenser, and on recovering was 
sent home to his people at Wairoa, Hawke's Bay. His father, Te Waru 
Tamatea, of Marumaru, was the leader of the small Ngati-Kahungunu 
contingent which had joined the Urewera war-party. Tipene took revenge 
for the loss of his arm by joining the Hauhaus when the Pai-marire war- 
faith reached the Wairoa in 1865. His history is related by Captain 
G. A. Preece, N.Z.C., in the following note (15th July, 1922) : — 

" This man, Tipene te Waru, who had lost his left arm from a wound 
at Orakau, fought against us at Manga-aruhe or Omaru-hakeke on 
Christmas Day, 1865, and at Te Kopane, near Lake Waikare-moana, on 
the 1 8th January, 1866. The elder Te Waru and all his tribe surrendered 
to us about February, 1866, and after the lands were confiscated they and 
the Waiau natives were allowed to go back to their settlements at Whataroa 
and the Waiau Valley (south of the lake), where they remained quietly 
until after Te Kooti landed on his escape from the Chatham Islands in 
1868. Indeed, after the fight at Ruakituri (inland of Gisborne) Te Waru 
pretended to be loyal, and came to Wairoa and got twenty stand of rifles 
to protect himself against Te Kooti, and professed to give information as 
to his (Te Kooti's) movements. This continued up to the time he murdered 
Karaitiana Roto-a-Tara and his three fellow-scouts at Whataroa in October, 
1868. Te Waru (the elder) himself was not present when the scouts were 
treacherously killed in the whare given them, but it was prearranged. His 
brother Reihana or Horotiu [afterwards notorious as Te Kooti's ' butcher,' or 
executioner of prisoners] actually committed the murders, but they were 
all implicated. Te Waru, Tipene te Waru, Reihana or Horotiu, Hemi 
Raho, another brother, and the whole of the Jiapu then living (about forty 
people in all) came out of the Urewera country at Horomanga and 
surrendered to me at Fort Galatea, on the Rangitaiki, on the 9th December, 
1870. When I was Resident Magistrate at Opotiki in 1877 Te Waru and 
the little tribe were living at Waiotahi, where they had been given some 
land. In that year Tipene te Waru, while out pig-hunting, ran a manuka 
stake through his right foot, and got in such a bad way that he was sent 


to the Auckland Hospital. However, he got mokemohe (lonely, home-sick) 
there, and returned to Opotiki, and at last the leg had to be amputated. 
Dr. Reed, assisted by Captain Northcroft, N.Z.C., took it off. We got a 
wooden leg for him from Sydney, and the one-armed and one-legged warrior 
used to ride all over the country. I think Hemi Raho was allowed to 
return to Wairoa, but none of the other members of the rebel tribe went 
back to their old homes, and I paid them a sum of ^400 or ^500 for all 
their interests in the Wairoa lands." 

Another wounded prisoner taken at Orakau proved less amenable to 
the surgeon's skill. This was an old man named Te Wiremu, who had his 
thigh broken by a bullet from Mr. Mair's carbine. Mair took a friendly 
interest in Te Wiremu in the hospital at Te Awamutu, but the old warrior 
was determined to die. " He defied the doctors and hospital attendants 
to the end," Mair wrote. " Nor could the chaplains make anything of 
him. One day he would call himself a ' missionary,' and the next he was 
a ' Catholic ' ; indeed, he succeeded in establishing something like a coolness 
between the worthy representatives of the two denominations. He was 
buried in Te Awamutu churchyard with the other prisoners who died of 
wounds. The men of the 65th Regiment, who held the Maori people in 
great esteem, erected a head-board over the grave, bearing an inscription 
written by Bishop Selwyn." 



Although the Battle of Orakau was the final and decisive 
blow delivered in General Cameron's Waikato campaign, it did 
not end the Maoris' preparations for resistance. Ngati-Maniapoto 
fully expected that the British would follow up their victory, 
and would invade the country south of the Puniu River. The 
scattered hapus were collected, and the defence of the territory 
in the southern part of the Waipa basin was decided upon. 
The first fortification built was designed to block the advance 
of troops towards Hangatiki, the home of Wahanui Huatare and 
a large section of Ngati-Maniapoto. It consisted of entrench- 
ments thrown up at Haurua, across a ridge on the main track 
between Otorohanga and Hangatiki, with swampo on the flanks. 
The ditches and parapets of this work are intersected by a riding- 
track on the west side of the railway-line a short distance south 
of Otorohanga. In rear of this advance work was a stronger 
position, Te Roto-Marama, an entrenched hill near the present 
Village of Hangatiki. The third pa built was Paratui, a hill- 
fort between the Mangaokewa and Mangapu Streams, a short 
distance south of Hangatiki ; the site is to the west of the 
Main Trunk Railway. The whole strength of Ngati-Maniapoto was 
concentrated on the construction of these fortifications, under 
Rewi, Raureti, Wetini, Paku-kohatu, Te Rangi-ka-haruru (" The 
Thundering Heavens"), and Hauauru and his brother Patena, 
the chiefs of the Ngati-Matakore subtribe, both warriors of the 
old days of intertribal strife. Topine te Mamaku, from the Upper 
Wanganui, was also there. Haurua was for some time the 
headquarters of these Kingites, resolved to bar the southward 
march of the troops. But Cameron's advance had ended, and 
Kihikihi remained the most southern outpost of the troops. 

It was at Ara-titaha, a Ngati-Raukawa settlement on the 
southern spur of Maunga-tautari, that the last shots of the 
Waikato War were fired, in a slight skirmish. This was a 
reconnaissance affair, about three months after Orakau. A 
Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Father Garavel, arrived at Te 


Awamutu one day from Taupo via Orakau, and mentioned that 
he had seen an armed party of Maoris at Ara-titaha, where the 
track ascended from the plain near Waotu. Lieutenant Rait, 
commanding the mounted artillery, on patrol around the ad- 
vanced posts, organized a secret expedition, which was joined 
by detachments of the 65th and other corps from Kihikihi 
and Rangiaowhia, under Captain Blewitt and other officers. The 
mounted men were engaged at long range by some Maori 
skirmishers near the Village of Ara-titaha, but the artillery 
troopers, having only revolvers, could not reply to the fire, and 
the infantry were some distance in the rear. Ensign Mair, the 
interpreter, however, was armed with a carbine, and he returned 
the Maoris' fire, and fired the last shot in the campaign. The 
force withdrew to the camps without carrying hostilities further. 

Soon after the capture of Orakau the Ngati-Haua and their 
allies from Tauranga, who had entrenched themselves at Te Tiki 
o te Ihingarangi, evacuated their stronghold. The fortification, 
a pa of ancient days, had been strengthened by deepening the 
trenches, digging covered ways, and erecting palisades. The main 
pa stood on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the rapid Wai- 
kato, at the foot of the Pukekura Range ; in rear was a higher 
pa of small area. General Cameron had made preparations to 
shell the place, and had gathered a strong battery at Pukerimu. 
Tamehana and his people did not wait for the bombardment. 
They abandoned the place under cover of night, crossing the 
river in canoes — -a dangerous feat, for the current was very 
swift, and there were rapids just below the crossing-place. Men, 
women, and children all safely reached the eastern side and 
marched across the plain to Peria, near Matamata. For some 
time after the British occupation of Te Tiki o te Ihingarangi a 
force of Militia garrisoned a redoubt on the site of the upper pa. 
Wiremu Tamehana made his peace with the British, after his 
long and hopeless struggle, by meeting Brigadier-General Carey 
at Tamahere on the 27th May, 1865, and signing a document 
acknowledging submission to the law of the Queen. His tribe 
lost some land by confiscation, but Waikato were the heaviest 
sufferers ; they were dispossessed of all their territory east of 
the Waikato River, and remained on the lands of their friends 
the Ngati-Maniapoto for nearly a generation after the war. 

Te Awamutu was the winter quarters for the Waikato army 
of occupation. When the Government fixed the confiscation-lines 
the Puniu River was made the frontier, and no attempt was 
made to drive the defeated Kingites farther south. Four thou- 
sand regular troops remained at Te Awamutu and the outposts 
until the end of 1864, and as they were withdrawn the mili- 
tary settlers embodied in the regiments of Waikato Militia took 
their places and established frontier villages, each defended by 



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a redoubt, which developed into towns as the settlement of 
the surrounding confiscated lands gradually increased. The 1st 
Regiment of Waikato Militia were given their sections of land 
at Tauranga ; the other three regiments garrisoned and settled 
the southern Waikato — the 2nd at Alexandra (now Pirongia, at 
the head of steamboat navigation on the Waipa River) and 
Kihikihi ; the 3rd Regiment at Cambridge, at the head of the 

Rewi Maniapoto (Manga). 



Hone Wetere te Rerenga. 

Te Rangituataka. Te Naunau. 

The Chiefs of Ngati-Maniapoto. 

This photograph, taken at a settlement in the King Country about 1884, 
shows most of the leading chiefs of the Ngati-Maniapoto Tribe from the 
Puniu to the Mokau. Wetere te Rerenga was the leader of the small 
war-party of Mokau men who killed the Gascoignes and the Rev. John 
Whiteley at Pukearuhe Redoubt, White Cliffs, in 1S69. 

