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THROUGH THE DISTURBED DISTRICTS OF
Departure from Auckland -- The party and object of the Expedition -- Tauranga -- Iguanas and Cuvier Island birds -- Gate pah and Te Ranga rifle-pits -- Penetake of Wairoa--Crossing the ford -- Maketu -- Whare for winter use--A Tangi-- Holding the Runanga -- The Treaty Stone and Arawa politics -- Description of the pah -- Maori toasts and races -- Christmas at Maketu.
December 16th, 1864. -- The little colonial war-steamer 'Sandfly,' provided by the Governor of New Zealand for the conveyance to Tauranga of the party for Lake Taupo, steamed out of Auckland harbour shortly before midnight. The summer's night was calm and warm, the sea like glass.
We had stayed till the end of an opera, very fairly produced (or it seemed so in the absence of better) by an American company which had gone the rounds of the colonies, and the last strains of 'Maritana' left more pleasing impressions on our minds than the predictions of the numerous friends who ridiculed the idea of our ever reaching our destination, and prophesied every sort of disaster, from
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THE PARTY AND
death at the hands of the Kingites as foes or spies, to merely a year or two's captivity, relieved by regular and wholesome exercise, hoeing potatoes for our captors.
The Europeans of our party are three--Mr. Brenchley, a well-known traveller; Mr. Mair, late Interpreter to the "Defence Force" (Colonial cavalry); and the writer. With us also are a small number of natives, including two or three chiefs of note; and others are to join us on the road. By no means an ill-looking lot are they; and their European clothes hang not so awkwardly from their stalwart limbs as is usual with the "brown man" of other lands.
Let us make the acquaintance of the chiefs: 1st, "Te Poihipi Tukairangi." The first part of the name of this chief, to whose especial care the Governor has consigned us, is Maori for "Mr. Busby" --the English Resident under whose auspices was signed the Treaty of Waitangi (our title-deeds to New Zealand). Poihipi, then but a very young man, signed on behalf of his father, who lay ill at Taupo, and thus by virtue of representing the chief of one of the most powerful and distant tribes, assumed the name of the British signitary, in accordance with a custom, which we found common to most of the South Sea Islands, of complimenting a distinguished host or guest by exchange of names. Amongst the whole of the "Queenites" (in contradistinction to the "Kingite" followers of the so-styled Maori king)
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OBJECT OF THE EXPEDITION.
Poihipi is probably the most influential chief, being only two removes from being patriarch or senior chief of the whole of the Taupo or Lake country, and having succeeded in attaching to himself far more "Mana" than either of the two chiefs who precede him in the Maori peerage--Kingites though they be. That word "Mana" is the most provoking stumbling-block to the stranger in the land of the Maori; almost a language in itself, yet necessary to be mastered with all its ramifications before any just estimate of the character or customs of the natives can be formed. The new out-settler finds himself in continual danger of unforeseen hot-water in his relations with the natives, from ignorance of the "Mana" of some powerful neighbour. So, being no wiser myself, I will merely say that in this instance it means influence, power, and prestige.
The Poihipi is the soul of loyalty, which quality administers alike to his interest and his pride, and he has rendered good service during the war. A bold navigator also is he, and said to be the only one who ventures to cross the broad waters of Taupo in the crazy lake-canoe.
But the gallant chief is more at home with paddle or tomahawk than with saddle and bridle, and is noted for his preference for a very little steed, on which his legs will nearly meet, and whence he has not far to fall. It was mounted on some such little "nugget" that he, last year, distinguished himself at
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THE PARTY AND
Rotoiti, fighting against the Kingites, and galloping about between friends and foes, like the youngest A. D. C. at a grand review--hard times though for his steed, for Poihipi is a jolly burly personage of some sixteen stone.
Wi Karamoa, native surname Takirau, is one of the chiefs of the Waikato (the battle-ground of the last campaign), and was one of the ministers (Chancellor of the Exchequer, or something of that kind) to his late Majesty Potatau I. A clever-looking, gentlemanlike man, very reserved in his manner, and making a favourable impression on better acquaintance. He surrendered at the storming of Orakau, meeting the attacking party with a white flag in his hand, but was near being bayoneted by the excited soldiery, when Mair, who was present, interfered in his behalf.
