INCIDENTS OF THE WAR.
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I WAS residing in Hawke's Bay in 1862, when hearing that a mounted corps was about to be raised in Auckland, to be used as a defence force for the colony, I proceeded to that town, which was then the seat of Government, to offer my services as a colonist in assisting to quell the native disturbance, that had from small beginnings now assumed the proportions of a war of some magnitude, and promised to become still greater. Week after week brought news of fresh disasters, and of such and such a tribe having joined the King natives, who thought that the lands of their ancestors were being wrested from them and slipping from their hold, which was sufficient of itself to rouse every savage feeling in the breast of the New Zealander. Many, no doubt, had private reasons for hating the Europeans, but the one absorbing feeling in their hearts was: "Our lands are going from us against our wills! Let us kill every pakeha we can. They are but thistles! Let us cut them down and save our country." No one pakeha knew this feeling existed, and had existed, among the natives better than I. My knowledge of their character was not as poets love to pourtray it, but as it really is--nothing worse and nothing better. I had hunted, fished, and travelled with them (with all tribes), and had been much thrown with them in their districts, kaingas, and pas. I had not become acquainted with their character by second-hand means or translations through Government or other interpreters, few of whom, alas! were then fitted for the very important position they filled, and many of whom were only Pakeha-Maoris--sans culottes--who had private ends to work, which the twisting of a sentence would materially aid. A great portion of the misery and desolation this country has suffered has been caused by men of this description. I repeat, I had not gained my knowledge of the natives by these means. I had the advantage of knowing the Maori language from childhood thoroughly, and by mixing with them had become acquainted with their habits and customs and the practical use of their native weapons, which has often proved of good service to me. My father, a captain in the Royal Navy, had on certain occasions only one argument. If a native grossly insulted either himself or his family he knocked him down. The natives understood his argument, which had rarely to be repeated.
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Otherwise he was their friend. No settler was more respected or more beloved by the Northern tribes, and the name of "Kapitane" (the native name for captain) is, though he is no more, well known and remembered in the North.
On my arrival in Auckland, I called upon the Premier (the Hon. A. Domett), from whom I had received much kindness and consideration during his residence in Hawke's Hay, where he had filled the office of Resident Magistrate. I told him why I had come to Auckland, and asked for a commission in the Colonial forces, which I understood were about to be raised. Mr. Domett told me that the time had not arrived for raising this corps, but that, when raised, I should receive a commission in it. In the meanwhile he gave me an appointment as interpreter to Mr. Lawlor, Resident Magistrate at Coromandel. I thanked Mr. Domett, and went to assume my new duties, feeling certain in my own mind that this corps, or some corps, must soon be raised, and that Mr. Domett would never have promised had he not intended to perform. So I left Auckland for Coromandel in high spirits. There was little or nothing to do in Coromandel, as everyone was too busy to engage much in litigation I managed to arrange many matters between Europeans and natives out of Court. It answered the purpose quite as well, saved me much trouble, and the Resident Magistrate much annoyance. I used to occupy much of my spare time in digging in a creek for gold, in company with some friends. It put me in mind of my digging days in Australia, and served to kill time. We used to work hard to keep the claim dry; but at last we bottomed the creek. My share of the expenses came to thirty pounds; there were five of us. The result of our labour we looked upon with no small pride, for, under a strong magnifying glass, it looked very rich, the point of the penknife which held it looking like a broad bar of steel covered with huge nuggets of gold. One of my mates, a careless sort of fellow, opened the door of the room we were in, and a puff of wind flew away with our riches. Our party broke up, we dug no more, though I am certain there is plenty of gold in that creek. If any one disputes this he can go there and try for himself.
Several months flew by, when the whole of Coromandel was placed in a state of ferment by the receipt of the news of the diabolical murder of Traggett and Hope, who were killed by an ambuscade on the West Coast, near New Plymouth, with several others. This happened in May, 1863. Soon afterwards the Defence Force was raised, a splendid fellow appointed to command, and I received my commission, giving me the rank of sub-inspector in the same corps. My friend Von Tempsky received an ensign's commission, and raised a corps of Forest Rangers. Lieutenant Jackson raised a similar body, and these two corps, and the names of their two skilful leaders, Jackson and Von Tempsky, are entwined with the history of New Zealand. Jackson and Von Tempsky will ever be remembered. I joined our headquarters at Otahuhu, some eight miles from Auckland,
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and was there introduced to my brother officers, and our major, and commanding officer. The corps consisted of two troops of fifty each; each troop was under an experienced officer--Captain Walmsley and Captain Pye, V.C.--and there were two sub-inspectors to each troop. A gentleman named Mr. Mair was attached to us as interpreter. We all soon became fast friends, and I look back with feelings of pleasure and pride to the many pleasant hours we all spent together. Alas! how many of those gallant settlers have fallen in seeking to restore peace to their adopted country.
RECONNOITRING THE REBEL CAMP AT PAPARATA.
Camp life during our stay at Selby's farm was very monotonous. A parade in the morning, a walk round our horses at stables, and now and then a light puff of blue smoke, accompanied by the faint sound of a shot from the high wooded range about Queen's Redoubt, fired by some of the enemy's scouts, showing that every movement in our camp was watched with the eye of a hawk, were almost the only break in our camp life. It was a weary time. We were forbidden to stray from camp, as the enemy were always on the look-out to cut off stragglers, and many an unfortunate man met his fate quite unexpectedly and unprepared in this way; but in spite of such sad warnings these orders were not too strictly obeyed. I believe I felt the inaction more than the majority of us. I was unaccustomed to confinement, and loved to roam in the woods, and being an expert bushman I had little fear of being surprised. In a rather melancholy humour one afternoon I started for a prowl by myself, and ascended the hill at the rear of our camp that over-looked the broad river Waikato, and where I could obtain a bird's-eye view of the valley below and the country to the right, where the river sailed on to the sea. Gaining the summit of the hill, I sat down, and taking out a glass I had borrowed from our Colonel, commenced to take a survey of the country. The enemy's strong-hold, Paparata, I could see remarkably well from my position, and on closely examining the earthworks, distant about twelve miles, I formed a resolve to scout up to the position and obtain intelligence that was much wished for, and report to the General for his information. I took another long look, and, full of ideas, retraced my steps to our camp, not knowing how best to frame my request to our Colonel. I sought advice from my old friend Von Tempsky, who promised to do all in his power to obtain permission if I would promise him one thing in return, his request being that he should accompany me. This being agreed upon, we started together in search of Colonel Nixon and laid the matter before him. For a long time he would hear nothing of it, and withheld his consent to speak to the General, pleasantly remarking that we were too valuable officers to lose. He said that Sir Duncan never would give his consent, that he had reconnoitred the position before with a large body of troops, and had thought it best to let it
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alone for the present. After much persuasion, the fine old fellow promised to see about it the next morning, but gave it as his opinion that the General would not allow us to risk our lives. I thought differently, and that any information about Paparata would be very acceptable, as he wanted information. Next day Von Tempsky and I were requested to attend at head-quarters at 1 p.m., when, introduced by our Colonel, we met the chief, who told us the heads of the information he wished for, and gave his permission for us to go, and wished us a safe return. We received a letter to the officer who commanded at the next post to allow us to pass, and early the following morning we started. Our reception here was very ungracious, and we were forced to quit the camp before dark, and march to Koheroa, a post some seven miles off, and out of our way. The road between the two posts was only used by strong escorts, and a corporal of the 18th had been waylaid a week before, having ventured alone to start to walk the distance, and was tomahawked by the natives. However, we reached Koheroa safely about 3 p.m., and met with a hearty welcome from the garrison, who proved old acquaintances of mine. We had scarcely got rid of the dust of our march when His Excellency Sir George Grey and Sir Duncan and staff arrived in camp. Sir Duncan was surprised to see us here out of our road; but I informed him of the cause. The following day we took notes of the country, and made ourselves as familiar as we could with the position of the hills and general features of the neighbourhood, so as to be prepared for any emergency that might happen to us. We then returned to camp, and after partaking well of our friends' hospitality, we started at dusk on our enterprise. We had to retrace the steps we had come some six miles along a razor-backed ridge, with gullies and swamp on either side--the very places for ambuscades; and supposing scouts to have been out that evening, they must have seen our figures against the sky. This idea gave us much anxiety afterwards. In a short time we came to the branch track leading in the direction of Paparata, now about seven miles distant. The country was quite level up to it, with the exception of a few small gullies. A very large swamp was to our left hand, backed by a high wooded range, intersected with deep ravines running into the swamp. To our right was the road we had just come along, the Waikato River, and the enemy's position at Meremere. Before us lay Paparata. The path we were now on was scarcely discernible, it being very dark, and at times, we could scarcely tell if we were off or on the track, but by keeping the night air on our left cheek, and stooping down now and again to feel for the road, we moved slowly along. Any tree and dark object was carefully approached, lest it should prove an enemy. Our object was to avoid a meeting, if possible, for many reasons, and we did not know but that we might fall in with scouts sent to shoot stragglers and pick up information. Presently we heard the buglers at Queen's Redoubt
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sound the last post, the echoes replying and dying away in the ranges. All again was still, and nothing broke the silence but the boom of the bitterns from the swamp--a rather melancholy sound at any time. Perhaps it was not till now I fully realised the risk of what we had volunteered to perform. Onward we went, gradually nearing our destination. We had gone over six miles, when we came to a little swamp, over which we had to pass. Pungas were growing in the middle of it, and in the dark we mistook these for a picket of the enemy. We crept up on hands and knees, and to our no small satisfaction found our mistake. We had made up our minds for a small fight if there proved occasion for it, but, of course, anything in this way would have spoilt the object in view. We crossed over and entered a broad track, fenced in on both sides with toitoi and flax. On our right was a long narrow clump of forest. We passed a small village on our right, and could detect the odour of the cooking ovens of the inmates. We continued on for about 500 yards, now and then getting into clear patches of grass and clover.