Horotiu navigable waters ; and the 4th at Hamilton, formerly 
Kirikiriroa. The river-steamer " Rangiriri," from Mercer, landed 
the first of the military settlers at the site of the present Town 
of Hamilton on the 24th August, 1864 ; they numbered about 
one hundred and twenty men, under Captain W. Steele. Each 


Waikato military settler received a grant of one town acre and a 
section of from fifty acres upward, according to rank. Jackson's 
and Von Tempsky's Forest Rangers were given land at Rangiao- 
whia, Te Rahu, Kihikihi, and Harapepe. South of the frontier 
most of the Kingites remained in isolation, planning the reconquest 
of the Waikato, but deterred from a renewal of the war by their 
lack of good arms and by the presence of strong and well-trained 
bodies of soldier farmers on the fringes of the conquered territory. 
It was not until 1881, when Tawhiao laid down his guns at Major 
Mair's feet at Alexandra, that Waikato and Ngati-Maniapoto 
definitely and finally made their peace with the Government of 
the colony. 


The New Zealand Settlements Act of 1863, under which the confiscation 
of native lands was carried out, set forth in the preamble that it was 
necessary " that some adequate provisions should be made for the perma- 
nent protection and security of the well-disposed inhabitants of both races, 
for the prevention of future insurrection or rebellion, and for the establish- 
ment and maintenance of Her Majesty's authority, and of law and order 
throughout the colony." The best and most effectual means of attaining 
those ends would be by the introduction of a sufficient number of settlers, 
able to protect themselves and to preserve the peace of the country. As 
there were large tracts of land lying unoccupied, useless, and unproductive, 
which might be made available for the introduction and location of such 
settlers " with benefit to themselves, and with manifest advantage to the 
colony," it was enacted that the Governor in Council might take native 
land where desirable in order to set apart sites for settlements. The money 
derived from the sale of land was to be devoted to recouping the expenses 
of the war, in the construction of public works, the establishment of schools 
and other institutions, and in promoting immigration for the colonization 
of the confiscated territory. 

An enormous area of the Waikato and neighbouring country was 
confiscated under this Act. It embraced the whole of the country on the 
east side of the Waikato-Waipa basin, from the Manga-tawhiri south to 
the summit of Mount Pirongia, thence along the Puniu River to the 
Waikeria, and from there across to Pukekura, on the foothills of the 
Maunga-tautari, thence northward to the Thames Gulf. Portions of this 
area were afterwards returned to hapus who had not shared in the war, 
but by far the greater portion was parcelled out for white settlement. 

In 1866 Dr. Edward Waddington, who was for many years the 
Government military surgeon in the Waikato, in a report on the district 
gave the following statement of the strength of the principal military 
settlements (number exclusive of officers) : — Alexandra (now Pirongia) : 
2nd Waikato Regiment — 675 men, 102 women, 183 children. Cambridge : 
3rd Waikato Regiment — 843 men, 87 women, 198 children. Hamilton : 
4th Waikato Regiment — 432 men, 282 women, 751 children. 

In addition to these chief settlements there were the Militia township 
at Kihikihi and the Forest Rangers' allotments already mentioned. In 
all, the Government introduced about three thousand military settlers into 
the Upper Waikato country. 





The Maori King movement had gained strong support among 
many of the tribes of the East Coast, along the shore of the Bay 
of Plenty from Matata to Opotiki, and thence round the East 
Cape as far as Turanganui (Gisborne) and the Wairoa. By the 
end of 1863 a formidable crusade in aid of hard-pressed Waikato 
and their kin was set on foot on the coast, and half a score 
of tribes joined in a strong contingent of reinforcements. The 
design was to gather at a point in the Bay of Plenty, and thence 
march through the Arawa country to the Upper Waikato plains, 
passing Rotorua on the way. By January of 1864 the plan of 
campaign was matured, and a war-party which swelled to the 
proportions of a small army was soon assembled at Matata, the 
headquarters of the Ngai-te-Rangihouhiri, for the advance upon 
Waikato, where General Cameron was temporarily blocked by 
the heavy entrenchments on the Paterangi ridge. It was now 
that the Arawa people definitely ranged themselves on the side 
of the Queen as defenders of their territory against the Kingites. 

From 1856 to 1863 the majority of the Arawa Tribe were 
scattered over the North Auckland country digging kauri -gum. 
By their industry they had acquired a fleet of small cutters 
and schooners, which were engaged largely in the carrying 
trade between Auckland and the East Coast ports. In 1863 
they had spread up north beyond the Bay of Islands. Then 
rumours began to reach them of the intention of the East Coast 
tribes to send a large force through to support the Waikato 
Kingites. These reports became so alarming and urgent that the 
Arawa exhumed the bones of their numerous dead in various 
parts of the gumfields of the north, and setting sail in their 
small craft early in January, 1864, they arrived at Maketu to 
defend their ancestral soil. In their eagerness to get into action 
some of them drove their vessels ashore ; others dropped anchor 
out in the stream at Maketu and hastened ashore without taking 
time to stow their sails. During the six or seven years' fighting 
that followed, all the vessels sank at their anchors or rotted on 


the beach. Another result was that sandbanks formed round the 
sunken vessels and quite ruined the little harbour of Maketu. 

Now it became known that about seven or eight hundred 
hostile natives of the Bay of Plenty and the East Cape were oh 
the way to the Rotorua district. By this time the contingent of 
Ngati-Porou and other Tai-Rawhiti tribes had been swelled by 
the addition of the Whanau-a-Te Ehutu, Ngai-Tawarere, Te 
Whanau-a-Apanui , the Whakatohea, Ngati-Awa, Ngati-Pukeko,. 
and other clans, and finally the Ngai-te-Rangihouhiri at Matata. 
Te Puehu visited the Arawa country as a herald, asking the lakes 
tribes to permit them to pass through to help Waikato against 
the whites, but permission was peremptorily refused. Had the 
Tai-Rawhiti tribes been allowed to pass through to join the King 
party the addition of several hundreds of well-equipped warriors, 
would obviously have exercised a powerful influence on the 
fortunes of the campaign, and would at least have prolonged 
the war. The Arawa found themselves in this position : that, 
never having expected any war, they had neglected to provide 
themselves with arms and ammunition and the necessary equip- 
ment for a campaign. They had not followed the example of 
the other tribes, who all eagerly set to work purchasing guns 
and ammunition on the relaxation of the arms restrictions by 
Gore Browne in 1857. 

When the plight of the Arawa was realized, with the invaders, 
only a few days' march away, several delegates of the tribe were 
despatched from Rotorua to Maketu, where they interviewed the 
Civil Commissioner and asked him to supply them with arms 
to defend their land against the Queen's enemies. The request 
was declined. Fortunately, Mr. William Mair (the interpreter at 
Orakau), who had lately been appointed Magistrate at Taupo,. 
arrived at Maketu at this juncture, and, seeing how necessary 
it was that these people should receive help, he returned to 
Tauranga and begged the Imperial military officers there to give 
him the whole of their sporting ammunition for the loyal Maoris.. 
He succeeded in obtaining about three hundredweight of powder,, 
several hundredweight of shot, and a large quantity of percussion 
caps. He went to the local storekeepers, and they even emptied 
their chests of tea and gave Mair the lead. At Maketu the 
timely munitions-supply was given to the Arawa, who took 
their warlike stores inland to Mourea, the village on the Ohau 
Stream, which connects Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti ; there all! 
set to work making cartridges. 

Meanwhile some Taupo men had arrived under Rawiri Kahia 
and Hohepa Tamamutu, and this contingent joined Ngati- 
Whakaue at Ohinemutu. The allied force crossed the lake in 
a flotilla of large canoes—" Te Arawa," the largest, could carry 
nearly a hundred men — and combining with the others at Mourea. 



the whole force, some four hundred strong, swept down Lake 
Rotoiti in true ancient warlike state to meet the advancing 
Tai-Rawhiti army, who were marching up from Otamarakau by 
wav of Rotoehu and Hongi's Track through the bush to the 
east end of Rotoiti. 

The fighting which followed occurred on the 7th, 8th, and 
9th April, 1864. The great war-party of the East Coast tribes 

.3 ay of Ple.n,ty 

The Battlefields at Lake Rotoiti, Maketu, and Kaokaoroa. 

emerged from the forest and encamped at Tapuae-haruru (" The 
Beach of the Resounding Footsteps "), with the forest in their 
rear and the beautiful wooded range of Matawhaura lifting above 
them like a wall on their right. The Arawa made the Komu- 
humuhu pa, a palisaded village on the south side of the lake, 
their headquarters, and from there advanced along the shore 


now traversed by the main road from Rotorua to the eastern 
lakes and Whakatane. The three days' skirmishing ended in 
the complete repulse of the invaders. The fighting began at 
Ngauhu, near Wai-iti. On the second day a hot battle was 
fought on the Taurua ridge and the lake-edge between Komu- 
humuhu and Wai-iti. About twenty of the invaders were killed, 
including the chief Apanui, who fell at Te Tu-arai, the wooded 
headland near Emery's house at Taurua. The Arawa lost three 
of their men. The enemy retreated to the sea-coast, announcing 
that they would next invade Maketu ; to which the Arawa 
chief Te Mapu te Amotu replied, " That is well ; we shall finish 
our battle there." 


The Fighting at Lake Rotoiti (1864). 

