The quality of massacre was absent in the west–less, perhaps, from
choice than for lack of opportunity–but matters were not going as well
as could be desired. There had been a change of governors, Sir George
Grey having given place after more than seven years of anxious rule to
Sir George Bowen, G.C.M.G. Bishop Selwyn, too, had left the country he
had served so long and well; but to the troubled, wearied colonists,
it seemed that governors might come and governors might go, and even
bishops, but the war would go on for ever. For, while Te Kooti was
snarling and ravening in the east, McDonnell’s star, so long in the
ascendant, was declining in the west, and the Pakeha generally were
being rather hardly used.
The “Year of the Lamb” had come to an end, and the Hauhau gave evidence
of it by a triple murder,–three wholly inoffensive men, engaged in
sawing wood in the bush, being slain and mutilated by them. Colonel
McDonnell, foreseeing trouble, regarrisoned an old redoubt of the 14th
Regiment at Turuturu Mokai with twenty-five men under Sub-Inspector
Ross of the Constabulary. At dawn, on the 12th of July, four times as
many Hauhau attacked the place, and in the stern fight which ensued
killed Ross and seven others. Titokowaru would have made a clean sweep
of the luckless twenty-five but for the timely arrival of Von Tempsky
and his men from Waihi, less than three miles away, whence the flashes
of the guns had been seen, though their reports could not be heard.
McDonnell, tired of incessant skirmishing, determined to make a raid
which should yield a decisive result one way or the other, and fixed
the night of the 6th of September for his attempt. The friendly
Whanganui strongly objected to move at that particular time, owing to
an unfavourable augury by their _tohunga_ and, as it happened, their
hesitation received curious justification. But McDonnell was not one to
be turned aside from his purpose by augurs or omens, and the expedition
left Waihi at midnight and plunged into the bush. Nobody seems to have
had any clear idea of the whereabouts of Titokowaru, so the old method
was adopted of moving through the bush until a beaten track was struck,
and then following it whithersoever it led. This system had been tried
upon former occasions with good results; but it was destined this time
At daybreak on the 7th the column was somewhere on the western slope
of Mount Egmont where, after the forenoon had been spent in wandering
about, a beaten trail was struck and followed during the afternoon in
the direction of the sea. Evening was approaching when a scout who
had climbed a tall tree discovered the Hauhau _pa_ not more than half
a mile away. Major Kepa (Kemp), one of the best officers among the
allies, strongly urged delay and an attack in force on the morrow; but
McDonnell, fearful of losing his prey, determined to go on and take
them and their fort by surprise.
This plan was spoiled by a woman who, perceiving the advance,
ran shrieking an alarm, and McDonnell was then informed by the
friendlies that the place ahead of them was the strongly-fortified,
well-garrisoned Ngutu-o-te-Manu. The colonel at once ordered Kepa and
Von Tempsky to move in opposite directions, so as to surround the _pa_;
but this they were not allowed to attempt with impunity. The Hauhau,
taught by many bitter experiences, had learned that it was no longer
safe to wait behind their defences, however formidable, and greatly
amazed the allied leaders by leaving the _pa_ and fighting in the bush.
Dr. Best, Lieutenant Rowan and a number of Von Tempsky’s command fell
almost at once, while McDonnell on the opposite side of the clearing
had no better fortune, losing Captain Page, Lieutenants Hunter and
Hastings and so many of his rank and file, that he judged it wise to
retire with his wounded while he could.
He therefore sent his brother, Captain McDonnell, to bring off Kepa and
Von Tempsky; but the latter strongly objected to retire, and talked of
an assault on the _pa_. Captain McDonnell urged the unusual strength
of the place; but Von Tempsky, still incredulous, stepped into the
clearing to get a better view of the position, and was instantly shot
dead. Captain Buck (late of the 14th Regiment), Von Tempsky’s second
in command, anxious that the body of so good an officer should not
suffer insult and mutilation, exposed himself in the effort to lift
the dead man, and was himself instantly killed. The men, bewildered by
the loss of their leaders, fell back and joined Captain Roberts, who
had not heard of the order to retire, and remained where he was until
sunset, when he also moved off towards the sea. On the way Sergeant
Russell dropped to the ground with a smashed thigh and, dreadful as it
was to do, his comrades, having no means of carrying him off, placed a
revolver in his hand and left him to his fate.
