THREE MILITARY CHAPLAINS.
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THREE MILITARY CHAPLAINS.
Maori slaughter of the wounded--Resolution of the chaplains to inculcate humane principles among the rebel tribes--Dangerous missions for that purpose--Visiting hostile pas--Long and exciting koreros--The Maori forces reviewed--Incidents of the Taranaki engagements--Anecdotes of Commodore Seymour--Success of the perilous clerical efforts to secure respect for the dead and wounded.
THE battle of Puketakauere was fought on the 27th June, 1860, and was most disastrous to Her Majesty's forces, inasmuch as Lieutenant Brooks and twenty noncommissioned officers and men were killed, while Commodore Seymour and thirty-three non-commissioned officers and men were wounded. News of the success of this engagement on the part of the natives soon travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand, as part of the Grenadiers and light companies of the 40th Regiment under Major Nelson, and a small naval force under Commodore Seymour, were obliged to retire, leaving their dead and wounded on the field. The Rev. Mr. Wilson and Father Garaval, the Protestant and Catholic missionaries then in the Waikato, hearing the native account related by Epiha (the chief who led the natives), and from other tribes engaged in the repulse, their sympathies were so far excited that they resolved to interpose on behalf of Her Majesty's subjects; as, after the military had retreated, all the wounded were indiscriminately put to death. Some few spoke of the wounded who had survived a day or two before they were found, and even they were not spared. Epiha said that, on the morning after the fight, he sent natives to bury any of the dead unobserved the day before. That, when they came to the first body, the native who was about to dig the grave, sat down on the fern, and in doing so hurt a wounded man who was concealed beneath. The soldier instantly raised himself up, and drew his bayonet in defence, but was soon overpowered and killed by the native with the spade he had in his hand. The party soon after found a second body, and at his back sat another wounded man, who had crept out of the scrub and was eating the rations of his dead comrade. The poor fellow had just sufficient strength left to wrest the weapon from the native who found him, but, being crippled and unable to rise, was shot dead by another Maori. Mr. Wilson inquired of the chief why his men behaved with such
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cruelty and cowardice to men who could no longer resist them. He replied: "What else could we do; if we had spared them we should ourselves have been killed?" He spoke with great praise of Lieutenant Brooks, of the 40th Regiment, who defended himself for some time against three Maoris, until a fourth, coming up, shot him. Mr. Wilson had spent many days amongst the natives who had just returned from the seat of war, and as they were busy preparing to return to Taranaki, he used every argument to try and influence them for the future to spare and treat the wounded and prisoners kindly. To this, however, they would not listen. "What do you think we are going to Taranaki for?" they asked. "Do you suppose we are going to save men's lives? We ask no quarter, neither will we give any." However, frequent intercourse by degrees made some slight impression, and the night prior to their leaving Waikato for Taranaki, Wetene, Taiporutu, and the chief who was to lead them, said to Mr. Wilson: "To-night we hold a runanga to consider your words, and I shall try and induce the tribes, if possible, to comply. We leave at daylight to-morrow; return early and hear our decision." Early next morning the natives were under arms, and as they were leaving Mr. Wilson arrived. He found Wetene alone and pouri. His words were few, observing, "We held the runanga as I promised, but the tribe will not hear. Epiha, Tioriori, and myself were for mercy; all the rest against us. I now go to Taranaki, but should they persist and act as at Puketakauere, I shall return to Waikato. They agree to spare women and children, and" (after a pause) "perhaps they will." The result disappointed the Rev. Mr. Wilson so much that, as a last resource, he said, "Well, Wetene, I will follow you to Taranaki; perhaps when you are all assembled you may agree to act otherwise." The chief replied that the resolve was good. "Come and see us there, and hear our determination." Thus they parted: Wetene to fall only a few days after at Mahoetahi; Mr. Wilson to carry his point, at which he pressed so persistently at his own great peril. In pursuance of his resolution he returned to Auckland, and at an interview he had with the Governor, Sir Gore Browne strongly commended his humane mission, tendered him his good wishes, and provided him a free passage to Taranaki. He arrived there on the 27th December, 1860. In the meantime, Father Garavel, with letters of introduction from the Governor to General Pratt, had left Auckland and landed in Taranaki the September previous, stating that the object of his visit was to try and lessen the ferocity of the rebels with respect to the wounded and prisoners, and to induce them to respect a flag of truce.
On the 10th of September a large expedition was organised under Major-General Pratt, having for its object an advance as far as possible into the interior of the North Island, towards Pukerangiora on the Waitara River. The force was told off in three divisions. No. 1 division consisted of 557 men, composed of a detachment of the 40th Regiment, under Major Nelson; Naval Brigade from
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Her Majesty's ship Iris, under Commodore Loring, C.B.; and a Naval Brigade, under Commodore Seymour (now recovered from his wound). No. 2 division consisted of 464 men, being detachments of the 12th Regiment, under Major Hutchins; of the 65th Regiment, under Major Turner; the Royal Artillery, under Captain Strover; the Royal Engineers, under Captain Mould; and twenty men of the Mounted Escort, under Captain Desvoeux. No. 3 division of 333 men contained a detachment of the 40th Regiment, under Colonel Leslie; Royal Artillery, under Lieutenant McNaughton; and fifty Volunteer Rifles, under Captain Stapp. The whole force numbered upwards of 1,400 men, which with the guns and baggage waggons had a formidable appearance.
The day prior to this force starting for the scene of action, viz., Huirangi, Wi Kingi's stronghold, Father Garavel arrived, and being intimately acquainted with that portion of the Waikato Maori contingent, which had already preceded him, expressed a wish to General Pratt to be allowed to confer with them, which after some consideration the General allowed, saying, "You may go, but I will not be answerable for your life." He accordingly set out for their stronghold, alone and on foot, travelling through high fern up to their rifle-pits, and narrowly escaped being shot from the sentries posted in the trees before his sacred calling was observed. One had raised his rifle to shoot him, when a chief suddenly shouted out that he was a clergyman with white bands on his hat. Father Garavel had now a long interview with the natives with respect to the wounded and prisoners, the result of which was evident hereafter. The natives wished him a kind farewell and escorted him part of the way back to the camp. Shortly after, active hostilities again commenced.
