1887 - Gudgeon, T. W. The Defenders of New Zealand - [Pages 336-365]

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  1887 - Gudgeon, T. W. The Defenders of New Zealand - [Pages 336-365]
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LIEUTENANT FRANK STANDISH was one of the early settlers of Taranaki, and in the pursuit of colonial farming, was soon efficient as a good shot, a fearless rider, and had gained a thorough knowledge of bush life. At the outbreak of hostilities, he took up arms to defend himself and family; and, early in the year 1860, just after the burning of the Waitara Pa by the natives, Governor Gore Browne entrusted him with important dispatches to convey to Wellington, a distance of 270 miles through the enemy's country, which he accomplished in the short space of three days; the only places on the route where the natives showed any signs of stopping him being at Waihi and Patea. He spent his first night between Manawapou and Patea, amongst a large party of armed natives, camped in the open country, considering he was safer there, and less likely to be attacked alone amongst a number, than if pursued by a few. He reached Wanganui about 11 a.m. the following day, after which all went smoothly, and he eventually reached Wellington, and delivered his dispatches.

He was present and took part in the battle of Waireka, and accompanied Colonel Gold's expedition to Warea, and was afterwards with General Pratt at Mahoetahi, where he crossed the river with the friendly chief Mahau, to try and ascertain the probable number of natives located there. When within one hundred yards they were fired upon, and, upon reporting the same to Colonel Carey, he immediately advanced, and destroyed the pa. Standish was then ordered to Kihi with General Pratt, and discovering some rifle-pits close to the pa, was only just in time to save the lives of the force under Colonel Carey, who, after firing a few shots, marched into an empty pa.

The carrying of these dispatches through the enemy's country, at this period of the outbreak, was one of the most daring things of the war.


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SERGT.-MAJOR CHRISTOPHER MALING earned the New Zealand Cross for the valuable and efficient services he rendered as sergeant of the corps of guides on many occasions, and especially in going out to scout in advance with three men (two of whom were shot on the morning of the 26th February, 1869), by which an intended ambuscade was discovered, and many lives saved. And for a long reconnaissance with two men of the corps of guides (which lasted two nights and days) in advance, to ascertain the direction of Titokowaru's retreat after he had evacuated Tauranga-ika. This service was a most daring one, and of the utmost importance to the force, as intelligence was thus obtained which in no other way could have been procured.

From the moment of Maling volunteering for field service until he left--on conclusion of the war--he was conspicuous for his cool pluck and dash. He was much liked by his companions in arms, and never led them into any difficulty he did not share with them.

Many years ago Maling's parents, brothers, and sisters were murdered by the natives, the memory of which sad event appeared to be always present before him, urging him on to avenge their deaths. At the end of the war, Maling was engaged by the Government to construct telegraph lines through some of the roughest parts of New Zealand, at which work he was eminently successful. Mr. Maling is now in Japan, where he holds a post of some responsibility under the Government of that country.

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Some incidents of the Crimean war--The relief of Pipiriki--Resident Magistrate at Upper Wanganui--Expedition up Waitotara river--Pacification of Patea.

MAJOR NOAKE, when only sixteen, left his boarding school for the ranks of a cavalry regiment then quartered in the South of Ireland, where he witnessed the painful scenes caused by the famine of 1847 and 1848, and was in Tipperary during Smith O'Brien's escapade, as also in Yorkshire during the Chartist riots. The war with Russia took his regiment to the East, where it formed a portion of the heavy brigade of cavalry. After serving some time in Bulgaria, where the regiment suffered severely from cholera, they were sent to the Crimea, took part in the siege of Sebastopol, and were present at the three Balaclava episodes--viz., (1) The unsuccessful defence of the advanced redoubt by the Turkish troops, when his regiment supported. In this affair there were many casualties; amongst them the Major's horse was wounded and his sword-scabbard broken by a bursting shell. (2) The charge of the Heavy Brigade and repulse of the Russian attack upon Balaclava, in which the Major took part, and assisted afterwards in taking prisoners. (3) The celebrated charge of the Light Brigade, whose attack was supported by Major Noake's regiment, the Scots Greys. While thus engaged the regiment suffered terribly from the heavy fire of the enemy. Major Noake had his sword knocked out of his hand, his revolver torn from his side, and his leg smashed. It was an unfortunate day for him, as, although he received the distinguished conduct in the field medal for his action therein, his wound caused him to be invalided home and discharged. Prior to this his promotion had been rapid, though so young, that his future would have been assured had he remained with his regiment in the Crimea. Some time after he was presented with a commission in his own country militia regiment, then embodied by the Lord-Lieutenant, and subsequently obtained his lieutenancy therein. He afterwards obtained permission and was attached to the garrison for qualification for a commission as riding master, and was appointed to the Military Train. A few months only elapsed when the mutiny in India broke out, which caused the King's Dragoon Guards to be suddenly ordered to India to assist in its