In anguish of mind and body the poor fellow lay there for some time,
till the Hauhau, realising that they had beaten off the attack, came
hurrying along the track in pursuit. At sight of Russell helpless
there, one of them ran gleefully forward with upraised tomahawk, only
to receive a bullet in his brain from the brave sergeant’s revolver.
After that the rest circumspectly shot the lonely cripple from a safe
distance and rushed on the trail of his comrades.
McDonnell was under fire the whole way through the bush until darkness
fell, and when at last he reached Waihi with his broken and dispirited
column, it was to find that nothing had been heard of Captain Roberts
and his contingent, nor did these reach camp until the 8th had dawned.
One-fifth of the men engaged had fallen, the total casualties of the
disastrous affair being one major, two captains, two lieutenants, a
sergeant and eighteen men killed, and twenty-six wounded. The final
result was a blaze of anger against McDonnell, during which those who
should have known better forgot his eminent services and used so bitter
and unjust words that the colonel resigned the chief command into the
hands of Colonel Whitmore.
Thus were the Nga-Ruanui under Titokowaru successful to an extent which
caused the gravest apprehension among the colonists, while the friendly
Whanganui retired to their homes. For they knew of Te Kooti’s success
on the east, and now, when the colonial troops evacuated all the
advanced posts and fell back upon Patea before Titokowaru’s formidable
force, it seemed to them that the long-impending doom of the Pakeha was
about to fall at last.
Whitmore had at first no better success; for, when storming the
defences of Motorua on the 7th of November, he was repulsed with the
heavy loss of nineteen killed and twenty wounded, Major Hunter being
among the dead. The gallant colonel then fell back upon Nukumaru and,
on the news of the massacre at Poverty Bay reaching Wellington, was
ordered back to the east with every available man of his command.
The remainder of the year was filled by skirmishes between the friendly
Maori and Te Kooti, who had more than one narrow escape, and who,
unable to run because of the wound in his ankle, was on one occasion
carried into safety upon a woman’s back. But in January, 1869, he
received a serious set-back when the _pa_ of Ngatapa, in the Poverty
Bay district, was taken after a siege of six days by Colonel Whitmore
and Ropata with his men of the Ngati-Porou. Te Kooti again managed to
escape; but he lost many of his fighting chiefs, nearly one hundred and
fifty of his men and, more than all, his band was dispersed and pursued
in all directions.
Back to the west went the energetic Colonel Whitmore, taking measures
to deal with Titokowaru as he had dealt with Te Kooti, and found that
the Rev. Mr. Whitely, Lieutenant and Mrs. Gascoigne and their three
children had been murdered by Wetere and his Ngati-Maniapoto at White
Cliffs, north of Taranaki. This was an entirely purposeless crime, and
the Hauhau declared that it had been committed at the instigation of
the king, Tawhaio.
After several skirmishes it was believed that the district close to
Whanganui had been swept clear of the Hauhau; but tragic proof to the
contrary was given on the 18th of February, in the neighbourhood of the
Karaka camp, by the Waitotara river.
For many years past troops had marched and countermarched in the
Whanganui district, and the soldiers, moving up or down the rivers,
often amused themselves by throwing at objects on the shore the
stones of the numberless peaches they ate. The banks of more than one
stream were in consequence lined with peach trees, wild, perhaps, but
producing fruit not to be rejected by campaigners.
How little thought the soldiers in their careless play, that they were
sowing the seed not only of peach-trees, but of a tragedy which was to
come to full fruit ten years later.
Yet so it was. On the afternoon of the 18th of February several field
officers, visiting the camp, expressed a desire for some of the peaches
which were growing in profusion on the opposite side of the Waitotara,
and Sergeant Menzies, overhearing their talk, volunteered to go and get
some of the fruit. Colonel McDonnell made no objection, and Menzies,
taking with him nine men as a matter of precaution, crossed the river
and set to work to fill a number of baskets with the ripe peaches.