His own account of himself is, that after the overtures which were made by William Thompson, consequent on the fall of Rangariri, he and many others ceased to take any active part in the war against us; and that he found himself penned up, when the troops surrounded the Orakau pah (to which he had gone in search of some stolen horses), but took no active part in the defence--one of the most desperate of the whole war.
Reihana and Haeana were also taken after Orakau, whence with the rest of the gallant little garrison they had cut their way out of the pah through the
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OBJECT OF THE EXPEDITION.
40th regiment, not, however, without suffering tremendous loss.
Haeana, a hoary old warrior, now one of four who are all that remain of a "hapu" 1 which, at the commencement of the war, could muster forty fighting men.
Reihana, a shy young fellow, "very well connected" (at whose wedding fabulous numbers of fat pigs and cartloads of potatoes were devoured), was captured in a swamp by Mair himself. Both these two last levanted with the other prisoners from Kawau, but returned next day, and remained on parole at Auckland, They have now both taken the oath of allegiance, and received permission to rejoin their wives.
Besides these, we have Perenara, a native magistrate, a tall gentlemanlike-looking fellow; Wharetini and Moe, two strapping good-looking young Maories; and some half-dozen more, of whom I know little.
We carry letters from the Governor to most of the principal chiefs of the interior, many of whom are Queenites, and, for our favourable reception by the others. His Excellency relies on his own personal "Mana," which he acquired in former years, with some even of those who were most strongly opposed to British rule.
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The Governor expects that the confidence which he shows by sending us amongst them will be productive of much good, as well as with the few and distant tribes who yet remain loyal in the country round the Great Lake, but complain that no official person coming from the governor, nor any other white man, has visited them since the beginning of the war.
The Maories are to provide us with horses, as all our little journey will be on the saddle, with the exception of part of the descent of the river Waikato on the way back, for which a steamer will be provided.
The natives are unable to pronounce some of our consonants, so in the letters to the chiefs we are described as "Te Peretiri" and "Te Mira," the former being the translation of Mr. Brenchley's name; the latter, that of the writer of this narrative.
11th. --Anchored off Tauranga this evening at dusk, the glorious weather all day having enabled us to enjoy the little archipelago of rocks and islands through which we passed on the eastern coast, -- many of the most fantastic shapes; one, for instance, pierced so as to form one large arch, surmounted by three smaller ones.
On some of these islets, though only a few hundred yards in diameter, large iguanas are found,
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CUVIER ISLAND BIRDS.
differing from any species existing either on the mainland of New Zealand or Australia.
On another, Cuvier Island, there are two species of birds which the natives say are not found elsewhere, and which serve them as barometers. The Maories assert that the peculiar note of one is an unfailing sign of fine weather, whilst the shrill cry of the other is a no less certain warning of storm. Those who live in the neighbourhood place implicit reliance on these signs, and invariably repair to the island to consult them before setting out on a fishing or other lengthened canoe expedition.
18th. --Tauranga is as yet little more than a camp and a mission station, but it must before long-be a thriving settlement, for the harbour is a good one for small craft, and the land is rich.
Here we found excellent quarters at Colonel H------'s, an old shipmate of mine in the West Indies.
19th. ---We rode out to-day to see the remains of the Gate pah and of the Te Ranga rifle-pits.
The road to the former place, which is about three miles from the harbour, lies over fine open fern-land, flanked by gullies leading to the sea. On either side little patches of luxuriant wheat and clover, accidentally sown by the troops and horses, bear witness to the fertility of the soil. Beyond this, and a few stray Armstrong percussion 104-pounder shells (which
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THE GATE PAH.
failed to explode at the bombardment of the Gate pah, and now lie harmless, half-hidden in the fern, some more than two miles beyond the pah they were fired at), there is little to call to mind the sanguinary struggle of which this was the scene a few months since.
The Gate pah has been built up into a small sandbag redoubt, mounting an Armstrong field-piece. The pah is situated on the summit of a gentle rise, across which the Maories had dug a chain of rifle-pits, extending from each flank of the pah about 200 yards, to where the ground falls away on either side into swamps. It was this formation of the ground which allowed the assaulting party to keep under cover until within a very short distance of the pah, whilst a small body of men from the Naval Brigade and the 60th regiment were enabled to pass round and occupy a position in rear of the natives.
The rifle-pits, as well as the traverses and bolt-holes of the pah, are now filled in, and almost hidden by the rapid vegetation which conceals the little earthworks whereon our guns were placed.