Presently we heard voices approaching, so we began to retrace our steps till we could get to one side and allow the natives to pass us; but we had not gone far when we heard other voices approaching in what had been our rear. "We are in for it now," I whispered to Von Tempsky, and it struck us both that we had been seen by scouts as we had passed over the razor-backed ridge before mentioned, and that we were in rather a mess, and were being hunted. One chance seemed open--to leave the path and strike for the narrow belt of forest. This we did, and went a short distance and sat down to rest for awhile. The two parties of natives met nearly opposite to where we were seated, muttered a few words too indistinct for us to understand, and then they moved off in the direction we had been going. We remained quiet for a short time, but, as we commenced to move off again, the day began to break, and cocks to crow all round us. We did not know where we had got to. About this time I was lying on my back, when I imagined I saw a man standing over me. I fancied I recognised the features of a half-caste named George Clarke, a noted character in Hokianga. I had presented my pistol, and in another moment would have pulled the trigger, when the figure faded away, the object taking its real form, a koromiko bush. For the time I could have sworn it was a man. I suppose the strain on the nerves caused this strange hallucination.
We now heard a horseman approaching, and presently a native galloped past on a grey horse. A brute of a dog yelped at his heels. The dog stopped close to where we lay. He evidently scented mischief, and was trying to attract attention to it; but at last he obeyed a shout from his master and made after him, a great relief to us. It was now light enough to distinguish objects more plainly. The flax we found ourselves hidden in was about four feet high. This was all the shelter we had, and to our disgust we found it would be impossible to gain the forest without being seen by the
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natives, some of whom were on the alert. Our position was such that we required to use the greatest caution lest we should be discovered. We were in a small piece of flax swamp that stood in the centre of a level bit of country, showing a very different aspect to what it had borne as we had marched on it by night. I stood upright to get a good view of the position, when Von Tempsky gave me a tug. I turned, and he pointed silently to a native standing about twenty paces from us, holding a bright double-barrelled gun in his hands. I at once threw myself down on the ground. Fortunately he had not seen us. After the sun had risen we took another view. Good heavens! we were almost in the centre of the natives, and on two sides of us, and about 500 or 600 yards off, were newly-dug rifle pits, and some earthworks, and new roughly-made whares.
"After the natives have had their breakfast," whispered Von Tempsky, "they will find us out, old fellow."
"Very likely," I replied; "some horrid hag will be coming to cut flax and discover us hidden here. Of course she will yell out her discovery, other natives will come up, and we will be tomahawked."
We resolved, should we be discovered, to fire right and left and make a dash for it as well as we could. Von Tempsky, I could see, was thinking of his wife and little ones. I blamed myself for bringing him. It did not at that time so much matter for myself. I had no one to care for me. Having arrived at the conclusion that we were in what the Yankees term a "considerable fix," we determined to make the best of it, and commenced our breakfast off biscuit, two cakes of chocolate, and a tin of kippered herrings, and prepared for what might happen. The natives were all now on the stir, and after their morning meal a certain proportion commenced work at the pits (the pa was on the hill above us), others making speeches; and we gathered that a large body of natives had arrived the previous day from Meremere to talk affairs over with the men at Paparata. Some natives now began catching pigs, and sometimes a porker would dash close by us, pursued by all the curs in the place. We dared not stir, and at times our very breath seemed suspended, our nerves were strung to the uttermost, and several times I was on the point of rushing out and having the suspense over. Anything was better, so it seemed, to silent endurance. The wind, now proving our best friend, continued to rise, and soon increased to a gale, and rain fell in torrents, continuing without intermission all day, and to this change in the weather, thank God, we owe our lives. The little hollow where we lay commenced to fill with water, which soon rose five or six inches. The high wind beat down the flax, so we could not sit upright, but had to lie on our sides in the water, keeping ourselves dry as we best could. It was trying work. For twelve long hours we were forced to keep this position, every moment expecting to be found out. At last the day passed away into night and the rain ceased. We tried to resume our sitting posture, but we were so cramped we could hardly
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effect this. After chafing our limbs as well as we could we prepared for our return. We had run the risk, but had gained a considerable part of our object, and had a tolerably correct estimate of the enemy's strength, and from speeches we had heard we collected a certain amount of information needless to repeat.
We now commenced our return, and after re-crossing the swamp with the punga roots we waited a short time, thinking the man who had ridden away in the morning might return. Luckily for him, or maybe for ourselves, he did not make his appearance. We resumed our journey, and reached Koheroa about one a.m. Captains Phelps, R. Langtree, Green, and Picard, of the Artillery, were anxiously waiting up for us, and had almost given us up for lost. Captain Phelps was afterwards killed at Rangiriri, and I lost a dear friend. Langtree, too, has also gone to his long home. Wherever Green and Picard may be, I trust they are as happy as I wish them to be. The next day we returned to Queen's Redoubt and headquarters, reporting ourselves and the result of our trip to the General, who was pleased to thank us for the service by letter and in general orders. Our dear old Colonel was delighted to see us safe back, and threw up his cap and cheered; indeed our welcome back to camp was very flattering to us. So began and ended our trip to Paparata. The enemy shortly afterwards evacuated the position, in reality not a very strong one. Colonel Nixon, beloved by all those who knew him, met his death-wound some months afterwards at the fight and taking of Rangiaoahia, and this country sustained in him the loss of one of its bravest and best leaders. My friend and comrade Von Tempsky has also met his fate at the hands of the Hauhaus, shot dead in action at Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu. I have gone through much, yet I am still here; and I often, when musing with myself, think with softened feelings of those dead and gallant friends of mine who have gone, but whom I some day hope to meet again.
THE BATTLE OF RANGIRIRI.--GENERAL CAMERON'S BRAVERY.
Soon after our return from Paparata, No. 1 troop, under Captain Walmsley, was ordered to accompany a force of regulars to the Thames, who were to march across the country from there and get to the rear of the Paparata. We marched to Auckland and shipped our horses on board the steamer Cairo. The Forest Rangers accompanied the expedition, which sailed from Auckland to the Firth of the Thames in five steamers, two of which were men-of-war--the Esk, commanded by Captain Hamilton, and the Miranda, commanded by Captain Jenkins. A heavy gale brought us to anchor near Mareitai. During the time we were anchored here, we heard of the storming of Rangiriri, the fortifications of which pa were constructed with much skill and care. Our troops suffered severely. General Cameron exerted himself to the utmost, regardless of his person. "Let us kill the General," said the natives; "he is too much for us;" and many a gun was levelled
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at him; but the natives then were indifferent marksmen, and happily the General escaped. I notice a singular error in a work on New Zealand ("New Zealand--Past, Present, and Future," by Missionary Taylor), in which, referring to Sir Duncan Cameron in this very fight, it states that "the General exposed himself, and the natives might have killed him, but, in admiration of his boldness, said, 'Don't shoot him; he is a brave man.'" But the natives of New Zealand, although capable of admiring a brave man, will nevertheless, if he is opposed to them in fight, shoot him if they can, like sensible fellows. Captain Mercer, R.A., Lieutenants Davis and Alexander of the Miranda, lost their lives at the storming of this place. Many a brave fellow bit the dust that day. The natives lost one hundred and ninety men, and about one hundred and eighty surrendered, and were placed on board a hulk in the Auckland harbour. The expense of keeping them there must have been something considerable. Bread and meat of the best description, port, sherry, brandy, and beer were provided, besides sago, sugar, jams, sardines, potted meats, and butter. The butter being found fault with (I have been glad to eat worse), pots of the best Scotch marmalade were substituted. They lived well. By Jove they did!--that is if they got all these good things. Many visited the hulk to see the prisoners and learn Maori!