Suddenly they were fired upon. The volley was so very heavy, so near
and so totally unexpected, that the men were startled into bolting for
their canoe instead of taking cover, and thus offered a fair mark to
seventy Hauhau, who stood upon the bank and shot them down with ease,
all save three, who succeeded in escaping. Their comrades, hearing the
firing so close at hand, came up at the double, but too late to do more
than receive the few survivors and discover some of the dead.
So the Hauhau scored once more; but a month later the scales dropped
again, and Titokowaru, who was really a formidable leader, was beaten
at Otauto and forced to ignominious flight. Another blow or two
completely smashed this powerful chief and bold warrior, and then the
pendulum of war swung sullenly back to the east, where Te Kooti had
again shown his teeth and, wolf-like, worried his own kind as well as
those of another colour.
It was pleasant for the colonists in all this turmoil of war to learn
that their industrial progress and rise into a position of political
and social importance had not gone unmarked, and that their Queen was
now to recognise their standing by sending her son to visit them. Great
was the enthusiasm and fervid the welcome which the Flying Squadron
received on the 12th of April as the _Galatea_ with Commodore H.R.H.
Prince Alfred of Edinburgh on board swept into Port Nicholson and
boomed an answer to the thundering salute from the shore. Wherever
the Duke appeared throughout the Australasian colonies he was well
received; but nowhere with greater heartiness than in New Zealand. For
the colonists there knew that they owed a debt of gratitude to the
mother country–which to many of them was still “home”–and Britain’s
Queen was as loyally regarded as in her own sea-girt islands in the
As if the visit of Queen Victoria’s son brought good augury of peace,
Titokowaru was no more heard of, and Te Kooti gradually declined in
power, until, harried on every side, he fled at last into the country
of the Uriwera, the wildest and most savage tribe in New Zealand.
Their country–in the mountainous peninsula between the Bay of Plenty
and Poverty Bay–was as wild and savage as themselves, and afforded
an almost inaccessible retreat to the Hauhau fugitives. But men like
Whitmore and McDonnell, not to speak of Kepa Te Rangihiwinui and Ropata
Wahawaha, were not to be dismayed by savagery, animate or inanimate,
and Te Kooti was chased from point to point until even his bold spirit
began to quail, and he realised at last how terrible was the just anger
of the Pakeha, slow to kindle, but inextinguishable by aught but the
full satisfaction of righteous vengeance.
Te Kooti’s day was not quite done. He was not rash, but by no means
a coward, never hesitating to expose his person when necessary; yet
he was seldom wounded, while his hairbreadth escapes from capture and
from death itself seemed to justify the growl of his pursuers that “the
devil took good care of his own.”
On one occasion when his _pa_ had been stormed and he was within an ace
of being taken, he apparently fell over a cliff, and the men who were
chasing him hurried themselves no further. But, when they reached the
edge of the precipice and peered over, instead of a mangled body, they
saw a rope of flax, down which the wily Hauhau had slid into safety.
On another occasion, under pretence of freeing a number of prisoners,
he ordered them all to be disarmed, an order which every one recognised
as preliminary to a general massacre–as it was. One bold fellow,
standing almost within touch of the Hauhau leader, cried out, “This is
to be done so that we may be the more easily killed. If I am to die, so
shall you,” and fired point-blank at his captor. As the hammer fell, a
Hauhau struck up the muzzle of the gun; but if the Maori–whose fate
was sealed in any case–had not drawn attention to his action by making
a speech, he would have had Te Kooti’s company on the road to Reinga,
and the world would have been the sooner rid of a murderous ruffian.
Strong in his luck, Te Kooti skirmished and fought his way out of
the Uriwera country and marched across to Taupo, where he compelled
the allegiance of Te Heu Heu, chief of the “Boiling Water” tribes.
His great ambition was to capture to his side the powerful chiefs of
Whanganui and Waikato, but his arrogance and overweening belief in his
own superiority offended each in turn. Moreover, he alienated Topia
Turoa, the great Whanganui chief by the causeless murder of a blood
relation of the latter, which so angered Topia that he not only took
the field against Te Kooti, but did him an even worse turn by using his
influence with the Waikato against him.
