PART II. GENERAL HISTORY AND NORTHERN CAMPAIGNS.
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GENERAL HISTORY AND NORTHERN CAMPAIGNS.
SECT. I.-- GENERAL HISTORY TO 1844.
1642. 1 First visit of a European, Tasman, a Dutch naval officer, sighted, but did ot lan.
1769 Captain Cook's first visit.He took possession for Great Britain; same year De Surville (French) visited New Zealand, and also took possession.
1772. Captain Cook's second voyage, in which he paid three visits to New Zealand.
1777. Captain Cooks third voyage, in which he visited New Zealand.
1791. Captain Vancouver visited New Zealand; and about this time the whalers began o frequent the coast
1814. Rev. Mr. Marsden, a Church of England missionary at Sydney, established a ission at the Bay of Islands; and Governor Macquarrie, of New South Wales, appointed Mr. Kendal as a British magistrate at same place.
1822. Wesleyan Mission established at Hokianga. For ten years about this time, he chief, Hongi, was the head man in the country all about the Bay of Islands, and carried his wars as far south as Lake Taupo; and the natives began to obtain firearms.
1831. In consequence of the quarrels between the whalers and natives, the natives of he Bay of Islands petitioned Great Britain for protection (at the suggestion of the missionaries).
1833, 1834, 1835, 1836, 1838. In consequence, Mr. Busby was sent by the governor of New South Wales to the Bay of Islands as Resident; and a sort of protectorate was established, the national flag of New Zealand being acknowledged by Great Britain, and a declaration of independence signed by the chiefs at the Bay of Islands, under the direction of the missionaries. But soon after some of the missionaries petitioned for greater protection, the native rule being too weak. Speculators from Sydney began to purchase vast tracts of land, twice and three times over, comprising altogether more than the whole islands. The English at the Bay of Islands formed themselves into a government, owing to the want of law, there being then about two thousand English in all New Zealand.
1840. When, in consequence of the representation of all these things, the British Government sent out Captain Hobson, R. N., in January, 1840, who, in accordance with his instructions, held a meeting of the natives at the Bay of Islands, and got the signature of the chiefs of that part to the treaty of Waitangi, which gave over the sovereignty and the priority of the purchase of land to the Crown of England. There was a strong discussion about this treaty; but no force was used, and many
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1. GENERAL HISTORY.
chiefs in all parts of New Zealand afterwards signed it. The sovereignty of the Crown was declared, and has never been denied by any large party among the natives.
A Royal Charter was sent out, constituting New Zealand a British colony. Captain Hobson first established his seat of government at the Bay of Islands; but in November, 1840, moved it to Auckland, where he purchased land from the natives, and resold it to the speculators, shop-keepers, and settlers, who flocked in great numbers from Sydney.
In August, 1839, the Tory arrived at Port Nicholson, in Cook's Straits, with Colonel Wakefield, the agent of the New Zealand Company, who sent him out without the consent of the British Government, and he, in accordance with his instructions, made treaties with the natives, and got the signatures of some of the chiefs of the tribes on both sides of Cook's Straits to the purchase of a tract of country extending from a line drawn across the island, at about latitude 39°, to a line across the middle island, at about latitude 42°.
In January, the settlers arrived from England, and the town of Wellington was established. But some of the natives began immediately to repudiate their bargain with Colonel Wakefield, and would only allow the settlers to occupy some land about Port Nicholson; and had frequent quarrels about parts of even that: and the purchase of the Wellington block was not satisfactory concluded till 1848.
In March, the first New Plymouth settlers arrived at that place. The Plymouth Company in England bought 50,000 acres from the New Zealand Company, and their surveyor, Mr. Carrington, selected the site. But the natives there began immediately to repudiate their bargain with the New Zealand Company, and would only allow the settlers to occupy about 3,000 acres: and the purchase of the whole 50,000 has never yet been satisfactorily concluded.
In the autumn of this year Nelson was founded. The settlers bought land from the New Zealand Company in England, and Captain A. Wakefield was sent out to select a site, and fixed it at Wakatu, in Blind Bay. But the natives of the place repudiated their bargain with the New Zealand Company; and the purchase was not satisfactorily concluded till 1846: however, being few, they made no hostile opposition. But when the Nelson settlers proposed to occupy the Wairau valley as part of their purchase from the company, then some of the tribes on the north side of Cook's Straits, who claimed a right over it, came over and opposed the occupation.
In this year also the first settlers occupied Wanganui (or Petre), as part of the Wellington settlement; but the natives there also repudiated their bargain with Colonel Wakefield, and would only allow the settlers to occupy the site of the town: and the purchase was not satisfactorily concluded till 1848.
It appears evident, from the opposition of so many of the natives at these four different settlements commencing immediately on their establishment, that Colonel Wakefield did not take sufficient pains to satisfy the natives in purchasing such an immense tract as he endeavoured to do; for it evidently requires a long time and great pains to purchase land from natives, such as the New Zealanders have been described to be in the former part of this paper. But he continually refused to have further treaty with them, and the dissatisfied part of the natives continually opposed the settlers endeavouring to locate themselves; and it finally ended in a war at Wellington in 1846, and at Wanganui in 1847.
In June this year, the colonial government at Auckland passed a law, establishing a commission for inquiring into the purchases of land by British subjects previous
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1. GENERAL HISTORY.
to the treaty of Waitangi. All the purchases in the north were examined before this commission: some were rejected, and no person was allowed to retain more than 2,560 acres. There was no serious or continued opposition on the part of the natives in the north to the purchases of the Crown, or, after the decision of the commission, to the other purchases. The purchases of the New Zealand Company were also examined before the commission.
In May, 1840, 2 Major Bunbury and 100 men, 80th regiment, arrived from Sydney, being the first British troops that arrived in New Zealand. Lieutenant Lugard, R. E. followed them. These troops were sent on the application of Captain Hobson. A detachment of them were stationed at the first capital, Russell, in a small temporary house; and the remainder at the second capital, Auckland. In September, 1840, another company was sent from Sydney to Auckland.
Now here appears to me to have been one of the most serious errors in the formation of the Colony, and which assisted materially in bringing about its great difficulties. When the Home Government had finally decided that New Zealand should be colonised, they should have taken care that on the first establishment of military force in it the strength of that force should have been amply sufficient to overawe the natives; they should have been well equipped for the peculiar service, and well provided with means for establishing themselves in a defensible position, such as would serve as a citadel for the capital. At that time, as Major Bunbury well expressed it, the natives had "an almost superstitious dread of encountering the military." 3 "The least cheek would dissolve the charm;" and "the natives are well provided with muskets and ammunition;" and "the efforts of the Government and clergy tending to allay the jealousy and rivalry of tribes," would also, by combining them more together, "expose the European population to greater danger," and further, "the nature of the service requires an equipment somewhat different from that required by an ordinary detachment of infantry;" he further volunteers "to make a descent on any part of the coast with 100 men;" that is, properly equipped. I do not think he would have volunteered to march into the interior with 500 men followed by the ordinary baggage-train of a regular force.
But New Zealand was yet of small importance in the British empire, and its necessities and wants were not understood: instead of this proper equipment and strength, they were sent one company at a time, and without means to form a military post. Captain Lugard states "he had about twenty-five men from the 80th as artificers;" he was obliged to build "a rustic block-house at Russell, temporary, and not bullet-proof," owing to "the extreme paucity of means." 4
Again, at Auckland, "we had no assistance from Sydney in the shape of materials. I had to make shingles and bricks--fell and saw timber--burn shells for lime-- collect scoria for building--and none but soldiers to work with, and only handcarts and a boat. I had no authority to purchase materials or employ civilians." It is wonderful what a good, substantial barrack he left behind him with such
materials to work with. In February, 1842, Captain (then Lieutenant) Bennett, R. E., relieved Lieutenant Lugard.
Captain Hobson saw the necessity of having a proper military force; he had asked for it in 1839, and it was refused, or, at least, sent in small numbers as above described.
If the home Government, upon receiving such reports as the above from the
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1. GENERAL HISTORY.
colony, had sent out, in 1842, a regiment specially equipped for the service, with a train of suitable artillery, and a force of sappers well supplied with tools and materials, and ordered the whole force to be trained for their peculiar service, they would have saved the strength of two and a half regiments they were obliged to send at last, and the moral effect of British power would have been undisturbed to this day. The weakness of the British power, in this respect, is shown in the first native disturbance that the Government took part in--Tauranga, in 1842.
SECT. II. --TAURANGA.
The Tauranga Campaign in 1842.
There was no actual fighting in this affair, but it is considered worthy of record, from its affording an example of the character of the natives, and of their fortified villages, or pahs. This was the first occasion on which the troops were called out:-- 5
Two native tribes, at Tauranga and Maketu, in the Bay of Plenty, 130 miles S. E. of Auckland, fought upon an ancient quarrel; and the acting Governor, Mr. Shortland, wished to interfere to put down such wars, and obtained a pretext, from the two tribes having respectively seized two boats belonging to Englishmen trading there; so, being at Tauranga himself, he sent the colonial vessel, a brig of 200 tons, called the Victoria, to Auckland, with orders to Major Bunbury, 80th regiment,
commanding there; who thereupon embarked all his available men (about forty), and the following ordnance and ammunition:---
Two 18-pounder cannonades, 100 rounds shot, Fifty rounds canister -- From H. M. S. Tortoise, with seamen and marines.
7,100 musket-ball cartridges, 126 round shot, 125 grape and canister -- With one 4-pounder iron gun.
And some engineers' stores.
Lieutenant Bennett, R. E., then commanding engineer in New Zealand, accompanied the expedition.
Having arrived at Tauranga, the force disembarked at Monganui, between Tauranga and Maketu, and encamped. The natives objected to the right of the British to interfere in wars between themselves; and the acting Governor, finding that the expediency of interfering was a very doubtful question, and that he had a very small force, effected some kind of mediation, and withdrew the troops. On this occasion the natives ate some of their native prisoners, being the last time such a thing has been known to have been done in New Zealand.