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suppression, and the riding master of the regiment obtaining his captaincy, Major Noake was appointed to the vacant post, and soon found himself with his new regiment in Calcutta, with every appearance of abundant active service, but was disappointed by being ordered to Madras, where they took no part in the stirring events beyond the disarming a mutinous native cavalry regiment. The climate soon caused his old wound to break out again, and undergoing an operation, he was for the second time invalided and transferred to a home regiment, until he ultimately left the service, and in 1863 came out to this colony. Finding the war in the Waikato was likely to continue, he applied for service and was appointed captain of militia and transferred to the Wellington Defence Force, which company as adjutant he materially assisted in organising. Major Noake afterwards commanded the force stationed in Rangitikei, which command he retained until it was disbanded, when the Major was appointed Resident Magistrate of Upper Wanganui district, succeeding Mr. White in that office. In his magisterial capacity he attached himself to the expedition sent to the relief of Pipiriki. He relieved Mr. Booth in the magistracy of Rangitikei, and was offered that of Raglan, which private affairs of his own in Rangitikei obliged him to decline. In 1868, the war having been brought to the doors of the Wanganui settlers, the commanding officer obtained his assistance as adjutant. On one occasion, having taken despatches to Colonel Whitmore, and finding him just about to attack Moturoa, he offered his services and that of his escort of Wanganui Cavalry, and consequently was by accident present at that disastrous affair. The command of the district being now given to Major Noake, he conducted an expedition up the Waitotara River after rebel natives. The force took three days' rations only, but were away eleven days, and received the thanks of the Government for the manner in which the expedition had been conducted, without tents, transport or commissariat, but that taken from the enemy. He afterwards searched the Whenuakura and Patea Rivers, which resulted in the capture of the Pukekohe tribe, with their chief, Tauroa, and the despatch to Dunedin of 180 prisoners. For this service he was again complimented by the Government, and employed in the re-pacification of the Patea district, the object being to get the outsettlers back again on their land. Major Noake occupied Waihi with a garrison of Ngatiporou, built blockhouses, and was appointed Resident Magistrate, and entrusted with the construction of roads, etc. When these duties were successfully accomplished, and the district re-settled and prosperous, he was relegated to Wanganui. Te Whiti's action creating alarm by ploughing up the settlers' land his military abilities were again called into action, and he was dispatched to Patea to take measures for its defence in organising and arming the settlers, and retained the command until the termination of the disturbance, which ended in Te Whiti being taken prisoner.