The Waikato also had personal reasons for allowing Te Kooti to go to
ruin unaccompanied by them. They had expressed themselves willing to
receive a visit from him, but when he arrived with three hundred picked
men, he gave himself such insufferable airs that many were disgusted,
and the Waikato leaders made no haste to pay their respects until urged
to do so by the great fighter, Rewi of the Ngati-Maniapoto.
They came at last, five hundred strong, bearing presents, to the place
where Te Kooti and his three hundred champions awaited them. Then,
either to show that he was prepared for treachery, or wishful to test
their courage, or merely in an antic spirit, the Hauhau ordered his
following to fire a volley with ball cartridge low over the heads of
The whistling of three hundred bullets past one’s ears is a welcome
easily improved upon, and the visitors, prepared for something very
different, were startled into some undignified capers. Te Kooti had
committed the stupidest error in lowering a proud folk in their own
eyes, and their wrath blazed against him. Even friends might have been
excused for taking exception to such a greeting, and these were men
whose friendship was yet to be won. In vain Rewi pleaded; Te Heu Heu
argued to the wind; the Waikato would have none of Te Kooti and, when
he was soundly thrashed a little later by McDonnell at Te Pononga, even
Rewi turned his back upon him. “The fellow is a humbug!” he declared to
the delighted Waikato, who gleefully rejoined, “We told you so!”
McDonnell had with him men from the tribes of Whanganui, Taupo, Arawa
and Ngati-Kahu-Ngunu (Hawke’s Bay tribes). He had formed a plan for
enticing Te Kooti into the open from his _pa_ at Pourere; but this was
spoiled by the chief of the Napier contingent, whose fears had been
raised by his _tohunga_, who declared the omens to be of the worst.
McDonnell, as has been said, had few equals in dealing with the Maori
and, though naturally annoyed at the failure of his plan, soon made
himself master of the situation.
Having quietly instructed his European officers and Kepa, he began
by informing the Whanganui under Colonel Herrick that the Arawa had
already started for the _pa_, and would, no doubt, be in it before
them, whereupon the Whanganui sprang up and rushed forward, determined
to be the first over the walls. Captain St. George had meantime told
his Arawa a similar story, and they, seeing and hearing the truth of
the statement, raced after the Whanganui, equally determined not to be
second. McDonnell then went to the camp of Renata, the cause of all the
bother, and enquired:
“Do you intend to refrain from fighting to-day on account of what the
“I certainly do,” admitted Renata, who was a most conceited fellow.
“Why do you ask?”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” answered McDonnell; “only Arawa and Whanganui are
racing for the _pa_, and I am going after them.” He turned as he spoke
and hurried away.
“Hi! Stop! Colonel, stop!” shouted Renata; but McDonnell ran on. The
chief’s shout was changed in a moment to “_Tatua! Tatua!_” (To arms! To
arms!), and he and his three hundred bounded towards the _pa_, intent
upon outdoing, or, at least, not being outdone by either Arawa or
With such a hearty concentration of energy the result was certain and,
after a sharp contest, in which Captain St. George fell, shot through
the head, the friendlies surged over the defences and once more drove
the Hauhau into headlong flight. Te Kooti escaped as usual, but was
forced to run from the Taupo district, and again take refuge among the
wild Uriwera. A further result was the defection of “Old Boiling Water”
(Te Heu Heu) who came in and surrendered, complaining that Te Kooti
had forced him to fight, as he forced all his prisoners.
Three months later, in January, 1870, Kepa Te Rangihiwinui with the
Whanganui, and Ropata Wahawaha with his Ngati-Porou, started to hunt
down Te Kooti. The colonials had now played their part and won their
spurs, while some had gained the proud distinction of the New Zealand
Cross, and one, at least, the Victoria Cross. It was felt that matters
had reached a pass when the two skilful chiefs might well be trusted
to finish up the long and troublesome affair of Te Kooti; for armed
resistance had ceased everywhere, and the hostile Maori, if they
showed no desire as yet to grasp the friendly hands held out to them
by the Government, were at least convinced of the futility of further
prolonging the war.