On the Rev. Mr. Wilson's arrival, a day after an engagement, he rode into the enemy's country to ascertain the fate of a man of the 65th named MacKindry, whom the rebels had taken prisoner, and at the first rifle-pits the fighting captain of the Ngatiawas (Hapurona), a tall, rough, but honest-looking warrior, came out to meet him with a party of his people. They were not in a good temper, and said that MacKindry had died as they carried him off and that they had buried him near their flagstaff, the funeral service being read over his grave; Hapurona adding, "We are determined to fight to the last."
During the operations of the sap at Pukerangiora the Rev. Mr. Wilson observed the Maoris watching it, and warned our people to be on their guard. Luckily they took his advice, and were prepared for the attack made on the 23rd January, 1861, on No. 3 Redoubt, causing great loss to the natives. Mr. Wilson was originally in the navy, but for thirty years had laboured with great zeal and success as a Church missionary among the natives of New Zealand, highly esteemed by them, and greatly respected by his own countrymen.
When the Rev. Mr. Wilson first arrived at Taranaki, General Pratt was preparing to march into the interior of the country, with
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the three divisions before stated, and said to Mr. Wilson, "We start at daylight to-morrow morning. There is not time for you to go to see the natives; it would place you in an awkward position. You should have come sooner, as the Catholic clergyman did." But, obtaining an unwilling consent from the General, he left on his errand of mercy. Wetene and most of his men, whom he had conversed with at Waikato, had succumbed to their fate at Mahoetahi, and he had no supporters among the chiefs he was visiting. After three hours' ride through a beautiful country, deserted by settlers and wasted by the natives, he arrived at a native pa, situate on an elevation commanding the principal part of the Waitara, where the natives were waiting the advance of the troops. Seeing two men gathering thistles, he called to them, and was soon surrounded by a number of armed men, who were surprised to see a stranger amongst them, and refused to let him go further. When the chief men had assembled, Mr. Wilson told them his errand, and proposed the following terms:--1st. That all the wounded shall be treated with humanity. 2nd. That the prisoners shall be uninjured and exchanged. 3rd. That the dead be unmolested, and buried by their people. 4th. That persons approaching under a flag of truce be respected. Mr. Wilson here reminded them of the Scripture doctrine of mercy, of the uncertainty of success in war, and their personal interest in these conditions; but, being flushed with the events at Puketakauere, they were deaf to remonstrance, and refused to make any terms. Seeing Mr. Wilson smile, Hapurona said, "Do you deride my words?" Mr. Wilson said, "Why should I not laugh? You think you have only to speak and I must obey you. I bring you a message from above and you reject it. What I offer is for your own good as well as for the Europeans." Henere, whom Mr. Wilson had known in better days, checked his more furious comrades, and they, savage as they were, ceased further to menace, and, strange to say, requested Mr. Wilson to hold prayers with them before leaving, which Mr. Wilson refused to do, because, he said, "You knowingly disobey the will of God--a God of mercy--and yet you refuse to show pity."
On the following day, the natives were attacked at Matarikoriko, and Mr. Wilson again appeared amongst them on the second day of the encounter. It was Sunday, and the General consented to a truce, when Mr. Wilson walked over to their rifle-pits, little more than 130 yards from the troops. He was recognised by a Maori who had lived with him twenty years before at Matamata, and this native escorted him to the Maori encampment. Mr. Wilson again addressed them, saying it was the sacred day, and that if they would remain quiet the soldiers would do the same. They replied: "Tell your chief we never fight on the sacred day. It is they and not ourselves who desecrate it. There shall be no firing on our part." After placing refreshments before Mr. Wilson, and Rewi, the principal chief of Ngatimaniapoto, being present, he again spoke of the object of his visit, when Rewi
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replied: "It is well that you have come amongst us. Return to-morrow, and we will hear what you have to say." A chief then said: "We last night buried some of our men in the rifle-pits. Ask the chief of the soldiers to respect them; let them remain undisturbed. The funeral service was read over them in the night, during the battle. The ground is sacred." Thus, under no ordinary fire, and at a distance of from 100 to 150 yards from the enemy, these people thoughtfully, and without confusion, interred their dead, an act perhaps that has no parallel in the annals of war, the honours being literally paid by the guns of the artillery and the volleys of the 40th and 65th Regiments. Sir John Moore's burial (the theme of song) is tame contrasted with this. 1
As the day advanced, Mr. Wilson moved into the woods, and found women weeping for the dead. With these were a few of Tarapipipi (William Thomson's) tribe. Mr. Wilson also visited them next day; they had been worsted at Matarikoriko, and were now falling back on the woods. The next day (December 31st) Mr. Wilson obtained the General's permission and proceeded to Huirangi, and was received by three or four hundred men all fully armed. They led him further into the wood under some karaka groves, and then the whole people collecting and seating themselves close together, desired him to speak. The arguments on this and on like occasions were drawn from Scripture, 2 and from the chivalrous usages of Christian nations in time of war. They approved, and even commended all this, but denied its application to themselves. One would observe, "We cannot reach so high." Another, "Our fathers taught us this mode of warfare, and we will adopt no other." A third, "Your customs are best for Europeans, ours for Maoris," etc., etc. A pause now ensued, and Mr. Wilson thought all was gained, when a well-known leader from Kawhia, whose tribe had suffered at Matarikoriko, rose up, and boiling with rage declared that in this matter he would listen to no one. He was armed with a short-handled hatchet, to which the natives, when roused by passion, give a tremulous or vibrating motion. Coming at last up to Mr. Wilson, with that fierce stare which is natural to the Maori when the passions have attained supreme control, he approached so near, that his face nearly touched Mr. Wilson's, and in this menacing attitude declared, "he would never consent to such a contract; that, whatever other chiefs might do, he would never spare a European, he would never give quarter," etc. This gave great offence to many who were present. "Take out your book now, and record our protest against all that he has said," they called out. "We cannot interfere with him, but he stands alone; do not be dark on account of what he says."