LIFE AT SURREY REDOUBT.--LOOTING HORSES.
The weather having cleared up, we weighed anchor, and steamed for the Thames. The force disembarked, and we marched to Wainongo, over the hills, taking it in rear, Major Drummond Hay acting as our guide. This settlement was deserted, but the rebels had made preparations for our reception, if we had tried to effect a landing in the boats in front, rifle-pits having been dug in the scrub that fringed high-water mark, and newly-cut boughs of trees had been artfully stuck in the ground, in front of the pits, so as to hide them, and to appear as if they were simply bushes that had grown there. We erected a redoubt at this settlement, and christened it the Miranda. Herds of cattle roamed the neighbourhood, and many a capital hunt we had, spearing and shooting the bulls. This was at last attempted to be stopped, but the temptation was too strong for some of us. Our horses would stray over the ground occupied by the cattle, men were sent to look for them, and this nearly always ended in a cattle hunt. The force now moved on. Not a rebel was seen, but there were plenty of tracks, and we wondered where the Maoris had vanished to. We camped on some rising ground that commanded a good view. Here another redoubt was erected named the Esk. We moved onward again, and finally camped on a hill above Paparata, from where we could see Queen's Redoubt and the broad, clear river Waikato. Paparata had been left by the natives, who had got intimation of the force in rear of them. The rebels were very
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daring in their attempts to gain information. I know for a fact that natives used to leave Paparata and go through the forest, keeping on the ranges, coming out at a flat bush near Otahuhu. They would remain in this bush till nightfall, and then find a way over the fields into Auckland, purchase tobacco and newspapers, see their friends, and return the same way they came.
A redoubt was erected at Paparata named the Surrey. A series of operations now commenced of hunting up the enemy; but most of them had cleared out and gone up the Waikato. I here amused myself by looting several horses, which I managed to pass on to Auckland. Many a hand-gallop I had on my trusty horse Retribution. One evening I had secured a fine chestnut mare, five years old, and a perfect picture, worth forty guineas to anyone. A certain officer--a colonel--sent his groom to me to ask if I would sell this horse and name the price. I mentioned £30, and I would give a week's trial, or a four-mile gallop with any horse. After dark I was in my tent when the Colonel came to me. I invited him in, and he produced a bottle of brandy--a very scarce article with us subalterns. The Colonel placed the brandy, corked, on the ground, and spoke pleasantly. "I wish for the mare you have looted; I want her for my wife, and will give you £5 for her." I laughed. "She is worth £40, Colonel. You shall have her for £30." "No, no," he replied. "If General Carey knew you had been looting horses he would be very savage. You had better let me have the mare. I will give you £7 for her." My friend was now desired to draw the cork of the brandy. "Now, about the mare; you had wiser, by far, let me have her." "You can have the mare, Colonel, for £30, and not a penny less." "Very well," said he, "all loot horses will have to be given up to the transport corps, to-morrow," and he flung himself out of the tent. We kept the brandy. If he had asked me for the mare politely, I would have made her a present to him, but I was not to be frightened into selling her. Feeling that the Colonel would make good his threat on the morrow, I resolved to lose no time. I saddled my horse quickly, and, taking a trusty man with me, led the horses round and galloped to Queen's Redoubt, passed the sentries at a gallop, with "Officers' horses, to be shod," and placed them in a fair way of being forwarded to Auckland, returning myself to the Surrey Redoubt in the morning. I was at the stables when a groom came up to me. "Compliments, sir, from Colonel ----, and he will give you £10 for the mare." "My compliments back to your master, but the mare and all the loot horses galloped last night in the direction of the Queen's Redoubt. Your master had better send you after them." The mare brought me £30 by auction. I looted a fine black horse a day or two after this, and presented him to Brigadier-General Carey, who commanded the expedition, and I believed it carried him well afterwards.
A strong garrison was placed in charge of the Surrey Redoubt, and I was sent to Armitage's farm, on the bank of the Waikato
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river, with twenty-five men, where a detachment of the 14th Regiment was stationed. The remainder of the Defence Force, under Major Nixon, moved to Whatawhata, on the Waipa, a branch of the river Waikato. I had little or nothing to do at Armitage's farm. I detested the place. We had to provide orderlies to carry despatches, a work the men hated. The commissariat for the troops and officers' messing went up by boats, principally manned by sailors of Her Majesty's ships of war; and fine pickings these fellows got. There was a low wooded island in the middle of the river. Here the sailors used to land and overhaul the stores. Many a case of brandy, wine, and now and then champagne, were confiscated by them; and the rum--the fellows used to drink it as only British sailors know how. "Hang the old Commodore; tap another cask, Jack," said they. They had what is called "plants" on the river bank, and well Jack remembered them. They worked hard though, and were often wet through to the skin.
One morning some of the enemy's horse were reported on the other side of the river. We made a party up of two officers of the 14th, myself, and a couple of men, and went across the river. The horses gave us the slip and galloped away. One fine horse, however, continued galloping along the bank until he reached the margin of the Mission Station at Kaitotehe, and jumped into a large orchard there. "Now we have him," I cried, and we paddled the canoe up the river, then landed and went after him. Now it so happened that a certain naval officer was at this time stationed at Kaitotehe, and had made it a practice, when any unfortunate devil of a sailor or marine looted a horse or found a piece of greenstone, to take both horse and greenstone from him. We had heard of this, and here they all were, supposed to be guarded by a sailor whom we found up a tree eating cherries. "Are they all the loot horses?" I inquired. "They are," replied the man, swallowing a mouthful of cherries, stones and all; "I have to do guard over them and the fruit." I determined to take all the horses, and we sent them galloping down the river bank. My friends jumped into the canoe, and I with two men ran after the horses, and with some trouble got them safely across to Armitage's. We had fifteen. They had all belonged to the enemy, excepting a grey mare, the property of the missionaries. We had ten good horses, five yearlings and foals. We gave six horses to the men and kept the other four. The yearlings and foals were a nuisance; what to do with them we did not know.
The next morning an orderly rode up and handed me a note demanding the horses. "What horses?" "The loot," replied the man, grinning. "Then you will not have them," I said. He rode back, and I received a letter threatening to report me to General Cameron. In the meanwhile we sent our horses to Auckland and sold them. I now received a letter from head-quarters, telling me to deliver up the property of Mr. ----, the missionary. I sent back the grey mare, which we had no intention of keeping, and I sent word the yearlings and foals would follow
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the next day. Two mounted men came up to fetch the yearlings and foals, but they, as soon as they got out of the yard, plunged into the Waikato and swam across the river. No more correspondence on the subject took place that I know of. I believe it created much amusement at headquarters, and gladdened the hearts of the sailors who had been done. I gave them a fair proportion of what the horses had fetched as their share.
THE FIGHT AT RANGIAOHIA.--DEATH OF COLONEL NIXON.