Lieutenant Bennett, R, E., took the opportunity of examining some of the native pahs, and made a report thereon to the Inspector-General of Fortifications, which report contains so exact and good au account of them, and of the means necessary for their attack, that it is herewith given in full:--
Report on the Pahs of New Zealand.
The strength of the pahs of New Zealand consists principally in the choice of position. 6
They are generally situated on peninsular points, with three sides inaccessible; being steeply scarped towards the sea, usually from 50 to 60 feet in height, and
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2. TAURANGA. 1842.
palisaded at top: the depth of water round them being (generally) such as to prevent any vessel larger than six or eight tons approaching them within range of field-guns; I consider the attack of these sides, except by surprise, impracticable; the fourth side is always cut off by a deep ditch having steep scarps from 20 to 30 feet in height, and counterscarps from 6 to 16 feet; the nature of the soil being generally a stiff clay, or soft sandstone, retains the slope of 60°.
The terreplein, from 20 to 30 feet broad, has a strong palisade in front, or the palisade is placed above the scarp with a low parapet and banquette, and the whole of the interior of the pah is Intersected in every direction by fences, each hut being fenced around. These interior defences, though low, if not destroyed before the entrance of the troops, must entangle and confuse them, and totally prevent the use of the bayonet. The ditches are also flanked by a strong palisade.
In addition to the principal pah, there is also frequently an outer work with a low ditch palisaded in front, and commanded by the main work; and should one part of the pah be considered weaker than another, it is strengthened by a double palisade, 3 feet apart, with embrasures left in the outer one at the level of the ground, and a trench cut inside to afford cover.
In short, the pahs assume every description of defence of this nature, of which they are capable, and are sometimes strengthened by even three successive rows of palisades.
The palisades themselves consist of large trees about 1 foot in diameter, roughly hewn, and placed 6 or 8 feet apart, and afford safe cover for a man; they are from 12 to 20 feet in height, rudely ornamented at top; between these posts long stakes, from 8 to 10 feet high, and 1 1/2 inch diameter, and nearly tangent to each other, are strongly bound together; or, if greater strength is required, rough three-sided stakes about 9 inches perimeter are used.
Should the pah not be situated on a peninsula, its front consists of one steep side towards the sea, with generally a deep and wide gully on each flank, and the gorge is protected by a deep ditch, as before described.
The section of the pah of Temutu exemplifies the usual defences, but the natives evince considerable military knowledge, and I observed that several of their pahs had their counterscarps excavated, having small openings like embrasures. These, I am told, are used for keeping potatoes, and I cannot learn that they have ever been used for defence.
In illustration of their military knowledge, I may say that when I was ordered to prepare a plan of attack of the Pah of Maketu, I consulted the chief Tupaia, of Otumaiti pah: he immediately sat down on the sand and erected a model of the pah and surrounding country, giving me the distances and command that each hill had over the pah and each other, and pointed out how it might be approached with safety. The plan I made from his model I was subsequently able to compare on the spot, and found his plan and ideas very correct.
The number of men the pahs would contain varies from 300 to 800, and they possess a large supply of potatoes and kumera (sweet potatoe) in holes excavated for the purpose. They have also an abundance of muskets and ammunition, the former very good, and nearly all double-barrelled: the latter made up into cartridges; and each man is supplied with a good cartouche-box.
They have also their tomahawks for close quarters; I may add that they are an exceedingly active and warlike race, and few of them without the experience of several fights.
I have been informed that the pahs in the interior of the country are
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2. TAURANGA. 1842.
constructed on the same system, detached hills, or hills on the extremity of a ridge, being the site usually chosen.
What I have said relative to the choice of position of their pahs relates only to that arm against which they have hitherto had to contend--the musket. But I have seen no pah which was not commanded at distances varying from 200 to 6OO yards; consequently the method of attack is simple and certain.
A couple of 12-pounder 4 2/5 inch brass howitzers to break down the palisades, and with a few carcases to set fire to the huts and interior fencing already described, places the strongest pah at the mercy of a few men; but without these means, I conceive that the attack of a strong pah must always be attended with considerable loss to the assailants.
The howitzers must be light, as they will have to be landed generally on a beach with a surf, and will have to be got up a height of 50 or 6O feet to be placed in position. A few rounds of grape and canister for the same guns would also be necessary, and two or three Coehorn mortars and some hand grenades exceedingly useful.
From the want of knowledge of gunnery by the soldiers of the line, it will be necessary that a few artillery men (or sappers and miners well instructed in the use of howitzers, and method of making up carcases) should accompany them; the latter, I venture to suggest, would be the most useful in this colony, as their labour as mechanics would be very valuable in the erection of ordnance and barrack buildings in New Zealand, where the price of such labour is high, and the mechanics of the detachment (of the line) so few and indifferent
Should it eventually be found necessary to disarm any tribe on account of their continued wars and cannibalism, I conceive that the ordnance above specified, with three companies of the line, would be sufficient to surround the pahs and force the surrender of their arms.
I trust I shall be excused for making the above suggestions, as the insufficiency of our means, from want of ordnance and gunners when the attack of Maketu pah was contemplated, was severely felt, and was only overcome by the accidental presence of H. M. Store-ship "Tortoise," and the assistance they afforded; without such assistance I do not consider that our means (sixty-five infantry) were such as to justify an attack, where a repulse must be attended with such serious consequences, in destroying the wholesome dread they at present have of British soldiers.
(Signed) GEORGE BENNETT,
Lieut. Royal Engineers, commanding.
Feb. 10, 1843.
The subsequent experience of the pahs in the interior corresponds exactly with his description. Their strength consists in the site. They are invariably placed on the ends of narrow spurs overlooking the sea, the rivers, or the plains, and have all the same kind of ditches and palisades; and in addition to the difficulty he mentions, of having to provide artillery to take them, must be added the greater difficulty, not contemplated by him at that time, of having to transport the artillery through the thickly-wooded hills; for he thought only of pahs on the sea coast, accessible to shipping; a march of even ten miles inland, in such a country, would make the greatest difference in his plan of attack; besides, the pahs afterwards attacked by the British troops were expressly constructed against them, and were much stronger in the palisading than those he describes, and required heavier artillery. Captain Marlow considered that 12-pounder guns and 5 1/2 inch howitzers would be required to make a breach in Ohaiawai pah. It does
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2. TAURANGA. 1842.
not appear that Lieutenant Bennett's recommendations were attended to, for no equipment was provided until the difficulties had arrived at too great a height for 1842. them to be of the use expected.
In September, 1842, Captain Hobson died in New Zealand, and Captain Fitzroy, R. N., succeeded him. In the interval before Captain Fitzroy arrived, the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Shortland, acted as governor.
The great mistake made by Captain Hobson at the commencement of the colony was the selection of the site for the capital. If the whole British strength had been concentrated at Wellington, it would have been sufficiently powerful to have overawed the natives there: the New Zealand Company fell also into this fault of scattering their forces. Both Company and Government thought to colonise all New Zealand at once, totally forgetting the natives; and to protect these scattered settlements required a greater power in men and money than the Home Government chose to allow. Indeed, it was not altogether Captain Hobson's fault in the choice of a capital; it was the want of concert between the Home Government and the Company, which placed the Governor and the Company rather in opposition in New Zealand than in conjunction. As it has turned out, the formation of other settlements in the middle island have established Cook's Straits to be, what a glance at the map shows it to be at once, the proper site for the capital of New Zealand.
Captain Fitzroy arrived in November, 1843. Captain Hobson had been somewhat aware of the strength and character of the natives; and if the Home Government had but sufficiently supported him with men and money, he might have saved the future wars. But Captain Fitzroy came with the predetermination of governing the natives by moral force. 7 He refused to use a military force from the commencement, and delayed asking for it until the moral effect of it had evaporated, and even then got rid of it again as soon as he dared. With the most honourable high-minded desires for the benefit of both British and natives, he fell into the same error as the early missionaries did--of considering the natives as a semi-civilised race, which could be raised and amalgamated with the Europeans; and under his too lenient government the troubles with the natives, which might have been prevented in Captain Hobson's time, grew to such a head that three years' war was required to put them down.
He found the colony languishing for want of money, and the natives growing more and more outrageous: in the south they had come to open fight with the settlers. After the experience already obtained, and the reports that had been made, it is now evident that a strong military force was more required than ever. The first difficulty he had to meet was the massacre of Wairau.
SECT. III. --WAIRAU.
8 After the establishment of Nelson in 1842, the settlers of that district began to spread towards the Wairau valley, which was understood to have been purchased by Colonel Wakefield in his first purchase; but in March, 1843, the chief, Rauperaha, being in Nelson, protested against this purchase, and some threats were exchanged between him and Captain Wakefield, the Company's agent at Nelson. Captain Wakefield, feeling confident in the justness of the Company's claim, sent surveyors into the Wairau, which the chiefs Rauperaha and Rangiheata, considering as the act of taking possession, opposed by burning the hut of the
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3. WAIRAU. 1843.
surveyors; upon learning which Captain Wakefield was persuaded to endeavour to seize the chiefs. It was thought to be a favourable opportunity for teaching the savages to respect English law. He took out a regular warrant against Rauperaha. and proceeded with several of the principal gentlemen of the settlement and about forty labourers, armed with muskets, on board the colonial brig "Victoria," from Nelson to the Wairau, in June, 1843, and marched five or six miles inland, to where the natives were encamped, expecting to be allowed to take the chief without resistance. There were about 100 natives. After some peaceable discussion, the magistrate of the party made some strong demonstration of seizing Rauperaha, which led to a sort of rush on both sides: a gun was fired from the British side, --the natives returned it; --a sort of fight began, and the labourers, being totally unprepared for, and unaccustomed to, anything of the kind, got into confusion and scattered each for himself. Nearly all the gentlemen leaders were taken and killed immediately, in what we should call cold blood.