At Otaramarae, Lake Rotoiti (6th January, 1919), Hohapeta te 
Whanarere, a veteran of the Ngati-Pikiao Tribe, gave Captain Gilbert Mair 
and myself a narrative of the encounter at Taurua with the Kingite reinforce- 
ments from the East Coast. After describing the gathering of the Arawa 
force and the canoe expedition to the eastern end of Rotoiti to stay the 
advance of the East Coast army, the old warrior said : — 

" Our first skirmish with the Tai-Rawhiti men was at Ngauhu, just 
beyond Wai-iti, and close to the lake-beach at Tapuae-haruru, where the 
track from the coast by way of Rotoma and Rotoehu comes out of the 
bush. We held the East Coast men there, and at last they retired to 
Tapuae-haruru, and on the evening of the second day we returned to our 
palisaded pa on the lake-side at Komuhumuhu. In the skirmishing we 
cut bunches of fern and stuck them in the ground for cover and fired from 
behind them. We chiefly had flint-lock guns {nguiu-parera) and not much 

" Next morning the East Coast tribes came up along the lake-side to 
attack us at Komuhumuhu. We sallied out and met them at Taurua and 
fought a battle there. The skirmishers spread out all over the ridge of 
Taurua above the point where the half-caste Emery's house now stands. We 
scooped out little hollows — they could hardly be called rifle-pits — for cover 
on the bare hill ; we dug them hurriedly with our tomahawks and hands. 
In this righting we lost Mohi and Maaka shot dead, Topia (Mita Taupopoki's 
elder brother) mortally wounded ; others wounded were Piwai te Whare- 
kohatu (hand smashed), Matua-iti (jaw shot away), and Wi Pori. Several 
of us held a little parapet on the hill — I and my brothers Te Harete and 
Te Pere, Mohi, my cousin Te Pokiha and his brother Waata Taranui. 
Mohi had been standing up and firing at the enemy, and they fired a volley 
in return. A bullet pierced his brain, and he fell back dead on top of us. 
Down below us at the edge of the lake (near the present native store at 
the little jetty) the enemy were held in check by the hapus Ngati-Uenuku- 
kopako and Ngati-Kereru. 

" A section of the rebels nearly succeeded in cutting us off from our 
pa by working up inland into the bush, and we were compelled to retire 
along the beach and fall back on Komuhumuhu. Two of our old chiefs, 
Te Mapu te Amotu and Te Puehu, would not retire although hard pressed, 
and it was then that the rebels took us in flank. One of our men, Kakahi, 
was shot through the chest. We only saved ourselves by a rapid retreat 
to the pa. Some of the Arawa were panic-stricken by the persistence 
and numbers of the enemy, and ran to the war-canoes at the beach to 
escape. Then, after some sharp fighting, the foe hoisted a white flag : 


they had had enough of it. Hakaraia, a chief of Waitaha, came towards 
us with a Hag of truce. The enemy retreated, and we followed them up 
to the end of the lake at Tapuae-haruru. Te Mapu and Te Porarere (son 
of Te Puehu) went out and ordered them to leave the Arawa country. Te 
Mapu told them that they need not rejoice over the fact that they had 
temporarily driven the Arawa back on Komuhumuhu pa ; they must 
retire to the sea-coast lest worse befall them. ' E warn nga pu-manawa 
o te Arawa ' (' The Arawa have eight breaths, or eight talents '), he 
concluded. (This proverbial saying, famous among the Arawa, is an 
expression to denote courage, resolution, and resourcefulness.) The rebels' 
leader replied, ' I shall go and shall not return here, but I shall kindle my 
fires of occupation at Maketu ' (' Ka ha taku ahi ki runga o Maketu '). 
To this Te Mapu returned, " That is well ; we shall finish our piece of 
battle (pito whawhai) at Maketu.' 

" This understanding was honourably kept," said Hohapeta. " The 
foe retired to the coast at Matata, and there awaited reinforcements for 
the march on Maketu. As for us, we returned to Mourea, where for the 
first time the Arawa all assembled and prepared for a campaign, and then 
we marched on to Maketu to meet the invaders. 

" In the Rotoiti fighting we killed about twenty of the invaders. 
Among them was Apanui, a high chief from the East Coast. He fell at 
Te Tu-arai, the wooded headland just to the eastward of Emery's house, 
above the present road and overlooking the lake." 

Maketu and Kaokaoroa. 

The Tai-Rawhiti expedition was reinforced at Otamarakau, 
the ancient pa of Waitaha, on the sea-coast, by a company of 
sixty Tuhoe and Ngai-Tama, also by a section of Ngati-Makino 
and some Ngati-Porou. The large flotilla of war-canoes was 
drawn up on the beach at the mouth of the Waitahanui Stream, 
below the massive earthworks of Otamarakau. Towards the end 
of April they marched on Maketu, and their advance-guard 
surprised two officers, Major Colvile (43rd Regiment) and Ensign 
Way (3rd Waikato Militia), who were out duck-shooting in a 
canoe on the Waihi Lagoon, two miles east of Maketu. The 
officers had a narrow escape. By this time there was a small 
body of troops, under Major Colvile, in occupation of Maketu, 
and Pukemaire, an ancient pa on the hill above Maketu, was 
converted into a redoubt, in which two field-guns were mounted. 
Major Drummond Hay and Captain T. McDonnell had also 
arrived with a few men of the Forest Rangers and the Colonial 
Defence Force to organize the Arawa defence. Skirmishing 
followed for two or three days at Kakiherea and Te Rahui, on 
the high land overlooking the Waihi estuary and the sea : and 
the invaders dug themselves in on the tableland called Te 
Whare-o-te-Rangi-marere, about a mile east of the Maketu Village. 
There the line of rifle-pits is still to be seen. Then two 
warships appeared, H.M.S. " Falcon " and the colonial gunboat 
" Sandfly," and these vessels, and also the guns on Pukemaire, 
opened fire on the Tai - Rawhiti, and soon drove them out 
of their entrenchments. They recrossed the Waihi Lagoon and 


occupied the sandhills on the opposite side, but their position 
was gallantly stormed by McDonnell and his Rangers and Te 
Pokiha Taranui (afterwards known as Major Fox) and his Ngati- 
Pikiao under a very heavy fire. 

By this time the main body of the Arawa had arrived from 
the lakes, and some three hundred of their best men pursued 
the Tai-Rawhiti along the beach toward Matata, while the 
" Falcon " and the " Sandfly," steaming along close to the 
coast, shelled the retreating force. A heavy shell from the 
" Falcon " killed several men of the Whakatohea in a group at 
the mouth of the Waeheke Stream, near Pukehina. At this place 
the Arawa skirmished with their foes, and drove them toward 
Otamarakau. Next day the invaders attempted to launch their 
fleet of about twenty war-canoes lying at the mouth of the 
Waitahanui. While so engaged the Arawa came upon them, 
drove them off, and seized the canoes ; some of the long waka- 
taua had broached to in the surf and were smashed. 

Next day (28th April) the pursuit was continued along the 
wide sandy beach called the Kaokaoroa (" Long Rib "), extending 
from Otamarakau to the mouth of the Awa-a-te-Atua River at 
Matata. The fight, lasting all day, raged over the sandhills and 
the kurnara and taro plantations between the sea and the high 
sandstone cliffs. The principal Arawa chiefs engaged, beside the 
energetic Pokiha Taranui, were the old warrior Tohi te Ururangi 
(also called Winiata Pekama, or " Wynyard Beckham "), Matene 
te Auheke, Te Waata Taranui, Te Mapu, Rota Rangihoro, 
Henare te Pukuatua, Te Araki te Pohu, Te Kohai Tarahina, 
Paora Pahupahu, and Kepa te Rangipuawhe : these men repre- 
sented all sections of the Arawa people. The arms used were 
chiefly old Tower muskets, flint-locks, and double- and single- 
barrel shot-guns. The porera bullets — twelve to the pound — 
fired from the Tower muskets inflicted smashing wounds. The 
Arawa had not at this time received Enfield rifles. 

The spot where the Tai-Rawhiti warriors made their final 
stand is near Pua-kowhai Stream, about two miles west of 
Matata. They took cover under the bank of a small water- 
course trending down through the cultivations of kurnara and 
maize. About four hundred of the enemy resisted the Arawa 
here, with others in reserve. The Ngati-Awa and Whakatohea 
fired heavy volleys from their double-barrel guns, but the Arawa, 
advancing in quick rushes after the volleys, got up within 30 feet 
of them. Then a daring chief, Paora Pahupahu, armed only 
with a taiaha, dashed at the enemy's line and cut his way 
through, followed by the advance-party of his tribe. Meanwhile 
Tohi te Ururangi, standing on a low sandhill nearer the sea, was 
directing the movements of his warriors, shouting and pointing 
with his taiaha, when a volley laid him low. The enemy broke 


and fled. Most of them retreated along the beach ; Hira te 
Popo, of Ngati-Ira, from Waioeka, Opotiki, and his detachment 
of the war-party escaped up a gully on the cliff-side. About 
fifty of the rebels were killed in this fight. The Arawa 
closely pursued the fugitives, and killed Te Ringa-matoru and 
several other chiefs of the Whakatohea on the sandhills near 
the place where the Matata Railway-station now stands. Te 
Arawa carried their wounded chief Tohi to the Pua-kowhai 
Stream, and he died there that evening. In revenge for his 
death his widow shot Te Aporotanga, a chief of the Whakatohea, 
who had been taken prisoner. 