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SIR WALTER L. BULLER, eldest son of one of out earliest missionaries, was born in New Zealand, consequently received his early education in this colony, and went Home to complete his studies. Before his return to the colony he obtained his degree as Doctor of Science, and was called to the Bar of the Inner Temple. He has since practised his profession as a barrister and solicitor, besides devoting himself to literature and science. He has been created a Knight of St. Michael and St. George, and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. At the time of the West Coast campaign he was stationed at Wanganui as Resident Magistrate of that district, and had special charge of native affairs. At the taking of the Wereroa Pa in July, 1865, he as a volunteer accompanied Sir George Grey from Wanganui, and was present at the operations before that stronghold. He rode with His Excellency and others to within ten paces of the outer palisades, behind which the Maori rifle-pits were lined with barking fanatics, who covered the Governor's party with their guns, while the parley was proceeding, waiting only for the order to fire. On the night of the capture of the pa he undertook to carry from the camp to Wanganui some important despatches from the Commander-in-chief, relating to the complications that had arisen from the investment of Pipiriki, and the rising of the natives on the East Coast, which service he performed at considerable personal risk; as, without an escort, he rode alone at midnight many miles through the enemy's country. Sir George Grey, in referring to this act, spoke of it as "carrying despatches under circumstances of danger;" and Lieut.-Colonel Rooke, the officer in command of the district, in his despatch, described it as "an act of conspicuous personal courage, and a service which, in the Imperial army, would have been rewarded by some special mark of distinction." He afterwards, by order of the Governor, proceeded to Wellington with about one hundred Maori prisoners of war, whom he handed over to the authorities;

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and when, in the following year, these prisoners made their escape from the hulk, he organised an armed party of Maori volunteers, and scoured the Ruahine Ranges in pursuit, receiving for this prompt and zealous service the official thanks of the Government, General Sir Trevor Chute has also placed on record his acknowledgment of Sir W.L. Buller's services in furnishing valuable native information before the commencement of his memorable campaign of 1866.

In one of the first engagements with the enemy Major (now Colonel) McDonnell, at the head of the Native Contingent, got severely wounded in the foot, and was reported disabled; whereupon Sir W.L. Buller, who is a first-class Maori linguist, promptly wrote to the Government, and volunteered for active service in his stead, believing that his knowledge of, and influence with, the natives would be of special use to the general. His offer was favourably received, but McDonnell, although suffering intense and personal inconvenience from his wound, gallantly refused to relinquish the command.

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CAPTAIN H.A. LOMAX was sent from the civil department, with which he was connected at Wellington, by Sir William Fox, to join Colonel McDonnell at Taupo, in his campaign against Te Kooti in November, 1869; the colonel having applied for trustworthy officers to accompany him. Soon after his arrival, on 24th January, 1870, he was present at the attack on the camp at Tapapa, at the head of the waters of the Thames River, where he distinguished himself by his coolness while under a heavy cross-fire, and subsequently in a skirmish at the foot of the ranges separating Waikato from the Lake Country; the force having been attacked on the march. The fire of the enemy was very sharp while it lasted, but the troops soon drove them off, with the loss of five killed and one prisoner. The force then moved on to Tauranga and Maketu, a most toilsome march through heavy bush up to Opotiki. On the force arriving at Tauranga a long discussion was held by the friendly natives as to the propriety of giving up the stern chase after a flying enemy, and one of the principal chiefs tried hard to persuade the Wanganuis to return; but old Governor Paipai, ever on the right side, sprang to his feet, and combatted his arguments by declaring that those men who feared a little hardship were cowards; and, pointing to Captain Morrison, Lieutenant Lomax, and the other thirty Europeans with McDonnell, said, "Even though you go back, these men will not." Nothing will so stimulate a Maori to action as the fear of resting under an imputation of cowardice, and the march was resumed. Presently a new earthwork was discerned, but whether occupied by our men or the rebels it was impossible to say. Shortly after the sound of musketry was heard, and bullets whistled through the air in all directions. This lasted for half-an-hour and suddenly ceased, to the great relief of the Wanganuis, who could not possibly understand it, no enemy being seen engaging the men holding the redoubt; and it was equally evident the fire was not

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intended for them. To ascertain who the strangers were was now a service of considerable danger, for, whether friendly or otherwise, they would be sure to fire on any scouts seen; but the attempt had to be made, and forty Wanganuis, led by Lieutenant Lomax, were sent out to do it, Captain Morrison being at the time disabled, owing to having staked his leg. These men crawled up to within a short distance of the redoubt in true Maori fashion, unseen by the supposed enemy, and, to their astonishment, found the redoubt to be manned by a mixed force of Europeans and friendly Maoris, under Colonel Fraser, whom they could distinctly make out. How Fraser got there puzzled them, as they supposed him to be at Rotorua, guarding the passes to the Uriwera country. The only difficulty now was to make themselves known without being fired upon, when Lieutenant Lomax again undertook the duty, feeling assured he would not be taken for a Hauhau; but he had forgotten his bush-ranging costume, and the sentry had actually covered him with his rifle, and would have fired, but for the intervention of Sub-Inspector Withers, to whom Lomax may be said to owe his life. For his services Lomax was promoted to the rank of captain, and received the New Zealand war medal at the close of the war.