Now the disputes concerning land with these natives cannot be considered, upon the point of abstract law, as to whether the Company had a legal right to the land or not; it should rather be considered, whether the Company had obtained the consent of the majority of the native owners to the purchase, and whether they had the force to hold their land against the remainder. Now, there were doubts at the time about the purchase of this land, and the land commissioners were investigating it at Wellington: they were expected over at Wairau, and the natives would have waited at least to hear their decision. Moreover, it might have been fully expected that the natives would have resisted; for they had been very much excited upon this land question on both sides of Cook's Straits for a year or two before: therefore, I do not think Captain Wakefield was justified in using force; indeed, he seems to have had doubts about it himself. But even if he had been justified, it was an act of the greatest rashness to attempt to arrest a chief in the midst of his own people with such a force. Knowing the savage character and the excited state of them, he should have had a band of trained men sufficient to overawe them; a smaller number of whalers would perhaps have put down a greater number of natives; but no body of undisciplined English labourers, acting without concert--even without leaders--could make any stand against savages, whose very appearance and manners they had an ignorant fear of; and if New Zealand had been left to the defence of her settlers, notwithstanding the individual bravery of the English colonist, as a body, there would have been no better result than Wairau.
The effect of this the first successful stand, made by the natives against the British, was felt and magnified in the native manner through the country, and gave a new confidence to all those dissatisfied natives who before had been deterred by fear from open hostility against the British rule; and this effect was increased by the conduct of Governor Fitzroy, in pardoning and making friends with the chiefs who did the deed before even they had acknowledged their fault or expressed any regret for it.
He might surely have shown in some decided manner his condemnation of the deed, even if he did not feel himself strong enough to punish it
Immediately afterwards, he let off another native chief, who had committed some strong breach of English law at Auckland. Then he had to deal with the disturbances at the Bay of Islands, which fully proved to him the necessity of armed interference.
Even now at this time, before the destruction of Kororarika, if Captain Fitzroy
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3. WAIRAU. 1843.
had determined upon using force, he might have saved a great part of the subsequent wars. After the Wairau, the time had gone by when the natives could be kept in order with the small force proposed by Major Bunbury. But still the prestige of the troops was untouched. The best evidence of the mistake of the doctrine of moral force is in the annual report of the Chief Protector of Aborigines (an officer established by Governor Fitzroy), in which he congratulates the Governor (July, 1844,) on the tranquillity of the colony, and the prospect of permanent peace and security, the whole country from north to south being then ripe for explosion. Next year the wars began, and continued for two years. And, at the same time, most of Mr. Clarke's letters go to show the necessity he felt of having a strong police in the country, and the impossibility of preventing wars among the natives by moral force alone. 9
SECT. IV. --KORORARIKA.
The Destruction of Kororarika. 10
The original Settlers had continued to occupy their settlement at the Bay of Islands, which was situated on the shores of the bay, and called Kororarika. They consisted chiefly of whalers, and persons engaged in trading between the natives and the whalers. There had always been a lawless, half-civilised system of dealing carried on there by the Europeans, which the natives were partly obliged and partly willing to put up with, being gratified with the great trade of the whalers; and also because their supremacy and their customs were never very violently interfered with. But when the British Government took possession, and a regular magistrate came to be established at Kororarika, and a regular custom-house, the native chiefs found that they had lost their supremacy, and that a new and unknown law was in force in place of their old customs; and moreover that they had lost their trade with the whalers, who deserted the harbour when the customs' duties were established: and they began to be dissatisfied, and to believe in the reports of some of them (fomented by discontented Europeans)--that the British Government intended their destruction. There was no dispute about land; very little had been purchased there; --it was the inevitable discontent of the savage at the sudden breaking down of his old laws and customs by the introduction of civilised law.
If the civil power had been at that time sufficiently supported by a military force to overawe both natives and settlers, probably no outbreak would have taken place there any more than at Auckland. But disputes between natives and settlers occurred from time to time; and the decisions of the police magistrate, being totally without force to support them, were not respected by either party: the natives took the law into their own hands, and from one aggression to another, finally in July, 1844--a body of them under the command of Hone Heki, a chief of the neighbourhood--pillaged part of the town, and "carried into effect that which they had long been threatening--the destruction of the Government flagstaff, because, they said, it prevented the American vessels coming into the harbour."--New Zealander, June 7, 1845.
Heki was not himself a chief of great rank; but he had married the daughter of the great Hongi, and was noted as a clever daring man, and was one of the losers by the desertion of the whale-ships.
The Governor immediately sent to Sydney and Hobart Town for troops, being
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4. KORORARIKA. 1844-1845.
the first time that he had demanded them; and in the first week in August a merchant vessel arrived at the Bay of Islands with 160 men of the 99th Regiment from Sydney, and on the 24th August the Governor arrived from Auckland with a detachment of the 96th Regiment under Lieutenant-Colonel Hulme, and with H. M. S. "Hazard," Capt. Robertson, and the colonial brig "Victoria." The Governor held a meeting of the natives, spoke to them, and took off the customs duties. This, and the appearance of force, brought even Heki into terms of friendship. And the troops returned immediately to Sydney instead of establishing a strong military post at Kororarika. But the bad passions of the savages were rather stimulated than allayed by the too great leniency and confidence of the Governor. In October and in January further disputes occurred between the powerless civil power and the settlers and natives; in which the natives took the law again into their own hands, and Heki again cut down the flagstaff. And the Governor issued proclamations for his apprehension. And between 16th January and 6th March there arrived at the Bay of Islands H. M. S. "Hazard," the "Victoria," two subalterns and 50 men of the 90th Regiment, 11 from Auckland. But the excitement and self-confidence of the natives had been by that time allowed to get to too great a height to fear such a force. The flagstaff was cut down a third time, and the town of Kororarika attacked by 1,100 natives under Heki, on the 11th March. The town, as will be seen by reference to the accompanying map, extends along the beach for about a mile, with a hill at each promontory. The hill on the south side is about 200 feet high; and on it two block-houses were placed, one on the top, and one below, closer to the houses. These block-houses were put up by Captain Bennett, R. E.. soon after the Government was established in the colony. There were twenty men in these block-houses, and the remaining thirty in a house in the town. They were one story high, twenty feet square, of solid square timbers. 12
The natives having stated that they intended to attack the town, Captain Robertson posted himself with 150 men from the "Hazard," and a field piece, at the hill on the north side of the town at daylight on the 11th. He was immediately attacked by 200 natives, whom he kept at bay. About the same time Ensign Campbell, who commanded the upper block-house, was absent with his men 200 yards from his block-house, making intrenchments: the natives surprised the block-house; and he retreated to the lower one. Upon this, Captain Robertson's party spiked their gun, and fell back; and the whole force, together with the inhabitants of the place, some of whom were armed, and assisted in the defence, occupied the lower block-house and a house of Mr. Polack's near it, which was stockaded; and, with the assistance of the guns of H. MS. "Hazard," defended themselves for three hours against the natives, who fired from the neighbouring broken ground. At ten o'clock the magazine of powder in Mr. Polack's house exploded by some accident, and destroyed the house. Then the whole force and inhabitants went on board the vessels in the harbour; and on the following day the natives pillaged the town, without injuring the inhabitants, some of whom were still busy taking off their goods to the vessels. The vessels and inhabitants proceeded to Auckland. 13
There were killed on this occasion--
Naval, 6 men. Military, 4 men.
Captain Robertson was wounded severely.
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4. KORORARIKA. 1844.
It was impossible to defend such a straggling town, with 200 men and only two blockhouses, so situated. If Ensign Campbell had not been surprised at the upper block-house, and the magazine had not exploded, they might have held the posts they occupied; but it would have required half-a-dozen block-houses to have protected the town from pillage with that force. That body of men could not have prevented, by any skirmishing, 1100 natives, fighting after their manner under cover, natural and artificial, from destroying part of a village three-quarters of a mile in length. But they might have held their posts; and the posts were lost by the surprise of the block-house.
Great praise is given in all the dispatches to Captain Robertson, R. N., of the "Hazard," for his bravery; and the kindness and attention of Bishop Selwyn is highly spoken of; and also of Captain Mackeevor, of the United States frigate "St. Louis."
After the destruction of Kororarika, Governor Fitzroy came to the resolution he should have come to a year before--of attacking Heki with a strong force. His want of decision previous to this affair was proved to be a mistake by the letters of Heki and Kawiti, after Kororarika, which show a kind of prevarication, as if they were still half-doubtful of their success, and half afraid of British power.
He then began to ask earnestly for troops from Sydney (that being the headquarters of this military division of our colonial empire); and he raised the militia, which he had before refused to do, on the ground that the colony could not afford it, and that undisciplined men with arms in their houses would do more harm than good. But bodies of English settlers, partially disciplined for a few years, would have been of very great use, well supported by troops, especially as the settlers everywhere were anxious to enrol themselves. And the expense might have been borne in the first instance by the Home Government. Such was the alarm and the ignorance and fear of the settlers concerning the natives, that it was believed Heki was coming to attack Auckland. 14 The barracks on Point Britomart were intrenched and two blockhouses built; (there were already some stone barracks;) 300 militia were armed, and picquets stationed about the town. But there were no defences capable of protecting the town; if there had been no troops, Heki would probably have appeared before it, and it would have shared the fate of Kororarika, and been deserted. Many did leave. So the third expedition against Heki commenced.
March 23. H. M. S. "North Star" arrived from Sydney with 250 men, 58th.
April 21. The barque "Slain's Castle" arrived from Sydney with 200 men, 58th (these troops were intended to have been in time for Kororarika, but were delayed in Sydney).
April 23. These vessels and others sailed to the Bay of Islands with part of the 58th and a detachment of the 96th.
SECT. V. --OKAIHU.
Description of Country at the Bay of Islands. 15
5. OKAIHU. 1845.
As the military operations now began to be extensive, and to extend into the interior, it is necessary here to give some idea of the country and state of the natives of those parts.
