PART I. WAIKATO FORTY YEARS AGO.
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WAIKATO FORTY YEARS AGO.
MY reminiscences of Waikato date from my arrival on the 10th November 1830. I had been at Sydney for some time, and made up my mind to try the New Zealand trade; so I took my passage on board the brigantine "Sydney Packet," and found three other passengers, Mr. S. Paul (who was part owner), and two Waikato chiefs, Te Karekare, and Te Puia; these latter had been taken for a trip to Sydney, but were in reality hostages. The approach to the coast was predicted, before land was sighted, by a strong-nosed sailor, who swore he could smell the peculiar fragrance of the New Zealand soil, &c. Four hours after Jack's assertion, land was seen, but I never could manage to train my olfactory nerves to such perfection.
We were not acquainted with the mouth of the Waikato River, and so we got a boat into a little nook to the southward of the bar, and brought off Captain Payne, a resident trader, who gave us the benefit of his experience; with his help we got safely over, and anchored. On going ashore we, the new arrivals (nga pakeha hou), were introduced to the assembled chiefs, who also gave a grand reception to our dark skinned fellow passengers: there was feeding on, a large scale; and, to my
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great astonishment, crying to any extent. It is a queer thing, this tangi. Whether it was a funeral, or a meeting of friends after an absence, the tears flowed copiously. Even in these degenerate days, this twenty-female-weeping power has not entirely deserted the race; but they don't cry like they used when I first came to New Zealand.
The news of our arrival soon spread inland, and lots more people came to see the vessel (kaipuke). The electric telegraph does beat the Maoris in the diffusion of intelligence, but I think they need not give in to anything else; they lick the semaphores into fits. Given a piece of news, a young native, and a screwy pony, and it is quite marvellous to trace how speedily all kaingas around learn what it is all about. Naturally, the communication being verbal, there is a good deal of exaggeration; but still, news do travel fast in Maoridom. Of course the new comers went in for their share of tangi and kai.
Te Karekare was a middle-aged man with a family, and was about the best disposed New Zealander I have ever come across; on the passage down I struck up an intimacy with him, which I am happy to say continued without a break to the day of his death, which occurred at the Ihutaroa fight many years afterwards; and on more than one occasion I received many kindnesses from him. After having been ashore a short time, we took a trip up the country to Toroakapakapa, a settlement a considerable distance up the Waipa River, a branch of the Waikato. On our way up we stopped to breakfast, preparing it on the ground near the water's edge: our party being large, and occupying about a dozen canoes, took up some distance along the bank. Our chief, Piraoa, intending to introduce his pakehas in a grand and becoming style, had enlisted a large number of the elite to accompany him; and the party of Europeans consisted, of Captain Payne, Logan (the man,
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servant), and myself. It being summer time, and the weather particularly fine, many during the halt were in the water bathing, whilst breakfast was preparing; and amongst the bathers was Logan. After he had been in the river a short time a commotion arose amongst those on shore; seeing several men rush into the water with tomahawks, and imagining they were about to kill him, he cried out at the top of his voice "Piraoa, Piraoa, de natif make a bunga bunga me;" this he kept on repeating, and was nearly drowned in his fright; it was some time before we could pacify him by explaining that the native's rush was in consequence of some dogs on the opposite side of the river having caught a pig, which was heard squealing most lustily, and which they were swimming across to secure, without waiting to unfasten their canoes. We were the first Europeans, barring one, who had been in that part of New Zealand. I forget the man's name; but he had come from Kawhia, from a vessel in that port (I heard that he was her mate), with the intention of proceeding across the country to the Thames. On his arriving at Te Onematua, the settlement of the Ngatipou, Te Uira, the elder son of Taratikitiki, the principal chief of the tribe, hearing of his intended trip, endeavoured to delay his departure for a few days, as he purposed going that way himself, in order that he might be in company and under protection. The man, however, persisted in setting out, and Te Uira directed some slaves to take care of him. They started, and a short time afterwards returned without the pakeha. According to their statement, which is very doubtful, a misunderstanding arose from the pakeha having threatened to strike one of them; their report was that when halted to prepare food on the bank of the River Waipa on their way down, and when he (still maintaining his threatening attitude) stepped ashore, they had paddled the canoe away, taking his clothing