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Engagement near Wereroa Pa--Besieged at Peperiki--Command of the Native Contingent--Services under General Chute.

MAJOR GUDGEON entered the service, at Wanganui, as a very young man, just as the rebellion had reached that district, and from his knowledge of the Maori language and the drilling he had previously received at Taranaki, he was at once placed in the Native Contingent, as sergeant-major of that branch of the service. The first time he was under fire was while occupying the Karaka heights, the morning prior to the taking of the Wereroa Pa. Just before daybreak, Colonel McDonnell, taking with him Captain Wirihana, Sergt.-Major Gudgeon, and three or four of his men, started on a reconnoitring expedition, and had not proceeded far when they heard voices in the valley below, which they soon discovered was the village of Areiahi, containing several large whares, some of which were seemingly full of armed natives on their way to the defence of the Wereroa. It was still quite dark, and without waiting for the main body to come up, which the Colonel had hurriedly despatched a messenger for, he descended the hill and, approaching the large Runanga whare, called upon the natives inside to surrender, when a reply came in the shape of a bullet much too near McDonnell and his small party to be pleasant. This caused the Colonel to call out that any further action on their part was useless, as they were quite surrounded, that he would give them five minutes to lay down their arms, and that if another shot was fired he would blow the whare to pieces. This speech seemingly had the desired effect as no further demonstration was made, and the five minutes having expired, Captain Wirihana approached the door of the whare, and pushing it back, the sergeant-major crawled in on his hands and knees and demanded their arms. The natives denied having any, when on turning up the fern around the inside walls, 42 guns, mostly double-barrelled, were discovered, with the ammunition, which he handed out to Captain Wirihana, thereby disarming them. The force sent for was by this time coming down the hill, and the prisoners were handed over to them, and next day marched into town and shipped off to Wellington.

For this action he gained his commission. Two days after he

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took part in the relief of Peperiki, a post sixty miles up the Wanganui River, which was besieged by Pehi Turoa, an Upper Wanganui chief, with several hundreds of his followers. He accompanied the native contingent, as second in command, to Opotiki, and was present in every engagement at Kiore Kino, the Hill Pas, and Waimana, where he surprised the notorious Kereopa (the eye swallower) with his twelve apostles, killing two of the party. He accompanied Sir Trevor Chute in his campaign of 1866, and was present at both attacks on Okotuku, and in the valley fight of Putahi, for which he was promoted to his lieutenancy, but unfortunately, while in the act of preparing for the next morning's fight, his revolver accidentally exploded, the charge passing through his thigh, which incapacitated him for the remainder of that campaign. On recovering from his wound, he was appointed to the command of the Native Contingent at Peperiki, where he remained until recalled to the Patea, where he took part in all the engagements fought in that district, with the exception of the disastrous one of Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu, being on that occasion left in charge of the camp. He served both under Colonels McDonnell and Whitmore during the West Coast campaign against Titokowaru, leading the Native Contingent throughout, their services ending in the severe action at Moturoa, where Colonel Whitmore encountered the full strength of the West Coast tribes under Titokowaru.

He followed Te Kooti into the fastnesses of the Uriwera country, and at the termination of the war was appointed Resident Magistrate at Gisborne. He was again recalled to take the command of his company during the disturbance at Parihaka, and was left in charge of the district of Manaia until April, 1885, when he gained his majority, and was placed in command of the land forces at Wellington (the seat of Government). A few months later, Colonel Reader, the Under-Secretary of Defence, finding his health giving way, applied for six months' leave of absence, and Major Gudgeon was appointed to take his place in the meantime.

