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Full text of "Sixty years in New Zealand : stories of peace and war"




ALAN 








THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



s BOOKSHOP I m 



SIXTY YEARS IN NEW ZEALAND 




SIR DONALD MCLEAN 



SIXTY YEARS 
IN NEW ZEALAND 

STORIES OF PEACE AND WAR 



BY 

A. HOPE BLAKE 



WITH A FRONTISPIECE 



WELLINGTON, N.Z. 
GORDON AND GOTCH PTY., LTD. 

AUCKLAND, CHRISTCHURCH, AND DUNEDIN j 
MELBOURNE, SYDNEY, BRISBANE, PERTH, AND LONDON 

LONDON : HODDER AND STOUGHTON 




TO 
THE MEMORY OF 

THE LATE 
SIR DONALD McLEAN 

WHOSE WISE AND BENEFICENT MANAGEMENT 

OF NATIVE AFFAIRS 
FOR A PERIOD EXTENDING OVER THIRTY-FIVE YEARS 

CONDUCED SO MATERIALLY 

TO THE ULTIMATE PACIFICATION OF NEW ZEALAND 
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED 

BY 
THE AUTHOR 



637108 



PREFACE 

I HAVE been asked to write a preface to this 
book. It scarcely needs one. The author wears 
the New Zealand war medal, honourably won, and 
he has known the colony and its inhabitants for 
more than sixty years. He is, therefore, entitled 
to tell these tales of the early days. As one of the 
younger generation, I can only say that I have 
read them with keen interest. In some of them, 
simple as they are, the writers of a coming genera- 
tion may find the germ of a great story or a fine 
epic. 

Pakeha and Maori have long since been at peace, 
and now mount guard together on the outer ram- 
parts, ready, at any time, to spend money and blood 
in defence of our Empire to which each is proud to 
belong. We are friends again, and, as Kipling puts 
it " when we bring old fights to mind, we will not 
remember the sin." 

' ' Earth, where we rode to slay or be slain, 

Our love shall redeem unto life ; 
We will gather and lead to her lips again 

The waters of ancient strife, 
From far and fiercely guarded streams 

And the pools where we lay in wait, 
Till the corn cover over our evil dreams 

And the young corn our hate.'' 

MALCOLM ROSS 

NEW ZEALAND Correspondent of 

1909 " The Times" 



CONTENTS 

FADE 

CHAPTER I 
THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION .... 1 

CHAPTER II 
NIPPED IN THE BUD ...... 9 

CHAPTER III 
THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK ..... 20 

CHAPTER IV 

COLONISATION IN THE 'SIXTIES .... 28 

CHAPTER V 
"NoT TO BE BATE" 34 

CHAPTER VI 

MAORI PECULIARITIES . 38 



CHAPTER VII t 



THE BIG EARTHQUAKES . . . . .43 

ix 



x CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CHAPTER VIII 
EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 49 

CHAPTER IX 
GATE PAH AVENGED 59 

CHAPTER X 
THE UNSOPHISTICATED MAORI ..... 66 

CHAPTER XI 
IN CHASE OF TE KOOTI 70 

CHAPTER XII 

THE TRAGEDY AT "THE STAR" .... 78 

CHAPTER XIII 
HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI ..... 83 

CHAPTER XIV 
EARLY RECOLLECTIONS OF NEW ZEALAND. . . 93 

CHAPTER XV 
SOME REMARKS ON EXPLORATION . . . .100 

CHAPTER XVI 
A NIGHT OF HORROR . 106 



CONTENTS xi 

PAGE 

CHAPTER XVII 
A SHARK STORY . . . .* ,. . .. ... 112 

CHAPTER XVIII 
A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES . . .117 

CHAPTER XIX 
DANGEROUS DESERTERS . . . . . . 129 

CHAPTER XX 
MOUNTING GUARD 142 

CHAPTER XXI 

THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI . . . . . .148 

CHAPTER XXII 
MAORI PECULIARITIES . . . . . .159 

CHAPTER XXIII 

CHARACTERISTICS IN TRADE AND RELIGION -.. * 165 

CHAPTER XXIV 

A PIG-HUNT IN THE EARLY DAYS . . . 173 

CHAPTER XXV 
EXPECTING TE KOOTI 181 



xii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CHAPTER XXVI 

SOME MAORI AND FAKEHA NOTABLES . . .189 

CHAPTER XXVII 
REWI MANIOPOTO 197 

CHAPTER XXVTII 
PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 200 

CHAPTER XXIX 
SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 208 

CHAPTER XXX 
THE PAKEHA, THE MAORI, AND THE KURI . .216 

CHAPTER XXXI 
LARRY'S YARN 222 

CHAPTER XXXII 

A GREAT CANOE RACE AND BOMB FURTHER REMARKS 

ON MAORI CHARACTER . , 233 



CHAPTER I 
THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION 

SOME LOGICAL SAVAGES 

A RETROSPECTIVE glance at the visible effects 
of civilisation upon the Maoris during the last 
half-century discloses but little cause for congratu- 
lation at the success achieved. 

After so many years of toil and the expenditure 
of such vast sums of money upon sacred literature, 
educational reserves, etc., what is the result ? 
In the 'sixties we find them one of the most 
noble and intellectual of savage races despite the 
thirty years of missionary teaching, more savage, 
vindictive, and treacherous than when first ob- 
served. 

In 1844 Hone Heke, in violation of the celebrated 
Treaty of Waitangi, took up arms against the 
Queen's authority. At Kororareka (now Russell), 
to this day, may be seen a melancholy memento 
of the first Maori war the little plot where the 
remains of New Zealand's first defenders are laid, 
their brave deeds commemorated by some loving 



2 THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION 

hand in the lines inscribed on the stone that marks 
their last resting-place : 

" The warlike of the Isles, 

The men of field and waves, 
Are not the rocks their funeral piles, 
The sea and shore their graves ? 

Go, stranger, track the deep, 
Free, free, the white sail spread ; 

Wave may not foam nor wild wind sweep 
Where rest not British dead." 

Hone Heke, by a clever ruse, captured the 
blockhouse. Some few were killed in its defence, 
and the signalman's wife and daughter were taken 
prisoners. Yet this Maori warrior, this leader of 
savages, with a natural spirit of chivalry worthy of a 
knight of the Crusades, caused the prisoners to be 
conducted with every token of honour and respect, 
to their Pakeha friends, saying, "We fight men, 
not women." 

This incident speaks volumes in favour of the 
Aboriginal of that time, for it must be remembered 
that Heke's immediate antecedents were of the 
savage and warlike Ngapuhi. The redoubtable 
Hongi, their head chief, at whose feet Heke had been 
moulded, was a thorough cannibal. Heke had been 
taught something of Christian civilisation, but the 
Native mind, bent upon tribal supremacy or utu 
(revenge), was nearly always engrossed by quarrels, 
generally ending in Whawhai (fight, war). 

Cannibalism with the Maoris was certainly in- 



THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION 3 

dulged in more from a spirit of revenge than from 
a predilection for human flesh. " We have killed 
and eaten our enemies, and the victory is complete." 
Such was their motto. The women never indulged 
in the horrible fare. An old warrior once informed 
me that the flesh of Pakeha, or European, was 
not at all palatable " Kanui te tote, e ngare te 
Maori ka reka " (very salt, but the Maori very 
sweet). 

At the time I speak of, this converted cannibal's 
principal occupation was to ring the mihinari 
(missionary bell) an inverted pot and read the 
Paipara (Bible) at the services held in the Whare 
Karakia chapel, or house of prayer. 

Twenty-three years after the Kororareka episode, 
what do we see ? Turanga Nui (Poverty Bay), the 
garden of the East Coast, with its beautiful climate, 
fertile plains, and rich undulating country, the 
principal residence, up to that time, of the Anglican 
Bishop of Waiapu, being devastated by fire and 
massacre. Alas, for the beneficial effects of civilisa- 
tion ! The raid was accompanied by atrocities of 
the most terrible character, women and children 
being slain in cold blood after being subjected to the 
most revolting indignities. 

Hone Heke ! Te Kooti ! What a contrast of 
characters ! The former, just emerging from what 
might be called an atmosphere of cannibalism, 
had the advantage of only a few years of irregular 
tuition, yet how magnanimous a foeman was the 
brave and chivalrous Ngapuhi warrior ! Te Kooti 



4 THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION 

had the opportunity of a whole lifetime, and the 
close proximity of the missionaries, to acquire a 
knowledge of good, yet he was not on the same 
plane with Heke. In 1844 Heke, in all proba- 
bility would never have destroyed that historic 
flagstaff, the emblem of the Queen's rule, had it not 
been for the action of a few unprincipled mercenary 
Pakehas who goaded him on by hints that the 
Mana of the Maori was declining, and the glory of 
Te Ngapuhi fast disappearing. Their object was 
to create a commotion more expenditure and 
better trade would be the certain result of any- 
thing like disaffection on the part of the natives. 
So it has ever been right through the piece, in this 
fair and beautiful land of the Maori. The teaching 
of the various missionaries was counterbalanced, 
to a great extent, by the debasing influence and 
example of our so-called superior race. 

Again, the zeal displayed by many promulgators 
of the Gospel was not invariably conspicuous by its 
preference for the salvation of souls to the culti- 
vation of the soil, a fact which brought forth the 
following well-known bit of satire from one of this 
naturally humorous and witty people : " The 
missionaries are a holy class ; they teach us to join 
our hands, look up to heaven and pray, and while 
we are doing so, take the land from under our 
feet ! " 

A very noticeable feature, and one which ap- 
peared very prominently while the Hau Hau 
fanaticism was at its height, was a marked antipathy 



THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION 5 

to all English clergymen. Here, again, it will not be 
difficult to point out a very probable cause. Shortly 
after the arrival of the French Roman Catholic 
Bishop, Pompallier, at the Bay of Islands, some of 
the selfishly narrow-minded white residents had 
circulated a report of not an altogether favourable 
nature concerning the " Wee Wee's," a term applied 
by the natives to Frenchmen, through hearing them 
use the word " Oul " so frequently in the endeavour 
to make themselves understood. This rumour had 
the effect of bringing a crowd of Maoris around the 
Bishop's residence with the avowed intention of 
expelling him and his Pikopo (Catholic) brethren 
from New Zealand. However, after hearing the 
Bishop, they retired, expressing regret for their 
behaviour. A complete revulsion of feeling in 
the native mind seems to have been the result. 
This was afterwards strengthened by the rumour 
that had induced Heke to dispute the Queen's 
sovereignty, viz., " that England would eventually 
make slaves of the Maoris." Heke had acquired 
a certain knowledge of history, from which he 
gathered that England and France had previously 
been at war. Consequently he looked upon the 
" Wee Wee's " as more likely to be the friends of his 
countrymen. 

The action of the notorious Hau Hau prophet, 
Koreopa, during his raid upon Opotiki in the Bay of 
Plenty, supplies evidence in support of this conten- 
tion. Like a hungry tiger, he pounced upon the 
settlers, and, passing the French missionary's house, 



6 THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION 

went direct to the residence of the Rev. Mr. Volckner, 
and, in a most barbarous manner, put him to death. 
Contemporaneously with Te Kooti in the East, 
the valiant Titokowaru, on the West Coast, was 
giving our forces such a lively time that the settlers 
fled to the centres for mutual protection. The 
greater part of that beautifully picturesque and 
fertile stretch of country, so lately a hotbed of 
rebellion, is now plentifully sprinkled with smiling 
homesteads and thriving townships. The crack of 
the rifle, and the savage yell of the war-dance, 
have given place to the ring of the bushfeller's axe, 
clearing the mighty monarchs of the forest from off 
the virgin soil. Titokowaru, bold and active, was 
gradually superseded by the passive, prophetic 
Te Whiti, and once more peace reigned, never again 
to be seriously disturbed. During Titokowaru's 
career yet another instance of that strange Maori 
feeling with regard to the missionaries was ex- 
hibited. For many years no minister of any 
denomination, with one exception, dared venture to 
travel the coastline between Taranaki and Wan- 
ganui. The exception was the Rev. Father Roland, 
S.M., a Roman Catholic and a Frenchman the 
" Soldier Priest," as he was called by some. He 
was the gallant but unfortunate Von Temsky's 
attendant in many a hazardous expedition, tending 
the wounded and dying of friend or foe alike. 
Individually, foes he had none. The very Hau Hau 
fanatics apparently recognised the fact of his being 
a non-combatant, and while our troops on several 



THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION 7 

occasions were being shot down, he, in their midst, 
remained unmolested. 

A singular event happened about this time, 
indicating the somewhat novel and peculiar notions 
entertained by the Maoris in matters theological. 
A pah had been captured by our troops, assisted 
by a contingent of friendlies, and the enemy, 
retiring to the fastnesses of the forest, left a few of 
their dead in the whares. Upon entering the 
taeapas (fence or palh'sading) one poor little mite 
was discovered, shivering with fear, in a dark 
corner. He had been either overlooked in the 
confusion or considered unequal to the terribly 
rough task before the retreating warriors. 

The little fellow, about six years of age, was taken 
charge of by the friendly priest with the intention 
of ultimately placing him where he would be cared 
for, an act not easy of accomplishment in those 
primeval wilds. 

The friendly natives undisguisedly showed their 
astonishment at the attention given to so insignifi- 
cant an atom. The minister baptised the boy, and 
by way of an object-lesson, explained to the Maoris 
his reasons for so doing, viz. : "If this innocent 
child should happen to die on the perilous journey 
back, or be killed, he will Haere ki te Atua to taua 
Matua" (go to God, our Father). Having done 
this, he left his young protege with them for the 
night. 

The next morning a start was about to be made 
upon the return trip, and the priest went for the 



8 THE MAORI UNDER CIVILISATION 

boy, but the natives quite coolly informed him that 
they had sent him to God. 

" What did they mean ? " 

" Why, your conversation told us if he were 
killed he would go to God, and our thought was 
if he kept living he would go back to the Hau Haus. 
Which was better ? " 

Enough ! He was killed ! The good " Oui oui " 
could not agree with their logic on this point, and 
gave them a bit of his mind upon the heinousness of 
their conduct. However, the knowledge of their 
crime did not have the effect of producing contrition. 
He was such a small boy that they had knocked him 
on the head ; and, in such busy times, the matter 
was scarcely worth a second thought. 



CHAPTER II 
NIPPED IN THE BUD 

A TALE OF THE EARLY DAYS OF 
SELF-RELIANCE 

"VTEW ZEALAND as an infant colony, nursed 
Ul and protected by the Mother Country, was 
not an unqualified success. 

When a prompt and vigorous native policy would 
probably have been successful (and, as subsequent 
events have clearly proved, certainly the more 
merciful course to pursue), other influences were 
brought to bear, upsetting all previous plans for the 
suppression of rebellion. The Governor was of one 
opinion, the General commanding the Imperial 
troops of another opinion, and, in the meantime, 
the natives, mistaking inactivity for fear, were 
emboldened to fresh acts of aggression. The Hau 
Hau fanaticism, originating on the West Coast, 
received a most extraordinary impetus from a 
melancholy event that had occurred shortly before. 
Captain Lloyd, of the Imperial Army, and his 
escort were ambuscaded by a party of rebels and 



10 NIPPED IN THE BUD 

nearly all destroyed. That unfortunate officer 
was taken prisoner and put to death. His head was 
carefully preserved, after an ancient Maori custom, 
an art in which some of the enemy were still adepts. 
The gruesome trophy was then taken from place 
to place, and exhibited at Hau Hau meetings and 
pai mariri dances, on which occasions it was made 
to answer questions the deceptive work of some 
clever, designing scoundrel, endowed with powers of 
ventriloquism. During this time many of the natives 
on the East Coast, after returning from a visit, 
were heard recounting their personal experiences 
and expressing their belief in the reality of the 
supposed phenomena. The prevailing impression 
left upon them was that the God of the Hau Hau 
spoke through the head of the conquered rangatira 
(a distinguished personage) to the effect that he 
would deliver them from their Pakeha enemies, by 
chasing the latter into the sea, from whence they 
came. Thus New Zealand would, once again, be 
for the Maori. 

A contingent from this hotbed of sedition it was, 
that under Kereopa (Te Kooti) made a descent 
upon Opotiki, where the Rev. Mr. Volckner was so 
inhumanly massacred, Kereopa, in the presence of 
his followers, plucking out and swallowing the 
eyes of the unfortunate missionary before he was 
actually dead, and declaring that his God had 
revealed to him that, by this means, he would 
acquire increased mana (knowledge, power). 

When we consider that, in the face of all this 



11 

turmoil, strife, and bloodshed, the colonists had 
determined to adopt the policy of self-reliance, 
initiated by Mr. Weld, and that, in consequence, 
the Imperial troops had to be withdrawn from New 
Zealand, it may be easily imagined that settlers 
in the North Island occupied a somewhat un- 
enviable position, surrounded, as they were, on all 
sides by natives. Some were staunch and loyal ; 
but a vast number were sitting on a rail, like the 
middle parties in our legislature, or, more vulgarly 
speaking, waiting to see which way the cat jumped. 
Such was the state of affairs in and around Hawke's 
Bay towards the end of 1866, when a party of Hau 
Haus, numbering about one hundred, led by 
Panapa, their prophet, made their appearance at 
Oamarunui, a place situated about ten miles from 
Napier, where they took possession of a deserted 
pah. They immediately began to strengthen their 
position. As they had committed no unlawful act, 
so far, they were not at first interfered with. They 
had a right to live where they chose in the locality, 
as many of them belonged to the local hapus or 
tribes, and were ostensibly friendlies. But Makarini 
(McLean), afterwards Sir Donald, knew the Maori 
character too well to allow their proceedings to 
remain unnoticed. 

The town was at their mercy on any night they 
might think fit to make an attack. The magazine, 
containing a plentiful supply of arms and ammuni- 
tion, of which they were much in need, was a 
tempting bait for these turbulent spirits, and, since 



12 NIPPED IN THE BUD 

the withdrawal of the regulars, it was almost totally 
unguarded. 

Disquieting rumours were rife regarding the 
intentions of our sinister visitors. Nobody seemed 
to be aware what course Mr. McLean intended to 
pursue. Suspense and inaction produced feelings 
of most painful excitement ; and the very thought 
of that band of savages swooping down upon us any 
night was maddening. 

One evening orders were issued to captains of 
volunteers and militia companies to assemble 
their corps, at midnight, in silence, on the parade 
ground. This was accomplished in a most ex- 
peditious manner. With few exceptions, the whole 
of the available able-bodied men rolled up. Country 
corps and mounted yeomanry were instructed to 
concentrate at a given point. We fell in, and in due 
course were informed as to our destination. Half 
an hour's grace was allowed for any preparation 
deemed necessary. Some, considering themselves 
insufficiently armed, occupied the time in pro- 
curing pocket-pistols from the Masonic Hotel ! 
Others occupied the time in writing their wills 
they had something to leave, even in those days. 

At length a start was made, the company of 
volunteers in the advance, numbers one and two 
companies of militia following, with number three 
the rear. 

The route for a few miles was alongside a lagoon, 
and the darkness of the night was such that the 
road and the swamp, with its weed-covered edge, 



NIPPED IN THE BUD 13 

in places, appeared the same. The consequence was 
an occasional splash as some unlucky wight had 
mistaken toi toi for terra firma. 

Silently and leisurely we march along, any 
moment we may walk into an ambush. Our captain 
is extremely careful, giving his directions in whispers. 
At last we near the river which courses by the 
enemy's position, still a few miles distant. A halt 
is made, the order " With ball cartridge ! load ! no 
capping ! " is given in subdued tones. What's 
that ? A splash is heard on the opposite side of the 
river. The interpreter challenges, " Kuai terra?" 
(Who's there ?) No response. Another splash in 
the same direction, and another call. Still no 
answer. Further inquiries were put an end to by a 
distinct but unromantic sound one of the mothers 
of the bovine herd was merely quenching her 
thirst. 

Another forward movement brings us to the main 
body. We break off, pile arms, and lie down for a 
spell, awaiting further developments. Daylight 
arrives. The Hau Haus who have not evacuated 
the position through the night are keeping very 
close. Their pah is plainly visible, not a mile away, 
on the bank of the river. McLean, with his staff, 
is on an elevation, reconnoitring the situation. A 
horseman, with a white flag at his saddle-bow, 
dashes forward towards the pah. All eyes are 
strained to observe the result. He crosses the 
river, and gallops up the incline leading to the 
pah, the flag waving till we lose sight of him. 



14 NIPPED IN THE BUD 

Will they use treachery ? No ! That dastardly 
line of warfare was reserved for Te Kooti to 
initiate. 

The message to Panapa informed him that he 
and his followers might disperse, through their 
friends around, if they gave up their arms, and 
promised to act peaceably in future. The prophet's 
answer was that if we wanted their arms or them- 
selves, we would have to come and take them, 
adding that the god of the Hau Hau had in- 
formed him that he would be invulnerable and 
victorious, should an attempt be made to capture 
him. 

The interpreter returns with the chief's reply, 
the staff consult for a few minutes, the major in 
command of the militia company turns his horse 
and rides briskly towards us, calling out, " Fall in, 
boys ! We must take these fellows. Quick, lads, 
we can make a meal of them." 

Personally, I must confess, I felt like not taking 
any ; but " fall in ! " it had to be, and the curious 
part of that evolution was that we nearly all evinced 
a strong inclination for the rear rank. For a minute 
or so the gallant old major looked on with a 
smile at the raw material before him. Then 
three words settled the point. " Remember your 
numbers ! " 

Left face ; right wheel ; forward ! On we 
marched over the dry shingly river-course inter- 
vening. The river is reached, rushing and swirling 
over its bed of boulders, in places little more than 



NIPPED IN THE BUD 15 

knee-deep, but treacherous. We have to cross in the 
face of the enemy, scarce three hundred yards away. 
We sling arms, catch each other's hands, and dash 
into it. 

The first time under fire ! Various accounts 
descriptive of emotions produced on like occasions I 
have read, but none coming near the reality ; up 
to one's waist in the swiftly coursing river, slipping 
on the pebbly bottom at each step, holding tightly 
to each other, right and left, for mutual assistance, 
and in momentary expectation of a volley from the 
scrub or whares on the bank in front. 

The predominant feeling, under similar circum- 
stances, I fancy must be an overpowering desire to 
be absent altogether, or right in the thick of the 
impending melee, the uncertainty being a thousand 
times worse than action. 

The river is forded without casualty. We re-form 
and make a slight detour, which places us nearly out 
of range of the enemy's rifles. Major Lambert gives 
the word, advance 1 No sooner is the command 
given, than several of the fiery spirits rush right 
away towards the enemy, and, jumping upon the 
bank, wave their rifles, shouting, " First up ! 
Hurroo ! " The rest follow in quick time. Just as 
the level plateau near the pah is reached, a brisk 
fusillade begins from the southern side. The 
friendlies have opened the ball. 

Then the Hau Hau fanaticism is displayed in its 
true colours, by Panapa and his followers. The 
first shot fired is their signal for action. Instantly 



16 NIPPED IN THE BUD 

forty or fifty of them dash out of the pah towards 
us, firing, dancing, putting out their tongues and 
rolling their eyes, in derision and defiance, looking 
more like demons than human beings in their tight- 
fitting shirts, ornamented with crosses, half-moons, 
stars, and various fantastical devices. 

The order to fire is given, and we are not slow in 
obeying. The first volley from our Enfields brings 
the majority of the poor wretches to earth. Three 
of our men are knocked over one killed, and 
two badly wounded. The Hau Haus, such as 
are not placed hors de combat, retreat to their 
whares. 

We had sorely dispelled their illusion of in- 
vulnerability, as fully twenty of them lay dead 
within fifty yards of their taiapas. Yet they con- 
tinued firing, confining themselves to the defensive, 
no doubt thinking we would try to carry the position 
by assault. But McLean wished to capture them 
with as little loss as possible. " Take any available 
cover and let none escape " was the order. 

The tops of some woolly heads with feather 
ornaments occasionally showed above the palisade, 
a puff of smoke following. They were having a 
little practice at our expense. One of our best 
shots had his bayonet knocked off as he was loading. 
With an exclamation, " Begorra, I'll thry an' 
sthop yer little game, Mister Ha Ha ! " he brought 
his muzzle-loader to the " present," and soon the 
woolly head peeped no longer over the palisade. 
On the north side the volunteers had been getting 



NIPPED IN THE BUD 17 

it hot, having comparatively no cover, and being 
exposed to the cross fire of the friendlies. At length 
" Cease fire ! " was sounded, but half the men 
engaged didn't know the " Cease fire " from " Jack's 
the Lad." They had no ear for bugle music, and, 
moreover, had never been taught the calls. Again 
the bugle sounded, " Cease fire ! " A flag of truce 
appeared ; but from another part of the pah shots 
were still being fired at us. Consequently we 
continued potting anything visible. 

The end comes at last surrender ! The white 
flag is hoisted, and all is over. Upon entering the 
enclosure, the sight that meets the eye is sickening 
in the extreme. There lies Panapa, with five bullets 
in him. Others in various attitudes are writhing 
in mortal agony, or just gasping their last. No 
time or inclination to stay here, as some of the 
survivors are endeavouring to make their escape 
to the hills, and must be taken dead or alive. 
There is "no cure for cancer but the knife," and of 
the ten or twelve who broke away at the rear of 
the pah only three escape. 

The wounded were carefully tended, and con- 
veyances were at hand to take them into the hospital 
at Napier. Some, though badly maimed, curtly 
refused any assistance, and walked all the way. 
One magnificent specimen of his race, over six feet, 
and built in proportion, who had been the leading 
spirit after Panapa's fall, was hit in the face, the 
bullet passing through and splintering the lower 
jawbone, yet he proudly declined help. Quite unable 
C 



18 NIPPED IN THE BUD 

to speak, he merely shook his head when asked to 
ride, and, holding his face in his blanket, tramped 
on with the others. 

For the next three or four weeks the hospital 
authorities had their resources severely taxed ; 
but were most ably and charitably helped by the 
townspeople, who were unremitting in their atten- 
tion, bringing delicacies of every description to the 
convalescents until they were sufficiently recovered. 
The prisoners were sent off to the Chathams and 
detained there, until, with Te Kooti, they made 
good their escape. They were afterwards known to 
be our most redoubtable and terrible antagonists 
in the war which followed. 

Although this engagement was comparatively 
a small affair, it occurred at a very critical time 
and place. Hawke's Bay being the most beautiful 
and fertile portion of the North Island, and thickly 
populated by the aboriginal inhabitants, was a 
province easy of access from any quarter, and so 
offered tempting opportunities for an invading force 
bent upon plunder and massacre. 

If Panapa had succeeded in routing our forces 
on that occasion it would have created a revolution 
amongst the friendlies. Numbers of them, im- 
agining that the Hau Hau prophecies were about to 
be fulfilled, would have thrown off the restraining 
influence of their loyal chieftains, and have joined 
the victorious rebels. But the right man was in the 
right place Donald McLean, superintendent of 
the province, than whom no individual ever wielded 



NIPPED IN THE BUD 19 

more power over the natives. His tact it was that 
saved Napier from spoliation and worse, and nipped 
in the bud a serious revival of the horrible Hau Hau 
fanaticism. 



CHAPTER III 
THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK 

WHERE VON TEMPSKY FELL 

fTlHE lull after the storm of New Zealand's 
JL first war was one of great prosperity for 
the colony. The Maoris had certainly come out 
of it with honour. Whether their antagonists 
had an equal right to use Disraeli's historical motto 
with reference thereto is questionable. The natives 
appeared to have settled down in a very business- 
like manner to trade and commerce. It was not an 
unusual occurrence to see small craft, partly or 
wholly owned by them, sailing around our coasts 
with cargoes of fruit and various kinds of native 
produce apples, peaches, pumpkins, melons, pota- 
toes, maize, and kumeras, the latter an indigenous 
kind of sweet potato. Or their ingeniously con- 
structed canoes might be seen with their naturally 
joyous and light-hearted occupants, chanting the 
musical, though somewhat monotonous, uxiiata 
a song in a minor key and varying only about four 
notes while gliding over the placid bosom of lake 
or river, conveying their goods from inland pah or 

30 



THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK 21 

kainga, to be sold or bartered to " my friends the 
whites," this being a favourite expression with 
them. Pity 'twas that the friendship was not 
always mutually sincere, and that some good genius 
had not arisen at this particular juncture to guide 
the destinies of the Maori, and avert the torrent of 
calamity that was about to burst upon this brave 
and chivalrous people. 

After the period referred to, New Zealand 
enjoyed comparative peace for about ten years, 
during which time she advanced, so to speak, by 
leaps and bounds. As her magnificent climate 
and rich resources became better known, population 
from all parts flocked to her shores. For a time 
there reigned Peace and Prosperity blessings the 
value of which cannot be fully appreciated, except 
by those who have endured the reverse. 

It was a sad day for the inhabitants of both races 
when the Government was drawn into that deplor- 
able tribal dispute re land at Waitara. The offending 
Hapu had the sympathy of the greater portion of 
their iwi (nation or people), the majority of whom 
were adherents of the " king movement," and 
resisted every overture or compromise. 

Sedition became rampant, the distant Waikatos 
sent numerous reinforcements to aid their patriotic 
but misguided countrymen of the west in preventing 
the extinction of the native title to their land. 
The British troops could do very little against them 
in their natural fortresses of mountain and morass. 
When they were beaten, which was rarely the case 



22 THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK 

in these localities, dense forests, impenetrable to the 
regulars, but easy of access to these intrepid sons 
of the soil, were within easy reach for purposes of 
retreat, and any attempt at pursuit was generally 
attended by disaster and defeat. 

Thence the flame of rebellion spread northwards to 
the Waikato. The turbulent Maniopoto tribe seemed 
to have decided upon a line of action that meant 
"war to the knife," or, as Heke had said in 1845, to 
" Die for the country that God had given them." 

As the Maori king movement had been initiated 
by them for the purpose of conserving the remnant 
of their lands, so now they unwisely determined 
to try and recover the portion that had been pro- 
cured from them by what was known as the fishhook- 
jew's-harp-blanket mode of purchase. 

The operations of ten thousand Imperial troops, 
and a contingent of irregulars owing partly to 
outside interference and conflicting interests had 
effected little towards the definite suppression of the 
insurrection beyond wiping out large numbers of 
these half -armed, semi-nude opponents, who ever 
displayed that valorous spirit that was so heroically 
manifested at Orakau. 

That state of affairs so subversive of all discipline 
and good order in war or peace, divided authority, 
now threatened to nullify all previous efforts at 
subjugation. There was procrastination, resulting 
from the strained relations existing between vice- 
regal and military command. At length the fiat went 
forth : we must manage our own internal affairs, 



THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK 23 

however little contractors, land speculators, et hoc 
genus omne, may relish the withdrawal of the 
necessarily large sums annually expended by the 
Imperial authorities. The troops were recalled, or 
disbanded, the latter feature being a fortunate one 
for New Zealand, as, thereby, we had our colonial 
army largely augmented. And a valuable accession 
these soldier-settlers proved, apparently preferring 
the comparatively free and untrammelled plan of 
campaign adopted by the new regime to the inscru- 
table, excessive discipline and red tape of the 
authorities under which they had previously served. 

We were committed to this horrible war, and 
whether just or otherwise in its origin, in self-defence 
it had now to be fought out to the bitter end. 
There was nothing for it but submission or ex- 
termination. This was rendered necessary by the 
revolting aspect now attaching to the position 
through the natives adopting their new religion of 
Hau-Hauism. The founders of this weird religion 
stoutly maintained the divinity of its teachings and 
its derivation from the Bible. Their fanaticism was 
such that, at times, they would rush almost upon our 
very bayonets, or, when opportunity offered, slay, 
without mercy, men, women, and children of either 
Europeans or friendly tribes. 

Previous to any contemplated attack upon our 
scattered forces, or any occasion of importance, 
offensive or defensive, the Hau Hau divinity was 
invoked by the rebels for guidance in something 
after the following manner. A large pole was erected 



24 THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK 

in the middle of their pahs. Around this all assem- 
bled, dancing, singing, and praying until they had 
worked themselves into a state bordering upon 
frenzy. Ghastly relics of our occasional reverses, or 
"preserved PaJcehas' heads," were exhibited, which, 
by some sort of illusion, were apparently made to 
utter words of prophetic import, invariably to the 
effect that the Pakeha would eventually be overcome. 
The gullible and superstitious savages, readily 
accepting the imposture as gospel truth, were pre- 
pared to commit any atrocity at the instance of 
their leaders. 

During the night the guiding prophet generally 
held commune with the god of the Hau Hau, 
resulting hi a revelation which was proclaimed to 
his followers, and, of however absurd or impracti- 
cable a nature, implicitly believed by them. A 
prophecy of individual or collective invulnerability 
was of frequent occurrence. At times they confi- 
dently looked forward to the defeat of their enemies 
by supernatural means, the prophet acting the part 
of another Isaiah, assuring Ezechias of the deliver- 
ance of the children of Israel from the Assyrian 
Sennacherib. 

They were now, however, far more effectually 
equipped than they had been during the Waikato 
campaign, having Enfield rifles, carbines, and 
ammunition. They also had acquired an efficiency 
in the use of arms not pleasant to contemplate. 
This was accounted for by occasional defection on 
the part of our allies, the friendlies, and the action 



THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK 25 

of the notorious Te Kooti, who, upon making his 
escape from the Chathams, cleared that island 
prison of all munitions of war. Many a brave 
fellow has New Zealand had to mourn who fell 
by the bullets cast for her own defence. 

The Maoris, always noted for their aptitude and 
ingenuity in the construction of their defence works, 
had now, to a great extent, abandoned the mode of 
warfare that relied mainly on the strength of the 
pahs, and they began the practice of luring our 
forces into ambuscades, and of occasionally, guerrilla- 
like, making raids where least expected. 

One unfortunate instance of this occurred at 
" Te ngutu o te manu " (The beak of the bird), 
where the hero of a hundred rights the gallant 
Von Tempsky fell. This pah was so called from its 
being built on an eminence resembling the head of a 
bird. The approach to it was by a narrow ridge 
the beak covered with Tcaraka, rata, rimu, and 
other giants of the forest, with the usual dense 
undergrowth peculiar to New Zealand. 

Such was the fatal spot to which Von Tempsky 
led his brave followers, with the intention of en- 
trapping, if possible, that diminutive but wily and 
fearless savage Tito Kowaru. They had arrived 
shortly after daybreak at the edge of the forest 
immediately surrounding the pah. Swiftly but 
cautiously advancing, and fully aware of their 
opponents' general tactics of ambush and surprise, 
from tree to tree they glided, like phantoms in the 
gloom, but with every sense at the utmost tension. 



26 THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK 

So far there had been nothing to oppose their 
progress. All was quiet. They reached a partial 
clearing within a short distance of the stronghold, 
and in the exultation of the moment, arising from 
the prospect of a successful coup, they made a dash 
across the opening, when suddenly a volley was 
poured into them from the rear. Astounded at this 
unexpected attack they turned to face the foe, 
when another fusillade came from their former front, 
disclosing the awful fact that they were between 
two fires. Their numbers rapidly decreased with 
each discharge, and yet the surface of the earth 
presented not the slightest sign of an enemy until 
the descending smoke betrayed their presence in the 
lofty rimus > ponderous branches overhead, the thick 
foliage being a most effectual cover for the cunning 
savage. 

Von Tempsky, mortally wounded, with not one 
thought but for the safety of his men, in his last 
moments fully recognised the extreme peril of the 
situation. To remain there trying to fight an in- 
visible foe would be to turn the spot into a veritable 
slaughter-pen, so he called as loudly as his remaining 
strength would permit, " Retire ! Look to your- 
selves, boys ! I am done for ! " To retire without 
him and their other unfortunate comrades was not a 
part of their creed, and every soul was brought from 
the terrible spot to a place out of the range of the 
Hau Hau rifles. 

This disastrous expedition was made known 
to none of the men of whom it was composed until 



THE HAU HAU OUTBREAK 27 

the morning assembly for marching orders, so 
secretly had preliminaries been conducted. And 
yet the enemy must have been well posted in the 
movements of the force to have arranged with such 
diabolical ingenuity this difficult plan of ambuscade. 
As during the early Native war the friendlies were 
credited with giving information regarding the plans 
of the Paheka, so now it was thought that some of 
them were not quite what their name implied. 

This was the closing episode hi the career of one 
of the most prominent and successful of our colonial 
leaders, as genial in private life as he was brave 
in battle. It added other names to that melancholy 
roll of the honoured dead. After many years, New 
Zealand's permanent pacification was accomplished, 
but at what a sacrifice ! 