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and food, and leaving him on the bank by himself. He was subsequently discovered by a party of another tribe, naked and dead, buoyed up by a limb of a tree at the water's edge: the river having subsided had no doubt left him in that position a few miles below where he had been marooned. There were no marks of violence further than slight abrasions occasioned by the body floating along the bed of the river when carried down by the current, and it was supposed that he had been drowned, probably in the attempt to cross some of the tributary creeks. This having occurred a short time previously to our arrival, was the principal topic of conversation, and every endeavour was made to exculpate the chiefs from any participation in so unwarrantable an act; in fact, Te Uira was so much incensed with the party that, had they not made themselves scarce, he would in all probability have had them shot. One only of them again made his appearance, and that not till after a lapse of time. The natives, generally, were very indignant at the occurrence, considering that they would be stigmatized as a body. On the passage up the river we had an opportunity of seeing a considerable collection of natives at the different settlements, our visit being anticipated from fore-runners having gone ahead to trumpet our chief's success in having secured several Atuas (spirits) in the flesh, some of whom he was about exhibiting for their wonderment and admiration. At all the settlements we were received most courteously and hospitably, though the younger portions of the community generally hid behind stumps of trees, in, or behind, houses, or under the garments of the elder portion, occasionally stealing a peep at "Te Atua."
At one settlement, Kopokowhatitiri, where we stopped for the night, we saw the natives go through a dance; they mustered nearly a hundred, and stood out in separate files,
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the men apart from the women, about fifty in each row: the men, generally speaking, young and robust, the women from about 15 years to 25, and some of them good looking; each party of course dressed entirely in their native habiliments. The Maoris in former days were much finer men than they are at present; they now speak of themselves as having been a people of large stature, which is borne out by the discovery of their remains. The day of our arrival at Toroakapakapa, I perceived, a great commotion in the village, the men arming and demanding arms from us, the women rushing about in all directions, and the clatter of tongues representing a modern "Babel." There was a party of natives at a short distance on the opposite side of a gully, and my want of knowledge of the language immediately led me to the conclusion that these strangers were a hostile party about to make a raid on the settlement and on ourselves: consequently I armed myself after, the approved manner of New Zealand, with a well-filled cartridge box strapped round my waist, and, musket in hand, was preparing myself for a good shot at the supposed enemy. Selecting for my mark a fine fellow, who was sitting out in front of his party unconscious of any intended ill, either for himself or his people, I was going to let drive when, to my surprise, I was seized from behind and prevented from firing: by dint of perseverance on the part of the natives, I was made to understand that this was a friendly visit of some relatives who had come to see the pakehas, and that I was aiming at a friend. From the action I had taken I gained the credit of being a resolute and determined warrior, which I believe I have retained ever since; not that I was at all pugnacious, but I always bore in mind the adage "That caution is the better part of valour," and I was very careful not to encounter men of superior strength to myself in the few wrestles I had for amusement; I accepted the challenge only of those whom I
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considered inferior to myself in strength, and declined a second round after having succeeded in throwing my adversary in the first instance, which I usually did. I only lost the first throw in one case out of two, which were the sole occasions of riri (earnest) I had with the natives. We remained at Toroakapakapa a week, as Captain Payne's object in going up the river was to purchase flax to freight the "Sydney Packet" back to Sydney; I had thus an opportunity of seeing occasionally a large assemblage of natives, but I had daily to go through the same routine, endeavouring to learn Maori by day, and watching the dancing and games of the natives in the evening. We found a difference on going back, for the passage which had occupied a week when ascending the river, took us only two days on our return. There was now collected a good amount of flax as a cargo for the vessel; but, as still more was required to fill up and dispatch her, the mate (Tucker) was sent along the coast to look after some which the natives had cleaned: on his return with it by sea, the canoe which carried him and his flax was swamped, and he was drowned. The natives who accompanied him were saved, but the flax and the canoe were lost. I believe he had been cautioned not to go to sea in the canoe.