Another half-hour's canter over the same sort of country brought us to the Te Ranga rifle-pits. They had all been filled in by our troops, but the ground was still strewn with ammunition and with natives' clothing, cast away for fight or for flight.
The skill with which the Maories usually make
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GATE PAH REDOUBT, TAURANGA
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TE RANGA RIFLE-PITS.
the best of the ground at their disposal for defence seems to have deserted them on this occasion; for it would be difficult to find any position in the neighbourhood less adapted to withstand the advance of regular troops, or more favourable to the operations of cavalry. It is indeed difficult to understand why heavier loss was not inflicted on the enemy, after they had been driven from their pits.
The Maori entrenchment consisted of a ditch four or five feet deep, and about 200 yards long, stretching across a broad level piece of table-land, without an atom of cover but the low fern, and forming an obtuse angle in the centre, with the apex to the rear. From the half on their proper right having been easily enfiladed by an Armstrong on a neighbouring and convenient spur, they were forced to crowd into the remaining portion of the ditch on the left.
We say that the numbers on both sides were about equal. The 43rd and 68th charged right gallantly, reserving their fire till they got up to the pits, the Maories having delivered theirs when the English were within a few yards, but luckily nearly all firing high. An obstinate hand-to-hand fight ensued, resulting in the expulsion of the Maories, who, after a most plucky resistance, retreated, leaving a large proportion of their number dead in the pits. They were soon followed by the cavalry, and are said to have lost nearly 200 men.
They had the advantage of their entrenchment,
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THE WOUNDED MAORIES.
such as it was; our side, that of the field-piece and the cavalry.
At the time when the tomahawks met the bayonets, each side had a reinforcement approaching to its assistance: 200 of the 1st Waikato regiment against a similar number of Maories, rumour said, under William Thompson, the New Zealand Earl of Warwick, or Wiremu Tamehana Te Waharoa, as his countrymen call him; but neither were in time to take any actual share in the fight.
The action over, every kindness was shown to the wounded Maories; and the latter won golden opinions from our men and officers by the heroic stoicism with which they behaved, whilst suffering from the most frightful wounds. One poor fellow who was brought in, calmly smoking his pipe, on throwing open his blanket for the surgeon's inspection, disclosed four bullet holes and five bayonet wounds through his trunk and thighs. This man was pointed out to me walking about the beach, having recovered, in defiance of every precedent in surgery.
After leaving Te Ranga we made for our redoubt at Judea, a strong position on the other side of the creek to the northward of Tauranga, crossing by the ford which it commands.
By the way we met, and made the acquaintance of, Penetake, the chief who built the Gate pah, now a "friendly native." These men fought well as long;
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OLD MAORI PAHS.
as they remained in arms against us, and then gave in thoroughly; they are now on very good terms with the troops.
From Judea we went on to Wairoa--Penetake's village--prettily situated on the banks of a river of the same name, which winds through a deep and beautiful valley.
Old Maori pahs are as common about here as feudal castles on the Rhine; some of them rather picturesque, especially that at Bethlehem, one of the largest that we saw, nearly covered with foliage and long drooping creepers, and moreover having, for a foreground to the picture, the only pretty Maori girl that I have yet seen.
Poihipi went on to Maketu to announce our arrival, and bring back horses.
20th. --Left this morning for Maketu, a native settlement and pah at the mouth of a river, about 17 miles farther south, where we are to remain for a day or two, in order to be present at a great meeting, or "runanga," where the Arawa chiefs from the lake and mountain tribes are to meet those of Maketu, for the purpose of deciding on measures for defence against an expected attack from their neighbours the Ngatiporos, a very powerful tribe of Kingites; and for the discussion of other important matters.
We crossed over in a boat to Matapihi, a native
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CROSSING THE FORD.
settlement on the southern side of the harbour, where saddle and pack horses had been sent to meet us.
Whilst the latter were being packed with our provisions and slender stock of baggage--no small share of which last was tobacco for presents-- we inspected the court-house, or council-chamber of the village, a tolerably spacious "whare," substantially walled and roofed, and decorated inside with many-coloured sinnet and kakaho, a slender and graceful species of flag-reed, which served for wainscoting to the wall--affixed to which we found a code of laws for the suppression of immorality.
Having saddled and bridled, we got a foretaste of the dilatoriness of our native companions, but at last got clear of the village, our party consisting of eleven horsemen and three on foot.
