The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume II: The Hauhau Wars, (1864–72)
Chapter 1: PAI-MARIRE
Chapter 1: PAI-MARIRE
THE DEFEAT OF the Kingite tribes and the settlement of the confiscated lands with large bodies of drilled men assured peace, albeit a sullen one, in the Waikato, but Cameron's successful campaign, 1863–64, by no means secured the general pacification of the Maoris. While British cannon were battering to dust the last defences of the Kingite warriors, a new and infinitely more desperate and formidable plan of campaign was formulating itself in Taranaki. Less than a week after the fall of Orakau the colony was startled by the reports of a new phase of warfare in Taranaki, accompanied by a fanatic ferocity unknown in the previous campaigns. This hardening-up of the Maori fighting-spirit in a kind of holy war imparted to the racial struggle a savagery and a bitter persistence that carried the war up to the young “seventies.” If it developed to the utmost the Maori amor patriae and the peculiar military tactics in which the natives excelled, it produced also a determination on the part of the British colonists to see the fight through in their own way. The beginning of the Hauhau campaign saw the beginning of New Zealand's policy of self-reliance in matters military. After 1865–66 the numerous campaigns and bush operations were conducted by the colonial forces; and, although there were very critical hours when it seemed as if the aid of Imperial troops would again have to be called for the heavily strained resources of the settlements met the demands, with the assistance of those native tribes which for a variety of reasons, political and otherwise—expediently accepted by the pakeha as loyalty to the Queen—decided to throw the weight of their arms against the Hauhaus. It was in fact only the help of these loyalist or Kupapa tribes, under the leadership of colonial officers, that turned the scale and brought lasting peace to the old frontier.
The confiscation of land, the territory of the so-called rebels, was a prime factor in the renewal of the war. The Native Land Settlement Act, framed by the Whitaker-Fox Ministry, and passed by the Legislature in 1863, entrusted enormous powers of page 2 confiscation to a Government which ignored the just protests of such men as Sir William Martin and Bishop Selwyn. Arbitrary appropriation of the land which for centuries had been the property of large tribes—appropriation without adequate consideration for the rights of non-resisters and for the innocent children of the native belligerents—was inevitably a source of bitter and undying hatred. The confiscation of huge areas of Waikato and Taranaki territory enabled the Government to reward its forces with land-grants, but the crude and unjust manner of the seizure, the unconcealed wish of many colonists and even some politicians for a war of extermination of the Maori, went to give strong colour to the native belief that the white man's desire for land was the all-controlling factor. Some thoughtful people perceived the great tactical danger of a confiscation policy, quite apart from any question of ethics. It would stiffen the martial fibre of the race; it would debase a chivalrous kind of warfare into guerrilla campaigns of utter savagery. The Waitara seizure was ever in the Maori mind. The injustice done to Ngati-Awa by that act of spoliation had never been atoned for. The politicians and officials persisted in regarding the Maoris as rebels because they had rightfully defended their home-land. A more reasonable, more just view was that taken by a writer in an English magazine (the “Cornhill”) in 1865. “The Maori revolt,” he declared, “is the more excusable that it is instinctive. The chiefs probably cannot prevent it. They cannot check their intense attachment to their land—their ‘mother’ as the Maori calls it—which belongs to races that have not yet become commercial.”