An incident occurred about this time, showing one way of securing a friend. I was carrying three damaged muskets to send off to Sydney for repairs, and a chief named Nini (who from his wild and turbulent spirit was nicknamed by us "Russian") requested leave to look at them: as they were defective, it was desirable that they should not be seen, so I objected; he thereupon seized hold of one of them, and, to retain possession of it, I had to drop the others, but the natives around did not attempt to touch them as they lay on the ground. There was a struggle for the mastery, and after a time I contrived to manoeuvre him
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to the edge of a bank about 8 feet in height, and there I succeeded in placing my foot on his chest, and wrenching the piece out of his hands. My friend, of course, went down the bank, and fell amongst the boulders on the beach; on his recovering himself he jumped up, foaming at the mouth, and danced about with rage for about twenty minutes, swearing vengeance on account of his defeat. This was at least my impression, as at that time I did not know anything of the language; after this explosion he took himself off.
The next day as I was wandering about the place where I had had the squabble I happened to look up, and I saw Nini approaching, accompanied by ten or twelve other natives. It would never have done for a pakeha to show the white feather, although I fully expected a combined attack, so I stood my ground. Nini advanced towards me, holding out his hand in pakeha fashion, but this I at first declined to take, thinking that he might by retaining my hand, have me at a great disadvantage; and it was not till after some time that his companions contrived to make me understand his intentions were particularly friendly, upon which I gave him my hand at once, and I am happy to say I retained his unbroken friendship up to the fight of Te Ihutaroa, the last intertribal war that took place among the Maoris in Waikato, when Nini went down with many others. I received many kindnesses from him, as well as protection from the importunities of other Maoris, though I was not supposed to be living under his wing, or that of his tribe; and I always found him particularly honourable and generous.
In 1831, the brig "Tranmere," Captain Smith, arrived in Manukau Harbour with Captain Kent, Te Wherowhero, and Amohia, Wherowhero's daughter. Captain Kent was the first European who had visited the West Coast of the
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North Island for trading purposes, having put in to Kawhia, in 1828, in the brig "Macquarie," for flax, that being the only article of commerce produced by the natives. In consequence of Te Wherowhero's visiting Manakau with his pakehas (pakehas in those days were no small beer, and as I have said before were looked upon more in the light of Celestials, or, as the natives would term it, Atuas), Te Kanae Wetere presented Te Wherowhero with Awhitu, a pretty little bay to the south, a little inside of the entrance to the Manakau Harbour; in return for this Wetere received the gift of a case of muskets, considerably above the value of the land: but in those days the chiefs used to endeavour to excel each, other in the value and magnificence of their presents. Awhitu has since been considered as the property of the Ngatimahuta (Te Wherowhero's tribe), and Honana te Maioha received a piece of it as compensation for his claim as a Ngatimahuta, on the confiscation of the Waikato lands by the Government. Captain Kent, Te Wherowhero, his daughter Amohia, and an escort of natives came over to the Waikato, and proceeded up the river. Whilst they were in Manakau I paid a visit to the "Tranmere" to see Captain Smith, going in company with some natives by way of Waiuku. On crossing over to the portage we fell in with an old woman, loft behind by a party of the Ngatipaou, which had preceded us a couple of days, and as we could not take her on we also had to leave her, with the intention of picking her up on our return, In the absence of a canoe we had to tramp along the margin of the bays, crossing, when possible, the mud flats to shorten the distance; once I ventured too far out, and got so bogged in the stiff salt, water mud, that I had to be pulled out by flax ropes; at last, by dint of perseverance, with legs cut and scratched by the shells in the mud, exhausted and fatigued, we contrived to got abreast of the vessel and hail her, and to