Before reaching the beach we had to ford two swamps, each of them up to our saddles; but afterwards it was all glorious hard sand, alive with myriads of curlew, redbills, and graceful stilt-plover.
A few, very few, small patches of potatoes, scattered here and there at random through the fern-land, were the only signs of native cultivation that we met with.
Mair and I reached the river in time to ford it, and keep dry by crossing our feet between our horses' ears; but the heavy-weights--Brenchley and Poihipi --did not reach it till dusk had set in and the tide risen; so, their horses being small, the night dark.
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and the river deep and broad, they preferred to cross in a rather crank canoe, leaving their steeds to follow next morning. The rotten old canoe ended by capsizing, but luckily not till her last trip, after having safely transported the last of our packs.
Almost overhanging the ford is the pah, which presents an imposing appearance, and is strongly
fortified both by nature and by art in every respect, save that it would be commanded by artillery from one neighbouring hill. But the Ngatiporos having no guns, and the hill in question being crowned by a redoubt garrisoned by our troops, the Arawas are safe enough for the present.
Leaving the pah on our left, we came to a settle-
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ment on a small hill, which is in process of conversion into another pah; here we found a whare prepared for our reception, among the dwellings of the natives from the Lake districts, who are to accompany us to Taupo.
As soon as we were discerned approaching, some of those within the palisades set up a long intoned shout or song of welcome, whilst others conducted us to our whare.
These whares, or native houses, reflect scant credit on the race that remains content to live and die in them; for they are generally far inferior in size and appearance to the habitations of most of the South Sea Islanders, and are not such as might be expected from men so intelligent in most things as the Maories.
They are usually of an oblong shape, with an internal area of about 16 feet by 8, and the doorway too low to be entered without stooping; but the sloping roof gives greater height within.
The skeleton of the house is of wood, the posts, ridgepole and rafters being cut to fit into one another, and then securely lashed.
The roof is thatched with raupo, a plant which' fills the marshes, and the walls are filled in with fascines of the same material, frapped in so tightly as to exclude both wind and water and keep the inmates warm.
On either side of the door a narrow board confines
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WHARES FOR WINTER USE.
the loose fern or raupo, which, covered with a few mats, takes the place of bed and bedrooms; and in the centre, the fire-place, lined with a few stones, is sunk in the flooring.
In nearly every "kainga," or native village, two or three whares of a much larger size are to be seen, the common property of all the village; but the Maories, when urged to increase the size of their domiciles, refuse, on the score of the difficulty of warming larger ones.
They have also a kind of whare specially designed for cold weather, which is sunken some three or four feet below the surface, the eaves of the roof alone being on a level with the ground.
In these dens as many natives as can find room assemble, and, after lighting their pipes round a hot fire, close every communication with the external air, till the atmosphere becomes inconceivably foul.
Our little whare was new and clean; fresh green raupo, thickly laid on the hard-trodden floor, made pleasant beds; and two staid matrons were told off to cook and "do for us."
As soon as we had supped and shaken down into our new quarters, we received visits from a number of the heads of families, bringing "salutations to the people from 'Te Kawana' (the Governor)."
They had expected us early in the day, and had accordingly prepared a great feast; but after waiting many hours, they concluded that we would not come
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PERFORMANCE OF THE "TANGI."
that day at all, and so fell to, and demolished the viands themselves; an arrangement of which we very much approved.
The worthy females who are specially in charge of our domestic arrangements, were soon called away to perform a duty of a very different nature--that of acting as fugle-women at a "tangi," or general wail, with which Karamoa and Reihana were received on their return from captivity.
When a Maori returns to his friends after a long absence, instead of smiles and joyous faces they receive him with tears and lamentations, intended to express the dreadfully painful state of their feelings while deprived of his company, sorrow for the death of such of his kindred as may have departed this life since he left them; and in this case, sympathy with his real or imaginary sufferings in captivity.
We found the two chiefs standing in an attitude of silent dejection, in the midst of a semicircle of their people, who performed the "tangi" for a good quarter of an hour. Commencing with an almost inaudible moaning, accompanied by a slight but increasing vibration of the head, they worked up their emotions till tears fell like rain--from men, women, and children--and the moaning became of the most doleful description.
The "tangi" concluded, the quondam captives solemnly pressed noses all round, and in ten minutes all hands were as jolly as ever.