After the confusion occasioned by this outbreak was over, they again requested that the graves might be respected. Mr. Wilson
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asked, "Who will go with me and point them out?" The object was to give them confidence in English honour, and the usages of humanity practised by civilised nations, even in war. Two young men shortly came forward to accompany him, but afterwards thought it safe to decline. Much talking ensued, and Mr. Wilson began to despair, till a man stood up and said, "I am the son of Te Karu, who is buried there; I will go." The natives approved of this. He then laid aside his arms, put on his girdle, and followed Mr. Wilson. When they arrived, the Naval Brigade and 40th Regiment were fast filling up the native pits, and Mr. Wilson led his companion through the midst of these, to give him some idea of the nature of "a safe conduct." As they passed to the extreme right, which the natives had occupied during the action, and where the troops were now at work, seeing the guide look anxiously about, Mr. Wilson asked whether "he feared anything." "No!" he replied; "not from the pakeha (white man), but from the Maoris who may be among them." Mr. Wilson said, "You have nothing to fear from them; your life here is as safe as mine." They came at last to the spot where his father and some others were buried. The bodies, through a mistake, had already been disturbed by the Naval Brigade, but the graves were again covered before they arrived. The native immediately detected it and said, "The bodies have been disturbed," and seemed displeased. He added, "There are others in the valley below."
At this spot Commodore Seymour and a few officers who were amongst the men, inquired the object of the native's coming. It was explained that the General had given permission, in order to ascertain where the natives had been buried, that their graves might remain unmolested. The following conversation then occurred:--Commodore to Mr. Wilson: "What relation has he lost?" Mr. Wilson: "His father." Commodore: "Does he lie here?" Mr. Wilson: "Yes." Commodore: "Poor fellow! Has he lost his father? Tell him I am sorry for him. Tell him we bear no malice. It is war." Native: "I am not dark (unhappy) on his account. He fell in open field--in battle. It was fairly done. He was not murdered." This he said gravely and coldly. Commodore: "Say that the graves shall not be injured; tell him my carpenter shall fence them." In repeating this generous and manly assurance, so characteristic of a seaman, Mr. Wilson said to the Maori: "This person who speaks to you is the chief of the English sailors." He looked satisfied, but made no reply.
A few days after this occurrence, the chief Te Wiona, who was wounded and taken prisoner at Mahoetahi, was released from gaol at New Plymouth, and Mr. Wilson had the pleasure of returning him to the Waikato tribes. Arriving at Waitara, as Te Wiona could with difficulty sit on horseback, the commissariat officers (from whom Mr. Wilson and the Rev. Mr. Tresalet, Catholic chaplain, had received many acts of kindness) immediately furnished a bullock-cart for his conveyance. In this the wounded chief, with his baggage, was placed, for, though taken all but
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naked on the field, he returned to his people well clothed, and in the possession of several presents.
When Mr. Wilson arrived a mile from the woods he sent back the cart, put Wiona and some of the things on his horse and carried the rest himself. They were soon surrounded by natives, who crowded cut of their works and conducted them to the place where the prisoner's tribe was encamped. In a short time most of the principal chiefs were assembled. On solemn occasions the natives are very formal, and in this instance they placed the chief and Mr. Wilson (he still sitting on the horse and which Mr. Wilson was obliged to hold to prevent Te Wiona falling) in the centre of an open place in the wood, and commenced a wail for the dead who had fallen at Mahoetahi, addressing Te Wiona as their representative and fellow-sufferer, and which he by responsive moans fully appreciated. When this was concluded Te Wiona 3 retired among his own people, and Mr. Wilson saw him no more till the close of the day.
The chiefs now requested Mr. Wilson to remain till he heard the speeches and saw some of their tribes reviewed. The gathering was on elevated ground, where the flag was flying. On this occasion it was white. About a thousand men suddenly rushed down from the spot, throwing down several of their comrades as they advanced, and then with uncommon energy brandishing their arms and performing the war dance. Around stood the spectators, consisting of men, women, and children. Mr. Wilson sat near the front, where he was joined by the chief from Kawhia who a few days before had so fiercely opposed him. It turned out that the young man who accompanied Mr. Wilson to Matarikoriko was his nephew, and what passed on that occasion had sensibly impressed him. The native phalanx opened a line through their centre, along which the speakers ran to and fro, till either their eloquence or passions were exhausted. Some few spoke with quiet dignity, but the rest, carried away by their feelings, denounced war and vengeance against their enemies. By some the spirits of Wetene and his friends who had fallen with him were addressed in sympathising accents, and by others the tribes were rashly exhorted to abandon the rifle-pits and throw themselves headlong on the military--to act as their fathers would have done. But the great orator of the day was Hapurona, William King's fighting chief. When he arose he first passed slowly through the phalanx, his loins only covered with a small piece of sackcloth, his head thrown back, and his face frightfully distorted, turned upwards. His eyes were so contorted in their sockets that the whites only could be seen, appearing like small balls of chalk. Thus he twice passed through the square of warriors in perfect silence, giving at the same time a quick and tremulous motion to his arms, which were extended at right angles from his body, and which agitated a native weapon, carried in his right hand. Then suddenly starting into violent energy, he used
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every possible argument to induce his countrymen to emulate the courage of their fathers and to annihilate their enemies.
The action which he gave to his weapon (the hani, or spear), always violent, yet often graceful, called forth acclamations from the people, and would have done credit to any theatrical performer. Mr. Wilson's new friend would not allow him to withdraw his eyes from him; and he observed, "That man's action is wonderful. He has not his equal." Hapurona and others, while speaking, sometimes broke out into traditional songs; these the men under arms would take up in chorus with admirable effect, their voices marking that nicety of time as though it had been the voice of one man, and the exact motion of their limbs and bodies giving additional excitement to the concourse. To such a pitch of frenzy did these harangues influence the tribes that Mr. Wilson thought they would immediately make an attempt upon the sap, and the thought glanced through his mind whether he should ever again pass from among them.