At length I received instructions to join our headquarters with my detachment. Never was an order more cheerfully obeyed, and soon we joined the troops under General Cameron at Te Rore, where the pas of Te Rangi and Pikopiko were, two of the most formidable pas I had ever seen. After the loss of life at Rangiriri the General was reluctant to storm these pas in front, and having procured guides, determined to march to the rear of them by Te Awamutu at night. Preparations were made; a large force told off of foot and horse; a troop of mounted artillery were under Lieutenant Bate, R.A.; Von Tempsky's and Jackson's Rangers, and our Defence Force--the whole comprising 1,200 men. On Saturday evening after dark the forces fell in. The strictest silence was enforced as we moved off parade, the General commanding in person. Our guides led us over hills and through valleys. I was so fatigued that I slept half the night in the saddle as we moved slowly on. As we neared Te Awamutu the sun rose on a glorious morning, fresh and fair; but there was little time given for thought. Our corps was ordered to the front, and as we passed the mission station at Te Awamutu, every house of which was familiar to me, the order was given to advance and capture the village of Rangiaohia, two miles ahead. "Forward! trot!" A few more minutes--I knew the ground well--and we would be there. The native village rapidly came in sight. I was close to our major. He gave the word "Charge!" and we galloped up. A few natives rushed out of their whares, firing their guns at us, and then ran to the right and left over the kumera and corn plantations; our men pursuing them. One fellow I singled out was running slowly towards a large peach grove; he reached it about six horses' lengths before me, slowly turned round, dropped on one knee, shouted "Kia mate"(for death), and fired. The ball passed by me, and before he could rise I fired at him with my revolver. I now found myself rather detached from my comrades, but a hundred yards or so to my left I saw half-a-dozen of our fellows cutting at something with their swords I galloped up, and the following scene was taking place:--The men had surrounded a small peach tree, rather tall, and the branches of which spread out some distance from the stem. A single native held the stem of the young and pliant tree with both hands, and was jumping from side to side, using the tree to keep off the horses, and twisting to avoid the cuts which were
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being made at him. His activity was extraordinary. As I got close up I determined to save him; this, from my eye, he must have divined, for he made a feint, a dive under a horse's belly, avoiding two cuts made at him, and, with a leap like a kangaroo, lit on my saddle bow, clasping me round the shoulders. The violence of the shock, for which my horse and myself were not prepared, threw the animal right back on his haunches. "I will save you," I cried; "but jump off, quick!" He did so, but held my leg tightly with one hand, beseeching with the other. I sent the men away to look for more natives. After a pause I looked round, but could see no one in sight, though firing was going on. I now asked the Maori where his gun was, as he had a couple of cartridge boxes on. He pointed out some docks, and said it was there. I told him to fetch it, but promised to shoot him if he played any tricks. He brought me his arms, and I then desired him to fetch my horse round to where my own people were. So we went on for about six hundred yards, until we came to a group of our men who had dismounted. I gave them the prisoner, and inquired where our colonel was. They pointed to the other side of an enclosure containing some huts, and I saw Colonel Nixon, Walmsley, Pye, Bowen, Wilson, and Mair standing with a few men on the other side. Leaving my horse here I sprang over the fence, and advanced through the huts towards them. They waved me back and shouted, but I could not hear what they, said, and kept on. As I passed one of the whares, in the low doorway I noticed a trooper--as I thought--kneeling and looking in; but as I passed before the door several shots were fired at me. One glance now showed me that the trooper was dead, and the hut occupied by Maoris. I quickly ran forward. The colonel had only just come up with the others as I had appeared, and now requested Captain Walmsley and myself to come with him and charge the hut--a low, slabbed whare, about five feet high, with sloping roof. The doorway we were going to charge could only have been entered in a stooping position. It was almost certain death, but I could not argue the point. I advised our Colonel (Nixon) to take off his scabbard, which he did, and we advanced, revolver in hand, round the corner of the hut, Nixon leading. A flash, a report, and our gallant and beloved commander fell back in our arms. We carried him out of the line of fire, and laid him on the grass. I cannot describe the great sorrow felt. At last he rallied a little, and I went for some water, and was returning when two natives made after me. I, however, gave them the slip. Our Colonel had been hit in the left side, the bullet passing through his body, and breaking two of his ribs. Our men, now in a fury at seeing the Colonel fall, rushed the house, but were driven back from the low doorway. A sharp fire from the house kept the place. The Rangers now came up, and at it we went again. Bang! bang! two more fellows dead; another charge, two more fallen. The floor of the house was two feet below the level; it was a covered in rifle-pit. The Imperial
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troops now came up; they ordered us to stand back. They charged the house, but it was of no use; they were beaten back. One man made a rush forward, and put his head in at the door, but staggered back with a ball through his head. Strange to say, this man (65th Regiment) lived a week. Someone now set the thatch on fire. Volley after volley was poured into the hut, and we concluded that all had been killed inside, when a naked little child, about four years old, darted out of the burning whare, and rushed first to one side and then to the other, its large brown eyes dilated with terror as it dashed about, trying to escape, like a wild bird. Several shots were fired, but the men, in their excitement, did not know what they were firing at. At last, seeing that escape was impossible, and being exhausted, the child sank down on its knees by a young bush, as if appealing for its protection, and, covering its eyes with its baby hands, sat panting. Mr. Mair wrapped it in a great-coat, and the men put biscuits before it. The child gazed from one to the other, trying every now and then to repress a deep sob. At last it looked shyly at the food, and presently commenced to eat heartily. Another rush from the burning house, and a man came out. Many shots were fired, and I and Von Tempsky could hear the thud of the balls as they struck him. He staggered and reeled, and the firing ceased. The Maori lifted his head and gave one earnest look around, as if bidding us a mournful farewell, then taking up the corner of the half-burned blanket he had on, he covered his face and lay down and died.
The troops now fell in, and marched back to Te Awamutu. Mr. Mair, Major D. Hay, a half-caste lad, who had acted as guide, and myself, rode towards a house I had remarked, built in European style, and near a grove of trees. We had noticed a little white flag flying from the roof. We dismounted, fastened up our horses, and I knocked at the door, which was locked. I heard whispering inside, and called out in Maori to open the door. The bolt was withdrawn, and we entered. There were about thirty young women and girls inside, some of whom I knew. Most of them were crying. I requested Hay to ride after the troops, and inquire what the General wished done with these women. He left, but did not return. I told the women that they had no cause to be frightened, gave them what tobacco I had in my pouch, and shook hands with them. They begged me not to make them prisoners. The half-caste guide now spoke to them. "You dog," said the women, "you slave; you led the pakeha to kill your mother, your sister, and," holding up a pretty little girl, "your cousin, too. Stand off! stand away!" It suddenly struck me we had better clear off. All the troops had gone, and some natives would be sure to return. We wished the women good-bye, mounted our horses, and rode up to the smouldering whares; but we were glad to turn away. Mr. Hale's body, that had been drawn inside the hut, was burnt into a cinder; only his feet were left in his boots. We now heard natives entering the house we had just left; so we galloped after the
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troops. Our corps camped in the graveyard of Te Awamutu, and I slept wrapped in my plaid, the grave of some infant serving me for a pillow. I was tired out, and slept as soundly as the ashes that reposed beneath me.
We rose early next morning to bury our dead. There were two brothers in our corps, one a sergeant, the other a private, named Alexander, and they were much attached to each other. One of them, the private, had been shot before the hut and was buried with the other dead. The sergeant swore to be avenged. He had not long to wait. The news of our attack on Rangiaohia had been rapidly conveyed to the pas of Te Rangi and Pikopiko. The natives, furious at being outwitted, and goaded to desperation at their beautiful and pet district round Te Awamutu and Rangiaohia being in our hands, turned to drive us back. The King's force now evacuated their pa, and marched at night by the broad dray track to Rangiaohia, where, if they had been doubting whether to attack us or not, the charred remains of the village destroyed the day before caused them to hesitate no longer. We had taken possession of the district on Sunday. On the Monday morning following they made a desperate effort to regain what had passed away from them for ever. Our camp at Te Awamutu was protected by strong pickets. One of these pickets, about ten a.m. on Monday, was attacked. The sentries on duty held their ground, and the enemy drew off to return in greater numbers. The trumpet sounded "Boot and saddle," and in a few moments we were all mounted on parade, and moved off under the command of Captain Walmsley. The General rode with us to where two roads met. The enemy had taken possession of a double ditch and bank that ran along the top of a rise. We were ordered to gallop past this bank and take up some ground to the right. This order was carried out under a heavy fire from the embankment as we thundered past. Where we were going to and what we were about to do I knew no more than a child. The thick yellow dust that rose in clouds prevented me from seeing anything, and nearly choked me. We pulled up in some ti-tree, where we dismounted. The 50th and 65th now came up, and as they prepared to charge the ditch and bank from which the natives (several hundred) were firing rapidly, we remounted and waited for the order to charge. One of Bates' men, a few paces from me, suddenly tumbled from his horse, shot through the head. The Imperial troops fixed bayonets and, cheering loudly, rushed up the rise, our force following them slowly. A few hot moments passed, several men and officers went down, and the Maoris left their position, running down the other side of the rise into a raupo swamp, nearly dry, and a number of them took to the right and left. Had the soldiers, after driving the rebels from the ditch, continued in pursuit, instead of halting to form up, they might have killed a great many of the rebels. The cavalry divided, No. 1 taking one direction, and No. 2, thirty strong, taking another. Sergeant Alexander cut down two of the enemy, and so avenged his brother's death. One native fired off his musket at
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us at our camp fire, and commenced to relate what he would do if he had command. We were awfully bored, but when he drew Von Tempsky's sword out of its sheath, and only wished he had half a dozen Maoris before him, with their spears, such as those (pointing to some the men had captured), I thought it time to put an end to his nonsense. "You might find it rather difficult," I said, "to ward off one of those spears, if properly handled." He rudely told me I knew nothing about them. "Well," I said, "I do not know, perhaps, as much as you do." Here I laid hold of a six-foot spear, a stout one made out of manuka wood, called a matia. Von Tempsky chuckled, and so did Wilson. They both knew what I was going to do. Our visitor said, "I might hurt you with the sword." "I will chance that," I replied. "I am now--look out!--going to give you a choice. I will either hit you right on the crown of the head, or give you the point in the stomach." He placed himself in an attitude. "Come on." I gave a spring and war whoop, danced round him for a moment, and, after a feint or two, brought the butt end of the spear heavily on his head. Down he went. I rushed at him, and in a quick way asked Von Tempsky to make haste with the tomahawk. I let him get up at last, and he walked off a wiser man as regarded his knowledge of native weapons. Von Tempsky was the only man whom I had tried that I could not touch; but he was an excellent swordsman.