SOME DIFFICULTIES OF PIONEERING 

TO the casual observer or colonist of more 
recent times, the appearance of the various 
homesteads, surrounded by sheep and cattle stations, 
or the magnificent farms smiling on the plains the 
admiration of all only conveys a superficial idea 
of the labour and peril, not considering the monetary 
losses, attendant at the outset upon the establish- 
ment of these splendid evidences of the thrift and 
perseverance of the now much - abused pioneer. 
Many an instance could be related of hairbreadth 
escapes by flood and field, and even occasional 
loss of life, which at the time I allude to were an 
inseparable condition of the lot of these isolated 
pastoral prospectors of a terribly rough and pathless 
country. 

New Zealand in '95 with its numerous lines of 
railways intersecting nearly every county ; its 
superb roads and substantial bridges in every direc- 
tion ; the Native difficulty a thing of the past ; its 
good laws should occupy a happy position in 

28 



COLONISATION IN THE 'SIXTIES 29 

regard to general progress. The work of colonisation 
under such auspices ought to be comparatively easy 
of accomplishment. 

How very different was the task of both Govern- 
ment and governed even as late as the 'sixties ! 
Few roads there were then except those picked out 
by the enterprising and hardy toilers, the bullock 
teamsters. The large rivers were spanned by ferry 
punts, upon which the teams of from twenty to 
thirty bullocks, and the dray with its towering load 
of wool, would be wound across by rope and wind- 
lass, and the smaller tributaries, with their ever 
uncertain and shifting fords and crossings, were to 
the most cautious a constant source of anxiety, 
or the cause, occasionally, of the most voluble 
profanity on the part of the more recklessly inclined 
persuaders of the bovine team. 

This mode of conveyance, in many instances, was 
available only for a short distance in the interior, 
the gap being filled by packing. The horses or 
bullocks employed in this arduous occupation some- 
times overbalanced with their top-heavy burthens 
and went down with a crash to the bottom of some 
ravine, resulting in broken legs or necks to the poor 
animals, and very considerable loss and vexation of 
spirit to the owners. 

All these slight defects were, however, of little 
moment in the daily routine of the times, when com- 
pared with the constant state of insecurity produced 
by the unsettled aspect of native affairs. While the 
valorous Maniopoto were maintaining that historic 



30 COLONISATION IN THE 'SIXTIES 

struggle in the Waikato against their thousands of 
Imperial and Colonial adversaries, the tribes of 
Hawke's Bay, though nominally friendly, were for 
the most part thoroughly and openly in accord with 
their gallant compatriot of the north, Rewi, the hero 
of Orakau. At this critical period there was no 
certainty as to what the morrow might bring forth 
in the extension of a rebellion which had the full 
sanction of the newly created Maori king. Un- 
happy indeed must have been the lot then of these 
" pioneers," situated as they invariably were in 
isolated localities far removed from the centres 
of population, their wives and families totally 
dependent upon the strong arms of their nearest and 
dearest for protection, while all around surged the 
discontented tribes, in many cases only awaiting 
the word for a general outbreak. Thanks to the tact 
displayed in the administration of Native affairs 
under the wise and efficient control of Donald 
McLean, the faithful were encouraged, the wavering 
converted, and the rebelliously inclined checked, 
and, the Waikato war being brought to an end, a 
respite was now enjoyed. 

It was but temporary, for immediately ensued 
what in every country has proved to be one of the 
most terrible of all scourges a religious war. 
Hau-Hauism, with all its revolting detail, became 
rampant. The plough and shears were discarded for 
the rifle and sword, and now the horrors of war were 
brought to our very doors. 

Oamaruni was the first place at which the raw 



and undisciplined colonists of Hawke's Bay received 
their initiative lesson in active warfare. I said 
undisciplined, and to prove this assertion I shall 
relate an incident which occurred as illustrative of 
this fact. As stated in a previous chapter, these 
forces of volunteers and militia were simultaneously 
warned after nightfall to assemble at given points 
for the purpose of attacking the enemy. Our 
leaders, with few exceptions, were all that could be 
desired, many of them being ex-Imperial officers 
and gallant fellows ; one such, so the story goes, 
had with his men taken up his position in the fern 
or scrub in the vicinity of the Hau Haus. As those 
were days when uniform was not considered a 
necessity, the captain of the squad had donned as 
headgear a rough bearskin cap. Shortly after the 
opening of the engagement all his men were, by 
general orders, keeping under cover, and the only 
head visible was the dark woolly-looking one of the 
leader. As the shots began to whistle freely through 
the field, the captain's quick ear caught the report 
of an occasional shot from his rear. Not knowing 
what to think of it, and being determined to ascertain 
if they were being outflanked, he hurried in the 
direction from whence the shots were coming, and 
caught one of his men just in the act of firing. 

" What the d are you up to here ? " 

" Oh, captain," answered the warrior, " I really 
thought you were a Hau Hau. I could a' swore it 
was a Maori head I saw." 
This volunteer had elected to take up the position 



32 COLONISATION IN THE 'SIXTIES 

generally occupied by a reserve force, and it was 
said afterwards that the captain's escape from being 
shot on this occasion was wholly due to his being 
made a target of, as the shooter in question had 
never been known to hit any object he aimed at, 
either in private practice or, as this proves, in open 
warfare. 

Another incident, but this time one of a most 
deplorable termination, may tend to show the kind 
of men of which the settlers of those times were 
comprised. After Te Kooti's escape from his 
island prison, a general call to arms was followed 
by an expedition consisting of colonial troops, 
volunteers, and friendly natives, organised by 
Colonel Whitmore for the purpose of intercepting 
or destroying that wily savage. Amongst the first 
to offer their services, gratuitously, were two whose 
names should be immortalised for their unselfish 
heroism on that occasion. They were Canning and 
Carr, no feather-bed soldiers, but gentlemen in 
every sense, who laid down their lives for the 
country of their adoption. 

Up the Wairoa valley the trail of the enemy had 
been followed, until Ruaketuri was reached, when 
this scouting party reported having seen a fire in the 
distance. Some of the enemy, apparently unaware 
of being approached, were cooking their food. 
An attempt to take them in the flank and cut off 
their retreat was now decided upon. This party, 
with the brave Canning and Carr in the lead, quietly 
but expeditiously advanced in the direction of the 



COLONISATION IN THE 'SIXTIES 33 

Hau Haus, gliding from rock to rock, or bush, in the 
endeavour to take them by surprise. They had not 
proceeded far beyond the point from which the 
enemy could be plainly seen, when they received a 
volley from out the dense bush above them, but 
not the slightest glimpse of the foe could be got. 
Several of ours fell, and amongst them were Canning 
and Carr, both mortally wounded, and New Zealand 
lost two most promising and noble-hearted colonists. 

This was an instance of that strategical cunning, 
so characteristic of the aboriginal, in the art of 
planning ambuscades. They had exposed them- 
selves to the risk of being picked off from a dis- 
tance by our men, for the purpose of decoying these 
into what unfortunately proved to be a veritable 
death-trap. Subsequently our half-famished troops 
returned ingloriously to Te Wairoa, and the seem- 
ingly ubiquitous Te Kooti still roamed the island, 
awaiting a favourable opportunity of making a raid 
upon some defenceless station or township. 

These slight sketches, imperfectly drawn though 
they are, may give to those readers not acquainted 
with the history of the times referred to, a faint 
idea of the pleasures attendant upon colonisation 
in the 'sixties. 



CHAPTER V 
"NOT TO BE BATE" 

THE STORY OF A NAME 

THE shanties, accommodation houses, or drink- 
ing shops of the early digging townships or 
rushes, had their humorous as well as, occasionally, 
tragic features. It is related that upon the West 
Coast one of these places of amusement and recrea- 
tion where diggers were wont to assemble for 
purposes of conviviality or the discussion of various 
ideas, amongst which was whisky was owned 
by a gentleman rejoicing in the ancient and as he 
maintained regal name of O'Neil. He was famil- 
iarly known as Big Andy, and was the equal of any 
upon the coast at spinning yarns, drinking " long 
sleevers," or any of the other accomplishments 
of the times. Some of his most prominent character- 
istics were an inordinate patriotism, a great desire 
for home rule, and an unusually high opinion of the 
patronymic which he bore. Although of a jolly 
and good-natured disposition generally, there were 
two things in particular which he longed for with 
such intensity as to cause an occasional appearance 

34 



"NOT TO BE BATE" 35 

of anxiety. One was to become the proud possessor 
of a flag which would at one and the same time 
proclaim his nationality, and, waving in the balmy 
breeze of the South Pacific, be the envy of all his self- 
exiled compatriots of the coast. The other was to 
have his name written in bold characters on the 
front of his thriving though unpretentious establish- 
ment. 

At length, after many supplications, the fickle 
goddess smiled upon Andy and sent him a partial 
fulfilment of his desire in the form of a beautiful 
green flag with a golden harp in the centre. A 
flagstaff was erected over the hotel forthwith, and 
every preparation made by its delighted proprietor 
for a real right-down good spread in honour of the 
flying of his bit o' green. 

" Now," said Andy, " I've got the flag, an' if 
I can't get any wan to put the name over the dure, 
faith an' I'll do ut myself." 

He had been busily engaged for some time at 
these preliminaries when the day arrived upon which 
the festivity was to be held. Andy had sent in- 
vitations right and left, and his friends in response 
came in considerable numbers, anticipating a jolly 
good diggers' reunion. Jokes were plentiful and fun 
abounded. Andy called all hands into the " dining- 
room " and made a speech as follows : " Come, 
bhoys, fill up yer glasses, and before it gets too dark 
come out and dhrink to our flag. I must tell ye this, 
however, that the divil a wan could I get to put up 
the name, so I done it meself wid me own hands." 



36 "NOT TO BE BATE" 

The " boys," as he called them, had seen the pole and 
flag ready for unfurling, but were surprised at what 
their host had said with reference to the name, 
for it had escaped their notice. However, out they 
trooped, bumpers in hand, the landlord leading the 
way, when, standing back from the building, the 
better to see the ceremony, he gave the signal, and 
as this beautiful emblem of the Emerald Isle 
rolled out its full length to the breeze, Andy called 
out : " There she is, bhoys, dhrink to the flag that'll 
conquer the wurrld yet if they'll only give her time." 
Then he called for three cheers, which were given 
again and again. The enthusiasm of the occasion 
was manifested in various ways by these light- 
hearted sons of the ould sod, some throwing their 
hats in the air as though their intentions were to 
discard those useful coverings for ever, others 
dancing jig or hornpipe steps with a vigour most 
amazing, while others again were straining their 
eyes over the whole building in the vain endeavour 
to discover where their host had performed this 
what was thought impossible feat of writing. 

At last came a voice, racy of the brogue, and 
like a speaking-trumpet, " Andy, where the divil's 
the name ? " 

Andy, who was evidently only waiting for some 
such inquiry, in mock tones of apology answered, 
" Well, bhoys, look ut here ; I cudn't find any wan 
on the whole av the diggin's who'd thry the claim, 
so, as I towld yer before, I done ut meself , and bad 
luck to the ha'porth o' help had I from anywan." 



"NOT TO BE BATE" 37 

Then, going close to the house, he pointed to the 
door, saying, " There it is, me bowld hayroes, I 
wasn't goin' to be bate." 

All eyes were now riveted upon the spot where 
this evidence of inventive genius was visible. There, 
plain enough to be seen, was a large letter 0, nearly 
circular, with a substantial-looking six-inch nail 
driven in the centre, when Andy, with a grin 
suffusing his broad and humorous face, in trium- 
phant tones exclaimed, " There, bhoys, if that 
isn't plane enough for the childher to read, ' 
Nale,' I'll give in." 

Many moments were not allowed to elapse, 
subsequent to this lucid interpretation, before 
Andy, in spite of his six feet one inch and sixteen 
stone of Hibernian bone and muscle, was carried 
shoulder high in honour of his triumph in fine art. 

It is not my intention to try and describe in detail 
this festive celebration, but from reliable accounts 
it went off with a certain amount of eclat, and did not 
have the effect of decreasing to any appreciable 
extent the popularity of this genial son of Erin who 
" wouldn't be bate." 




CHIEFS OF THE EARLY DAYS 

IN 1859 I had the honour of making the acquaint- 
ance of two native chiefs of Heretaunga, on the 
east coast of the North Island Te Moana Nui 
(Big Sea), and Te Hapuku (Big fish, or Groper). 
The former belonged to the Ngatikahungunu, and 
the latter to the Ngatiwhatiapiti tribe. Both of 
them had been celebrated warriors in their time. 
Te Moana Nui was a man of splendid physique, a 
modern Hercules, with a naturally graceful and 
dignified comportment ; Te Hapuku was more of 
the savage, alike in disposition and appearance. 
He was thick set, of medium height, and had a face 
on which was stamped determination and dogged 
bravery, attributes that were considerably enhanced 
by the elaborate tattooing with which, with the 
exception of the eyelids, it was completely covered. 
Civilisation with its concomitants, rum, etc., was 
gradually making itself felt amongst the people. At 
a race meeting which was held in 1860, Te Hapuku 
attended with a numerous following, nearly all 

38 



MAORI PECULIARITIES 39 

mounted, to enjoy the sport. As the fun proceeded 
one of his men happened to appropriate an apple 
from one of the stalls ; the owner of the stall being 
a rather hot-headed Irishman, and not getting a 
satisfactory settlement sixpence for each apple in 
those days struck the Maori, which had the double 
effect of " drawing his claret " and the apple at one 
and the same time. 

In an instant went up the cry : " Ka mate ! ka 
mate! ia taua hoa!" (Killed, killed, is our friend), 
which must be taken in the Hibernian sense killed, 
but not dead. 

Then and there a terrible commotion arose, and 
the dark tattooed faces assumed the most ferocious 
expressions as they crowded round the bleeding 
Maori. Shouts of ominous import were heard on all 
sides. . . . Another moment, and the yell of the 
war cry would have resounded, and, following that, 
an almost certain onslaught, "for a Maori never 
forgives a blow." But just then the burly form of 
the chief came in sight, towering above all on his 
immense charger. His men parted right and left 
upon his appearing on the scene. 

" What's this ? " he asked. 

All eyes are now turned upon their chief. One 
word from his lips, or merely a nod of encourage- 
ment, would have been sufficient, and there would 
have been more serious bloodshed. But the old 
warrior sprang from his horse, and, in a voice of 
thunder, asked the cause of the disturbance. The 
stall-keeper, being a capital Maori Linguist, and 



40 MAORI PECULIARITIES 

well known to Hapuku, soon satisfied him of the 
theft. The chief then strode up to the culprit, 
shook him by the neck, made him pay a half- 
crown utu ma to tahae (satisfaction for the theft), 
and administered to him the kick of contempt. 

All was peace once more ; there was no appeal 
from that tribunal. 

Towards the close of the second day's racing, yet 
another change came o'er the scene. The sports 
were nearly finished, but so also was Te Hapuku's 
money. Requiring more refreshments of a liquid 
nature, he demanded some from the publican, who 
refused, when the chief coolly walked into the booth 
and handed out case after case of brandy, rum, gin, 
etc. Remonstration on the part of the publican 
was useless. " Turi turi " (shut up) was the only 
reply vouchsafed, as his men filed off with the 
plunder. This was an act worthy of the great chief ; 
the earlier incident was of a contemptible character. 

Upon Te Hapuku's receiving his next quarter's 
rent, he came to town for supplies, and, before 
purchasing one single article for himself, handed 
over thirty pounds, " he utu ma taku waipiro " 
(payment for my grog). You can guess the publi- 
can's astonishment at receiving fully five pounds 
more than his loss had been estimated at. How- 
ever, he made no objection. People were too 
enlightened in those days to take notice of such 
trifles. 

Hapuku, with his twenty or thirty followers, 
" liquored up " and adjourned, and thus ended, 



MAORI PECULIARITIES 41 

happily, what might have been a serious occur- 
rence. 

Shortly after the foregoing incident, poor Moana 
Nui succumbed to that dread disease to which the 
Maoris seemed so susceptible, and which carried 
off so many of them a sort of bronchial affection. 
He was laid in his grave with greenstone tiki 
(a greenstone ornament worn round the neck), 
spears, mats, etc. Invitations were sent all over 
New Zealand to hold a tangi (mourning), which took 
place three moons or so after his demise. The old 
custom on such occasions had been to hold a little 
cannibalistic feast in memory of the great departed ; 
but Maori manners were improving somewhat in 
that respect at the time to which I refer. The 
natives of Te Mata Iwi, Moana Nui's pah, had laid in 
a store of all sorts of eatables to entertain their 
visitors with. As each tribe or hapu arrived a mimic 
war dance was performed by the visitors, a descrip- 
tion of which I will not attempt, as pen must fail to 
portray anything like the reality. Anyone with a 
reasonable amount of nerve cannot but admire the 
precision and vigour, if not the modesty, for which 
their national dance is famous. A friend of mine took 
his newly arrived wife to witness the performance 
on this occasion, but before many minutes had 
elapsed, clinging tightly to his arm in a paroxysm 
of terror, she cried, " Oh ! take me home, this is 
Pandemonium." And he did. 

There is a certain etiquette observed by the 
natives in such cases, the following out of which, 



42 MAORI PECULIARITIES 

in this instance, led to a peculiar incident. The 
leading chief of the Uriweras maintained that theirs 
was the right to first partake of the first course. All 
others had given way, but Te Hapuku, with that 
stubbornness for which he was so noted, would not 
relinquish the post of honour. The bone of con- 
tention was a canoe filled with " stirabout," or 
" riripi flour and water, boiled and sweetened with 
dark brown sugar, which gave both flavour and 
colour. While the argument as to what tribe should 
take precedence was at its height, a younger chief 
of Te Uriwera's put the finishing stroke to it, by 
slipping off his blanket and jumping right into the 
canoe. He pranced about a bit, exclaiming, " Ki iau 
kimua, ki ia koe kimuri " (To me the first, to you the 
last) ; then, picking up his blanket, he walked away 
to the river bank, took a header, swam across, 
and came back as coolly as possible, but nearly too 
late for his share of the delicacy, which, by this 
time, had nearly disappeared. 

There were about three thousand natives at that 
tangi, and the noise made and the food put out of 
sight by them was quite a treat to witness ; but alas, 
those good old days have passed never to return. 



CHAPTER VII 
THE BIG EARTHQUAKES 

HOW WELLINGTON WAS SHAKEN 

I THINK it was in 'forty-eight a month or two 
cannot make much difference that about mid- 
night a severe earthquake occurred in Wellington. 
Although it had generally been considered the 
" heaviest yet," the undulating movement merely 
had the same effect upon me as the rocking of the 
cradle from which I had not so very long since 
graduated. My brothers soon shook me into 
sensibility, and then their white and terrified faces 
immediately succeeded in impressing upon my 
youthful mind the alarming nature of the pheno- 
menon. As far as my memory serves me, there 
were no more shakes of any consequence that 
night. 

The following day happened to be the one 
selected for the weekly performance of the band 
of the 65th on Thorndon Flat. The elite of town 
and suburb generally attended in force on these 
occasions. On the beautiful green sward were placed 
chairs and camp-stools for the convenience of visitors. 
The magnificent band occupied the central position, 

43 



44 THE BIG EARTHQUAKES 

their circular music-stand surrounded by the lithe 
forms of the musicians in their uniforms of snowy 
white picked out with red, and their glittering 
instruments looking as spotless as though just 
taken from glass cases. The officers, in undress 
uniform, added considerably to the brightness of the 
scene, and last, but by no means least, there were the 
ladies the wives, daughters, sisters, cousins, and 
aunts of the military, commercial, and professional 
men of the settlement. " The Flat " afforded 
exceptional facilities for a promenade, and on this 
occasion was taken advantage of to the fullest 
extent. 

As the groups of fashionably attired women 
promenaded, the small fry, with whom I was 
associated, whiled away the happy summer hour in 
the engrossing game of marbles. As all were 
enjoying the harmonious strains of the band, or 
other recreations of the afternoon, a sound as of 
distant thunder was heard, but differing in this 
respect, that it seemed to occupy all space, above, 
below, and around one could almost feel it, breathe 
it. For about twenty seconds this continued, 
followed by a sudden shaking, which had the 
socialistic effect of bringing all to the same level. 
The promenading couples, a moment before gliding 
around in all their beauty and stateliness, soon 
found themselves embracing Mother Earth, or 
prostrated in various and most undignified attitudes. 
Musicians, music-stands, brass instruments, and 
fluttering music-leaves were inextricably mixed up. 



THE BIG EARTHQUAKES 45 

This tremolo movement, which was not upon the 
programme, brought the performance to a close. 

Although I was very young at the time, I retain a 
distinct recollection of the fact that everyone left 
the grounds in anything but a leisurely manner. 

My next experience was of a more serious descrip- 
tion. Any of those now in Wellington who went 
through the ordeal must still have a lively re- 
membrance of the scene on the 22nd January, 1855. 
It was on the night after the Burnham Water races. 
The town was merrily busy in consequence of the 
presence of numerous visitors from all parts of the 
province, who had witnessed the fifteenth anni- 
versary sports and regatta. Shortly after nine 
o'clock I had retired to rest, and found my 
companions all in the land of dreams. When the 
sickening rumble commenced, and the creaking of 
timbers mingled with it, I called loudly, " An earth- 
quake ! " The occupants of the house were soon 
up and staggering about in the endeavour to don 
their apparel. There was one exception he had 
been to the races and had slept soundly. We went 
to see why he was not on the move with the rest, 
and found him in the dark, kicking, and protesting 
in loud tones against the usurpation of his bunk 
which was taking place. Then we discovered that 
numerous packages luckily soft ones of various 
sizes had rolled off a stack right on top of him. 
We removed the cause of annoyance, when the 
festive one coolly said, " Lemmelone, 'ts on'y 
nuthquek." Our outside staircase had been de- 



46 THE BIG EARTHQUAKES 

molished by a falling chimney, so that our retreat 
was cut off, and we were compelled to make our 
way as best we could out of the windows, along 
roof-ridge and outhouses, in order to reach the 
ground, which, during the whole time, was in a 
continual tremor. 

Lambton Quay then consisted of but one street, 
which ran along the foot of the plateau called the 
Terrace. Out we rushed to see what damage was 
being done, and to escape damage to ourselves, when, 
oh horror ! the sea was slowly but surely bubbling 
over the breastwork and into some of the establish- 
ments. Women and children, half clothed, were 
rushing to and fro, wringing their hands, praying 
and crying, afraid to stay within their houses, 
and terrified at the sight of the encroaching tidal 
wave. Many immediately fled to the Terrace for 
fear of inundation, but soon returned upon finding 
that the sea had receded. The appearance the 
harbour presented next morning would lead the 
observer to imagine that it was being drained by 
some subterranean agency, so far had the tide 
ebbed. Boats, which had previously been anchored 
in comparatively deep water, were left high and 
dry. 

The interiors of the business places were in an 
awful plight, and the odour arising from the sudden 
mixture of chemicals in the drug stores could be 
easily detected. As for the hotels, the destruction 
and loss of fermented and spirituous liquors therein 
was enough to satisfy the desire of the most ardent 



THE BIG EARTHQUAKES 47 

prohibitionist, if there had been any, or to bring 
tears of sorrow to the eyes of those who were 
less fond of Adam's ale. The various liquors of 
Hennessy, Kinahan, Bass, and Allsopp escaped 
from their crystal bondage, and, mingling, ran over 
floor and footpath. One could almost swim in 
them. 

With the insatiable curiosity of youth, in company 
with my companions, I visited nearly every part 
of the city. In the course of our tour of inspection 
we met with an adventure that would probably 
have resulted in broken limbs, or necks, to any but 
boys on the trot. As we turned up from the Quay, 
leaving what little light there was behind, we had 
put on a spurt in order to visit a distant part of 
Thorndon, and had just got abreast of the Govern- 
ment House, when we suddenly found ourselves 
sprawling in a crevice of about three feet wide and 
two deep, which had opened right across the road- 
way. However, as there were no bones broken, 
we continued our journey, rather elated than other- 
wise by the exciting incident. Fortunately brick 
buildings were scarce in the Empire city at the 
time. Brick chimneys were equally so on the 
morning following this event. Whole families 
might be seen camping on the green outside their 
houses with their blankets and wraps around them. 
This, however, was only in the case of those who 
were fortunate or unfortunate enough I don't 
know which way to put it to have their smoke 
stacks left standing, as such were in constant dread 



48 THE BIG EARTHQUAKES 

of their chimneys tumbling about their ears at any 
moment. 

Numerous smal muddy excrescences could be 
seen at various places along the foreshore beyond 
low-water mark, which had been changed now to 
high- water mark. 

The only one of these springs, however, that caused 
anxiety or trouble, made its appearance near the 
corner of Boulcott and Willis Streets on the northern 
side. Of a pale bluish colour it oozed forth as though 
being forced by a pugmill, and slowly continued its 
course seaward. As repeated endeavours to gauge 
its depth had failed, it was at length stayed by 
placing a totara slab of very substantial dimensions 
over the outlet. 

However, for the remainder of the night the earth 
behaved in a more rational manner, and, with the 
exception of a few slight tremors, extending over 
the space of two or three days, no disturbances of a 
violent nature occurred for many years after. The 
earthquakes of more recent years have never equalled 
in violence those of the early days. 



CHAPTER VIII 
EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 

HOW I WAS CORNERED 

IT was in the latter end of the 'fifties, on a Friday 
morning I remember well when I took my 
departure from Wellington Harbour. I had been 
cautioned against starting a venture upon that 
unpropitious day, but I hazarded all, and went on 
board the good brig Burnett. We sailed away from 
that land-locked basin with a decreasing breeze, 
and anchored in a dead calm in Worser's Bay. 
Shortly after midnight came the return of the 
welcome breeze, and we bowled along past the 
lighthouse out of the entrance and on towards 
Palliser Bay. In thick weather the outline of the 
headlands bears so close a resemblance to those of 
the Wellington entrance that in the past it has 
wrecked many a vessel. When seeking refuge 
from a southerly gale, repeatedly have navigators 
and coasting skippers discovered their mistake 
only when, too late, they were running into this 
bay under the impression that it was the entrance 
to Wellington. Unless the error was quickly 

E 49 



60 EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 

rectified, a beat-out was hopeless, and a total 
wreck upon the rocky shore would invariably be the 
result. 

I was determined not to allow the thought of sea- 
sickness to enter my mind, and to enjoy unre- 
servedly every incident in this my maiden trip to 
sea. However, as we neared the Cape I found 
that the novelty of the voyage was gradually wearing 
off, and the beauties of the rugged coastline had 
ceased to produce feelings of a very poetic nature. 
The soul-inspiring, bounding billow, which I had 
often read of, but never experienced, appeared to 
me intent upon bearing us aloft to the clouds 
one moment, and then opening an awful cavity 
into which our craft slid in so sudden a manner as to 
make me imagine that I was being left up aloft. 
Shortly after daybreak, as I was boldly trying to pace 
the poop, I was accosted by one of the hands, who 
was scrubbing decks, with a genial " Good morning," 
and " The best thing for sea-sickness, sir, is a good 
drink of salt water." I readily and with thankfulness 
acknowledged the greater experience of my kindly 
counsellor. In a moment the long lanyard and 
copper measure was dropped over the side of the 
ship, and, encouraged by friendly smiles, with 
heroic determination, I managed to swallow my 
first half -pint of the South Pacific. It did not take 
a very long time to convince me that the old sea- 
dog's prescription was an effective one, but scarcely 
in the way I had anticipated, as I was quickly in 
retreat to another part of the boat, there to con- 



EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 51 

template the vanity of all things appertaining to 
the pleasures of a sea voyage. 

It is a noticeable fact that when rough weather is 
experienced on one side of any of the New Zealand 
capes, the chances are that totally different weather 
will be met with after rounding it. Such was the 
case upon this occasion, so much so as to be the 
reverse of agreeable. After running past Palliser 
about twenty miles, we were then becalmed for 
two days. 

As in the depths of winter we are inclined to sigh 
for a return of the warmth of lovely summer, 
and vice versa, so now we were supplicating 
^Eolus whose severity a few days since we had so 
bitterly condemned to waft our barque on towards 
our destination. I have a faint recollection that 
some of those prayers were of a reverse order ; 
however, the welcome breeze was at length vouch- 
safed, and we were soon sailing along merrily once 
more. 

Three days out and the Kidnappers were not yet 
sighted. Travelling in the 'fifties was not of a very 
expeditious character. This cape at length revealed 
itself. It was named a hundred and thirty-five 
years ago by Captain Cook on account of the 
treatment he received at the hands of the aboriginals, 
who, after coming alongside the Endeavour and 
bartering in a most agreeable manner, suddenly 
grabbed the Fiji boy, who was scraping the ship's 
side, and made off with him. This action was 
frustrated by Cook's ordering a shot to be fired at 



52 EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 

the principal actor. This resulted in the speedy 
rescue of the boy. This being the first case upon 
record of attempted abduction under the Southern 
Cross, the gallant old navigator decided to com- 
memorate the event by calling the scene of it 
Cape Kidnappers. 

The fifth day after leaving our port of departure, 
we cast anchor in the Ahuriri offing. Viewed from 
the vessel the now important town of Napier 
presented a very bleak appearance. A few scattered 
buildings upon the Spit did duty as mercantile 
warehouses, pilot's residence, and the inevitable 
public-house the latter bearing the very suggestive 
title of "The Bird in Hand." Scinde Island, or 
Napier, in reality an island only during the periodi- 
cal floods or spring tides, had scarcely a building or 
cultivation of any description upon its summit, the 
barracks, containing a detachment of the historic 
65th, being about the only noticeable exception. 
The scene has changed. Now there is scarcely a 
rood of it but what is beautified by picturesque 
gardens and private residences, forming altogether 
one of the loveliest spots in New Zealand. 

I landed at last, and was introduced to " The Bird 
in Hand," but, so far as I was concerned, one in the 
bush would have been of equal value to mine host. 
My first impression, after being a compulsory 
witness it was raining heavens hard of the mixed 
assemblage at this primitive establishment, was 
that there existed throughout a predominant spirit 
of lavishness. Subsequent observations have dis- 



EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 63 

closed that this was merely a carrying out of the 
ordinary routine or second part of that style of 
existence then in vogue with the horny-handed 
sons of toil. With the majority of these, apparently, 
there were but two objects in life, which, briefly 
summed up, were accumulation and dispersion, 
in the pursuit of which amazing zeal was invariably 
displayed. The periodical cheque for forty or fifty 
pounds was often liquidated, so to speak, in little 
more than the same number of hours. In this 
manner would the proceeds of months of most 
arduous and perilous labour be literally thrown 
away, and in many cases, that being accomplished, 
the labourer would be shunted to the backwoods to 
recruit. If these unfortunates were lucky enough 
to overcome the effects of their poisonous libations, 
and negotiate successfully the swollen rivers on the 
return journey, the same programme would be 
continued until a " found drowned " or " lost in the 
bush " would be the melancholy verdict. 

Hawke's Bay, at the time I speak of, had just 
received the honour of being proclaimed a province. 
The General Government, considering her capable 
of running alone, had granted the charter for local 
management. The pleasures attendant upon settle- 
ment were in those days of a very mixed order. 
The guardians of the peace invariably adopted the 
maxim of Policeman X : 

" When two coves is up a alley, 

Havin' of a good set-to, 
Don't disturb 'em if you vally, 
Two eyes just to see out thru ! " 



64 EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 

The lock-up was occasionally looked upon as a 
veritable harbour of refuge. The congested state 
of the " pubs " at times rendered it necessary that 
some should find their way to the cells, but durance 
vile would often be refused unless a douceur, in the 
shape of a bottle of Hennessy or Martell, were pro- 
cured to propitiate the promoters of law and order. 
Only a faint notion of the free-and-easy state of 
society in those times can be given, but an incident 
that happened in one of the townships on the coast 
may be illustrative. A J.P. with a few friends one 
evening had been holding a bit of a jollification, 
during which a considerable amount of liquid re- 
freshment had disappeared. After breaking up, 
which occurred somewhere " ayont the twal," one of 
the convivial party, failing to hit the right track for 
home, had subsided under a friendly hedge, whence 
he was conveyed to that more secure shelter pro- 
vided by a thoughtful Government for such emer- 
gencies. The following morning all representations 
as to respectability were of no avail, the man in blue 
merely remarking, " Don't thrubble, shure ye'll be 
let off aisey." The dread moment had at length 
arrived, when who should be occupying the bench 
but his J.P. friend of the previous night, who, 
scarce deigning to look at him, in stern tones, said : 
" Now, sir, what have you to say to the charge ; 
do you admit it ? " This deliberate assumption of 
ignorance of recent events so startled the accused, 
that he replied rather hotly : " Well, your worship 
should be as intimate with the case as- 1 am, seeing 



EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 55 

that I had the pleasure of your society the most of 
the time." " Oh, then," answered the justice, evi- 
dently disgusted at such an exhibition of incapacity, 
" if that is so, the fine will be two pounds, and I 
advise you to be more judicious in your choice of 
company for the future." It is scarcely necessary to 
say that this impartial administrator of the law was 
of Hibernian extraction. 

A short time after my arrival in Hawke's Bay 
found me established in business in Waipureku, a 
small town situated upon the banks of the Tuki 
Tuki, and over the estuary where the Ngaruroro 
also found an outlet to the Pacific. This locality 
affords a striking example of the poetical aptness of 
the aboriginal in nomenclature. 

Although it is difficult to give the correct ety- 
mology of Maori proper names, as far as I could learn 
the compound word Waipureku stands for " the 
meeting of the waters," and certainly no title could 
be more poetically descriptive of that spot where 
the two rivers had apparently joined forces pre- 
paratory to invading the surf-bound territory of 
their briny neighbour. 

This town consisted of two stores, a butchery, 
a bakery, a blacksmith's shop, and, of course, two 
public-houses. During the wool season in particular 
these houses of accommodation did a roaring trade 
in more than one sense. The only places of resort 
during the evenings for the residents, who were 
mostly single, were the inviting long rooms of one 
or other of these hotels with their cheerfully blazing 



66 EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 

log fires in the wide open fireplaces. However, when 
an influx of bushmen or others of the same kidney 
would take place, this comfort would, by force of 
circumstances, be denied them, for unless prepared 
to hobnob with this gentry and generally assist in 
the avocation of painting the town a rich vermilion, 
a short experience was sufficient to show that dis- 
cretion was the better part of valour. After a big 
spree was once in proper order, it was quite likely 
that any visitor would be requested to drink, fight, 
or clear out. As far as I was concerned, it was the 
latter alternative which was invariably accepted, 
and, although I did not consider myself a coward, 
I was, through adopting this line of action, often 
stigmatised as such. 

Never but on one occasion was I properly cornered. 
It happened as follows. I procured a boat, and 
had arranged for a little fishing excursion across the 
Tuki Tuki. The party consisted of a friend, with 
his wife and two children, and myself. It was a 
lovely morning and the surface of the placid river, 
mellowed by the genial rays of the summer sun, 
appeared most inviting. We repaired to where our 
boat lay on the river's edge, the mother and her two 
little ones were safely and comfortably settled on 
board, but we found some difficulty in launching the 
boat. Down from among the spectators, on the 

high bank, came Ned S , a burly bushman, with 

the exclamation : " I'll give thee a push, laad." I 
thanked him for his assistance, which soon shifted 
the boat, but to my surprise and chagrin he jumped 



EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 57 

in, and, coolly seating himself, remarked : " Aarm 
a-going to take a trip wi' ya, laad ! " Now what 
was to be done ? The redoubtable Ned, who was 
never known to have been conquered in any of his 
fisticuff encounters which were too numerous to 
mention had evidently made up his mind to take 
part in the outing, whether pleasing to us or not. 
The trampled worm will at length turn upon its 
aggressor. So it was on this occasion, and, before 
the self-confident rough had well taken his seat in 
the boat, my blood boiling from the indignity, I had 
him over the gunwale and into the water. At the 
same time, tripping under the weight I had lifted, 
I also floundered into the river, which, however, was 
fortunately shallow. 