The principal chief of Mokau, Tekaka, after a long and furious declamation, sank to the ground from exhaustion; and the energy and devotedness which this man displayed characterised the speeches of all the older men. But towards evening the more moderate addressed the assembly, and by degrees they cooled down to something like reason. When suffering under deep passions, the natives often regard the words of the dead more than those of the living. Therefore, when it at last came to Mr. Wilson's turn to speak, he reminded them of Wetene, and of what had previously taken place at Waikato in reference to the wounded, etc. He spoke of their late chiefs (Wetene's) love of his countrymen, his humanity, and his desire that Mr. Wilson should meet them again at Taranaki to discuss again the question. He spoke of the praise the soldiers had expressed for his courage, and for those who fell with him, and the honourable interment his body had received at New Plymouth. He reminded them of the humanity of the General and troops to the native wounded and prisoners, and urged them by arguments to act as men who believed the words of God, and to follow in this respect the example the Europeans had set them. 4 Although only an hour before these men had wrought themselves into a delirium of passion, they answered all this with moderation and sense. "The works of the pakeha in this have been good; for the future we will follow his example. The wounded and prisoners henceforth shall be treated with mercy. We will do as the European has done." Then Rewi, the leading chief of the Ngatimaniapoto, rose up and said, "Listen to me. These are the terms proposed; say 'yes' or 'no' to them." He
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then with a loud voice repeated them twice; at the conclusion, at the second recital, the woods rang with the shout, "Ae! (yes) we consent!" Shortly after the people dispersed themselves, and all was quiet. Te Wiona now sent for Mr. Wilson to visit his wife and friends, who treated him with much kindness; but he reminded them that it was more to his countrymen than to himself that these friendly feelings were due.
Though the object which led Mr Wilson to Taranaki was now accomplished, and for which he felt sincerely grateful, he yet thought it right to remain some time longer on the spot, in order to see how far the natives would keep their promises. The contest was carried on nearly daily, and he was generally present on the field, with the object of being of use to the wounded; or, in the event of their falling into the hands of the natives, to demand them according to previous arrangement.
Mr. Wilson relates two original anecdotes of the Taranaki war, characteristic of the natives engaged; a fine race, enterprising and intelligent, in whom he took a particular interest. "Worthy of an ancient Roman was the conduct of the chief Mokau, at the close of the action of Mahoetahi in November, 1860. When the Maoris were driven from the old pa on the hill by the spirited charge of the 65th, the Taranaki militia and volunteers, they became 'whakawara,' or dispersed, and took to the swamp below. Mokau, retreating, saw at the edge of it a friend lying mortally wounded; he stopped, and though the avengers were close behind, he seized the hand of the dying man and stooped to say farewell, and to press noses in the native fashion. Raising himself up, he himself was shot through the heart, and fell across the body of his friend. His noble act of friendship had thus a fatal result. Of endurance and determination in a Maori, there was a remarkable instance at Huirangi in the summer of 1861. Natawa, a wild character, tired of firing away all day in his rifle-pit, got up into a tree, ten feet above the ground, to fire with better effect at the 12th, 14th, and 40th skirmishers, but he was dropped by a ball in the forehead. Having, perhaps, a thick skull, the Enfield ball stuck fast over one eye, without passing into the brain; and Natawa, recovering himself, went on fighting for two days afterwards. The second evening, some of his friends tried to get the ball out by moving it with their fingers, but perhaps a portion of bone was dislodged and touched the brain, and Natawa, after five days of raging madness, died."
Mr. Wilson shortly after re-visited his native land, and those of the united service who have, or may, read what he endeavoured to do for the combatants in the Taranaki War, who may have met him, doubtless paid him every honour. Judge Wilson, of Tauranga, and Captain C.J. Wilson, a gentleman residing at Howick, are sons of the Rev. Mr. Wilson, and served in the Defence Force in the Waikato.
Shortly after hostilities commenced at Taranaki, the Rev. J.M. Tresalet, then stationed at Wanganui, proceeded overland from
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there to the seat of war, for the purpose of ministering not only to the Catholic settlers at New Plymouth, but also to the Catholics in Her Majesty's Regiments there stationed. When he arrived, the Grenadier company of the 40th Regiment was encamped at the Henui, a mile outside of the township, and he was hospitably and kindly treated by the men of the 40th, until such time as he could conveniently be located at New Plymouth. The reverend gentleman, at that period, was entirely ignorant of the English language, having been located amongst the natives from his arrival in this colony; but in less than two weeks, thanks to the military, who took him in hand and taught him to read and write English, he was capable of conversing on various topics, and gave religious instruction. He was wholly dependent upon the liberality of the soldiers, and members of all denominations, to their honour, vied with each other who should present him with the largest sum, every man agreeing to give from one shilling per month upward, towards his support in his travels from camp to camp, at all seasons of the year, and subject to ambush continually, though, like Mr. Wilson, he luckily escaped. Previous to the troops embarking for Auckland, the men of the 12th, 14th, 40th, 57th, and 65th Regiments presented the reverend gentleman with an illuminated address, accompanied by a purse of sovereigns. Colonel Nelson and the officers of the 40th, whose wounded he had attended after the battle of Puketakauere, presented him with a cheque for twenty pounds, in token of the esteem in which he was held. The money was given on the understanding that it should be devoted entirely to his own private use, which he very reluctantly received, saying: "I want no money. You have done everything. Any man would feel a sacred pride in your benevolence since I came amongst you. I wall never forget you." Lie afterwards erected a wooden church on which he expended the money they had given him. In it he had two stained windows in commemoration of the two special corps, the 40th and 65th.