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21st. --Old Haeana, who was on foot, arrived during the night, so we were roused from our slumbers at early dawn by the "tangi" renewed with fresh vigour and wind, and headed by an old lady with a shock head of hair and dreadfully powerful lungs.
The Runanga, at which we were duly invited to attend, was assembled at the great pah to-day.
Every precaution had been taken to ensure the comfort as well as the propriety of the meeting, but what tickled my fancy most was the posting of a small Maori member of the shoeblack brigade inside the gate of the pah, with his implements of trade, ready to serve anyone who might happen to wear shoes.
The chiefs assembled in a marquee, which covered a long table with seats around, from the centre of which rose a lofty flagstaff bearing an English ensign, and images typical of the political attitude of the Arawas. On each side of the mast was a head, carved of wood; one looking north to the Governor for arms and troops, the other glaring defiantly southward and challenging their foes to come on. The eastern yardarm was ornamented with the frontispiece of some revered ancestor, gazing towards Hawaii (the supposed land of their forefathers) for assistance--a poetical, but not very practical idea. From the opposite yardarm another ancient hero, who seemed to have a better notion of the "situation," was re-
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COMMENCEMENT OF THE RUNANGA.
presented calling the lake and mountain Arawas to the rescue. And finally, the post of honour at the truck was occupied by a bust of the Queen.
The Maories were very anxious to impress upon us that these carvings were intended only for symbols, not portraits.
Close to the door were posted the bye-laws, which enjoined order and obedience to the directions of the chief who acted as chairman; ruled that everyone on entering should uncover and make a sort of quarterdeck salute, by bowing in honour of the Queen; and forbade the use of tobacco during the sitting of the Runanga.
About thirty chiefs were assembled round the table, which groaned under huge piles of bread and butter and biscuit, besides a small quantity of brandy, rum, and cider.
Most of these men were decently dressed in European clothes, but a few clung to the national and rather primitive costume.
The proceedings commenced by everyone in turn drinking the Queen's health. Now the only European present besides ourselves was a missionary, and having been helped first in virtue of the seats of honour where we had been courteously placed, we drank our "tots" in silence and ignorance of the etiquette; but afterwards, fearing that our omission might be ascribed to tepid loyalty, we asked for more, wherein we drank the "Kuini Wikitoria" with all
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THE TREATY STONE.
the honours. Yet I fear that our good intentions may have been misconstrued, and that we were looked on as men who had obtained a double allowance of grog under false pretences.
In the centre of the table stood a large wooden vase, handsomely carved out of a single block, which was much valued by the Maories on account of its antiquity, and made an excellent punch-bowl.
One of the chiefs explained that many years ago, before the "pakehas" had brought metals into use, the only means of boiling food was by continually dropping red-hot stones into wooden bowls of water. These urns were very carefully carved, and handed down from father to son; but since the introduction of European utensils, the art of carving the wooden vases has been lost.
The presiding chief, after requesting Mair to translate for us the speeches of the others (which he was kind enough to do and with great fluency), went on to explain the signification of a slab of stone at the foot of the flagstaff, bearing an inscription in Maori, "Let the peace be kept," deeply cut into the surface, with the date, Sept. 16, 1845. On that day peace was concluded, after long years of war, between the allied tribes of Maketu and Taupo on the one side, and the Tauranga and Waikato natives on the other; and this stone, to which they attach great value, is their treaty, a facsimile being kept by the men of Tauranga. It also serves in some degree as
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POLICY OF THE ARAWAS.
a sort of Maori temple of Janus, the stone being kept in its present position, with the fair side uppermost, as long as the "good principle remains in the ascendant" --that is, peace between these tribes; but so soon as fighting begins the stone is reversed.
The first resolution proposed at the meeting was one setting forth that the lands of all who have carried arms against the Queen ought to be forfeited to the Crown. This was agreed to, and passed, with all the decision and liberality which usually characterizes the actions of men who are dealing with the property of their foes.
The next subject was the proposed cession, or sale, of 20,000 acres of their own land to the Governor for the purpose of locating a large number of settlers, whom they had petitioned to be sent amongst them.
This was a very different affair, and not to be disposed of in the same summary manner. The object of the Arawas in asking for settlers is to make sure of the assistance of our naval and land forces in case of attack from the Ngatiporos, by identifying the interests of the settlers with their own.