Fearing I might run away, Ned immediately 
seized me in his powerful grip, saying, " Now, young 
'un, you'll have to faight me after this." Being 
assured of my willingness to accommodate him, he 
let go his hold, and, keeping his eye keenly on me, 
quickly stripped for the fray. This preliminary on 
my part had been accomplished for me, for Ned had, 
at the start, torn my light clothing from collar to 
waist, and it was hanging in ribbons around me. 
His delight at as he termed it having a smack 
at me was unbounded, and lit up his countenance 
with a joyous smile. We were soon displaying our 
knowledge of the " noble art " to the deeply 
interested spectators, the most of whom were 
anticipating my speedy extinction, but, strange to 
say, the bully's first attack, which was a most 



68 EARLY DAYS IN NAPIER 

vicious one, was cautiously evaded, and he was soon 
reeling backwards from the effects of a straight from 
the shoulder return. He fell upon his back, with a 
gash under his eye, from which the claret flowed 
freely. Up again he sprang with a smile, saying, 
" Well dun, laad ! ba gumm, ya can shape." At 
it again we went, and about twenty minutes was 
occupied with nearly exact repetitions of our first 
set-to, with the result that I had not a scratch, but 
my bellicose vis-a-vis, with an extremely ruddy com- 
plexion, was forcibly being taken away by his com- 
panions, loudly assuring them that he was not half 
beat yet, and I was receiving congratulations at 
having so completely polished off Ned the uncon- 
querable. 

Such were the pleasures of life in the 'sixties. 
In concluding, I may just add that my subsequent 
sojourn in Waipureku was one comparatively free 
from molestation, with one exception. I had re- 
peatedly either to " faight " Ned or drink at his 
expense, and not being a prohibitionist, of the two 
evils I always chose the lesser. 



CHAPTER IX 
GATE PAH AVENGED 

THE MAORI'S CHALLENGE AND THE PAKEHA'S 

ANSWER 

TjlARLY in 1864 the Imperial troops under 
J-^ General Cameron, assisted by a strong detach- 
ment of navals, experienced that terrible reverse at 
Pukehinahina, better known as " Gate Pah," caused 
through a most unaccountable panic on the part of 
our troops. 

The Maoris, under their valorous Ngaiterangi 
chief, Rawiri, having evacuated Pukehinahina, had 
retired some four or five miles further inland, when 
one afternoon about two months after their recent 
victory, elated no doubt by his success, a messenger 
arrived at Tauranga with a challenge from Rawiri 
to Colonel Greer, who had been left in command of 
the garrison stationed there, to come and fight, or 
take him, at Te Ranga, in three days. He insolently 
added that if the colonel wasn't mataku (frightened) 
he would come. 

Greer, as gallant a soldier as ever drew sword, had 

59 



60 GATE PAH AVENGED 

been in the late engagement, in charge of the 68th 
as reserve, and was only too glad of an opportunity 
to wipe out the disgrace of their recent repulse. He 
answered "Kapai (good) ; I'll go." Colonel Greer was 
a man of promptness and determination, and the 
bearer of the message was scarcely out of the 
barrack yard ere he issued orders for an immediate 
advance. 

Very soon the whole encampment was alive, and 
the orderlies silently glided to and fro, but there 
was no assembly by blast of trumpet, or warlike 
march, to arouse the ardour of our men. Colonel 
Greer had no intention of proclaiming to the world 
his movements. Darkness coming on, he was 
enabled the more secretly to carry out his plans, 
which were to assemble in perfect silence and 
advance under cover of night. The men of his com- 
mand needed nothing to stimulate them to action, 
for was there not many a dear comrade to be 
avenged, whose remains, as yet scarcely cold, lay 
sleeping his last sleep on the picturesque banks of 
Tauranga Harbour, scarcely a stone's-throw from 
where they were now assembling ? 

A stranger coming upon the scene might easily 
have mistaken Greer's command for some phantom 
regiment, so noiselessly were orders imparted and 
obeyed. Nothing was heard but the occasional click 
of the " examine arms " or the rattle of a subaltern's 
scabbard as he passed along the ranks. 

Anxiety to know the destination caused many a 
heart to flutter with excitement. 



GATE PAH AVENGED 61 

" Forward ! Quick march ! Perfect silence ! " 
the words passed from file to file as the men moved 
off with military precision, so pleasant to see on a 
field day ; but so suggestive of ambuscades and a 
thousand other contingencies incidental to an 
attack under such circumstances. 

Slowly and stealthily they proceed. The com- 
manding officer, evidently considering all things 
fair in war, intended to make a coup. 

After leaving quarters at Tauranga, the force was 
compelled, by the nature of the country, to march 
with advance- and rear-guard only. The one avail- 
able road, in many places scarce wide enough for 
two deep, was flanked by thick fern, tutu, and 
manuka scrub, so dense in places as to be almost 
impenetrable. Nothing was to be seen, and, 
save the screech of an owl, or the plaintive cry 
of a pukaki or weka, scarce a sound was to be 
heard. 

After a few miles thus traversed a halt is made. 
The excitement increases. No enemy yet. It wants 
two hours or so till daylight. A quarter of an hour 
spell, then places are again quietly filled in the ranks, 
and another forward movement made. Every step 
is taken with the greatest caution. Colonel Greer, 
no doubt, has a due appreciation of the position, 
and acts accordingly. His foe, one of the bravest 
warriors of the Ngaiterangi, is certainly not to be 
despised. " Rawiri ! " yes, that name is one that 
should be ever remembered with respect as that of 
an honourable and chivalrous antagonist, as was 



62 GATE PAH AVENGED 

amply evidenced in his actions towards our dead and 
wounded at Gate Pah. 

After another hour's march, wearisome enough 
in the surrounding gloom, faint crimson streaks on 
the horizon now make their appearance, heralding 
the approach of morn and conflict. Gradually the 
outline of the enemy's position is being revealed. 
They have selected a site on the brow of a spur, 
or narrow ridge, three or four hundred feet above 
where the Imperial troops have taken cover. The 
ground on each side slopes steeply down to deep 
water, or impassable morass. 

No flank movement is possible. A few flickering 
lights are seen. The enemy, probably working at 
their pits, little think that before half an hour has 
elapsed some hundreds of rifles will be pouring their 
deadly contents into them. They don't expect the 
Kooti Whero (red coats), as the soldiers are termed 
by them, to show up for another day or two pro- 
crastination and " red tape," the curse of our army 
in New Zealand up to that time, having created a 
feeling of contempt for the Kooti Whero amongst the 
rebel Maoris. 

But we have made a forced march, and our men, 
with bated breath and beating hearts, are lying 
under the sheltering fern awaiting the signal for a 
general attack. Then the first note of the bugle, 
sounding the charge in the calm morning air, is 
scarcely sounded when that wilderness, a mo- 
ment before as still as the grave, is alive with 
soldiers. 



GATE PAH AVENGED 63 

Officers with waving swords lead to the attack, 
shouting, " Remember Gate Pah, boys ! " Onward 
and upwards they rush. The Maoris, taken by sur- 
prise, are in a state of confusion. They send a 
straggling volley from their unfinished pits, but the 
bullets go mostly over the heads of their assailants, 
who, with rifles at the charge, dash uphill through 
every obstacle, until they are within twenty or 
thirty yards of the enemy's earthworks. Then a 
crashing fire is returned. The outer line of pits is 
held but for a few moments, during which, bayonet 
on one side, tolci or mere (tomahawk or greenstone 
bludgeon) on the other, clash. A desperate hand-to- 
hand struggle ensues ; the dark, semi-nude savage 
grasping at the opposing rifle with one hand, and 
slashing right and left with the other. There is no 
time to reload, for the onslaught has been too 
sudden, and the soldiers are fast pushing them back. 
For a moment they waver ; but Bawiri is not easily 
conquered. Although caught napping, he rallies his 
men and retires to where a second line of rifle pits is 
in course of construction. But the impetuosity of 
the regulars allows him no chance to make a stand. 
They dash on, their bayonets glistening in the now 
fully risen sun, and the blood-curdling yells of the 
Maori, and wild cheers of the Pakeha fill the 
air, as white man and Maori meet again at close 
quarters. 

The cold steel proves too much for the latter. They 
break and retreat. Rawiri, fighting like a lion at bay, 
as yet apparently unwounded, seems ubiquitous in 



64 GATE PAH AVENGED 

his endeavour to draw the remnant of his braves off. 
He retires in good order, ever keeping in the fore- 
front of the fight. He has nearly reached a spot 
where he would be comparatively safe from pursuit, 
when he falls pierced by the avenging bullets of his 
pursuers. His men now fly in disorder, and dis- 
appear in the thick scrub. 

The '' retire " sounds repeatedly ere our troops, 
reluctantly, retrace their steps to the main 
body. 

Here a terrible spectacle presents itself, dead and 
dying lying in each other's embrace almost. The 
determined nature of the engagement may be 
imagined from the following incident. Here lies 
a stalwart Maori, a model of symmetry and strength, 
stark dead, a bayonet through his body. His hand 
still grasps the rifle, while side by side with him, 
quite unconscious, lies his opponent, his head nearly 
cleft in two by the mere evidently a simultaneous 
cut and thrust. 

The rebels, out of five hundred, were supposed 
to have lost fully a hundred and fifty. One thing is 
certain their rifle pits, and other impromptu graves 
at Te Ranga, contain nearly seventy of their slain, 
buried where they fell. Our dead and wounded were 
carefully taken back to Tauranga. 

This action, short, sharp, and decisive, would, if 
any delay had been made, have taken more men 
than were available at the time, and could not have 
been concluded without an alarming sacrifice of life. 

After the fight, congratulations were the order of 



GATE PAH AVENGED 65 

the day. Our troops had shown, once more, that 
when properly handled they could uphold the 
prestige of the flag, and Gate Pah had been 
avenged. 



CHAPTER X 
THE UNSOPHISTICATED MAORI 

A DENTIST'S DILEMMA 

WHEN quite young I was thrown very much 
amongst the noble aboriginals of this country; 
although nearly a native, I managed to avoid that 
honour by making my appearance just before our 
arrival in New Zealand. 

Wellington then could boast of two pahs or 
kaingas, one Te Aro and the other Pipi-Tea, both 
pretty well peopled. But a constant ebb and flow 
of Maoris was always taking place in the Empire 
city. Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata, rebellious 
and defiant, kept things lively for a time ; but 
with the former a prisoner, and the latter defunct, 
our town soon became almost deserted by the 
Maoris. A solitary old wahine (woman) might 
occasionally be seen with a kit of taiwas (potatoes) 
on her back, looking very much like an overgrown 
snail with its shell. Sometimes she would be accom- 
panied by her lord and master, who filled the position 
to the letter, doing all the bargaining, but allowing 
his gentle spouse the privilege of carrying potatoes, 

66 



THE UNSOPHISTICATED MAORI 67 

etc. , from house to house for sale, which she always 
did uncomplainingly. In those good old days the 
Maoris' knowledge of the value of money was some- 
what mixed. An incident, in which I was chief 
actor, will illustrate the position. Being sent on an 
errand with about three shillings in small change 
in my possession, I met one of the dear old creatures 
with the usual kit on her back, and, to show my 
unlimited supply of money, I boldly said, " Ehia 
te utu mo te taiwa ? " (What price for the potatoes ?). 
She no sooner saw the number of pieces of silver in 
my hand than down she squatted, and, pulling 
out a very dirty piece of rag, which contained a 
crown piece, offered to make an exchange for my 
many coins. 

Although very young at the time, I was fully 
imbued with that spirit of civilisation that had 
induced the New Zealand Company and others to 
people this colony with the superior race, so I 
accepted the offer. I may just add that my bargain 
was greeted, upon my return home, by a warmth 
which I have never forgotten. 

The natives were very strict then in their actions 
regarding what was held to be tapu or sacred. 

A well-known dentist of Wellington, Mr. Mofifatt, 
once took a trip inland through the Wairarapa 
district, but, being benighted, and somewhat damp 
through having had to ford a river or two, he 
reluctantly sought the shelter of the nearest pah. 
Not being able to say much that was intelligible 
to the inmates, he was astonished to find his wants 



anticipated, warm blankets and the best food pro- 
curable being placed before him. The trait in the 
Maori character of hospitality is most con- 
spicuous. After a good rest and plenty of refresh- 
ments, consisting of potatoes, pork, pumpkin, etc., 
cooked a la " Kappa Maori," Mr. Moffat in the 
morning sought the chief, with the intention of 
thanking him as best he could, but the old fellow 
was rather taciturn, being troubled with what was 
seldom known amongst them up to that time a 
toothache. With feelings of gratitude, Moffatt 
offered to cure him. The Maori, not knowing the 
nature of the remedy, showed his willingness, and 
the dentist at once got at the offending molar, which 
he whipped out in a twinkling. Not a move 
of a muscle could be detected in the old warrior 
during the operation, but the worst part for our 
dentist had now arrived. According to native 
custom everything touching the head of a chief is 
tapu, and not to be used for any other purpose, so 
Moffatt, with horror, saw the Maori attendants 
coolly gather up his paraphernalia, and bundle it 
away in a corner of the whari (house). Expostula- 
tion on his part, if understood, was not heeded. 
The Maoris merely shook their heads and looked 
serious. Our friend was at his wits' end almost 
as to how to get possession of his case, when a 
happy thought occurred to him. Nature, fortunately 
for him on this occasion, having deprived him of his 
hair, and the various hair restorers not being then 
invented, he had supplied the deficiency by a wig. 



THE UNSOPHISTICATED MAORI 69 

He also happened to carry about with him, as an 
advertisement, no doubt, a beautiful set of artificial 
teeth, so, acting on the impulse of the moment, he 
doffed his wig, pulled out his teeth, and, extending 
his arms, in a loud voice, and with much gesticula- 
tion, demanded his property. The poor savages, 
fully believing that he could pull off his head if he 
chose, and thinking him some supernatural sort of 
being, or the very Taipo (devil) himself, fled from 
the whare, chief and all, leaving Moffatt master of 
the situation. Then, quietly replacing his headgear, 
and quickly gathering up his instruments, he 
decamped, meeting no more opposition than furtive 
glances and frightened looks, the Maoris doubtless 
being well pleased to be rid of so uncanny a visitor. 



CHAPTER XI 
IN CHASE OP TE KOOTI 

AN UNSUCCESSFUL EXPEDITION 

TE KOOTI, that wily, treacherous, and blood- 
thirsty fiend (I cannot help feeling unchari- 
table when recalling some of his dark deeds) had 
recently returned from the Chatham Islands, where 
he had been a prisoner with some fifty or sixty 
others a choice lot of desperadoes. They had 
been treated with kindness, and allowed all sorts 
of latitude. Being on an island some six hundred 
miles or so from their homes, the Government never 
imagined them capable of making escape from 
their sea-girt prison. Among other amusements 
provided for them was rifle practice, which they 
were not slow to avail themselves of. Then they 
seized a schooner that had just arrived, compelling 
the captain, under pain of death, to take them back 
to their homes. Eventually they landed near 
Turanga, well equipped with rifles and carbines, 
a plentiful supply of ammunition, and proficient in 
the use of the arms and ammunition provided by 
the sapient Government of the day. The volunteers 
and settlers of Turanga made a desperate attempt 

70 



IN CHASE OF TE KOOTI 71 

to capture them, but were outmanoeuvred and 
beaten back. The escapees were hunted again by 
Whitmore, who might as well have chased a will-o'- 
the-wisp, the only result being the loss of many 
courageous fellows, notably Canning and Carr, 
both brave soldiers and gentlemen, who fell, the 
first victims of an ambuscade into which the party 
was led. 

Te Kooti made good his retreat inland, and no 
one seemed to have had any knowledge of his 
whereabouts until that terrible midnight visit to 
Turanga (Poverty Bay). One night a Maori 
knocked at Captain Wilson's door, calling to him to 
hurry away, for Te Kooti was coming to kill every- 
one. Wilson went to the door, rifle in hand, always 
ready for the worst. Seeing only the unarmed 
native, one whom he had known as belonging to the 
friendlies, and whose assumed professions of assist- 
ance had seemed so real, he, with all suspicion dis- 
armed, immediately made preparation, the native 
giving a hand, for starting at once with his wife and 
children to a more secure place. 

A tramp of three miles would bring them to the 
blockhouse at Turanga. The Maori picked up one 
of the little ones, not equal to the task, the father 
another. A start was made, but scarcely had they 
reached the little gate, when down crashed the 
tomahawk through poor Wilson's skull. The rest 
of the family were dispatched and left for dead, 
with the exception of little Jimmy and his mother, 
who was found in a dying condition by the relief 



72 IN CHASE OF TE KOOTI 

party three days afterwards. It seems that the boy 
being terrified at seeing his father struck down, 
fled to the scrub and hid himself, remaining there 
all through the night. 

In the morning the horror-stricken child (only 
six years of age) crawled back to the remains of the 
house, that had been burnt by the wretches, in the 
hope of finding his parents ; but alas ! what pen 
could describe the sight that met his view ? It is 
not my purpose to give the harrowing details, 
suffice it to say that his mother was the only one 
living in that scene of desolation. What must have 
been the feelings of the mother in beholding her boy, 
whom she had given up for lost, bending over her. 
For three days that heroic little fellow managed 
to keep his poor mother alive with eggs which he 
found in the scrub. The relief party arriving took 
the mother and son to Turanga, and thence to 
Napier. She, however, did not long survive her 
brave husband, and now lies in that God's acre 
which overlooks Napier Harbour. 

The arch-fiend, after massacring many more, 
retired again inland. His next exploit happened 
in 'sixty-nine. News was received from Mohaka (a 
small village situated at the mouth of the river of 
that name) that Te Kooti was raiding the settlement, 
slaying everyone friendly natives and whites. 

It would appear that the way the authorities 
managed not to capture him would account for 
many of his so-called hair-breadth escapes subse- 
quently, if similar tactics were followed. 



IN CHASE OF TE KOOTI 73 

The officer in command at Napier, upon receiving 
the intelligence, might have got volunteers in ample 
numbers, as had been done, and with a successful 
result, at Oamarunui. Taking them down by a 
small steamer then in the harbour, he could have 
landed them at daybreak the following morning 
and surprised the murderous fanatics in the midst 
of their drunken orgy. But the colonel, not being 
one of " Old Nelson's " sort, called a parade for 
Sunday morning, when, with band playing and red 
tape flying, we fell in for the purpose of capturing the 
redoubtable scoundrel. Away we marched across 
the eastern spit, and arrived at Petene Valley at 
dusk, having accomplished the distance, three 
or four miles, in about fifty hours quite a 
record ! 

We camped for the night in the valley, keeping 
a sharp look out against a surprise, for we scarcely 
numbered two hundred all told, while the enemy 
numbered some twenty or thirty warriors. This 
made us careful, you see ! Morning came without 
anything having occurred of a very exciting nature. 
A company was then dispatched along Moeangiangi 
beach to the scene of disturbance. We trudged on 
over miles of sand and boulders, the pomp and 
glorious circumstances of war not being greatly in 
evidence. An unusually hot sun poured down its 
nearly vertical rays upon our devoted heads. On the 
left was a brackish lagoon, and the water of Hawke's 
Bay dashed almost to our feet. We continued our 
journey hi Indian file, and soon any warlike 



74 IN CHASE OF TE KOOTI 

ardour we might have entertained at starting seemed 
to have sunk to our boots. At last we had passed 
the horrible sand spit, and halted for refreshments, 
only to discover that there was no water within two 
miles of us. Then another forward move was made, 
but some of the troopers, returning after recon- 
noitring, met us with the information that the 
bird had flown. Te Kooti had retreated inland. 
We doubled round and started back again to head- 
quarters. 

After a short respite twenty-five volunteers were 
called for, and ordered to take another route inland, 
up the Petene Valley, for the purpose of intercepting, 
if possible, the rebel leader at the Purahutangihea 
Pass. Now this was variety, and 'tis said 'tis 
charming, but to follow the valley right up to the 
track leading to the pass necessitated the crossing 
of the river over twenty times in about three or 
four miles. Plenty of water now ! 

The beauties of that picturesque little valley, 
with its lovely scenery, were unseen by us, or, if 
seen, were not appreciated. Poetry and wet feet 
don't go well together. 

The extra heat in the morning was only the 
prophetic forerunner of a change in the weather, 
quite characteristic of New Zealand. Arriving at the 
base of the mountain, up whose precipitous side 
lay our line of march, Lieutenant Koch " in charge," 
ordered a halt for the night. The bell tent was 
pitched, and fern cut for bedding. The cooking 
was accomplished with as little smoke and noise as 



IN CHASE OF TE KOOTI 75 

possible. The threatened rain was now upon us, 
and there was no sleeping out in the fern mai mais, 
so all hands, with the exception of the officer com- 
manding and the sentries, sought shelter in the 
all too small tent. We retired to rest, but not to 
sleep, for we were packed like sardines in a box. 
Once down, there was no turning on the other side, 
a feat practically impossible under the circum- 
stances. 

Hail, smiling morn ! Once more it has cleared 
up, so after breakfast up the side of the mountain, 
through scrub and fern, we push ahead. An occa- 
sional wild pig, startled from his slumbers, dashes 
away through the titree, or manuka. We advance 
right valiantly until we reach the summit of the 
pass ; nothing to be seen but a small bush fire across 
the valley, and a lovely panorama of Napier and 
suburbs. 

An old dilapidated whare is taken into requisition, 
and only just in time, for the rain has returned again, 
but in a frozen state this time variety again. 
Double sentries are posted in various quarters to 
prevent the passage of any living being without the 
password. 

Amid hail, rain, and snow the night passes with 
no sign of Te Kooti. 

The morning reports are uninteresting, with the 
exception of some unaccountable noises heard 
through the night watch. Several days and nights 
follow in a like manner, and with the exception of 
shooting a wild pig or sheep nothing occurs to break 



76 IN CHASE OF TE KOOTI 

the monotony. All hopes of catching the enemy 
have been abandoned, or our meat supply would not 
have been augmented by pig-shooting. 

Our last day at the pass has arrived. Orders to 
retreat no, retire have been received. Our last 
meal is in process of being prepared. Meat has been 
short, and there is no time to hunt for more. Our 
chef has excelled himself by inventing a wonderful 
dish for our delectation, soup without meat a 
concoction of wild parsley, biscuit remains, bones 
that had done service in a like manner more than 
once, and no salt. 

All hands helped themselves, but when nearly the 
last one's turn came, he, dipping his pannikin into 
the pot, exclaimed in a rich brogue, " By Gar, I've 
the best of it at the bottom ! Och ! be the powers, 
what's this ? " Then he fished up what he took to 
be meat ; but alas, for the uncertainty of all human 
expectations, 'twas only one of the cook's hose, 
which had dropped from its drying-place in the 
chimney into the pot of soup ! I must draw a veil 
over the scene that ensued. There was no " pub " 
within five or six miles of us. Consequently no one 
felt much the worse for the repast. 

The return trip was uneventful. Like Bonaparte, 
we went up the hill and came down again. As we 
approached the town, an unusual bustle was notice- 
able. Yes, of course, the band was there, ready to 
play us back, which they did, to the parade ground. 
The warriors had returned, without effecting a 
capture, yet they had bravely tried, and so were 



IN CHASE OF TE KOOTI 77 

worthy of all honour which they got, and nothing 
more. 

And the notorious Te Kooti still lived to bless 
the country with, as Artemus Ward would say, 
" A fust-klass rebellion." 



CHAPTER XII 
THE TRAGEDY AT "THE STAR" 

A BLOODY DEED BY NIGHT 

A VERY noticeable feature in the early settlers 
of New Zealand, or at least of a great many of 
them, was their utter want of appreciation of the 
value of money. It was the recognised custom 
amongst the hardy bushmen, shearers, sawyers, 
and such-like, to slave at their various callings 
until a " decent cheque " had been earned. Then 
they were off to the nearest place of amusement, 
apparently in a most anxious state of mind until 
the " pay bearer " was safely deposited in the 
hands of their banker, the publican. He, in return, 
would most obligingly supply all requirements 
until such time as it was deemed advisable to give 
notice that the reciprocal term was drawing to a 
close, a term which generally lasted fewer weeks, 
or at times days, than it had taken months to acquire 
the necessary funds. 

Society was at that time in a very primitive con- 
dition. Aristocracy and democracy were delightfully 
blended, younger sons of noble families occasionally 

78 



THE TRAGEDY AT "THE STAR" 79 

figuring as sawyers, cooks on stations, or even 
bullock drivers. These were " remittance men," 
who, being shunted from the old country, would 
have been in an infinitely better position, morally 
and socially, if the periodical draft had never had 
an existence, for the fact was that, while busily 
engaged in menial occupations, they were gentlemen, 
but, with rare exceptions, upon funds becoming 
plentiful, they were the reverse. 

The Gambling and Lotteries Act had not then 
found a place on our Statute Book. Consequently 
many a boisterous night was the result of indulgence 
in dicing. Oftentimes dire forebodings were ex- 
pressed of some calamity being the outcome of this, 
and the " Tragedy at the Star " apparently ful- 
filled these predictions. 

It was after a race-meeting, at which everyone 
was allowed to wager with fullest liberty, the 
restraining influence of the totalisator not being hi 
existence to curb this evil. 

To give or take the odds was to use a colonialism 
" quite up to Dick." The hotel that night was 
more than filled with visitors. After closing time, 
which was not so early as in the rigorous days we 
live in, but rather an indefinite hour, some of the 
reckless spirits, as usual, adjourned to the privacy 
of a back room for a quiet game. As the night wore 
on, mine host, seeing the stakes and excitement 
rapidly increasing, occasionally hinted at the 
advisability of, as he put it, knocking off. But 
the appeal was merely responded to by sinister looks, 



80 THE TRAGEDY AT 'THE STAR" 

coupled with the request that he would go to bed, 
or to a warmer locality, but leave some refreshments, 
or they would just take French leave and help 
themselves. The proprietor was in a dilemma. 
For various reasons he dare not call in the assistance 
of the police to clear the house. Many of his guests 
were good customers whom he could not afford to 
offend. He was well aware that, even if he left the 
keys in their charge, many of them were too honour- 
able not to see him fully remunerated for anything 
they might require, but they were, he thought, 
" fou enough " already. Now, what was he to do ? 
Almost dropping to sleep from weariness, and being 
of a nervous temperament, he decided to leave out 
some Guinness, Hennessy, etc., and to retire. He 
entertained some misgivings, which had the effect of 
banishing sleep for a while, although he knew that 
most of these gentlemen were worthy of that 
designation ; yet amongst the number were some 
individuals unknown to him, and whose appearance 
caused him a certain amount of anxiety. 

Exhausted nature at last prevailing, he fell asleep, 
but for how long he could not imagine. He was 
aroused by a frightful yell, accompanied by the 
noise as of a heavy body falling upon the floor 
beneath. Not being over-endowed with courage, he 
contented himself by quietly listening. No further 
disturbance occurring, he felt assured of its being 
nothing that ought to cause uneasiness, and decided 
to ascertain the reason at daylight. 

Soon after morning's light, however, he was again 



THE TRAGEDY AT "THE STAR" 81 

startled from his repose by a cry, which this time 
froze the very blood in his veins. " Oh, sir ! " came 
the voice of one of the servant-girls from the foot of 
the staircase, " quick, there's something dead on 
the sofa in the back parlour." Trembling in every 
limb, the landlord hurried down to the scene of the 
tragedy. There, sure enough, lay a body, com- 
pletely covered, the boots only being visible, by a 
large white tablecloth, which was stained with blood 
in many places. Ghastly faces thronged around the 
door, but no one ventured inside. Was it murder or 
suicide ? The landlord, filled with visions of a 
coroner's inquest, and probable loss of licence, or 
good name, excitedly forbade any attempt to see 
who was the victim until the arrival of the police, 
who had been sent for directly. The employees, 
with awe-stricken countenances, freely discussed 
who the probable perpetrator of the foul deed could 
be. A very short time elapsed before the law officer 
made his appearance. Followed by the morbidly 
curious crowd, he made his way into the room 
where the melancholy evidences of the previous 
night's carouse remained undisturbed. Going direct 
to the sofa, he turned down the gory covering and 
exposed to the view of the horrified spectators the 
headless carcase of a prime Lincoln sheep, which had 
been surreptitiously procured from one of the local 
butchers' verandahs and fitted with a pair of the 
lodger's boots, which protruded from underneath the 
end of the sheet, for the purpose of concocting a 
tragedy at the " Star." 
G 



82 THE TRAGEDY AT 'THE STAR" 

The revised prayers of that much-injured publican 
upon this discovery were both loud and deep, and 
if heard and granted, certainly his late guests 
would have had uncomfortably warm quarters ever 
after. 



CHAPTER XIII 
HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 

A BREACH OF " TAPU " 

OF the many good qualities in the Maori, I know 
of none more strictly adhered to or more un- 
ostentatiously displayed than that of their at times 
almost self-sacrificing hospitality. 

In the pioneer days of New Zealand settlement, 
the traveller had to face difficulties that in the 
'nineties would appear of an almost insurmountable 
nature. The journey from one province to another, 
over mountains and gullies with nothing but a faint 
track for guidance, was one of much vicissitude and 
peril. The lovely and magnificent scenery of the 
Southern Alps, the Rimutaka Passes, the wonderful 
Tokaanu or Rotorua Hot Springs, or the Ruapehu 
and Tongariro volcanoes of the north, now enjoyed 
with so much zest and astonishment by admiring 
tourists from all parts of the world, were then only 
considered obstacles void of all poetry. Macada- 
mised roads and railway carriages have supplanted 
the Huarahi (Maori track) and snail-paced bullock 

83 



84 HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 

teams. Splendid bridges now span the once treacher- 
ous fording-places where many an early settler, 
in the attempt to cross, was swept away and 
lost. 

The natives always displayed commendable 
promptitude in trying to prevent such casualties, 
often at great personal risk rescuing the wayfarer. 
Regardless of who or what he might be, they took 
him to their pah, where the " motherly wahine " 
with the utmost solicitude would tend to his wants 
until he was fit to resume the journey. 

Many an instance of such generosity could be re- 
counted which would put to shame many of the 
superior beings in their midst, who, in the natural 
order of things, were supposed to elevate them from 
their state of barbarism, and by precept and example 
lead them on to light. 

One incident may not be uninteresting as show- 
ing the sincerity of their feelings in this 
respect. 

In the 'fifties I had recently started in business, 
and was advised by some who had a more intimate 
knowledge of native peculiarities than myself never 
to give nama (credit) for eatables of any description, 
as the notions entertained by the Maoris with regard 
to such were in most cases, to say the least, strange. 
Where a blanket, a bridle and saddle, or such-like, 
had been sold to them on credit, little difficulty was 
experienced in eventually getting a settlement ; but, 
when edible commodities were in question, they 
seemed to have an indefinite idea that, as there was 



HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 85 

nothing to show for the money requested of them, 
they should not be expected to part with their sub- 
stantial silver in lieu thereof. 

Te Moana Nui (Big Ocean) was a splendid specimen 
of his race, standing about six feet high upon legs 
which might have been envied by a Roman gladiator, 
with broad square shoulders, from which gracefully 
hung the blanket fastened with a shoulder-knot of 
dressed flax, with a fine shapely head, a face full of 
intelligence and dignity, rather improved than other- 
wise by the lines of tattoo (emblems of aristocracy), 
which curved with such artistic regularity around 
the defiant nostrils and at each side of a lofty fore- 
head. The whole figure was surmounted by such 
a volume of hair, that wearing a hat was not to him 
an absolute necessity. 

Such is a faint description of the chief who came 
to my place one morning, with an abrupt " How 
d'ye do ? Give me some food for my men, to- 
morrow I'll pay." 

Not caring to positively refuse him, I thought I 
might adopt a line of policy, at little cost, which 
would raise me in his estimation ever after. I re- 
plied : " No, Moana Nui, I don't give credit ; 
take what you ask for a gift from me to 
you." 

Instead of accepting my offer with thanks, as I had 
fondly anticipated, guess my surprise and alarm 
when, bounding from his squatting position, he ad- 
vanced close to my face, and, in a thundering voice, 
shouted, " What to me is your gift ? I am Moana 



86 HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 

Nui ; am I a thief ? Very little would make me send 
your shop, goods, and yourself floating down the 
Tuki Tuki." As the river referred to was swiftly 
coursing in dangerous proximity to my one-room 
store, and as I knew that a single word from the 
chief would have brought to his aid fifty or more of 
his followers if it were necessary, I had no ambition 
to be launched upon a cruise of that description, and 
so kept a very discreet silence, while he stalked away 
like an enraged lion. 

The following Sunday morning I went for a ride 
with a young Maori of Te Mataiwi (The Face of the 
Nation), Moana Nui's pah who had lent me a horse 
for the occasion. Returning home at midday, my 
friend asked me to come and have some dinner. 
Having a certain amount of misgiving as to the 
probable nature of my reception if I accepted his 
invitation, I informed him of my being in disgrace 
with the chief. His answer was, " If you wish to 
keep up his anger, don't come." 

I went, saw, ate, and conquered. The meal not 
being quite ready, I was regaled by the ever-thought- 
ful warm-hearted women with some delicious water- 
melons, in a whare opposite to where the chief sat in 
the midst of his elders of the tribe, apparently ignor- 
ing my presence. The dinner, consisting of meat, 
potatoes, pumpkin, etc., was brought to the various 
kainga (eating-places) in large tin dishes. A knife, 
fork, and plate seemingly the only ones in requisi- 
tion, and nice and clean were placed on a mat 
before me, and the first dish was presented to me. 



HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 87 

Upon the accomplishment of this part of the cere- 
mony, Te Moana Nui called out, " Has the pakeha 
taken food ? " The young waitress answered in 
the affirmative, when the chief again cried, 
" Tena" or " Go on," which was obeyed with 
alacrity. 

I am sorry to say that this ordinary act of gener- 
osity on the part of the Maori was only too fre- 
quently abused. Occasional recipients, the scum of 
society, gave full vent to their brutal proclivities, 
taking advantage of the good-nature of their hosts 
by acting in a manner not describable without 
transgressing the laws of decency. They thereby 
created in the aboriginal mind a very low estimate 
of European gratitude or morality, and often 
aroused bitter feelings of animosity against the 
whites in general. 

The next time I met H.R.H. Te Moana Nui we 
shook hands. The status quo was once more as 
completely established as if nothing had ever 
transpired to disturb our peaceful relations, and I 
was happy. 

Another peculiarity of the aboriginals, and one 
which often led to curious, and sometimes serious, 
complications, was their observance of tapu. The 
burial-places of their great warriors were so strictly 
tapu (sacred) that many a venturesome explorer or 
amateur sketcher has been within an ace of losing 
his life by incautiously overstepping the aukati 
(boundary) of some such place. 

The head of a chief in the flesh is very much tapu ; 



88 HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 

in fact, that portion of the Maori anatomy is con- 
sidered too sacred to be even referred to in conversa- 
tion. To say " to opoko " (your head) would be 
taken as an insult, but to add " to opoko he kai 
maku " (equivalent to expressing a desire to have it 
as a side dish) would be sufficient to cause an im- 
mediate declaration of war. 

Natives having daily intercourse with the Euro- 
peans were not so scrupulous regarding the verbal 
application of the tapu as were the inland tribes. 
One incident in this connection which occurred to 
myself was of rather a tragic nature. 

Tribes had been invited from all parts of New 
Zealand for the purpose of honouring the remains of 
my friend the great Moana Nui. Amongst the many 
hapus represented upon this occasion the Urewera 
were the most savage aud uncivilised, retaining all 
their ancient customs, cannibalism excepted. After 
the funeral war dances and the various attendant 
formulse had been concluded, many of the younger 
men took a turn round the town of Waipureku for 
the purpose of inspecting the wonders of " he mahi 
pakeha " (the white man's work) previous to return- 
ing to their distant mountain homes. Of the various 
commodities provided for the tangi (mourning, 
weeping) they had a superabundance of Negro- 
head tobacco, which some were endeavouring 
to barter for provisions necessary on the 
journey. 

One morning there came to my house a vigorous- 
looking young Urewera, attired in the usual kakahu 



HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 89 

(mat) with a monkey-jacket over all the latter 
article no doubt worn out of respect to civilisation, 
though it added little to the improvement of his 
general appearance. Standing in front of my door, 
with a look of pleased astonishment at my work, he 
exclaimed ''''Tana mahi" (His work), signifying sur- 
prise. Wishing to air my knowledge of the Maori 
language, I said, in as humorous a manner as possible, 
"To opoko" (Your head). Instantly his face as- 
sumed a fierce expression. " Mo te aha to korero 
kino ki a au ? " (Why your bad talk to me ?) he 
shouted, jumping back a pace or two, his stature 
seeming to increase with his anger. Not wishing to 
create a disturbance, and with the intention of trying 
to mollify him by showing that I was joking, I re- 
peated laughingly, "To opoko he kai maku" (Your 
head for my food). I had practised as a linguist 
among the semi-civilised in a like manner before, 
and with a happy result, but this time I had 
overshot the mark and raised a storm in 
earnest. 