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my great relief made myself heard, and was taken on board. I was received most kindly, and remained on board three days to recover myself. After obtaining a few supplies from Captain Smith, we were taken up to Waiuku in the ship's boat, thus probably escaping a second bogging and dragging out; and on our way we found the old lady where we had left her, and took her on; by the time we reached Waiuku it was evening, and we crossed over the portage to Purapura. The night promised to be fine, and so we did not trouble ourselves to erect a shed, but presently the wind shifted and the rain fell in torrents; it was now pitch dark, and there was no alternative but to sit up, grin, and bear it; the water was literally running through me. At day light the natives contrived to make a break-wind, so that we could relieve ourselves of our wet clothing, not that my companions had much to wet: the principal mode they adopted was to turn their mats in and out, and out and in, till they were dry. The old lady we had picked up was taken posession of by our chief Piraoa, who was with us, as a stray waif, and was walked off to the settlement. Soon after this Piraoa's wife was confined, and the old lady was deputed to attend upon her; the consequence being that she was tapued (or rendered sacred), the chieftainess in the straw being a woman of rank. At the time of the occurrence food was very scarce; there was only fern root, and of this the best was selected for the chiefs; the old woman being a slave was, during the time of the tapu, precluded from feeding herself; but on one occasion no one being there to cook for her and feed her, she unceremoniously, but unfortunately, appropriated some of the sacred fern root meant for the chieftainess, and made a hearty meal. Detection followed; not even a form of trial was gone through, and the poor old thing was killed, and sunk in the river during the night. In the morning we saw some blood on the ground, but were told on
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enquiry that it was the blood of a dog; we then missed the old woman, but were informed that she had been sent up the river.
One evening the "Sydney Packet," being full, took her departure for Sydney, and at day-light next morning I ascended a hill, expecting to find that she had got out of sight, or was merely a speck in the offing. To my surprise I discovered that she was ashore on the north side; on going out she had gone too far to the north, had struck, and was thrown up where she was then lying. On striking she had carried away her rudder, become unmanageable, and been buffetted about till she reached high water mark, where the tide left her. Captain Payne and the rest of us went across to render what assistance we could; we lightened the vessel by landing her cargo, stores, and all rigging not essentially required for the vessel's use, and at the top of the next spring tide, which occurred in about ten days, we succeeded in getting her afloat and inside the harbour again.
At a subsequent period the "Elizabeth and Mary," a vessel of about 90 tons, the same size as the "Sydney Packet," got on shore at the same place, but with worse luck, as she stuck and became a total wreck: no life in either case was lost or endangered.
We repaired the damage done to the "Sydney Packet," re-loaded her, and dispatched her to Sydney, where she arrived in safety without any more troubles.
On the departure of the vessel we commenced operations to secure a cargo for her return, which we calculated would be in about six weeks, or two months; but she never made her appearance, and the "Samuel," a schooner, came in her place. During the absence of the vessel we had wars and rumours of wars up the country among the natives. The fights in Waikato have been pretty numerous, whether they
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arose from the attacks of an invading foe, or from local squabbles; and it may not be out of place if I give a short account of some of them, beginning at the attack by the Ngapuhis in 1825 or 1826 on Waikato, before the tribes inhabiting the latter were supplied with fire arms. The raid was made by Hongi Hika, at the head of 800 men, after his visit to England, where he had been presented with a suit of armour and some fire arms by George IV.; these he carried with him, and used in the expedition. The Waikatos at the time of the above raid were in possession of none but their native arms. Notwithstanding this disadvantage they made a stand at Matakitaki, where they had built a pa just at the confluence of the Mangapiko stream with the Waipa River. Ngapuhi made the attack on the pa early on a foggy morning. On the report of the fire arms the besieged were paralysed with astonishment and fear; they could not tell whence these extraordinary sounds proceeded, and many were shot down without a semblance of resistance.