The main range of hills runs down the centre of this part of the islands,
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5. OKAIHU. 1845.
dividing the waters of Hokianga from the waters of the Bay. It is about 1000 feet high on the average. On the Hokianga side almost the whole country consists of steep ridges, deep valleys, with flat alluvial bottoms, and all covered with thick Kauri forest. On the side of the Bay the hills stretch away towards the coast in the level plateaus with steep sides, that have been already described, and as they get nearer the coast the forest becomes more confined to the ravines, and the plateaus are covered with fern and low shrubs; the hills run right down to the promontories, forming bluff points on the oast, with low flat valleys in between. Those arms of the sea which form the capacious Bay are the outlets of such flat valleys, and the sides of them are steep and covered with wood. But this plateau fern land is almost as impracticable for military operations as any other; the high fern and shrubs prevent even the settler from leaving the beaten track, and that track, with the exception of a few cart tracks worked by the missionaries, consists of simply the native footpaths, following generally the most difficult line for a traveller; and the ravines of these plateaus are very frequent and very abrupt, and generally wooded.
As the head-quarters of both Church and Wesleyan missions were in this part, there was more English cultivation and establishments at that time than in most parts of New Zealand. Besides the whaling town of Kororarika (now, however, in ruins), there was the Church mission station at Waimate, quite a village among fields, and several bush farms of the missionaries in other places.
Through all the native wars, and through all the British wars, these missionary establishments continued untouched, and the missionaries were allowed to pass to and fro amongst friends and enemies unharmed.
16 The natives were now pretty much divided into two parties; Tomati-Waka-Nene, a chief of the Ngatihao tribe, may be considered as the head of the Government party: he had constantly supported the British side since the treaty of Waitangi, and now openly opposed Heki; Pomare, Kawiti, and some others, sided with Heki. These divisions of the natives, both in this war as in all other British wars in New Zealand, have been produced partly by real desire towards British rule, and partly by their old family feuds. Waka and Heki had been old enemies. Although these tribes were so much opposed to each other, their lands and pahs were intermixed; they had been fighting some years before, and each party had built fighting pahs, as they call them, on the occasion. These pahs were built sometimes on their own land, sometimes on their enemy's, and they would occupy them for months without coming to a fight, until some chance brought on an engagement. Heki appears to have followed this mode of fighting in all his wars with the British, but against us he built much stronger pahs than they were accustomed to build in their own wars. The natives, both allies and enemies, were generally found to be well armed with guns, chiefly double-barrelled, and the enemy well supplied with ammunition; our allies were supplied by Government. Arms and ammunition had been the favourite barter with New Zealanders for pigs and potatoes from the first appearance of whalers among them; and the sale increased when there became a prospect of war with the British, and there were British subjects found disgraceful enough to sell arms and ammunition to the natives while the war was going on. 17
On May 3, 18 the forces disembarked at Onewero, up the Kiri-kiri river (see map No. 2), having been delayed for want of information about the country, and of the
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5. OKAIHU. 1845.
position of Heki. It was ascertained from the natives that he had established himself in a pah at Okaihu, a place about eighteen miles inland. They were entirely dependent on the natives for information and guidance to this place.
The force consisted of part of the 58th, 96th, and Seamen and marines, of the "North Star" and "Hazard," altogether about 400 men, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hulme, 96th. Tomati-waka joined with about 400 natives. 19 With this force, and without transport, without a gun, Colonel Hulme undertook to penetrate eighteen miles in a country almost unknown, but which had been already reported impracticable for troops, 20 to attack a pah, such as had been pronounced by several authorities before to be proof against field artillery.
Having no means of transport, the men carried thirty extra rounds of ammunition and five days' biscuit, and in heavy rain, without tents, they marched eighteen miles in two days, by a narrow path through a thick forest. Two-thirds of the ammunition, and all the biscuit, was found unfit for use. 21
The pah was built expressly for this occasion; it had three rows of palisades and a ditch inside, the exterior row being coated with the leaves of the flax plant, to conceal the effect of musket-balls upon it
May 8, three storming parties advanced within 200 yards of the pah, and some rockets were fired at it (they were brought from H. M. S. "Hazard," and were probably 3-poundcrs); but they had no effect Rockets would, however, be very useful to fire into a pah--they would destroy the houses.
At the same time, the natives made a sally from the pah, and with another party, under Kawiti, which had been concealed in the neighbouring forest, had some skirmishing with the troops; the natives had to retreat again, without much loss on cither side. 22
Colonel Hulme now finding that his expedition was in vain without artillery, marched back his force on the 10th the same way they came. They were not molested on their retreat, neither had they been on the advance; and they had still greater difficulties about transport, owing to the wounded. They had been ten days on shore, and the medical officers said that any further such exposure, without cover or rations, would produce sickness. Killed on this occasion.
Naval, 2 men. Military, 12 men. 23
As this was the first regular expedition with troops against the natives, and as all the subsequent expeditions were much of the same character, this seems a proper place for making some remarks upon them.
1st--I think the mistake at Okaihu was in attempting such an expedition at all, with such means, --chiefly because of the character of the country, which was known at the time to be such as has been described; necessitating a long, straggling, slow line of march; preventing the carriage of guns, ammunition, or provisions, except by making cart roads; permitting the baggage and the whole force to be cut off piecemeal by the natives in the forests; utterly impracticable for the evolutions of disciplined troops; indeed, that very country had been reported, in 1844, as impracticable for troops: 24 --
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5. OKAIHU. 1845.
Secondly, because of the character of the natives and their pahs, which was also known at the time to be such as has been described; the natives accustomed to the attack and defence of pahs, and well armed with muskets; the pahs proof against field artillery, and situated in the most difficult positions.
I think the attack of such a stockade, eighteen miles inland, under such circumstances, is most unlikely to succeed; and we now know, from subsequent experience, that it could not have succeeded--that the pahs were all but proof against the heaviest field artillery --and, indeed, that it is chiefly owing to the unwarlike character of the New Zealander that any of our troops have returned from their expeditions alive.
2ndly. --I think it would have been better to have established a strong military post at Kororarika, and to have waited until further information concerning the country was obtained, and until an equipment and a force suitable to such a service was provided. The description of force necessary to have reduced one of these pahs (judging from the experience of the subsequent expeditions) would have been about 500 infantry, four howitzers (two 12-pounders and two 24 pounders), with some rockets, and some sappers to make the road and batteries. Such an equipment would have required perhaps ten bullocks (including ammunition and provisions), as the howitzers might be drawn on their field-carriages by hand, and the ammunition and provisions on the backs of the animals; this force might have moved at the rate of four or five miles a day through that open country. A breach should be made by such guns in two days, and the whole result of any of the expeditions would be obtained in a much shorter time.
Or, the guns might have been dispensed with altogether, and the 500 men might have advanced with the bullocks alone in one day, and blown the pah in with bags of gunpowder. Four or five bags of 50 lb. each would make a practicable breach in any of the pahs we have had to deal with. Of course, the great question is the placing of the bags; but, from my experience of the natives, I believe that so little watch is kept by them during the night, that the bags might be laid without discovery just before daylight. It would be a dangerous undertaking, no doubt (but not more so than the assault of Ohaiawai), and its practicability would depend on situation and circumstances. 25
3rdly. --But even under any circumstances, with either of these equipments, and the best troops and guns in the world, I doubt if they would have succeeded in producing a much better impression on the natives. The advance even of the best equipped regular force would necessarily be slow. The want of information, of transport, ammunition, medicines, tents, would prevent them advancing above a few miles a day in such country; they would still be liable to be cut off on the march; for although the general character of native fighting is to remain in their pahs for the attack, yet they do practise ambuscades when they see a favourable opportunity. And after all, when the troops had arrived at the pah, they could not "invest" it, so as to prevent the enemy's communicating or sallying out into the forest; and, finally, when they had made their breach, on the point of the assault the enemy would evacuate, and retreat ten miles further to another pah; leaving the troops to follow by another slow march, and make another breach, only to find the pah again evacuated. For the loss of a fighting pah is a small shame to the Maori; it would be probably built only for the fight, and perhaps on another man's land, and it does not take them long to build-- Waka built a small one for the troops
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6. OKAIHU. 1845.
in one day. It is only when the people are captured in the pah that a lasting effect is made; the Maori counts the numbers slain or made prisoners, in reckoning up his wars.
4thly. --On the other hand, the colonists and native allies were urging on the commander to put an end to the disturbed state of the country; and it was not thought that the natives would stand to meet such a force of troops, even behind a pah, and the pahs themselves were not well known (Lieutenant Bennett's description had been buried in the archives of some office, instead of being published to the officers); in short, the enemy was undermined, and finally, there was no such equipment in the colony as I have mentioned. However, on the whole, I think it would have saved the subsequent campaigns to have waited in a post at Kororarika until the proper equipment was ready.
5thly. --It is very satisfactory to find that, with all these difficulties to encounter, the troops themselves behaved exceedingly well. They surmounted the difficulties of the country steadily, and after going through them all they showed, when they had the opportunity in the sally and ambush, that they could drive back the natives hand to hand on equal terms. These are circumstances when the drill and whole education of the soldier is at fault; the discipline and manoeuvring of the parade are almost useless; each man is thrown on his individual resources; nevertheless, notwithstanding the totally new circumstances in which they were placed, I do not think there is any case recorded in the whole wars in which, with anything like a fair field, they did not easily drive back the natives.
6thly. --The native allies require some notice here. We have always had native allies in our wars in New Zealand. They, have generally acted as guides and followers; from their custom of having frequent communication with the enemy, the commanders found out where the enemy was, and the path to him, of which, otherwise, they would have been totally in the dark; they assisted (on being paid) in the carriage of stores; and made huts for the troops. The commanders have accused them of being lukewarm, but they showed good fight on sonic occasions, and were, on the whole, faithful after their manner.