The savage danced about in front of the house, 
picked up an axe which was at hand, and, flourishing 
it over his head, requested me to come out and get 
struck or killed with the axe. Not having my will 
made out, and a few other minor considerations, 
decided me not to accept the invitation, but I took 
the precaution for defensive purposes to arm myself 
with a piece of firewood of substantial size, and to 
call my dog. Now Bosun was of the bulldog breed, 
and, being the principal actor in this drama, is 



90 HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 

worthy of a descriptive line or two. He was cream- 
coloured, brown-muzzled, with eyes of a golden hue 
which fairly blazed when anything happened to 
ruffle his equanimity. He was the favourite dog of 
Waipareku. His perpetual display of under-teeth, 
when in repose, gave the impression that he was 
laughing, but when angry he had a decidedly formid- 
able appearance. He could do anything in reason 
don't condemn the expression yet retrieve wild 
duck, catch pigs, goats, bullocks, swim through the 
roughest surf in the roadstead, or stem the torrent of 
the freshet-swollen river to secure anything pointed 
out to him. To show his sagacity, one instance will 
suffice. During one of the periodical floods in the 
Tuki Tuki, a man and myself put off in a canoe for 
the purpose of recovering various objects which were 
floating past. Our skill in the management of the 
frail craft being about on a par with our better part 
of valour, the only paddle slipped overboard, and we 
went drifting on towards the estuary, where the 
boiling breakers and swiftly rushing river met, and 
to reach which meant certain destruction. Bosun 
was on the bank eyeing us. I called him. He took 
the situation in at a glance, and, scampering along 
the river edge, dashed in to our relief, swimming 
downwards so as to intercept our course. He arrived 
alongside ere we had entered the strongest part of the 
current. I threw the tow-rope over and said, " Take 
it back, lad." He did right valiantly, and we were 
saved. If that was not reason, I am lost for an 
expression. 



HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 91 

But to return to our Urewera friend. I may say 
that Bosun had been very carefully trained not to 
indulge in Maori flesh unless by positive order. The 
Maoris were my best customers, and he seemed to be 
aware of the fact. At my call Bosun came trotting 
in past the infuriated native, cocking his ears and 
looking from me to my besieger, until I said, " Look 
out, lad," when he turned towards the Maori with 
a deep growl. 

Now, if there was anything which thoroughly 
scared the aboriginal of that time it was a " bull- 
dog," but especially one such as mine. When the 
savage saw the dog making for him, he dropped 
the axe, and, without even saying good-bye, went as 
fast as he could leg it, but Bosun was not going to 
let him off so easily. He had orders to put him off, 
and he did. Across the clearing in the direction of 
the pah literally flew the Urewera, giving full vent 
to his fear, with Bosun hanging on to his nether 
garments for about a quarter of a mile. I whistled 
again and again, but it was of no use. He held on 
until he had either lost his hold which I knew from 
experience was seldom the case or the piece had 
come out. Then he heard me and reluctantly re- 
turned. 

As Bosun came back I saw that he had a mouthful 
of something which was evidently not to his liking. 
Upon examination I found traces of Maori mat and 
monkey-jacket. For half an hour he was trying, as 
well as any quadruped could, to expectorate, every 
now and then casting an upward glance of disgust 



92 HOSPITALITY OF THE MAORI 

at me, which plainly meant, " A nice treat this ! " 
That Maori never returned for his lost kakahu, 
and I am pleased to be in a position to add 
that our acquaintance was never afterwards 
renewed. 



CHAPTER XIV 

EARLY RECOLLECTIONS OF 
NEW ZEALAND 

BROWN BESS AND A " NQAEAEA " 

ONE of my earliest impressions was the import- 
ance of the structure of earthworks known as 
" Clifford's Redoubt," situated on Thorndon Flat, 
and called after Mr. Clifford, afterwards Sir Charles 
Clifford. Its armament consisted of one cannon, in- 
tended, as I imagined, to have the effect of awing 
the natives. Probably it was the knowledge of the 
presence of this formidable weapon that deterred 
Te Rangihaeata or Te Rauparaha from attacking the 
town of Wellington. 

The piece of ordnance was primarily intended for 
defence purposes, but the disaffected never ventured 
within its deadly range. It was, however, of use as 
a medium of alarm in case of a surprise, the sound 
of its brazen throat being intended to send forth the 
order for all to assemble at the redoubt, the women 
and children for refuge, the men to prepare for im- 
mediate action. So far there had been no necessity 

93 



94 EARLY RECOLLECTIONS 

for its services being put into requisition, as all the 
fighting was being done at Pahwhatanui, Tai Tai, 
Wanganui, or elsewhere outside Wellington proper, 
to which fact I am probably indebted for being able 
to pen these few lines. 

The Maoris never were, and it is positively certain 
never will be, advocates for open fighting. Even 
when they might have sacked and burnt the prin- 
cipal part of the town, without incurring extreme 
risk, they never attempted to do so, but preferred 
to act on the defensive while being pursued through 
the wilds of their mountain forests. Then, indeed, 
it was a very hazardous undertaking to bring them 
to book. 

The townspeople were all either militiamen or 
volunteers. The saying that one volunteer is worth 
two pressed men was rather pointless in those times ; 
for, if the spirit of patriotism was not sufficiently 
ardent to cause them to volunteer, it was a matter 
of " Hobson's choice," and they were compelled to 
serve under the less meritoriously sounding title of 
militiamen. 

I use the third person in mentioning these facts, 
as my turn had not yet come, but " everything 
comes to those who wait." All turned out, our 
fathers, brothers, cousins, " and aunts," I was nearly 
adding, only women's franchise was not un fait ac- 
compli till forty-seven years later. Each man had 
a Brown Bess, and all were being drilled and marched 
and practised, so that in the event of the notorious 
Te Rangihaeata or any of his colleagues putting in 



EARLY RECOLLECTIONS 95 

an appearance, our defenders would be less likely to 
harm themselves than the enemy. 

Fearing my readers may not be conversant with 
the " Brown Bess " alluded to, and to prevent a 
misunderstanding that might result in this state- 
ment's being handed down to posterity as something 
aspersing the morality of New Zealanders, aboriginal 
and otherwise, I may, by way of explanation, say 
that she was not of colonial origin, but pure Brum- 
magem, intended for use rather than ornament. Her 
locks were not of what the poet would call the glossy 
raven order, but were known by the name of old 
flints. The natives were greatly enamoured of her 
appearance, and, without insinuating anything 
against their conjugal fidelity, they would make 
almost any sacrifice to become possessed of her. 
Brown Bess was of cumbrous proportions, and, 
fortunately, was soon expelled from our colonial 
armament. 

The settlers were cautioned not to discharge fire- 
arms of any description after a certain hour in the 
evening. The transgression of this order upon one 
occasion caused a serious panic. The report of a gun 
was heard during the night in the vicinity of the 
redoubt. Very soon all was confusion, everyone 
rushing about to ascertain the cause, and all hands 
to the rendezvous. However, the father of the lad 
who had made use of his Brown Bess, charged with 
slugs for the purpose of peppering a hungry Maori 
pig that was occasionally in the habit of making too 
free with his potato plot, hastened to head-quarters, 



96 EARLY RECOLLECTIONS 

and allayed the excitement by making an explana- 
tion. The boys of the early days and the one of the 
present time in many respects are not dissimilar ; the 
one in question, making up his mind to put a stop to 
these frequent and exasperating incursions, had 
taken his pater's rifle, and, to make quite a certainty 
of the job, had half filled it with powder and small 
pieces of lead (slugs). Taking cover, he patiently 
waited until the robber came in view and had com- 
menced business, when the loud bang from the rifle, 
and the squeal of the unfortunate porker, aroused 
the parents, and subsequently nearly the whole of 
Wellington. The father, rushing to the scene of 
action, arrived in time to hear the retreating squeal 
and pick up his precocious son, who, in a semi- 
conscious state, lay some distance from the gun. The 
youth never again adopted this method to punish 
midnight marauders, and for years afterwards he 
would always give an evasive, or positively uncivil, 
answer when requested to give an opinion as to 
which end of " Brown Bess " was the most effective. 

A little later on, after the arrival of Kawana Kare 
(Governor Grey), civilisation began to make rapid 
strides amongst the aboriginals. The Governor's 
first lesson was a good drubbing, ending in the cap- 
ture of the bellicose chieftains of Heretaunga. Then 
followed kind and thoughtful consideration for them, 
a line of action which has always characterised the 
conduct of the great Pro-Consul, and is the history 
of Sir George Grey's native policy in a nutshell. 

To show the rapidity with which the sun of en- 



EARLY RECOLLECTIONS 97 

lightenment had dispersed the clouds of barbarism, 
we had natives appointed as guardians of the peace. 
Their generally fine physique was set off by the blue 
jacket with red facings, and the figure topped by a 
cheesecutter cap that had a look of being constantly 
forced upwards by the rebelliously inclined crop of 
luxuriant and abundantly oiled hair. They were 
very proud of all their uniform, with one exception 
the regulation " Blucher." Those feet that, shortly 
before, had defied the roughest gravel road or shelly 
beach, now pined for release from their not too com- 
fortable leather home. Hohepa, one of these men 
very slightly embellished with tattoo was a 
splendid-looking fellow, in facial expression more re- 
sembling a Spaniard than a Maori. Besides possess- 
ing many other good qualities, he was considered 
very amiable, until one day I made a discovery 
which slightly altered my opinion on that point. 
In Maori mythology there are many things plants, 
birds, beasts, and fishes to which the natives 
attach feelings of reverence, awe, or downright 
horror. The lizard Ngarara although the most 
harmless and beautiful of the reptile tribe in a 
colony possessing complete immunity from any- 
thing of a seriously venomous character is one 
which the aboriginal vocabulary, until the arrival 
of European tutors, did not contain adjectives 
sufficiently strong for them to express their abhor- 
rence of. A legend there is to the effect that a 
monstrous lizard at one time had destroyed a whole 
pah of their ancestors. Whether there could have 



98 EARLY RECOLLECTIONS 

been alligators disporting themselves in New Zealand 
waters about the time that the moa was in the habit 
of stalking through the land, and one of these alli- 
gators was mistaken by them for a Ngarara, I 
will leave to the erpetologist to determine. 

Knowing the native antipathy to the reptile in 
question, but being undecided whether the full- 
fledged policeman would be above the superstition 
common to his race or not, by way of experiment 
I caught a pretty silver-grey lizard, and with a few 
of my companions approached Hohepa with the 
glossy little creature in my closed hand, saying, 
" Here is something for you." The native, probably 
expecting a piece of tobacco or other luxury he was 
a favourite with us took the gift, but no sooner 
had the diminutive reptile touched his outstretched 
palm than, with a terrified yell, he jumped back 
shaking his hand as though it had been scalded. 
We had anticipated some fun over this little freak, 
but the awful transformation which so suddenly 
took place in the stolid, dignified, and self-important 
bearing of this aboriginal patrol of our footpaths 
was appalling. As pale with rage as his copper- 
coloured skin would allow, his eyes almost starting 
from their sockets, he gave chase, and I feel thankful 
that a kind Government had provided him with 
boots on that occasion, for, if it had not been for his 
Bluchers he had mastered the art of walking in 
them fairly well, but running was out of the 
question we should all have fared badly that 
day. 



EARLY RECOLLECTIONS 99 

Experientia docet. My motto ever after was, 
no more practical jokes with Ngararas in connec- 
tion with a Maori, unless that aboriginal has 
chronic rheumatism, or what is equivalent, wears 
new boots. 



CHAPTER XV 
SOME REMARKS ON EXPLORATION 

HOW ANDY WAS ROBBED AND GOT THE GOLD FEVER 



New Zealand is destined to become as 
J- famous for her magnificent scenery as she is at 
the present time for her salubrious climate, is a matter 
that admits of little doubt. Her Alpine peaks and 
ranges, now being persistently explored each year 
by new and courageous climbers, are becoming more 
interesting to tourists, European and Colonial. The 
accounts recently published of feats performed by 
these determined battlers in search of fresh routes 
through the icefields of the Southern Alps, give the 
impression of an amount of energy approaching the 
superhuman, and worthy of all honour. The men 
who risk their lives in such a cause are benefactors 
of the country to an extent that cannot be duly 
estimated in our time. But there is a class that, in 
this general laudation, appears to be ignored or com- 
pletely forgotten, viz. the survey parties of the 
'sixties. Some remnants of the magnificent manhood 
of which these were composed may yet be met in 
our midst, but, unfortunately, betraying in their 

100 



SOME REMARKS ON EXPLORATION 101 

persons the effects of the hardships endured in their 
work. 

It must be remembered that, in the days referred 
to, roads were few and far between, and that the 
packhorse mode of conveyance could be made avail- 
able for only a limited distance. Then the surveyor, 
engineer, or whatever he might be, and his chain- 
men, had to shoulder their swags, theodolite, and 
other requisites appertaining to the profession, tents, 
tucker, etc., the last item being various, including, 
of course, the indispensable pipes and tobacco, with- 
out which life in the wilderness would have become 
unendurable. The party arriving at a point beyond 
which, in all probability, no human footstep had 
ever trod, would then pitch tent and make ready for 
traversing the trackless sides of gorges, or for piercing 
dense forests at the base of towering mountains. In 
many cases the billhook or small hand-axe would 
have to be resorted to for days, in order to make 
headway through supplejack, bush-lawyer, or the 
hundreds of other species of flora for which the 
undergrowth of New Zealand forests in particular 
is so celebrated. Arriving at the entrance of the 
interior gorges, in fine weather the water-worn basalt 
in places afforded fairly good travelling. But when 
rain commenced to fall the streams in those gorges 
would be, as if by magic, transformed into seething, 
boiling torrents, carrying in their downward course 
immense boulders and detached rocks, as though 
they were merely pumice. Then a hasty retreat to 
the rough mountain-side would have to be made, 



102 SOME REMARKS ON EXPLORATION 

and the pioneer would have to climb rocky promi- 
nences, or struggle along the dense, bushy sidelines. 
When night came, very often to pitch tent was an 
utter impossibility, as often there was not enough 
level ground. In these instances a mia-mia would be 
fixed under some of the sheltering trees for the 
night, a fire would be lighted, and the billy 
boiled. 

At times two miles a day was considered a good 
record, but often less than half that distance could 
not be made. The higher the altitude attained, the 
more difficult and tedious became the progress, and 
frequently the route would be found impassable. 
Six weeks at a stretch, with wet clothing and 
" damper " diet, was often the happy lot of many 
of these hardy toilers on the survey. There was no 
half-way house or tourists' refuge to fall back upon 
for supplies or shelter. When tucker ran short it 
could be only obtained by returning to the nearest 
station, which in itself was ever an arduous under- 
taking. It was quite probable, even then, that the 
food would be at low ebb, necessitating another and 
longer journey before the flour, etc., could be pro- 
cured. 

Upon one occasion a packer was returning with 
supplies, when he was overtaken by a party of ex- 
ceedingly rough and determined-looking diggers, 
en route from the goldfields of Otago to the new El 
Dorado of the west ; but in order to give a correct 
idea of the ethical condition of touring society in 
those times, it will be better to relate in his own 



SOME REMARKS ON EXPLORATION 103 

words how Andy was robbed of his precious damper- 
dust (flour), and took the fever. 

" I was thra veiling along, makin' good way afther 
gettin' over the worst av the journey, whin I was 
overtook by a lot of boys bound for the Hokitika 
rush, an' as rough a lookin' lot as ever I clapt eyes 
on, they wor. 

" 'Hould hard, mate,' says one av 'em. ' You've 
got some shtuff on yer ould horse there we want 
bad, an' we'll buy it from you.' 

" ' No,' says I, ' the divil a buy, it's all sould.' 
With that I made a shtart off again, when another 
av 'em sayzed the horse's head, while another lays 
a grip on me arum like a vice, an' says, ' Just look 
here now, mate, we've offered to buy an' ye refused, 
so we're just goin' to take it, an' if ye cut up anyway 
crusty we'll be afther tyin' you up till yer curridge 
is cooled ; what we want is the flour, an' have it we 
will.' 

' Ye murtherin' thieves ! ' says I. ' If ye wor 
not tin to wan, I'd knock blazes out o' ye before I'd 
let ye take an ounce av it ! An' if there's any of ye 
that ud like to try me, I'm yer Moses ! ' An' I 
pulled off me coat for I was rale wild. They just 
burst into a loud laugh, showed me a six-shooter and 
wint to work straight away, unstrapped me pack, 
an' commenced to ladle out the flour wid a pannikin, 
laughin' and jokin' all the time, an' I foamin' but 
powerless, lookin' on. When the flour had been 
shared out, so many pannikins to aitch, the layder 
came to me an' said with a grin, ' How many panni- 



104 SOME REMARKS ON EXPLORATION 

kins of yer flour have we tuk ? ' I tould him to go 
to the divil, an' I'd thry an' make it hot fur him 
before he raitched that far, if I ever got the chance. 
A louder laugh than ever followed this ; although 
I expected, perhaps, to be tied up or worse, I 
couldn't keep me timper down ; but be the powers 
what did happen, I was not at all expectin'. 

" ' Look here, ould man,' said the divil-may-care- 
lookin' six-footer of a layder, walkin' up to me wid 
the revolver in his belt an' a wicked look in his eyes, 
' as ye wouldn't sell, ye see, we tuk yer flour.' ' And 
may it burst ye,' says I. 'Aisy now, me bould 
hayro ! We've been thinkin' of which is the best 
way to sarve ye. They say dead men tell no tales.' 

" Just then me hair felt like risin' the hat off me 
head, for I had heard of some dark deeds lately done 
on the road between Otago an' Hokitika, an' I felt 
very quare. Some of these reckless divils were 
grinnin' jist as if the matter of takin' a life was one 
of the best jokes out, when the cruel-lookin' chap 
with the revolver continued : 

" ' We can't be losin' any more time with you. We 
don't intend to shoot ye right out, nor tie you up 
aither, which would be worse, for ye mightn't be 
found for a year or two, an' that 'ud be too long to 
lave ye out in the cold.' 

" ' Oh, for the love of heaven," says I, ' shoot me 
before that.' 

" ' Take time now,' says he, ' an' listen. The sin- 
tence of this court is, that the punishment you're to 
receive for making us commit a robbery on this 



SOME REMARKS ON EXPLORATION 105 

very highway, will be a bob for aitch pannikin 
of dusk we tuk from ye, wid the thanks of the same 
court.' His last words were almost dhrown'd in the 
roar of laughter which followed at my expinse, but 
in which I was too much flusthered to take part ; 
then dhroppin' his hand on me shoulder, something 
like a sledge-hammer, he added, ' How does that 
sthrike ye, my boy ? ' ' Oh, be the piper that played 
before Moses,' says I, whin I'd come to meself, ' I'm 
awfully sorry that it wasn't a ton o' flour I was 
afther bein' robbed of at the same figger.' 

" Well, to make a long shtory short, their thrack 
an' mine soon afther wint in different directions, an' 
we separated. I was short of flour (they didn't take 
it all), but had enough money to pay for ten times 
the quantity. This little caper of these diggers, bein' 
my first expayrunce of 'em, in spite av the fright it 
gave me, somehow or other, shtarted the gold faver 
on me, and it wasn't long afther till I was taken so 
bad wid it that I had to give up the survey chain 
after two years av it and take to the road which 
led across the ranges an' the Teremakau to the 
coast." 



CHAPTER XVI 
A NIGHT OF HORROR 

A TALE OF THE HAU-HAU DAYS 

A FTER a lapse of over forty years, when locking 
-L\- back on those days of trial and vicissitude, 
which New Zealand's early settlers experienced, one 
cannot help drawing a comparison between past and 
present. 

Especially is this so when hearing latter-day 
immigrants complaining in bitter terms of the 
hardships they are enduring, they having had free 
passages from the Old Country, board and lodgings 
provided upon arrival, and every assistance rendered 
them in obtaining employment, which has seldom 
been long in coming. And yet the majority of these 
appear to be like Paddy just arrived in America, 
" agin the Government." 

Immigrants of the 'forties didn't grumble half 
as much. There was nothing to be gained by it. 
They landed in Wellington, a city of one street, 
and that nearly always a mud puddle, while 
the now beautiful Thorndon and Te Aro Flats 

106 



A NIGHT OF HORROR 107 

were a dense mass of manuka fern and flax. 
House accommodation was so arranged that no 
possible objection could be made on the score of in- 
sufficient ventilation ; many of the people of the 
'forties also had the advantage in fine weather of 
being able to study astronomy after retiring to rest, 
if so inclined. 

Wars, and rumours of wars, kept everyone in a 
continual state of pleasant excitement. At one time 
the Nominee Government was wholly engrossed in 
the endeavour to quell rebellion, at another an inter- 
tribal squabble occurred, and, again, it was an un- 
fortunate surveyor shot for crossing the aukati 
(Maori boundary) while in the act of laying out some 
probable Government purchase, the miscreants 
generally getting away scathless. 

Pleasant times ! As illustrative of what colonists 
had to go through in those days immediately after 
being eased from the apron-strings of the Mother 
Country, I shall relate an incident which occurred 
nearly thirty-five years ago in Poverty Bay, or 
Turanga Nui, which, for the courage, endurance, 
and presence of mind displayed, has seldom, if 
ever, been equalled in any part of the civilised 
world. 

Three miles from Gisborne, the seaport of Poverty 
Bay, there resided upon a farm which they had lately 
purchased, a family consisting of father, mother, 
several sons, one daughter, and an infant of twelve 
or eighteen months of age. The sons were either 
at business in the township, or their avocation 



108 A NIGHT OF HORROR 

took them away from home, often for days 
together. 

The time I refer to was subsequent to the escape 
of Te Kooti and his companions from the Chatham 
Islands, and their being driven inland. 

For a considerable time every precaution was 
taken against a surprise. Eventually, the whites, 
thinking all danger past, gradually relaxed their 
watchfulness. 

One day the farmer and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. 
Parker, having important business to transact, had 
to go to Gisborne, intending to return the same day 
if time would permit. The sons were away, but were 
expected home that night. 

Minnie, the daughter, a brisk, handsome, intelli- 
gent, and, as the sequel will prove, courageous girl 
of about fourteen, readily consented to take charge 
of her baby brother. 

The parents leave for town, and, though the 
distance is not great, travelling is not an easy 
matter ; in short, they find it impossible to return 
the same night. Their anxiety is put at rest by the 
assurance that some of the boys will certainly be at 
home. Night comes to Minnie, but no brothers 
make their appearance. The brave girl keeps a 
stout heart. 

All is quiet. After putting the child to bed, 
she waits up awhile, every moment expecting to 
hear the sound of her brothers' footsteps. They 
do not come, and, feeling lonely, she retires to 
bed, but not to sleep. Some indefinite presenti- 



A NIGHT OF HORROR 109 

ment keeps her from closing her eyes. An un- 
accountable rumbling noise in the distance catches 
her ear. To rise and dress is the work of a 
moment. 

The glare of a fire is reflected on her window. 
She rushes to the door to ascertain the cause, and 
is transfixed with horror. There is the distant fire. 
She divines the real cause of it. 

" Oh ! my God, help me ! The Hau Haus are 
here ! " 

Without an instant's hesitation her mind is 
made up. The baby, without being awakened, is 
folded in warm wraps. Clasping the precious burthen 
to her heart, she starts out in the black night on her 
journey, through three miles of swamp, flax, and 
titree scrub. All her thoughts are for the safety of 
the child, of whom she is passionately fond. Dashing 
along, through mud and scrub, ever and anon casting 
terrified glances through the almost impenetrable 
gloom, she hears, after travelling about a mile, the 
sound of horses' feet behind. 

A most agonising feeling of dread now takes pos- 
session of that heroic girl. She darts swiftly into the 
shelter of the thick titree to allow the Hau Haus to 
pass and not a moment too soon. Her absorbing 
fear now is that the little one may cry. Fortunately 
he is slumbering as peacefully as if in the cot. What 
pen could portray the emotion which filled the 
breast of this delicately nurtured girl during that 
terrible ordeal ! The murderers are passing within 
fifty yards of her place of refuge, their hands reeking 



110 A NIGHT OF HORROR 

with the blood of the gallant Captain Wilson and his 
family. Thirsting for fresh victims, they neverthe- 
less pass by. 

Trembling, in an agony of fear, the brave girl is 
thanking God for her deliverance. She is well aware 
that those inhuman brutes, from whose destroying 
hands she has so far escaped, are intent on massacre 
and plunder. She must endeavour, under cover of 
the darkness, to gain the shelter of the blockhouse 
at Gisborne. If the daylight overtakes her ere 
this be accomplished, her destruction is inevit- 
able. 

Crawling out on the roadside, and skirting the 
swamp closely for fear of detection, slipping and 
floundering through all obstacles, she slowly and 
painfully wends her way. Another conflagration 
is now springing up, which revives her failing ener- 
gies, as the locality in which it appears indicates the 
route taken by these incarnate fiends. 

Venturing again to take the main road, she now 
boldly continues her journey, feeling more confidence 
in the probability that the Hau Haus are wholly en- 
grossed in their nefarious work in another direc- 
tion. 

The terror and excitement of the last hour or so 
have nearly produced delirium, but the indomitable 
spirit hi that slight frame carries her at last beyond 
the point of danger, and, more dead than alive, she 
reaches Gisborne. 

Some time after the foregoing event this sweet 
and accomplished young lady was, by order of the 



A NIGHT OF HORROR 111 

Governor, publicly decorated with Her Majesty's 
New Zealand war medal as a reward for her 
bravery, and as a memento of that night of 
horror. 



CHAPTER XVII 
A SHARK STORY 

A TRAGEDY IN WELLINGTON HARBOUR 

IT was Anniversary Day in the early 'fifties. The 
whole population of Wellington was en fete. 

The harbour, during the earlier part of the day, 
presented a most enlivening spectacle. Whaleboats 
and other boats in the sculling or pulling races, and 
Maori canoes in the paddling races, created intense 
interest. Sailing races of different kinds also added 
to the gala appearance of the bay, as the craft glided 
over the silvery waters. The regatta and land sports 
had been brought to a close. This was at a time when 
wharfage accommodation for sea-going vessels was 
an unknown convenience in the Empire City, and 
presumably, owing to sparseness of population, 
bathing regulations were never even thought of. 

Induced by the calm and cool appearance of the 
water, and the pleasure of an invigorating dip, some 
six or seven men belonging to the 65th Regiment, 
then stationed in Wellington, made up their minds 
for a swim out amongst the ships lying at anchor 
in the middle of the harbour. 

112 



A SHARK STORY 113 

From the unfrequented Te Aro shore they struck 
off, each one vying with the other in order to reach 
the central ships, Lord Duncan and Maori. After 
swimming a considerable distance, all of them but 
one had turned for the shore again. A lad, who was 
sculling about for pleasure, noticed the solitary 
swimmer, and, thinking that he might be of service 
to him, went in pursuit. He arrived within hailing 
distance of the athletic young soldier, who, evidently 
enjoying the relaxation, in answer to the inquiry if 
he would like a lift, laughingly replied that he could 
go on for another hour or so, and intended going 
back the way he came. The words, however, were 
scarcely uttered, when the sight that met the youth- 
ful sculler's eye nearly caused the oar to drop from 
his hands. 

There, within thirty yards, rose from the water 
the dorsal fin of an immense shark. Screaming at 
the top of his voice, " A shark ! a shark ! Johnny, 
come to the boat ! " he redoubled his efforts to reach 
the swimmer. Looking, he saw that he had heard 
him and turned, but was terrified to see him dis- 
appear beneath the water, pulled down by the 
voracious monster. Still the brave lad strove to 
reach the spot, and with delight saw that the soldier 
had reached the surface, and was again striking out 
vigorously in his direction. He had got to within 
twenty feet of the boat, when a swirl of that horrible 
tail above the water, followed immediately by a 
second disappearance of the ill-fated young soldier, 
showed how completely he was at the mercy of the 
i 



114 A SHARK STORY 

terrible fish. The bright handsome youth was again 
lost to sight as completely as if he had never been 
there, but the sudden crimsoning of the sea told a 
fearful tale of the tragedy that was being enacted 
beneath. Again he rose to the surface, but this time 
quite close to the boat. He had once more freed 
himself from those cruel lancet-lined jaws, and, 
grasping the gunwale, scrambled on board, and in 
doing so narrowly escaped swamping the small boat. 
All the vitality of which he was apparently possessed 
had been expended in this last supreme exertion, and 
lying down, in less than five minutes every drop of 
his life's blood had left his veins, and he was dead. 

When the body was taken from the boat, it pre- 
sented a most melancholy appearance. Marks of 
the shark's teeth were plainly visible on the knee- 
cap of one leg, the fleshy part of which had been 
partially torn away. The effect of the second attack 
of the monster was shown upon the other leg, fully 
fifteen inches of the back part of the thigh being 
completely gone, leaving bare a considerable portion 
of the bone. The wonder is that any human being, 
after receiving such mortal injuries, could have 
sufficient strength left to have gained the shelter of 
the boat. 

This dreadful calamity, it is needless to say, cast 
a gloom over the whole city. The victim, Johnny 
Balmer, was a most promising musician in the 
splendid band of his regiment. Though barely 
having attained the full age of manhood, he was 
truly a fine specimen of a British soldier, 



A SHARK STORY 115 

Previously no sharks of any size had been noticed 
in Wellington Harbour. The presence of this one 
was accounted for by the arrival of two whaling 
ships, the Lord Duncan and Lord Nelson. The 
formidable creature was supposed to have followed 
these vessels in from the ocean, no doubt attracted 
by the offal, or whale blubber, constantly being 
thrown overboard. A general resolve was then made 
to endeavour to destroy the monster. It was caught 
once or twice, but first hook and then line proved 
unequal to the task of landing the bulky shark. As 
a last resource, a specially stout hook was made, and 
fastened to a strong manilla line by a piece of chain, 
and this, with a large bait, was secured to a cargo 
boat in mid-harbour. The intention was, if success- 
ful in hooking the fish, to play it about until the har- 
poon could be brought into service, which, once 
fastened to the brute, would assure its destruction. 
At night the bait was laid, and at 4 a.m. the cargo 
boat was noticed to be veering in all directions. 
" Hurrah ! the devil's hooked this time and no mis- 
take," was the exclamation of Houghton, the owner 
of the boat. Very soon were they aboard, pulling in 
and easing off as the shark, never coming to the 
surface, darted backward and forward. At length, 
thinking it must be pretty well played out, they 
pulled steadily to the boat's side, but no sooner was 
the sinister-looking head brought to the surface and 
the harpoon poised to give the finishing stroke, than, 
like a flash, the enormous fish shot away with 
lightning speed, until the full length of the line had 



116 A SHARK STORY 

run out. Then snap ! something had given way, 
the line lay slack in the water, and the unconquerable 
shark was free again, the hook, strong as it was, 
being snapped off. 

Judging by the length of the boat, alongside which 
it had been hauled, the monster was estimated as 
from twenty to twenty-four feet in length. I may 
say that this terrible scare to bathers was not seen 
again, and most likely followed the ships before- 
named out to sea when they took their departure, 
a week or so afterwards. 




THE ADVENTURES OF A JONAH 

Hawke's Bay Steam Navigation Company, 
-L to meet the requirements of their rapidly 
increasing sheep and cattle trade, had decided to 
procure a first-class boat. The s.s. Ahuriri was for- 
warded to our order from her builders in the land o' 
cakes, and we were in possession of the nucleus of 
our fleet. 

Delighted at having a share in such a handsome 
boat, and after having a chat with Flowerday, her 
captain, regarding her steaming and seagoing 
qualities, I made up my mind for a trip to Auck- 
land. 

The fares, return saloon, 8 15s., were very 
reasonable. Why, they were 12 or so not long 
since. A clear saving of 3 5s. ! Another induce- 
ment was the opportunity of seeing the way 
ports, Gisborne, just budding into importance, and 
Tauranga. 

It was a lovely afternoon when we left the " Iron 
117 



118 A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 

Pot," the poetic name of Hawke's Bay's principal 
harbour. Scarce a breath of wind rippled the surface 
of the waters as we glided onward towards Portland 
Island, the north-eastern headland of the Bay. The 
passengers were all in high glee at the prospect of 
a pleasant trip, and the glassy appearance of the 
Pacific as we rounded the island gave renewed con- 
fidence. Mai de mer ? No fear ! I never felt better 
in my life, was my answer to an inquiry from that 
old seadog the captain. Whether my facial expres- 
sion belied my words or not I cannot say, but he was 
kind enough to dilate upon the necessity of taking 
in a "good feed," calling over everything he could 
think of in the way of edibles rich and luscious, until 
I felt, as the steamer increased her rolling, that I 
didn't care if I never again saw the accursed stuff 
he was recommending. Now we were fairly out of 
the bay the choppy swell was altogether different 
from what I had anticipated. 

" She is pitching a good deal, isn't she, captain ? " 
I remarked. 

" Oh, that's nothing, old man ; we'll get a touch 
of a sou'-wester to-night, and then she'll be as firm 
as a house. Bin sick yet ? " 

"Oh, no, nothing to speak of; I'm all right 
enough." 

" Did you take my advice and stow away a good 
cargo of that roast pork and " 

I suddenly thought of an important duty I had to 
perform in another part of the steamer, and retired 
abruptly without apology before he could finish the 



A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 119 

sentence, feeling charitably enough disposed to wish 
that he could never utter another. 

After spending some time in watching the phos- 
phorescent effect produced by our boat dashing 
through the ocean, I went below and rolled into my 
berth, feeling so happy that, if we had foundered 
there and then, I firmly believe I would have made 
no attempt to save myself, considering it a happy 
release. 

After an hour or two occupied in trying to sleep, 
rolling, pitching, clutching anything within reach to 
try and prevent myself now from standing on my 
head, or again from tipping over the edge of the 
berth, an unusually heavy roll caught me napping, 
and I went floundering on to the floor. Happy 
thought ! I had now found a lower berth. Then I 
thought of the captain's prophetic words, the sou'- 
wester was on us, but the " firm as a house " I could 
not fit in. I hurried on deck again. Eight bells had 
gone, and the captain had just returned to his post 
after his nap. As soon as I made my appearance, 
his broad face became broader as, with a loud 
laugh, he called out : " Didn't I tell you how 
we'd slide after we got this puff ? We'll be past 
Young Nick's Head before you know where you 
are." 

I retired without comment, but thought the more. 
At break of day we were easing up to the anchorage 
off Gisborne. The rough rolling surf dashing on the 
shore in the distance soon dispelled the illusion of 
a visit to the township. With great difficulty the 



120 A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 

cargo was transferred to the surf boat, and we re- 
sumed our voyage ; but strange to relate, the break- 
fast bell had not to be rung very often to remind me 
of attending to the pressing requirements of the 
inner man. After doing justice below, I betook 
myself to the deck without fear of any more 
pleasantry at my expense, and thoroughly enjoyed 
the scenery. 

After quitting inhospitable Poverty Bay named 
by Cook after having been refused barter by the 
natives upon his first visiting it we bowled along 
with a stiff breeze on our quarter, viewing the rugged 
coastline till the shades of night shut out from view 
the picturesque scenery. 

The following day we rounded the East Cape, and 
opened out the bay which Cook, out of gratitude for 
the friendliness of the Maoris, who treated him with 
great cordiality, christened Bay of Plenty. From 
this point to Tauranga, by making a slight deviation 
in our course, we were to visit White Island, that 
perpetual if somewhat mild volcano of the East 
Coast. The captain said time would permit, and we 
were to be allowed that privilege. Very soon the 
ascending vapours from its summit were visible. As 
we picked it up, the appearance it presented was 
not unlike a huge pot which has accidentally had 
the side knocked out. From this the steam arose, 
leaving the whole of the interior plainly visible, and 
terminating in a condensed cloud at the highest 
point of the island. Our steamer slowed up to 
within a few hundred yards of the shore. The sea 



A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 121 

was like a millpond, consequently there was no 
necessity for anchoring, even if it were possible, 
which was doubtful, for the depth was very great. 
Some of the passengers preferred fishing from the 
deck, others took to the boats, and were rowed to 
this eastern extremity of New Zealand wonderland. 
The whole of the country, in nearly a westerly direc- 
tion towards Mount Egmont on the West Coast, was 
dotted with lakes and springs of all temperatures, 
with Ruapehu, Tongariro, occasionally active, and 
Egmont, standing like mighty sentinels over this 
land of mystery and tapu. 

Upon landing, the aspect of the interior is like a 
vast sulphur works, the semicircular sides of the 
crater being thickly spotted with the crude mineral. 
Everything is still as death, the placid bosom of the 
warm pool occasionally betraying some signs of 
the disturbing force beneath. We have little time 
at our disposal for exploring, so hasten on as far as 
possible in order to test the temperature of this 
peculiar-looking pot of water, until some of us sink 
in the apparently hard scoria nearly to the knee, 
with every probability of going farther in the same 
direction but for timely help. This, and the steamer's 
shrill call, ends our all too short tour upon White 
Island. The Waltonians have caught nothing. 
The fish evidently do not relish the sulphurous 
waters. 