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MAJOR PITT was appointed to Pitt's Militia (400 strong) as lieutenant in July, 1863. This force was raised by Lieut.-Colonel Pitt (his father) for active service at the request of the New Zealand Government, their head-quarters being at Otahuhu, and soon after joined Captains Stack and Moir's company at Drury. While at this station he took charge of the Maori prisoners, and escorted them to Otahuhu. He was then ordered to occupy the church at Mauku, relieving Lieutenant Norman, who was killed in an engagement with the natives soon after. He then moved up to Pukekohe with his company, No. 4 of the 1st Waikato Regiment, and was afterwards posted to Captain W. Fraser's company, No. 1, stationed at Shepherd's Bush, doing escort duty until removed to Tauranga, a few days after the Gate Pa disaster. He was present at the fight at Whakamarama, and shortly after received orders to join Major Mair at Tauranga. From thence he proceeded to Ohinemutu, to augment the force under Colonel McDonnell, who had command of the Native Contingent, and took part in the numerous skirmishes in that district. He raised a native force of Arawas, and was despatched to Opotiki, joining his forces with those of Colonel St. John. Returning to Tauranga early in 1868, he joined No. 4 company of Armed Constabulary, when orders were issued to unite his company with Colonel Whitmore's field force at Nukumaru, on the West Coast. He remained under Colonel Whitmore's orders to the end of the campaign, serving during this period also on the East Coast at Matata. The field force being now virtually broken up, Major Pitt was transferred, with his company, to the Waikato, and promoted to the rank of an Inspector of Armed Constabulary. From there he was ordered to Poverty Bay, as Commandant of the district, and of the Wairoa; where he resided up to 1874, when he sent in his resignation, and retired from the service.
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WINIATA, one of the bravest of the brave, volunteered with the Wanganui tribe, under General Mete Kingi, to assist in putting down the rebellion, and all through the campaign on the West and East Coasts made himself conspicuous for his pluck and determination. He always headed his tribe, and was the last to retire from the field. His individual acts of bravery were legion, yet he was superstitious to a degree. On one occasion Winiata was seen in the rear of his company instead of leading it, and being asked the reason, said he had a dream on the previous night that as he was leading he was shot through the hip bone, and he felt all the pain in his dream as if it were true. This idea was soon forgotten on the march, until Economedes, who was leading, was shot down, when Winiata rushed forward, and examining the wound, said, "My dream has saved my life. See, he is hit just where I dreamed I was, and had he not taken my place I should have been a dead man." At the attack on the entrenched position of Te Kooti, at Porere, where our forces had been repulsed several times in their attempt to carry it by storm, Winiata on the last attempt climbed to the top of the parapet, some twelve feet high, and stood there loading and discharging his rifle, shouting out in Maori, "The pa is taken," when a shot penetrated his forehead, and he dropped dead, just at the moment of victory. McDonnell was near at the time and covered his face with his handkerchief, and his company buried him in the bed of a running stream, so that his remains should never be discovered or disturbed by the enemy.
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LIEUTENANT C.A.M. HIRTZEL joined the colonial forces in 1863, and served in the Defence Force Cavalry until 1866; during which time he took part in the principal engagements on the East Coast of the North Island. Being on active service he first distinguished himself when attached to the expedition under Major Brassey, who was sent to avenge the murder of the Rev. Mr. Volkner and settlers of the Bay of Plenty. In 1865 he rejoined his old corps in the Poverty Bay district, and was soon after engaged at the attack on the strongholds of the Hauhaus at Waerenga-a-hika; and while repulsing a sortie of the enemy, received a serious wound in the leg. On the disbandment of the Defence Force, Lieutenant Hirtzel received a commission in the Wanganui Yeomanry Cavalry, and at the attack on Pungarehu by the force under the command of Lieut.-Colonel McDonnell, he was in charge of a detachment of dismounted men. In the middle of the engagement, during the heaviest of the fire, he was in the act of climbing over the palisading erected around the pa, when he was struck down by a bullet, which entered his body near to his spine, and lodged in his shoulder; which wound nearly proved fatal. The ball was extracted with some difficulty by Dr. Spencer, at that time surgeon of the 18th Royal Irish, but now of Napier. Soon after recovery he again presented himself for active service, and was present at the disastrous repulse of our forces at the second attack on the village of Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu, where so many of our officers fell. Lieutenant Hirtzel was particularly commended for his conduct at Pungarehu during the action, and for saving the life of a Maori woman just before receiving his wound.
LIEUTENANT HIRTZEL'S ACCOUNT OF TE NGUTU-O-TE-MANU.
After Hunter and Palmer were shot McDonnell gave the order for the retreat. Whether Von Tempsky ever knew of the order I cannot say, but I remained behind with Captains Buck and Hastings, some of the Wellington Rifles and Palmer's men being with us. Captain Roberts at this time was with Von Tempsky further in the bush; and while Buck, Hastings, and myself were consulting as to what was to be done, Roberts came up and reported Von Tempsky's
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death, and asked Captain Buck to send some men to bring the body out. Buck immediately started off with Roberts, but the latter returned after a while bringing in poor Buck's body. We then commenced a retreat through the bush, having with us some of the Native Contingent (Von Tempsky's), Armed Constabulary, and the Wellington Rifles (I do not recollect how many of each), with Captains Roberts, Hastings, Livingstone, and myself. We marched through the bush for some distance, and could distinctly hear the firing and shouting of the rebels following up McDonnell's party, when, as well as I can recollect, the men composing the Native Contingent, with the exception of two, left us, and it was a little time after they had left us that our party was fired upon. It was at this time that Hastings fell and Russell and others were wounded. Poor Hastings happened to be close to me when hit, and telling me of it, begged me not to mention the circumstance to his men. Private Dore, who was shot through the arm, and another man, who was shot through the mouth, marched with us for some distance, but eventually fell out. Owing to his enfeebled condition at the time I do not think there is much dependence to be placed on Dore's statement "that he could hear the screams of the wounded being roasted alive." Darkness soon closed in, and we halted until the moon rose. I remember hearing several revolver shots fired by, I suppose, some of the poor fellows we had left behind; also that I had laid myself down by the side of Livingstone and had fallen asleep, but was awakened by Livingstone clutching me by the throat and telling me to shut up. I had been dreaming, and in my dream had yelled out. We started again as the moon rose, and reached camp the next morning. I have no recollection of the exact time, but met Major Hunter, with tears in his eyes, coming out to look for his brother. I also remember the squeeze McDonnell gave my hand while remarking, "Hirtzel, old fellow, I thought you were gone."