The Waikatos in fortifying their pa had intersected it with Maioros (or rifle pits), and in the rush they made to escape hundreds fell, or were driven into these, and trampled to death or smothered. A great slaughter of the Waikatos was the consequence, the estimated loss being 2,000 killed (and eaten), and 2,000 taken away prisoners. Many of the principal chiefs, both male and female, were killed or taken, though several contrived to escape from their captors on the road, and return to their homes. Potatau's chief wife, and Te Uira's were among the captured who managed to get away. One of the leading chiefs of the Ngapuhi connived at the escape of a "rangatira" Waikato woman with her son. She, it seems, had fallen to the lot of a man of inferior rank, and one of the Ngapuhi happening to pass by recognised her as a person from whom he had received hospitality and kindness on a previous visit to Waikato, and
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tried to obtain her liberty from her present master. Failing in this, he determined to effect her deliverance by cautioning the owner to look well after his prisoners, as probably they might attempt to escape. He threw him off his guard, and gained his confidence to such an extent that his offer to assist in the watch was gladly received and accepted. The house in which the prisoners were confined was fortunately at the edge of the high bank of the Waipa River. After collecting a number of sticks, which had the appearance of being for firewood, the friendly chief excavated from the bank into the house, and having made a good passage, he covered the aperture in the whare with the wood and with fern. In the middle of the night, when all were supposed to be asleep, the sticks were moved aside, the woman and child passed through the aperture, and got to the river unheard; this the woman swam with the child on her back, and eventually both reached her friends in safety. To favour their escape the kindly native, after their exit by the passage, replaced the sticks and fern, and made up their bedding as if they were there asleep. Their lord and master was sleeping in the house with them, and it was not till after daylight that he discovered the deception that had been practised on him, to the great amusement of the others. One of the principal chieftains, Te Rangimoewaka, had succeeded in escaping from the pa, but becoming exhausted with fatigue he sat down, telling the party with whom he was escaping to hasten away and not heed him, as he could proceed no further. For a time there was some hesitation, but the yells of the pursuers grew nearer and nearer, and the instinct of self-preservation carried the day: each gave him the final salute by applying nose to nose, and hastened off. Amongst the pursuers was a Ngapuhi chief, who knew Te Rangimoewaka, and had been on friendly terms with him. He was the first to come up; and, seeing his quondam
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friend lying exhausted, reminiscences of old times flashed across him; he stooped and rubbed noses in token of recognition; and then, in performance of his duty to his party, tomahawked him.
Success is not always a good thing: it makes some people conceited, and only leads them to a fall; and this is precisely what happened to Ngapuhi. Heke's expedition had been attended with glorious results, and they did not see why such good fortune should not continue. So, after a lapse of two or three years, Ngapuhi got up another war-party to the Waikato, without calculating the advance in civilization the Waikatos had made in the interim; for, warned by their defeat of the superiority of fire arms, they had made wonderful efforts to get supplied with arms and ammunition, Pomare, Moetara, and several chiefs of importance, with others amounting in all to about five hundred men, formed the taua (a war party). When the Ngapuhis entered the Waikato country the inhabitants retired from the banks of the river, permitting the enemy to advance unmolested. The elated invaders passed the spot of Hongi Heke's victory, and marched on some two or three miles further, without seeing a foe. At the Mangauika rapids, near Kopua, close to the place where a mission was afterwards established, they came into collision with the Waikatos; and, to their disgust, found them in strong numbers, well posted, and well armed. There was no more easy slaughtering fun, so Ngapuhi concluded to retire. But the Waikatos had not enticed them so far up the river for nothing, and in rear of the attacking party ambushes were carefully laid on the banks of the Waipa. At Te Rore, about four miles below Alexandra (the old Matakitaki), there was assembled a large party of Ngatiteata, Ngatitipa, Ngatimahanga, and other Waikato tribes, and into this ambuscade Ngapuhi unconsciously fell. They were paddling down quietly, all the canoes, close together, when a heavy
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volley was poured into them. Orders had been given to take special aim at the chiefs, and most of them, Pomare included, fell at the first fire. The canoes jammed and upset. There was no climbing up the banks under the heavy fire, and volley after volley came hurtling from the concealed Waikatos. Ngapuhi were, of course, totally defeated, and those who managed to escape got out on the left bank and made for Whangaroa, where they got another cutting up. The survivors then pushed on overland for Waikato Heads; but in the meantime the Waikato canoes had carried a large party to cut off the retreat. This was done so effectually that, out of the five hundred, or more, men who composed the taua, only ten reached their homes, Moetara being the only chief who did so; and he had been struck by a spent ball on the chest, where had been pricked a star to which he attributed his invulnerability.