We go on to Tauranga, the entrance to which is 
marked by that extraordinary mount, nearly a 
thousand feet in height, Maunganui, which has the 



122 A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 

look of having been dropped in its present position, 
or, pyramid-like, constructed in some unaccountable 
manner, so abrupt and so isolated amid the adjoining 
lowlands does it appear. We glide through the per- 
fectly safe but rock-bound estuary, and in another 
half-hour the anchor is dropped off the wharf at 
Tauranga. The Waikato war, with its expenditure 
and attendant speculation, has left its mark here. 
A great many Imperial troops have been recalled, 
consequently the town has an appearance of desola- 
tion. 

" Sunday morning, four hours' grace ; we start 
about three." Such was the warning to passengers. 
An old friend I meet shows me the principal places 
of interest, notably the sorrowful spot where are 
interred the remains of the gallant fellows who fell 
in the calamitous storming of the Gate Pah. 
About one o'clock, while chatting with the veteran 
over the all-absorbing topic of the Maori War, 
" What's that ? By heavens, the steamer's whistle !" 
exclaimed my friend. 

Up and away, a mile done in record time brings 
me to the wharf just in time to see my steamer 
slowly but surely leaving a very breathless passenger 
behind. Half a sovereign for a boat ! Two stalwart 
fellows jump in and, with vigorous strokes, make 
the attempt ; but the confounded smoke, instead of 
reasonably ascending, stubbornly adheres to the sur- 
face of the water in rear of the now fast-receding 
Ahuriri, and aggravatingly prevents our being seen 
from her deck. A stern chase is a long chase, but, 



A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 123 

when it is an unsuccessful one, as mine was on that 
occasion, doubly vexatious. I return to Tauranga a 
wiser but much sadder man, my traps all forwarded 
safely to Auckland, but their owner destined to 
rurah'se for an indefinite period in a town of almost 
deserted stores and tenantless habitations. 

I find, upon inquiry, that a swift sailing coaster 
leaves the next evening, so I console myself with the 
thought of being enabled to catch my steamer in 
Auckland. 

My misfortune in one respect was my gain, for 
next day I rode out to Pukehinahina (Gate Pah) and 
Te Ranga, where the valorous Ngaiterangi (Rawiri) 
repulsed our troops in the first instance, and shortly 
afterwards was totally defeated by Greer after a 
desperate struggle. Thus far my time has been so 
interestingly spent, hearing anecdotes and viewing 
all the sights, that I have nearly forgotten my 
own troubles. After bidding adieu to my kindly 
friends, Captain Tonks and family, I take up my 
berth on board the Jane, and when under way 
she shapes so well that I am inclined to believe 
the assurance of the skipper that we can catch my 
boat. 

Our little " fore-and-after " slips over the water 
and out of the harbour with a nice leading breeze. 
The " captain's cabin," a capacious apartment con- 
taining two bunks, is occupied by a mother and her 
two children, and, of course, I have to be satisfied 
with a shakedown in the hold, with the sand ballast 
for my bed. Feeling tired, I quickly fall asleep, but 



124 A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 

soon become aware of the presence of strange bed- 
fellows, whose attentions I object to. So up on deck 
again I go, fill my solacing pipe, and endeavour to 
have a chat with the man at the wheel, who happens 
to be a Deutscher, and whose volubility consists in 
about one word per minute. This has the effect of 
sending me off to sleep once more, this time stretched 
full length upon the deck. But no sooner is this 
attempted than this individual of monosyllables dis- 
plays musical powers of vast extent in the new and 
popular " Johnny Comes Marching Home." It has 
about forty verses or so, or it may have been the 
same over and over again, for the only part of the re- 
frain I could catch was " Hurrah ! hurrah ! " and 
I could have dispensed with that. What between 
the poetry of " Ven Yolly Cum Marshing Home 
Aken," the dashing of the sea against the side of the 
frail craft, and occasionally over her drowsy deck 
voyager, the novelty and pleasure of the trip were 
fast becoming more than he could endure and yet 
keep sane. 

Yet another treat was in reserve for me. When 
we had nearly got abreast of the Great Mercury 
Island, the vocalisation of this son of the land 
of brass bands and my rolling repose was suddenly 
terminated by a most terrific crash for'ard. All 
hands rush to the bows of the vessel. She must have 
run upon a rock. But no. Another schooner, well 
named the Saucy Lass, has run into and nearly over 
us. The first thing I see is the bowsprit of the other 
vessel right across ours, and the water rushing into 



A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 125 

us like a millrace. Sailors, captains, and passengers, 
mostly en deshabille, work and swear in a most 
vigorous manner, each accusing the other for not 
showing a light, a regulation which neither had 
complied with. However, by dint of almost super- 
human effort, we are at length extricated from the 
perilous situation resulting from the kiss of this very 
Saucy Lass, and we find that we are making but 
little water. 

Our anchor, which had been cut away from its 
lashings and dropped into the deep, is restored to 
its place, and the Jane with her " Jonah " abouts 
ship and bears towards Mercury Bay which is on 
the mainland for repairs. The other lady, un- 
wounded, sails around, occasionally hailing us to 
make sure of our being equal to the task of beating 
up the harbour, as the wind is freshening. But our 
good little boat does it like a bird. The ensuing day 
is taken up in repairing the breach, and I fill in my 
time by going through the sawmill, and watching the 
ponderous junks of kauri being rafted into position, 
preparatory to being sliced for universal use. This 
is accomplished with a celerity truly amazing. If it 
had been possible I would have chartered a horse 
straight away and steered for my destination, but 
I had no compass, did not know the lie of the 
land, and the horse couldn't be got for love nor 
money. 

The Jane, after having her nose patched, makes 
a fresh start. The captain says we can do it yet, and 
I am consoled. We are going now, and no mistake, 



126 A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 

now and again gunwale under. We pass the islands, 
Alderman's, Mayor, and I don't know how many 
more, and sight Cape Colville, the turning-point of 
the Hauraki Gulf ; and, what most concerns me, we 
meet the confounded Ahuriri on her back trip. All 
my hopes vanish. We reach Auckland at last, and, 
luckily, I find the Star of the South nearly a full ship 
for Napier direct. The captain says in a day or 
two he'll cast off. My detention won't be so long 
after all. 

The next day I happen to see the Jane's com- 
mander, who tells me there is to be an inquiry held 
next week re the collision, and I would be subpoenaed 
to attend, as I was the only passenger on deck when 
it took place. Here was a go ! another week ! and 
all because I would not submit to be eaten alive in 
the hold of the Jane ! Miiller, the German skipper, 
had given the authorities my name, and I shall ever 
entertain a feeling of gratitude to that nationality 
on that account, for at his dictation they had 
crowded about ten consonants into my name, while 
in reality there should be but three. 

I told the captain of the Star of my trouble, think- 
ing it would certainly keep me back. 

" They don't know you're going with me ? " 

" No ! " 

" All right, keep quiet, and we might pull you 
through." 

Some time before we started the blue paper made 
its appearance. The captain was asked if such a 
person was aboard, when he called to me with a loud 



A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 127 

voice, and with a look which meant more than he 
said : " Do you know anybody of that name going 
by this steamer ? " showing me the document. I 
almost broke down trying to master it, and answered 
truthfully, " Certainly not." The captain told him 
he knew the person wanted, and he would most 
likely be found at his friend's place at Newtown. 
We were away before being favoured with another 
visit, and I wasn't sorry. 

The Star had nearly got past the Mercury Island 
again, when a stentorian voice was heard : 

" Hard aport ! " 

" Hullo, what's up, captain ? " 

" I don't like the look o' things," he replied, " and 
I'm just a-going to leeward of that island for a day 
or two, for we are only about two planks free, and 
as coal won't float, you see 'tis better to be safe 
than sorry." 

We only just reached the shelter when the wind 
began to blow a perfect hurricane. 

For two long days we had to make the best of it. 
Some of us landed and went to the top of the island. 
To windward the ocean, as far as the eye could 
reach, was one white sheet of seething, foaming 
billows, and then indeed we felt thankful for what 
I had considered a disappointment. Nothing could 
have prevented us from going down, if it were not 
for the watchfulness of the jolly and kind-hearted 
skipper. The mercury had indicated the gale, and 
the Mercury had provided the shelter. 

Hawke's Bay once more is safely reached at last, 



128 A PLEASURE TRIP IN THE 'SIXTIES 

and for days I am greeted by such an amount of what 
they considered wit, and what I called chaff, that I 
almost make up my mind to wait till the railway is 
through, ere attempting another pleasure trip to 
Auckland. 



CHAPTER XIX 
DANGEROUS DESERTERS 

AN INCIDENT IN 
THE LIFE OF THE LATE MAJOR SCULLY 

TWO of the most notable regiments engaged in 
New Zealand during her early troubles were 
the 58th and 65th, or, as the aboriginals respectively 
dubbed them, " Whiffety ate " and " Hickety whiff." 
A noticeable trait in the character of these two regi- 
ments was, that while there appeared to be any 
likelihood of work to be done, in the shape of fight- 
ing, few cases of desertion from the ranks were re- 
corded ; but as the process of colonisation advanced 
and sparseness of population caused labour to be at 
a premium, many attempts were made by these 
veterans to break their oath of allegiance to Queen 
and country by as they termed it taking a trip 
to the country for the good of their health, or by 
making straight for the most remote part of the in- 
land stations. 

It was the current opinion amongst the evil or 
restlessly inclined of the 65th, that if they contrived 
K 129 



130 DANGEROUS DESERTERS 

to get as far as Hawke's Bay about two hundred 
miles north of Wellington, where they were stationed 
they would be outside the bounds of civilisation, 
so to speak, and comparatively safe from pursuit. 

The various tribes inhabiting the wild country 
through which they would have to pass were seldom 
known to give information that would lead to the 
capture of fugitives from either the civil or military 
law. 

These very tribes, many of whom, shortly before, 
had been fighting our troops to the very death, now 
magnanimously extended the hospitality of their 
kaingas to all wayfarers. 

It was an open secret, also, that the white settlers 
were only too glad to receive and shelter these 
escapees, provided it could be done in safety ; but 
the risk attending such action was very great, as 
proved complicity rendered the shelterers liable to 
heavy fines, or even imprisonment. 

The 65th, Lieutenant-Colonel Gold commanding, 
were quartered at Mount Cook Barracks. At the 
time referred to the early 'fifties their strength 
was about eight hundred. 

The military prison was under the charge of 
Provost-Sergeant Scully, a courageous and deter- 
mined soldier, whose activity, daring, and powers 
of endurance pre-eminently fitted him for the 
arduous and often dangerous duties inseparable 
from his position as military gaoler. 

Many clever and exciting captures were made by 
this indefatigable officer. But amongst many such, 



DANGEROUS DESERTERS 131 

for indomitable pluck and determination, none 
equalled that of running down the notorious trio, 
Darcy, Doran, and McGee. Darcy, the ringleader, 
had been in durance vile on more than one occasion 
for various offences against discipline, consequently 
his aversion to superiors in general, and as he ex- 
pressed it " that Scully " in particular, was 

ever on the increase. 

Darcy made no secret of his feelings in this re- 
spect ; but, on the contrary, had used indirect 
threats to the effect that if he ever cleared out, and 
was followed by Scully, he, Darcy, would take his 
oath that it would be Scully's last attempt at soldier- 
hunting. This menacing language had never been 
conveyed to the provost-sergeant until shortly after 
the absence of the three men had been reported. 

Arranging for an assistant Sergeant Blanford 
to follow, and leaving directions for his guidance, 
within an hour of receiving the report, Scully, 
nothing daunted by the intimidating threats, was 
on the trail, disguised as a swagger. 

The deserters had a good day's start of their pur- 
suer, but the best pedestrian of the regiment was 
after them, and his intimate knowledge of the rough 
country they would have to cross before reaching the 
refuge before mentioned, gave him an immense ad- 
vantage over them. 

The sympathy of the settlers for deserters arose 
from the consideration that they were merely en- 
deavouring to give up a useless and monotonous 
state of existence, As, at the time, the natives over 



132 DANGEROUS DESERTERS 

the whole island were peacefully inclined, and none 
could foresee the terrible outburst which occurred 
only a few years subsequently, it appeared ridiculous 
to keep a lot of able-bodied men pipe-claying and 
polishing accoutrements at fourpence per day, while 
they might be earning seventy or eighty pounds a 
year on any of the farms or stations throughout the 
land. 

But, luckily, the Imperial authorities were of a 
different opinion, hence it was a very rare thing to 
hear of one of the " Royal Bengal Tigers " having 
successfully eluded the vigilance of the provost. 

In spite of difficulties often put in the way of 
getting information, the sergeant got a clue to the 
course taken by the runaways, and followed with 
such keenness and rapidity that he soon placed a 
big gap between himself and his colleague. He was 

of the opinion that he might possibly reach D 's 

station as soon as those whom he shrewdly guessed 
were heading in that direction. After two days' 
hard walking, over mountains and through forests, 
and the crossing of several rivers, it was drawing 
towards dusk when he at length arrived at the outer 
edge of the bush nearest the homestead of the 
station. 

Scully soon formed a plan of campaign. He knew 
it would not be prudent to go in daylight and look 
for his men there, as this course might prove fatal to 
the success of his mission. Before making his 
presence known he must endeavour to ascertain 
whether they were about the premises. 



DANGEROUS DESERTERS 133 

He had not been long concocting his plans for all 
emergencies, and hoping against hope that Blanford 
might put in an appearance, when he was startled by 
seeing three men coming towards the station build- 
ings by a different track from the one he had just 
left. Although darkness was gathering fast, he knew, 
in spite of their disguise, that they were the men he 
wanted. From their bedraggled and jaded appear- 
ance, he judged that they were sorely in want of a 
night's shelter and rest. Although equally requiring 
these necessities, Scully made up his mind to camp 
out for the night, and content himself with the cold 
comfort of biscuits and water. 

It was springtime, and sleeping in a New Zealand 
bush was not the least agreeable way of passing the 
night. The sergeant was soon enveloped in his rug, 
awaiting the return of daylight. 

Before the mako maJco and tui's beautiful bell- 
like notes could be heard or, as the natives poeti- 
cally describe that time, before the calling of the 
birds Scully was on the alert. Fortunately he had 
a full view of the rear of the premises. Shortly after 
dawn he had the double satisfaction of witnessing 
preparations for breakfast, and of seeing his three 
erratic comrades in arms performing a hasty morning 
ablution. Keenly observant of what was going on, 
he waited until a general movement was made to the 
outhouse, .where he knew all hands would be soon 
engaged replenishing the inner man. 

When the proper moment came he advanced 
rapidly to the open doorway ; stepping boldly in- 



134 DANGEROUS DESERTERS 

side, revolver in hand, he told the three, who were 
sitting at the large table, that they were his prisoners 
in the name of the Queen. Then apologising to the 
overseer for the intrusion, he informed him that 
these men were deserters from Her Majesty's 65th 
Regiment, and that he had a warrant to arrest and 
convey them back to Wellington. 

If Scully had been a supernatural visitant, his 
appearance could not have caused more astonish- 
ment or consternation. The fugitives felt confident 
that he could not have reached that place within the 
next twelve hours at least, even if he had been 
successful in picking up their trail at the outset. 
The men apparently saw no way of escape, and 
made no show of resistance. When breakfast was 
finished, at which the sergeant, nothing loth, 
assisted, he told the men that if they came with 
him quietly, they would be kindly treated, but come 
they must, one way or the other. 

With a few muttered curses they submitted. 
Doran, who had been the trusted servant or batman 
of the adjutant, being considered the most harmless 
of the trio, was allowed to go fetterless, while the 
only pair of handcuffs was used for coupling the 
other two. 

LI 

After a short time, taken up in preparing for the 
return journey, a start was made through the forest. 
For the greater security of his charge, Scully made 
the two, Darcy and McGee, go in advance, while the 
harmless Doran was allowed to march behind them. 

The captor chatted pleasantly with his prisoners 



DANGEROUS DESERTERS 135 

as they passed through the gloomy bush. Scully, 
though a strict disciplinarian, was of a generous 
disposition, and evidently intended to make the men 
feel their humiliating position as lightly as possible 
while their conduct admitted of such a departure 
from the usual course. 

They had got over about three miles of the forest 
track, when Doran, stepping backwards and pointing 
up to a tree where the white breast of a pigeon was 
showing through the foliage, exclaimed, " I'm sure 
you could bring that chap down, sergeant ! " 

Scully, completely taken off his guard, raised his 
revolver and fired. 

As the report rang out the treacherous Doran was 
upon him, and administered a terrific blow on the 
side of the head which sent his captor reeling to the 
ground. In an instant the three men set upon 
Scully, and, in spite of a desperate resistance, his 
feet were tied together and his hands lashed behind 
his back. They could not get the key of the hand- 
cuffs, nor would Scully, under threat ,of being 
shot, give any information as to where it was. 
During the scuffle he had got rid of it. However, 
they managed to smash them. Darcy then took 
up the revolver from where it had fallen, saying, " I 
wonder if it's loaded," and, as if by accident, fired a 
shot which passed within an inch or two of their 
prostrate captor. They now left the unfortunate 
man to his fate and departed. 

Scully was fully alive to the fact that his chances 
of escape from his horrible position were very remote. 



136 DANGEROUS DESERTERS 

In the middle of a wilderness, and off the ordinary 
route to the station, he knew that unless, before 
night set in, he could break the strong flaxen fibre 
with which he was bound, he would run the great 
risk of being torn to pieces by the wild pigs, with 
which the country was infested. Hour after hour he 
struggled, straining every sinew in the endeavour to 
free himself from his cruel fetters, until exhausted 
nature provided her merciful relief and he became 
unconscious. 

When he recovered, he had the great satisfaction 
of finding himself surrounded by friends. Sergeant 
Blanford had reached the station by a different route. 
He had arrived some hours after Scully's departure. 
Having taken a hurried meal, he was just in the act 
of leaving again, when McGee came running breath- 
lessly into the place, exclaiming : " For God's sake 
come quick ! Scully is tied up in the middle of the 
bush. They've left him there to die. I couldn't 
bear the thought of it, and when I said so, Darcy 
threatened to shoot me if I didn't go with them, so 
I gave them the slip in the bush and thought the best 
thing to do was to make my way here for help." 

In a very short space of time, Blanford and three 
hands from the station, under the humane McGee's 
guidance, were speeding in the direction of the un- 
fortunate officer. When they reached the spot, 
Scully was found in the state already described. He 
was lying on his face in a semi-conscious condition, 
his hands and clothes covered with blood. In his 
struggles he had torn the flesh from his wrists nearly 



DANGEROUS DESERTERS 137 

to the bone, and his ankles were swollen and bruised. 
He was soon restored to consciousness, and a few 
words of explanation showed him how matters stood. 
His first words were : " Thank God ! Come now, 
Blanford, you must try and get me back to the 
station ; I know I shall not be able to walk very well 
just yet, but we will have those scoundrels again in 
a day or two." 

They got him back to the station with some diffi- 
culty, and there his cuts and bruises were dressed 
and bandaged. After the much-needed night's rest, 
Blanford proposed that Scully should stay there for 
a day or two to recover from the effects of his maul- 
ing, while he scoured the surrounding country. Scully, 
however, would listen to nothing of the kind. McGee 
had given information which led him to believe that 
it would not be a very difficult matter to put his 
hand on them again, and that very soon. Conse- 
quently, McGee was left at the station to wait their 
return, being assured of pardon on account of his 
recent action, and the two sergeants started off 
again. Scully, although suffering acutely, kept pace 
with his companion, and improved as they advanced. 
Having a good idea of where the fugitives were 
making for, he intended, by taking a short cut, to 
intercept them in their flight to the Maori country. 

They travelled at a great rate that whole day, and 
far into the night. Scully had been supplied with 
another pistol ; but in consequence of the injuries 
to his wrists, could only just manage to handle it. 
They continued their tramp while they could see the 



138 DANGEROUS DESERTERS 

track, and then halted for food and forty winks. As 
soon as the dawn made the gloom of the forest 
visible, they were once more on the trail. About 
two hours after noon they reached a small clearing, 
upon which was a shepherd's hut. After recon- 
noitring the position and finding no sign of life, it 
was decided to approach the place under cover of the 
fern and scrub, so that in case of their men being in- 
side, they might be unprepared to receive their visit. 

This manoeuvre was carried out cautiously, and 
when near the house, a rush was made for the door. 
Pistol in hand, they entered the house, but found 
that their precautions were unnecessary. As far 
as human beings were concerned, it was empty. 
However, there were signs which told of there having 
been more than one person there, and that quite 
recently. The fire in the chimney-place was still 
burning, and several pannikins were on the rough 
table. As this was noticed, Scully quickly closed 
the door, and it was decided to keep quietly inside 
and await the shepherd's return, hoping that he 
would have company. After waiting an hour or two 
and keeping a sharp look out, they heard the bark 
of a dog. This was soon followed by the appearance 
of the shepherd and two dogs, but not the men they 
wanted. Upon entering his hut and seeing the two 
strangers there he gave a start of guilty surprise, 
which did not escape the notice of the sergeants. 
Then he said : " Hullo ! Where the deuce did you 
fellows come from ? " 

Scully informed him that he was in pursuit of two 



DANGEROUS DESERTERS 139 

deserters, and asked if he had seen any strangers 
about lately. The shepherd at once said, " The devil 
a soul, good or bad, has been near this but, barrin' 
myself, for the last six weeks." This answer showed 
the sergeant that he was telling a lie, and that he had 
a motive in putting them off the scent. " Well," 
said Scully, " I believe very little of what you say, 
and what I want to impress upon you is this : if you 
do anything contrary to what I wish, I will lay an 
information against you for harbouring and assisting 
deserters from Her Majesty's regiments." 

The shepherd was most voluble in his protesta- 
tions against such an aspersion on his character ; 
but finding that he was suspected, did as he was 
told, which was to stay quietly inside the hut until 
night. 

Mumbling something about his not being to blame, 
if anyone should happen to call at his place, he said, 
" Well, we must have some tucker," and started the 
fire under the billy. Scully kept a keen look out, as 
he felt assured that this uncouth-looking host knew 
more of the renegades than he would admit, and that 
the fear of being implicated in having shielded them 
prevented him from giving any information. 

Just as it was getting dusk, two figures were seen 
approaching from the direction of the bush. Scully 
told Blanford and the shepherd to go to the inner 
room, cautioning the latter as he valued his liberty 
or life not to interfere. " Now be quick ! and come 
when I call you." He then took up his position 
behind the door. Scarcely had these preparations 



140 DANGEROUS DESERTERS 

been made, when footsteps were heard outside, and 
without any hesitation the door was pushed open, 
and the two men, totally unsuspicious of the greeting 
awaiting them, walked in. Doran came first, and 
Darcy, following, turned to close the door. Then in 
an instant the butt of Scully's revolver dropped on 
Darcy 's head. A moment later, calling out " Come 
on," he covered Doran, and Blanford dashed out and 
seized and handcuffed the latter. Then Scully stood 
over his would-be murderer while the steel bracelets 
were being added to his personal adornment. The 
coup was so complete and rapid that the deserters 
were pinioned before they had recovered from their 
surprise. 

Darcy's muttered words, intended only for the 
detested Scully's ears, uttered with the utmost 
malignity, were : " You hell hound ! I'm only 
sorry you didn't get that bullet in the bush." 

Throughout the night the two sergeants relieved 
each other in mounting guard over their sullen 
prisoners. By peep of day they were well into the 

bush on their way back to D 's Station, which 

they reached shortly after midnight truly a forced 
march. 

The third day after tin's saw them marching into 
Wellington without further mishap. Grave fears 
had been entertained at head-quarters as to the 
safety of the two courageous sergeants. They 
received many congratulations from the colonel and 
others, but nothing more. 

The trial resulted in McGee being pardoned, Doran 



DANGEROUS DESERTERS 141 

getting three years' and the notorious Darcy ten 
years' penal servitude. 

In more recent times, a sum of five to seven pounds 
was paid by the Imperial authorities for the appre- 
hension of deserters. But at the period I allude to 
no bonus of any description or blood money as it 
was termed was offered. This feature it was that 
caused the many courageous and clever captures by 
this officer to be looked upon by some as down- 
right folly, but by the majority as most meritorious 
achievements. 

In after years, as inspector of police, this charac- 
teristic was always most prominent in Scully. In 
cases of difficulty or danger and during the Hau 
Hau rebellion in the 'sixties these were fairly plenti- 
ful with that modesty of expression so peculiar to 
old soldiers, he would state that he had sent the best 
man. And that man was invariably himself. 
Requiescat in pace. 



CHAPTER XX 
MOUNTING GUARD 

TRAGEDY AND COMEDY IN THE OPEN 

SOME strange and tragic incidents have been 
experienced during the war between the Maori 
and his invading enemy, the white man. It is re- 
corded that the opposing parties have been, at times, 
in such close proximity to one another that the 
Maoris would occasionally give vent to their humour 
by mimicking the call, " Number one, all's well ! " 
of the British in something like the following 
terms : " Nama wana, aora ' kapai ' ' (good), the 
next morning revealing the humiliating fact that it 
was not all kapai, but that the satirical savages, 
during the dark and gloomy forest night, had taken 
advantage of their highly disciplined and red-tape- 
bound adversaries and stolen away with their 
sapping and mining appliances while ironically 
agreeing that all was well. 

None except those who have gone through the 
ordeal can have the faintest conception of what the 
pleasures were attendant upon " mounting guard," 

142 



MOUNTING GUARD 143 

or doing a sentry-go, in the New Zealand wilds 
during war time. 

On one occasion a sentinel was reprimanded by 
his officer, and ridiculed by comrades, for alarming 
the contingent by challenging and shooting a pig, he 
having mistaken it for an enemy crawling towards 
him. 

At another time and place the relieving rounds 
discovered the sentry-box empty and the sentinel 
a short distance off, lying stone dead, his skull 
crashed in evidently by the formidable mere, his 
rifle and cartridge-box gone. 

This post was next filled by a comrade of the un- 
fortunate soldier, who begged hard for the privilege. 

From midnight till about daylight, for two or 
three nights, the brave and determined fellow had 
watched without seeing or hearing anything save 
the occasional melancholy note of an owl, the screech 
of a weka, or the splashing of eels as they disported 
themselves in adjacent pools. 

The fourth night, when he had almost given up 
the hope of having the wished-for opportunity of 
avenging his comrade's sad fate, his attention was 
attracted by a sound like the grunting of a pig, 
accompanied by a noise as of that animal moving 
through the fern. In the position he occupied there 
was but one direction whence an attack might be 
attempted. Clear away to the next sentry, to the 
right and left, was the palisading and earthworks 
of the redoubt. Directly in front, a track on a 
scrub-covered incline led down to a deep tributary. 



144 MOUNTING GUARD 

This quarter was considered the most dangerous one, 
and had to be very keenly scrutinised. With his 
rifle at the ready, all his faculties at the extremest 
tension, he crouched down for a twofold purpose, in 
order thereby to be the better enabled to make out 
anything approaching, and also to present a smaller 
front to an enemy's bullet. He had not long to wait 
until he could just discern a dark object which had 
all the appearance and movements of a wild pig. He 
could hear, quite distinctly, sounds as of the munch- 
ing of fern root. The incident he had heard related 
of a pig having been mistaken for a Maori and shot, 
with its accompaniment of ridicule, now flashed un- 
comfortably upon him. However, determined that 
no living creature should pass, he kept his eyes 
riveted upon the spot where it had momentarily 
shown itself. Whatever it was, its movements were 
exactly like one of the denizens of a New Zealand 
forest. What struck the guard as somewhat peculiar 
was that its movements, as it crossed the track and 
recrossed a few times and disappeared in the fern 
on either side, each time brought it nearer to his 
post. 

When at last it made its appearance within a 
distance of about twenty-five yards of him, he felt 
so confident of " things not being what they seemed " 
that he made up his mind to fire without challenging. 
As the report of his rifle rang out through the dark- 
ness, it was accompanied, not by the squeal of a 
porker, but by the death-yell of a human being. A 
stalwart savage bounded in the air, in the action 



MOUNTING GUARD 145 

partially throwing off a boar skin which had been 
used as a disguise. 

Instantly the shrill blast of the alarm bugle was 
heard, but there was no necessity for it. An examin- 
ation of the spot where the Maori was lying, stark 
dead, shot clean through the body, his mere fastened 
to his wrist, proved that in all probability it had been 
the second attempt of this adventurous brave to take 
the life of an enemy and obtain the much-coveted 
prize, a rifle and ammunition. The sentinel had suc- 
ceeded in avenging the death of a dear comrade. 

It is an acknowledged fact that the most courage- 
ous of mankind, even when cosily sitting reading by 
the family hearth, may occasionally be seriously 
startled by any noise which cannot be readily 
accounted for. The uncertainty it is which causes 
the nerves to become unstrung. 

What must then have been the state of nervous 
excitement of a youthful volunteer during the two 
or four hours, as the case may be, of a midnight 
watch, with the possibility of a Hau Hau springing 
without warning from bush of flax or fern. 

What I am going to relate happened during one 
of the many futile endeavours made by various 
colonial commanders to secure or destroy the wily 
and treacherous Te Kooti. 

A squad had volunteered to go inland to the 
Purahutangihea Pass, over which it was considered 
most likely that Te Kooti's retreat would lead him 
subsequent to his massacre of the Mohaka settlers. 

The first night at the pass was a memorable one. 
L 



146 MOUNTING GUARD 

Patrols were placed in four different positions, the 
main body occupying an old whare, which kept out 
some of the weather, but not much. The heavens 
seemed to have opened and hail was showering down 
like broken glass. 

We of the main body were busily occupied trying 
to keep ourselves warm, and snatch what we could 
in the way of sleep, but in both cases with little 
success, when one of the sentinels came into the 
whare apparently almost frozen, and shivering like 
an aspen. " Hullo ! George," called out Lieutenant 
Koch ; " what's up ? " " Well, Lieutenant," an- 
swered the guard, in gasps between his chattering 
teeth, " there's sounds out there I can't make out. 
They're like signals from one side of the gully to the 
other, and I can see nothing." At this one of the 
other fellows jumped up and volunteered to take his 
place. This was sanctioned by the officer, and he 
was marched to his post. In a few hours' time 
No. 2 returned, after being relieved at daylight ; 
but he had the same report to make unaccountable 
and weird sounds such as he had never heard 
before. 

I spent two hours after daylight trying to unravel 
the mystery, and at length succeeded. 

Our two pack-horses had been tethered one on 
each side of the ravine, and, grass being an almost 
unknown commodity in the locality, they had re- 
course to the young and succulent flax-leaves ; a 
sudden jerk from the hungry animals occasionally 
bringing the long leaf from its socket with a sound so 



MOUNTING GUARD H7 

peculiar that it might easily mystify any but the 
most experienced in life in the New Zealand forest. 
We all had a good laugh when the explanation of 
the supposed Hau Hau signals was given, and, after 
our four days' sojourn on that black mountain pass, 
returned to head-quarters, having good reasons for 
congratulation that our company, comprised as it 
was of young and inexperienced men, did not have 
the honour on that occasion of coming into actual 
contact with that arch-rebel of the east, Te Kooti.V 



CHAPTER XXI 
THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 

AS SOME SCHOOLBOYS SAW THEM 

IT was in 1851, a few months previous to our 
Christmas vacation, that we schoolboys were 
all set to work with needle and thread, under the 
direction of our master, Mr. R. Huntley. We were 
off for an overland trip to Otaki, and were manu- 
facturing our own canvas houses for the journey. 
What a treat for us youngsters to invade the terri- 
tory of the late notorious chieftains, Rangihaeata and 
" Robulla," as we called them ! 

But on this occasion the expedition, though 
armed, was of a peaceful character. A few years 
before, the very route we intended taking had been 
the scene of some tragical events in the history of 
New Zealand. 

When the day arrived for our departure, the com- 
pany, twenty-five strong, mustered ready for action. 
The baggage train consisted of an aged mule and a 
cart. Two of the monitors were allowed fowling- 
pieces for the purpose of providing a supply of game, 
which was said to be in abundance. 

148 



THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 149 

We were drilled. The master, who had been at 
Kororareka in '46, had experienced a taste of Heke 
and Kawiti's quality, and wanted to make soldiers 
of us, as far as order and discipline went. We had 
bugles ingeniously shaped out of scraped and 
polished bullock horns, with which the reveille was 
was sounded to rouse up the sleepers, also the break- 
fast, dinner, and tea calls. 

We start away by the Kaiwarra road, which 
skirts Wellington Harbour for a couple of miles, then 
goes westward to Porirua, a precipitous zigzag, lead- 
ing up the side of the mountain, the pretty valley of 
Tinakori stretching away to the left. Wild pigeons 
occasionally sail over our heads, their snow-white 
breasts shining in the morning sun, but too high for 
our sportsmen's guns. The captain's orders are re- 
strictive, and the time and place for fowling have not 
arrived. 

Our journey lies over ground the history of which 
is related as we march along. Here we pass the 
house where the unfortunate settler, with his five 
children, victims of utu, were tomahawked. 

A few miles further must we make ere pitching our 
tents for the night and so complete our first day's 
stage of twelve miles. 

An hour or so before our halting-place is reached, 
as we are merrily and leisurely tramping along, a 
battle royal in the air is witnessed by us between 
a hawk and a tui. The former, six times the size of 
his antagonist, is soaring along, his diminutive adver- 
sary some distance above, when, quick as lightning, 



160 THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 

the parson-bird pounces down with the evident pur- 
pose of striking the large bird on the back of the head 
with his needle-like bill and claws. The hawk turns 
upwards to meet the attack, but the unwieldy move- 
ments of this skulking pilferer of defenceless broods 
or helpless lambs are a laughable contrast to the 
quick, determined, and fearless onslaught of the 
beautiful songster. Higher and higher they rise, the 
same mode of attack and defence being rapidly 
repeated, until the last coup is given and the two 
appear to be in close quarters. We are quite ex- 
cited at seeing them descending through the air. 
Oh's ! of sympathy are heard from all, for we have 
given up our little combatant as lost, when hurrah ! 
the two separate, the hawk to the shelter of terra 
firma, while the tui, victorious and apparently scath- 
less, rises and sails away to his mate, where, with 
the cosy nest of little open mouths, she is doubtless 
awaiting the return of her champion. Of all the 
feathered tribe indigenous to New Zealand, the 
handsome, glossy black tui, with his snowy white 
neck tuft, certainly bears the palm for valour and 
song. 

Our first exciting incident has ended. Away to the 
south-west lies the Makara Valley, so thickly wooded 
as far as the eye can reach that it has the appearance 
of an undulating meadow, the density and verdant 
uniformity of the tree-tops, which at intervals are 
dotted with the crimson Christmas flowers or rata 
blossoms, heightening the illusion. This strange 
vine, in its peculiar growth, reminds one of occa- 



THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 151 

sional vagaries in that other part of creation, genus 
homo. The rata may be seen in any New Zealand 
forest, presumably an independent tree, with its 
innumerable blossom-tipped boughs, but an examin- 
ation of the trunk will invariably reveal a kahi 
katea, a rimu, or some other of the giant tribe, in- 
cluded in its embrace, and either dead or in a mori- 
bund state. The rata first softly creeps to the feet, 
gently insinuating itself, then, gradually but tena- 
ciously embracing the stately pine, it soon boldly 
asserts equality, and shoots its branches, covered 
with bright foliage and flowers, even higher than its 
sustaining sister. Lastly, in its gorgeousness, ap- 
parently oblivious of the assistance rendered at the 
primary stage of its struggle for existence, it ignores 
the commonplace ladder by which it has climbed 
to its giddy eminence, and leaves it to wither and 
die away. However, with all these ungrateful ten- 
dencies, it is valued, on account of its toughness and 
eccentric growth, in the manufacture of harbour- or 
whale-boats. 

I'm afraid at this rate we'll never reach the settle- 
ment of Otaki. 

Nothing worth noting occurs till the too-too- 
too of the bugle-horn sounds the halt. Tents are 
pitched, fires started, and everyone has his allotted 
duty. Two of the elder boys, with the master, are 
off to hunt up provender for breakfast, in the shape 
of Tcakas and pigeons. 