The pursuit ended at Matata. The invaders retreated in 
canoes to Whakatane along the Orini River, running parallel 
with the coast and connecting the Awa-a-te-Atua with the 
Whakatane. The Orini, then a fine deep waterway, is no longer 
navigable. About half the flotilla of canoes in which the Tai- 
Rawhiti warriors came had been left at Matata in readiness for 
return. The Ngati-Rangitihi, the present owners of Matata, give 
the names of some of the war-canoes : the " Tu-mata-uenga," a 
very large waka-taua belonging to Ngati-Porou ; the " Uekaha," 
" Whanga-paraoa," " Tararo," and " Urunga-Kahawai." All the 
canoes were decorated in warlike fashion and bore carved figure- 

Te Kauru Moko, a venerable fighting-man of the Urewera or 
Tuhoe, of Te Rewarewa Village, Ruatoki, stated (January, 1921) 
that the Tuhoe and Ngai-Tama company of the Kingite con- 
tingent numbered sixty. Te Kauru and Netana Whakaari, of 
Waimana — -both tattooed warriors of the almost extinct type 
— are two of the very few survivors of this war-party ; both 
fought at Maketu and the Kaokaoroa. The late Tamaikowha, 
of Waimana, was also in the company ; others were Hira Tauaki 
(Te Kauru's brother), Paora Whenuwhenu, Te Whakaunua, and 
Turoa Tuhua. The Urewera joined the contingent contrary to 
the counsel of their tohnnga, Te Kaho (father of Te Tupara Kaho, 
of Ruatoki), who prophesied their defeat if they attacked the 



In January, 1864, the Government decided upon the despatch 
of a military force to Tauranga. The reason which prompted 
this measure was the knowledge that Tauranga was the route 
for the Kingites from the East Coast to the Waikato, that the 
Ngai-te-Rangi and other local tribes were hostile to the Govern- 
ment and had sent men to engage in the South Auckland 
fighting, that the principal native store of gunpowder was in 
rear of Tauranga, and that the district was an important source 
of supply of both food and munitions of war to the people of 
Waikato. Captain Jenkins, of H.M.S. " Miranda," was requested 
to institute a blockade of Tauranga in order to prevent traffic 
with the tribes of that part of the coast ; and a body of troops 
commanded by Colonel Greer was landed at Te Papa, near the 
mission station on Tauianga Harbour. Two redoubts were built ; 
one of these, the Monmouth Redoubt, stands on the Taumata- 
Kahawai cliff on the Tauranga waterfront. When the force was 
landed most of the Ngai-te-Rangi were away with Tamehana in 
the pa Te Tiki o te Ihingarangi, on the Upper Waikato, and 
were awaiting an attack there when the news arrived that their 
home-country had been invaded. Hurrying back, they began the 
erection of fortifications to withstand the British. The majority 
of the Ngai-te-Rangi selected a strong position at Waoku (" The 
Silent Woods"), on the edge of the great forest which extends 
from the hinterland of Tauranga towards Rotorua. The site 
was close to the Waimapu River, and a short distance to the 
east of the present Rotorua-Tauranga main road on the table- 
land overlooking the Bay of Plenty. Waoku was an ancient 
earthwork renovated and palisaded. Other sections of the tribe 
and the Piri-Rakau (" The People who Cling to the Bush ") took 
up positions at Kaimai, Poripori, Wairoa, and Tawhiti-nui. The 
last-named place was a palisaded pa on a steep hill above the track 
from Te Puna, on the inner part of Tauranga, up to the forest 
at Whakamarama and Irihanga ; the hill is immediately over 
the right-hand side of the present road going inland. This was 
the stronghold of the chief Te Moana-nui. The top of the hill 
was levelled and enclosed by a scarped rampart and a double 

I 1 - 


timber stockade. Te Moana-nui, who had come from Matakana 
Island, had constructed the fort in the hope that the soldiers 
would come out and attack him, but his labour was for nothing. 
Besides about seventy Ngai-te-Rangi, there were thirty of the 
Koheriki at Tawhiti-nui ; these were the roving warriors, with 
one or two women, who had fought the Forest Rangers in the 
Wairoa hills the previous year. 

When the main stronghold at Waoku had been completed the 
chief Rawiri Tuaia (otherwise Puhirake), who afterwards fell at 
Te Ranga, wrote a letter to the British General at Tauranga, 
informing him that he and his people had built a pa and had 
made a road up to it from the harbour — the distance was ten 
or eleven miles — so that the soldiers would not be too weary 
to fight (" kei ngenge te hoia ") when they reached it. To this 
knightly challenge Rawiri, to his disappointment, received no 
reply. Becoming weary of waiting, Ngai-te-Rangi decided to 
move nearer to the troops and to take the aggressive. A pa 

Tauranga Harbour 

Cross- section. 

Sketch-plan, J. C, IQ20.] 

The Monmouth Redoubt, Tauranga. 

was fortified at Poteriwhi, on the Wairoa, and a letter equivalent 
to a challenge was also sent from there. The chiefs — among 
whom was Henare Taratoa (Ngati-Raukawa), who had been the 
teacher in charge of the mission school at Otaki — drew up a code 
of regulations for the conduct of the fighting. It was agreed 
that barbarous customs should not be practised, that the wounded 
should be spared, and the dead not mutilated ; also that non- 
combatants or unarmed persons should not be harmed. These 
regulations were put into writing ; the document was found by 
the troops a few weeks later in the trenches at Te Ranga. 

As there was no sign of the British accepting the challenge 
to march inland, the Ngai-te-Rangi, after some of their advance 
skirmishers had exchanged shots with the soldiers near Te Papa, 
decided to move down closer to the troops. In April, 1864, they 
occupied and fortified a position on the Puke-hinahina ridge, 
two miles from the Tauranga Landing. The place was called 
' The Gate " by the Europeans at Tauranga, because on this 


spot, the crown of the ridge, there was a gateway through a post- 
and-rail fence and ditch and bank which ran across the hill from 
swamp to swamp. The fence was on the boundary-line between 
the European and Native land, and had originally been built 
by the Maoris to block the way against pakeha trespassers. The 
Church Mission authorities had then arranged with the Maoris 
that a gateway should be made where the track passed along the 
spur, so that carts could go in and out, and it was from the 
circumstance of Rawiri's fort being built at this spot that it came 
to be called the " Gate Pa." 

The trench and bank of the fence-line were enlarged, and on 
the summit — where the little memorial church stands to-day, by 
the roadside — the Ngai-te-Rangi built their redoubt. The land 
sloped quickly on either side to the swamps that run up from 
the tidal arms of Tauranga Harbour, the Waimapu and the 
Waikareao. Timber was scarce there, and so the palisading 
was of the frailest — manuka stakes, tupakihi, and even korari or 
flax-sticks, with some posts and rails from a settler's stockyard 
and fences near the British camp. Trenches were dug and 
traversed against enfilading fire, underground ruas were made 
for shelter against shell-fire, and covered ways connected inner 
and outer trenches and rifle-pits. The main redoubt, in the 
form of a rough oblong, was on the highest part of the neck 
of land ; on its left flank (the western side) the defences were 
continued by the construction of a smaller pa, which was not 
completed when the attack was delivered. The irregular line 
of fence along the whole front gave a fictitious appearance of 
strength to the position. The main pa, separated from the lower 
one by a ditch and parapet, was garrisoned by about two hundred 
warriors of Ngai-te-Rangi with a few men of the Piri-Rakau 
and other tribes. The small pa was occupied by the partv of 
Koheriki, under Wi Koka, of Maraetai, who had been in Tawhiti- 
nui after leaving the Waikato. With them were about ten men 
of various tribes, chiefly Piri-Rakau. This wing of the Gate Pa 
was defended by not more than forty men, besides a brave young 
half-caste woman, Heni te Kiri-karamu (Heni Pore), already men- 
tioned as having shared in the bush adventures of the Koheriki 
in the Wairoa Ranges ; so that the total garrison of Puke-hina- 
hina did not exceed two hundred and fifty. 

Women as well as men toiled in the building of the fort, 
but the women were sent safely away to the villages in rear, 
by Rawiri's order, before the fighting began. The only excep- 
tion made was in the case of Heni te Kiri-karamu. She refused 
to leave her brother Neri, whom she had accompanied all 
through the war ; moreover, she could use a gun and was 
recognized as a fighting- woman, so she was permitted to remain 
by her brother's side. 

4 i4 


Plan of the Attack on the Gate Pa. 
(29th April, 1864.) 


A demand had been made by Colonel Greer that the Ngai- 
te-Rangi should cease their hostilities and give up their guns. 
To this demand Rawiri replied, " E kore an e whakaae kia hoatu 
akn pu ; engari ka aea atu koe a ka paraknhi au ki Te Papa" 
(" I cannot consent to give up my guns, but if you so wish I 
shall take breakfast with you in Te Papa"). It was Rawiri's 
half-jocular way of announcing his intention of attacking the 
British camp. 