It is not to be expected that they would put themselves much in the front in a foreign cause; it was a very great point gained that they did not oppose it; and it is not, I should think, a desirable thing that one tribe of natives should be allowed to fight another tribe for the defence of British interests; however this practice may have succeeded in other countries, in New Zealand it would only tend to breed suspicion, and sow such internal discord between tribes as would cost more to allay than the war which gave occasion for it. They should only be called upon to assist the forces; except as in the case of Kororarika, when a chief offered to come with 300 men to the defence against Heki, which was refused, unnecessarily, I think.
SECT. VI. --Ohaiawai.
Just before Okaihu Colonel Hulme took the chief Pomare prisoner; Pomare had come, under a flag of truce, into the camp of the British force, and the colonel kept him, as he was justly suspected. He might easily have been captured by force, and, after all, he was only detained a few weeks. You cannot fight savages exactly on the same terms as civilised forces, but still, the more openly the war is conducted, the more the Maori will respect the civilisation. 26
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6. OHAIAWAI. 1845.
It was unnecessary to destroy his pah; but there is no doubt Colonel Hulme was actuated by feelings of humanity. The character for gallantry he obtained, even during this short campaign, is a sufficient proof of that. 27
May 15th, Major Bridge, 58th, with 200 men, took the pah of Waikari by night; the natives evacuated the pah with hardly any resistance; it was only an ordinary pah of no great strength. 28
The troops on arriving at the Kawa Kawa re-embarked, and returned to Auckland! It does not appear why the force was thus withdrawn, why they did not occupy Kororarika, or some good military post there, as a basis of future operations; no doubt it was under orders from the Governor; but this apparent retreat from the country (for the third time) must have given great encouragement to Heki, and as much discouragement to our allies. Accordingly, we find that, on May 31, Heki wrote such a letter to the Governor as showed that he felt very confident in his own strength, and elated with the general success of his former operations. 29
However, the Governor was now thoroughly aroused, and further reinforcements (which he had continued to ask for) arriving from Sydney, he ordered the fourth expedition against Heki to be undertaken immediately.
June 1st, 200 men, 90th, arrived from Sydney, under Lieutenant-Colonel Despard, who took command of all the forces in New Zealand, as colonel on the staff. They immediately proceeded on to the Bay of Islands, with other troops and some volunteers from Auckland, and four field pieces, which were placed under the command of Lieutenant Wilmot, R. A., lately arrived as a volunteer from Van Diemen's Land. 30
It appears that Heki, notwithstanding his boasting, must have been afraid to risk another siege in Okaihu, for, after some skirmishing with the friendly natives, he retreated to a still stronger pah he had built on purpose at Ohaiawai, near Lake Omapere.
Colonel Despard resolved to attack him there; and here we have over again the same description of campaign as before. This expedition was certainly rather better equipped; the style of equipment had advanced from the fifty men at Kororarika on to the 400 and two rockets at Okaihu, and now reached to 600, and four field pieces for Ohaiawai; but there were the same delays for want of information and transport, and the same toilsome march through thick forests; the field pieces were such as Lieutenant Bennett, two years before, had pronounced useless against ordinary pahs, and this was known to be one of extraordinary strength. The evils arising from these wants, and bad organisation, are not all chargeable to the commanding officer: he was obliged to work with such equipments and troops as he found in the colony; the fault he can be charged with, is having undertaken such an expedition at all with such means.
We have the description of the failure of these means from the commanding officer himself.
On the 14th of June the whole force proceeded to the Kiri Kiri river in H. M. S. "Hazard," and the other vessels; one of these got on shore in going up the Bay of Islands; but there was nothing peculiar to the place or to the circumstances in this accident; it might have happened anywhere; however, it delayed the advance two days; and on the 10th of June they landed at Onewero, at the
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6. OHAIAWAI. 1845.
mouth of the Kiri Kiri river (see page 55 for description), and marched to Kiri Kiri missionary station. The following is an extract from Lieutenant Colonel Despard's account of the campaign in the United Service Magazine, August, 1846:--
"Having reached our destination about twelve o'clock the same day (16th), and everything having been previously prepared for disembarking, no time was lost in commencing it; but as there was a considerable distance to go in boats before a proper place could be found for landing at, owing to the hilly and woody nature of the banks, they were not all on shore till four in the afternoon. The road to Kiri was a bad and difficult one, with numerous valleys, and each having a swamp or boggy stream at the bottom, which rendered our march slow and tedious.
"At three o'clock the following morning, the boats with the guns, ammunition, and camp equipage, reached Kiri Kiri missionary station (the river being navigable for boats so far), under the superintendence of that indefatigable officer, Acting-Commander Johnston, of H. M. S. "Hazard." All these being landed, our next operation was to muster our drays and carts, and to ascertain what was the amount of transport carriage within our reach. Three drays were all that could be procured, and two carts with two horses each, which had accompanied us from Auckland. This obliged me to leave half the ammunition behind; no private baggage for officers or men could be taken, and the greatest part of our provisions was obliged to be placed in store at Kiri, and there wait for favourable opportunities of having them sent after us.
"The officers hired natives to carry their baggage, each officer having only a knapsack, havresack, and blanket
"One of my greatest difficulties was the carriage of the four guns," which was effected--"by attaching them to the tail of a bullock dray. Scarcely a rivulet was passed that some of the guns did not upset, and were sometimes lost sight of in mud and water. The troops left Kiri Kiri at one P. M.: in crossing the second rivulet, the bottom being unsound, the shaft of a horse cart broke, and as there was no possibility of repairing it, I was obliged to leave a captain and fifty men to protect it, as it was loaded with ammunition.
"Two miles further on two more of our carriages broke down; it was then quite dark and raining in torrents; I made a general halt till the moon rose, and then about midnight passed through the wood; 100 men remained to protect the drays--we arrived at Waimate at half past two A. M., twelve miles in thirteen hours! The fifty men with the first broken-down cart arrived at two P. M., having unloaded the cart and brought the things by hand."
I consider this a fair specimen of the difficulties that have attended almost all movements of troops in New Zealand, and I think it shows the extreme difficulty of making successful campaigns against the natives in the interior with regular troops; for even supposing the commanding officer to have provided himself beforehand with means of transport (which he ought to have done), and to have been properly equipped with guns and engineering implements from England (as he should have been), there would still have been great delay in traversing the country--and such a country, where the hostile natives might have cut them off one by one; it is true the natives did not molest them, but kept to their stronghold twenty miles inland, but they seemed to be aware of their opportunity of doing so, as they boasted (Colonel Despard says) of their forbearance in not destroying the missionary establishment at Waimate, which served as a depot for the military operations, and also a bridge on the road to it
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6. OHIAIAWAI. June, 1845.
The force 31 then at Waimate consisted of--
Lieut-Col. Despard, 99th, commanding.
58th, regiment, Major Bridge.
96th " Lieut-Col. Hulme
99th " Br.-Major Macpherson
Lieut. Wilmot, R. Art., Capt Marlow, R. E..
4 guns, 2 6-pr. brass, 2 12 pr. carronades
H. M. S. "Hazard," Capt. Johnston, R. N..
Volunteers, Lieut Figg
Native allies under Tomatiwaka
The enemy in the pah was supposed to have been about 250.
The force waited at Waimate till the 23rd of June for supplies from the Keri Keri. Several chiefs visited Colonel Despard, and gave their support to the expedition; among these were Tomati-waka, Macquarie, Moses Tawai, Patuona, Repa, and Pomare. 32 On the 23rd of June the force marched from Waimate to Ohaiawai. The distance was only seven miles, but the country being of the same impracticable nature as before, it occupied them the whole day.
The pah was situated in a clear level space in the forest, about 500 yards square, having on each side of it a ravine with wooded hills; all the rest of the country was thickly wooded: it had three rows of palisades, the two outer rows being close together, and six feet from the inner row which was made of trunks of trees 9 in. to 20 in. diameter, and 15 ft. high. Between the rows was a ditch 5 ft. deep with traverses, from which the defenders fired through loopholes on a level with the ground; the ditch communicated with the interior by passages under the inner palisade. There was a coating of flax leaves 6 in. thick on the outer palisades. The huts inside had excavations under them for protection against shot; but the natives are accustomed to make these for keeping potatoes in. The pah was about ninety yards by fifty, and had a square flank projecting on each side. 33
There was a small range of hills on the right which was immediately occupied by the native allies; the troops encamped among the potatoe gardens of the pah in a small hollow within 400 yards of it, but out of view. On the night of the 23rd, a battery for the four guns was made 100 yards in front of the camp; it fired all day on the 24th without effect, which was partly owing to the inefficiency of the carriages and inconvenience of the batteries, which was on very rough ground, and covered by a breast-work of timber coated with flax leaves: but 12-pr. carronades and 6-pr. guns would not produce much effect on such a stockade even with the best carriages and platforms. 34 They were tried again in another battery at 250 yards, and again at 80 yards from the pah, and as they produced no better effect even at the latter distance, and as the natives kept up a sharp fire upon them from the pah, these guns were finally withdrawn. And this force would probably have been obliged to follow the example of Okaihu if Commander Johnston had not brought up a 32-pr. from the "Hazard," which was effected by the help of a dray and a double team of bullocks in one day. During the day and night of the 30th a battery was made for it at the foot of Waka's
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6. OHAIAWAI. 1845.
hill, about 100 yards from the pah, to fire obliquely on the palisades. It fired 26 shot on the 1st, which, in Colonel Despard's opinion, so loosened the palisading, that he ordered it to be assaulted. Captain Marlow, R. E., did not think the breach practicable, and it proved not to be so. 35
About ten A. M. on the same day the natives made a sortie from the pah upon Waka's position, taking advantage of there being only a few men on guard there; our native allies had half finished a stockade for themselves on this hill; the enemy came so suddenly upon them that the senior officers of the British force, who happened to be there, were nearly captured. The look-out could not have been very good, but two or three sentries in red coats are not a match for the movements of dusky savages, in broken wooden country. After the first surprise the enemy were soon driven back into the pah.