The meal is soon ready, and so are we, for the 
bracing country air and long walk a safe cure for 



152 THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 

fourteen-stone dyspeptics have converted us into 
very willing cook's mates. The tea bugle is echoed 
by the rattle of the plates and pannikins, which are 
being filled and refilled with considerable dexterity. 
Every article of food has come to hand correctly, 
only the chief cook happened to put sugar in the 
mock-turtle in place of salt, but this is soon rectified 
by the addition of an extra quantity of the latter. 
Too-too-too, " make beds, fern to cut and be laid 
one foot deep in the tents." No feather-bed with 
eider-down cover ever equalled it. After an hour 
for strolling about, it is 9 p.m. and tattoo-call for 
bed-time. All collect in the two tents, which are 
door to door, and the master recites the Veiled 
Prophet of Khorassan until Morpheus asserts him- 
self, and I remember falling asleep and imagining 
the prophet had commenced to snore most vulgarly 
and in various keys. 

5 a.m. Reveille. All hands to their post, pigeons 
to pluck and prepare, potatoes to scrape (a la 
Maori). Breakfast over, and the second day's 
journey is very soon begun. We come in sight of 
Porirua Harbour, which is, or was, a pretty spot. 
As we near it, we make out the dilapidated, but once 
almost impregnable, pah " Whatanui " (large ele- 
vated storehouse), the stronghold of the late splen- 
did-looking, but notorious and bloodthirsty, Te 
Rangihaeata. 

Skirting the harbour, which is about seven or 
eight miles across, we enter the most interesting part 
of our march. At the time I speak of, the Horokiwi 



THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 153 

Valley is all too beautiful for description at my 
hands. The road leading through is a gradual, 
almost imperceptible ascent, cut out of the mountain 
side, on the left, which is thickly covered with bush. 
On our right lies a deep gully, with the summer's rivu- 
let bubbling and gurgling at each miniature water- 
fall, while overhead the monster puketia or tawas 
almost meet. We pass through a natural avenue. 
The locality is pointed out where the gallant Black- 
burn of the 99th fell, while in pursuit of the starved 
and vanquished Rangihaeata, in the last stand that 
this Maori chieftain ever made against British 
rule. 

Pitch tents. The same routine is repeated, with 
the exception of the sugar in the soup, and another 
pleasant night is commenced. The Fire Worshippers 
have now taken the place of the Veiled Prophet, and 
one and all are now determined to keep awake to 
hear the finale. I hear nearly every word till the 
poet comes to 

' ' Oh ! for a tongue to curse the slave ! 

Whose treason, like a deadly blight, 
Comes o'er the counsels of the brave, 
And blasts them in their hour of might." 

Another supreme effort to keep the audience 
awake, then comes 

" And when from earth his spirit flies, 

Just Prophet ! let the damned one dwell, 
Full in the sight of Paradise, 
Beholding heaven, yet feeling hell." 



154 THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 

I got no further than this, but just subsided into 
my patent fern spring-mattress. 

The sun bad scarcely made his appearance when 
the tui and mako-mako called us with their sweet 
songs to rouse up, then away for a dip in some of 
the mountain pools. Our feathered friends were in 
scores doing the same thing, and showed little alarm 
at our presence. They have since learned to dis- 
trust the invaders of their country. 

A short time after, we arrive at the summit of 
Paikakariki. Mana and Kapiti Islands come in view, 
favourite retreats of the rebel chiefs of bygone 
days. 

The road leading down to Scotch Jock's accommo- 
dation house, which we fancied we could almost 
throw a stone upon from where we stood, was, we 
were informed, just upon three miles of a zigzag. 
Half-way down, our progress was completely blocked 
by an enormous landslip, which had covered up 
every* bit of road. Fortunately for us, there had 
been for some days a gang of labourers clearing 
away the debris, and our delay was not long. We 
arrived on the smooth, hard strand of the coast 
without casualty. 

From there to Otaki is a monotony of sea on one 
side and sandhills upon the other. We are met at 
the river-crossing by some Maori guides, who soon 
whip us upon their brawny shoulders and dash 
across. 

The Catholic Mission, under the control of the 
Rev. Father Le Comte, is a few miles further in- 



THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 155 

land. On the way are met scores of smiling and 
good-natured faces. We notice that many of the 
small fry, dressed in Dame Nature's habiliments, 
keep well in the background. Pakehas are a novelty 
to them, and, seeing so many together, they are 
evidently awed by our unnatural appearance. Our 
course lies past the residence of the Anglican mission- 
ary, the deservedly esteemed and popular Arch- 
deacon Hadfield. At length we reach our destina- 
tion. The kindly French missioner is quite prepared 
for our arrival, and the natives vie with each 
other in amusing us. We are given the freedom 
of the orchard, and the thought that during 
our stay there will be no necessity for the display 
of our culinary abilities adds zest to our enjoy- 
ment. 

Otaki then was one vast stretch of low-lying, rich 
alluvial land and swamp, hemmed in by sandhills 
near the sea, and towards the south and eastward 
by the Tararua and Ruahine ranges, the latter's 
peculiarly jagged appearance being accounted for 
in the mythical tradition relating to the origin of 
Aotea Roa (North Island). When it was hauled up 
from the ocean's depths by that celebrated hero or 
demi-god Maui, with a hook made from a human 
jawbone, it appears that the enormous fish became 
restive, and had to be quietened by repeated strokes 
from the paddles of Maui and his companions. 
The marks of this patu are visible to this day 
upon the back of " Te ika a Maui " (the fish of 
Maui). 



156 THE SAVAGES OP OTAKI 

Our first night's experience at Otaki was an un- 
commonly lively one. The sunset was magnificent ; 
but its effect was spoiled by the myriads of mos- 
quitoes, which, like the Maoris, seemed to have 
assembled to give us a welcome. We were un- 
sociable enough to reject their attentions, but were 
only partially successful, for in spite of mosquito 
nets, nose-bags, etc., they intruded upon our privacy 
with such effect that it was late next morning 
before we could be quite certain whether or not 
daylight had arrived, so swollen had our eyes 
become. However, their attentions had been pretty 
equally distributed, and no one had the laugh of 
the other. 

Our holiday was a continued round of feasting, 
bathing, and canoeing, the hospitable Otakians 
accompanying and instructing us in all their arts 
and recreations with obliging readiness. 

One instance of gubernatorial tact occurred not 
far from here, the authority for the accuracy of 
which, I believe, is reliable. Sir George Grey was 
anxious to see the country made habitable and 
prosperous ; but the want of good roads, especially 
through native lands, was a great hindrance, the 
owners positively refusing this improvement, saying 
they had roads enough. One individual, particu- 
larly stubborn in this respect, was rewarded by the 
Governor, for his otherwise amicable behaviour, by 
the presentation of a handsome four-wheeler and 
pair. The chief, highly pleased, with great difficulty 
got the turn-out to his pah, but it was a white ele- 



THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 157 

phant. There was no place within twenty miles 
where he could cut a dash, the result being the 
Kawana was asked to make a road through to the 
pah, a request which the wily knight was neither 
slow nor illiberal in complying with. If the colonisa- 
tion of New Zealand in the first instance had 
been managed more in this spirit and with less 
appearance of coercion, the appalling sacrifice of 
human life would not have assumed such pro- 
portions. 

With reluctance we bid our kind hosts good-bye ! 
We make " Whare Boa " (long house) the first night, 
but get a good ducking before reaching there, the 
rain catching us on the open beach. Gladly we avail 
ourselves of one of the whares in this deserted pah ; 
but our arms, faces, and legs bore evidences next 
morning of there being a very industrious tenantry 
in that Maori kainga, or else we were unanimously 
developing measles at its eruptive stage. After 
considerable salt-water ablutions, we left Whare 
Roa and its lively recollections behind without 
regret. 

In the ascent of Paikakariki we had ample oppor- 
tunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery, as our mule 
took an occasional notion to act in a like manner. 
By dint of great persuasion on our part, the summit 
was at last reached. From there to the Empire 
City it was all plain sailing and pigeon-shooting. 
Our mule had recovered and was on his good 
behaviour, downhill travelling evidently suiting 
him best, 



158 THE SAVAGES OF OTAKI 

We reached home again safely, and with a con- 
scious feeling of being quite the heroes of the 
hour, after that memorable trip to the savages at 
Otaki. 



CHAPTER XXII 
MAORI PECULIARITIES 

STORIES OF REVENGE AND MISTAKEN IDENTITY 

"VTEW ZEALAND'S exceptionally rapid progress, 
JLi though an established and unparalleled fact, 
has been of the most fluctuating character through- 
out. The first of the New Zealand Company's emi- 
grants got a free grant of land, to which they were 
entitled upon certain conditions, occupation being 
one. This proviso was the cause of many of them 
never deriving any benefit therefrom, the disaffected 
state of the colony rendering residence, in many 
cases, impossible, the result being that many valu- 
able tracts of land reverted to the promoting com- 
pany. Misunderstanding between the two races was 
often productive of serious trouble, the pakeha ex- 
pecting the Maori to see things through European 
spectacles, and vice versa. 

When the rebellion, headed by Te Rangihaeata and 
Te Rauparaha in the southern portion of the North 
Island, had ceased, the natives still remained rest- 
less and suspicious. They evidently had a theory, 
no doubt originating in the insurrection at Korora- 

'59 



160 MAORI PECULIARITIES 

reka in the north, that eventually it was the inten- 
tion of the pakeha to take their country from them. 

The Maori would be kind, generous, and hospitable 
to a degree, but would never overlook an offence or 
forgive an injury. He was a believer in Utu, which 
means revenge, retaliation, an equivalent, price, 
satisfaction, and various other things. 

Towards the close of the 'forties the residents of 
Poneke (Port Nicholson or Wellington) were horrified 
by the intelligence that a family had been massacred 
a short distance from the town. The perpetrator of 
the deed was quickly captured, and proved to be a 
Maori who had been imprisoned for a theft which 
he denied being guilty of. After completing his sen- 
tence he was heard to threaten that he would have 
a pakeha for every moon he had been in gaol as 
utu for the persecution he had endured. 

At the trial it transpired that he had procured a 
tomahawk and had gone in the direction of Porirua, 
a suburb a few miles from Wellington, where re- 
sided the unfortunate farmer with his five mother- 
less children. The Maori knocked at the door, was 
told to come in. The good parent, after seeing his 
little ones to bed, was sitting by the fireside reading 
his Bible ere retiring to rest. Looking up he beheld 
the native, who requested " he ahi ma taku paipa " 
(fire for my pipe). Suiting the action to the word, 
the Maori handed the pipe to his unsuspecting victim. 
The farmer turned towards the fireplace, when the 
cruel tomahawk went crashing through his skull, 
killing him on the spot. The children were then 



MAORI PECULIARITIES 161 

literally hacked to pieces by the maddened savage. 
He had truly taken the life of a pakeha for each 
month's incarceration. This Maori I saw executed. 
Without denying the murders, he maintained his 
innocence of the theft, for which he had been 
punished, to the last, and went to the fatal drop 
quite unconcernedly. 

This was an instance of Maori utu, no benefit to the 
murderer beyond satisfying the thirst of revenge for 
an injustice, whether real or imaginary I cannot say. 

We have on record occasional instances where 
utu has been exacted by our own most enlightened 
nation as we delight to hear ourselves titled. For 
the murder of a boat's crew, or something of the 
kind, in one or other of the South Sea Islands, a 
whole village was blown to Jericho by some of Her 
Majesty's gunboats the glory of the Empire must 
be upheld. I wonder if the women and children 
destroyed on those occasions had anything more to 
do with the crime than had the unfortunate farmer 
and his offspring of Porirua to do with the Maori's 
sentence of six months. The latter utu was savage 
and natural, the former civilised and unnatural 
truly a distinction and a difference. 

Heke's utu in 'forty-four was for an imaginary 
injustice. He was led astray by evil reports, which 
he took for facts, and consequently considered the 
Treaty of Waitangi a delusion and a snare for his 
countrymen. This his sensitive and highly-strung 
temperament could not brook. 

Another custom of the Maori, and one which at 

M 



162 MAORI PECULIARITIES 

times led to dissensions, was their Foreshore Rights. 
In other words, anything floating ashore near their 
kaingas (places of residence) was generally looked 
upon by them as their exclusive property. Wreckage 
of any description was appropriated as their own by 
right. Upon one occasion, before the Waitara re- 
bellion had assumed very serious proportions, a 
steamer ran ashore on the West Coast. The pas- 
sengers were not only not interfered with, but 
assisted by some of the natives in getting through 
to Wanganui, the nearest port. The vessel quickly 
went to pieces, a quantity of cargo was washed 
ashore, and of course was annexed by the hapu of 
the locality. Amongst the various articles recovered 
by the Maoris were some kegs, one of which was 
opened by the chief's directions. A discussion 
followed as to what the yellowish luscious-looking 
substance was. At length one better informed than 
the rest, in pakeha manners and customs, settled the 
question right off by calling out, " He kinaki o te 
pakeha mo te paraoa " (It is the butter or dripping : 
the pakeha' s relish for bread). 

The evening meal was nearly ready ; the hakuis 
(old women) busy about its preparation. The keg 
of butter was put aside, Maori etiquette being that 
the chief first partakes of food, unless a visitor should 
be present, in which case their hospitality places the 
guest especially if he happens to be a pakeha in 
the post of honour. The repast consisted of potatoes, 
pork, pumpkin, etc., cooked a la " Koppa Maori," 
this process being somewhat as follows. A hole is 



MAORI PECULIARITIES 163 

dug in the ground, in which is placed firewood and 
round boulder stones. The wood is ignited, and 
gradually the stones become glowing hot. A flaxen 
mat saturated with water is placed upon the heated 
mass, then layers of potatoes, meat, etc., alternately, 
till the pit is nearly full. Another wet mat is then 
spread over all, and water poured over the surface, 
which is quickly covered by earth, thus preventing 
the generating steam from escaping, the result 
being that in less than an hour every article is 
splendidly cooked, especially the pork, which is done 
to such perfection as to render the use of knives and 
forks a superfluity. The pork is laid on a mat, the 
other things, pumpkins and potatoes, are put in 
small wicker baskets made from the broad flax 
leaves (Phormium tenax). At a signal from the chief 
everyone helps himself by the aid of nature's carvers. 
The dejeuner has begun, and the bread is in great 
request on this particular occasion, as each one is 
eagerly wanting to try the pakeha kinaki, or butter. 
Many hands are dipped into the keg and the relish 
plentifully spread on the " damper " bread. The 
action is nearly as possible simultaneous, and the 
resulting expression of opinion upon the merits of 
the pakeha luxury equally so. If there is one feature 
in the Maori character more prominent than another 
it is that of being able to control emotions proceeding 
either from pain or the reverse. All are now masti- 
cating most industriously novelty adding zest to 
the operation but certainly without exhibiting 
much of that facial expression which generally indi- 



164 MAORI PECULIARITIES 

cates the pleasure derivable from partaking of any 
delicacy. At last the chief breaks the monotony 
by throwing down the remains of his " damper " 
and in a most emphatic manner exclaiming, " Ka 
kino tenei kinaki o te pakeha he pirau " (Very bad is 
this relish of the white man's ; it is rotten). All 
look towards him, and seem to concur in his senti- 
ments, as one after another expectorate and make 
wry faces. 

Then there was much rinsing of mouths, in which 
had accumulated a kind of froth, unaccountable, 
ere the balance of the collation could be disposed of. 
The remarks subsequently made by those natives 
were not in praise of the white man's taste the deli- 
cacy they had found happened to be merely " soft 
soap," not butter ! 

For some considerable time afterwards there was 
a slump in the butter trade on that coast. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

CHARACTERISTICS IN TRADE AND 
RELIGION 

A FUNERAL " X LA PAKEHA " 

THE natives of our Britain of the South, though 
full of warlike propensities, are a magnificent 
type of the human family, whose natural failings are 
more than counterbalanced by their inherent good 
qualities. Over sixty years' residence in their midst 
only confirms my opinion in this, that they have 
been more sinned against than sinning. 

Many a startling announcement have we seen in 
our colonial journals, such as " Terrible Maori Out- 
rage," which, being perused in England, or anywhere 
outside New Zealand, would give the idea that the 
Maoris were a race which, if they got their deserts, 
should be swept from the face of the earth. 

In forming an opinion of the Maori character upon 
such evidence, the reader is apt to come to a wrong 
conclusion or to receive very erroneous impressions, 
unless the facts leading up to the so-called atrocity 
be fully known. If we take into consideration their 
standard of morality prior to the advent of Cook, 
which to a great extent was an eye for an eye, or a 

165 



166 TRADE AND RELIGION 

tooth for a tooth, who can be surprised at what has 
often happened ? 

In the early days what were in the eyes of the 
casual observer outrages, and, of course, could not 
be tolerated, were, according to their creed, utu, or 
revenge or retaliation for real or imaginary acts of 
injustice, to forego which would be considered 
cowardly, unjust to the tribe or individual con- 
cerned, and discreditable in every sense. 

Some of the most influential chiefs of the North 
Island, the courted and flattered hoas (friends) of 
the hungry land-seekers of fifty years back, have 
ended their days in almost absolute penury, after 
having been coaxed and wheedled into purchasing 
all sorts of unnecessary commodities and luxuries. 
But in the eyes of the natives, the highest-prized 
and most-sought-after possessions were firearms of 
any description ; particularly any newly invented 
complication, which they could fire without muzzle- 
loading, in other words, what they termed a puhia 
kaha (quick shooter). A repeating-rifle was looked 
upon as something mysterious in the extreme. A 
friendly chief once becoming enamoured at the sight 
of one such belonging to a storekeeper, importuned 
the Government agent for a permit to purchase, and 
became the proud possessor at a cost of about 50, 
a few hundred cartridges being thrown in into the 
bargain. But when these were expended, there 
being no more procurable a fact of which the astute 
vendor was fully aware the repeater became a per- 
fectly useless ornament. However, it was quite a 



TRADE AND RELIGION 167 

legal transaction, and resulted in a trifling profit to 
the tradesman of something like 40 ! 

It needed small powers of persuasion to induce 
them to invest, especially on such an occasion as the 
death of any noted tangata (man), a marriage, or 
festivity of any description. Some such conversa- 
tion as this would take place : 

Maori : E kore moni aku (literally, " I have no 
money "). 

Tradesman : Oh, never mind ; just write your 
name on this paper. Pay by and by. 

The paper would be a mortgage deed, to which 
the signatures of the chief and his subordinates 
were eagerly sought. 

The Maoris in those times were most profuse in 
their hospitality, occasionally inviting the pakeha 
katoa (all the whites) who chose to come. And right 
royally were they received at all times, the first and 
best of everything being handed round to their 
visitors before the head chief would touch any. But 
the Maoris, though naturally very intelligent, were 
not noted for their acuteness in finance, and conse- 
quently often became hopelessly involved. Un- 
happy, indeed, was the lot of the minor members of 
a hapu whose head was of a spendthrift disposition. 
The liabilities once incurred, the storekeeper, acting 
often for third parties too wary to be directly con- 
cerned in anything of the kind became pressing. 
No money was forthcoming, so a lump sum would 
be tendered, together with a clean receipt for 
the tupeka, rama, paraoa, huka, perakite (tobacco, 



168 TRADE AND RELIGION 

rum, flour, sugar, blankets), and sundries ad in- 
finitum. The chief would induce the unfortunates 
to sign, and finally their land liquidated the debt. 
Is it to be greatly wondered at if some of 
these, upon beholding their heritage dwindling 
away in this manner, did feel an inclination to 
do almost anything that would lead to its re- 
storation ? 

The law in force prohibiting the supply of intoxi- 
cating liquors to the natives was more honoured in 
the breach than in the observance. Gala days were 
those for the tradespeople and hotel-keepers when 
a payment was to be made for the purchase of a 
block of land, either by Government or private 
speculator. Early morn on such occasions saw the 
Maoris wending their way towards the town, mostly 
on horseback, the ladies being quite as good eques- 
trians as their lords. Side saddles were at a discount 
with them, seldom or never being used. Four- 
wheeled buggies, drawn by well-matched pairs of 
ponies or horses, were the fashion, especially in the 
case of a rangatira nui (big swell). 

Each chief was generally accompanied by the 
gentle spouses of his household. Don't be shocked, 
dear reader. They had, as soon as convenient, and 
with few exceptions, all embraced Christianity under 
one form or another ; but could or would not be 
made to understand why a chief should be restricted 
to one wife only. 

Missionary : It is against the teaching of Chris- 
tianity in the Bible. 



TRADE AND RELIGION 169 

Chief: Doesn't the Bible teach the Christian re- 
ligion ? 

Missionary : Yes. But you must know 

Chief (interrupting) : Weren't Abraham and Solo- 
mon chiefs, then ? 

Missionary : Yes, but remember 

Chief (abruptly) : Well, Abraham and Solomon 
were rangatiras and had plenty wives I am also 
a rangatira and so will I. 

At that he would stalk away, quite contented with 
his own interpretation, but still remaining a Chris- 
tian, with that slight reservation. 

On these occasions the ladies, decked out in their 
silks, ribbons, and ostrich feathers, looked quite 
charming as they rode or drove by, their husbands 
handling the other ribbons about as nimbly as the 
proverbial cow would a musket. They would ride 
and drive to an open space in the town where the 
fair ones alighted without assistance. The general 
brilliancy of their variegated array was very striking. 
One lady would wear a beautifully ornamented fichu 
of black silk and bangles, over a sparkling yellow 
dress of cotton stuff, commonly called a roundabout, 
and no boots. Boots were a neglected commodity 
then. A bootmaker's wife once induced a Maori 
lady to purchase a pair similar to the ones she wore 
herself. The chieftainess had never previously at- 
tempted to wear leather ; but being taken by the 
shapely-looking foot of this daughter of Eve, fell 
under the temptation, and took a pair home to be 
used on the next state occasion. When the time 



170 TRADE AND RELIGION 

arrived she got them on, though about three sizes 
too small, and mounted the buggy ; she was going to 
astonish them all. Her lord by her side bestowed no 
attention on such petty affairs. During the six-mile 
drive she winced occasionally, but was determined 
to wear those beautiful boots, whatever happened. 
The town was reached, but the short distance she 
had to foot it was not so easily accomplished. 
Descending from the vehicle she started off after her 
husband, with the approved slightly raised skirt, 
and, for a short distance, succeeded remarkably 
well. But gradually her gait altered to something 
approaching the gracefulness of an elephant on 
stilts, till, at last, with a yell of anguish to her lord, 
who was some distance in front, she squatted down 
on the nearest doorstep, and, sticking out her feet, 
cried, " Kanui te ma mae taku wae wae kumea atu 
taku puti " (Great is the pain of my feet, pull away 
my boots). He tried his utmost, but the tenacious 
elastic sides would not be moved, and the chief's 
patience becoming exhausted, he, taking his knife, 
ripped them open, pulled them off with a jerk, and 
flung them into the street in disgust. The next pair 
this lady tried would be about size ten ! 

The adoption of European manners and customs 
by the natives was always productive of ludicrous 
incidents. Part of the outward and visible sign of 
mourning observed by them, upon the death of a 
relative, was peculiar. The female cropped the hair 
off one side of the head. The males, in addition, 
would shave half the face ; but, previous to the 



ft 
TRADE AND RELIGION 171 

introduction of razors, the hair was simply plucked 
out. A funeral procession under such conditions 
presented a somewhat lop-sided appearance. I was 
very much impressed by the first of these Anglo- 
Maori funerals that I witnessed. The cemeteries of 
Wellington seem to have been chosen on account 
of their picturesque surroundings, and the lovely 
panoramic views of the splendid harbour, with its 
distant islands and indigenous evergreen-clad shores. 
As a Hibernian friend of mine once said, "Purtier 
nor healthier shpots could not be found in the whole 
of Wellington for the purpose." 

The cortege alluded to consisted of six male 
mourners, who bore the coffin upon their shoulders 
after the most approved manner, with the exception 
of an occasional grunt from one or other as he re- 
ceived what he considered more than his share of the 
burden. Proceeding slowly and sadly, with great 
difficulty they managed to ascend the steep pathway 
that led to the graveyard. During the latter part of 
that mournful journey, owing to excessive zeal and 
absence of discipline on the part of the bearers, the 
coffin several times narrowly escaped slipping down 
the ravine at the roadside. 

Having arrived at their destination, a minister 
was in waiting to consign the mortal remains to 
Mother Earth. Nervousness was manifest in their 
every movement. This was their first funeral at- 
tempt a la pakeha (white man). The rash step had 
been taken at the instance of their good old spiritual 
adviser, whose sole desire was to promote their 



172 TRADE AND RELIGION 

civilisation in every respect. The coffin was placed 
above the open grave, the ritual ended, and the word 
given to lower. They did lower, but not quite in 
orthodox fashion ; the two at the head of the corpse, 
instead of lowering gently, let the ropes go altogether, 
the result being that the coffin, after nearly turning 
a somersault, went down with a thud to the bottom 
of the grave end first. For a few moments there was 
a dead silence as the awe-stricken relatives witnessed 
this unexpected catastrophe. Then one cried out : 
"Au e ki runga ki tana upoko ! " (Ah ! she is standing 
on her head). This pathetic exclamation was too 
much for their pent-up feelings, and one and all 
burst out into a loud laugh, to the intense disgust of 
the Tangata Karakia, or " man of prayer." They 
rectified the mishap with much labour and perspira- 
tion ; but I feel certain that not one of those six 
mourners ever afterwards attended another funeral 
excepting his own. 



CHAPTER XXIV 
A PIG-HUNT IN THE EARLY DAYS 

WITH A SHORT ACCOUNT OF A WELL-KNOWN 
COLONIST 

/|LIVE GRANGE, at the time I allude to, was 
VJ the property of an old identity and genial 
sheep farmer, a gentleman popularly known through- 
out the whole of the North Island as Joe Rhodes, a 
junior member of a family intimately associated with 
the early settlement of Canterbury, Wellington, and 
Hawke's Bay. 

This lovely estate is situated between the river 
Tuki Tuki and the mountains which terminate in 
the Kidnappers, the southern headland of Hawke's 
Bay. The difficulties and dangers attendant upon 
country settlement in those days, prior to the intro- 
duction of bridges and railways, if recounted, would 
scarcely be credited by colonists of more recent 
times. 

It is not my intention now to enter upon this 
phase of colonisation, but merely to touch upon the 
brighter side of life as it then rolled on. 

A harvest-home gathering at Clive Grange, once 

i73 



174 A PIG-HUNT IN THE EARLY DAYS 

experienced, was an occurrence, from fond memory 
never to be effaced. 

Forty-five years of the varying vicissitudes of life 
since have not been able to erase from the record of 
bygone events the enjoyment thus afforded through 
the kindly hospitality of the master and mistress of 
Clive Grange. 

The spacious wool-shed had served its purpose. 
Thousands of sheep, beneath that roof, had quite 
recently been shorn of their fleecy clothing to the 
accompaniment so musical to the ear of a station 
owner when " wool's up " of the click, click of 
some twenty or thirty pairs of shears. Then the 
scene was changed. The large building was draped 
and decorated. At one end stood an immense table, 
groaning beneath its abundance of liquid and solid 
refreshment. The other .part of the floor was re- 
served for a general indulgence in the terpsichorean 
art, and various interpretations of the " light fan- 
tastic " were given by the assemblage of burly 
teamsters, shepherds, shearers, mechanics, and 
country damsels. 

At the head of the table sat the host, his face 
beaming with pleasure, derived from witnessing the 
general enjoyment. His amiable and kindly spouse, 
with her two handsome and affable young daughters, 
entered fully into the spirit of the occasion. 

High and low, gentle and simple, all were made to 
feel, in the widest sense of the term, at home. 

The guests of such festivals comprised every 
employe on the estate, and, apparently, as many 



A PIG-HUNT IN THE EARLY DAYS 175 

as the jovial proprietor could procure for miles 
around. 

Prosperous in his undertakings, a shrewd man in 
business, a fluent speaker in the provincial political 
arena, Mr. Rhodes generally made his mark in 
debate. As one of the late lamented Sir Donald 
M'Lean's executive advisers, he was assiduous in his 
endeavours to frame the laws and to guide the 
destinies of that fair and beautiful province during 
a very trying period. Yet, in any of these honour- 
able positions, he never exhibited an appearance of 
such unalloyed pleasure and contentment as at the 
head of a " Harvest Home at Olive Grange." 

The foregoing may be considered slightly digres- 
sive in a yarn describing a pig-hunt, but I could not 
take my readers straight to the " bristly boar " 
without giving some details characteristic of the 
principal hunter. 

It was in 1860 I received a memo, from the 
Master of the Grange, intimating that he had 
promised two young officers of the Imperial army, 
then stationed at Napier, a day's pig-hunting, and, 
if I could come and bring my two dogs, we would 
have a good day's sport. The following day a lad 
brought me my mount, a fine little grey mare, from 
the Grange. Upon my repairing to the rendezvous, 
Mr. Rhodes and his two friends, ready for the fray, 
were anxiously awaiting my arrival. The officers 
were well mounted, each with a rifle slung across his 
shoulders. It was their maiden attempt in chase of 
the New Zealand boar. Mr, Rhodes, with revolver 



176 A PIG-HUNT IN THE EARLY DAYS 

in his belt, slouch-hat, knee-boots, and nonchalant 
air I may say it wasn't his first attempt 
looked more like a Spanish hidalgo than a sheep 
farmer as he led the way at a rattling pace 
along the base of the mountains, through fern at 
times up to the horses' backs, and again over a 
stretch of native grass-land intersected by swampy 
creeks. These our leader, sitting his horse like a 
centaur, would fly over with as little concern as if he 
were in an arm-chair. Not so, however, the main 
body and rear-guard of which I was the rearmost. 
With these, it would be pull up, and carefully nego- 
tiate. After traversing the undulating country for a 
few miles, Mr. Rhodes stopped. A consultation was 
held, and it was decided to keep my dogs back, in 
order to afford our visitors an opportunity of dis- 
playing their prowess with the rifle. We then ad- 
vanced as noiselessly as possible in the direction of 
a noted feeding ground, keeping well to the leeward, 
in order to prevent our quarry getting scent of their 
enemy. In such a case they would quickly be 
among the most impenetrable fern, or go where 
following upon horseback would be out of the 
question. 

The dogs were now showing unmistakable symp- 
toms of pigs ahead, and, but for their being well 
trained, would have broken bounds. As it was, they 
were casting most imploring upward glances at their 
master for the word " Go on ! " A short distance 
further, and we reached a slight elevation covered 
with high fern. Our captain raised his hand now for 



A PIG-HUNT IN THE EAFLY DAYS 177 

silence. We cautiously ascended the rise, where a 
good view was obtained of the feeding ground, and 
good luck ! of some seven or eight pigs busily en- 
gaged with their snouts deep in the earth, in search 
of the succulent fern-root. The distance was judged 
as two hundred yards, rather far in those days for 
making a certainty of a pot shot. To try and get 
nearer, however, was not deemed advisable. 

Adjutant Butler fired at the largest of the herd, 
but the bullet struck the ground some ten yards 
short, the elevation being wrong. The pigs did not 
wait for another hint to go, but cleared out at a 
great rate, the smaller ones leading, their guardian 
and defender remaining in the rear to cover the re- 
treat. My two dogs Dick, a lurcher, and Bosun, the 
bully were soon in full cry. The speedy lurcher 
was at the heels of his boarship in less time than it 
takes to write it. The boar turned upon him at 
once, the bristles on his back, fully six inches in 
length, standing up like porcupines' quills, while 
all the while he was munching and grinding his 
formidable tusks. The dog was too active to allow 
the pig to practise upon him. He had done his part, 
and brought him to bay. And now the slow, but 
sure, bulldog was upon the scene, and, without any 
preliminaries, dashed in and cleverly caught the old 
warrior by the lug, while the nimble but discreet 
lurcher was here, there, and everywhere, both 
nipping, barking, and harassing their now furious 
victim. 

The boar, thus beset, had recourse to that we.ll- 

N 



178 A PIG-HUNT IN THE EARLY DAYS 

known instinct, when acting on the defensive, of 
backing into a flax-bush, a hollow tree, or any 
corner, to prevent his hunters from taking him in 
the rear. Once in such a position, it would be a brave 
dog indeed that will face him. Nothing short of a 
bullet, planted in the right spot, would make an im- 
pression upon the natural armour coating the hide, 
at times four or six inches in thickness, of a " good 
old boar." When he got sight of the cavalry force 
upon his track, off he dashed, carrying the dogs as 
though they were not the least impediment to his 
flight. In a few moments both pigs and dogs 
were completely lost to sight. He had bounded 
over the brink of a deep, narrow gulch, or water- 
course. 

When we arrived at the spot where they had dis- 
appeared, we saw, about ten or twelve feet right 
below us, the fierce brute dashing the bulldog from 
side to side of the ravine in the endeavour to rid 
himself of his diminutive but extremely tenacious 
foe. 

It was necessary now to dispose of the maddened 
boar, or there was no saving my trusty and fearless 
companion Bosun. 

Mr. Rhodes would not countenance the use of the 
rifle for this purpose, as that would endanger the 
life of the noble dog. Instead, he jumped into the 
ravine, and, with revolver in hand, he advanced, in 
the most deliberate manner, upon the infuriated 
animal. Every moment we were hi dread of seeing 
the dog shaken from his hold, as he was being 



A PIG-HUNT IN THE EARLY DAYS 179 

furiously dashed against either side of the very 
narrow defile. Both dog and boar were partially 
covered with blood and foam, but no sound was 
heard from either combatant save the usual savage, 
hoarse, bark-like grunt of the boar. The second dog 
helped occasionally by snapping and biting at that 
end of the enemy which was furthest from the 
terrible tusks. 

Mr. Rhodes's position, had the dog lost his hold 
then, would have been a most perilous one ; as in 
a similar instance a boar has been known to charge, 
and rip the entrails out of a horse that barred his 
way of escape. The dog, however, held on like grim 
death, and our plucky leader, always a capital shot, 
found a vulnerable spot, and left a bullet there. The 
boar gave a few staggers and fell dead. Then, and 
not till then, did Bosun relinquish his mouthful of 
pig's ear, appearing rather annoyed at not having 
a little more fighting on hand. Poor Bosun had re- 
ceived an awful battering, and could not get out of 
the ravine without assistance. He was not actually 
ripped a few slight cuts and stabs of no conse- 
quence were all the damage he had sustained as far 
as we could see but the continued dashing 
against the rough banks had nearly knocked his 
life out. 

I carried him in front of my saddle for a few miles, 
and was much rejoiced to find that he had recovered 
sufficiently to follow, and even displayed a renewed 
inclination to look up another scent, although this 
was a privilege peremptorily denied him. 



180 A PIG-HUNT IN THE EARLY DAYS 

In due time we reached the Grange, and our genial 
entertainer had something for us which was much 
appreciated, coming as it did after what we had so 
thoroughly enjoyed a jolly good afternoon's " pig- 
hunt." 



CHAPTER XXV 
EXPECTING TE KOOTI 

A FALSE ALARM 

THE nomenclature of Napier's various surround- 
ings had evidently been suggested by the Indian 
Mutiny, as witness its Clive Square, Hyderabad, 
and other roads, Meanee and Havelock suburban 
villages. This beautiful district hi Hawke's Bay 
is equally noted for its salubrious climate and its 
fat mutton. It is neither as cold as Canterbury 
in the south, nor as roasting as Russell in the 
north. The Hawke's Bayians, while the gold fever 
was raging all over New Zealand, imagined that they 
had discovered their El Dorado in the Kaimanawa 
Mountains. The supposed precious metal, however, 
proved to be useless mica. Great was the dis- 
appointment felt, but particularly by shareholders. 
We wanted a gold mine it was fashionable to have 
one never thinking at the time that we had, as in 
Canterbury and many other parts of New Zealand, 
what was unquestionably of greater and more perma- 
nent value, viz. magnificent agricultural and pastoral 
lands, which, as statistical returns have repeatedly 

181 



182 EXPECTING TE KOOTI 

shown, are capable of producing enormous yields of 
cereals of every description, and the best mutton and 
wool in the world. The plains, bordered by undu- 
lating limestone downs and ranges, appear as if 
designed by nature for the production in particular 
of those valuable commodities, bread and meat. 

The two political milch cows of the Provincial 
Abolition era, Canterbury and Hawke's Bay, re- 
semble each other very much in many respects, each 
having experienced a more or less severe attack of 
the auriferous epidemic prevalent in the 'sixties. 
Grass and grain have in both cases happily super- 
seded that metal of which Hood wrote as 

" Hard to get, and harder to hold, 
The price of many a crime untold." 

While the prosperity established by its discovery 
has always been of a fluctuating character, that 
produced by grass and grain, like Tennyson's brook, 
runs on " for ever." 

