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Taking the Wereroa pa--Capture of Opotiki--Murder of Volkner--Murder of the crew of the Kate--General Chute's campaign against us in 1866, aided and abetted by Dr. Featherston.
OUR Pipiriki allies now attacked Major Brassey, so as to cause our pa to be relieved, but this morning, after the news had reached us, Sir George Grey and a large force appeared in front of the Wereroa, while a detachment was marched secretly round our position, taking the bush for it. These last captured a large number of our warriors at Areiahi--fifty-five men and all their guns and ammunition. Rookes and McDonnell did this. We know now that these two officers had found out this road during their stay at Perekamu village. It was a great mistake not to have killed them when we had the chance, and Sir George Grey too, when we could have done so without any difficulty. The defenders of the Wereroa now abandoned their strongholds, and the Queen's troops--though nothing had been done by them to capture it--were now placed in possession, and the prisoners were sent to Wellington and placed on board of a hulk in the harbour. Our great Taranaki chief, Tataraimaka, was one of them. The prisoners soon got tired of living there, so they picked out the bow port-hole and swam ashore one rough and stormy night. A few got drowned, but the majority got away. We all laughed at this, and gave Tataraimaka--a sly old warrior--great credit for the way he had planned and effected their escape.
This is the true history of how the Wereroa Pa was captured by Sir George Grey. Rookes, McDonnell, and Mete Kingi were the officers. Mete Kingi was made a General, but none of us could make out why, as Rookes and McDonnell did the fighting and captured the prisoners, while Mete remained in camp.
Just before this time we discovered, or thought we had (it was all the same to us after we had made up our minds), that the Rev. Mr. Grace, who used to live at Taupo, and Rev. Mr. Volkner, of Opotiki, had been acting treacherously to us. So their death was resolved upon by Kereopa, who was then our high priest of Hauhauism, and the tribes of the Bay of Plenty met at Opotiki to decide how the sentence should be carried out. We had at this time boiled quantities of peaches, and, letting the juice ferment, we drank it, and it made us brave to act, and filled us with energy. Many of us held the opinion that Volkner was a good man. He was gentle and very kind to all. Many of those who were his own natives knew that he would not do anything underhand, or to our hurt. He had always recommended us not to join in the fighting,
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and he had kept aloof from interfering in land questions. If all the other missionaries had followed his example, and had minded their own business, Volkner might not have been sacrificed. I always thought we made a great mistake in taking his life away from him, as he was not our enemy, being a German. But alas! so it was. Judgment was pronounced by Kereopa, and Volkner was hanged. When nearly dead Kereopa cut his head off, swallowed his eyes, and filled the communion cup of the church, which we had found, with his blood. The chief men and women of our people were then drawn up in two files inside the church, and the silver cup was passed round. Each person drank or wetted their lips with the contents, returning the cup to Kereopa, who drank what remained. The Rev. Mr. Grace had pleaded hard for Volkner's life, with many tears and to his own peril, but without avail. We intended to hang him too, but somehow we let him escape. Kereopa said it was a great mistake. We would have killed him, and in all probability cut his body to pieces.
After this we captured and shot a half-caste, Fulloon, a Government agent, in a vessel, the Kate. We killed all the crew, by direction of Horomona, a Hauhau prophet. Most of the leaders in Hauhauism distinguished themselves in this way, but when the pakehas caught them they always hanged them. But it was only one of our many methods of fighting our enemies. When a man goes to fight, he goes to kill, and it does not signify how he kills his enemy, so long as he does kill him. If he won't kill his enemy when he catches him, what is the use of going to fight? A man goes to fish for whapuku. Well, he catches a fish. What does he do with it? Does he let it go again? That would be a foolish thing! No, for if he did, he would be laughed at, and people would say he was mad. So he eats it. What else did he catch it for? And so with fighting. When you go to kill men, kill them, and don't make fools of yourselves.
The Government now prepared to take "utu" (payment) for the death (murder they called it) of Volkner; the Wanganuis were commanded by McDonnell. Major Atkinson was War Minister, and gave instructions to Brassey and Stapp, who commanded the expedition, to give us a bad time of it, and to hang and kill those who had taken part in Volkner's death. As I wish to tell the truth, I must confess that this was sensible of Major Atkinson. He meant fighting to be fighting; there was not to be any catching and letting go again, and that kind of nonsense. I wonder how long the war would have lasted if each side had acted in this way! We heard of all this from our friends, who were friends of civil commissioners, and prepared for the reception of the expedition. This punishing force sent to fight us arrived in the Bay of Plenty in their ships off the entrance to our river of Opotiki. We had a success against them at first, for our Hauhau priest, Kereopa, caused the little steamer to drift on shore near the bar, by his incantations to Joshua. All the pakehas on board the steamer got on shore, and
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some of them made a small pa on the top of a hill for their protection, and another party of them took possession of one of our burying places. We intended to attack them in force, as all the other steamers had gone away, the wind was so great, but it came on to rain and it grew quite dark before we had settled our plan. The next morning we attacked them, but after firing a few shots in return they embarked in their vessel again. The heavy flood from the rain the night before drifted their vessel, though they had full steam up, right out towards the bar. They got aground broadside on, and we took possession of the sand-hills and rained bullets upon them, Kereopa encouraging us to the attack. Night again fell, but it rained and thundered, and the lightning was all round the vessel. The storm was raised by the incantations of Kereopa, who wanted us now to rush the vessel; but it was postponed till the following day. The next morning one of our people, who was suddenly inspired with the idea that he was gifted with supernatural powers, went up to where the vessel lay high and dry to sing the paimariri hymn to complete the destruction, when a rifle bullet laid him dead on the sands, and the enemy got possession of his body. This rather surprised us, as he had told everybody he was ball-proof. Next morning the steamers returned, and the whole of the enemy landed. We met them on the beach, but we could not stand before them. We fled, then rallied, and then broke again, their attack was so impetuous. Our villages and settlements were attacked, taken, and destroyed, and we lost a number of men. Our cattle were eaten, our kumeras were dug up by the Wanganui (who, I am sure, never ate such fine kumeras before). Our pigs--such fat ones!--and poultry went the same way. Then our horses were caught, appropriated, and used by the enemy to ride us down with and kill us. At the Kiorikino Pa we recognised our best horses in a charge that some of them, with men on their backs, made upon a number of us who had made a sally from three large pas on the hills to relieve the besieged in the Kiorikino Pa that Stapp and McDonnell had surrounded. They cut down a number of us, and then the pa was taken and many more of us were shot. We were now followed up to Ohiwa, where Raku Raku gave McDonnell and his men information as to the whereabouts of Kereopa and his disciples. From the intelligence thus obtained, the force was divided, and a simultaneous attack was made on two of our positions. Kereopa was not, however, caught, but some of our best men were killed. Only one man was wounded, and he was shot dead by the Wanganuis, by order of McDonnell. But the only thing this man had done was to assist in hanging Volkner. Then Smith, a civil commissioner too (most wonderful!), and Mair, of Orakau Pa celebrity, with the Arawa, had captured, after hard fighting at the Teko Pa, the men who had killed Fulloon. This was also called a murder, and the prisoners were brought to Opotiki to be hanged by Major Stapp; but they were, for some reason or other, with our great chief Mokomoko, sent to Auckland and put to death there.