During the war with the Maoris many of the soldiers deserted from the regiment they belonged to and scattered themselves over the country. Scores of them went North, where they were employed by timber merchants and others. Little effort was made, as a rule, to recapture these men, but after the troops had gone home a Gazette was issued proclaiming a free pardon to all deserters from Her Majesty's service. Attempts had been made previous to this to capture a few, and a reward of ten pounds per head offered for their capture.
One strapping young fellow, a son of Erin, had taken "French-leave" of his regiment. Pat, as he was called, ran away, and after roughing it some time in the wilds, engaged himself as cook to a large party of sawyers. Now Pat had been an officer's servant, and was a first-rate groom; so really his loss was more than his master could bear with equanimity of temper, wherefore many inquiries were made as to where he had taken refuge, with a view to his arrest.
At last, a mean-spirited, sanctimonious devil-dodger betrayed the hiding place of poor Paddy, but the distance was too great to send a corporal's guard to arrest him; and, in fact, to have done so would have been useless, as he would have had timely warning of his danger. Two natives, however, for a reward of twenty pounds, offered to capture Pat, handcuff him, and deliver him bound, like Samson, into the power of his enemies.
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The plan of these brawny savages was to entice Pat to their village, which was not far distant from where the sawyers were working, where he was to be overpowered by numbers and tied up. But, though many plans were laid to accomplish this, they all proved failures. Brown, dusky-eyed girls were sent to lure Pat from home; but, though more than willing to make love to these charming children of nature, Pat kept his beat round and about the hut and sawpits. It is not at all unlikely that he received a quiet hint or so to be on his guard from one of his brown adorers. But the stealthy Maoris, ever on the alert, contrived to ascertain that on a certain day all the sawyers were going some distance back in the bush, and would not return till the evening. The Maoris thought that Pat, with two against him, would have no chance of escape if they happened to light on him unprotected. They had obtained full leave to knock him down in case of resistance, so they started on their expedition. They crept up to the hut about dinner time, armed with a gun, a hard-wood spear, and a pair of handcuffs. On looking through the window, they saw Pat sitting by the fire, alone, smoking his pipe, and half asleep.
"He is ours," they thought as they opened the door and went in.
Their entrance aroused Pat, who looked up. He took in the situation at once. It has been said that Irishmen are wanting in ballast; but when was ever a true Irishman placed in a dangerous predicament that he did not act with perfect sang froid and all his mother wit come to his rescue? Pat rose and welcomed his visitors.
"Come in, Johnny, my boy; shure all the sawyers chaps 'ave gone to the bush, and won't be back till to-morrow; sit ye down. Where are the illigant wahines (girls) and how are yez all; begorra we'll 'ave somethin' to ate--pork chops and plum-duff, and bile some praties, and put on the billy, for a cup of tay is the right thing in the cowld weather, Johnny me boys," said Pat, looking at his visitors with the "tail of his eye."
The Maoris understood quite enough English or Irish to comprehend that they were going to have a delicious feed of fried pork chops and potatoes and tea. They no doubt felt that their man was safe and their prisoner, and it was but fit and right that he should prepare a good dinner for them.
After the chops were eaten, they could, of course, handcuff him and take him off; so they loosened their flax belts in anticipation--pork chops was not an every-day meal with them. Pat bustled about, cut up the chops, pitched more wood on to the fire, filled the kettle, though he remarked that, "Divil a cow them sawyers had, so there was no milk and the two goats is dead, rest be to their sowles." So chattering merrily on he took down the huge old and worn frying-pan, and placed it on the tripod. In went the pork chops and plenty of lard; on went the potatoes and kettle. Pat set the table in order, tin plates, pannikins, knives, and forks.
"We can eat by the fire," said the Maoris.
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"Divil a fear," said Pat, "two grate jintlemen rangatiris like yer two selves to ate on the floor, you will just sit down at the table wid me. Take yer seats boys, till I bring the praties."
Each native having piled up his plate with potatoes, Pat fetched the hissing frying-pan full of chops swimming in fat.
The time had come!
In the twinkling of an eye--an Irish eye--the whole of the contents of the pan, chops, scalding fat, and all were capsized over the head of the most powerful of the two Maoris, and before he could give utterance to his howl of terror and pain, Pat brought the frying-pan with his two hands and all his might on the head of the other, and with such force and good will, the fellow's head came through the bottom of the old pan, which rested like a collar on his shoulders. The two Maoris rolled on the earthern floor of the hut. Pat went out at the door, snatching up the gun as he went after wishing them good-bye, and telling them to make themselves perfectly at home, he slipped away into the forest.
"Batheshin," said he, "the dirty varmints to make me waste the mate and praties and spoil me frying-pan."
No one attempted to molest Pat after this, and he became a first rate bushman, and is now, I believe, doing well as a small farmer.
THE TRIAL OF KEREOPA.--HORRIBLE DISCLOSURES.
The preliminary trial of Kereopa commenced at Napier, on 11th December, 1871, before B. Sealy, Esq., R.M., and J. A. Campbell, Esq., R.M. The magisterial inquiry was commenced on the 12th, when the prisoner was committed to take his trial at the Supreme Court, on 21st December, on a charge of murdering the Rev. Mr. Volkner. We give below the leading points of evidence taken by the Magistrates. Penetito deposed: "I saw the prisoner in 1865, at Te Tuku. He urged the people of that place to become Hauhaus. It was in the spring of 1865. He went from Te Teka to Whakatane. He asked the people of that place to give up the Roman Catholic priests that he might kill them. They had not agreed to it. Kereopa then went to Opotiki. He asked the chiefs there to let him have Mr. Volkner, that he might kill him. I myself heard him do so. Mokomoko, one of the chiefs, agreed to do it. Mokomoko was hanged by the Europeans at the Wairoa. The day after I heard Kereopa make the demand, I started for a place called Te Puio. I returned the same day. When I got back, I saw the people assembling in a church. Then I saw Kereopa with Mr Volkner's head. He was standing in the pulpit. It was wrapped in calico. Then I saw him gouge out Mr. Volkner's eyes. The right eye was in his right hand, and the left eye in his left hand. Then I saw him put the right eye into his mouth and swallow it. I then saw him put the left eye into his mouth. It stuck in his throat. He drank something that I thought was water, till I saw the blood running down his chin. After I saw Kereopa with the head, I saw the body lying outside
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VIEW OF REV. VOLKNER'S CHURCH, OPOTIKI.