The assault was made at three p. m. by 160 men divided into two parties under Brevet major Macpherson, and Major Bridge, and followed by forty seamen and pioneers, under Lieut. Phillpotts, R. N., with hatchets, ropes, and ladders. They got within eighty yards under cover of a gully, below Waka's hill, and then rushed at the pah. For ten minutes they tried manfully to force a way through the almost unbroken palisades with nothing but their swords and bayonets, for they had unfortunately thrown away the hatchets and ropes which might have been of some use, and they actually got through the first palisade, and the natives inside ceased firing in fear, until they found that the inner palisade still resisted every effort, and then the assaulting party, having lost two officers and half their force in killed and wounded, were compelled to fall back.
From the 1st to the 9th July, little or nothing was done, there being no gun-ammunition in camp; and Colonel Despard entertained some idea of retreating, for he says, "The boldness of this attack (the sally) convinced me that he was gaining confidence by the little effect which our guns had hitherto had upon him; and I considered there would be every chance of his sending out a party secretly at night and cutting off all our supplies, which were brought up from the rear every two or three days, and, by destroying the few drays I had and carrying off the cattle, have forced me to retreat, and leave everything behind."
But on the 9th, some ammunition arrived for the 32-pounder, and it re-commenced, but fired only into the pah, the idea of a breach being given up. The natives, however, would not risk another assault; on the night of the 10th they evacuated the pah, retreating to a still stronger position at Ikorangi, about ten miles further. The pah was then destroyed.
Killed in this campaign.
Naval. Lieut. Phillpotts, R. N. H. M. S. "Hazard."
Military. Capt. Grant, 58th Ens. Beatty (died of wounds).
Here is a repetition of the Okaihu, campaign, with a rather better equipment, and a rather better result: the same remarks apply, and in some particular parts rather more strongly, every step of the campaign showing the inefficiency of the means.
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6. OHAIAWAI. July 1845.
1st--We have a want of bullocks at landing, though these might have been provided by the commander beforehand.
2ndly. --We have guns on garrison-carriages that won't travel, and drays breaking down. The guns should have been on travelling-carriages, and the ammunition and stores packed on the backs of the bullocks. This, however, was not the fault of the commander. Here we see the want of a force of Sappers to form the road, repair the carriages, and construct packs for the bullocks.
3rdly. --The guns are found useless when they arrive and are placed in position. This might have been known before, from Lieut. Bennett's report. The 32-pounder was as much too large as the others were too small; for the weight of the ammunition prevented a sufficient supply being brought up in time. The want of artificer Sappers is shown again in the construction of the batteries.
4thly. --The commander undertakes a regular siege, and is apprehensive lest the besieged should cut off his retreat: can there be a stronger evidence of the difficulty of succeeding with regular troops against savages? But no commander could depend on his communications under such circumstances. It is only owing to the native allies and the character of native fighting, that we now have Colonel Despard's testimony on the subject.
5thly. --The lives of some brave men were expended upon a useless assault-- that is to say, the strength of the stockade was undervalued, and the effect of the shot over-estimated; it took twenty men to pull down some of the posts after it was taken.
6thly. --Finally, the enemy escapes with the loss only of his pah, and sufficiently elated by the number killed to produce another campaign.
7thly. --Thus it appears that the increasd equipment entailed a still slower march. Instead of a week, they were a month on the campaign: eight days going fifteen miles, and sixteen days besieging the pah; all rendering them still more liable to be cut off on the march. The troops were better fed; but they had to go through greater fatigues, and make a more desperate attack; and, after all, the enemy was but slightly punished. Now, as I observed before, the fault of this inefficient equipment is not entirely to be laid to the commander; there were no proper guns in the colony, nor Artillerymen, nor Sappers. But what I do argue from this campaign is, that it would have been better if Colonel Hulme, and after him, Colonel Despard, had been content with occupying a position at Kororarika, and waited until the proper force and equipment could be provided, instead of advancing one time after another with a mere display of force, which produced no permanent impression on the natives.
8thly. --And further, I argue from it, that also in this case, as at Okaihu, even if the equipment and force then proposed had been forthcoming, it would not have "invested" the enemy in his pah, or prevented his final escape from it; but that to capture such an enemy in such a position requires a force specially equipped and organised for the purpose.
9thly. --Here, again, we find evidence of the good behaviour of the troops under the inefficiency of equipment. Those only who have travelled in the bush in New Zealand in rainy weather can judge of the difficulties a body of troops must have to encounter. If the settler finds it labour enough merely to traverse such country in time of peace, surely troops, ignorant of the road, totally unprepared, and unaccustomed to such work, deserve some credit for going through it all so cheerfully, and, after it all, beating back the sallies and attacking so energetically a half-breached pah of such strength. Colonel Despard bears witness to the
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gallantry of the assault (especially mentioning Ensign Beatty, of the 58th); and also to the patience of the wounded lying in tents in the midst of rain, mud, firing, and noise. Surely it proves not only that the fault of the ill-success is not to he laid to the men themselves, but even that these very men, properly equipped and trained, would be a match for any Maories in any part of New Zealand.
10thly. --Colonel Despard does not speak highly of the assistance he received from the native allies under Tomati-waka. 36 They acted as guides, and gave information and advice about the country, and carried things on the march (for which they took care to get well paid); but they acted entirely in accordance with their own tactics: long talking, exciting preparations, sudden spurts, daring skirmishes for a little, and then talk again for a week. They desired to be friendly to the British: it was not to be expected that they should take a prominent part in a quarrel they had not much personal concern in--and for strangers against their countrymen. Colonel Despard's recommendation, "to be able to act independently of the natives," is worthy to be remembered by all officers.
"When he proposed to retreat (before the 9th) they opposed it with great excitement; for they would have been left to bear the whole force of a campaign from the victorious Heki.
There was a great quantity of provisions found in the pah; --this is the first point the natives look to in commencing a campaign, and a first cause for their retreating or making peace.
There were also four guns, found in the pah, but the natives never used them; in fact, they could not
July 14th. --The whole force returned to Waimati. Colonel Despard now prepared to follow up his success with spirit: he sent 200 men with two guns to attack Aratoa's pah about five miles from Waimate; but Aratoa had learnt a lesson from Ohaiawai, and he evacuated the pah as they approached. It was as well Colonel Despard was not obliged to try another siege, for there was a difficult stream on the road, with a broken bridge, which would have led to the usual delays for guns, &c, and the site of the pah was a very strong one. The difficulties in cutting paths through the forest, making rough bridges, batteries, stockades, &c, show the very great want of a company of Sappers and Miners in these expeditions. But Governor Fitzroy put a stop to these energetic proceedings: willing to give Heki every chance of repenting, he ordered Colonel Despard to Auckland on some minor duty, and prohibited further offensive operations until further orders. Heki and Kawiti employed the time in negotiating with the Governor for pardon, and building new pahs for defence, which led to the fifth and last campaign against them.
There was a good deal said during this last affair about the interference of the missionaries. I fully believe that these gentlemen, deceived and misguided as they were in their estimate of the natives, had throughout the most conscientious desire to maintain peace, and most honourable feelings towards their own Government Several of their body were held in high esteem, and rendered good service to their country; but they went to the extreme of blaming the troops for fighting on Sunday, as if it was more humane to kill twice as many men by protracting the war.
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SECTION VII. --RUAPEKAPEKA.
After Ohaiawai, the greatest part of the force remained in camp at Waimate, and employed themselves during four months of inactivity in forming an intrenched camp there. Colonel Despard put a stop to it when he returned. It is very possible that the intrenchments may have been much too large, as he says; nevertheless, it is a very desirable and necessary thing for troops to intrench or fortify themselves wherever they are encamped in New Zealand, in order that a small body may protect the magazines, leaving a large force available for attack, to be secure against surprise, and it would have prevented the effect of alarms.
Colonel Despard employed the time at Auckland in endeavouring to provide a little better equipment; some field gun-carriages were made; but he could only succeed in producing a force similar to what had been used before; there were better guns and drays, etc., but all of the same character, necessitating slow advance and cautious measures. He, however, received more men from Sydney, the result of the Governor's continued applications, and two more ships of war, as noted below. He returned to the Bay and Waimate August 27th. The Governor still endeavoured to bring the enemy to reason, and the letters from Heki and Kawiti, between Ohaiawai and Ruapekapeka, show them to have been only half confident in their former escapes and powers. 37 Heki had even separated from Kawiti, and seemed inclined to wait the issue of Kawiti's pah, which he was constructing at Ruapekapeka. The fact is, that, no savages (and especially no Maories) can carry on a campaign for any length of time together; their physical strength becomes exhausted, and their spirit wears out; they like, according to their own system, to have a little fight and then a little peace, and then at a convenient season to commence fighting again. And at that season of the year they began to be short of potatoes, which has a great effect upon aMaori, although he is accustomed to feed on fern root in his native wars. Hence Heki's followers began to desire peace, at the same time collecting food and building pahs for the future; but Heki himself was too conceited and had too deep a dislike to British rule to give in, and Kawiti's pride and ancient feuds against our native allies was roused; and they were both afraid of losing their land, for Governor Fitzroy had made the surrender of laud one of the articles of peace, a condition which alone would have ever prevented a satisfactory issue. The natives themselves seemed perfectly aware of these points in their own character; for at a korero, or public meeting, held on the arrival of Nopera, a chief of the north, who joined the allies with 100 men in September, they gave very sound reasons for vigorous war, founded on Heki's character; and Kawiti, in a letter to the Governor, accuses Waka of fighting on account of old feuds; he was always "naming his dead of old times," and was "not fighting for our (the British) dead." This intelligence and quickness of argument which the Maori possesses beyond most savages, inclines strangers to place too much confidence in them, but I think the sight of the sagacious Waka, stamping the war dance in full post-captain's uniform, ought to make one cautious in relying upon so excitable a character. 38
It is evident that savages of this character are not to be subdued by occasional shows of troops, long desultory campaigns, with long intervals of inactivity and negotiation; these are too much in their own style--they like such campaigns.