Colonel Sir George Whitmore, in his despatch of the 7th November, 1868, thus speaks of this officer's conduct at Moturoa: "Captain Gudgeon and Mr. E. McDonnell, in charge of the Native Contingent, who, though unable to bring on their men, followed Kempt to the field, and shared the honour which he has won."


On the morning of the second attack on Okotuku, under General Chute, the three guides, namely, Lieutenant Gudgeon, Captain William McDonnell, and the brave Winiata, were some distance ahead of the attacking force, and not being aware that the main body had halted for a few minutes before ascending to the plateau on which the pa was situate, continued to advance until within twenty yards of the palisading, when they received a volley which

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caused them to adopt Major Von Tempsky's drill in bush warfare, namely, to throw themselves flat on the ground. The force had just arrived on the brow of the hill at the time, and witnessing the manoeuvre thought at least they were either killed or severely wounded. But, in an instance, they were up again, and making for a potato-pit close by, had just time to throw themselves in before receiving the second volley. General Chute asked Colonel McDonnell what the devil they were about, when the Colonel answered he supposed they were going to take the pa. The General, enjoying the joke, ordered the advance at the double, and some of the natives, who had come out of the pa to intercept the guides' retreat, had to scamper back again quickly. As the force advanced the guides came out of their cover, and joining with the troops rushed the pa, which soon fell into our hands, but not without some heavy casualties.


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CONSTABLE HENARE KEPA obtained the New Zealand Cross for his gallant conduct during the attack on the enemy's position at Moturoa. The storming party, failing to find an entrance, passed round to the fear of the pa, when Constable Kepa climbed to the top of the palisades erected around the fortifications to reconnoitre the position, and in doing so was shot through the lungs, yet he nevertheless walked out of action and brought his arms into camp.

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MAJOR GORING, at the age of sixteen, volunteered as a private in the third company of the 1st Waikato Regiment, and during the winter of 1863 was in active service under Lieut.-Colonel (then Major) Lyon at the Wairoa. In September, 1863, he received an ensign's commission in Pitt's Four Hundred, and remained with them about six months. He was then appointed an officer in Her Majesty's Transport Corps, in which he served two years, being present at most of the engagements that took place in the Waikato under General Cameron. He subsequently joined the Flying Column, under General Chute, which marched round the foot of Mount Egmont, and shortly alter rejoined his regiment, then quartered in the Bay of Plenty district. He was present and took part in three engagements inland of Tauranga, under Colonel Harrington, and remained with his regiment until it was disbanded, receiving the compensation land allotted to him by the Government. In September, 1867, he was gazetted as Sub-Inspector of Armed Constabulary, but did not join for some months afterwards. He was then despatched to Opotiki, and saw service in the Uriwera country, under Colonels St. John and Fraser, being for a time attached to their divisions, until placed in charge of a native contingent. When Titokowaru's rebellion broke out in 1868 he was ordered to Waihi, and was present at the second attack on Te-Ngutu-o-te-Manu, in which engagement our forces were worsted. During the retreat, while showing a comrade the track Colonel McDonnell had taken, he got separated from his company, and finding himself cut off by the natives he had to follow on the same route. On coming up with the rear of Colonel McDonnell's party he found Captain Rowan seriously wounded and being carried out on a stretcher. He immediately volunteered his services as one of the bearers, the number around him being but few. While taking his share of this duty the natives twice got between them and the main body, but retired after a brisk skirmish and the loss of one of his men.