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War now commenced on the West Coast. General Cameron had gone home. He was tired of fighting, for we would not give in, because there were too many Pakeha-Maoris working for us, and because the land that had remained to us from the Government sharks had all been confiscated. "We will never give in now," we said. General Chute and Dr. Featherston sent to Opotiki for McDonnell, the Native Contingent, the Patea Rangers under Newland (all tried Taranaki warriors), and the fierce Wanganui Yeomanry Cavalry. These men arrived at Wanganui, and the following is the pakeha version of the arrival of the Native Contingent, which I would pass over as of no account, but for a circumstance that occurred afterwards, which proved how very selfish the pakehas are when Maori interests are concerned:--"Immediately the steamer cast anchor His Honour the Superintendent of Wellington, Walter Buller, Esq., R.M., Major Von Tempsky (Forest Rangers), and others went on board to welcome our native allies. Foremost to meet them was the undaunted British chief, Major McDonnell, the able leader of the contingent; next came Ensigns Gudgeon and Walker, the old veteran (general) Mete Kingi, Captains Kemp and Aperaniko, Adjutant Wirihana, and others. They were agreeably surprised to find their old friends, Dr. Featherston and Mr. Buller, ready to give them a right hearty welcome, and, after many congratulations, disembarked to meet their more intimate relations and friends. The Putiki natives have won the admiration of the European community for their unflinching loyalty, and will, I hear, after the withdrawal of the Imperial troops, form an important branch of the colonial force."
Such was the reception by the Government of the Wanganuis under McDonnell. The following account by this officer will tell you how the Government treated these men for "their unflinching loyalty," and the encouragement they received at their hands. McDonnell's memo, to Dr. Featherston at the request of the latter:--"On the 29th December, 1866, the Native Contingent crossed from Putiki, the native settlement on the other side of the river Wanganui, where they camped ready for marching. The following day they fell in, but on the word 'quick march' they to a man grounded arms and remained standing. Kemp, their native captain, stepped forward and said, 'The men of the Native Contingent, not having received any pay for three months, refuse to march until paid. Many, perhaps, will get killed, as we are always placed in the front. This is as it should be, but we want our pay for the past before we enter on the future.' This I felt to be just, and could not blame them. I made a short speech, in which I acknowledged the unfairness of not having been paid, but I said that to speak of such matters on parade, and at the moment of marching, was hardly fair to me, or to General Chute, who was waiting for them at the Wereroa to advance on the enemy. I had, I told them, no Government money in my hands--I only wished I had--but that I had one hundred pounds I had saved up of my
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own money in the possession of a friend who was going to invest it for me. That under the circumstances I would forego the investment and distribute the sum amongst them; it would purchase pipes and tobacco for the campaign, if no more, and that on their return to Wanganui they would receive their pay in a lump, and could enjoy themselves at their ease. 'But do not, I added, disgrace yourselves now.' I fetched the money (one hundred pounds) and placed it on the ground. 'There is all I have; you are welcome to it; pick it up, and in one hour's time parade again. But if any of you get drunk that man shall remain behind, and of course will not have the chance of capturing any horses.' There was a general rush forward and a scramble, but the money was equally divided, every man, I believe, got an equal proportion, and to the hour they were again on parade. If any of them were shaking on their legs, or had to lean against their comrades to shoulder their rifles I did not notice it--but they had brought very little tobacco. I afterwards got my money back in driblets, excepting about ten pounds. As a whole it was a dead loss to me." McDonnell sent in this account to the Government, and was told by an authority that some mark would be given to him for his services; but he informs me that he has not even got the ten pounds back, let alone the "mark!" Comment is superfluous. The contingent refused to march until they were paid. McDonnell went at five o'clock in the morning to His Honour Dr. Featherston, who was in bed in the Wanganui Hotel, and asked him for the pay due, or even £100 of it. Dr. Featherston begged him to get them to march without it as he had no money, and could not get any, and was at his wits' end what to do, as he had promised to join General Chute that day in company with the contingent. McDonnell said he could raise £100 of his own money, but if he happened to be shot in the coming campaign who would see it paid to his family? Dr. Featherston promised he would see to this, and McDonnell obtained the cash and gave it to them.
Well, in January, 1866, the whole army of this general took the field, and he and Dr. Featherston pitched their camp on the site of the famous Wereroa Pa. On the 3rd of January they all marched for Okotuku Pa, where the Ngarauru awaited them, eager for the fray. While the enemy were pitching their tents, we came out of the bush to do a little tomahawking; but McDonnell and Featherston, with the Native Contingent, attacked us, and drove us back into the bush, and before we could rally they had possessed themselves of our pa at the top of the hill. We afterwards heard that Dr. Featherston took the sacred dove at the top of our niu. By the time we had collected ourselves together in the bush, to endeavour to retake our position, the enemy had retired to their camp below on the level ground. We now set to work to fortify our position. We gathered all the firewood that lay in heaps about our plantations (our winter reserve), and stacked it up closely against the palisading of our pa, and then remained perfectly quiet, so that our enemy might think we had gone right away.
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The next morning the army marched up the wooded hill, and presently stood in front of our pa, which was at the narrow end of the plateau. We kept quiet, as we wished the enemy to come quite close, when we would pour one volley into them and slip away. But two Europeans and one Maori, whom we had noticed the previous day, attempted to take the pa by themselves. We thought they were out of their mind. We let them come within twenty yards, and then fired a whole volley at them; but just at that instant they tumbled into an empty potato pit, and so saved their lives. [The three men here spoken of were Ensign Gudgeon, William McDonnell, and Winiata.] The troops now charged our pa, but we could only send them a straggling volley, as we had no time to reload properly; and then our palisades were scaled by the soldiers. We now slipped out of our pa at the rear, after losing a number of our men. Only one man of ours was taken prisoner, and we have heard he was afterwards shot.
Why need I relate the whole of the campaign of this victorious general and his army? The storming of Putahi Pa, the plan and approaches to which we found afterwards had been remembered by one of the pakehas who visited this stronghold at the time of the Wereroa Pa negotiations, and which information he now gave to General Chute and Dr. Featherston. We expect he got well rewarded for this intelligence, as he went nigh to lose his life in obtaining it; but we understand McDonnell was wounded in this engagement, and lamed for life. Then Otapawa was taken, the 57th Regiment being led by the brave Major Hazzard, whom we shot as he entered our works sword in hand, leading his warriors like a chief. The march round the mountain of Taranaki and the fight at Waikoukou followed. It is not a pleasant task to have to record how in less than five weeks we were all scattered to the winds, and all our pas and settlements utterly destroyed and burnt. This dreadful General and his men never slept, and did not fight in accordance with the laws of warfare laid down by civil commissioners for pakehas to follow. So we complained to one of the civil commissioners, who then went to have an interview with the General, who was then camped near Taiporohenui, after defeating us at Otapawa, and tried to reason with him. But we heard that the General spoke to this commissioner in such a way that he left in a hurry. When we were afterwards informed of this by Wiremu Hukarunui, a neutral, but our friend and intelligencer, we feared that a new state of things had succeeded to the old, and that commanding officers of armies were no longer to be under the control of civil commissioners and pakeha-Maoris. "If this is the case," said we, "our game is up." We could not stand that kind of thing.