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the church. My brother wrapped it up in a blanket." Pihana Tiwhai deposed: "I saw him and Petara at Opotiki. The prisoner had a basket with him with a European's head in it. The first words that I heard him say were, 'Friends, this is a word from God to you. If any minister, or other European, comes to this place, do not protect him; he must die! die! die!' Petara said next, 'I am come to bring the new God to you. This is the true God. If a minister or European come within these boundaries, he shall not be spared.' I knew Mr. Volkner. He arrived after Kereopa and Petara had come to Opotiki about five days. He came by vessel. The vessel came up the river, and lay close against the bank. As soon as the vessel came alongside the Taranaki natives tied up the Europeans, including Mr. Volkner and Mr. Grace, and led them away to the gaol. I saw the whole transaction--I mean by the Taranaki natives--Kereopa and Petara, and those that came with them. Next thing I saw was Mr. Volkner being led away. I could not see who the native was who was leading him. I was too far off. It was one of the Taranaki natives. My wife said to me, 'Don't follow them; they are putting Volkner to death.' I went away to a mill near. In the evening I returned. I was told that Mr. Volkner was killed, and was shown where his body was. The body had on black trousers, boots, and white shirt. There was no head on it. I asked Kereopa to let me have the body to bury it. (The witness here gave some very disgusting details of the treatment the corpse subsequently received.) I saw Mr. Volkner's head, and that of another European, afterwards, at Opotiki, in a tent." Wiremu Pahi, sworn, deposed: "I remember when Kereopa came to Opotiki in March, 1865. Mr. Volkner was then absent in Auckland. The first the Taranaki natives did was to rob Mr. Volkner's house. Kereopa said Mr. Volkner was to be killed. At the time of Mr. Volkner's arrival Kereopa was inland. The vessel when it arrived was robbed, and the Europeans put in gaol. Kereopa returned on the arrival of Mr. Volkner. Kereopa then sent some people to bring Mr. Volkner from the gaol, that was my house (the names of some of the party were given). Kereopa was also with them. Mr. Volkner was brought to the church. After the talk was done there, he was led off to be hung. Kereopa gave orders to take him to a tree and hang him. The last I saw of Mr. Volkner was when he was being led to the tree. I went to my plantation; when I returned Mr. Volkner was hanging on the tree. I went straight to my own house. After a short time I returned to the church, and saw Mr. Volkner's body lying outside it, without the head. Thauraira Kari cut the head off. Kereopa told him to do it. The head was put in the church through the window. Kereopa placed the head on the table before him, and took out the two eyes with his two hands. He said: 'Listen, O tribe, this is the parliament of England.' Then he swallowed the eyes. After this the head was carried round to all the people in the house. I went out. I
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saw the body." Renata deposed: "Two Jews, besides Mr. Volkner and Mr. Grace, arrived in the same vessel. After the vessel arrived he went inland and saw Kereopa there. He was telling the people that he had received a message from his god that he was to kill Mr. Volkner. I went back to Opotiki. After I arrived I saw Mr. Volkner led from a whare to the church. Kereopa was alongside of Mr. Volkner. I did not go to the church. The next thing I saw was Mr. Volkner being led from the church to a tree. Kereopa was a few yards behind Mr. Volkner. Kereopa had Mr. Volkner's watch and waistcoat on, and Mr. Volkner had on a shirt and trousers. I saw them lead Mr. Volkner up to a bush. After that I went to my own place on the opposite side of the river. I stopped at my place some time. When I got back I saw Mr. Volkner's head in the church. I looked in at the window. I saw the head on the table, and the two eyes in Kereopa's hand. Kereopa first offered them to his god, and then ate them himself. Kereopa had seagull feathers stuck in his hair." Hori Wetere Te Motutere deposed: "Kereopa asked the people of Te Teko to let him have a European named Aubrey, a miller there; they did not give him up. He went next to Whakatane. There they asked the people to give them up the Catholic priest, Father Grange, to kill him. They did not agree to do so. They next went to Opotiki. I went into the church. I saw there the head lying on the table, and Kereopa with one of Mr. Volkner's eyes in each hand. He said: 'These are the eyes that have looked on the destruction of this Island, I will eat them. He has eaten me, and I will now eat him. He crucified me, and I will crucify him.' Then he swallowed the eyes. He drank something out of a pannikin. I don't know what it was. He then said: 'All men, women, and children, must eat of this sacrifice.' I jumped out of the window and ran away." Hautakura being sworn, deposed: "I live at Waiotahi. I remember the arrival of Kereopa and the Taranakis at Opotiki in 1865. Kereopa explained the Hauhau religion and laid off boundaries. 'Whatever European comes within these boundaries,' he said, 'whether minister or otherwise, they shall be killed.' After this Mr. Volkner arrived, and was taken to gaol by Kereopa's orders. I heard him give them. They then assembled at the Catholic Church Kereopa said, 'Listen! Mr. Volkner must die this day.' I went home. I came back some time afterwards, and found the people all assembled near the church. I was at the doorway. I heard Kereopa say then again, 'Mr. Volkner must die this day.' He then sent a party to fetch Mr. Volkner. Keramita, Kahupaia, Hakaria, and Kereopa himself were of the party. I remained in the doorway, and saw them leading up Mr. Volkner. Kereopa had Mr. Volkner's clothes. When they got to the doorway of the church Kereopa ordered some men to lead him to execution. The words he used were: 'Come some people, and lead Mr. Volkner to kill him.' The same persons that went to fetch him on the former day led him away together with Kereopa and the whole population. They were Taranakis. Kereopa was close behind
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Mr. Volkner when he was being led away within a yard of him." The prisoner was then asked if he wished to say anything for himself. He declined to do so. The prisoner was then committed for trial before the Supreme Court on the 21st December, 1871, and afterwards he was hanged.
ON THE EMPLOYMENT OF NATIVE FORCES.
During the war at the north with Hone Heke and Kawiti, which, on our side, was conducted principally by Col. Despard, many natives from Hokianga under their chiefs--Tamati Waka Nene, Te Tao Nui, Wi Kipa, Wi Hopihana, and others--rendered us great assistance, partly from a good feeling they entertained for the whites, and partly from hatred to their old enemies, and a natural love of fighting which is inherent in the New Zealander. Tamati Waka Nene held a prominent part throughout the war, and his word carried great weight with the majority of the friendly natives. The first Maori stockade, or pa, attacked by our troops was Okaihau. This pa, much to the astonishment, and against the advice of the chiefs, was rushed by the soldiers, and resulted in about thirty of our men being shot down within a few feet of the palisading, and we had to retreat. Kawiti's men, who were in the front, charged our troops; but they never again tried this, many of them being killed by a charge of bayonets.
After this, Colonel Despard depended greatly on the advice of our native allies, as he wisely saw he did not understand the enemy's mode of warfare, and that our natives had ways and means of knowing what the others were about, and manoeuvred accordingly. But however Tamati Waka obtained his knowledge of passing events he never, as a native general or chief, thought of ordering the natives to do what he considered best but when he had arrived at certain conclusions. As, for instance, at Ohaiowai he wished to take possession of a certain eminence, which commanded a portion of the enemy's work. Perhaps this had been the result of a secret conference with two or more old chiefs. Early in the night Tamati Waka would have a dream and a huhi (a convulsive starting of his right or left arm). The dream might have been a successful weka hunt, or that a taniwha (a fabulous sea monster) had invited him to a feast, as the case might be, which would denote to the tribe's success. The order would be given in the following manner: "The enemy have (the oracle informs) determined to attack our camp, and in doing so will succeed in killing some of us; to prevent this a strong party will take possession of the hill over the pa to-night;" when, before morning, it was occupied by 250 men, and then Colonel Despard was informed of the movement, and desired to do certain things, but almost always when the arrangements had been nearly completed by our natives for destroying the enemy after their own way of advancing and fighting, an abortive attempt at storming would be made, never once successful, and always ended with the enemy escaping, and us losing many valuable lives, to the anger and disgust of the
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friendlies. Towards the close of the campaign the officer in command admitted that, owing to the peculiar mode of warfare, to be successful against the enemy, it was necessary for his troops to act as a contingent to the friendly natives, and not the natives as a contingent to the troops; and he was right, as there were then several hundred friendly natives in the field, by nature independent, impetuous, trickish, and impatient of control, who could only be managed by their chiefs through their superstitions, and not by ordering them about, and they were not fighting so much for love of the pakeha as from the memory of old grievances. The love so often prated about for the Queen weighed not a feather in the balance. Letters and speeches, commencing--"O Governor! great is my love for you," "O Queen! we are your children, and our love for you is great," means no more than, "I remain, yours truly," or "I have the honour to be," etc. At this time they were receiving no pay for their services, but this was nearly forty years ago, and the conduct of Hone Heke and Kawiti was condemned by most of the northern tribes. We will now turn to the present and the last few years.
When the Arawas assisted the Government in 1864 they received no pay, but were only supplied with arms and ammunition during this time; though I had considerable command over them, I was careful not to let such appear. I gained the confidence of their chief, and certain successes were obtained, as they fought to revenge themselves on their enemies and not on ours. It gave them no little confidence, too, the fact that they were fighting under our law, and were considered to be helping the Government and the Queen's general.