Amongst the various occupations of the early 
settlers, that of amateur soldiering had its humor- 
ous as well as inconvenient and perilous side, the 
dangerous element being an exclusively North Island 
prerogative. 

While Her Majesty's troops had been fighting our 
battles in Auckland, we in the middle of the island 
were enjoying the privilege of learning the art of war 
under not altogether unpleasant auspices. 

Subsequent to the conclusion of the Waikato in- 
vasion, the town of Napier was favoured by being 



EXPECTING TE KOOTI 183 

the head-quarters of several of the regiments. Im- 
perial orders had been given to concentrate their 
battalions at convenient points, prior to some of their 
number being paid off and discharged, or conveyed 
back to the Mother Country, or any of the Australian 
ports, if preferred. The Second 14th, Second 70th 
and 12th, each in turn paid us a visit. The Second 
70th, under Colonel Mulock, which was what may 
be justly termed the flower of the Imperial army in 
New Zealand, had been drafted direct from India in 
the enormous transport s.s. Himalaya, to take part 
under General Cameron in suppressing the rebellion. 
A finer-looking body of men it would be difficult to 
find. They were of splendid physique, with their 
grizzled beards and sun-tanned faces bearing the im- 
press of their sojourn in the mutinous portion of that 
Empire upon which the sun never sets. The strains 
of their fine band created quite a furore, causing a 
very rage of military enthusiasm in the breasts of 
colonists, young and old. Their best drill sergeants 
were sent to put us through our facings. Our parent, 
out of her maternal solicitude for our future welfare, 
was teaching us to walk, preparatory to leaving us 
to run alone, and very trying to the patience of some 
of those crusty old warriors was this elementary 
process. Not but what we were apt enough pupils, 
but a fellow with a comfortable few hundreds at his 
banker's felt rather inclined, at times, to resent 
the occasional remarks of the instructor, such as 
" Damn it, can't ye tell yer right fut from yer left ? " 
But of necessity Militia or Volunteers we were, 



184 EXPECTING TE KOOTI 

and had just to grin and bear it ; 7 a.m. drills in 
winter were really exhilarating, especially when 
going through the evolution technically known as 
the " goose step," with the thermometer at about 
zero. Clerks, merchants, bankers, all had to go 
through this drill, some with scabbard appendages, 
the rest in rank and file. Of all the field movements 
in those times the " prepare to charge bayonets " 
produced the most interesting denouements. The 
front rank bring their bayonets to the charge, the 
rear rank remain at the shoulder, but the chances 
were that at the word " charge " one or more of the 
rear rank, forgetting that they were such in their 
eagerness to charge, would bring their rifles down, 
bayonet and all, on top of the cranium of his front 
rank man, quite spoiling the effect of the movement, 
and causing a cessation of drill until the wounded 
had recovered their equilibrium. 

Our uniforms were not exactly uniform, consist- 
ing of blue smocks, black leather belts and pouches, 
shakos, as per individual fancy, from the four-and- 
niner to the wide-awake. Some of us very soon ac- 
quired great proficiency in the use of the rifle, others, 
the instructor declared, would not hit a house unless 
they were locked inside, which was scarcely a true 
statement. We considered the Government of the 
day very careless about the Volunteer movement, 
by not giving more prize money to be competed 
for annually. 

Some time after the departure of the troops it 
was found necessary to mount guard at different 



EXPECTING TE KOOTI 185 

parts of the town, but especially over the depot for 
arms and ammunition. Everyone had to take his 
turn at this not very pleasant duty, or find a substi- 
tute. One such had taken the place of a militiaman, 
who preferred the bosom of his family to the bell tent 
and fern-covered-floor bed of the midnight bivouac. 
The improvised guard in question was marched with 
his companions up Sebly's Gully to where the 
magazine was situated. Shortly after midnight, our 
substitute was duly installed in his position of 
responsibility with rifle and fixed bayonet. He 
had not been very clearly instructed as to the 
watchwords : " Who goes there ? " " Rounds ! " 
" Which rounds ? " etc., and " AU's well." 

The more absorbing topic of the likelihood of Te 
Kooti making an attack upon the town, together 
with a slight taste of something to purify the water, 
which was not very good, had the effect of rather 
mixing up watchwords and other matters. How- 
ever, pacing to and fro within the prescribed limit, 
he was determined that no one should approach that 
spot without his knowing what for. After a while 
he observed a horseman approaching slowly, who, 
unknown to him, happened to be the Grand Round, 
in the person of the colonel commanding. He 
challenged, " Who goes there ?" "Rounds!" "All 
right," answered the sentinel, continuing his patrol. 
" Ho, my man, who put you on heah ? " " Corporal 
Bryson, sorr." " Ho, what instructions did you 
get as to passwords ? " " Passwurrd is id ? well, 
sorr, the divil resave the wurrd that was said to me, 



186 EXPECTING TE KOOTI 

barrin' that, if I saw Tay Kooti goin' by, I was just 
to give him a touch up wid this thing," looking up 
at his bayonet. This was too much for the gallant 
old colonel's nerves, and, completely nonplussed, 
he rode straight away to the next post. 

The uncertainty of Te Kooti's movements kept 
the townspeople in one continuous state of appre- 
hension. Places of rendezvous, where the various 
corps of Volunteers and Militia had to assemble, 
were appointed in case of an attack by night. A big 
gun was to be fired as a signal for the women and 
children to repair to the barracks lately held by the 
Imperial army, No. 3 Company of Militia, and the 
reserve, or all over forty-five, were told off for their 
protection. 

On one occasion the Mohaka mail-man, returning 
after nightf all, described some unusually suspicious- 
looking lights flickering across the inner harbour, 
and galloped post-haste with the information that 
he had seen about twelve canoes filled with armed 
warriors silently paddling in the direction of the 
township. Instantly, through the stillness of the 
night, the bugle was heard ringing out the assembly 
to arms. All sorts and conditions of Volunteers and 
Militia were rushing here and there looking up 
weapons and accoutrements. Rifles that had been 
oiled and put aside, in some instances for months, 
were being hurriedly examined, preparatory to the 
struggle for hearths and homes. Amidst a Babel of 
tongues were heard exclamations of varied import. 
One lusty militiaman was overheard calling, 



EXPECTING TE KOOTI 187 

" Bridget ! Bridget ! the Ha Ha's are comin', an' 
me bloomin' ould gun won't gee." He was by pro- 
fession a carter. Hysterical cries from the women 
and yells of children added to the general confusion. 
But the majority of the former were of the sterling 
material of which the superstructure of our greater 
Britain was composed, and their behaviour on that 
occasion proved them well worthy of the franchise 
so long withheld. 

A party was despatched to reconnoitre the strength 
and movements of the enemy. The various com- 
panies were silently but rapidly marched to each 
point of danger. There we were kept in a state of 
watchful excitement, every moment expecting the 
approach of the dreaded canoes, or to hear the 
signal-gun intimating the presence of the Hau Haus 
at some other point, which meant that our wives 
and children would have to make their way as best 
they could to the barracks, there to be watched over 
by the " Old Fogies," as the Reserve was termed. 

After the expiration of about an hour of this 
terrible suspense, a horseman was heard coming 
towards us. All sorts of alarming thoughts now fill 
our minds 1 We are in the wrong quarter ! The 
Maoris have landed at some other place, and we are 
to be hurried up to repel them ! But no ! The 
messenger's despatch is merely a verbal one, in- 
forming the captain commanding the company to 
march his men back to the parade ground and dis- 
miss. 

The reconnoitring party had accomplished their 



188 EXPECTING TE KOOTI 

task expeditiously. They discovered canoes and 
Maoris on the inner harbour, as had been reported, 
but their numbers and object in being there scarcely 
warranted the excitement and display of military 
valour which had just taken place. 

There were two old women, the reverse of warlike- 
looking, and a like number of men, all armed to the 
teeth with the inevitable tobacco pipe. When inter- 
viewed they replied that they were taking advantage 
of the low tide to gather the festive pipi, or collect 
eels caught in their eel traps. Fabulous history 
repeats itself, and this was a veritable repetition 
of the Three Black Crows. 

The scare, though rather annoying, was subse- 
quently productive of much good in showing up our 
defects, and causing us to keep our rifles free from 
cobwebs and rust for many a day after. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

SOME MAORI AND PAKEHA 
NOTABLES 

HOW TROUBLE WAS AVERTED IN NAPIER 

IT! HE management of native affairs in the be- 
-i- ginning of that dark and calamitous period in 
New Zealand history the latter end of the 'fifties 
was, I repeat, one of almost insurmountable diffi- 
culty. With the Waitara insurrection in full swing, 
a depleted exchequer, and agricultural and other 
industries at a standstill, the outlook was anything 
but a cheering one. There were no immediate hopes 
of capitalists, large or small, investing in colonial 
ventures, and to expect such as immigrants seemed 
quite out of the question. Our friends in the Mother 
Country could not on any account be induced to try 
their fortunes in, say, Canterbury or Otago, in the 
South Island, in consequence of the Maori war in 
Waikato or other parts a thousand miles away, with 
the additional security of Cook's Straits in between. 
In fact, emigration from England to all parts of 
Australasia was, I firmly believe, seriously retarded 
by the dread of the Maori tomahawk ! 

189 



190 MAORI AND PAKEHA NOTABLES 

Ahuriri (Hawke's Bay), the particular locality I 
now refer to, situated between Auckland and 
Wellington on the east coast, was in 1858 disturbed 
by one of those events so productive of trouble 
between Maori and pakeha a tribal dispute. At the 
boundary of the splendid Pakohai and Karamu 
Plains stands Tanenui-a-rangi, commonly called 
Karaitiana's Pah, that chief having acquired his 
name through a request made by him, previous to 
being admitted into the fold of Christianity, that he 
might be named after the greatest and noblest 
rangatira mentioned in Holy Writ. The Anglican 
missionary endeavoured to explain the impropriety 
of following such a course, and after many weeks of 
determined wrangling on the part of the Maori, he 
was at last induced, somewhat reluctantly, to give 
way, and was duly introduced into civilised society 
as " Christian " (Karaitiana) Taka Moana, the 
nearest allowable approach to the name so persist- 
ently coveted. 

Te Moana Nui, with Karaitiana, and other minor 
chiefs of Ngatikahungunu, claimed a block of land 
upon which Te Hapuku and Puhera, with their 
followers, were residing, intending to establish their 
right to its possession. Both parties were equally 
determined to have the whenua (land), and neither 
would relinquish its claim. 

The quarrel had assumed very serious propor- 
tions, as several skirmishes had taken place between 
them. A detachment of H.M. 65th Regiment was 
hurriedly despatched from Wellington to the seat 



MAORI AND PAKEHA NOTABLES 191 

of disturbance ; but, luckily for the settlers, they 
were not called upon to offer armed mediation, or 
in any way to interfere. The great diplomatist in 
affairs aboriginal, Donald M'Lean, to use a native 
idiom, paddled the canoe across the swollen waters, 
and without displaying any appearance of using 
coercive measures always so galling to the high- 
spirited Maori persuaded Hapuku to retire and 
settle some thirty miles inland. If similar counsels 
had prevailed a few years earlier on the western side 
of the island, what irreparable losses and stoppage 
of colonisation might have been averted ! 

It was a treat to witness M'Lean in the act of 
addressing the Maoris. Tall, robust, of a fine com- 
manding presence, he appeared to be more like a 
father advising his children, and they looked up to 
him as such, rather than as a Government agent and 
interpreter, whose principal duty it was to negotiate 
with them for the sale of their lands. His great 
popularity and success were achieved by the 
thorough straightforwardness of all his transactions, 
and a generally decorous life, which was fully appre- 
ciated by the untutored savage. 

Did any of the hapus, or chiefs, maddened by 
pakeha rum, commit any act of dishonesty or 
violence, Makarini (M'Lean) was the counsellor who 
adjusted matters without apparent difficulty, there- 
by often preventing a serious fracas between the two 
races. 

" Makarini," as the Maoris called him, was es- 
teemed by all for his kindness and geniality. His 



192 MAORI AND PAKEHA NOTABLES 

unassuming and almost womanlike gentleness of 
manner, under all circumstances, was a very remark- 
able trait in the Herculean Scot. But under the 
mild exterior firmness and decision were not wanting. 
In fact, the latter qualities were legibly written on 
every line of the broad and massive face. 

Many an instance could be given of his astuteness 
and tact in the treatment of knotty questions which 
came within his province. One such occurred in 
Napier, which, although of a trivial nature at first, 
was fraught with danger to the inhabitants of both 
town and suburbs, as it took place at a very critical 
time in our history. The natives were fully aware of 
our position, viz. that of being left to our own re- 
sources to cope with them, and were often most 
insolent and defiant in their language and manner 
to the whites. Two hundred or so, principally of the 
Uriweras, with their ferocious old chief, Te Rangi- 
hiroa, at their head, had arrived in town, ostensibly 
for the purpose of purchasing provisions, blankets, 
etc. ; but, in reality, as it was subsequently proved, 
to induce the friendly tribe of Hawke's Bay to join 
with him, by adopting the Hau Hau religion, of 
which he had become one of the first and most ardent 
devotees. While perambulating the town their 
investments unfortunately embraced luxuries other 
than of a solid nature, and, although the law strictly 
forbade the sale of spirits to the natives, some publi- 
cans were of loose morality in those days, and for the 
sake of turning the nimble shilling they would, sub 
rosa, dispense the firewater poisons right and left, 



MAORI AND PAKEHA NOTABLES 193 

regardless of consequences. One of these children of 
the wilds, unaccustomed to a draught of anything of 
a more ardent or intoxicating nature than their 
thermal or other springs would afford, having im- 
bibed rather freely, became dangerously aggressive, 
smashing the hotel-keeper's wares, and committing 
other acts of an equally violent character. 

No sooner, however, had he been induced to leave 
the bar for the highway than he was promptly taken 
into custody by one of our constabulary, whose lot 
forthwith became " not a happy one." Whether 
the Maori was arrested for drunkenness or being an 
accessory before the fact, by causing the innocent 
Boniface to violate the prohibitive enactment, will 
never be known, as the indiscreet act was almost 
immediately followed by a tumult, the end of which 
no one could foresee. 

The natives, upon seeing one of their number in 
the hands of the stalwart officer, became frantic. 
Thinking, in their hazy knowledge of European 
laws, that their fellow-tribesman was about to be 
lost to them, perhaps for ever, they danced about, 
brandishing their evil-looking meres, apparently 
waiting for someone to take the initiative by 
splitting the skull of the too impetuous policeman, 
who, sticking manfully to his prisoner, was quite 
ignorant of the gentle suggestions being made about 
scattering his brains, and many others of an equally 
mild nature, in order to effect a rescue. As the 
crowd augmented and surged around the now some- 
what sobered Maori and his captor 1 no hand had 



194 MAORI AND PAKEHA NOTABLES 

been raised so far to interfere the form of Te 
Rangihiroa was noticed quickly advancing, his 
tattooed features almost livid with rage as, casting 
aside his blanket and flourishing a newly purchased 
tomahawk, he rushed upon the astonished policeman. 
The latter, who suddenly appeared to have acquired 
a better knowledge of Maori logic when put in such 
a strikingly forcible manner, then allowed the old ex- 
cannibal to carry off his man, much to the chagrin of 
the pakeha onlookers. 

After a hurried consultation, we unwisely deter- 
mined upon a recapture, and followed the chief up 
closely, waiting for our chance. When it came, he 
was seized round the arms by one, while another 
tore the weapon from bis grasp and flung it far 
amongst the thickly growing fern ; but in the con- 
fusion the culprit escaped to his companions, who 
immediately closed around him, and we were as far 
off our object as ever. The excitement was intense, 
as at every step fresh faces of Maori or pakeha were 
being added to the rapidly increasing crowd. Our 
route took us past the private residence of the 
General Government agent, M'Lean, who fortunately 
happened to be upon the spot, and whose counsel 
the pakehas to retire and leave the other race to him 
being followed, appeared to have the effect upon 
the natives as of oil on troubled waters. 

A few eloquent sentences delivered with his usual 
fluency in their beautiful language, of which he was 
such an accomplished master, sufficed to show the 
old warrior his breach of pakeha custom by obstruct- 



MAORI AND PAKEHA NOTABLES 195 

ing the over-zealous officer in what was merely an 
endeavour to preserve order and prevent whawhai 
(fight). Rangihiroa, somewhat mollified by the 
assurance that neither he nor any of his tribe would 
be further molested, marched away towards their 
almost inaccessible mountain kaingas. Well might 
the townspeople have thanked God that night that 
no blow had been struck ; as these natives, the 
savagest of a savage race, had upon their persons 
hidden weapons of various kinds, which appeared 
as if by magic when the disturbance arose, while, 
on the other hand, the Europeans of the town were 
scattered, only partly armed, and too deficient in 
organisation to be able to stand against such a 
gathering of infuriated demons, as these Uriweras 
would have proved, had blood been spilt. 

As I said before, Te Rangihiroa was an enthusi- 
astic disciple of Te Ua's ; and as far as the peculiar 
theology taught by him went in the direction of the 
annihilation of the pakeha, was heart and soul in the 
movement. His undoubted mission on this occa- 
sion was to feel the patriotic pulse of the friendly 
tribes, and, if possible, to arrange a simultaneous 
attack from east and west ; but meeting with no 
encouragement from them, he had to restrain his ill- 
concealed and inveterate hostility till a more favour- 
able opportunity offered. 

It was in fulfilment of his plan that Panapa, the 
prophet and leader of that band of Hau Hau 
warriors, stole round the western inner harbour and 
established himself at Oamarunui. His deeply laid 



196 MAORI AND PAKEHA NOTABLES 

plot was, however, not allowed to mature, as upon 
the very morning of the engagement at that place 
a detachment of military settlers in the Petene 
Valley successfully intercepted the vicious old rebel 
in his flank movement to the support of Panapa, 
destroying him and his fanatical followers with the 
exception of two, who managed to run the gauntlet 
to the mountains. 

This was the last of the fearless and indomitable 
Uriwera chief Te Rangihiroa, and the end of Hau 
Hau proselytism in Hawke's Bay. To the wisdom 
of Sir Donald M'Lean, his thorough knowledge of 
the native character, his kindly and at the same 
time firm manner of dealing with them, may be 
attributed the successful piloting of that provincial 
barque through a most stormy period of rampant 
Hau-Hauism. 



CHAPTER XXVII 
REWI MANIOPOTO 

THE MOST NOTABLE CHARACTER IN MAORI HISTORY 

AFTER the Waitara rebellion had lasted some 
-V. time it spread to the country of the Maniopoto 
tribe in Waikato, where the Maoris made up their 
minds to fight for the recovery of their lands. 

The far-seeing Rewi was for peace. When the 
Hapus, in order to gain his countenance, made use 
of the old argument which in many cases had truth 
for its foundation " We have been tricked and de- 
ceived in the past ; our lands have gone like the 
smoke of the forest fire, leaving us merely the ashes ; 
we must recover them or their value ; we are strong 
and determined ; we can fight, we can conquer, or 
die in the strife," Rewi gave a characteristic reply : 
" Fight if you must ! Kill all if you choose ! And 
what then ? They will be replaced. More pakehas 
will come. Kill them, if you are strong enough. 
England will send ships with swarms from across the 
waters, and you will die in the end. But which way 
you will. If it is peace, good ! I am with you. Is 
it war ? I have shown you my mind. You have 

197 



198 REWI MANIOPOTO 

heard my words, but I am no traitor ! Where my 
people are, there am I. In peace I can guide, or in 
war I will lead you, for I also can fight or die for our 
country and our rights." 

Bewi's remarkable behaviour upon being re- 
quested by General Cameron to surrender at Orakau 
was quite in keeping with his noted and indomitable 
bravery. Standing out boldly upon the parapet 
with head and breast bared to the fifteen hundred 
besiegers, by whom he and his three hundred 
warriors, with their women and children all in a 
famishing condition, were completely surrounded, 
his arm extended towards the heavens like another 
Ajax defying the thunder in ringing tones he is said 
to have uttered the memorable reply, " Ka wha- 
whai tonu ake, ake, ake " (Fight we for ever, ever, 
ever). As to whether he was actually the warrior 
who made this speech there has lately been some 
controversy. But it does not matter ; Rewi was a 
man, and a brave warrior. Finally he cut his way 
through a double line of the 40th, escaping with 
many of his followers. 

This grand old warrior of such noble parts seems 
to have had no very prominent share in the stirring 
events that followed. Apparently aware of the 
futility as he had foreseen of continuing the 
struggle, satisfied that he had acted loyally by his 
tribesmen, and having by his strategy and skill in 
the construction of his strongholds excited the 
admiration and surprised and perplexed the whole 
engineering talent of his British antagonists, he re- 



REWI MANIOPOTO 199 

tired to the seclusion of his quiet kainga, covered 
with glory and renown. 

And now this " Grand Old Man " of Aotea Roa 
is no more. Rewi Maniopoto, noble-hearted and 
dauntless advocate of his people, lies at rest beneath 
the monument at Kihikihi, erected by Maori and 
pakeha, to the memory of the hero of Orakau, the 
most distinguished leader of a noble race. Con- 
scientiously he fought the good fight ; may he re- 
ceive the reward of the good and faithful. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 

HOW THEY BECAME COLONISTS 

"VTEW ZEALAND'S Public Works policy was 
-i-i initiated by the versatile Sir Julius Vogel, and 
its principal features were free immigration, railway 
extension, and a three-million loan. A programme 
of such an attractive nature was well calculated to 
draw big audiences, and it did. 

The entertainment at first contained rather much 
of heavy tragedy to suit the new arrivals, some of 
whom, having seen active service before coming here, 
declared their intention of seeking fresh fields and 
pastures new, sooner than stay to be feasted upon by 
the adjective " niggers." Very few, however, ulti- 
mately carried out this threat. The Englishman's 
privilege of growling a kind of safety-valve was 
freely made use of. In fact, all sorts and conditions 
of immigrants, upon stepping ashore, had first of all a 
good growl at the Government, the country, and the 
accommodation. Yet, how strange to see these very 
grumblers looking the picture of contentment, their 
small farms, suburban market gardens, dairies, etc., 

200 



PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 201 

just getting into workable order, or the teamster 
with his waggon and horses, connecting the inland 
sheep and cattle stations with railway or seaboard. 

In fact, in any industry on which a reasonable 
amount of energy and perseverance had been 
brought to bear there was no such thing as " can't 
get on." 

In those times the arrival of an emigrant ship was 
an event of excitement and interest, apart from 
the consideration that the additional population 
would be, from a commercial standpoint, a help to 
the greater prosperity of the colony. The arrival of 
a ship had another and not less romantic aspect, 
because there was, at that time, a deplorable dearth 
of the " matrimonially disposed " gentler sex, with- 
out whom it was scarcely probable that those orna- 
ments and consolations of all well-regulated homes 
would be in evidence in the near future to assist in 
the development and perpetuation of that Empire 
of which we were so proud. 

On these occasions, farmers, storekeepers, and 
artisans of every description might be seen within 
eyeshot of the wharves, some out of pure curiosity ; 
others, disgusted with their state of single-blessed- 
ness, on business intent, casually observing the 
appearance of the seventy or eighty ladies who had 
just completed the sixteen thousand miles' voyage 
for the purpose of casting their lot in with the 
Britishers of the south. 

The system of free immigration was extensively 
taken advantage of, but it could scarcely be asserted 



202 PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 

that the selection of the individuals was always 
characterised by any great amount of discrimination 
on the part of the philanthropic lady promoters. 

One enigma in connection with some of the 
budding colonists was the aptitude they displayed 
in so short a space of time in trade or barter with 
the natives. In this respect they were quite as 
successful, and often more so, than the old identi- 
ties, with all their vaunted knowledge of the charac- 
ter and vernacular of the aboriginal inhabitants. 

The new-comers at first generally appeared to be 
dubious about the colony when they saw it in the 
rough. In their imagination they had seen it as a 
land overflowing with milk and honey, and with 
gold freely showing in the roads and hill-sides. The 
milk and honey part of the picture was certainly on 
the canvas, for were there not herds of magnificent 
cattle all over the islands, only awaiting the per- 
suasive manipulation of the dairymaid, while 
showers of honey could be had by going through the 
nearest flax field while that plant was in blossom. 
But, alas ! the dairymaids were not forthcoming. 
As far as the gold was concerned although New 
Zealand was not an exact counterpart of Aladdin's 
Cave tons of that precious metal, for a certainty, 
were only awaiting the necessary capital and appli- 
ances for its recovery from Mother Earth. 

It was a rare treat to witness the scared looks of 
the people when coming into close quarters with any 
of their Maori observers, the womenkind especially 
being exceedingly active in giving them as wide a 



PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 203 

berth as possible, to the infinite amusement of the 
admiring and keenly humorous natives. However, 
our brethren from the Old Country very quickly 
dropped into the groove of colonial life. The occa- 
sional long-tailed coat, home-cut nether clothing, 
and hard-hitter hat were soon doffed for the blue 
jumper, moleskins or corduroys, and wideawake, 
a rig more useful, and when covered with New 
Zealand soil in a liquid state quite as ornamental 
as any other. 

The workers and the drones ! Unfortunately 
there were some of the latter ; but of the former 
I cannot bring to mind one single instance where 
success did not follow deserving effort, excepting 
when accident or unforeseen misfortune occurred to 
delay or prevent it. Their healthy and robust looks 
and the air of independence soon assumed by the 
colonists, as compared with the awkward and 
nervous appearance they presented upon landing a 
few short years before, was always agreeably sur- 
prising ; the threatened desertion from their colonial 
home was indefinitely postponed, and grumbling 
had died of inanition. 

Their business relations with the aborigines such 
as took to that line were apparently prosperous, 
but in the initiation of such the difficulty experienced 
by them in getting over the unpronounceable Maori 
was perplexing jaw-breaking they termed it 
and they only conquered by dogged determina- 
tion. Educational attainments were not always a 
guarantee of success, unless supported by bone and 



204 PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 

muscle and an inclination for steadiness and hard 
work. 

Many of the most prosperous of early and even 
later-day settlers could scarcely sign their names. 
I remember one of the very earliest, who having 
accumulated some considerable wealth in cash and 
landed property, on one occasion bewailing in piteous 
tones this inability, exclaiming, " I've made a bit, 
an' I'm no schollard, or I'd a made a millyun." He 
was worth a quarter of that amount, but, like Oliver 
Twist, wanted more. I might here mention that 
this gentleman later on imported a relative whose 
caligraphic and book-keeping capabilities were of 
the first order, and by whose unremitting and 
assiduous devotion to the business he was enabled 
in a few years to retire through the bankruptcy 
court ! 

As instancing some of the pains and pleasures 
experienced by these recent accessions to our popu- 
lation during their first struggles one story may be 
here told. There arrived amongst the rest one 
young, strong, verdant-looking son of the Emerald 
Isle. Before leaving for his new home in the 
Antipodes, he had never ventured five miles away 
from the paternal cabin in the " Black North." His 
appearance at first sight was extremely interesting. 
He was dressed in a swallow-tailed coat, which must 
have been built for one of his illustrious ancestors 
about the time the great " Dan " was agitating for 
their emancipation, and he wore a hat and other 
garments to match. Mick was a strange compound 



PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 205 

of shrewdness, simplicity, and good nature, yet he 
never disgraced the part he hailed from by the 
driving of a soft bargain. He was called the " patent 
Hibernian mowing-machine," from the vigour he 
displayed at piece-work during the harvest. To use 
a colonialism, he " stuck " at nothing. A railway 
excavation or peddling amongst the natives was all 
the same to him. The account of his first attempt 
in the latter line of business, as given by himself, 
was original and characteristic. 

" Well, Michael, was the speculation as remunera- 
tive as you expected ? " someone asked. 

" What's that ! Made it pay is id ye mane ? 
Well, purty well. On the plains close about, they 
seemed to know what it was I was manin' to say, 
and begor they were as jolly as sandbhoys. I did 
bizniz widout thruble. But farder up the country 
I cud nather make head nor tail av 'em ; I thried 
English till me hart wus sick, an' I losht me timper 
an' let out at 'em in Irish. 'Twas not a bit of good, 
the black naygurs jist shquated down arun' me, an' 
jabbered an' laffed till I thought sum av 'em ud loose 
the tops of their heads intirely. However, they 
thrated me as well as they could, Beein' that their 
pigs and praties were all biled in big holes in the 
groun' ; but the divil a pinny could I get out av 'em, 
so I made thracks back again." 

Some time afterwards this same individual, who 
could work like a horse, or enjoy a holiday in true 
light-hearted fashion, on one occasion his birthday 
I think it was had invested in a splendid verge 



206 PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 

watch of substantial proportions, to add importance 
to the event. Previously he had never taken the 
trouble to provide himself with such a necessity. 
Waterburys were not then in fashion. He intended 
to celebrate his natal day in style, a not infrequent 
occurrence in the good old days. 

Mick would most obligingly give information rela- 
tive to the exact hour upon the slightest provoca- 
tion, and was proud of the time-keeping qualities of 
his recent purchase. During the course of the jollifi- 
cations an argument was raised upon the merits of 
Mick's watch, when one of his companions, after 
serious examination, impressively remarked that it 
ought to be a very valuable adjunct for the purpose 
of imparting warmth to the wearer, or as a pro- 
tector of the respiratory organs. Another, looking 
at it with a critical eye, exclaimed that it had a 
vertical escapement, and that surely it must be an 
heirloom ! Now Mick had heard the former re- 
marks, but couldn't quite make out whether they 
were in disparagement or praise ; but the last was 
a statement which he knew to be contrary to fact, 
consequently, in loud and positive tones, he answered: 
" By gorra ! thin that's jist where you make a 
mishtake ; it's naythur an 'air lume, nor any other 
sort o' lume, but a verge, that's what it is ! " That 
convivial assemblage had for some time been on 
the verge of an explosion ; but after Mick's em- 
phatic explanation, I could truthfully say, with the 
poet, that very soon there was not a dry eye in the 
crowd. 



PUBLIC WORKS IMMIGRANTS 207 

Many years, however, have elapsed since then, 
and a gold repeater occupies the position upon that 
now rotund form where once the humbler verge 
reposed. 

But, if Mick had chosen to wear an eight-day 
clock subsequent to the incident just mentioned, few 
there were of sufficient temerity to make inquiry if 
he preferred it to a verge. 



CHAPTER XXIX 
SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 

HOP ATA WAHA WAHA AND EENATA KAWEPO 

fTlHE aboriginal allies of the New Zealand Govern- 
-L ment were, with few exceptions, worthy of the 
greatest praise for their co-operation at all times ; 
but particularly so for the assistance rendered during 
that period of fanaticism following immediately upon 
the Hau Hau outbreak. The tact required for the 
successful management of the Maori was a quality 
which our earlier governors had not acquired in a 
great degree ; and had it not been that there were 
some friendlies from the outset, much more disas- 
trous results would have been recorded. 

At the Bay of Islands, Waitara, Waikato, Turan- 
ganui (Poverty Bay), and other centres of insurrec- 
tion, an incalculable amount of help was given by 
these truly loyal and brave tribes. Tamati Waka, 
whose deeds have been chronicled by numerous early 
writers, was about the first to offer his services for 
the purpose of protecting life and property at a time 
when Hobson was in terrible straits for want of men 
and money, and by his timely aid was prevented, 

208 



SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 209 

to a great extent, the spread of the rebellion of 1 844, 
and most probably a wholesale massacre of the Bay 
of Islands and Auckland residents generally. For 
it must be remembered that the rebels of that time 
were not all imbued with the same spirit as their 
chivalrous leader Hone Heke. 

Later on we have instances of most unswerving 
fidelity to our cause by many chieftains of the 
'sixties. During the Hau Hau troubles there were 
two tribes deserving particular mention. These 
might be termed the Ghoorkas of the North Island, 
the Arawa and Ngatiporou belonging to the Bay of 
Plenty a hardy race of mountaineers who were dis- 
tinct from other aboriginals in many respects. The 
native custom of tattooing was only occasionally 
adopted by them, the absence of this facial and 
bodily embellishment being very noticeable during 
their hakas or war dances. Rather below the 
average New Zealander in stature, they appeared to 
be cut out for the part of the country they inhabited. 
They were thick-set and agile, with a general 
physique giving the impression of their being a 
compound of wire and indiarubber. They were tire- 
less, watchful, and catlike in their movements before 
an enemy, and never known to be entrapped by an 
ambuscade. So remarkable was this that some of 
our fellows swore they could smell the Hau Haus. 

These tribes it was who, with their redoubtable 
Ngatiporou chief, the grave, valorous Ropata, struck 
terror into the hearts of all Hau Hau fanatics cross- 
ing their path. 



210 SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 

Ropata was a man of determination and indomit- 
able resolution, amply evidenced in his support of 
Whitmore during the East Coast campaign. His 
followers were ever eager to be in the forefront of 
the hazardous scouting or storming parties. He ap- 
parently bore a charmed life. Always where was 
the greatest danger, there would be seen the stern, 
almost emotionless face of this " lion of the Ngati- 
porou." When Te Kooti, succeeding in breaking 
away from our forces, had reached that almost im- 
pregnable stronghold, Ngatapa, which was situated 
upon the brow of a mountain with a dense bush in 
rear, keenly upon his track followed Ropata, and, 
although under the nominal control of Colonel Whit- 
more, he was the guiding and sustaining spirit of the 
whole expedition. His presence acted like a charm 
upon all ; the Europeans of both rank and file relied 
implicitly upon his thorough knowledge of Maori 
warfare, his intrepidity in action, and well-proved 
resolution to destroy the enemy at every oppor- 
tunity. Whitmore and M'Lean had the good sense 
on many occasions to consult and act upon his better 
judgment in conducting the campaign, and never 
did they regret doing so, though they sometimes 
had cause to regret having ignored his exceptional 
capacity for meeting and defeating the peculiar 
strategy of the foe. 

Te Kooti, who had a wholesome dread of the 
Ngatiporou, finding that he was being outflanked by 
Ropata, made his escape by a precipitous declivity 
into the forest. Ropata was ably supported by the 



SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 211 

Wanganuis under Kepa, their leader ; but the whole 
of the tribes inhabiting the mountainous country 
between Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty and Lake 
Taupo were aware of his being on the warpath, 
and fear of his vengeance deterred many of them 
from joining the rebellious Hau Haus. 

With tireless energy he surmounted every obstacle, 
and without going into a history of his exploits, 
diplomatic or militant, I will mention a few. When 
other friendlies after months of marching, starving, 
and fighting, had cried enough ! Ropata persisted, 
and, bloodhound-like, followed the trail. His re- 
peated successes stayed the wavering and induced 
pronounced rebels to give in their allegiance. One 
short epistle from his hand at this juncture had con- 
verted the Ngatikohatu chief Rakiroa from an 
inveterate enemy into an ally, showing the effect 
of moral suasion under certain conditions. 

An instance of his fearlessness was displayed when, 
in defiance of the terrible threats of extermination 
made by Tuhoe if he ventured into his country, 
Ropata, nothing daunted, proceeded on his way, 
through the winter's snow, for many days being 
compelled to subsist upon wild berries, or fern-root, 
until he finally bearded the wild Uriwera in his 
mountain fastness, and straightway informed him 
of his intention of building a pah at Ruatahuna, and 
thereby preventing either Kereopa or Te Kooti from 
being harboured by them in future. This threat had 
the desired effect. Tuhoe, the admirer, apologist, 
and ardent supporter of the Hau Haus, now struck 



212 SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 

his colours to this man of iron. Very shortly after 
the foregoing, Captain Porter, acting with Ropata, 
captured the notorious Kereopa, the murderer of 
the Rev. Mr. Volckner. Kereopa expressed sur- 
prise at the leniency shown him, fully expecting to 
be immediately despatched ; but, not being Ro- 
pata's prisoner, he was reserved for British trial and 
a Napier rope. 

In Hawke's Bay the chiefs of the numerous hapus 
were mostly well disposed towards the whites, but 
as the Hau Hau fanaticism gained ground serious 
signs of disaffection became manifest. The erec- 
tion of Hau Hau poles in some of the pahs was the 
first alarming indication of this, followed by the 
muttered threats of these recent proselytes, to 
the effect that soon we should all be driven into the 
sea from whence we came. The emissaries of 
Te Ua were numerous and indefatigable in their 
endeavours to alienate our friendlies. All sorts of 
absurd prophecies were indulged in, supported by 
assertions that the preserved pakehas* heads had 
miraculously spoken in favour of the Maori adopting 
the new religion. However, in spite of all tempta- 
tion, the most influential chieftains remained firm 
in their allegiance, and rendered yeoman service 
when called upon Renata, Tareha, Karauria, 
Karaitiana, Henare Tomoana, and many others. 
To these chiefs, New Zealand in general, and Hawke's 
Bay in particular, owes an everlasting debt of grati- 
tude for their staunch and ready support at a most 
trying and critical time. 



SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 213 

Where all were so entitled to praise, it seems 
invidious to particularise. The youthful but in- 
trepid Karauria was the first to fall to the Hau Hau 
bullets, at the outset of the Te Kooti raids at Poverty 
Bay, when that notorious and apparently ubiqui- 
tous rebel and murderer of defenceless women 
and children successfully eluded all attempts at 
capture. 

The death of Karauria would appear to have 
intensified the feeling of hatred that had been 
previously entertained by our allies towards Te 
Kooti and his fanatical followers. Renata, a second 
edition of Ropata, though an older man, was deter- 
mined to go any length or submit to any sacrifice 
for the purpose of obtaining utu from this slippery 
and fox-like monster. 

An expedition to the interior, across Waikari- 
Moana, on the borders of the Uriwera country a 
general refugium peccatorum and Te Kooti's ren- 
dezvous had been organised. Renata, at the head 
of a portion of the native contingent, had but one 
object now in view, to which every other must be 
subservient, viz. the capture or destruction of Te 
Kooti, whose mana had ever been on the increase 
with his followers since the day he threw one of 
them into the ocean as a propitiatory offering for 
favourable weather, thus causing a fair wind to 
arise within a few hours, and with it Te Kooti's 
renown as a prophet. 

The war party on this occasion, a mixture of our 
colonial troops and friendly allies, under Colonel 



214 SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 

Herrick, had hunted the rebel from cover to cover. 
He would be driven from a pah, or almost sur- 
rounded, but the conclusion of each engagement 
ever told the same tale : "Te Kooti just got off by 
the skin of his teeth." Still, our forces followed over 
hill and dale and through ravine and swamp. The 
friendlies began to entertain doubts of Te Kooti's 
existence. Latterly no one in the desperate and 
frequent engagements that were fought could 
answer for having seen him. Some of them hah* 
believed him to be defunct, as such was often 
rumoured. The idea of his being sustained by a 
supernatural agency inspired many of them with 
feelings of anything but a courageous nature ; but, 
be he man or devil, Renata, in particular, was bent 
upon wiping him out. He had been incessantly 
and relentlessly pursued until his last stronghold 
was reached at Kaiteriria, situated on the Tokaanu 
Oasis, where he was almost surrounded by a desert 
of pumice plains, scrub-covered hills, and boiling 
springs, within a short distance of the volcanoes of 
Ruapehu and Tongariro. 

An attempt to carry the place by assault was 
made, during which the gallant and promising 
young soldier, Major J. St. George, fell. Renata in 
the advance, like a tiger in search of his prey, with 
an utter disregard for consequences, impulsively 
rushed through the outer palisading, and right into 
the pah, supported by a few fleet of foot and equally 
determined fellows of both colours. With a terrible 
yell of defiance the grand old warrior dashed on- 



SOME TYPICAL FRIENDLIES 215 

ward, but the cunning fox was beating a hasty 
retreat through the rear of the pah with other Hau 
Haus. Five or six women were standing as a sort 
of covering party ; but Renata, with rifle in hand, 
was too manly to fire on the women, who were 
directly between him and the retiring enemy. He 
made a dash to pass this female bodyguard, ignoring 
their presence, but unfortunately he had reckoned 
without his hostesses, for no sooner did he arrive 
within arm's length than they one and all, like a 
lot of tigresses, attacked the too gallant old chief, 
and quickly placed him hors de combat. Indeed, 
they would have torn him limb from limb in their 
fury had it not been for timely assistance. As it 
was, his face was scored beyond recognition. One 
eye was destroyed, and, for the time being, he was 
rendered completely blind. Yet a witness related 
how Renata never even struck one of his Amazonian 
assailants during the struggle. 

But the greatest sorrow of the aged warrior's 
after-life was as he often with lugubrious expres- 
sion of features and dolorous tones bewailed his 
having been prevented by a lot of hakius (old women) 
from catching Te Kooti at Tokaanu. 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE PAKEHA, THE MAORI, AND THE 
KURI 

SOME REMINISCENCES OF THE 'FORTIES 

ONE of the few recreations allowed the boy of 
the early days was that of fowling. Welling- 
ton in the 'forties being a city more celebrated for 
its bush than its buildings, it was an easy matter to 
take a gun, and, within a short distance of the 
present Houses of Parliament, get a good bag of 
tuis, kakas, or pigeons, all of which were very 
plentiful. 

The surrounding hills and gullies were covered 
by a dense growth of the ngaio, a beautiful shrub, 
now rarely seen, to all appearances gradually sharing 
the fate of its aboriginal owners, and succumbing 
to the effects of civilisation, its concomitants, and 
the superior race. 

Flitting through these trees, none of which 
reached an altitude above thirty feet, could be 
seen thousands of New Zealand's most beautiful 
songsters, the parson birds or tuis. Their glossy 
black plumage, with snow-white neck tufts, glistened 

216 



PAKEHA, MAORI, AND KURI 217 

in the morning sun, delighting the eye, while the 
ravishing bell-like notes poured forth filled the air 
with harmony. 

The aesthetic notions of young New Zealand 
colonists in those days could not have been of a 
very high order, for, there being no legislative re- 
straint, wholesale slaughter was the order of the 
day. 

Pity 'tis that Providence had not decreed that 
the tui, as an edible commodity, should be placed 
on a par with that of the cockatoos or other of the 
singing species ; then, indeed, there would have been 
a possibility of our lovely and fearless warbler being 
spared for the enchantment of the " unborn mil- 
lions " in our Britain of the South. 

Relations, then, with our aboriginal brethren 
were often attended by somewhat ludicrous, or at 
times tragic, incidents. As an instance, upon one 
occasion, a youth with gun and bag proceeded to 
a locality known as Kelham's Gully (now one of 
the most beautiful parts of Wellington), in order 
to replenish his parents' larder, for very acceptable 
the tuis were, with mutton at one shilling per pound 
and beef still dearer. 

The boy had been, after a few hours' engagement, 
very successful, for the birds at that time betrayed 
little fear. Thinking of returning home, he saw 
a Maori lad, rather bigger than himself, slowly 
coming towards him. A friendly greeting followed. 
Another tui had fallen to his piece, but the report 
of the shot was accompanied by something quite 



218 PAKEHA, MAORI, AND KURI 

unlocked for and not on the programme. The 
native, taking advantage of the situation, struck 
the youthful sportsman a terrible blow on the head 
with some weapon he had concealed about his 
person, and the boy knew no more for probably 
half an hour. 

When consciousness returned, he found that his 
face was covered with blood coming from a deep 
scalp wound. The perpetrator of the outrage was 
nowhere to be seen, but his gun and game were as 
he had left them. With some difficulty the boy 
reached home, but in a dazed condition. 

Many years had elapsed, during which time all 
sorts of action had been taken to secure the assailant, 
or unravel the mystery, or cause of the atrocity, 
without avail ; and it was not till both parties had 
grown to manhood, and had placed hundreds of 
miles between them and the scene of the fracas, that 
they met once more. 

The native, with that quickness of perception so 
peculiar to his race, at once recognised his former 
enemy, and, frankly stepping forward, introduced 
himself. With many apologies, he explained that 
he had only acted according to the dictates of his 
tribesmen, who could not see why the pakeha should 
come to their country, shoot their birds, take their 
lands, and eventually make slaves of their people ; 
adding, in broken English, " I me tink me kirra 
you, and I crea right away prom te pakeha" Ever 
after, no closer friends existed than this Maori and 
pakeha. 



PAKEHA, MAORI, AND KURI 219 

One of the many mountains surrounding Welling- 
ton's land-locked harbour was known as " E Huka's 
Hill." This locality was a base of supplies for fire- 
wood, whither the youths of Thorndon Flat generally 
resorted for the purpose of increasing the stock of 
this valuable commodity in their parents' yards. 

On several occasions a Maori had warned and 
threatened dire vengeance if the aukati, or line 
of demarkation, were crossed; but, when this did 
occur, the native did not appear to relish the actual 
chastisement of about a dozen youths, some of them 
sturdy, fearless, and all armed with axe or bill- 
hook. 

One of these boys, an elder brother of the writer, 
on another occasion, failing to get companions, 
made up his mind to accept the risk and go alone, 
but not quite alone, as he had with him his dog, a 
bull mastiff of substantial size. 

Proceeding very cautiously to the spot where the 
best manuka was procurable, and this was on sup- 
posed Maori territory, he set to work felling and 
splitting. 

He had carried the most of his logs to the brow 
of the hill, whence they would roll or slide nearly to 
the bottom. Returning again, he was just taking 
a spell of rest, and congratulating himself upon 
having evaded the ferocious E Huka, or one of his 
tribe, when a growl from the dog put him on the 
alert. 

Taking cover behind a tree from the direction in 
which the dog had located danger, and fearing the 



220 PAKEHA, MAORI, AND KURI 

dart of a spear or other missile, he watched, for 
a time, the dog, with bristles erect and determined 
muzzle, keeping his eyes on the one place. 

At last the youth detected just the slightest move 
of a woolly head above the dense scrub not far away. 
He was certain now that he was in for it ; a Maori 
was there without doubt, and trying to take him off 
his guard. 

Previously he had never experimented with the 
dog on the aboriginal there had been no need. 
But of one thing he was sure, and that was, the dog 
would tackle anything when ordered to do so. Con- 
sequently, pointing in the direction in which he had 
had a glimpse of the woolly head, he called loudly, 
" Put him off, boy." 

Straight as an arrow darted the dog away ; then 
nothing was seen or heard but the determined rush 
of the faithful animal through the almost impene- 
trable fern. Then, suddenly, a dark figure sprang 
from cover, high above the fern, accompanying the 
action with a fearful yell, " Katai ano te kuri/ " (Oh ! 
the dog). For some distance that Maori made rapid 
progress up the side of the mountain, all the time 
giving vent to his lung powers, with the dog hanging 
on behind. 

The dog, well trained, seldom let go a hold once 
obtained, unless by positive orders. The boy called 
orders, whistled, shouted at top of his voice, all to 
no purpose ; his commands had been all lost in the 
louder yells of the terrified Maori to be released from 
the kuri that was going to eat him. 



PAKEHA, MAORI, AND KURI 221 

After a short interval the dog returned, ap- 
parently pleased at having performed a meritorious 
act. The native was not recognised by the lad at 
the time or afterwards, but the amount of respect 
subsequently shown this dog by the natives of 
Wellington while carrying round their potatoes, 
pumpkins, fish, etc., for sale to the pakeha, was very 
noticeable. 



CHAPTER XXXI 
LARRY'S YARN 

DIGGERS' LUCK AND THE STORY OF A PIG 

a OLD diggin', is it ? I tell you, sir, I've had 
about twenty years of it in different parts 
of the world. I've dug for gold, sluiced for gold, 
and, without using bad language, I've dammed and 
blasted for gold. I've dammed rivers and creeks, 
and blasted rocks." The speaker lit a well-seasoned 
pipe, puffed a few clouds of smoke, and continued. 
" A digger's life is mostly one of luck, good or bad, 
but it takes a lot of bad luck to make a digger 
give up hope. 

" At Gabriel's, in '61, four of us had a claim. The 
only fault with it was that we did too well. One of 
my mates, thinking himself a bit of a millionaire, 
took it into his head to go to Dunedin and do a bit 
of shopping. We knew right well that most of his 
purchases would be of Kinahan, Hennessy, or Dun- 
ville's manufacture ; but we couldn't make him 
change his mind. A few days afterwards our claim 
was * jumped,' as three men were not allowed to 
work four men's ground. 

222 



LARRY'S YARN 223 

" We had to shift right off, and soon had the 
pleasure of knowing that the new party were making 
a good haul out of our claim. Bad luck for us ! 
With my mates I've shepherded one claim on the 
Molyneux River for over three months till the river 
went down. Then, one day, just as we had finished 
work, the gold could be seen here and there on the 
bottom a splendid prospect for the next day. I 
tell you, sir, we were in high spirits that night, and 
you may bet your bottom dollar that the peep o' 
day found us on the banks ready to scoop up our 
pile. But, bad luck had returned. The river, with 
never a sign of rain about us, was bank high and 
running like a huge mill-race. I swear, sir, that 
put us out of conceit with the great New Zealand 
river. We there and then struck tent, and made off 
in the direction of Miller's Flat, Mount Benger, or 
Fox's : we weren't quite sure where we'd pull up. 

" Did I do any good afterwards ? Well, sir, I tell 
you we struck it pretty thick in one olaim on Miller's 
Flat. Diggers' luck again, but the other way this 
time. I'll tell you how it came about. We were 
digging and washing for some months with varying 
luck, sometimes making ' tucker,' often not that, so 
we decided to strike across the range for the west 
coast. 

" Next morning one of our mates, old ' Dutchy,' 
a very stubborn character when he was in the mood, 
made a speech on the question. ' Veil, mates,' he 
said, ' I'm goin' to dry six more puckets, and den if 
no kuller show up I gif her up for a ploomin' shicer.' 



224 LARRY'S YARN 

Just by way of humouring our staunch old Dane, 
we agreed. Going to the mouth of the shaft he was 
lowered down with a lot of good-humoured banter, 
the parting shot being, ' Don't pocket any of the 
gold, Dutchy.' 

" We waited at the mouth of the shaft, showing 
more impatience than interest in old Dutchy's whim. 
After a while a voice from below was heard calling 
out, ' Mein Got, boys ! pull up an' vash.' This 
was a startling cry for us, coming as it did from the 
quiet Dane. 

(l Judging from his joyous shout to wash, he 
must have struck a rich vein, or perhaps, better 
still, a pocket. He had surely ' bottomed ' in his 
last six buckets. 

" I tell you, sir, we pulled up with a will, and were 
soon rewarded by feasting our eyes on the precious 
metal which was freely showing on the surface of 
the bucket. 

" To make a long story short, we each put a good 
few hundreds by from that claim after having con- 
demned it, and never once complained of the 
trouble we were put to by our ' good old Dutch ' on 
that occasion. Diggers' luck again. Well, it doesn't 
take diggers long to make up their minds, so after 
working out this claim, the wonderful stories of the 
West Coast goldfields, like a loadstone, drew us in 
that direction. It was too much of a roundabout and 
waste of time going back to Dunedin and shipping 
for the coast. Steamers were scarce in those days, 
and waiting for one meant a loss of three or four 



LARRY'S YARN 225 

weeks. No, sir, we weren't built that way. We 
started on foot ! We knew there was the range 
ahead of us to be crossed, but didn't reckon on 
many more that we afterwards discovered. 

" It took us about ten days to get over those hills, 
and I'm certain 'twould take me longer than that 
to tell you of all the fun we had before we got 
through. 

" There were places, sir, that would make a goat 
turn pale at the thought of having to go up. At 
times we'd come to a full stop at the head of a 
precipice, and it was either a case of go back and 
follow another spur of the mountains, or go down 
the face of the cliff. We overcame this little trouble 
by making a strong rope of flax and wood-vines 
from the trees which were plentiful, and by this 
means saved miles of travelling. 

" The trip took longer than we reckoned upon, 
and our ' tucker ' was running very low, but the 
knowledge that we were coming to inhabited country 
once more kept up our spirits. There would soon 
be a chance of getting a fresh stock of provisions. 

" Now I'm going to tell you something I shouldn't 
perhaps tell, but it took place so many years ago that 
it must be forgotten long since. 

" It was the only time I ever took a hand hi a 
highway robbery, and this is how it came about. 
I tell you, sir, we were a pretty rough-looking lot 
then. Following the track to the coast, we happened 
to overtake a man with a pack-horse going to some of 
the out-stations. 



226 LARRY'S YARN 

" The most pleasing sight to us was a bag of flour 
on his pack. He was asked to sell some to us as we 
had run right out of flour and were starving for 
a bit of ' damper.' His answer came very quickly, 
' Be gorrah, I'm not afther packin' sixty miles over 
mountains and through rivers to sell it to you 
fellows. I tell yez it's not fur sale,' and with that, 
giving his horse a touch of the whip, he moved on. 

" One of our mates took hold of the horse's head, 
pulled out his revolver, and, covering the man, 
said, ' My dear friend, since you won't sell, we will 
just help ourselves,' and suiting the action to the 
word, he commenced to unstrap the load. 

" This was too much for our friend, who, pulling 
his jacket off, wanted to fight any of us singly, 
threatening all sorts of vengeance when he got the 
chance. 

" Taking no notice of this, our mate, with the 
shooting-iron in his hand, put on his fiercest look 
and ordered the ' damper dust ' to be served out, 
each one taking so many pannikins full, and all the 
time our Hibernian friend was cursing us for robbers 
and everything that was bad. This part over, our 
mate, still keeping up his savage look, spoke to the 
packer as follows : ' Look here, old man, you've 
threatened a lot and you were a fool for doing so. 
Ye see we must protect ourselves. Now what to do 
with you I hardly know ; they say dead men tell no 
tales, and if we tied you up here and left you, you 
mightn't be noticed for a year or two, and you might 
catch cold, you see. 



LARRY'S YARN 227 

" ' Well, we've been thinking seriously over the 
matter and have decided that the sentence of this 
court is that for refusing to sell and using threatening 
language we condemn you to receive one shilling for 
every pannikin of flour we took from you, with the 
thanks of the court for giving it so cheaply ! ' The 
effect of these words on the carrier was as good as 
a play to look at. First he showed fight, then fear 
at the idea of being tied up or shot ; but, when the 
sentence was fully given and the money placed in his 
hands, he shouted : 

" ' Och, be the powers ! I'm only sorry it wasn't 
a ton of the same you were afther robbin' me of at 
the same price.' 

" After this we continued our journey, leaving 
Pat to continue upon his way rejoicing. 

"It was a law amongst diggers, and a law seldom 
broken, that when anything in the way of tucker 
was refused after payment was offered, such as a 
sheep or other necessaries from a station owner, it 
would be taken, and the owner might whistle for 
payment. 

" Well, we got over the pass from Canterbury, 
and safely across the treacherous Teremakau River. 
The next claim we took up was in Hokitika, and 
were doing first rate when ' diggers' luck ' again 
intervened, and a flood came down, covering the 
whole place and nearly putting us past any more 
digging. 

" We, very luckily, managed to place some pro- 
visions in the fork of a tree, out of the way of the 



228 LARRY'S YARN 

water, or we should have starved. As it was we were 
for six weeks cut off from the rest of the world, and 
had to do the best we could on bacon and flour 
we had plenty of fresh water ! It was bacon and 
' damper ' for breakfast, ' damper ' and bacon for 
dinner, right through, till I felt I could never look 
a pig in the face again. 

" Well, sir, this puts me in mind of something. 
Ha ! ha ! ha ! the very thought of it makes me 
laugh. 

" I must tell you about a pig we once had. We 
were steering for one of the rushes, when, going 
through some fern-covered country, our dog bailed 
up a sow with a litter of young ones. We called 
off the dog, and I managed to catch one of 
the youngsters. I said, 'Well, boys, we'll keep 
him till he's fat enough, then he'll make a nice 
roast.' 

" We hadn't far to go, so we carried the little 
beggar until we got to where we pegged out a claim 
and built a shanty. 

" We worked there for a good many months, and 
did fairly well. Mick, as we called the pig, had 
grown, and got in good condition ; but somehow or 
other he never got fat enough to tempt us to make 
a meal off him. 

" We used to leave him and the dog the two were 
great friends outside our hut when we went to our 
gold-washing. At times they both followed us, 
Mick nearly always. On one occasion, however, 
just after we had laid in a fresh stock of provisions, 



LARRY'S YARN 229 

we noticed that he had not shown up at all. The 
dog was there, but no sign of Mick. 

" When we went back to our shanty we saw 
signs in plenty of him. I swear, sir, you never saw 
such a mess. The pig had rooted a hole under the 
house, and had sorted out our tucker in a very 
thorough manner. He had tasted and tried every- 
thing within his reach. Such a mess you never saw. 
Butter (a great rarity), flour, sugar, tea, cheese, 
bacon, and I don't know what beside, all in one 
beautiful mixture on the ground floor. Our chaps 
were raging mad, and I'm afraid if Mick had shown 
up just then he'd have got a knock that would have 
put an end to his prospecting. But that pig was a 
born politician in his way, for I swear, sir, he never 
came near till he heard us all roaring with laughter. 
Then he came to the door, looking more like a 
miller or a baker than a decent pig. I saved his 
bacon that time, as I couldn't help but admire his 
intelligence. 

"Another time during the night it started hailing 
and raining something terrible. We heard the dog 
snapping and snarling in his kennel, and the 
pig squealing and grunting like mad. This concert 
went on for a long time, then all was quiet once 
more. In the morning we found the dog standing 
outside his kennel shivering like a leaf, and the 
pig sleeping like a top inside. There was intellgence 
for you ! 

" Well, the worst part for us now was coming. 
You must know that diggers, after slaving for a long 



230 LARRY'S YARN 

time, especially when successful as we were, dearly 
love a good spree, by way of recreation, so we started 
for town, which was about fifty miles away. Al- 
though we didn't mind a dog following us, we drew 
the line at a pig, however clever, doing the same 
thing. 

" We made it up to give Mick a big feed in the 
hut, shut him in, and clear away as fast as we could. 
He'll think we are at the claim, and will be jolly 
well sold when he can't find us, was the general 
opinion expressed. This was done most successfully, 
and we were all laughing at having outwitted his 
pigship. We were fully four miles away from our 
place, when what do you think we should hear, sir, 
but the pig in full cry after us, and squealing as if he 
was being butchered ! When he caught us he just 
gave a few satisfied grunts and followed on with the 
dog as cool as a cucumber. We decided then to sell 
or give him away at the first place we came to. 
This happened to be a small accommodation house. 
Before getting our dinner we had made a bargain 
with the owner for him. Dinner over, we once more 
made tracks, feeling quite a weight off our minds 
at having got rid of our friend so easily. But I tell 
you we were soon undeceived on that point. We 
hadn't got as far away from him as in our first 
attempt when we could just make out Mick's 
melodious tones being wafted by the gentle breeze 
to our delighted ears. We stood and looked at each 
other almost spellbound for a minute or so, and 
then well, if that pig could only have heard the 



LARRY'S YARN 231 

remarks passed on his accomplishments, and the 
warm wishes expressed for his future welfare, I 
think he would have turned back and walked with 
us no more. Mick was covered with mud, and had 
evidently rooted his way out again. 'Look here, 
boys,' says one, 'there's no use trying to get rid of 
him to-night. We'll reach town to-morrow some- 
time, and I guess I'll fix him and his little capers.' 
Upon my mate's promising not to hurt him, I 
agreed. Being chief owner and greatest friend of 
Mick's, I didn't like the idea of our chaps killing 
him ; he seemed to me almost like one of our party, 
and it looked as if he meant to remain so. We 
reached town at last, went to an hotel, and left our 
swags and Mick at the same place. As capital always 
has its dignity to keep up, we soon put oft the 
diggers' smocks, and replaced them with up-to-date 
outfits, as becoming men of means. We were 
delighted to find that Mick's imprisonment had been 
successfully accomplished this time. Six o'clock 
came, and a big crowd for dinner. Ladies and 
gentlemen, the rough and the refined, all had to 
take pot luck in those times. The dinner was about 
half-way through our first decent meal for about 
eighteen months when I swear, sir, if there wasn't 
the pig again, fighting his way from the kitchen 
through the door into the dining-room, singing out 
his top notes all the time. Some of the ladies looked 
like fainting. I felt as if I were falling down a shaft. 
Mick, after running here and there, sniffing and 
squealing, and running between the diners' legs, and 



$32 LARRY'S YARN 

again under some ladies' petticoats (he was no re- 
specter of persons), made straight for me and, with 
a grunt of satisfaction, came to a standstill. Then, 
pushing his greasy snout between the rungs of my 
chair, he showed as plainly as if he said so, ' I've 
found my master at last.' I didn't acknowledge the 
ownership, but a fool of a fellow at the table asked 
out loud if I could tell him the breed of my dog ! 

" The next day that pig was sold to a butcher 
as prime dairy-fed ; and I don't think I've eaten a 
bit of bacon or owned a pig since." 




AND SOME FURTHER REMARKS ON MAORI CHARACTER 

IN the early days sports of every description 
seem to have been more enjoyable than in 
recent years. While making allowance for the 
natural decrease of appreciation attendant upon 
increase of summers, one feels such to have been the 
case. In those good old times everyone appeared 
to be happy in the thought that all were deriving 
pleasure in an equal degree. 

The hurdle and flat races held on Te Aro now the 
most populous and active centre of business in the 
Empire City were the fetes of the year. As we were 
then in a semi-civilised state, only one or two meet- 
ings were held each year ; but the fun at these, with 
their hundred and one side-shows, made up for their 
limited number. 

Successful racers then were horses that could carry 
their owners forty or fifty miles a day over very 
rough country and be fresh at the end of the journey. 
The programmes embraced three-mile hurdle and 
flat events, and other distances all weight-for-age. 

Q2 233 



234 A GREAT CANOE RACE 

I don't think the word handicap was then known to 
half our enthusiastic sportsmen. Many an exciting 
struggle has been witnessed on the Te Aro and 
Burnham water-courses at Wellington between the 
progeny of such grand old sires as Riddlesworth and 
Figaro. 

Wellington's carnival of two or three days was 
not restricted to sports on shore. Her magnificent 
land-locked harbour an expanse of some twenty 
thousand acres, with Ward's and Soame's Islands 
standing out in bold relief against the dark green 
background of the mountains, which tower above 
Lowry Bay and Waiawetu at the northern extremity 
was a yachting Elysium, where, on Anniversary 
Day (22nd January), the anchorage would be dotted 
over with the canvas of the small coasters, or of an 
occasional pleasure yacht, waiting to try conclusions 
in their various classes. The somewhat discoloured 
and patched sails of the coasters bore evidence of 
many a perilous trip to the Sounds, to the coastal 
sheep stations, or to Auckland, the northern em- 
porium for that peerless timber, the kauri pine. 
There would also be whaleboats with their motley 
crews composed of the pick of the hardy ship's com- 
pany, and canoes beautifully carved by aboriginal 
artists, their occupants all eager for the fray. 

The Maoris were by far the most interesting com- 
bination, the crews numbering between twenty and 
thirty each, being all in full warlike rig. Their 
costume on these occasions consisted of the loin-mat 
made from the native flax, treated in various ways, 



A GREAT CANOE RACE 235 

the inner part being composed of the softly dressed 
fibre tightly platted with long drooping ends that 
were of a mottled shiny black colour, in appearance 
resembling inverted porcupine quills, and hanging 
in such profusion that with one of the larger kind 
the Maoris, apparently, had as little fear of the 
stormy elements as a paradise duck. 

Natives from all quarters assembled in Wellington 
for these fetes, each hapu endeavouring to outshine 
the other in decorative display. The appearance 
of these for the time being peaceful savages going 
to do battle with each other was a sight not easily 
forgotten. There were seldom more than two first- 
class war canoes present at these competitions, but 
these were really such works of art that to do any- 
thing like justice to them in description would 
necessitate the infliction upon the reader of a whole 
chapter. They were generally made from the totara, 
on account of its imperviousness to the attack of the 
terrible teredo, an insect which completely honey- 
combs nearly every other description of timber in 
a very short time when exposed to the sea. Some 
of the war canoes were eighty feet in length, the 
bottom part composed of a single tree, dug out. 
The raised bulwarks of tougher wood were secured 
by innumerable interlacings of prepared flax, and 
caulked with leaves of the raupo. The artistic work, 
the carving, was exhibited in the prominent stern- 
post and figure-head, slightly curving aft and forward 
respectively, with lattice-like work beneath. Some 
of these were extraordinary specimens of talent, 



236 A GREAT CANOE RACE 

more remarkable for fertility of design than beauty 
of expression, the principal feature invariably being 
the representation of a Maori figure, with hands 
folded across the stomach, lolling tongue, and 
staring eyes of paiva shell, the whole figure having 
an ogreish expression of contempt and defiance, 
apparently an object-lesson for the young in that 
most essential of aboriginal accomplishments, the 
war dance. 

When we consider that in the construction of 
these magnificent evidences of ancient handicraft 
the carvers had nothing better than a stone adze, 
a shell, or a shark's tooth to hew and carve with, 
the result achieved is simply astounding. 

When a canoe race was on the tapis, the interest 
in other events dwindled into insignificance ; the 
excitement was great, but especially so amongst our 
dark brothers. 

Just previous to starting, the chief or leader, with- 
out any preconcerted plan, but evidently upon the 
impulse of the moment, would jump up shaking his 
too or mere in the air, accompanying the action with 
a long-sustained note in the upper register, then 
suddenly dropping his voice and terminating in a 
sort of grunt, in which all of his tribe men, women, 
and even children joined with the accuracy of 
clockwork. The men kept time to the staccato 
music of the haka by the stamping of feet, while 
extended in the right hand was the paddle, spear, or 
gun peaceful or warlike, as the case might be 
their feet striking the earth exactly at the first beat 



A GREAT CANOE RACE 237 

of a three-four time measure, the other two notes 
being made in the act of inhalation, and thus pro- 
ducing a very coarse and guttural sound. The 
women contented themselves by acting a kind of 
accompaniment with the vigorous but, to European 
eyes, not over modest contortions of their bodies, at 
the same time rolling their eyes so that the whites 
alone were visible, and opening their mouths to the 
utmost extent, which was sometimes considerable. 
Thus with lolling tongues in crimson contrast 
to their dark skin and the white, perfectly formed 
teeth glistening like pearls in the light of the sun, 
the whole movement, but especially that of the 
gentler sex, at first sight was likely to give the im- 
pression that they were trying to accomplish the 
impossible task of reversing the order of nature by 
turning the other side out. 

This part of the entertainment was always looked 
forward to with eagerness, as it was a noticeable 
trait in connection with their national dance that 
money alone does not procure its thorough per- 
formance unless there were circumstances attached 
calculated to bring out the true savage, such as the 
demise of an illustrious person, a victory, the be- 
ginning of a fight, or trial of prowess. 

And now the canoes are placed in position, their 
crews, splendidly shaped men, and in the pink of 
condition, but with features disfigured by a dab of 
red and black here and there, giving a rather hideous 
expression to their otherwise manly type of beauty. 
The chiefs stand erect in the bows, confronting the 



238 A GREAT CANOE RACE 

determined and vicious-looking faces, their heads 
dotted with white feathers stuck through the woolly 
hair. Some of the ears and necks are adorned with 
carved greenstone or shark-tooth ornaments ; the 
handsomely worked mat drapes from the waist, the 
upper part of the body being bare. 

The race is a struggle for supremacy between two 
rivals of many years' standing Te Puni, one of the 
first friendly chiefs hailing from Petone ; and Wi 
Tako, the young and handsome chief of Te Aro. 
This, like all classic races, is generally keenly 
contested, and with varying results. Everyone is 
breathlessly awaiting the start ; the crews are being 
harangued in true Maori fashion, something to the 
following effect : Let your flight be like the bound 
of the porpoise through the sea, the rush of the 
torrent, etc., ending in " KoJciri ! Kia tere, kia tere 
rawa / " (or, Drive ahead quick, very quick). 

The pistol is fired and off they dart, the headman 
who, by the way, is sometimes a woman giving 
the time by flourishes of the spear, and indicating 
each stroke of the paddles by graceful inclinations 
of the body, at the same time shouting, " Tena ! 
Tena! Toia;'" 

The course is round a flag-boat off Ngahauranga, 
two miles distant. There appears to be very little 
advantage gained by either till nearing the winning 
point on Te Aro beach, when an unearthly yell an- 
nounces victory for Wi Tako. 

The winners, despite their four-mile spin, im- 
mediately spring from their canoes, which have been 



A GREAT CANOE RACE 239 

driven up on the sandy beach, and treat the on- 
lookers to another but more furious dance than 
before. 

As the prizes given on these occasions were pretty 
substantial, some of the successful competitors for 
weeks afterwards might be seen wearing fanciful 
tokens of victory, purchased by themselves for the 
purpose. These were various and wonderful in 
the taste displayed. The officers of the 65th Regi- 
ment, or of the Pandora or Calliope warships, were 
the betvu ideal to the native mind in the way of 
dress ; and some of the lords of the soil constantly 
adopted the naval gold band and braid, or as near 
as they could get to full dress. Others wore it only 
on state occasions, when their gorgeousness was 
amazing ; at first they looked extremely happy, 
but later on the tattooed faces would gradually 
assume an expression of anxiety, caused not by 
fear they never experienced the feeling but 
through an overpowering desire to retire to the 
refuge of the pah and get rid of their highly polished 
Wellington boots. One old celebrity made a point 
of regularly jogging into town upon the 24th May 
and honouring her Most Gracious Majesty's natal 
day by singing through the streets, with loudest 
warlike voice and action, his version of " Rule 
Britannia " : " Ruree Paritania, Paritania ruree te 
wafe, Paritania, nawa nawa nawa, hara pe harafe" 
I must add that Paora Kaiwhatu was one of those 
friendly diplomatic chieftains who never betrayed 
his intimate knowledge of English, except on such 



240 A GREAT CANOE RACE 

occasions, and even then only after loyally toasting 
Her Gracious Majesty's health several times. 

An instance of the kindly, sensitive disposition 
of the Maori women that occurred on one of these 
gala days is perhaps worth relating. In the latter 
part of that exceedingly troublous decade, ending 
in 1870, there resided in a prosperous little town 
of the North Island a certain tradesman. Though 
a young man, he was an early colonist. His better 
half, however, was a recent arrival. Their place of 
business was a favourite resort of the natives for 
refreshments, a private sitting-room being provided, 
to which the better or cleaner class were invited to 
retire. Mrs. To Moana, the wife of that splendid 
young chief who was afterwards a member of the 
House of Representatives, came one day carrying 
an infant in her arms, accompanied by her Maori 
servant-girl. Making her usual salutation she 
ordered some refreshments, and went to enjoy the 
privacy of the inner apartment where the pro- 
prietor's infant son was quietly slumbering in his 
little bassinet, its mother being engaged in house- 
hold duties elsewhere. Mrs. To Moana, womanlike, 
must see and compare ; the little aboriginal, al- 
though about the same age, happened to be twice 
the size of the infant pakeha, and the chieftainess, 
in astonishment, exclaimed, " Au e ! Katai ano, ka 
paku " (or, Oh, my ! How very small). The father 
explained the reason, premature birth, and conse- 
quent absence of the natural maternal nourishment. 
She still contemplating the cradle's occupant, the 



A GREAT CANOE RACE 241 

father left her to attend to his shop, but shortly re- 
turned to find that Mrs. To Moana had taken the 
baby from its cradle and was nursing it instead of 
her own, her good-natured countenance wreathed 
in smiles, while her bright hazel eyes sparkled with 
amusement and delight. Waving the parent away in 
a playfully authoritative manner, she said tell Meri 
(Mary) that he is all right. The mother, coming into 
the room just at this time, stood as if riveted to the 
spot, amazement and fear being depicted upon her 
now pallid face. She had a sincere regard for the 
Maori lady, but this new and startling development 
in their friendship she had never anticipated. With 
the keen powers of perception peculiar to her race, 
Mrs. To Moana saw at a glance the conflict of feelings 
in the European mother, and by many signs of en- 
dearment made her sit beside her while the husband 
interpreted. However, the appearance of satisfac- 
tion which gradually spread over the face of the 
diminutive child, together with the spotless cleanli- 
ness of the aboriginal mother's habiliments, seemed 
to have the effect of allaying the maternal nervous- 
ness, and thus another and closer bond of love and 
sisterhood was established between the Maori and 
pakeha mothers. 

The last words of this estimable and voluntary 
wet nurse before taking her leave, expressed the 
tender feelings of her sympathetic nature. " My 
sorrow is great that my residence is far away, or I 
would often return to see your little son " ; (cor- 
rectly prophesying) " he will be a big man yet." 



242 A GREAT CANOE RACE 

I have occasionally heard disparaging remarks 
concerning the virtue of Maori women, but give 
myself credit for never allowing such to pass un- 
challenged, and have invariably found these ignorant 
maligners to be of the class pictured eighteen 
hundred years ago as those " whose glory is their 
shame," etc. 

Numberless instances could be cited of most 
heroic fidelity on the part of the native wahine to 
her Maori or pakeha lord, which, occurring amongst 
Europeans, would be considered romantic in the 
extreme, but in their eyes were quite matter-of-fact 
incidents. A long experience has convinced me that 
by far the greater part of such laxity as does exist in 
this respect may be traced to the debasing example 
and encouragement of the white savage, and that 
prior to his advent it found scant favour with the 
Maori people. 



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