Early Governments imperfectly appreciated the peculiar depth and strength of the Maori's regard for his ancestral land; they could not understand why a race should fight to the death for a country which for the most part lay in a waste condition. Patience, conciliation, and an honest endeavour to understand the native point of view and to remove mutual misunderstandings were counselled by a few, but in truth the interests operating for strong-handed action were all-powerful. The wrong perpetrated at the Waitara should have been righted generously, but nothing was done, apart from the grudging renunciation of the purchase, to compensate Wiremu Kingi te Rangitaake for the wholly illegal acts which had sent him into an unwilling rebellion. The Taranaki and Ngati-Ruanui Tribes who had come to Ngati-Awa's assistance were punished for their rebellion by measures of potential confiscation which affected more or less the whole West Coast from Waitotara to the White Cliffs. It is true that provision and promises were made for the restoration of land to those who had not rebelled, but these promises were not properly kept. Military settlers were placed on page 3 the territory of some hapus that had remained peaceful, and of such complications hostility was the inevitable fruit. Both races were strong and stubborn, and the Maori blood was prone to fire up into savagery at threatened intrusion. The Maori, too, had come to realize that now or never was the time to assert himself to the utmost, and throw off a rule whose character and effects he had not realized to the full when he accepted the British overlordship in 1840. To-day the two races are so indissolubly blended in social intercourse, in national ideals, in a common pride of country, that they can afford to look back without passion on the conflict of race interests in the “sixties,” finding but a pathetic lesson in the spectacle of the two headstrong, independent peoples of our earlier cruder years challenging each other to a death struggle for the prize of the land—in a bounteous country where there was room for twenty times their number. The intense devotion with which the Maori held to his land is difficult, perhaps, for the present generation to realize. Only when one discusses the subject with a native of the olden time, a venerable man or woman who has fought the pakeha and marched chanting around the sacred niu mast, is the power of this land-love made manifest.
The land—always the land, from the days of Wakefield onward—that was the putake o te riri, the grand root of all trouble. But when the white fire of a fanatic religion fused the people in a federation of hate against the pakeha all problems merged into one, that of race-mastery. So, when Pai-marire captured the impressionable and essentially religious Maori nature it spread like a fire in dry fern, and we find tribes who had no grievance whatever against the white man united in casting off semi-civilization, and throwing themselves into the battle for Maori independence.
The Pai-marire or Hauhau religious cult, which welded so many tribes in a bond of passionate hate against the pakeha, was partly a reaction from the teachings of the Christian missionaries, and partly a recrudescence of the long-discredited but unextinguished influence of the Maori tohunga or priest. It was a blend of the ancient faith in spells and incantations and magic ceremonies with smatterings of English knowledge and English phrases and perverted fragments of church services. Ridiculous as they were when analysed, the sum of the teachings had a most powerful effect upon the impressionable Maori. Pai-marire appeared just at the hour when the hostile tribes, embittered by heavy losses in men and property, were in a mood to welcome a new battle-cry and new hope of turning the tide of war against the pakeha. By its appeal to the imagination and the strong religious sentiment of the Maori it took the place page 4 of the missionary faith which the people had once embraced with fervour, but stronger still was the appeal which it made to their love of country and kin. It supplied the necessary links of a common aspiration between tribe and tribe, and this chain was the stronger because it was forged in the heat of a great religious revival. That this revival was in the nature of a return to barbarism and superstition did not lessen its irresistible call to the Maori; it was all the more welcome because it enabled him to throw off the last restraints of the now unpopular churches. The old tohunga Maori, schooled in the ancient religion, were the first to accept Pai-marire; they were astute enough to recognize that by adopting it they would secure the ancient ascendancy of their class over the people which the Rongo-Pai had impaired though not destroyed. These priests became so many Mad Mullahs advocating the doctrine of fire and tomahawk so strangely at variance with the title of the religion. No Mohammedan leader preaching a jehad against the infidels was more fiercely passionate in his denunciation of the aliens than were the chief apostles of Hauhauism; and no fighting race was ever more receptive to the gospel of a crusade than the tribes from coast to coast of the Island when Kereopa brandished the smoke-dried head of a slain white soldier before his excited congregations and initiated them in the ceremonies of the niu. The old fanatic fire has burned to ashes, but the haunting, heart-stirring chants remain; and many there remain, too, of the disciples who marched round the sacred mast painted red for war, intoning the song of Te Ua; for Pai-marire, with its variations of Tariao and Wairua-Tapu, endured long after the war. Even to-day the Ringa-tu or Wairua-Tapu ritual, the offshoot of Pai-marire, is a regularly established Church, numbering several thousands of adherents, and the sign and token of this Maori sect to-day is the magic gesture of Te Ua to turn aside the pakeha's bullets, the sign of the upraised hand, the ringa-tu, palm outwards, on a level with the head, as if in the act of warding off the enemy's projectiles. So persists the fanatic sign of old, long after the fiery faith that inspired it has gone.