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CAPTAIN HOWARD HUTTON joined the Otahuhu Volunteer Cavalry Troop in 1860, and served in all the events of the war up to 1865, when he left for the Cape, and took service in the Frontier Light Horse, under Lord Chelmsford, against the Zulus. He was mentioned in general orders, at Kambula, for his pluck in going to the front in the pursuit, where he acted as adjutant, and was highly complimented by Lord Chelmsford, Colonel J. North Crealock (Commander 95th Regiment), Brigadier-General Evelyn Wood, and Colonel Red vers Buller, who said in his despatches: "Captain Howard Hutton served under my command in the Frontier Light Horse from May, 1878, till August, 1879, during the latter part of the Kaffir war (1877-78), the operations against Sekukuni, in 1878, and throughout the Zulu war (1879). He was for the greater part adjutant of the Frontier Horse; but he latterly, at my request, undertook the duties of paymaster. In both positions, and throughout his service, he performed his duties thoroughly well." He is the possessor of the New Zealand and the South African medals and clasp.
The following testimonials from his commanding officers show the estimation in which Captain Hutton was held by them:--
[FROM LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BALNEAVIS.]
"AUCKLAND, January 9th, 1866.
"MY DEAR HUTTON,--As you are about to leave the colony, and have stated to me you might probably like to join some Volunteer force at home, I think it but right to testify to your having been appointed Lieutenant in April, 1860; Captain in July, 1863; and Acting Captain Commandant in January, 1864. We have had a good deal of official business to transact together, and I can state that I was always satisfied with the manner you conducted the duties.
"I have always considered you one of the best and most efficient officers in
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our Volunteer force. In this opinion I am aware your late lamented Commandant, Colonel Nixon, coincided with me.--Believe me, etc.
"H.C. BALNEAVIS, Lieut.-Colonel,
"Late Deputy Adjutant General of Militia and Volunteers, Auckland, New Zealand."
[FROM MAJOR-GENERAL T. GALLOWAY, C.B.]
"CANNAMORE, BALLINA, February 23rd, 1868.
"I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Captain Hutton in New Zealand in the early part of 1861, but when I was appointed to the command of the colonial forces in Auckland in July, 1863, I became more intimately acquainted with him. He was then a captain of the Otahuhu squadron of the Royal Cavalry Volunteers, an admirable force, in beautiful order, and which did good service in the field.
"Captain Hutton was a good officer, well acquainted with his duties, and, very deservedly, was placed in command of the squadron previous to my leaving New Zealand in 1865.
"I feel a great interest in this gentleman, and can honestly recommend him for any appointment he may solicit and for which he may be eligible.
"J.T. GALLOWAY, Major-General, "Late commanding the Colonial Forces in New Zealand."
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CAPTAIN G. MAIR.
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CAPTAIN G. MAIR.
Ambush in the East Coast campaign--The pursuit of Te Kooti--The rebel pas successfully stormed.
THIS distinguished young officer joined the first battalion 12th Regiment, under Colonel Haultain, as interpreter, at Tauranga, about November, 1866, and was present at several skirmishes with rebel natives. He had his horse shot under him at Whakamarama, on January 23, 1867. He took part in subsequent skirmishes at Irihanga, Whakamarama, Maeneene, Te Taumata, Oropi, Paengaroa, Pungarehu, and Te Kaki. At the last-named place he fell into an ambuscade laid by sixty Pirirakaus. All the friendly natives on that occasion ran, with the exception of Pani, who assisted his leader in killing two of the enemy, while Mair and his brave companion also succeeded in rescuing their wounded comrade, Mauparaoa. For these services, Colonel Haultain (then Defence Minister) promoted Mr. Mair on the field to the rank of lieutenant in the Auckland Militia, and praised him from personal observation, in his official despatch.
In 1868-69, he took part in various skirmishes against the rebel natives in the Bay of Plenty. On May 6, by direction of Colonel Whitmore, Lieutenant Mair led the attack on Harema Pa, Ahikereru. He was present in the fight at Tahoata, and in five or six other skirmishes in Ruatahuna; and for these services was commended by Colonel Whitmore in his despatches, although erroneously described as "Major" Mair. On the 7th May, 1870, with a small force he attacked Te Kooti, at Rotorua, pursued him all day, killing twenty of his men--Henare Rongo-whakaata, Timoti Te Kaka, and the notorious "Baker McLean" (Te Kooti's bugler) falling to his own rifle. For the last-mentioned services, he was promoted to the rank of captain, his commission dating from the engagement (7th February). On 19th August, 1871, Captain Mair led the Native Contingent into Te Kooti's
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Te Kooti's pa, near Maungapohatu, inflicting great loss on the enemy, and with his own hand killing Patara and Wi Heretaunga, two notorious desperadoes. When the Hon. Mr. Bryce, as Defence Minister, made his famous march against Parihaka, in 1881, Captain Mair was appointed Aide-de-Camp to Colonel Roberts, who commanded the forces. Since that time he has continued to hold civil appointments in various districts as Native Resident Magistrate and Land Purchase Commissioner.
I have seen a letter from the Hon. Sir George Whitmore, in which this gallant officer expresses his opinion that Sir Donald McLean should have recommended Captain Mair for the New Zealand Cross. Captain Mair has since obtained this distinction which he so bravely earned.
SERGEANT CARKEEK obtained the New Zealand Cross for his conspicuous bravery at Ohinemutu on the 7th of February, 1870. While the force under Lieut.-Colonel McDonnell was serving in the Patetere country, Te Kooti with his force came out of the bush on the farther side of the ranges and attacked Ohinemutu, where Captain Mair and some Arawas were posted. It being of the utmost importance that immediate notice of the same should be despatched to Colonel McDonnell, Sergeant Carkeek used every exertion to get natives to convey a note to him at Tapapa through the bush, but as no one could be found to incur the risk, Sergeant Carkeek determined to carry the note himself, and finding a native who knew the road, started at daylight, and arrived safely at Tapapa about three o'clock p.m., having travelled upwards of thirty miles through dense bush known to be in the occupation of the enemy, with the danger of being surprised at any moment, when certain death would have been his fate.