We, to speak truly, looked upon Chute and his army as the best fighting force we ever had to oppose, or that had ever been in array against us. Bush or open it was all the same to them, and the 57th Regiment and 14th and 18th Royal Irish fought with the colonial troops, amongst whom were many old warriors of the
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Hikitipiti (65th) like proper devil-pakehas. Many months elapsed after this campaign, but as no one came to take possession of the country, and as we were informed by our pakeha-Maori friends that the commissioners and the bishops had said that it was wrong to confiscate our lands, we took heart and returned to the district, and rebuilt and reinhabited our pas and settlements, forgot our past troubles and prepared to resist any attempts the pakeha might make to settle upon the country that General Chute and his men had conquered. But the remains of General Cameron's army tribe still occupied positions near the coast at Patea, Kakaramea, Manawapou, Tangahoe, Waingongoro, and in Taranaki. But these, we thought, would follow General Cameron when the ships came back that had sailed with him to England, for we are but a simple people in some things.
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Campaign under McDonnell--Pokaikai--Survey of district--Fight at Hairini--At Rotorua--Waikato defeated.
NOW I will give you an account of the fighting under McDonnell and his Bush Rangers and Wanganui Cavalry, and the means he took to steal our country by surveying it. It will be but a short account, as it is very painful to have to relate how we were duped and beaten by this man and his force.
First of all, McDonnell met some of us at the Kauwae, Wiremu Hukanui's place, and asked us to give in. This is an act of his that we thought weak and unworthy of a warrior. But, alas! how we were deceived in him. Colonel Haultain was the War Minister at the time, and the instructions he had given to McDonnell were, we heard, that he should get the district surveyed, and kill as many of us as he could if we objected, as, of course, Colonel Haultain, being an old warrior of vast experience, made sure that we would. Having heard all this and more from our pakeha-Maori friends, what business had this cunning man, McDonnell, to try and get us to make peace, so that he and his men might rob us with impunity?This is what we thought then, though we hoped at the same time that the civil commissioners would take care of our interests. Well, we pretended to McDonnell that we would think over what he had proposed, and that one of our principal chiefs, Ngahina by name, a Hauhau priest, should go to Wellington. But we arranged, in the meantime, to shoot McDonnell down, by a well planted ambuscade, the following morning, as he returned to Patea from the Waingongoro camp. This settled, we at once sent off a messenger to consult with the civil commissioner as to the future. Now, this commissioner, Parris, was a hundred miles away, at Taranaki. McDonnell left the next day for Patea. Our ambuscade, seventy strong, of Ahitana's people, divided into two parties, and planted themselves so that McDonnell should get between them on the banks of the Waihi stream. The trap was beautifully arranged for his death; nothing could have been better planned, and when McDonnell and his few friends, six altogether, including Carrington, the chief surveyor, rode up, we let them get just past the first ambush, and then poured a volley into them at thirty paces, calling out aloud to our Hauhau god "E Riki Kawea, E Riki Kawea!" to make the bullets go straight to their mark. Then the second ambush fired at them, crying out "O Joshua O Joshua!" but, though we sent volley after
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volley after them as they wheeled and galloped back to Waingongoro, we missed them all. In revenge for this very natural attempt of ours to kill him, McDonnell sent a woman to spy out our pa, Pokaikai. We tore the woman's clothes, and sent her back. McDonnell then sent us a very curious letter of hidden meaning, like to our own Hauhau letters and sayings, which we write to this day when we wish to nonplus and puzzle the pakeha, and confuse them; like that saying of Te Whiti's, "the potato is cooked." McDonnell's letter told us he was coming to visit us. We received this note in the morning, and the following is a copy of the letter:--
"Camp, Manawapou, Tangahoe.
"TO THE ENEMY,--
"Salutations.--In a short time I will truly visit you. You will then see me. Why do you plot to kill me and my women? The kao (preserved kumara) is dried. Sleep, that the taha (calabash) be filled; that the journey be successful. There is a whale on the sea; spear him for the tribe. From your friend,
We said, "This man McDonnell is a fool to come and visit us; we will show this note of his to the commissioner, and ask him to tell us what it means." But it is true that it was ourselves who were bewildered by McDonnell, for in the grey dawn of the very next morning he kept his word and did visit us. Our pa, Pokaikai, was entered into pell mell, and after a short but fierce struggle and a few shots we had to fly out of it. The ground was hard with white frost, for it was in the cold weather of August. Many of us were shot down and killed, and all our women and children were taken prisoners; we had to fly naked. We lost our clothes, our weapons and ammunition; our pa and houses were burnt, except one house which they left to shelter a woman who had been wounded. We also lost McDonnell's letter, which he found in a meeting house, so that we could not show it to Parris, the commissioner, to whom we carried our sad, sad tale of complaints. Village after village and pa after pa were taken at all times of the day and night. When our scouts would tell us McDonnell was at Waitotara, fifty miles away, that hour he would drop upon us with his bands of trained men, Wanganui Troopers, and Ross's and Newland's Wanganui and Patea Rangers, who were all as bad as himself. They laid ambuscades for us, and thus we lost more men. It was not fighting according to pakeha rule, and again we complained to the civil commissioners. But we tomahawked away whenever we got the chance, and occasionally we killed some of his men.
Now we were told by the Commissioner, Parris, that a Royal Commission was coming to try McDonnell for not fighting by Commissioner rule, and in attacking us at Pokaikai and elsewhere. We all said "Kapai" (good), and prepared to assemble and give evidence against this commander and destroyer of our people. We pretended, too, that we wished to make peace,
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and a truce was proclaimed for the purpose. The Royal Commission sat, but all the Civil Commissioner proved was that a woman had been accidentally hurt with the point of a bayonet at the attack on Pokaikai, by a man named Bezar, who did not belong to the force; that she had been well attended to afterwards, and that Bezar, who had accidentally hurt her, had taken her to himself with her consent and the consent of her tribe, for a wife; that she was now Mrs. Bezar, and that shortly she expected to present him with a son and heir. Now the Civil Commissioner had reported that this woman had been brutally murdered, by command of McDonnell. It is true we had told Parris all this, but we told him a good many things, and to our credit be it said, he believed them all. The Commission could not hang McDonnell, we regretted to find; so they acquitted him, and said he had done quite right. So they then departed to their homes, and the woman, Mrs. Bezar, went home with Mr. Bezar and bare him a son, and the Commissioner Parris got on his horse and went home too; and the Government wrote to McDonnell that the Commissioner, Parris, now said that he could not make peace with us, and that he could go on with the fighting. That very night McDonnell and his devil pakehas laid an ambuscade for us, but we laid one for them too, and, strange to say, we both picked on the same spot. The ambuscades met and fought, but we were beaten, and lost some men; but we wounded Captain Ross, the officer we afterwards killed at Turi-turi Mokai. We all attributed this, at the time, to anger on the part of McDonnell and his men for having been tried by us--the very men that he and his bands were paid to fight and destroy. Verily, O pakeha, you are a puzzle to us!
Our large fortified village of Pungarehu, a mile in the forest, was now attacked at daylight. We lost over thirty-five men, and many were wounded and taken prisoners, one of whom was put to death. Many other places were attacked, and we severely wounded McDonnell's brother William. McDonnell now erected a platform at Waihi forty feet high, and when the surveyors were sent to survey the banks of the Waingongoro river, where the scrub was high and good for our ambuscades, the prisoners were told off to do sentry-go on the top of this platform, and told to keep a good look-out for us and report if they saw any danger, but that if the survey party got fired into that they would be at once hanged. We knew McDonnell's men would obey him gladly, so we did not interfere any more with the surveyors, lest our relations should be hanged by McDonnell's men. Well, we were getting tired, and had all but given in, as our country was opened up and conquered again right away to Warea, and drivers used to trade in safety right away over our land to Taranaki, and no one molested them. The roads, too, were safe. We had discovered that McDonnell was a man of his word, and he had promised to leave us alone so long as we behaved ourselves. Our prisoners he released, and they returned to us by consent of Colonel Haultain, the War Minister.