The Maoris soon discovered the reason for the apparent 
reluctance of the British commander to attack. He had been 
awaiting reinforcements from Auckland. General Cameron 
arrived at Tauranga on the 21st April in H.M.S. " Esk," and 
established his headquarters at Te Papa. H.M.S. " Falcon," as 
well as the " Esk," brought reinforcements, and towards the 
end of April the General considered he had sufficient forces to 
march against the fortification challenging his front. On the 
27th and 28th April Genera] Cameron moved his troops and 
guns forward to Pukereia Hill, about 1,200 yards from the pa. 
On the night of the 28th Colonel Greer, with the 68th Regiment, 
numbering about seven hundred, moved across the swamp below 
the pa on the east side, and under cover of the darkness and 
rain took up a position well in rear of the native lines. A 
detachment of the Naval Brigade from the warships " Miranda," 
" Esk," and " Falcon," under Lieutenant Hotham (afterwards 
Admiral), joined the 68th ; and the forces in rear were disposed 
so as to cut off the Maoris' retreat. In order to divert the 
natives' attention from the rear a feigned attack had been made 
on the front on the 28th. 

The troops employed in the attack on the following day 
totalled about 1,650 officers and men, made up of a Naval 
Brigade of about 420, fifty Royal Artillery, 300 of the 43rd 
Regiment, and 700 of the 68th, besides 180 of a movable 
column consisting of detachments of the 12th, 14th, 40th, and 
65th Regiments. 

Soon after daybreak on the morning of the 29th the guns 
and mortars assembled at Pukereia opened fire on the entrench- 
ment. The batteries were the heaviest used in the war of 
1863-64 — extraordinarily heavy, indeed, when the really weak 
character of the defences is considered. The artillery employed 
consisted of a no-pounder Armstrong gun, two 40-pounder and 
two 6-pounder Armstrongs, two 24-pounder howitzers, two 8-inch 
mortars, and six Coehorn mortars. The fire was directed chiefly 
against the left angle of the main redoubt, in order to make a 
breach for an assaulting-party. About noon a 6-pounder Arm- 
strong was taken across an arm of the Kopurererua Swamp by 
means of laying down fascines and planks, and was hauled up 
to a position on the hill above. This enabled an enfilading fire 


to be delivered on the Maoris' left flank. The frail stockade 
soon began to vanish before the storm of projectiles, and the 
earth of the parapets was sent flying in showers. In rear of 
the main pa the Kingite flag was displayed on a tall flagstaff. 
Many shots were directed at it by the gunners, and some of the 
shells, passing over the fort, fell close to the 68th lines in the 

Rawiri strode fearlessly up and down the parapets encourag- 
ing his people. " Kia u, kia u," he cried ; " kaore e tae mat 
te pakeha ! " ("Stand fast, stand fast; the white men will not 
reach us ! ") When the big guns opened fire on the pa he 
called, addressing the artillery," Tena, tena, e mahi i to mahil " 
(" Go on, go on, with your work ! "). To his tribesmen he cried 
reassuringly, in the height of the cannonade, " Ko te manawa- 
rere, ko te manawa-rere, kia u, kia u!" ("Trembling hearts, be 
firm, be firm ! ") 

" The very first cannon-shot," narrated the warrior woman. 
Heni Pore, " killed two of our people. Before the shot was fired 
we had begun our morning service — we had prayer according to 
the ritual of the Church of England morning and night — and 
our lay reader, Hori, was in the act of pronouncing the final 
blessing when the shell was sent into us. I was standing by 
the side of the trench, with Hori on one side of me and another 
native minister named Iraihia te Patu-witi ('Elijah the Wheat- 
thresher ') on the other side. Just below me in the trench 
crouched Timoti te Amopo, our old tohunga ; he was not joining 
in the prayers, but was intently watching the big gun. Hori 
was uttering the final words of the prayer, ' Kia tan iho ki 
runga ki a tatou katoa ' (asking that the blessing of Christ might 
rest upon all of us), when suddenly old Timoti caught hold of 
my dress and pulled me down into the trench. Next moment the 
two men with whom I had been standing were killed by the 
shell from the big gun. Timoti had dragged me down instantly 
he saw the flash. Our chaplain, Hori, was terribly mutilated ; 
he was unrecognizable. Iraihia te Patu-witi, too, was killed on 
the instant. But the shell did not burst on striking them. It 
went right into our hangi, about 10 yards in the rear, and the 
next moment we saw the potatoes we had scraped flying high 
in the air, all over the place. We heard the soldiers laughing 
and cheering at the sight. They had all been watching the 
effect of the first shot, and when the}'' saw the potatoes flying 
in the air they thought it was white feathers that this bursting 
shell had scattered. Only by an instant had I escaped death. 

" We did not pull trigger for some time after this," con- 
tinued Heni. "When some of the infantry had advanced within 
range we all fired a volley together, at Rawiri 's order ' Puhia.' 
I fired several shots. It took some time to load, as the trench 



was not deep and we had to crouch down to ram home the 
charge, so that we should not be exposed." 

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon the breach at the left angle 
of the main work was considered large enough for the entrance 


of a storming-party, and General Cameron ordered an assault. 
The storming-party consisted of 150 seamen and marines, under 
Commander Hay, of H.M.S. " Harrier," and an equal number 
of the 43rd Regiment, under Lieut. -Colonel H. G. Booth. The 
14 — X.Z. Wars. 


stormers advanced four abreast — two sailors and two soldiers. 
Major Ryan's movable column was extended close to the front 
of the pa to keep down the fire from the rifle-pits, with 
orders to follow the assaulting column. The rest of the Naval 
Brigade and the 43rd Regiment, totalling about three hundred 
men, followed as a reserve. At the same time the 68th Regi- 
ment, warned by a rocket sent up as a signal for the assault, 
moved up closer to the rear of the pa and opened a heavy fire. 

The venerable Heni now tells the story of the assault : — 

" Some soldiers," she said, "attempted to storm our wing of 
the pa, while the bluejackets attacked the centra] redoubt. 
Colonel Booth was the officer who commanded the attack on 
our defences ; of course we did not know who it was until long 
afterwards. The top rail of our fence had been smashed bv 
the shells, and the officer leading came over this, and leaped 
the trench, sword in hand. He was thrusting at our men with 
his sword. We all jumped out of our trenches to meet the 
assault, and then there was a terrible combat hand to hand. 
Some of our men were firing, some were using their tomahawks, 
others the butt ends of their guns. My brother and I were 
side by side. Not many soldiers got into the section of trench 
where we fought. I did not club my gun, but jumped into the 
trench again and was loading when the troops were driven out, 
leaving their leader and several men lying wounded within our 
lines. The Maoris rushed out of the pa and fired upon the 
soldiers and bluejackets, who fell back in disorder. Wi Koka, 
leading us, was using a long-handled tomahawk. The officer, 
whom we afterwards learned was Colonel Booth, was felled by 
a young man named Piha, one of our Koh'eriki. When the 
Colonel fell, 8 or 10 yards in rear of our front trench, Piha 
stooped down over him and took the sword which the officer 
held out to him, and also took a watch from him. He 
afterwards said he wanted a watch or a ring as a trophy, 
and he intended to kill the Colonel, but before he could do so 
the order was given to man the trenches again. 

" We had all gone outside the fence in the excitement of the 
battle, following the retreating soldiers, when we were recalled, 
and firing began again. I fired several shots after we re-entered 
the ditch. All this time there was a cloud of gunpowder- 
smoke over the pa, and a small drizzly rain began to fall. It 
seemed to be almost dark." 

In the meantime the greater number of the storming-party 
had rushed cheering into the left angle of the main redoubt, 
and a desperate combat was waged. Navy cutlass met long- 
handled tomahawk — tapara was clubbed to counter bayonet 
and rifle. Skulls were cloven — Maoris were bayoneted — Ngai- 
te-Rangi tomahawks bit into pakeha limbs. The defenders, 
forced back by the first rush of the Naval Brigade, weie 


temporarily dispossessed of the greater part of the pa, but at 
the rear they were driven back again by the heavy fire of the 
68th Regiment, a fire which probably was fatal to some of the 
troops as well as the Maoris themselves. 

This was the critical moment that decided the battle. The 
Maoris, driven back in the rear, met the sailors and soldiers, 
who were confused by the intricate character of the works with 
their crooked trenches and roofed-over pits. Many of the 
officers had been shot down in the first charge, and sailors 
and soldiers were crowded together, striking at their foes, but 
hampered by the restricted space and the maze of entrenchment. 
It was terrible work, but soon over. The stormers fell back in 
confusion before the bullets and the tomahawks of the garrison. 
The Naval reserves, under Captain Hamilton, of the " Esk," 
made an heroic effort to stay the panic, but the commander 
was shot on the top of the outer parapet when calling on his 
men to advance, and the whole force rushed down the glacis. 

Commander Hay was mortally wounded, and nearly every 
other officer fell. Four captains of the 43rd lay close to each 
other just within the pa. lieutenant Hill, of H.M.S. " Curacoa " 
— the senior officer saved from the wreck of H.M.S. " Orpheus " 
at the Manukau in 1863 — was shot when he had reached the 
centre of the fort. More than a hundred of the assaulting 
column were casualties, and the glacis and the interior of the 
pa were strewn with dead or dying. The Maoris suffered too, 
but not so severely. 