This niu was the central symbol of worship under Te Ua's dispensation. The term was the olden Maori word for the short sticks used by the tohunga in his mystic arts of divination, particularly before a battle. Te Ua's niu was a tall pole or flagmast, round which the faithful were to march in procession chanting their hymns. The first niu erected in Taranaki is said to have been part of one of the masts of the steamer “Lord Worsley,” wrecked near Cape Egmont in 1862. Crossed with a yard, rigged with stays and halliards, and adorned with flags of curious design, it was the first visible emblem of the fantastic religion. Te Ua stood at the foot leading the chants, while his band of believers went round him chanting the responses in the “angel”-inspired ritual. Each tribe as it fell convert to the magic of Pai-marire set up its niu under the direction of Te Ua or his sub-priests. By the end of 1865 a niu stood in nearly every large village from Taranaki to the Bay of Plenty (excepting the Arawa country), and from the north of the Wellington district to the Waikato frontier. Some of these masts of worship were of great size, and very decorative they were when the war-flags of many colours and many devices were displayed upon them from truck to yardarm, while below the earnest worshippers marched around the sacred pole. A remarkably lofty niu was that which stood at Whakamara, in the Ngati-Ruanui and Pakakohi country, inland from Patea; it was 70 feet or 80 feet in height, and was crossed with three yards; the blocks through which the flag-halliards were rove had been taken from a vessel wrecked on the coast. This niu was destroyed by the Government forces under Colonel Whitmore in 1869. Another celebrated niu stood on the village square at Taiporohenui, the headquarters of Te Ua and the Ngati-Ruanui in 1865–66. Often a woodcarving of a bird was placed on the truck of the pole; this represented a rupe, or dove. Carved knobs sometimes decorated the ends of the yard or the crosstrees; one of these knobs was called Rura and the other Riki, the names of two of Te Ua's page 7 gods. Riki was war-god; when the red flag called by that name was hoisted to the masthead it was a signal that fighting was about to begin. On the Whakamara niu there were carved rupe at some of the yardarms, from which also dangled ropes for the convenience of the spirits in descending on the people.
Some of the ancestral beliefs were mingled with Te Ua's perversion of Biblical teaching. The incarnation of his personal atua, or guardian diety, was the owl, or ruru, a bird which is regarded with veneration by the Taranaki Maoris; they say it is a god and has a hundred eyes. Sometimes, the old natives say, when Te Ua was in a village distant from his home a ruru would appear and fly about him or perch near him: this the prophet would regard as a warning to return to his home. Kimble Bent, the pakeha-Maori, related to me that when Te Ua was in Otapawa pa, on the Tangahoe River, early in 1866, a ruru flew from the forest at dusk and perched on the ridge-pole of the house in the front of which the prophet was sitting. Te Ua called to it and recited an incantation, and the bird flew back to the bush. Te Ua thereupon announced to the people that his owl-god had appeared to him and warned him to return to his home on the coast. He left Otapawa next morning. A few days later the pa was stormed and taken by the British troops under General Chute. Such incidents went to confirm the popular belief in the Pai-marire high priest's great personal mana and his supernatural attributes.