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Civil interference--Successful attack on Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu with old force--Defeat at same place--Death of Von Tempsky and others--More civil interference.
ABOUT this time Waikato sent an armed force of two hundred and fifty picked warriors to fight and get revenge on the Arawa tribes living at the Rotorua lakes. Waikato got the better of the Arawa on three occasions, and drove them to their pas at Rotorua; and began to plunder the country, and threaten to attack Tauranga, and had got the better of some troops who attacked them there. So McDonnell was taken away from the West Coast and sent to command his old Arawa tribes. He soon organised a band of that brave and loyal tribe to the Queen, but disloyal to their own country, and attacked us on the mountains above Lake Rotorua, at Hirini. Here a desperate fight took place. We stood firm for some time, but the Arawa scooped the brains out of one of us whom they had shot, and smeared their faces over with them, and then, urged by their native and pakeha chiefs, charged us. We could not stand this sight; we broke and fled, and were hotly pursued by the Arawas. We lost heavily, and did not pull up till we reached the head waters of the Thames.
Now, during McDonnell's absence from the Ngatiruanui country, the people of our race had been made uneasy from the action of a Government officer, who began to preach to us; and by this time McDonnell had returned from Rotorua. Things were ripe for disturbance. The name of this man was Booth, and he had once been a catechist. Some of our men stole horses. An attempt was made to capture the young chief who took them. One was caught by Booth, but he afterwards escaped; when, in return and revenge for the insult, we killed three men who were working in the bush. This led to revenge again, and to get payment McDonnell attacked us at the Ngutu-o-te-Manu, defeated us, and burnt our fortified village. We lost nine men in the attack. Our pa was burnt, including our large new place of worship.
After we had killed three pakehas in the bush, whom we knew afterwards were called Cahill, Squires, and Clark, we thought of trying to surprise the Turi-turi Mokai Redoubt, near Te Matangarara. The commander of this pa lived outside the earthwork in a small whare, near where the canteen was. We sent some of our people the evening before, under the pretence of selling some onions, to have a look at the defences, and to ascertain, if possible, if Ross, the captain, was going to sleep in the whare outside the
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redoubt. Our spies returned, and reported that the ditch was in a bad state, and that Ross and the canteen man were each in the habit of sleeping in their own whares outside and that the planks over the ditches of the redoubt, serving as a bridge, had not been moved for some time. Early in the grey dawn we approached, crawling stealthily up, and had all but got into the ditch when a sentry challenged, and we heard the click of the lock of his rifle, and then he blazed away at us. The door of Ross's house now flew open, and Ross appeared with his sword and revolver. We fired at him, but he flew to the entrance of the redoubt, shooting one of us dead who had just crawled inside; and where a bloody fight took place, Ross cheering his men, some of whom leaped, half asleep, over the parapet of the redoubt into our hands. These we at once killed. Ross now fell in the entrance, and we dragged him into the ditch and cut out his heart, but the man who did this fell dead. We tried hard to get at the rest, but several men in one corner of the earthwork swept it clear, and we lost some of our warriors; but help was now on its way to the redoubt from Waihi camp, and we had barely time to collect our wounded and dead, leaving three in the ditch at the entrance of the redoubt that had been shot by Ross in the hand-to-hand conflict. Ah! he was a brave man. I think we killed six men, besides Ross and the canteen man. Our loss in killed was five we carried away, three we left in the ditch, and eight wounded. Had the captain been inside this redoubt our loss would have been heavier. The people living at Matangarara only knew of our intention to attack this position the evening before we attempted it, and detained an officer at their village (Northcroft, one of the bravest of the pakehas) who seemed desirous of going to Turi-turi Mokai to sleep there, as he was on his way to the Waihi camp. Tuwhakaruru was accused of bringing this about, but he did not know of our intention until after we had attempted it and failed.
During the absence of McDonnell at Rotorua, the Wanganuis came to visit us at our settlement at the Ngutu-o-te-Manu, and there we all made a compact of peace with each other--a tribal peace that had nothing to do with the Europeans or their Government. Few pakehas know of this; but there are some who do right well. After the successful attack on the Ngutu-o-te-Manu, McDonnell made another attack, and we defeated him with great loss at the same place, but the Wanganuis, as a whole, and many of his new men left him in the forest, and did not help the pakeha, but ran away to the stream of Waingongoro, and then remained in perfect safety till the column came out of the bush. The Europeans separated in the forest, and retreated with their wounded. We soon found, as the column commanded by McDonnell retreated, that he had not many men. Most of them had gone, all but Roberts and Livingstone and their band of warriors, who fought bravely, but who were cut off from McDonnell, who was encumbered with wounded; so we left Roberts and his men, after we had fought them, and followed
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McDonnell's force, and pressed them in rear and on both flanks; but his brave band fought hard, and shouted to us to come nearer; and McDonnell called to us in Maori all the way, and taunted us; and thus we fought from noon till night, until they got out of the bush. Then they turned on us, and gave us a parting volley as we were in the act of dancing a war dance, that wounded some of us. We returned to our dead--a few--and to theirs--a great many--twenty. It was a good victory for us.
It is not true, however, that we tortured the wounded, but we tomahawked them. The bodies we collected together, and heaped them up upon two altars, Von Tempsky's body being placed on the top of one of them, and then we burnt them, and the smoke went up in a cloud to the sky. Then we crossed the Waingongoro River, and had a skirmish at Tangahoe, where we dug up the dead bodies of the men who had been buried, and cut off their limbs, and cooked them in a fire, and ate them, and made soup of them; and we burnt many houses.
McDonnell now wished to make prisoners or all the men from Tai Porohenui to Waitotara, as he thought the Pakakohe tribe would join Titokowaru; but the Resident Magistrate prevented this, and went to see the tribe at Hukatere. The Pakakohe, of course, were going to join, but wished for time, so they talked with their tongues, and the Resident Magistrate foolishly believed them; and on his return to Patea published the following notice, which amused us considerably:--
"The undersigned chiefs of the Pakakohe tribe pledge themselves that they will give protection to all Europeans, men, and women, and children in their district, namely, from Waitotara to Mokoia Taurua, Warematangi, Te One Kura, Paraone, and Rangihaeata. JAMES BOOTH, R.M.
Patea, 10th 6--68."
Heiaha i Korero tia ae; which means "comment is needless."
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The fight at Moturoa--Gallant defence of Wereroa redoubt--Defence of Wanganui--Poverty Bay massacre--Moturoa pa--The comparative value of heads.
TITOKOWARU advanced and built a pa at Moturoa, at the edge of that bush. Here we were attacked by another man, Colonel Whitmore. This caused us to think we had perhaps killed McDonnell, as he was not present. Colonel Whitmore proved himself to be a good warrior and cautious. The officers and men under him made a gallant attack on our pa at Moturoa, but we defeated them with heavy loss. Whitmore and Roberts encouraged their men, but the defeat was complete, and we chased them away, right away in the open, nearly as far as the Wairoa, Roberts and Newland, with their hapu division, keeping us back. These men were those who had fought so well at the Ngutu-o-te-Manu. Our victory cost us only one man, who had left the pa to go and tomahawk a wounded pakeha, but he was shot dead in the act. This man was he who had killed Broughton, the interpreter to the troops, because he came to propose terms of peace to us inland at Kakaramea, about the year 1865. We did not torture the wounded, but we tomahawked them all and burnt their remains on the altar, as we had done before at Ngutu, and the sweet savour ascended to the heavens. The burnt bones were afterwards collected and buried at the Wairoa church by their own people. We laid twenty bodies on our altars, and got thirty-five stand of arms. Colonel Whitmore had fought at Poverty Bay, Wairoa, Hawke's Bay, and other places, but he had to learn that the tribes living south and east of us, of Ngatiruanui, were as puwha (sow thistle) when compared with our savage warriors.