In 1830, Kaipaka, a pa near Otawhao, occupied by the Ngatihinetu and Ngatiapakura, was attacked by the Ngatihauas, Ngatikoroki, and Ngatiruru, who perpetrated an indiscriminate slaughter of men, women, and children. The following anecdote was related to me by a woman who belonged to the assaulting party. She had saved from drowning an infant that had been thrown into the creek (Mangapiko) which ran close to the pa. On taking it from the water she had nestled it to her bosom to warm it and preserve its life if possible; the poor little thing unfortunately uttered a cry; a savage passing by heard it, and he immediately seized the child, tore it from her, notwithstanding her remonstrances, and deliberately stuck it up before the fire and roasted it alive.
Another local fight took place, in 1830, at Te Whakakiho, a pa occupied by the Ngatipou. The majority of its inhabitants being away at Kawhia and elsewhere, the opportunity to take it was too good to be lost, and it was attacked
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by surprise (he konihi) by the Ngatihaua, Ngatikoroki, and Ngatimahuta. Heavy loss of life occurred here also; but the intervention of the pakehas so completely pacified the belligerents that the conquered party did not, as usual in such cases, seek utu (payment) when they became strong enough to do so.
In 1831, Te Haowhenua, Taumatawiwi, and other encounters took place between the Hauraki tribes and the Ngatihauas, etc., in alliance with others of the Waikato tribes. From these arose the famous "Aroha" case, which has given so much trouble in the Native Lands Court. The struggle between the two tribes took place in 1831, and ended in the expulsion of the Hauraki (Thames natives), who did not attempt to recover their lands till after the Native Lauds Court was instituted and the discovery was made that the country was auriferous.
The last war expedition of the Ngapuhis to the Waikato was made in the autumn of 1832. On the intimation of an intended attack, the Waikatos mustered their various tribes to the extent of 3,000, or more, fighting men, the greater portion bearing firearms. They assembled near Waikato Heads, and showed so strong that the Ngapuhi scouts on the other side of the river advised the main body to halt. A party of our people, who had crossed over, came upon the footprints of their advance guard, and Waikato at once turned out for leaping parade. There were about three thousand of them, and their war dance, in fighting costume, was something terrific; the simultaneous thump of six thousand feet striking the earth in spring after spring, and all in perfect unison, made the earth literally shake. We could feel it as they came down from the upward leaps. The disadvantage of such numbers was that the enemy would not come on, and that the commissariat department was not up to feeding so many very hungry mouths. Of course had Ngapuhi made
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the attack, there would have been plenty to eat; but they fought shy, trusting perhaps to the very circumstances which did happen. For, after a few days had passed, the Waikatos found they had eaten up everything about the place, and that they could no longer remain. It was thought better that the Europeans should accompany their retreat, so Captain Payne, myself, and my servant went with them. Mr. W------, of Onewhero, a man called "Cooper," from his trade, and a half-caste New Holland lad preferred to stay, little anticipating the fate in store for them.