In July last, the Ngatiporos crossed the boundary, a river a few miles farther south, and advanced to the ridge abreast of our redoubt and of the Maketu pah, where they threw up during the night two long lines of rifle-pits.
From these they were dislodged by shell from the guns of the 'Falcon' and 'Sandfly;' so, fording the
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ARAWAS AND NGATIPOROS.
Waihi river, close to its mouth, they retreated by the only route possible, a long strip of shingle which separates the sea from a large and impassable swamp. The Arawas turned out of their pah, and pursued their foes with great success, killing many and capturing others whilst fleeing along the beach. But they lost their great fighting chief, Wynard Beckham, a grand old fellow, in revenge for whom they tomahawked some prisoners.
The next morning, at daybreak, they surprised the Ngatiporos a little farther on, at Matata, routed them with great slaughter, and captured their chief. Beckham's wife, Mata (whose acquaintance we made to-day, a very determined-looking, but not repulsive woman), became terribly excited at the death of her husband, to whom she was much attached; and being moreover covertly goaded on by a miscreant who thirsted for revenge for the loss of an eye caused by a recent wound, she seized a gun, and blew out the brains of the captive chief of the Ngatiporos. For this the Ngatiporos, whose numbers far exceed that of the Maketu natives, have sworn to have revenge, and have moreover allied themselves to other east coast tribes, who are hostile alike to the Arawas and to ourselves.
This murder cost Mata the pension which she would otherwise have enjoyed as the widow of a native magistrate. She was in the thick of the fight where her husband fell, and refused to desert his body.
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BURIAL OF THE FIGHTING CHIEF.
The Arawas returned from Matata elated with victory and laden with plunder. They popped their dead chief into a bag, and carried him back along the beach towards Maketu; but on the way an alarm was raised that the enemy had rallied and were attacking in force; a panic and stampede ensued, and the shingle being at that place unusually heavy, the dead chief was dropped, and deserted by all save his sturdy old wife, who remained behind and buried him in the sand. The next day she returned alone, in spite of a storm of wind and rain, dug him up again, and carried him on till her strength failed her, when she buried him once more, and returned to report progress. At last some of the young men fetched him into the pah, where he was interred, and still remains. His daughter receives a small pension 2 from Government.
But to return to the meeting. Many of the chiefs spoke in allegories and metaphors, and one of them applied the parable of the ten talents of silver to the land question. They all spoke with dignity and ease; their speeches were sensible, and many had a touch of grim humour. And here, as at every other
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CESSION OF LAND OPPOSED.
Maori meeting which I have since witnessed, no abusive language was made use of, no speaker was interrupted, and the greatest courtesy was observed both between those who joined in the debate and the listeners.
One could not help drawing an unpleasant comparison between the behaviour of this assembly of "savages" and the scenes which are too frequently witnessed in one or two of our colonial parliaments.
But the meeting would not all agree to cede the land, notwithstanding their straits. After those who favoured the proposal had spoken, a man, named Fox I think, the principal fighting chief at Maketu, rose and opposed it, concluding by saying, "If land we must give, let it be the salt sea-beach you just have travelled by:" then he straightway left the meeting. When he had gone, up rose an old and hoary chief, in a full suit of mat and feathers, a man of broad acres and influence, who, when he spoke, and that was seldom, moved many with him. He bitterly opposed the bare notion of parting with a single rood of land; and, stretching forth his shrivelled arms, he cried, "Oh that I could thus embrace the land of my forefathers, and, gathering it all within my arms, keep it whole and safe from the grasping Pakeha!" 3 with a good deal more in the same strain.
Poihipi, who is in favour of the cession, made a speech which was much applauded, full of moderation,
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EASTERN GATE, MAKETU PAH
good advice, and moral maxims, which rather strangely contrasted with the gesticulations by which, revolver in hand, he emphasized his most telling points.