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7. RUAPEKAPEKA. 1846.
They should be tired out with incessant harassing surprise for weeks together, without a day at leisure; but Governor Fitzroy wished to spare bloodshed, so he ordered the troops from Waimate to Kororarika (against Colonel Despard's opinion), and commenced a strong military post at the latter place. Probably the Governor would have considered the establishment of this post a sufficient guarantee for future peace; but at this point he was recalled by the Home Government, and Captain Grey appointed in his place.
39 In August, H. M. S. "North Star," "Osprey," and "Racehorse," arrived at the Bay, the "Hazard" having been relieved; and a detachment of the 58th arrived about the same time. On the 4th of October, the head quarters 58th, under Lieutenant-Colonel Wynyard, arrived in the transport "British Sovereign," and anchored in the Kiri Kiri river. She also brought six 24-pounders, of 50 cwt, which Colonel Despard properly describes as useless; and 4 brass mortars 4 1/2 in., weighing 1 cwt. each, which were found useful.
Nov. 4. --A detachment of the 99th arrived from Sydney, bringing three more mortars and thirteen bullocks; these latter were the most useful part of a field equipment that could have been sent, and unfortunately eleven more had died on the passage; and their loss added at least a week to the campaign. Just as this (comparatively) large and well-equipped force assembled, Captain Grey arrived (Nov. 21) at the Bay from Auckland, in the East India Company's ship of war "Elphinstone."
Captain Grey was appointed at a most fortunate time for the success of the principles he had laid down for the government of savages in South Australia. The sum of these principles were, 40 that all natives should be placed under the control of British law, and not allowed to practise their own customs. Such principles could not be put in practice in New Zealand, without a considerable force in men and money, and Captain Fitzroy had neither of these; the absence of troops was his own fault in delaying so long to ask for them; but money was always denied him by the Home Government: 41 they did not sufficiently consider the absolute necessity of supplying a young colony very largely with funds to start with. But now the continued difficulties, and Captain Fitzroy's now constant demands, had brought Lord Stanley (then Colonial Secretary) to acknowledge the necessity of supplying both; and when Governor Grey took the command the tide had completely turned in favour of New Zealand. He had 500 men, 4 ships of war, and 20,000l. His first act on landing was to stop the forts building at Kororarika; he might, however, as well have allowed something to be done, as the troops are to this day without any defences at that station. He then gave Heki and Kawiti a fixed time to decide upon peace or war, which infused confidence into the native allies; he perhaps carried the negotiations a little too far, for he finally got such answers as made him give Colonel Despard the orders to attack Ruapekapeka forthwith.
Then commenced the usual slow advance of the regular forces; and here again we have the history of the delays from the commander himself. The following troops were engaged at Ruapekapeka:--
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Lieut.-Col. Despard, 99th, commanding.
Seamen, H. M. S. "Castor," "N. Star," "Racehorse," H. E. I. C. "Elphinstone",Commander Hay, R. N.
Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers
Lieut. Wilmot, R. A., Capt. Marlow, R. E..
H. E. I. C. Artillery.
Volunteers from Auckland
Native allies under Tomati-waka, Nopera, Repa, Moses, &c.
Mr. Turner was the D. A. Commissary General.
2 12-pr. howrs.
4 4 1/2 mortars
1 6-pr brass gun
The enemy in the pah supposed to be 500.
Dec. 8, 9. --These two days were occupied in moving the force in the men-of-war and transports up the Kawa Kawa, as far as the junction of the Waikari, where they encamped (see Map, No. 2).
Dec. 10, 11. --These two days were occupied in moving the force on up the Kawa Kawa to Pukututu's pah. This was intended to have been done by the river in boats, but at the last moment it was found that the boats would not hold the force, so part of them marched by a native path on the left bank, which was shown them by a native. The country about this river appears to have been open, consisting of long ranges of hills a few hundred feet high, covered with thick fern and Manuka (the tea-tree of Australia, which when young is like very tall heather); and with flat swampy valleys in between, through which the stream wound, and only timbered in ravines.
Dec. 12--Was employed in bringing up the heavy guns by water, and collecting bullocks; and even now, at the last moment, after five months' preparation, these indispensable necessaries for the movement of troops were not provided. "In this branch of our armament we were very defective; when all the bullocks which could be collected were brought into the camp, there were only sufficient for six drays, and there was also one 3-horse cart." 42 Sixty men, soldiers and sailors, under Commander Johnston and Lieutenant Holmes, R. N., were left to protect this situation at Pukututu's pah, as it formed a depot
Dec. 13 to 22--Were occupied in reconnoitering the country, and making a practicable path towards Ruapekapeka. This very slow cautious progress is very certain, and was then unavoidable, but it presupposes that your enemy will wait patiently in his pah for a month or so until you get up to him; and that the destruction of his pah is all you desire. The enemy did fortunately remain in
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his pah, but he escaped from it at the last moment, and the loss of it was of little consequence. To have inflicted a real blow upon him, the commander should have prepared his bullocks and reconnoitered his road, and made his path beforehand; or elsewhere provided such a force that he could have advanced at once without any of these preparations. As it was, the slow progress was unavoidable: "we crossed a small river, and thence the troops were obliged to move in single file, the path being very narrow, and on both sides covered thickly with fern, 2 or 3 feet in height, mixed with tea-tree 6 or 7 feet high." 43 The country was a constant succession of hills. Then, on reconnoitering another line, "we came to a ravine, not less than 150 yards across and 60 feet deep; the descent became perpendicular at bottom; the opposite bank thickly wooded with timber." And such hills and such ravines are rather easy travelling for New Zealand. Regular troops, which are taught only to move as a body, and depend on the voice of one commander for every slightest move, are not fitted for such a country where every soldier ought to be independent in himself. One hundred men, chiefly the volunteers, were employed making the path practicable for drays for the first seven miles; and on the 22nd, the force advanced this distance, and encamped and halted for three days to bring up the rest of the stores, &c
At this camp "the path from Heki's supposed present place of residence joined that to Kawiti's pah," therefore, "by our occupation of the position, his approach by that route was completely cut off" 44 --but it is impossible to cut off the march of natives by merely occupying their usual paths; in war time, as each native carries his clothing, arms, and ammunition, and the women carry the food, and they have no shoes to wet, and can hut themselves anywhere, they are independent of all paths.
Dec. 27. --The force moved on again five miles in a few hours, to within a mile of Ruapekapeka. 45 The pah was situated on the narrow ridge along which they had been advancing all the way from the Kawa Kawa, and which about here began to be thickly wooded, especially in the steep ravines on each side. The actual site of the pah was cleared of trees, and sloped towards the British camp, and the ridge took a bend between the pah and the camp, so that from the camp, which was on a high knoll, there was a good view of the pah across the intervening ravine. The native allies now went to the front and had some skirmishing with the enemy, and built themselves a pah at about 1200 yards from the enemy's: and on the 20th, they advanced to within 800 yards of the pah in an open space in the wood, and a detachment of troops followed and occupied this position, and the camp of attack was made here; where there was forest, of course a way for the drays had to be cut through; indeed, the difficulties of the transport were such, that notwithstanding his large force, Colonel Despard was glad of the arrival of a further detachment of 100 of the 58th (included in the return above), "as our men were beginning to be a good deal harassed from the difficulties of the road (i. e. the way cut by the pioneers), which, being much cut up by the late rainy weather, it frequently required sixty men, in addition to a team of eight bullocks to each gun, to get it up the hills and through the woods, besides being afterwards obliged to stop till some large tree was cut down, perhaps 6 feet in diameter." They had even to cut lines of fire through the wood for the guns.
No wonder it was the 31st December before the whole force were in camp, and the 9th January before all the guns and ammunition arrived: between the 1st and
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7. RUAPEKAPEKA. 1846.
9th three batteries were made: first, in front of the camp, at about 650 yards, 46 or one 32-pouuder and one 12-pounder howitzer; second, at 300 yards from the pah, of two 32-pounders and the 4 1/2 inch mortars; third, at 150 yards, of one 18-pounder and one 12-pounder howitzer; all bearing upon the same face (the west face) of the pah. The batteries were covered by stockades of rough timber.
During this time some trial shots were made from the 650 yards with guns and 24-pounder rockets; the latter rather failed; they must have been bad rockets, as Colonel Despard supposes, otherwise these weapons are most useful in such service--for firing into pahs; and from their portability, a great many can be carried with a body of troops without delaying them.
This pah was about 120 yards by 70 (see Plan), and much broken into flanks; it had two rows of palisades 3 feet apart composed of timber 12 inches to 20 inches diameter, and 15 feet out of the ground. Inside these two rows was a ditch 4 feet deep, with earthen traverses left in it, and the earth was thrown up behind to form an inner parapet; each hut inside was also surrounded by a strong low palisade, and the ground excavated inside the hut, and the earth thrown up as a parapet; in fact, similar to Ohaiawai, except that the interior stockading and excavations were more extensive, though these would not afford much defence after troops were once inside. 47
On the 2nd January the natives made a sally from the pah, and were beaten back with great spirit by the native allies alone; they had requested that the troops might not interfere, having found out, I suppose, that the soldiers could not well distinguish between friend and foe. These native skirmishes consist in individual skirmishing behind trees, led on by the shouts and example of some chief, and this must have been a sharp one, for ten of the enemy were killed. Our ally Repa had been severely wounded the day before. 48
The guns had commenced firing and produced some effect, on the palisade, but it would have been throwing life away to have assaulted it at that time, of which Colonel Despard appears to have had some intention.
On the 10th January all the batteries opened and fired all day, and made two small breaches in the outer stockade only; Colonel Despard says the 18-pounder at 150 yards, had nearly as much effect as the two 32-pounders at 400 yards: they kept up some firing during the night. The breach was described as difficult to get in, even without opposition; the small effect of such heavy guns must have been owing to the bad carriages and slow firing.