The peculiar appeal of Pai-marire to the popular imagination made I t a most powerful instrument for Maori nationalist propaganda. With the assumption of supernatural virtues by the priests was blended a kind of mesmeric influence over the devotees which made them oblivious to danger and swept them into desperate efforts to regain the ancient supremacy of the race. Te Ua and his apostles impressed their disciples with the belief that implicit faith in Pai-marire and the observance of the rules laid down by the founder would ensure success in war. A cardinal principle in the religion as first practised was the belief that the pakeha's bullets could be averted by certain magic spells. Thus the faithful marched to battle chanting their hymns and holding the right hand up on a level with the face, palm toward the enemy, while they cried in quick sharp tones, “Hapa, hapa! Pai-marire, hau!” “Hapa” means to pass over or ward off; the act and the formula were supposed to avert the bullets from the true believer. In exactly the same spirit the Arabs of the Sudan charged upon the British squares, and the wild tribes of the north-west frontier of India came rushing down against rifle and machine-gun. Even repeated defeats and the deaths of their first war-prophets did not demolish the faith in the incantations and the magic sign of the upraised hand; and not only were the page 8 hostile tribes completely carried away by the spell of the ceremonial and chants, but the people friendly to the British were attracted by the new religion. Veteran Kupapa, or friendly natives, who served on the Government side in the Hauhau campaigns describe the curious blending of fear and fascination which came over them when they watched from their entrenchments the Pai-marire devotees marching round their poles, and listened to the wild music of their rhythmic chantings.
* “The Suffi and Hadda Mullahs exerted the whole of their influence upon their credulous followers. The former appealed to the hopes of future happiness. Every Ghazi who fell fighting should sit above the Caaba at the very footstool of the throne, and in that exalted situation and august presence should be solaced for his sufferings by the charms of a double allowance of celestial beauty. Mullah Hadda used even more concrete inducements. The muzzles of the guns should be stopped for those who charged home. No bullets should harm them. They should be invulnerable. They should not go to Paradise yet: they should continue to live honoured and respected on earth.”—“The Story of the Malakand Field Force” (Winston Churchill), page 257.
Also see note on the North American Indian Messianic craze in 1890, at the end of this chapter.
The political value of such faith was enormous. Pai-marire attracted even many of those who had no faith in Te Ua, but who joined with their fellow-Maoris in lamenting the deaths in the Kingite wars and the losses of land, and in putting forth an effort to sweep the land clear of the pakeha. Spreading out fanwise from the foot of Taranaki Mountain to the heart of the Island, to the north and to the south and to the eastern seaboard, it united in a common body of hostility to the Government all those tribes who had grievances against the British. It was fortunate for the European population that no military genius showed himself in the early stages of Pai-marire, and that no Maori statesman with a brain like Wiremu Tamehana's threw himself into the task of making the most skilful use of the common bond established by the new religion. Te Kooti came on the scene three years too late to turn the Hauhau cult to the fullest account, and by that time he had evolved a system of worship of his own which closely resembled a Christian church service. The missioners chosen by Te Ua to promulgate the faith were not men of high capacity intellectually, and such savage apostles as Kereopa made the tactical mistake of committing murders and precipitating war before the union of the tribes was completed. It is clear that Te Ua charged his messengers to the East Coast and other tribes to carry out their mission peacefully, and to refrain from acts which would involve premature war.
Several times a day the Hauhaus in every settlement gathered at the foot of the niu pole of worship and marched in procession round and round the mast, chanting in chorus the Pai-marire incantations taught by the prophet. Many of these chants, sounding very musical as they rang through the forest that walled in the rebel villages, were simply meaningless strings of English words rounded into the softer Maori; others were either transliterations or mispronunciations of parts of the Church of England page 10 services, with a sprinkling of Latin from the Roman Catholic ritual. Some phrases were military orders, picked up at the soldiers' camps. Some others showed a nautical origin; Te Ua boxed the compass like any pakeha sailor.
Kira, wana, tu, tiri, wha—Teihana![TRANSLATION]
Rewa, piki rewa, rongo rewa, tone, piki tone—Teihana!
Rori, piki rori, rongo rori, puihi, piki puihi—Teihana!