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JOHN GLASFURD CORBETT, eldest son of Major-General Sir Stuart Corbett, K.C.B., of the Bengal Army, came out to the Antipodes and settled down in Taranaki, the Garden of New Zealand, where he purchased of the Government a bush section, close to the confines of savage Maoridom. For nearly four years he worked on his farm, having the assistance of two English farm labourers he had brought out with him from the old country, when, seized with a desire for fresh fields and pastures new, he left this country for Australia, where, after going through all the phases of colonial life, viz., gold-digging, bullock-driving, timber-felling, stock-riding, etc., he offered his services to accompany Burke and Wills on their exploring expedition to the interior of Australia. His services were accepted, but want of camels so delayed their starting that in the meantime he went across to Dunedin with a cargo of horses, and there hearing of the outbreak in Taranaki started for the scene of action, determined to take part in it. Nine days after the first shot was fired he enrolled himself as a volunteer in Taranaki. In 1861 he obtained his commission as ensign, in 1862 as lieutenant, and in 1863 he had gained his company, and was present at Mahoetahi and at all the skirmishes in that district. He with eighty men made a night march and attacked the right flank of Kaitake, and held the key of the position while the troops attacked in front. For this service he received the thanks of General Cameron. Captain Corbett was then placed in charge of eighty-five military settlers and natives and ordered to take up a position at Tipoka, to turn the enemy's flank at Waikoukou. This could only be done by two nights' march through the forest, which he and his men accomplished, and for which he again was highly commended by General Sir Trevor Chute. Captain Corbett was educated for the East India Military Service, and while a member of the volunteer force of New Zealand, Colonel Gould, then commanding officer, offered to recommend him to the Horse Guards for a direct commission, which he declined. After the war terminated he met with an accident which deprived him of his right leg, and necessitated his retirement from military pursuits.
CAPTAIN ST. GEORGE.
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CAPTAIN ST. GEORGE.
CAPTAIN ST. GEORGE, a very promising young officer, lost his life at the battle of Porere, after doing good service, on the East Coast, under Major Biggs. His death was the cause of considerable grief in the camp, he being loved by both officers and men. It appears, from despatches received from Colonel McDonnell, that he met his death while gallantly leading on his men at the capture of the pa, having fallen mortally wounded on the plateau on which the pa was situated, in his attempt to reach it. He was buried in the pumice land, on the battle-field, wrapped in his blanket and waterproof sheet; and the story goes that some four years afterwards, his friends, wishing to have him buried in consecrated ground, sent up some natives to remove his bones, supplying them with a small coffin to pack them in. To the surprise of the party sent, on uncovering the body, they found it fresh as on the day it was buried.
The Maoris have a curious custom regarding their prisoners, which was carried out to the letter after the attack on Porere. In the engagement, several prisoners were taken, and all those belonging to tribes of any consequence were taken charge of by their nearest relations. But amongst the group was a very stout Maori woman, who had been severely wounded in the sole of her foot, and who could not lay claim to any tribe in particular; so to settle the question of ownership, she was put up to auction and knocked down to a native named Pokaika (Fox) for a horse valued at, £10. When laughed at for his bargain and told that she would run away on the first chance given her, old Pokaika exclaimed, "Don't you see, she will never be able to run with that wounded foot. I wanted just such a one to cook my potatoes for me." And the old warrior was right in his conjectures, for she has remained a faithful servant to him up to the present time.
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MAJOR VON TEMPSKY.
Formation of the Forest Rangers--Ambush at Mangapiko river-Distinguished service at Orakau--Badly treated by the Government--Subsequent services and death at Ngutu-o-te-Manu.
MAJOR VON TEMPSKY arrived in this colony from Central America (where he had passed through the eventful period consequent on civil warfare) just as the war had reached the Waikato district, and General Cameron, finding that the natives had established themselves in the wooded ranges between the Waikato and the settled districts south of Auckland, suggested to the Government the embodiment of a bush ranging force for Auckland similar to that so successfully employed at Taranaki, and the Government, in proceeding to raise this corps, accepted Major Von Tempsky's services as an ensign in August, 1863. The natives were then plundering the out-settlers' houses, and committing murders and every other atrocity unchecked. Hitherto it was thought by many that Europeans would be no match for natives in the bush; but these Maori advocates were soon silenced by the results, as the new force, the Forest Rangers, actually hunted the natives out of the unexplored and extensive forests. In this warfare Major Von Tempsky shone conspicuously. The Major's company of Forest Rangers was raised principally at his own expense, and from that day to the end of the war, his men, influenced by the determined spirit of their leader, rendered services of the most important character to the colony. The first act in which Ensign Von Tempsky distinguished himself personally was in the reconnaissance of the rebels' quarters at Paparata, which place he stole up to, with Sub-Inspector (now Lieut.-Colonel) McDonnell, in the middle of the night, and remained concealed for nearly forty-eight hours in a flax swamp, without food or water, surrounded by the enemy. This was a voluntary act, but it resulted in giving General Cameron accurate information and greatly assisted his movements. This act won for him the respect of the commanding officer in New Zealand, and established him in public confidence.
He continued to serve with credit to himself in the Waikato campaign, principally in separate command, until the rebel
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position of Paterangi was invested. Here he had an opportunity of distinguishing himself. He had taught his company a drill suited to the warfare they were engaged in, and which he had learnt during his career in Central America. The natives had planted an ambush, and attacked a body of soldiers, who had gone down to bathe in the Mangapiko River, a tributary of the Waipa, the result leading to one of the sharpest and best contested fights that had then taken place between the Imperial troops and the rebels, and in which encounter the rebels lost heavily. Reinforcements were sent up on both sides, and what began as an ambush attack and skirmish ended in something like a pitched battle and a complete rout to the natives. It was here that Major Heaphy so greatly distinguished himself, and on account of whose services the Premier urged his claims for the Victoria Cross. Major Von Tempsky here added to his laurels. Whilst the troops were posted on the left bank of the river, firing at the natives, who lay under cover of the high fern on the opposite bank, and kept up a constant and destructive fire upon our men, Von Tempsky crossed the river with his men, in the teeth of the enemy and exposed to their fire, armed only with revolvers and bowie knives, charged through the fern, and for a time were completely lost to sight; but they soon dislodged the enemy and emerged from the scrub carrying out a good many dead bodies of Maoris.