Titokowaru, before the above victory, had determined to advance on Wanganui. This was resolved upon, and the expedition started; but, though the plan of attack was cut and ready, and three columns of two hundred each had got their orders, certain events had happened, and fresh councils prevailed. Te Oti Takarangi, of Kaiwhaike, sent us word that all the Wanganuis and the whole of the tribes from the Wanganui Heads to Otaki, had been roused at the intelligence of our advance that had been conveyed to the Putiki chiefs by McDonnell at midnight. He had been communicated with by Colonel Fraser, from Patea, and the tribes were now assembling to take the field under Colonel
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McDonnell, Kemp, Kawana Paipai, and Te Hakeke; but he (Te Oti Takarangi) said that he would have to smother his feelings if his relative Mete Kingi and Wanganui were attacked, as he would have to stick by them. The next day, so very rapid had been this collecting together of men, our scouts brought us the information, as we were on the line of march to Waitotara, that McDonnell, with the contingent, and 500 warriors under Kemp, Paipai, and Haimoana Hiroti, was erecting a redoubt on the site of the old Wereroa Pa, and that they had been fired upon. After this we gave up the idea for some time, and this is the cause why we did not attack Wanganui that time; but we heard that the news of our approach had caused great alarm and consternation in the town.
Shortly after this the Wanganuis were removed from this redoubt to Patea by Colonel Whitmore, and it was garrisoned by a European force from Wanganui, officered by Powell, Broughton, Witchell, and others. We now made up our minds to attack them, take the redoubt, and tomahawk them all. We made sure of an easy success, when we would then march on and sack Wanganui, and have a fine time of it. We attacked, but though we fought for many hours, we were repulsed so often that we got sick of it, and Broughton enraged us by his taunts, asking us in Maori, after each repulse, to "try it again." At length we withdrew, for we were beaten, strange to say.
Soon after this the redoubt was abandoned, and many stores were destroyed in a hurry, and the canteen keeper was well nigh ruined. We were much surprised at this, but suspected a design; but, when we found that the place had really been left, and that the way had been left clear for us, we again made preparations for attacking the town of Wanganui, and crossed the Waitotara, being now reinforced by the Ngarauru tribe, led by Uru te Angina and other braves, and came on to Kai-Iwi stream, which we crossed; we plundered and burnt as we went. Nevertheless, flushed as we were by our successes, some of our warriors did not approve of pushing the pakehas to desperation. We thought they would defend their wives and children, and there were some good men in Wanganui; those, for instance, who had so well defended the Wereroa Redoubt when we attacked it, and, though we were six hundred strong, had beaten us off. We heard also that a body of the 18th Royal Irish, under Captains Dawson and Butts, had come from Wellington, and held the stockade at Pukenamu. We pondered over this, though why everything had been left clear for us to advance, as it were, with impunity, our leaders and priests could not make out. The cavalry, too, were in Wanganui, and our experience of these men, before whom the brave Pakakohe tribe went down, the time they attacked General Cameron on his line of march at Patea, had not been forgotten by us. We knew also that if we were successful of the rich spoil we would get, and that what had occurred at Taupo in the time of Te Wherowhero, who slew 250 persons after they had
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been prisoners with his own hand, every now and then refreshing himself with a draught of blood, would have been surpassed by many who longed to make a great name for themselves, the slaughter would have been great. But if we proved to be unsuccessful--what then? How could we have retreated? And we met the scouts of the Wanganui army under Colonel McDonnell, his brother William, Wirihana Puna, Pini, and Haimona Hiroti at Kai Iwi, and exchanged shots with them from the bush; so that it was plain we could not surprise the town at night as we intended. Besides, to tell the truth, we were much divided in opinion, and our priests had dreams and some of them saw bad omens, and one bad omen in war time is very demoralising. I recount these things because some have doubted the intention of Titokowaru, Toi, Tito, Hauwhenua, Ihaka, Wharematangi, and others to sack and burn the town of Wanganui. But twice it was resolved to do this at our councils of war, and no mercy was to be shown to anyone. But the action taken each time saved that settlement; and of this there is no doubt at all, as the panic there was very great.
Colonel Whitmore was absent at this time. He had had to go to Poverty Bay to see after Te Kooti, who with his band of warriors, had escaped from the Chathams. This we heard of by a special messenger from Kaiwhaike. Te Kooti, we were told, had seized a big ship, an English man-of-war, though we doubted this seizing of a sailor's floating pa, and had landed at Poverty Bay. Te Kooti and Whitmore had previously had much fighting together, and Te Kooti, taking advantage of the absence of his experienced antagonist and brave warrior, made a sudden and well-directed attack on Poverty Bay, and in one night slew, without mercy, over forty Europeans--men, women, and children; and Te Kooti, to encourage his men to commit excesses on the women and girls, which they had no wish to do, himself set the example. Over fifty Maoris were slain, too, the same night by Te Kooti and his band. And this is what Whitmore left Wanganui to avenge. We considered this a great victory for Te Kooti, and it proved the stamp of man he was. He did perfectly right, in our opinion, in killing all these people, but we considered he was both wrong and foolish in treating the women as he did; and, although Bryce has pardoned him, there are some who will kill him yet, if a good chance occurs, for the acts he has committed, pardoned though he may be. This I hear from many pakehas, and they are right.
To sum up, Te Kooti, after this victory (termed by the pakeha as usual when we had a success, a massacre), entrenched himself at Ngatapa. This strong ancestral pa was stormed by the brave Whitmore and his men, assisted by the chief Major Ropata, of Nga te Porou, a terrible warrior. Over one hundred tattooed warriors bit the ground. Colonel Whitmore has earned, in our opinion, a decoration for bravery as a warrior for his personal conduct at Ngatapa. He then returned to Wanganui to renew the fighting with us, and after a few skirmishes and ambuscades we made a stand at Taurangika, where we built a strong palisaded
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pa. One day a body of Kai-Iwi troopers attacked a party who were out looting, so we turned out to the rescue from our stockade and engaged them, keeping in the scrub and swampy ground. We drove them away and followed them up some distance. Another time a party of troopers rode up to our double-palisaded pa to try, as we thought, to ride it down. The majority of us were in the bush, but the guard of the Taurangaika Pa made a great noise, and shot one trooper--Maxwell--but his comrades bravely rescued his body. We laid ambuscades, and a party of Ngatiruanui laid an ambush for Wirihana Puna at Okehu stream one evening, but were just too late, as he rode by the beach to Wanganui. They nearly, however, succeeded in shooting McDonnell, whom they wounded in the leg. He fired at us, and then galloped back to the beach, and we retreated up the creek, as we had done before at the same place when we ambuscaded Rookes, Nixon and Von Tempsky. We had, the day before this, sent a large party to take messages to Kaiwhaiki, asking Te Oti Takarangi and his brave people to join us and help us to fight Whitmore, but he sent back word that it was too late to ask him now. Whitmore now attacked our pa with mortars, and shelled and blazed away, but they did us no harm. Seeing now that no good could result by remaining here any longer, we left one night, after first tying up a female dog and three puppies to keep up a noise. Whitmore entered the pa next day, and the puppies were taken and made pets of by his army. Whitmore, after finding we were gone, lost no time but followed us up, but we shot some of his men at the Karaka. We had several skirmishes after this, and ambuscaded and killed seven men who were stealing our peaches. But Whitmore pursued us and we retreated to the country of the Ngatimaru.