About a month after we had left our establishment, the Ngapuhis made their appearance at Putataka, where I had resided, burned my house, and killed the stock I had running there. They also captured Cooper and "Billy boy," the New Holland half-caste, and took them away, at the same time stripping and burning their dwelling. They then went up the river to Onewhero, seized Mr. W------ at daybreak, and killed several natives. One lad managed to escape into the river, where he lay concealed for hours with only his nose and mouth above water, till the taua had returned. At the capture of Mr. W------, an altercation took place between two chiefs, Pukerangi and another (whose name has escaped my memory), as to the proprietorship of the captive. Pukerangi persisted in his claim by right of priority, as he had been the first to enter the room in which W------ was, and, moreover, had seized him before the other had entered. Pukerangi's claim was approved of by the other chiefs, and they proceeded up the river about forty miles to Whangape Lake, where they surprised and massacred between 40 and 50 men. The slaughter would have been more serious had not a canoe full of the Waikatos been fortunately going down the river, and met the invading party coming up. The Waikato natives discovered their dilemma in time, turned and retreated, but were fired upon by the advancing Ngapuhis; they returned
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the fire, and a running fight ensued. The Ngapuhis succeeded in killing one of the Waikatos, but in return a chief was shot and fell into the water. The recovery of the body occasioned considerable delay, which was of signal advantage to the retreating party, as it gave them an opportunity of disposing of the dead man that was in their canoe by placing him ashore, and thus lightening their load, and of apprizing others who would otherwise have been surprised and probably massacred or captured. On the Ngapuhi reaching Whangape they stopped in the creek, the entrance to the lake; and during the night a canoe with a large party of the Waikatos in it pulled through the midst of the war party, which had lined each side of the creek. When challenged, they succeeded in imitating so well the Ngapuhi dialect that they were believed to be some of the attacking party, and got clear, On their return, the Ngapuhi revisited Port Waikato, and fell in with a pakeha known by the name of "Paddy," who had travelled from Whaingaroa (Raglan); they wished to take him away with them, and probably might not have seriously ill-treated him, but Paddy, imagining that they were Waikato natives, and probably not having heard of the Ngapuhi's arrival, declined the honor and became obstreperous. The consequence was that he was killed, and an endeavour made to turn him to a useful account by cooking him; but, on being placed on the festive ground (board being out of the question), he was found to be so much impregnated with salt from the salt provision he had eaten, that he was rejected, and ultimately given to the dogs.
The natives were very different in those days to what they are now. They could hardly be induced to touch salt or salt provision. Paddy got no more than his deserts though; he was an incorrigibly bad character, having robbed all the Europeans at Whaingaroa; his last act was the robbing of some natives with whom he had been living and from
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whom he had to decamp, and thus rush upon his fate. I had nearly shared the same fate; as, imagining from the length of time which had elapsed without any appearance of the enemy, that it was a false alarm, I had prepared for my return to my former station; but I was delayed by bad weather. Had it not been for this, I should have been just in time to be caught; as it was, I was in my canoe, on the eve of starting, when the escaped natives gave the alarm. Of course I returned ashore, thanking my stars at my narrow escape. On its being known that the Ngapuhis had arrived, killed several natives, captured the pakehas and burned their dwellings, the Kaitutai, or Ngatiamaru, tribe mustered and went in pursuit; but, bearing in mind the sage saying that "discretion is the better part of valour," and seeing the enemy too numerous when overtaken in Manakau, they returned. The Ngatiteata, Ngatitamaho, Ngatiwhatua, Ngatitipa, and Ngatimahanga, on hearing that the others had come back without effecting anything, determined to follow up the matter. They mustered immediately, and starting without delay, followed Ngapuhi to Tawatawhiti, in Whangarei. Here they attacked and took a pa in which they had assembled, nearly annihilating the occupants, without the loss of a single man on their own side, and recovered several of their own people who had been taken away from Waikato. At the time of the mustering of the Ngatiteata, Ngatitamaho, etc., to follow the Ngapuhis I overheard a tall, robust slave woman say to another who was standing by her side, looking at the natives going through their war dances previous to departure, that as soon as they were gone she would run away. Foolishly enough she did not wait till they had gone, but made the attempt too soon, was captured, and killed as an offering to propitiate the Atua. I was living in the pa at the time, and hearing that they were about to kill a slave, I seized a musket and ran with it, intending
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to give it for her and save her life; but upon reaching the place, I perceived that she was breathing her last and being dragged away by the heels like a dog. Te Kanae, her chief, had struck her on the back of the neck with a tomahawk, but she was finished by some male slaves, who had smashed her face in with clubs; and these were the very men who had, been on the closest terms of intimacy with the poor unfortunate woman; her name was Punepune. A short time after this, on the same day, another alarm was given that they were about killing another slave--this time, a man. I rushed off again with my gun with the same purpose as before, but on my reaching the part of the pa where they were, I was horrified to see the natives jumping about literally mad. They had surrounded the unhappy man, some were tearing out his hair by handsful, and others, unable to get close, were endeavouring to prod him with their gun muzzles. Their fiendish gestures, excited state, their thirst for blood, and the passion they had worked themselves up to was horrifying in the extreme. The poor fellow on whom they were venting their cruelty had been living with them for a length of time previously, and was on terms of intimacy with them, but, being a slave, and there being no associations connected with him, and, moreover, as he had given umbrage by an attempt to escape, he had become a subject on which they might sharpen their appetite or longing for human flesh prior to starting on the war expedition they were about undertaking. During the uproar a chief named Hika sat silently looking on, perhaps pleased with the ruthlessness of his people, and thinking probably that he might do a little business on his own account and appropriate the slave to his own use. The man was then apparently dead but possibly might recover, so Hika tapued him by calling him after his iwi tuaru (backbone), upon which he was let go, fell as dead, and remained apparently so for some time;
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after a while he recovered himself sufficiently to crawl away, but it was long before he entirely recovered from the mauling he had had. The proprietor did not attempt to dispossess Hika of the slave he had thus acquired.