To Major Von Tempsky much of the success of that day was due, and his services were heartily acknowledged by Sir Henry Havelock and other Imperial officers. The next place we find Von Tempsky is at Orakau, where the pa was defended with such heroism by Rewi and his followers. During the action, it was necessary for Major Von Tempsky to take up a position commanding an angle of the works, to dislodge the natives. In doing so, he was compelled to lead his men between a heavy cross fire from the natives at almost point blank range. Exposed to a shower of bullets, he worked his way, now lying flat till the leaden shower passed over, now making a dash in advance, and again falling to avoid the Maori bullets. The point gained, and fire opened by the Rangers on the devoted garrison, the Maoris soon found their works untenable, and forthwith effected that brilliant retreat, glorious as sad in its consequences to the rebels. For his services on this occasion Von Tempsky received his majority. Major Von Tempsky was always sent on in advance of the troops in the Waikato, skirmishing and clearing away all obstacles; and this he did to the satisfaction of all Imperial officers.
The services of Von Tempsky, at Wanganui, and daring and successful expedition into the bush at Kakaramea, will not readily be forgotten. At a dinner given to him by the Premier, all there assembled endorsed the words of the head of Government: "That Major Von Tempsky had done more to raise the character of the colonial force than had been achieved by any officer during the war; that he was the great bulwark of the self-reliant policy;
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that he was the lion of the hour." But, like all the actions of Democratic Governments to their servants, civil or military, it lasted but the hour, as the next day he received written instructions to proceed to Waiapu and place himself and men under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Fraser. This he considered unjust to himself. That a junior officer, of but recent standing in the colonial force, should be promoted over his head, entirely overlooking his own individual services, was more than he could bear, and he immediately sent in his resignation, the effect of which action was that his men actually refused to proceed without him. The Government declined to accept his resignation, and as his men were fast drifting into open mutiny, sent Lieutenant Westrupp from the Defence Office with a request to the Major that he would proceed to the wharf and induce his men to go on board. This he declined to do, and Lieutenant Westrupp, whose conduct throughout was deserving of praise, obtained the command of the company, paraded the men, and called for volunteers, telling them that all those who remained behind would obtain their discharge. This appeal was not ineffectual, as about thirty-eight proceeded on board the Lord Ashley, which had been detained in harbour by order of the Government. In the meantime, Major Von Tempsky received a visit from one of the Ministry, to try and alter his determination, and being asked if he would proceed to Napier, without further delay, and report himself to his commanding officer, he further pressed his resignation on the Government, who immediately ordered him under close arrest, depriving him of his sword. This was his reward for nearly three years' service in the colony.
Lieut.-Colonel Fraser was at that time a very young man who had held an ensign's commission in the Imperial army, and came out to New Zealand in 1864, bringing with him letters of introduction from influential people at home. He was in consequence gazetted to a command in the New Zealand Militia, and ordered to Napier. He was sent up to Waiapu, to assist the chief Morgan, who was fighting against odds on behalf of Her Majesty; and at the head of a European detachment, aided by friendly natives, Fraser rushed a native pa in the most gallant style, and inflicted heavy loss on the enemy. This occurred about two months before, and was the chief service Fraser had then rendered, and for which he was made Lieut.-Colonel, while Major Von Tempsky, recollecting his own superior services, considered that he could not, with respect to himself and his brother officers of rank and long service, do otherwise than resign. Von Tempsky eventually withdrew his resignation, and served at Wanganui, although he had little chance of further distinguishing himself, being always under the orders of his superior officer, until he fell at Ruaruru, or Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu, lamented by all who knew him. The following was contributed by a friend of the late Major's:--
"The late officer was by birth a Prussian, and descended from a noble family. His brother is a colonel in the Prussian army, and
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was wounded in the campaign between Prussia and Denmark. Major Von Tempsky was a soldier born, and from his earliest youth was a wanderer over all nations. He was also a man of great literary attainments, and an expert linguist. His book of travels in South America is still read by the literati with intense interest. His youth, after service as an officer of Prussian Hussars, was spent chiefly in South America, and afterwards on the Californian and Melbourne goldfields; and his adventures in these places, as told by himself, have beguiled many a weary hour with his comrades over the picquet fires, during the campaign in the North Island.
"After the first advance of Her Majesty's troops beyond Drury, in 1863, the want of a body of bush-scourers was sadly felt, and Major Von Tempsky offered his services to raise a body of men, similar in equipment and tactics to those used by the South American Government against the Indians. His offer was accepted, and a reference to the files of the Auckland papers will show the immense service this corps, under his command, was to the Government. At Orakau, he was on the storming party, and the ready manner in which he brought his men into action to intercept the escape of the natives will never be forgotten by those engaged. After the suspension of hostilities in the Waikato district, Major Von Tempsky's services were again in requisition to accompany Major-General Chute in his famous overland campaign to Taranaki. In this he was under fire two or three times. When Colonel Hassard fell, Von Tempsky was there, and our beloved and respected general's order, '57th, advance! Forest Rangers, clear the bush!' will never be forgotten. He, after the campaign was over, returned to Auckland to recruit, and passed a short time with his family. Having resided some little time in Coromandel, he returned to Auckland, and devoted his time to literature and painting. His pictures of some of the most exciting scenes in the Maori war have elicited the highest commendation. When the Armed Constabulary was formed he accepted an inspectorship; how well he performed his duty, has been lately before us, and so fresh in our memory, that it is needless for me to comment on it. He is now gone and I will say no more. I see that the account of his death says, 'Von Tempsky is dead, but he nobly fell in battle.' I know all his old comrades will feel certain of this. His death is a national loss; although an alien, he zealously fought for the British flag, and, whether as a soldier or citizen, was universally beloved and respected. He has left a widow and three infant children as a legacy to his adopted country. As a husband and father, no man could have been more anxious and solicitous for the welfare of his wife and children, or more domestic in his habits; and to have seen him playing with his little ones at home, or attending to his flower garden, or painting, no one would have guessed him to be the terrible Von Tempsky, the terror of the Maori warriors of the Waikato, East Coast, and Taranaki."
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