With Te Kooti the case was different. He was not a belligerent, but an
outlaw and, had he been caught, would undoubtedly have been hanged, if
only for his behaviour at Poverty Bay.
Kepa, starting in January, 1870, from the Bay of Plenty, moved south
along the gorges of the Waimana to meet Ropata, who from Poverty Bay
marched north upon Maunga Pohatu, about midway between the points of
departure. Ropata fought and slew; Kepa, more diplomatic, made peace;
but each in his fashion won the Uriwera tribes from Te Kooti, whom they
kept continually upon the move, driving him from his last stronghold at
Maraetahi, whence he escaped with only twenty men.
The last chase of all started from Poverty Bay in June, 1871, four
flying columns taking the route under Ropata, Captain Porter, Henare
Potae, and Ruku Te Arutupu. The courage and endurance of the men were
tried to the uttermost, for winter in the Uriwera Mountains, that
beautiful, but terribly rough and savage country, was no light thing,
and for a time the hunters had nothing but their trouble for their
But the luck at last fell to Captain Porter, who was trailing along the
northern end of Lake Waikare Moana (Sea of the Rippling Waters) in the
dreadful heart of the Uriwera country, and there he came up with his
The excitement was tremendous, for they could look down from the range
where they stood into the valley where they knew Te Kooti to be. A
false step now, and all the toil and suffering would be wasted. Porter
spent most of the raw winter night in stealing as close as he dared to
the clearing, in the midst of which, in an old _whare_, Te Kooti slept,
unconscious of his danger.
With the dawn, Henare Potae lay on the right of the clearing, Ruku Te
Arutupu on the left, and Porter covered the centre. At a given time
Ruku was to enter the clearing, call to the sleeping folk that they
were surrounded, and summon them to surrender. If they refused, they
were to be shot at once, while a particularly sharp lookout was to be
kept for Te Kooti, who was to be allowed no chance whatever.
Quivering with excitement, the men breathlessly awaited the appearance
of Ruku. All was quiet as death which loomed so near; but Ruku came
not. Only an old woman issued from a _whare_ and began to pick up
sticks for her morning fire. Still Ruku did not show himself, and
Porter grew impatient, stirring in his place.
Then he held still as a mouse; for from another _whare_ came a dog,
stretching himself and yawning, who suddenly elevated a sensitive,
inquisitive nose, snuffed the morning air and began to bark furiously,
knowing, though his masters did not, that something was amiss. To him
came out another woman, hushing him and staring about her; and those
who knew whispered, “It is Olivia, Te Kooti’s wife! He is there!”
Porter heard and trembled. He knew the excitability of his men, and
dreaded lest the premature explosion of a rifle–as had so often
happened–should warn the Hauhau of their proximity. So little would
spoil so much. If his men should lose their heads–Oh, _absit omen_!
The dog whined and capered, Olivia stood, undecided, and in the hush Te
Kooti’s voice reached the watchers, “What ails the dog?” Olivia, after
one more swift glance round, answered, “Nothing!”
More men now appeared, and they, too, cried “All is well!” Then came
women, who set about preparing breakfast, one of them actually cutting
chips from an enormous log, behind which six of Henare’s men lay snug.
Then that which Porter had feared and prayed against happened. Two of
the Maori loosed off their guns in their excitement, and the quiet
scene in an instant gave place to a wild turmoil–shouting men and
screaming women all running this way and that as guns cracked and
bullets wheeped and whined past their affrighted ears.
But Te Kooti was not there. He was not fool enough to come out and
face the fusillade he knew would be directed against him. Not he. At
the first sound of alarm he burst through the back of his hut, yelling
“_Sauve qui peut!_” or its Maori equivalent, “_Ko Ngati-Porou tenei kia
whai morehu!_” (“Ngati-Porou are here! Let survivors follow me!”) Then,
acting upon his own advice, he bolted like a deer, leaving Olivia alone
to make her bow to the victors.