The enemy began to retire during the night of the 10th, taking their clothes, &c. with them, and early on the morning of the 11th, being Sunday, the natives were nearly all out behind their pah, perhaps not expecting any attack on that day; Tomati-waka's brother, perceiving the pah silent, crept up with some natives, and Colonel Despard finding them successful followed with a company of the 58th, under Captain Denny, and pushed through the breaches: they were received with a fire from the natives left in the pah, but reinforcements following, the troops were soon defending the pah itself against the enemy in the forest behind, and after three hours' sharp firing against the natives endeavouring to retake the pah, some of the daring sailors and soldiers having rushed out of the pah into the forest behind, the enemy retreated altogether.
Killed in this campaign. Naval and Military. 12 men.
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7. RUAPEKAPEKA. 1846.
Most of these were seamen, who exposed themselves too much in the final skirmish.
The enemy were supposed to have lost about twice that number: they had nearly exhausted their provisions.
Governor Grey, Captain Graham, R. N., of the "Castor," Sir E. Home, R. N., of the "North Star," were all present during nearly the whole of this campaign.
Thus, 1100 men were occupied a full month in advancing fifteen miles, and in getting possession of a pah, from which the enemy escaped at the last moment, and escaped with the satisfaction to him of a drawn battle. The question is, was it worth while to go through all that laborious march to obtain such a result? Something might have been done to strike a quicker and more effective blow even with that force; but no regular force, however well equipped, could advance fast enough to have taken the pah by surprise, and without such surprise the result would have been incomplete.
With respect to what might have been done to strike a quicker and more effective blow even with that force: I think, 1st. The bullocks for transport might have been provided beforehand; 2dly more information concerning the country might have been obtained beforehand; 3rdly, and the quantity of carriage transport required for stores, tents, provisions, and ordnance, might have been reduced. Colonel Despard did send back the tents from Ruapekapeka, for he found that, with the help of the natives, the troops could build for themselves huts out of the forest at each station, more comfortable than tents. Troops could hut themselves everywhere in New Zealand, except on the sandy country near the coast, and in the large plains; and provided they are instructed how to do it. The other stores might, I think, have been packed on the bullocks' backs, 4thly. The great obstacle was the ordnance; 32-pounders and 18 pounders were unnecessarily heavy to breach such a pah; the weight of them and their ammunition would be a drag that would incapacitate any expedition in New Zealand. If 24-pounder howitzers could not be obtained from the men-of-war, it would have been even bettor to have tried bags of powder than have taken such heavy guns a mile from the ships. The palisade of Ruapekapeka was not stronger than Ohaiawai, or than stockades that have been so breached at Chatham; and to judge by the long unmolested march of the troops, the enemy did not seem to be much on the alert.
But if this plan had been objected to, then I think it would have been better to have held the post of Kororarika or Pukututu, until a suitable equipment was provided; to have acknowledged at once that the interior was impracticable for regular troops; and to have been content with defending the neighbourhood of the stations, even until application could be made to England for a proper equipment and force. The force and equipment I think desirable have been described, but I must again observe that even that equipment would not, in my opinion, make a sufficient impression on the natives, to produce a lasting peace, unless it was assisted by a local corps specially trained for the service.
However, I am rather desirous of showing what is now still required to put the colony in a defensible state, than what might have been done; for, as before observed, there were circumstances on the other hand which forced the commander to act at once; the chief of which was the slight opinion held by everybody at the time of the strength and resources of the native enemy.
It is true that the War in the north came to an end after this last campaign. A
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7. RUAPEKAPEKA. 1846.
few days after Ruapekapeka, both Heki and Kawiti wrote to the Governor to ask for peace in terms at last trustworthy, because they were short and decisive. And Governor Grey, on consideration of the power he now held in hand, granted it, and with it wisely unconditional pardon, without forfeiture of land; which latter article tended materially to allay future disputes between the natives themselves and jealousy of the Government. And this peace has never since been seriously disturbed, and is less likely to be so now, since the death of Heki and Pomare in 1850.
Thanks and rewards were given by Her Majesty to the troops for this last campaign. Colonel Despard, Colonel Wynyard, and Captain Graham, R. N., were made C. B.'s; Captain Marlow, R. E., Captain Denny, 58th, Lieutenant Wilmot, R. A., got brevet rank; and finally Tomati-waka got a pension of 100l. a year.
If the effect of the campaign did not seem to call for such rewards, when compared with a European battle, certainly the steadiness and cheerfulness with which the troops went through the hardships of it deserved them; for the individual labours and responsibilities were greater than in any civilised campaign, whilst the very best results that could be obtained were inappreciable by the public.
Thus ended the northern campaign. It had commenced in July, 1844, with the first cutting down of the flagstaff, and continued till January, 1846; each campaign had required an increase of force, and even at the last the equipment was inefficient, the natives undervalued. It is evident now, that a display of force at the beginning of the Colony would have prevented this war altogether, and that the leniency of Governor Fitzroy protracted it; and to this I think must be added, that it left but a very slight impression upon the natives of the real power of the British Government.
For the peace that Heki and Kawiti made at last was not so much forced on them by the fear of punishment from the British force, or despair at losing two or three pahs, as it was rather the result of their usual native customs; a little blood drawn on each side satisfies their honour for the time; and if at any future time an accidental cause of war should excite them again against the British, there will be found plenty of young fellows who, having served in these last campaigns, will not only be ready but anxious to try another campaign against the British troops.
To make them really fear the British power will require another system; I do not think any regular troops would ever succeed in doing it. I believe the troops who have served in New Zealand have done as well as regular troops ever did in any country against savages; and with the best equipment could have done very little more. It requires a local corps of men be equipped and trained that they could go wherever the native goes, and for the time live as he lives, come upon him by surprise and take him prisoner. Such a corps would not require guns or drays, or even bags of powder. And judging from some of our troops which had been in one or two campaigns, and from the habits of the settlers, I believe that a corps composed of British soldiers and settlers, so equipped, would after a year or two's training beat the savage out of the field.
The native allies appear to have given more decided support to the British force in this last campaign; they came in greater numbers, and took an active part in the councils of war, and gave very good information and sensible advice. The doubtful natives were, no doubt, encouraged to support our side by the evident
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7. RUAPEKAPEKA. 1846.
determination of the Government to punish Heki. They were supplied with provisions, a very proper arrangement, and also with ammunition, which may be necessary to some extent, but requires great caution in issuing, as they not only waste it, but sometimes, according to their own customs, supply the enemy. Governor Grey even persuaded one chief (Macquarrie) to make a separate diversion with only his own natives against Heki, who was at Ikurangi, and which succeeded in keeping Heki away from Ruapekapeka until the very evening before the capture. The unsteadiness of the native character, their custom of communicating with the enemy, and their rapacity for payment, made Colonel Despard distrust their good faith; but their presence probably prevented the enemy from disturbing him on the line of march; and without them he would have had no information. They, do doubt, wished to be friendly to the British Government, but it must be remembered that such allies may very soon be turned away by a few slight mistakes or unintentional offences. Perhaps, therefore, the safest system of using native allies would be to employ them freely in assisting the progress of the forces, and pay them liberally, and at the same time show them, as Colonel Despard says, that you are prepared to act independently of them altogether. It seems at first curious how so large a force of natives and troops together should have had so much difficulty in defeating so small a body of natives alone: but the natives did not take a prominent part in the attack, it was not to be expected that they would, and the pah was far stronger than anything they had been accustomed to; and of the troops, only a small part could be brought to the front in actual contact with the enemy, owing to the nature of the ground; the greatest part were occupied in overcoming the difficulties of the ground.
Governor Grey thought so highly of the conduct of the native allies, that he laid the foundation of a native corps, by enrolling sixty natives and placing them under British officers. This was afterwards merged into the more useful and practicable corps of the armed police, composed of English and natives indiscriminately. I think it would be rather dangerous to raise a corps of natives alone, for no savage can be depended on at all times, and the ties of blood of the Maori may cause him to fail in his duty at the very place and time when he is most wanted. But I believe the armed police to be the foundation of the most efficient corps any colony could have for the preservation of its internal peace.
The majority of the troops returned to Auckland, leaving about 200 men at the Bay of Islands as a military post, which force has remained there ever since Colonel Despard returned to Sydney.
Governor Grey then turned his attention to the civil government of the colony. He restored the Crown's right of pre-emption of lands from the natives, the waiving of which by Governor Fitzroy was causing such an indiscriminate sale of lands in the north between natives and Europeans as would undoubtedly have led to serious disturbances; he established magistrates for the execution of British law in a summary manner between natives and Europeans: and under the protection of the strong force now in the Colony he prohibited the importation and sale to natives of arms and ammunition, which former governors had not dared to do, notwithstanding that our enemies were thus supplied. The finances were in a very bad state, partly from the troubles which prevented trade, and partly from the manoeuvres of previous governors to raise money. In all these financial difficulties there was this one great fact, which the governors had been trying to get over by various schemes without success, --The want of money. It was a difficulty which could be solved in no other way than by a grant from England.
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And one of Governor Grey's first acts was to apply urgently for the men and money which Captain Fitzroy had not been able to obtain. Fortunately, as before said, the tide had turned, and they were now both supplied. 49
But there were other military difficulties yet before him. The land disputes in Cook's Straits were still going on, and as far from settlement as ever; and the threats and conduct of the opposing natives had become so violent that Governor Grey went to Wellington in Feb. 1846, accompanied by a strong force.
On the 20th of January H. M. steamer "Driver" arrived at Auckland from Sydney (being the first steamer that came to New Zealand), and brought a detachment of the Royal Artillery from England, under Captain Henderson, R. A., with two 3-pr. field guns, and two 12-pr. howitzers.
END OF PART II.
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THE PAH AT RUAPEKAPEKA.
From Sketches by Capt. Marlow, Lt. Leeds &. Mr. Du Moulin.
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Section of the pah. Section of a Bomb proof hole. Section of a hut. Elevation of Palisades, showing loopholes.