Had we been followed up here we would have turned again on the force with renewed vigour, as we took our mana with us. As it was they left us alone; we were tired, and wished for rest. I am pledged to tell the truth. Well, had the Waimate Plains been occupied then, all trouble would have ended; but, instead of settling the land that had been conquered, first by General Chute, secondly by McDonnell, and now again by Whitmore, the late Sir Donald McLean promised to give these lands back to us, after we knew they had been taken; and he paid one of us £60 a-year to keep guard at the crossings of the Waingongoro River, to keep pakeha cattle from straying on to OUR LAND! We got blamed for destroying the settlers' sheep and cattle on the Waitotara, as if we were going to let them graze quietly before our eyes, when our insides were yearning for the meat on their bones. We would have been fools, indeed. But thousands of our cattle had been killed by McDonnell and his men in the Patea district, and by the army of Colonel Whitmore.
Whitmore was made a great rangatira by England's Queen for his valour; but his officers made a mistake when they informed him that we lost heavily in these fights and skirmishes. Neither was it a right thing for the Governor to do, by the rule of the
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Christians, to offer a reward for heads. We thought that the trade in our heads, formerly carried on between the Christian pakeha and the savage Maori at the Bay of Islands, called the "Preserved Head Trade," had come to an end in or about the year 1830, but it was recommenced by a Governor of New Zealand. If our heads are buried at one place and the bodies elsewhere, at the last day these bodies won't know where to find their heads, and the heads won't know where their bodies are, and the confusion will be great; and probably some bodies will have to suffer for the conceived wrong of heads that did not belong to them; but this is by no means an unusual thing to happen. We should not in any way have blamed Whitmore if these things had been done by his order; we should have served him the same if we had caught him, out of respect, as this is the custom of our race, and it is natural to wish for trophies; and even now we had much rather he had taken our heads to ornament the door of his pa with than bury them. But it was Sir George Bowen who offered £1000 for Titokowaru's head, not that Titokowaru felt annoyed at this, as it was only natural that having failed to remove his head from his shoulders by fair means that unfair means should be tried to obtain it; it was all fair in war. So Titokowaru offered in return half-a-crown--two shillings and sixpence--that being the amount of cash voted for his military expenditure, and which was kept tied up for security in an old shirt, for Sir George Bowen's head. No doubt each of these great rangatira warriors knew the value of each other's head. But it is strange that pakehas will call themselves Christians and preach Christ to us, and then offer rewards' for our heads; but pakehas are strange beings! Sir George Bowen put us in mind of Herodias, who wished for the head of John the Baptist. Only that Herodias was successful in obtaining what she wanted, because she knew how to set about it, and Sir George Bowen was not, because he didn't.
Now the remnant of the Pakakohe tribe surrendered to Major Noake. They felt no disgrace in doing this, for they gave in to a man who had proved himself a warrior at Balaclava, and were not deceived, but were sent to Otago. Another force, commanded too by this officer, went up the Waitotara river in canoes, and got past Piraunui village and near to Oruanga village, when they met a canoe pelting down with three young men in it. Uruti Angina, our chief, had, with his people, retired four miles past Oruanga. The pakehas fired on this canoe, but the men escaped, and returned quickly to their people. Uruti Angina, hearing that the pakehas had come so far up the river, took canoes with his men, and went to meet them, intending to cut them off overland at the bends of this tortuous river; but, fortunately for them, as not one would have returned to tell the tale, they had pulled back. We followed them up until we past Te Iringa village, but they had gone. So we returned. A few days after this we accepted terms sent to us through the Wanganui natives living at Hiruharama, and gave in for good. This was the Ngarauru tribe, who have never fought against the pakehas since.
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Taupo campaign under Colonel McDonnell--Defeat of Te Kooti at Tokano and at Porere--Escape of Te Kooti into the King Country--The end of the war.
TE KOOTI, the great warrior, who had so often defeated the Europeans, and the trading tribe of Ngati Kahungunu at the Wairoa, Mohaka, Wai Kari, and other places, had retired into the bush after his defeat at Ngatapa by Whitmore. He now went to Taupo with his followers, and there came upon a party of troopers at Opepe. These men did not recognise them, but mistook them for a party of friendly Arawas. Te Kooti seeing this, told his people to get between them and their arms. The troopers, fifteen in number, were thoroughly off their guard. Te Kooti now gave the signal, and they were all shot down but two or three, who managed to escape, and tomahawked. It was a great success for Te Kooti. Then he wrote a letter cleverly accusing the Arawa of the "massacre," and moved on to Tokano. This affair of Te Kooti was only second to his clever "massacre" of people at the Mohaka and Wairoa, where he killed over forty people. But neither of these affairs, in our opinion as Maoris, came up to the attack on Poverty Bay. That was a great success and victory. Te Kooti now surprised Te Heu Heu's settlement at Tokano, when he gave them the option of joining him against the Arawas and Europeans or being killed. There was no second course with Te Kooti, and the end of it was they all agreed to make common cause against the enemy.
About this time I joined Te Kooti with a few of the Whakamomonis. We all went to Waikato now and tried to induce the Waikato tribes to join, and thus pave the way to a rising in that district, and there repeat what had been so successful in Poverty Bay. But the Waikatos wished to find out first whether Te Kooti's atua (god) was as invincible as he had declared it was. Te Kooti replied, "Come with me, and see for yourselves," and Rewi, of the Ngatimaniapoto tribe, agreed to return to Tokano with him, when, if Te Kooti proved by his valour that his god was really as powerful as he had represented, he would assist him with all his power, and let him plan out a campaign for Waikato. So Rewi and a small following of tried men accompanied Te Kooti back to Taupo. On our arrival at Poutu, at the lake of Roto Aira, we caught and killed four scouts belonging to the Ngatituwaharitoa tribe, of whom Hare Tauteke was the chief. We shot them down the morning after we captured them. Te Kooti asked one of these men (who had fought well in the Waikato, at Rangiriri, and
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Koheroa against the pakeha) if he would join him, and thus save his life. We all thought the reply a noble one, though it cost him his life: "If you had asked me to join you before you slew my comrades, I might have thought about it; but with those lying dead before me, I say that I will not join a tutua (common fellow) like you." Te Kooti had him immediately killed, to Rewi's disgust, and chopped up, and thrown, with the others, in a swamp, where McDonnell's force afterwards found them.
We were now informed that the Ngati Kahungunu, under Henare Tomoana, had arrived on the banks of the Taupo lake, at a village named Tauranga Taupo, distant from where we were at Tokano some fifteen miles. "Oh," said Te Kooti, "Henare Tomoana is it? Ugh! a fat Leicester wether. Ngati Kahungunu are the dust under my feet. Let us go and kill them." He was a great warrior was Te Kooti. Off we went, and Rewi with us to look on. As we got near the Ngati Kahungunu tribe rapidly began to throw up earthworks. They turned their horses loose, and those we had captured, so they could not gallop off, and had to fight, for Te Kooti never gave any quarter, and he hated Ngati Kahungunu.