Shortly after this they were placed on pay, when they soon found out, if the fighting lasted one week and the enemy were beaten, the pay only lasted one week, and then abruptly ceased. The result of this discovery was, they used all their cunning to prolong hostilities. This was only to be expected would occur when under their own chiefs, who if they had ever urged them to action, would have less influence with their tribes. But a European placed in command had no reason to fear the loss of any influence he might have obtained if he considered himself as a gentleman ought to, and if properly supported by the Government; for the natives who know when a man does his duty respect him accordingly, but they will, to attain their own ends, write letters to the Government requesting that so-and-so be removed, mentioning some childish reason, in the hope that another pakeha may be sent to replace the one in command, in the further hope that the new-comer may fall more easily into their ways, and they have an easier time of it while the pay goes on. As one instance out of scores I could mention, I will relate what happened to my friend the late Captain St. George. He at the time was stationed at Taupo in command of a body of Arawas, who had to do their duty. Returning one day with his native orderly from a long wet ride, he retired to change his clothes. The two principal chiefs of the settlement or pa came to
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him, and begged for one of the bottles of rum he had by him. This request he refused. Had he given it to them they would both have become tipsy. Shortly after this, Captain St. George sent for his orderly and gave him a glass of grog. The two chiefs heard of it, and wrote a letter to the Commissioner (a gentleman), and begged he would cause the officer in command to be removed, as he was giving the men rum, and making them drunk, causing neglect of duty. The Commissioner, Mr. Clarke, enclosed this production to Captain St. George, asking an explanation. The chiefs acknowledged to the letter, said they had written it in a moment of anger, and wrote to Mr. Clarke explaining the truth, and confessing they had told a falsehood to spite the officer for not giving them the bottle of rum.
I have obtained many successes with the Arawas serving under me when in receipt of pay; but I have made allowance for their customs and superstitions. Up to a certain point I have often given in to their wishes, when I had my way in return. I have my secrets worth knowing, the advice of an old and noted Tohunga chief, and if we have to fight again, which, perhaps, we may, a few of the secrets of my Tohunga Karakia (praying wizard) may be found useful, even though times are altered from what they were, and the officer who may then be placed in command of our forces (if he is not too proud to inquire) shall be made acquainted with at least a few. My sword belt has got so stiff, and the lock of my rifle so rusty that it would require more soft soap to soften the one, and more sweet oil to lubricate the other, than the Government stores can perhaps provide. No chief, however he may wish to perform his duty to the country, has sufficient power among the hapus a tribe consists of to get the men to make short, quick work of a campaign against their wishes, and retain his influence; for that, amongst the Maoris, is subject to their changeable opinion. The tribe led against our enemy have little or no feeling of hostility to those they are expected to fight. They have had their day of utu (payment) for the past, and think now that five shillings a day under their own chiefs, who are bound, as their chiefs, to look after the interests of the tribe, is a good thing. And let any chief beware lest he strain this point too much, as there are those who would quickly thwart any apparent intention from one of themselves to use the tribe for the pakeha.
The power of a chief is well hinted at by "Old New Zealand" in the scene of the wrestling match with "Melons." The head chief appears, and is very angry. "'Look at that; the pakeha does not bear you any malice. I would kill you if he asked me. You are a bad people--killers of pakehas. Be off with you--the whole of you--away!' This command was instantly obeyed by all the women, boys, and slaves; but I observed that the whole of you did not seem to be understood as including the stout, able-bodied, tattooed part of the population--the strength of the tribe--the warriors, in fact, many of whom counted themselves to be very much about as good as the chief." The sympathy of the natives is for themselves, and
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not for the pakeha; and this is very natural. Why should it be otherwise?
Tribes sent out under their own chiefs are expensive and sometimes mischievous, and little is done for the reasons I have mentioned, though much may be reported, etc.; but the same natives, in concert with Europeans, under a European officer who has some knowledge of the Maoris, will not fail of success, always provided the natives are honestly told the European is in command, whose word must be obeyed, and from whom there is no appeal, then good will result. The Europeans otherwise had far better go by themselves, when, if not worried and harassed with the telegraph from all quarters all at once, will in the end have their opportunity, and succeed.
The old Wanganui contingent, when acting with the European forces, was a happy and successful way of employing natives, and would be so again, but the European portion of the force ought to number two or three to one, and a European to command the whole is indispensable, if certain success is looked for.
Such is my practical experience during eight years' compaigning in New Zealand, and of more than forty years' residence among the natives.
One time I particularly wished to march in a certain direction, and had concluded, as I thought, all arrangements with the fighting chief; but he, feeling his way with the tribe, preparatory to giving the order, found that for some reason or another they were not willing to go, and looked to him to frustrate the march and my plans. He returned and told me of the feeling existing. It was absolutely necessary for the success of certain designs that we should march, and he knew this. "Exert your influence," I said, "and make them go." "That would never do," he replied, "they would soon cease to listen to me; but as we are all on pay--you appear to be angry with me--I will then speak to the tribe, and get them to march." I did as requested, and had the satisfaction of hearing my friend complain loudly to the tribe that I was a pakeha, a hard pakeha, one who would not listen to reason; that this march was not required, it being only a whim of mine, etc.; but they must remember they were only on pay, and some weeks in arrears. Perhaps after all they had better march; he would write to the Government to remove me; so they would all march now he had decided it. In a short time they paraded, declared their chief was a "Tangata whai whakaaro"(man of understanding), and knew how to manage affairs. The chief returned to me with laughter in his eye, and said, "Come, be quick, while they are in the humour; I had to abuse you, but I hope you are not angry; they are my tribe, and I must not lose my influence." I replied I was much pleased, and that he might abuse me to his heart's content as long as good results were obtained. Two or three days afterwards, when the tribe saw the good our march had helped to, they took great credit to themselves for what had been achieved.
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ILLUSTRATIVE OF NATIVE ALLIES.--THE MARCH ROUND MOUNT EGMONT.
After the capture of Otapawa, and the total defeat of the natives at Ketemarae, Ahipaipa, Pa Poaka, Mawhitiwhiti, and other places by General Chute, arrangements were made by the General forgone of the most hazardous enterprises ever undertaken in New Zealand. This was to march through Mataitawa, by the old track round Mount Egmont. As far as the contingent and Wanganui kupapas were concerned, Maori ingenuity was fairly exhausted in trying to persuade the General from such an arduous task, but he was not to be put off. Men were told off for the expedition from each regiment in camp, and the Forest Rangers, under the personal superintendence of their gallant leader, Von Tempsky, cleaned up their trusty breech-loaders, and made preparations. As I was hors de combat from my wound, which my late exertions had made very painful, the General came to my tent, where every information that could be procured from the Maoris was obtained, and laid before him in the presence of Commissariat-General Strickland and His Honour Dr. Featherston.
I was instructed to tell off as many natives as I thought would be sufficient, procure special guides, and report progress with the least possible delay. The General then left us. I then asked the doctor to collect all the chiefs into our tent. This was done, and a long korero (talk) ensued. At first the chiefs declared that it was impossible to go round the mountain by the proposed route; that the force would never get out of the bush, and that it would be better to go round by the coast. We combatted every argument that they brought forward, and finally wrung an unwilling consent from them that the natives should go with the expedition. I may here remark that it was absolutely necessary that the natives should go, as no one knew the direction to be taken in the pathless forest about to be entered. Doctor Featherston communicated the result of our consultation to the General, who, naturally concluding that all obstacles were removed from his undertaking, ordered a certain number of rations to be issued to the men of all corps about to march, and to be cooked at once.
Somehow or other a kind of instinct which I seem to have, whenever Maoris are concerned, caused me to feel certain misgivings when they consented to go. I could not feel sure in my own mind that any of them would really start. True they had said, "Yes, we will go, you can tell the General that so many shall accompany the force," and that they had also drawn fresh ammunition and rations; but yet, knowing them as I did, I was by no means easy on that point. This worried me. I felt that any blame would naturally fall on myself, and as I lay in my tent thinking the matter over, the uncertainty gradually established itself as a fact. The natives did not intend to go, but I had no proof to lay before the General.
I knew Mete Kingi and others had from the commencement of
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the campaign endeavoured to raise obstacles in the way, and the reserved look Mete had on his face during the korero in my tent helped to confirm my suspicions. I felt miserable and helpless. It was now about 9 p.m. The echoes of the bugle, sounding "lights out," had scarcely died away among the hills when the curtain of my tent was slowly raised, and a native crawled in. I recognised him as one of the most faithful of my followers. Many were the plots which he had given me timely warning of. "What is up now?" I said, in a subdued voice. "But a word," whispered the man; "when the General parades to-morrow morning, one native alone will be present, and that is myself. Mete Kingi and the rest have been deceiving you. None of the natives will go round the mountain. The tribes have their orders. I must go now," he continued. "I could not come near you before." "Kapai (good)" I replied; "it is enough. Go away quietly, as you came." Soon after he had gone, Dr. Featherston returned (we occupied the same tent) from the General's quarters, when I mentioned the visit I had had. We sent for the native chiefs, my brother William (who now commanded the contingent) taking the message. They soon collected. On putting the question plainly, and demanding an immediate reply, they said (like the hypocrites they were), "It is true the men will not go, in spite of all our endeavours to induce them." Mete added that his heart was broken utterly; he might get over it, but he thought not; his heart would remain dark for ever. I frankly told him and the others that they lied, and that he had, through his superstition, tampered with the men; that my familiar spirit had told me so, and it was therefore no use denying it; and I ordered the whole of them--contingent officers, and all--out of the tent.