The defenders of Puke-hinahina treated the wounded British 
with a humanity and chivalry that surprised their foes. With 
few exceptions, they did not despoil them of anything but 
their arms and such articles as naval officers' telescopes ; they 
did not tomahawk them after they had fallen, and they gave 
water to the wounded lying in their lines. Heni te Kiri-karamu, 
a blend of Amazon and vivandiere, was as compassionate as she 
was brave. It was she who under fire gave water to Colonel 
Booth, a deed that has wrongly been attributed to a man 
named Te Ipu. Asked for her narrative of this incident, Heni 
said : — 

"I was in the firing-trench when I heard the wounded officer 
lying in our lines calling for water. There were other wounded 
soldiers distressed for want of water. When I heard these cries 
I could not resist them. The sight of the foe with their life- 
blood flowing from them seemed to elate some of our warriors, 
but I felt a great pity for them, and I remembered also a rule 
that had been made amongst us that if any person asked for 
any service to be performed the request must not be refused ; 
it would be an aitua to ignore it — that is, neglect to complv 
would bring misfortune. So I rose up from the trench, slung 



"fi -* 

* '■$■ 
m o 



^ CO 

« g ft 

5 ^ 


my gun, and was about to run back to the cooking-place where 
we kept our water when my brother asked me where I was going. 
I told him that I heard the dying men crying for water and I 
could not disobey the call. He said not a word, but stood with 
his gun-butt planted on the ground and his hands gripping the 
muzzle, and watched me earnestly while I ran to fetch the water. 
I had to go about 10 yards to the rear of the trench, and as 
our fence was almost demolished I was in view of the troops. 
I found that a small tin in which I had some water had been 
capsized, but that there was still the iron nail-can full. It was 
so heavy that I had to spill about half of it before I could 
conveniently carry it to the soldiers. I carried it in my arms 
to where the Colonel was lying. I did not know then that he 
was a colonel, but I could tell by his uniform that he was a 
senior officer. He was the nearest of the soldiers to me. I 
went down by his side, took his head on my knees, and said 
' Here's water ' in English. I poured some of the water in one 
hand which I held close to his lips so that he could drink. He 
said ' God bless you,' and drank again from my hand. I went 
to the three other soldiers and gave them water one by one 
in the same way. Then, placing the nail-can so that it would 
not spill, I ran back to the trench.'"* 

Evening had now descended on the battlefield. The Kohe- 
riki discovered that Ngai-te-Rangi, after repulsing the bluejackets, 
had abandoned their pa, having exhausted their ammunition. 
The left-wing defenders concluded, therefore, that the wisest 
course for them also was to retire. Their position was a very 
weak one, and was sure to be stormed next day, as there were 
so few to hold it, and the artillery had so thoroughly battered 
the defences. So that night, under cover of the darkness, 
they took to the Kopurererua Swamp on their left. Before 
leaving, Heni gave another drink to the mortally wounded 
officer, and left the water-can by his side. As for Ngai-te- 
Rangi, they had retreated in good spirits, after collecting arms 
and accoutrements from the British dead and wounded, 
broke into small parties and made their way skilfully through 

* It was not until the year 1S67, when Heni and her husband were 
keeping the Travellers' Rest Hotel at Maketu, that she learned the 
identity of the officer to whom she had given water. " Colonel St. John 
came to the hotel one day," said Heni, " and asked to see me. Seizing 
my hand he said, ' I did not know until lately that it was you who gave 
water to my dear friend Colonel Booth at the Gate Pa.' Then he told me 
that Colonel Booth, when dying in the hospital at Te Papa, informed the 
surgeon, Dr. Manley, that it was a Maori woman who spoke English that 
gave him water. Long after the war a friend sent me a picture by a New 
Zealand artist showing a man with a calabash carrying water to Colonel 
Booth. It amused me, for besides the mistake about the man there was 
no calabash, but an old iron nail-can." 

15 — X'.Z. Wars. 


the lines of the 68th. The soldiers fired on them, but the 
garrison escaped with only a few wounded. They travelled 
inland to the Waoku pa, and thence dispersed to their various 
stations along the edge of the forest ; and the Koheriki, after 
many adventures, made their way inland to Poripori. 

The British casualties numbered more than one-third of the 
total force composing the storming - party. Ten officers were 
killed or died from wounds, and four were wounded ; of non- 
commissioned officers and privates twenty-one were killed and 

Hori Ngatai, of Tauranga. 

(Died 1912.) 

Hori Ngatai, head of the Ngai-te-Rangi Tribe, was an excellent type 
of the Maori chief and warrior of the past generation. In 1863 he and some 
of his tribe fought at Meremere, on the Waikato River, and at Otau, Wairoa 
South. He was one of the defenders of the Gate Pa, and in 1901 described 
the battle to the writer of this History. In his later years Hori Ngatai 
worthily led his tribe in the farming industry at Whareroa, Tauranga 
Harbour. At one time he was the largest grower of wheat and maize at 

seventy-six wounded ; total killed and wounded, in officers 
and men. 

The 43rd Regiment lost their colonel, four captains, and one 
lieutenant killed, and a lieutenant and two ensigns severely 
wounded. Among the killed were two brothers, Captain and 


Lieutenant Glover. Nearly all the Naval Brigade officers were 
killed or wounded. The official return of officers killed and 
wounded was as follows : — 

Naval Brigade : Killed — Captain Hamilton, H.M.S. " Esk " 
Lieutenant Hill (late of "Orpheus"), H.M.S. " Cura<;oa " ; Mr 
Watts, gunner H.M.S. " Miranda." Wounded — -Commander Hay 
(abdomen, mortally), H.M.S. " Harrier " ; Lieutenant Hammick 
(shoulder, severe), H.M.S. " Miranda " ; Lieutenant Duff (back, 
two places, severe), H.M.S. " Esk." 

43rd Regiment : Killed — ■ Captain R. C. Glover (head) ; 
Captain C. R. Muir (or Mure) (tomahawk, right axilla) ; Captain 
R. T. Hamilton (head) ; Captain A. E. Utterton (neck) ; 
Lieutenant C. J. Langlands (chest). Wounded — -Lieut. -Colonel 
Booth (spine and right arm, mortally) ; Lieutenant T. G. E. 
Glover (abdomen, mortally) ; Ensign W. Clark (right arm, severe) ; 
Ensign S. P. T. Nicholl (scalp, slight). 

A bluejacket named Samuel Mitchell, captain of the foretop 
of H.M.S. " Harrier," was recommended for the Victoria Cross 
for carrying Commander Hay, who was mortally wounded, out 
of the pa. 

The Maori losses in killed totalled about twenty-five, 
including the Ngai-te-Rangi chiefs Te Reweti, Eru Puhirake, 
Tikitu, Te Kani, Te Rangihau, and Te Wharepouri. Te Moana-nui 
received three gunshot-wounds. Te Ipu was another warrior 
badly wounded. Te Reweti received six or seven bullet-wounds 
and had his legs broken. 

The Trenches at Te Ranga. 

During May the troops, with Captain Pye's Colonial Defence 
Force Cavalry in advance, took possession of the Maoris' aban- 
doned rifle-pits and settlements on the Wairoa Stream. A portion 
of the British force, with the warships (excepting the " Harrier ") 
returned to Auckland. The Ngai - te - Rangi meanwhile had 
received reinforcements from Rotorua, including some of the 
Ngati-Rangiwewehi, of Puhirua and Awahou villages — a sept of 
the Arawa who declined to fall in line with the rest of the tribe 
and espouse the British cause — and also a party of fifty warriors 
of the Ngati-Hinekura and Ngati-Tamatea-tutahi hapus of Ngati- 
Pikiao, from Rotoiti. In addition, there was a war-party 
of Ngati-Porou, chiefly the Whanau - ia - Hinerupe hapu, from 
Pukemaire, in the Waiapu Valley, East Cape. These determined 
warriors were headed by Hoera te Mataatai. In June the 
Kingites resolved to force another trial of strength with the 
Queen's troops, and a position was taken up on the prolonga- 
tion of the Puke-hinahina ridge, about three miles inland from 
the Gate Pa. At this place, Te Ranga, the natives entrenched 
themselves, but were observed by a British reconnoitring-party 
before they had completed the fortifications. The main track 




inland to Oropi passed along this long leading ridge — the presenl 
road from Tauranga via Pye's Pa follows the same route — and 
Ngai-te-Rangi selected the narrowest part for their entrem h- 
ments. On either side of this strategic highway to the interior 
the ground fell steeply to undulating partly wooded valleys and 
swamps with watercourses ; the descent on the east, the natives' 
right flank, was very abrupt. Across this narrow neck the 
Kingites constructed their line of trench, with some flanking 
rifle-pits on the right front on the edge of the gully. The ridge- 
top was level of surface. The advance from the coast was along 
a gentle inclined plane. 