Rongo puihi, rongo tone, hira, piki hira, rongo hira—Teihana!
Mauteni, piki mauteni, rongo mauteni, piki niu, rongo niu—Teihana!
Nota, no te pihi, no te hihi, noriti mino, noriti, koroni—Teihana!
Hai, kamu, te ti, oro te mene, rauna te niu—Teihana!
Hema, rura wini, tu mate wini, kamu te ti—Teihana!
Kill, one, two, three, four—Attention!
River, big river, long river, stone, big stone—Attention!
Road, big road, long road, bush, big bush—Attention!
Long bush, long stone, hill, big hill, long hill—Attention!
Mountain, big mountain, long mountain, big staff, long staff—Attention!
North, north-by-east, nor'-nor'-east, nor'-east-by-north, north-east, colony—Attention!
Come to tea, all the men, round the niu—Attention!
Shem, rule the wind, too much wind, come to tea—Attention!
To mai Niu kororia, mai merire!page 11[TRANSLATION]
To mai Niu kororia, mai merire!
To mai Niu kororia, mai merire!
To rire, rire!
My glorious Niu, have mercy on me! [or pity me!]
My glorious Niu, have mercy on me!
My glorious Niu, have mercy on me!
Have mercy, mercy!
Atua Tamaiti, pai-marire,
Atua Tamaiti, pai-marire,
Atua Tamaiti, pai-marire,
Atua Wairua-Tapu, pai-merire,
Atua Wairua-Tapu, pai-merire,
Atua Wairua-Tapu, pai-merire,
This chant, rhythmic and haunting in its frequent repetitions, was inspired by the Church of England prayer-book. It called upon God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost to “have mercy upon us—mercy, mercy.”
To tangikere Pata, mai merire,
To tangikere Pata, mai merire,
To tangikere Pata, mai merire.
To tangikere Titekoti, mai merire,
To tangikere Titekoti, mai merire,
To tangikere Titekoti, mai merire.
To tangikere Orikoti, mai merire,
To tangikere Orikoti, mai merire,
To tangikere Orikoti, mai merire.
To rire, rire!
O Father, have mercy on me!
Holy Ghost, have mercy on me!
Kororia me te Pata,
Te wai te pikine,
Hema ta pi
Wai wi rau te,
Rire, rire, hau!
[“Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning and ever shall be, world without end”—and, instead of “Amen,” “Rire, rire, hau!”]
The words in a Maori dress were simply “pidgin,” imitating the sounds of the English. An aged half-caste woman who saw much of Hauhauism in the “sixties” says that it was a long time after she first heard the “Kororia,” as it was termed, before she discovered what it meant. “The Hauhaus used to come to me,” she narrates, “and say, ‘Our gods taught us this; it is English and you ought to know it.’ The people believed that when they had learned all these incantations well their gods Rura and Riki would give them power to walk upon the water and perform many other miracles”.
Goodness and mercy were the distinguishing attributes of the Hauhau faith, if one judged it by the hymns and prayers; but these chants all formed part of a scheme designed to exalt the Maori and obtain for him spiritual and material advantage over the hated white man, and the “good and peaceful” refrains soon became war-cries in the most desperate racial struggle yet waged in the Island.