And that was the last of Te Kooti. For several months more Ropata
hunted him without success, finding some consolation in the capture of
Kereopa, Mr. Voelkner’s murderer, who was hanged without undue waste
of time. But of Te Kooti he got no glimpse; so, at last convinced that
he had done all that mortal could do, and that Te Kooti as a fighting
force was as good as dead, Ropata, the war-worn, went home with his
Ngati-Porou, his honours thick upon him.
What became of Te Kooti no one seems to know. He simply disappeared,
even as the yet more infamous Nana Sahib disappeared, leaving no trace.
Some say that he steered his way across the Taupo district and hid
himself in the King country; others aver that he was slain there by the
Waikato whom he had insulted, others that he killed himself in despair,
while some will have it that he got out of a country which, except for
the purpose of hanging him, was not particularly anxious to hold him.
As a matter of fact, no one, whether Maori or Pakeha, has ever given a
satisfactory answer to the question, “Where is Te Kooti?”
With the disappearance of the Hauhau leader vanished the last sign of
active resistance against the might and rule of the Pakeha. Smiling
faces were not yet everywhere; there were too many tears to be dried
on both sides for that, and the passions of strong men do not cool in
a day, even when strife has ceased. The conquerors, too, must learn
to temper their exultation with sympathy, the conquered must accustom
their necks to the yoke, and all these things take time. But the very
fact, insisted upon above, that–the Hauhau movement apart–the war
had been waged in generous spirit, hastened the period of cooling off,
and on February the 2nd, 1872, Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake, the chief
of Waitara, visited New Plymouth (Taranaki) when tomahawk and _mere_,
_patu_, and _tupara_ were buried, never again to be dug up. Three years
later, on the 3rd of January, Tawhiao, the Maori King, shook the hand
which Sir Donald McLean extended to him on behalf of the Government,
and the last wintry clouds of discontent melted in the rays of the
glorious sun of peace.
Never since then have the hands of the Maori been lifted against the
Pakeha; ever since then have the Pakeha striven to make smooth the path
of the Maori.
Once only appeared a little cloud, when a man who throughout his
life had advocated peace, was accused of fomenting war. Te Whiti was
a Christian and a mystic, with more than his share of the keen Maori
intelligence, a fine specimen of the Maori gentleman, and a man of
immense influence in his tribe. He had taken no part in the great
struggle, but, like Falkland, cried ever “Peace! Peace!” And when
Titokowaru would have had him unite in smiting the Pakeha, he refused,
nor would he allow his young men to join.
Yet this man came at last (in 1877) into collision with the Government
over that old bone of contention, land. There was a dispute over the
parcelling out of the Waimate Plains, and Te Whiti pulled up the
pegs of the surveyors and ordered the workers off, as Te Rauparaha
and Rangihaeata had done thirty-four years earlier. But there was
no massacre, and when Te Whiti’s men were sent to prison, the chief
retaliated by ploughing up the grass lands of the white men.
“Put your hands to the plough!” Te Whiti cried. “Be not afraid if any
come with swords and, if they smite, smite ye not again. Neither touch
their goods nor steal their flocks and herds. My eye sees all of you,
and I will punish the offender. Let the soldiers seize me, if they
will. They may come, and I will gladly let them crucify me.”
A fanatic? Yes; but of very different temper from his predecessors. As
it happened, Te Whiti was in the right; but the soldiers, seventeen
hundred of them, did come on the 5th of November, 1881, and invested
Te Whiti’s _pa_ at Parihaka. Two hundred little children came out to
them and danced a dance of welcome, and behind the children followed
the mothers with five hundred loaves of bread for the soldiers. When
matters had gone thus far, the Commissioner read the Riot Act and
Te Whiti and his councillor Tohu were led away, unresisting, with
handcuffs upon their wrists. And, as they went, they cried to their
people, “Do not resist, even if the bayonet is at your breast.”
Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata stood up and defied Governor and Council
after Wairau, threatening massacre. Te Whiti and Tohu, preaching peace,
were chained and cast into prison for sixteen months. Then right and
justice prevailed, and they were liberated in February, 1883, and given
reserves of land. Te Whiti lived until November, 1907, in prosperity
with his people at Parihaka, enjoying that peace which he had always
done his best to promote.