On the 21st June a strong reconnoitring column, under 
Colonel Greer, advancing along the leading ridge from the Gate 
Pa, found the Maoris hard at work on their entrenchments. 
They were not given time to complete the formidable pa 
contemplated. Colonel Greer decided to attack at once. He- 
had a force of about six hundred men, composed of detachments 
of the 43rd Regiment, under Major Synge, the 68th, under 
Major Shuttleworth, and the 1st Waikato Militia, under Captain 
Moore. Sending back to the camp for reinforcements and an 
Armstrong gun, the British commander threw out skirmishers 
and engaged the native outposts, then opened a heavy fire on 
the defenders of the trenches. The 43rd and a portion of the 
68th were sent out on either side, and kept up a flanking fire. 
After about two hours of this fighting from cover the gun and 
the infantry reinforcements arrived in support. Colonel Greer 
then ordered an assault. At the bugle-sound of the " Charge " 
the 43rd, 68th, and 1st Waikatos advanced cheering, and in a 
very few minutes had cleared the trenches at the point of the 
bayonet. Colonel Greer in his report said they carried the rifle- 
pits " in the most dashing manner." They charged over the 
level glacis under a very heavy fire from the Kingite double-barrel 
guns, but the casualties were comparatively small, as most of 
the Maoris fired too high. The Ngai-te-Rangi and their allies 
fought like old heroes. They stood up to meet the bayonet 
charge unflinchingly, and as they had no time to reload they 
used gun-butt and tomahawk with desperate bravery. There were 
many hand-to-hand encounters. Even after being bayoneted 
some of the Maoris felled their foemen with their tomahawks. 
But the Kingite valour was of no avail before that rush with the 
bayonet. Scores of warriors went down under the steel, and 
the survivors broke for the cover of the gullies and swamps in 
the rear. The Colonial Defence Force Cavalry followed them for 
several miles, but the country was difficult for mounted work. 

The British casualties in this short and sharp affair, the final 
battle of the campaign, were thirteen privates of the 43rd and 
68th killed, and six officers and thirty-three non-commissioned 
officers and privates wounded. The 43rd and their comrades 


exacted a terrible vengeance for their defeat at the Gate Pa. 
Quite 120 Maoris were killed, more than half of them with the 

Ambulance v x 

Te Ranoj a. 


Hill ^il^ 

SOO Yds 


Defence force. 





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Plan of the Attack on Te Ranga Entrenchments. 
(21st June, 1864.) 

bayonet ; the rest were shot as they fell back gallantly fighting. 
Rawiri Puhirake, the commander at the Gate Pa, and Henare 
Taratoa, the Otaki mission teacher who had helped to frame 



the chivalrous fighting code, were among the killed. On Henare's 
body was found the " order of the day " for combat, beginning 
with a prayer and ending with the words in Maori, from 
Romans xii, 20 : " If thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, 
give him to drink." The small Ngati-Porou contingent resisted 
to the death ; thirty of the party were killed. The contingent 
of fifty of Ngati - Pikiao from the Lake Rotoiti settlements 
fell almost to a man. The Ngati-Rangiwewehi war-party also 
suffered very severely, and their losses at Te . Ranga that day 
greatly influenced the survivors of the clan towards Pai-marire 

From a photo about, i860.] 

Henare Taratoa. 
(Killed at Te Ranga. 

when that fanatic faith reached the lakes country and the East 

Two British soldiers were recommended for the Victoria Cross 
for their valour in the charge at Te Ranga. One was Captain 
Smith, of the 43rd, who led the right of the advance and 
received two wounds ; the other was Sergeant Murray, of the 
68th, who killed a Maori about to tomahawk a corporal who had 
just run him through with his bayonet. 

A number of the Maori wounded died in hospital at Te 
Papa. The natives killed on the field were laid out in three 



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long rows — thirty in one row, thirty -three in another, and 
thirty-four in another. They were buried in the rifle-pits, their 
self-dug graves. Others were buried where they fell when re- 
treating. Several years later the remains of the gallant patriot 
Rawiri Puhirake were reinterred in the military cemetery at 
Tauranga, by the side of his adversary Lieut. -Colonel Booth, 
killed at the Gate Pa. This tribute to an heroic and knightly 
foe was a measure of the general admiration exhibited by the 
British for their Ngai-te-Rangi antagonists. The Tauranga tribes 
surrendered soon after Te Ranga, and the friendliest relations 
were established between the fighters of the two races, who 
esteemed each other for the courage and the humanity which 
had distinguished the whole conduct of the brief campaign. 


Possibly it was the finding of the Maori " order of the day " on Henare 
Taratoa's body that gave rise to the report, so widely published, that it was 
he who gave water to Lieut. -Colonel Booth and other wounded soldiers on the 
repulse of the British attack on the Gate Pa. Heni Pore says she was not 
aware at that time of the code framed by Taratoa and his fellow-chiefs. 
In the private chapel of the Bishop's palace in Lichfield, England, there is 
a painted window (placed there by the first Bishop Selwyn) commemorating 
the Gate Pa incident attributed to Henare Taratoa. There is no doubt of 
Henare's chivalry and high-mindedness, but it is Heni Pore who rightly 
deserves the credit of this specific deed of humanity in the lines at Puke- 
hinahina. The episode offers an inspiring historical subject for some of 
our New Zealand artists. 

The present main road from Tauranga to Rotorua cuts through the 
centre of the Gate Pa works, at a distance of two miles from the town ; and 
the road inland via Pye's Pa — the most direct route to Oropi and Rotorua 
— also traverses the centre of the entrenchments at Te Ranga. A little 
memorial church stands by the roadside on the spot once occupied by the 
trenches of Ngai-te-Rangi at the Gate Pa, but there is nothing to inform 
the passer-by as to the site of the defences. On the crown of the Puke- 
hinahina Hill behind the church the lines of the British redoubt erected in 
1864 on the remains of the Maori pa arc still well marked. The trench and 
fence on the west side of the road, above the Kopurererua Swamp, indicate 
the position of the left wing held by the small Koheriki party. 

At Te Ranga, alongside the road, there are the remains of the trenches 
in which more than a hundred Maoris were buried. The road passes 
through the levelled lines; on each hand, but chiefly on the left, going 
inland, are the depressions indicating the rifle-pits and ditches of the works. 
In a paddock on the edge of the sudden descent to the valley, a few yards 
east of the road, there are trenches overgrown with gorse and fern; these 
formed the Maori right flank. A Maori monument is to be erected to mark 
the sacred spot where so many gallant warriors fell. 

End of Volume I. 
16— N.Z. Wars. 



(Chapter I.) 

Early Military Operations in New Zealand. 

The first occasion on which British forces came into conflict with Maori 
warriors (leaving out of consideration Captain Cook's trifling encounters) 
was the punitive expedition to the Taranaki coast in 1834, when H.M.S. 
" Alligator " and the schooner " Isabella," from Sydney, landed bodies of 
sailors and soldiers who had been sent to rescue Mrs. Guard and her 
two children captured when the barque " Harriet " was wrecked near 
Cape Egmont. The troops employed (besides the sailors) were sixty- 
five men of the 50th Regiment, under Captain Johnson. On the 8th 
October the forces landed on the beach near Waimate pa, on the south 
side of the Kapuni River, and fired heavily on the Maoris after securing 
the remaining child, little Jack Guard. A British flag of truce was flying at 
the time, but the troops got out of hand. After the sharp skirmishing the 
force escaladed the evacuated hill-fort Waimate, which had been shelled on the 
1st October, and also captured the pa Orangi-tuapeka, on the northern side 
of the Kapuni. On the nth October both fortified villages were destroyed. 

The first British troops stationed in New Zealand were 100 men of 
the 80th Regiment, under Major Bunbury, who arrived at Auckland from 
Sydney in 1840. 

In 1842, as the result of an outbreak of war between the Ngai-te-Rangi 
and Arawa Tribes in the Bay of Plenty — an aftermath, by a curious chain 
of circumstances, of Taraia's cannibal raid on Ongare, Whanake's pa on 
Katikati Harbour — a military expedition was despatched from Auckland to 
Tauranga. Two traders' boats had been seized, and as one of these was 
retained by the Arawa, of Maketu, it was proposed to attack that pa. 
Major Bunbury took fifty of his men, and was given three guns from H.M.S. 
" Tortoise," a store-ship loading kauri spars at the Great Barrier. The 
Government brig " Victoria " landed the small force at the entrance to 
Tauranga Harbour, and Bunbury encamped at Hopu-kiore, a short distance 
east of Mount Maunganui. Several weeks were spent there quietly, and 
then the expedition was withdrawn, after serving as a kind of buffer between 
the two tribes, which presently made peace. Lieutenant Bennett, R.E., 
had shortly before this examined and reported on a number of the Maori 
fortified positions at and around Tauranga. 

(Chapter IV.) 

The Fall of Kororareka. 

The authorities in Kororareka had timely warning of Heke's intended 
attack, but failed to profit by it. On the evening of the 10th March Mr. 
Gilbert Mair came across from Wahapu to Kororareka in his boat and 
warned the Police Magistrate (Mr. Beckham) that Heke intended attack- 
ing the town and the flagstaff next morning with four or five divisions. 
Mr. Mair's information was based upon an announcement made by Heke 
himself ; the Ngapuhi warriors had been assembling near Mair's place at 
Wahapu for three or four days previously. Heke invariably let his inten- 
tions be known, and invariably carried them out. Archdeacon Williams 
wrote to the Magistrate on the same day, saying, " I understand that the 
natives intend to make their attack in four divisions." In spite of these 
warnings, however, the surprise of the flagstaff blockhouse was complete. 



(Chapter IX.) 

The Capture of Rua-pekapeka. 