Colonel Whitmore soon. after assuming the command, Major Goring (he had obtained his majority for his services at Te Ngutu) was present in the many skirmishes which took place at that time with the enemy, as also at the battle of Moturoa, where he had charge of No. 1 division of Armed Constabulary. Here our forces

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had again to retire, and the Major being in command of the rearguard, he was one of the last to leave the bush, having to stand the brunt of a very heavy fire from the rebels the whole way out. On reaching Wanganui news arrived of the massacre at Poverty Bay, and he and his company were ordered off to avenge the deaths of the many settlers, their wives and children, who fell on that sad occasion. He was afterwards present at the taking of Ngatapa, and in the various skirmishes with Te Kooti in that district under Colonel Whitmore. Returning to the West Coast, he was present at several engagements where loss of life ensued, including that of Otauto, where the natives suffered a terrible defeat. He was afterwards placed in charge of the Waihi redoubt, when he obtained his majority in the New Zealand Militia.

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GENERAL METE KINGI was ever a staunch friend of the Europeans. From first to last during the troubles that arose from the Maori war, his influence and help were freely given to the colonists, and right good and loyal were his services to the Crown during the governorship of Sir George Grey. At the time when the Wanganui European corps and the loyal natives were assembled before the Wereroa Pa, that stronghold of fanatics and murderers, the news was brought to camp late one evening, that the safety of the villages and settlements on the lower Wanganui was in danger. This was exciting news to our natives, who, almost to a man, were for striking camp and rushing to protect their wives and families. Much excitement prevailed in our quarters. Sir George Grey sent for Mete Kingi to his marquee, saying, "Mete, let us first take this Wereroa Pa, and afterwards we will go to the relief of Pipiriki. This is but a ruse of the enemy to cause you and me to abandon the taking of this noted place. The Europeans at Pipiriki are brave men, and will defeat their foes," etc. Nobly did Mete respond to this speech, and ordered the Wanganuis to remain. Information almost impossible to obtain now poured in, and Sir George Grey so matured his plan, that in twenty-four hours fifty-six Hauhaus were prisoners to the colonial forces, and the Wereroa Pa handed over by Sir George Grey to the Imperial troops, much to the disgust, by the way, of Mete Kingi and others, who wished it to be occupied by colonial men. For this assistance, Mete Kingi and the Wanganuis received the well deserved thanks of the Governor, and the title of general was conferred on Mete Kingi, which made him quite a lion in his tribe.

General Mete Kingi then, with the Wanganuis, joined the European force under Major Rookes, and all went up the river in canoes to the relief of the garrison at Pipiriki. After this expedition, the influence of Mete Kingi was necessary to induce the Wanganuis to go to Opotiki, and at length Mete and the Wanganuis accompanied the expeditionary force under the command of Major Brassey and Stapp in the steamer Stormbird to Opotiki, where they took part in every fight, and did good service. From Opotiki the Wanganuis, still commanded by their

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native general, returned to Wanganui to assist General Sir Trevor Chute in his West Coast campaign.

The Wanganuis gave valuable assistance to General Chute in penetrating the dense forest inland of Mount Egmont, where the railway now runs. A nice jungle it was then. Sir Trevor Chute speaks in high terms of the valuable aid he received at this time from Mete Kingi and others in his despatches. Then came Titokowaru's raid in 1868, when that notorious rebel neared the town of Wanganui and threatened to burn and sack it over the heads of its inhabitants, at the time when the majority of the European force was absent with Colonel Whitmore at Ngatapa, who again came forward with his influence, but Mete Kingi Paetahi? Europeans are apt to forget, in these piping times of peace, the services rendered in war. Others again are in ignorance of the services rendered by this old man, now no more. But those services deserve honourable mention in the history of New Zealand. Farewell, Mete Kingi! Peace to your ashes! You were kind and gentle to all. Aaere atu ra! Mete never affected to be a warrior. He was essentially a man of peace. He swayed his people with kindness, and preferred the suaviter in modo to the fortiter in re.

I do not suppose there ever lived a chief who was better or more favourably known throughout the country than the late Mete Kingi. For generosity and hospitality his name has become a proverb amongst the New Zealand tribes. He was close and careful in his own family, which earned him the name of being mean; but he was not so really. He set his face against drunkenness, and blamed the pakeha law that allows people to drink and then punishes the drinker. "Why not," said he, "prohibit the sale of it?" Mete passed away full of years and honours at his pa at Putikiwharanui.

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