The doctor lit his cigar, I filled my pipe, and we gazed at each other for a few seconds in silence. "It's that beggar, Mete Kingi," I said, breaking silence. The doctor ground his teeth, and smoked away vigorously, uttering short but pithy sentences between each puff of smoke. "The General will be in a towering rage. I have only just left him, and he was delighted at having overcome all difficulties. It is now half-past twelve, and he ought to know this. What's to be done?"
Only one chance occurred to me to try--being unable to move about--and with Dr. Featherston's consent, I prepared to put it to the test. Hori Kingi te Anana, at this time the principal chief of Wanganui, had with his tribe received much kindness from Dr. Featherston. They looked up to him for advice, not only from the high position he held, but privately. Hori Kingi respected him as one who had never deceived him, whose word, once passed, was good for the performance of what had been promised, but who, at the same time, was not easily imposed upon by threats in whatever shape they were made. I awoke my brother, Capt. McDonnell, and asked him to find Hori Kingi, and bring him by himself to our tent. I then advised Dr. Featherston to recount to Hori, when he came in, the events that had taken place between them during the past
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few years. The friendship that had during that time existed between them--his own fixed determination that the expedition should march as already agreed upon, at 3.30 p.m., and then telling Hori that the other natives might remain if they chose, to then ask him, as his old and trusty friend, to accompany him. Dr. Featherston caught at the idea, and I prepared to translate word for word what the doctor might say.
Presently the old chief entered, and squatted on the floor of the tent. "So the natives won't go to-morrow, Hori," I said. "They will not," he replied. "They are not required to now," I rejoined, "but the doctor has something to say to you before he leaves in the morning, and he will now speak." Dr. Featherston then made a short, straightforward speech, and to the point, that understanding the natives at the eleventh hour had resolved not to go, he had sent for his old friend Hori to request that he would accompany him in the morning with the troops.
Old Hori was much excited, and moved about uneasily. "I would, oh Featherston, go with you," he said, "but I am lame. Behold my foot."
"I sprained my ankle severely some days since," replied the doctor, "yet I accompanied your natives wherever they went. My ankle is much swollen and very painful now, but I will go to-morrow, and you, Hori, shall accompany me. It shall never be said that the whole of the Wanganuis were frightened. You and I must prevent this evil thing."
The blood of his ancestors rose to the old chief's brow, and his face underwent a change. "Patatone, but for you, where would the tribe be? If Europeans had acted like you, like chiefs, we would not now be fighting. You have been--you are--our father. Hori Te Anana speaks now. Hori Kingi will go with his father--go by himself with you, but will not return again to his tribe. I will, in future, go where you go, and stay where you stay. You will hear me tell my tribe this. I go to bid my people farewell. Listen, both of you!" As Hori uttered these words, he rose and stood upright at the door of the tent.
It was a clear night, and the contingent and kupapa tents showed out white and distinct, and not a rustle was heard as the old warrior spoke. "O Whanganui! Whanganui! farewell. The tribe, farewell! The past, farewell! Farewell for ever! Listen to me now. Hearken to me. I cast off my tribe, and they are no longer mine. The spirit of the tribe has fled, bewitched by Ngatimanui. They have become strange. They are now what they were not. I cast them on the dark side of the path. I, Hori te Anana, leave with my father, Dr. Featherston, and the Queen, to-morrow. Farewell to you, O tribe farewell! I have spoken; it is enough."
A low hum, like the working song of the bees, like the murmuring of a stream, arose in the camp of the Maoris as the old chief spoke. I could feel that everyone was drinking in his words, and now and then a low moan was heard, which proceeded from the
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women of the tribe. Hori re-entered the tent, and grasping each of us by the hand, said, in a subdued voice, "They are my children, I think. Some of them will come with their father."
A shrill voice was now heard addressing the tribe, and, my ears being quick, I told Hori, word for word, what was going forward. Chief after chief of the plotters succeeded the man now speaking; but a muffled roar from the contingent presently echoed through the camp. The young warriors, the best and the bravest, had been worked up to a pitch of frenzy. Mete's name was coupled with English oaths, and he was most unromantically told to "shut up." "He is a coward," said one. "He is always meddling," added another. "We thought you did not want us to go, Hori," said they; and, although it wanted an hour of the time to parade, tents were struck, baggage packed, and over seventy of the flower of the contingent (with cries of "To Taranaki! to Taranaki!") formed up on parade, with arms and accoutrements, ready to march.
The reaction was complete, but the excitement had cost old Hori a struggle, and he asked for a glass of spirits, which, by the way, he had scarcely ever tasted before. The General now looked in to wish me good-bye. He little knew then of the previous night's work we had had. One of the plotters (Paora) now came to the tent, and began to tell me and the doctor how very glad he was that the natives had consented to go, and how superhuman his endeavours had been to accomplish the result. "I feel cold," he continued, and stretched out his hand to a flask of commissariat. I jumped up, regardless and oblivious of my situation, and kicked the rascally hypocrite out of the tent; but I hurt myself worse than I hurt him. The force fell in, and my friends bade me adieu, and inarched away on their uncertain journey.
During one of our long and hungry marches through the Tuhua forests in search of the notorious Te Kooti, Major Kemp, who was leading at the head of a column of 400 men, committed a curious mistake. We had from the plain seen fires that were supposed to be those of Te Kooti's bands, and the smoke rose in a high pillar to the sky. I took the bearings with a small compass I had, as there was no known road, intending to guide the force myself in search of the enemy. Kemp, however, earnestly begged me to let him lead the column, so, as I knew him to be a splendid bushman, and that his instincts were of the right kind, I resigned the first post of honour, and took the second, that is the rear of the whole. The duty of a leader of a column in a trackless forest is, first, not to march too quickly; secondly, to notice every log and creek the men have to cross over, and regulate the pace accordingly, halting occasionally to allow the men in the rear to close up. I of course thought that when Kemp made the request he did he was going to trust to his native instinct But I was mistaken; a brilliant idea had occurred to him! He noticed that a compass Mr. Maling, one of a corps of guides,
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had pointed in one direction, no matter which way the case containing it was placed. Now, the direction the fires were in from us was about due south. One end of the compass was as good as another to Kemp, and he came to the conclusion that the compass pointed for Te Kooti himself, and that if he held the compass, it would soon take him to where Te Kooti was, and in this way he would cheat the other sections of tribes now on the march, out of the honour and glory of killing this miscreant. Full of these ideas, and chuckling to himself, he entered the bush at the head of the column. On we went over hill, creek, and dale, clambering up steep ascents, and carefully descending all but precipices, halting ever so often. Such a scramble I never had before or since, and I have gone over some rough country. To make matters worse, it poured as if a second deluge had been let loose. At last darkness set in, and we camped without fires, as Kemp assured me from signs he had seen, we were not far off from Te Kooti now. Rut the other chiefs declared we had passed the place where the smoke had been seen hours ago, and that we would soon reach Waikato or Auckland. For my part, although I had no suspicion of the truth, I felt sure we were all at sea, and were off the scent. The next morning this proved to be the case, and the column had to return to camp the best way it could, as our meagre stock of biscuits had given out. Several days after this Kemp came to my quarters, and looking curiously at my compass, said, "I cannot quite make out this instrument." I explained it to him as well as I could, and how vessels were guided by it on the trackless ocean. "I know they are," said Kemp, "but it is because the needle points out the direction the ships must take. Is this not so?" "Eureka, I have it now," I thought, as the truth flashed upon me. "Did you have a compass the other day when we were out after Te Kooti?" "Yes," replied Kemp: "I halted too, every now and then, to see if we were going in the right direction, but somehow or another we did not go right." I could not help laughing; but it had caused one of the roughest and most wearisome marches we had at Taupo. I satisfied Kemp of his mistake, and I think he will trust to his native instincts in preference to any compass in future.