It is said that the principal damage to the smashed carronade (sketch, 
p. 75) mounted by Kawiti in Rua-pekapeka pa was caused many years after 
the war by some Europeans who amused themselves by exploding a charge 
of blasting-powder in it. 

(Chapter X.) 
The New Zealand Company's Purchases, Wellington. 

In the Land Claims Court held at Wellington in 1842 by Mr. Spain, 
the Imperial Government's Commissioner, Colonel Wakefield was asked, 
" Was it explained to the natives before they signed the deed that they 
were selling their pas, burying-grounds, and cultivated lands contained 
within the boundaries specified in the deed ? " 

The answer was : " The expression made use of was that they were 
selling all the land within those boundaries, but that reserves would be 
made for them ; there was no special mention made as to their pas, burial- 
grounds, and cultivated lands." 

Mr. Spain, in his report on the Port Nicholson lands (1st March, 1845), 
criticized the manner in which the deed had been interpreted to the Maoris 
by Richard Barrett. Spain asked Barrett to give exactly the terms in 
which he had explained to the natives the deed of purchase by the Company. 
He did so in Maori, which was translated literally into English by the Court 
interpreter, as follows : — 

" Listen, natives, all the people of Port Nicholson. This is a paper 
respecting the purchase of land of yours. This paper has the names of all 
the places of Port Nicholson. Understand, this is a good book. Listen, 
the whole of you natives to write your names in this book ; and the names 
of the places are Tararua [continuing on to the other side of Port Nicholson, 
to the name Parangarahu]. This is a book of the names of the channels 
and the woods, and the whole of them to write in this book, people and 
children, the land to ' Wideawake.' When people arrive from England 
it will show you your part, the whole of you." 

Barrett was afterwards asked, " Did you tell the natives who signed 
the deed that one-tenth of the land described should be reserved for the 
use of themselves and their families, or simply that the Europeans should 
have one portion of the land and the natives the other portion ? " His 
answer was, " No, I did not tell them that they would get one-tenth ; I 
said they were to get a certain portion of the land described, without 
describing what that portion was." 

" It appears to me," wrote Mr. Spain, " that this interpretation in 
explanation was not calculated to explain to the natives who were parties 
to the purchase-deed a correct idea of what lands that instrument purported 
to convey, or of the nature or extent of the reserves that had been made 
for their benefit, and this will in a great measure account for the very 
determined manner in which the natives generally in the district opposed 
the occupation of the lands by the Europeans, and denied the sale to 
Colonel Wakefield from the earliest period to the arrival of the settlers." 

The Karori Settlement, Wellington. 

The following is an extract from a letter written by Judge H. S. 
Chapman, Wellington, 24th July, 1846, to his father in England : — 

" The attack on the camp at the Hutt produced a good deal of alarm 
among the settlers, even in the town and elsewhere, and for several days 
even our quite neighbourhood [KaroriJ was agitated. A body of thirty- 
two Militia was enrolled ; twelve armed police were sent up, and other 


preparations made to prevent surprise and repel attack. This was some- 
thing, though not so well done as it might have been. Some of the settlers 
went into town, but we did not see any reason for so doing until 26th May, 
when I received an especial warning from Moturoa, a friendly chief of the 
Ngati-Awa, and from Hemi, another of the same tribe, that I had better 
go into town, as it had certainly been determined in Rangihaeata's pa 
to attack Karori. I have since learned that this was true — that it was 
discussed whether the attacks should be confined to the Hutt or be extended 
elsewhere, and Rangihaeata said it should be at Karori. I believe his 
policy was to send out parties of ten or twelve to plunder and murder in 
different directions, but I believe he has been restrained by the weakness 
of his own force, by the preparations everywhere made, and by the opposi- 
tion of his own followers. This last may be attributed to native custom 
being in favour of attacks on the Hutt, where he had a real quarrel and a 
real claim for satisfaction (utu), whereas he has no such claim elsewhere. 
Rauparaha claimed the merit of this, and I think it not unlikely that he 
may have used his influence in that direction, but I believe the chief opposi- 
tion was within the pa Wai-taingi-nui [Paua-taha-nui] . I know for certain 
that there is an old chief of the Ngati-Toa called Te Ra-ka-herea who joined 
his relation Rangihaeata from what the Natives called whakama — " cause 
(to be) white," or shame — that is, because all his relations being with Rangi, 
he felt whakama at not being with them ; but being at the same time not 
ill-disposed towards the pakehas, he has acted as a bridle on Rangi's angry 

" Karori is certainly the least likely place for an attack. It is far from 
Rangi's pa — the military station is between it and Karori in one direction, 
and other difficulties intervene ; still, I thought a diversion might be made 
here simultaneously with an attack on the Hutt. Then, all the settlers rely 
on me, and as I could not be sure that we were secure I could not feel 
justified in lulling the people into a feeling of security which might be 
fallacious. I therefore told all the settlers to send the women and children 
into town, which was done, and we followed in the evening." 

A party of sailors from H.M.S. " Calliope " went out to Karori to 
protect the property of Judge Chapman and other settlers. 

(Chapter XII.) 

Fort Paremata, Porirua. 

The stone barracks, two-storeyed, at Paremata, near the entrance to 
Porirua Harbour, were built 1846-47, and were enclosed in a stockade 
extending to the waterfront. The earthquakes of 1848 and 1855 reduced 
the building to a ruinous condition. It originally had one or more small 
cannon mounted for a time on its turrets or flanking works. The remains 
of the lower walls are to be seen from the railway-line at the Paremata 
Bridge over the entrance to Paua-taha-nui Inlet. 

(Chapter XIV.) 

The Name " Wanganui." 

" Whanganui," meaning the great bay or estuary, referring to the 
mouth of the river, is the correct spelling of the name usually now written 
" Wanganui." An alternative traditional meaning is " the place of long- 
waiting," in allusion to the necessity of waiting for low tide before crossing 
at the mouth. The " h " has been dropped in common usage, and it has 
therefore been deemed best to follow in this History the modern spelling in 
respect of the town and the river. The original form " Whanganui," however, 
has been retained when referring to the Maori tribes of the district. 


(Chapter XVI.) 
The Maori King Movement. 

Bishop G. A. Selwyn strongly sympathized with the Maori aspirations 
for self-government, which he considered were an indication of a desire 
for a better kind of government than that which they had. He thought 
the Maoris' desires might have been directed into lawful channels. " I 
never knew or read of any people," he told a Committee of the House of 
Representatives in 1863, " so entirely desirous of law as the New-Zealanders." 
In i860 Selwyn had sent Governor Gore Browne a memorandum in which 
he made the following important suggestions embodying a large measure 
of home rule for the Maoris : — 

" If the central district of the northern Island, including Waikato, 
Taupo, Rotorua, Opotiki, Waiapu, and Poverty Bay, were formed into 
one or more provinces, a simple system of elective and representative 
government, under immediate sanction of the Governor, might probably 
be brought into operation. The form of government, as in the Swiss 
cantons, need not be in all parts exactly the same, but might be adapted 
to the wishes and customs of particular tribes, provided that in all cases 
two fundamental points were adhered to — that the chief magistrates and 
councillors should be recommended by the tribe and confirmed by the 
Governor, and that all regulations made by them should require the 
Governor's assent. It would probably be found possible to bring these 
chief magistrates together in a general council, and many regulations 
made at such a meeting and assented to by the Governor might be held 
to be binding upon all the tribes. This system ought to rest at first upon 
voluntary compact, and rather to be offered as a boon than enforced 
by authority, because while the native people are thirsting for better 
government they are not without fear of oppression. The tone of some 
of the English newspapers has given them sufficient reason to expect the 
usual fate of a race assumed to be inferior." 

Selwyn, reviewing this proposal after three years, considered that such 
a scheme of government might either have absorbed the King move- 
ment or have allowed it to remain standing by itself in the midst of other 
and better systems carried on under the direction of the Government. 
He thought the Maori could have been moulded easily into any system 
that would elevate the race and tend to union and social amalgamation 
with the Europeans. It was most essential that there should be tribunals 
for land ; without them no system of government would be useful. 

Sir George Grey accepted some of Selwyn's ideas, and on his last 
visit to Ngaruawahia before the war, when he met the principal Kingite 
chiefs, with the exception of Tawhiao and Rewi, propounded a scheme of 
self-government in a last effort to reconcile the two races. Grey sum- 
marized the proposals in these words in a despatch some years after the 
war (27th October, 1869) to Earl Granville, Secretary of State for the 
Colonies : — 

Whilst large bodies of troops were in the country, and before the 
war commenced, I paid a visit to the Waikato tribes, who I believed were 
resolved upon a formidable outbreak. The whole of their principal chiefs 
met me, with the exception of the Maori King, who was ill ; and I, to 
those chiefs, with the full consent of my responsible advisers, offered to 
constitute all the Waikato and Ngati-Maniapoto country a separate pro- 
vince,, which would have the right of electing its own Superintendent, its 
own Legislature, and of choosing its own Executive Government — and, 
in fact, would have had practically the same powers and rights as any 
State of the United States has now. There could hardly have been a more 
ample and complete recognition of Maori authority, as the Waikato 
tribes would within their own district — a very large one — have had the 
exclusive control and management of their own affairs. This offer was. 


however, after full discussion and consideration, refused, on the ground 
they would accept no offer that did not involve an absolute recognition 
of the Maori King and his and their entire independen