By the next morning those fat people (I expect they had never worked so hard in their lives before) had erected a palisading, and we commenced to attack them. We sapped up to their defences from the sides and from the lake. In a few hours we would have them, and Rewi looked on approvingly, but they called out to us from the inside that McDonnell and Renata Kawepo, an old warrior, were close on our rear, and that Herrick with the cavalry and George with the Arawa tribe were coming up to their assistance in front from Runanga and from Tapuwaeharuru; and while we were turning this over in our minds we suddenly saw two mounted men on the rise of a hill in front. Thinking these to be the advanced guard of Herrick and the Arawa under George we at once raised the siege and retired on Tokano, taking all the Ngati Kahungunus' horses with us. These two mounted men afterwards turned out to be two orderlies from Runanga, and we would have had plenty of time to have killed all those fellows had we remained. As it was we got all their horses. The next day McDonnell arrived at Poutu, Lake Rotoaira. He rode up to Tokano with a few men, and we nearly caught him before he discovered who we were. He then rode away rapidly to Tauranga Taupo.
The next day Herrick and George arrived with the Arawa. They took possession of Tokano, and we fell back over the ranges to Papakai, intending to return and fight directly the weather moderated. We commenced the next fight by laying an ambush, commanded by Te Heu Heu, for McDonnell, as we found he was in the habit of riding from Poutu to Tokano, a distance of about twelve miles, sometimes with only one orderly; but on the day we had determined to attack Tokano we commenced firing, so that McDonnell could hear and ride in that direction. He soon made his appearance with twelve troopers after him. We waited till they came up hot with haste, and then fired a volley into them
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from some timber and broken ground, but they dashed past none the worse, fired a few pistol shots at us, and joined the Arawa, who were now coming to the attack under George, who was cheering them on. Up the hill they came, Ngati Kahungunus' main body well in the rear as usual, as Te Kooti remarked. As our people fell the Arawa cut their heads off, and held them up for us to see. We broke and fled over the ranges back to Papakai, leaving our dead and wounded that McDonnell had killed as payment for the Poverty Bay massacre and the Opepe troopers.
The next fight was at the Porere on the Iwituaroa Range, near Tongariro; but Rewi told Te Kooti that he and his gods were imposters, and that he had no skill in battle, and returned to Waikato in a rage, having lost one man, who would go and fight at Tokano. The fight at the Porere was on the 4th of October, 1869. This was the last stand-up fight that occurred between the Europeans and our race. The battle lasted several hours, and we lost very heavily--more than forty killed and left on the field and in the pa, and many of us died from exposure and from wounds afterwards. The last charge-- and many were made, for we fought hard--took the position. George, the commander of the Arawas, fell dead, shot by Te Kooti; and Winiata fell too, whose name had reached us for bravery. The Wanganui native contingent, under Major Kemp, now poured over the parapet of our earthwork in front; at the same time our pa was stormed from the rear by the Europeans and the traitor Arawas, under Major Scannell, commanding No. 2 division of the Armed Constabulary. A terrible revenge was now taken by the native contingent for the death of Winiata, and by the Europeans and the Arawa tribe for the loss they had sustained in the death of Captain George. No quarter was given by McDonnell and his officers; all went down before the bayonets and clubbed rifles. Nearly all our women were captured, and were shared between the Arawas and Wanganuis. These men fought well under Captain George and Major Kemp, who recaptured most of the horses we had taken from Henare's men. Te Kooti barely escaped with his life, but he got wounded in the hand, supposed to be by McDonnell. Lieutenant Northcroft was instrumental in saving Renata Kawepo's life, as one of our women had got him down and gouged out one of his eyes and tore his ears. But we were beaten, and the pakehas showed us no mercy. We were terribly hard put for want of provisions, but we got some potatoes from Tuhua. If our enemies had had provisions they could have annihilated us; but one time, as they were quite out of food and expecting the convoy to bring them kai (rations) from Napier, the convoy came, they rushed to meet it, but it only brought candles and soap. Candles and soap! Nice food for warriors to fight on. No wonder they all cursed and swore at the way they were treated. But we were delighted to hear about this and the rotten meat biscuits they had to eat or starve to death. They ate horses, ha! ha! ha! How we laughed in Waikato at
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the idea of sending a convoy all the way from Napier to Tokano with candles and soap, to feed five hundred warriors fighting for the peace of the island! Funny pakehas!
After this there was another fight at Tapapa, when Te Kooti lost many men and all his pack-horses and pack-saddles in trying to surprise McDonnell early one morning at daybreak; but the force were standing to their arms and we were terribly sold. The Ngaraurus from Waitotara had joined McDonnell to help him against us. This fact so disgusted me that I slipped back to Waikato. Te Kooti now tried to effect his escape to the Uriwera country, and on his way to massacre the Arawa women and children who had congregated together for safety at Rotorua. McDonnell divined his intention, and dispatched Tawa, Captain Mair, with the Arawa warriors to prevent this being carried out. Tawa arrived just in time, neatly intercepted him, and slew many of his followers, shooting with his own rifle Te Kooti's best man, a half-caste. Te Kooti's force hardly could have escaped from the Arawa this time, but night fell, and so they got away. Te Kooti now wandered about, seeking rest but finding none, for Captain Mair was ever on his track. He was attacked several times, but at length effected his retreat to Waikato, where he humbly sought refuge with Rewi and the King.
We have had some great generals and captains, Te Wherowhero, of Taupo, who with his own hand tomahawked at one time over two hundred prisoners taken in war. I can't say whether this was before or after he had embraced Christianity. Then there was Hongi Hika, Kai Karu, and the other celebrated brave warriors; but the last war with the pakeha proved that the same spirit which had actuated our forefathers was still in existence, and brought to our help the splendid warrior leaders Kereopa, Titokowaru, Te Kooti, and others, of whom it can truly, to their praise, be said, that they were true descendants of Arohakore, who was "a man without fear." Poor Kereopa was betrayed in cold blood, and hanged at Napier. What a shame! But the brave warrior Te Kooti has not met with this treatment; thanks to his Tanewha, he has reached a haven of rest. This ends the fighting. Soon after this I became converted, and my present belief is in Te Whiti and Tohu, who are striving to redeem their people from destruction. We have been greatly injured by the pakehas, and thousands assembled to crush us at Parihaka, led by Mr. Bryce; but, to save their people, who were not allowed to fight with carnal weapons, Te Whiti and Tohu gave themselves up. No injury was done to these two good men, and shortly afterwards they were returned to us by Mr. Bryce; and we now await patiently the day when it shall please the god of Te Whiti and Tohu to cause the removal of all the pakehas, and the lands we have been plundered of will be returned to us, but without a renewal of bloodshed. How this is to be done none of us know, but we feel that it is sure and certain to come at last, for have not Te Whiti and Tohu said so?
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Kowhai Ngutu Kaka's opinions on certain slanders--He vindicates his own race, and offers advice for the future.
SOME time since a pakeha who wishes us well, and whose warnings have ever been for our good, wrote a parable--a history of a pretended outbreak. The plot was that we were made to kill numbers of people, but the result told heavily upon us, and in a fight on the slopes of Mount Egmont we were all slain; only one man, the last of our race, was left to tell the tale, and then he died too. But even a better organised and real plan had been talked about amongst Titokowaru's people. It was nipped in the bud, however, by Te Whiti and Tohu. Afterwards, when this story was explained to us by those of our race who could read, with its melancholy ending, we appreciated the wisdom of our leaders in abstaining from any more war. We heard that this pakeha was much abused for this parable, as it was said that he was trying to teach us how to fight, as if, for one moment, we required any pakeha to teach us how to go to work. But we knew the tale had been written as a warning to us, and we knew who wrote it.