After this the Runanga adjourned to smoke, which gave me leisure to examine the pah. The stockade which encloses it is of an oblong shape,
Eastern Gate, Maketu Pah.
three sides resting on the edge of a steep cliff, partially scarped, and inaccessible except by the cut pathways to the gates. On the fourth or southern side only, the ground falls away at a gentle slope, and this face is therefore most strongly defended in other ways. The stockade, which is constructed with
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DESCRIPTION OF THE PAH.
blinded gates and loopholed flanking angles, consists of a double fence about 9 feet high, with a distance of 1 foot between the two fences. It is only at short intervals that the posts are stout and solidly imbedded in the ground; the remainder consisting of tough and closely-placed, but slighter stakes, so secured with lashings of supplejack and horizontal stakes that the whole will give or bend, but never break. In the outer fence it is only the big posts (two or three yards apart) that are set in the ground at all; the extremities of the intervening stakes, which are sharply pointed, are suspended so as to reach down to within about 18 inches of the soil. This allows the men in the rifle-pits within the stockade to point their muskets freely through the inner fence; and, from its greater elasticity, the outside fence is in fact stronger than if every stake had been driven into the ground. In an obstacle of this description, shot or shell from great guns would make an opening no bigger than their own diameter.
All round the pah, and closely skirting the inner side of the fence, there is a chain of rifle-pits, with traverses and interrupted inner curtains, built of alternate layers of earth and fern. The gates, which. are profusely ornamented with feathers and carved monstrosities, are too narrow to admit more than one man at a time; they are moreover commanded at all points from within by rifle-pits, and blinded without by zigzag double fences.
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The interior is occupied by the family whares, the whare-karakia, or house of worship, and the storehouses and gardens; the latter all divided and subdivided by tall fences thickened with live green-stuff, so as to form a regular labyrinth, which a handful of determined men, who know their ground, could hold against five times their number.
Meanwhile the evening-bell was rung at the whare-karakia, and prayers were read by the native deacon.
Poihipi, though sanguine of ultimately carrying his point about the land, saw, with the other promoters of the meeting, that the day was going against them, and wisely postponed the question; and some more brandy having been sent for, pipes and grog became the order of the evening.
Each chief in turn had to propose a toast, and it was rather amusing to compare their remarks with similar specimens of post-prandial eloquence at home. The Queen was the most frequent toast, and one of the wildest-looking characters present said, whilst proposing Her Majesty: ".... She is the fountain of all good--before her reign all things went wrong, but now we have good laws. It is she who gives us this brandy (a polite fiction). May she send us plenty of powder, plenty of rum, and may they both be strong! And may she send and open a public-house here." A voice: "And a jail." "Yes, and a jail, too, for that is good for some."
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There was a good deal of light chaff, and we broke up in very orderly style about 9 P. M. The gatekeeper of the pah was found after some little trouble, and we returned to our whare.
22nd. --Some Maori horse-racing to-day, the ardour of the sportsmen and women being in no way damped by the torrents of rain which fell during the greater part of the morning. Several of the jockeys got spilt during the races, for no very apparent reason.
The natives much excited, dancing, shouting, and gesticulating at the success of their favourites. Foremost of all were the fair sex, who would frequently quite overpower with their most demonstrative caresses the fortunate quadruped which won.
23rd. --More racing to-day, but the ladies restrained the expression of their sympathies within more sober bounds, the levity of their conduct yesterday having called forth grave censure from some of the elder chiefs, who apparently do not approve of their daughters imbibing fast and horsey tastes.
25th, Christmas Day. --Still at Maketu, having been detained by delays in issuing the Government provisions to the natives of our party, as well as by the straying of our horses, with which last little misfortune the anxiety of our natives to pass their
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CHRISTMAS-DAY AT MAKETU.
Christmas amongst the fleshpots of Maketu is probably in some degree connected.
Not a very lively Christmas, for it poured nearly all day, so we stopped in our whare (some 10 feet square) till the evening, when it cleared up a little, and we went to see the rifle-pits thrown up by the Ngatiporos when they came to attack Maketu, as has been already mentioned.
The advance parallel, about 800 yards from the redoubt, and the other, connecting two little pahs which had been just commenced, were all thrown up in two or three hours, just before daybreak, after marching all night.
At the foot of this hill flows the river Waihi, and beyond is a large swamp with excellent duck-shooting; but the hostile natives have given fair warning that any of the officers whose love of sport may induce them to cross the stream will be shot.
And a short time ago two officers from the redoubt, who had gone after the ducks, had to run for their lives, the Ngatiporos peppering at them all the way to the hill, when the pursuit was abandoned-- very fortunately, one of the officers having to lie down from exhaustion.
On our return we received the good news that all the horses had been caught, and safely pounded in the absent missionary's garden; also a welcome invitation to eat our Christmas dinner with the officers of the garrison.