A few nights after our war-party had left, an old woman professed to have been visited by her Atua, from whom she had learnt the progress of the expedition, and getting on the roof of a house in the dark, she addressed the people of the pa, who, upon hearing her, made a fire to illuminate her. She went through the most hideous and extraordinary gesticulations whilst relating the information she had received from her Atua. When she was about the middle of her performance, I went stealthily and unperceived by anyone but my own party, (who, by-the-bye, were very much frightened lest the old lady might hear of it and bewitch me), to the end of the house on which she was perched, protruded my head a little above the roof, and repeated the name of the slaughtered woman, Punepune, two or three times in a slow sepulchral voice. This frightened the old Jezebel so much that in her alarm and attempt to descend from the roof of the house, she rolled off on to the ground like "a thousand of bricks." There she lay without a move, her head covered for a short time, the others supposing she had been killed by the fall; but to their surprise she became reanimated, got up on her hands and knees, and crawled away into a house on "all fours," stowing herself away in a corner until morning. Even then she continued the farce of the night before, stating that Punepune had appeared to her informing her of the proceedings of the departed expedition: in fact, she told them that she had been called from the top of the house by the dead woman, with whom she had afterwards been in communication during the night, and her revelations she would make known at a future period. That portion which she did relate did not tally with the statements made on the return
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of the expedition, and I never heard of her having had any further spiritual communications.
The Europeans and half-caste New Hollander captured at Port Waikato by the Ngapuhi had been taken to Whangarei where Mr. W------ was sold to his brother, who, fortunately, was there with his vessel in the harbour. On Mr. W------'s arrival, Pomare obtained him for a 251b. keg of gunpowder from Pukerangi, and sold him to the brother for a 501b. keg, making a cent, per cent, profit. The saying that a man's life is often dependent on a straw was verified in the case of Mr. W------ during his sojourn with his captors. As before stated, there was a disagreement between Pukerangi and another chief as to his ownership. Pukerangi treated his prisoner very fairly, having bought from some of the party a portion of W------'s wearing apparel and returned it to him, but the other fellow was in a towering rage at the decision of the chiefs, and, as he could not have W------ for a slave, he determined no one else should. He tried many times by hints, &c, to get up a feeling against him and have him killed, but always failed, till one day he stated he had dreamt that W------ was endeavouring to take his life. This of course was a matter of high treason; but still the proof was not quite patent, and accuser and owner agreed to have recourse to the mode of divination known as te hiu or torotoro. They walked down to a pool of water, W------ accompanying them, and the latter's enemy took two straws. One he named after himself, the other after W------; both he launched into the pool, intently watching the result. In the first instance the straws separated; another trial was attended with the same result; but the third proved decisive, for W------ --i. e., his straw, floated across and under the native's representative. Had it floated over, it would have been a sign that W------ did intend mischief, Pukerangi could not have saved his slave, and W------ would have been most certainly knocked on the head.