Another work, I believe the last published, relating the doings in this country, has been read and explained to me. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the disreputable portion of pakeha politics to judge the truth of the political part of it; but it seems to me to contain, in the spirit of its writings, a great deal of petty slander, and that ignorant kind of Christianity peculiar to the pakeha kuias (old women) of Exeter Hall. Therefore I can only form my estimate of the whole work by comparing those portions of it that relate to things and incidents I am personally acquainted with, and then judging how far the writer has confined himself to fact and truth. In the same way, when the writer of this book makes mention of officers and other gentlemen, whom I have first known as brave enemies and afterwards as sincere friends, I will not wrap up my speech in raurekau leaves, but say that this man Rusden is telling lies!--lies that possibly were told to him (unless he dreamt them); but he, not possessing the courage of justice, has not paused to investigate the truth before he wrote about the conduct of men in every way his superiors. I judge, therefore, of the value of his book, as to its being a truthful, reliable history of the past, from that portion of it which I am able to understand, and which I know to be false. But then I am only a New Zealand savage, and therefore am not well versed in the
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doctrine of that kind of Christianity practised among the Christian race away from Christ and His glorious charity.
Now, if that scribbler thought to please us by slandering the pakeha chiefs who were leaders against us he has made a great mistake in our character. Rusden would, if we had happened to tomahawk one of his kith or kin (if he has any), have rubbed noses with us, told us we had acted quite right, and have pointed out where the others lived so that we might serve them the same. As a race we respect those who fought against us, hand-to-hand, but who always saved life where circumstances (in a European point of view) warranted their doing so. Customs differ; and we kill prisoners, such being our rule, as I have before explained in this our history.
After our defeat at Rangiriri, overtures of peace were proposed to us; but though we had lost our pa and many men we never sued to the pakeha for peace. To sue for peace is a confession of weakness--an acknowledgment that one is beaten. We invariably treated all these offers with contempt. Numbers of times the pakeha sent heralds of peace to us, proclaimed it (almost without our knowledge) in the Gazette, sent flags of truce to us to treat for peace, just as if they had experienced all the reverses and losses themselves that we had. Why could they not have waited until we made signals to that effect? This persistence irritated us more than our defeats had. We tore up their Gazettes, fired upon their flags of truce, and shot and tomahawked their messengers, both pakeha and Maori, yet they still persisted. We sustained defeats from the Queen's troops and from the colonial troops often; but we had our victories--"massacres" they mostly called them--and yet the soldiers gave us no credit for our cleverness! When they hastened to occupy any pa that we had evacuated, after they had failed with their appliances to take it from us, such as Wereroa, Rangiriri, Paterangi, Pikipiko, Gate Pa, and other places, they exclaimed, "Maoris never could have designed these works; some deserter of a sapper or engineer has shown them how to flank this angle, make this rifle-pit bomb proof," and so on. And this mythical deserter of a sapper, whose name was never heard, got the credit of designing our fortifications! The strange part of it was, that they could never make anything half so good for themselves. They built a redoubt on the other side of the Wanganui River on the hill, for the settlers to send their families to during Titokowaru's raid in 1868. It was never occupied; but the first wet day after it was finished all the sides tumbled in. It was the same in the Waikato and everywhere else, and then they laid the fault on the soil of the country. That they did not know how to conquer or manage any of our kuias (old women) would have known better. Then only look at the foolish sap carried on by them at Taranaki. Truly the empty vanity of the pakeha is great.
The pakeha can beat us in masses, but if the average single pakeha meets the average single Maori, each with his own
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weapons, our man would, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, come off victorious, killing his antagonist each time, and I am ready to prove my words against any man of my age any time before competent judges. I don't speak of the billiard-playing, degraded Maori; I speak of warriors. How can ignorant men know how to pona, rapa, marangae, or piki a spear? And as for warding off a rallying whakaoho or a wero, it would be ridiculous to see them try it, because they have not been taught how. But nothing seems to come to them naturally. They have even to be taught how to row in one of their own boats and to speak their own language correctly. Then to see some of them attempt to paddle a canoe is simply ridiculous to contemplate. They are a strange people! We have been beaten because the pakeha outnumbered us in men. But we are not conquered or rubbed out, and not one of these pakehas can name the day when we, as a race, sued for peace. The most that can be said is that on such and such a date we left off fighting. Haka! wah! ha! ha! ha! We can still dance our war-dance! In what have the pakehas proved better than we, or intellectually our superior?
So, I say, let the pakeha cease to plunge about in his pride, praising himself alone. God will judge all men, Te Whiti and Tohu say, in due course of time, and each man will receive the due reward of his deeds, be they good or evil; but as for sanctimonious cant and hypocrisy, we don't want that rubbish to interpose between the races. Leave us alone, I say, to such meannesses, and in time we may learn to respect, if we cannot love, each other. Try, O pakeha gentlemen! those of you whose thoughts and "whose talk is not all of bullocks," and whose learning we acknowledge, to give us credit for a little common sense. We contribute largely towards paying the taxes, and we are, we know, much plundered. We wish, in our very natural struggle for existence, to have a real and not a sham voice in the way we are to be governed; and though we, as a race, are disappearing--such being the will of God--yet we still number over 46,000 people. Do you know the power of passive resistance? We do. You had better take a lesson how to overcome that, as you have hitherto failed to understand many things connected with New Zealand. Who broke the Treaty of Waitangi? Let the Europeans know the facts of the past, though that cannot be recalled, but let it be remembered in time to come, lest more trouble unhappily arise. Note the words of Wiremu Kingi, in his letter to the Governor, written in 1859, and quoted by Sir George Grey, in 1863. "It was settled so in consequence of your bad system of purchasing land. For we had lost numbers of our own people through this same land purchasing. Whenever the Government shall have laid down some equitable system of land purchase, and when calm is once more restored, then the tribes who are for selling will sell their lands under a properly registered system, etc." The Treaty of Waitangi, as far as any of us can be said to have understood it, was not broken by us, but by the
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pakeha. By it our rights to all our lands, forests, fisheries, etc., etc., were guaranteed in every way, so long as it was our wish to retain the same in our possession; and, in 1859, Wirimu Kingi gave notice to the Governor that he would allow no land to be sold within forty miles north of the European boundary at Taranaki. Contrast these things with the system of land purchasing adopted, and then say truly, who broke the Treaty. But might is right, and right is right only when it suits might.
Now, you pakeha who may read this simple but truthful history, do not be surprised at the sentiments contained in it. I am aware that in many things you, the pakehas, will condemn us, and no loyal pakeha will or can say we were right in many things we have done. You will say to us, "You murdered innocent women and children purposely, though it is true some were killed by us unintentionally, and some of your women fought against us in the field with gun and tomahawk." This is true, I acknowledge, but it was our custom so to do, and I know that in relating the past we must each tell our history from this point of view, but at all events the results were the same to those killed. You, the English nation, have given your account of the battle of Waterloo and how you won it; the French nation have given their account of how they lost it. But in this point only do the two accounts agree. In all the rest they differ. And so it is here. You have written your side of the question many times, I have now written ours once. Kaati! Enough, till I write again, or until the god of Te Whiti or Tohu return to us all the lands you have robbed us of, and quietly but effectually remove you from amongst us.
KOWHAI NGUTU KAKA.