Curious stories are told of the hypnotic power which the chants of Te Ua, combined with personal magnetic influence of the wizard-like tohunga Maori, exercised over many of the people. A half-caste member of the Ngati-Rangiwewehi section of the Arawa Tribe (the woman already mentioned) described some of the scenes which she witnessed when the niu of Pai-marire stood at Puhirua, on the north-west side of Lake Rotorua, 1865–67. Ngati-Rangiwewehi and one or two allied hapus were the only people of the Arawa who accepted the Hauhau faith; they were predisposed towards it because of their heavy losses in 1864 in the rifle-pits of Te Ranga. Moreover, the prophet Kereopa was a member of the tribe. The prophet of the niu at Puhirua in 1865 was a tohunga named Tiu Tamehana, and when he led his disciples in the rites they seemed perfectly oblivious to all outside things. Said Heni te Kiri-karamu, narrating the strange scenes in Puhirua,—page 13
“I never would have anything to do with Pai-marire myself, but my mother, two of my young daughters, and my brother Neri were living with the Hauhaus at Puhirua, and they became converts. The Pai-marire believers seemed to be possessed of a spirit; they would keep on circling round and round the niu pole perhaps for an hour, half-dazed, holding their hands aloft, repeating their prayers in a sing-song chant. Their bare legs and arms might be covered with namu (sandflies), but they apparently did not feel their bites. My mother and brother went circling about the niu in procession with the rest. As I sat on the marae watching the Ngati-Rangiwewehi go round the niu I particularly admired one young chief woman named Hikairo. She was dressed only in a beautiful korowai, a white cloak of fine dressed flax. It was fastened over her right shoulder, leaving that arm free, and reached to below her knees, and her bare firmly shaped arm was upraised in the gesture of the Hapa Pai-marire as she marched with dignified step round the flagpole. She, like the others, was perfectly fascinated by the Hauhau service. When my brother met me on my visits to the village he would greet me in strange words and repeat his Hauhau charms; he explained that he was trying their effect on me and endeavouring to turn me to the new faith. But I told him that I could not place my faith in the Hauhau religion, and he agreed at last that the spells would have no power over one who was so firm an unbeliever.”*
A singular night seance in the communal meeting-house at Puhirua was described to the writer by the venerable Heni:—
* This niu at Puhirua, and one which was erected at Te Kiri-o-Tautini, three miles inland to the north-west, were the only Pai-marire poles of worship set up by the Arawa. The deserted hill pa Puhirua is a beautiful spot overlooking the northern and north-west shore of Rotorua Lake, between Awahou and Hamurana (Te Puna-i-Hangarua); the site of the old headquarters of Ngati-Rangiwewehi is now a burial-ground. Te Kiri-o-Tautini was the centre of a collection of small settlements for food cultivation on the southern edge of the great forest which extended northward to the Tauranga district.
The devotees of Pai-marire professed to regard the Jews as co-religionists; they considered that under Te Ua's dispensation the Maoris were the chosen people of God, just as the Jews were in the Old Testament. This twisting of the Scriptures to suit the exigencies of the day persisted long after Te Ua's time. Te Kooti's favourite theme was the sufferings of the Israelites, to whom he compared his followers; he likened himself to Moses, the deliverer and liberator of the tribes. Te Whiti, the peace-loving prophet of Parihaka, continually preached a similar doctrine. “We are haraira” [Israel], he said to me; “we are one with the Chosen People; our ancestors came from the land of Canaan.” This fancy was fortunate for more than one colonist of the Jewish race in the war-days; an instance was the immunity from harm of Captain Levy, a coast trader, at Opotiki, when the missionary Volkner was hanged there by Kereopa's band in 1865. The priests of the niu sometimes styled themselves “Tiu,” or “Jew” one of these was Tiu Tamehana, mentioned by Heni te Kiri-karamu.
Sometimes renegade white men joined with the Maoris in the ceremonies round the niu. One of these runaways from civilization who had “taken to the blanket” was Kimble Bent, a deserter from the 57th Regiment, in Taranaki. He was as thoroughgoing a Hauhau as any of his Ngati-Ruanui companions in 1865–69, and followed all the Pai-marire ritual, marching round and round the niu chanting Te Ua's hymns and brandishing a sword—a trophy from the wreck of the steamer “Lord Worsley” on the West Coast.
Heni te Kiri-karamu relates that one day she was astonished to see a white man, a shaggy-haired fellow with tattered clothes, emerge from the bush at Te Kiri-o-Tautini (on the edge of the forest three miles from Puhirua, on Lake Rotorua) and walk up to the niu which stood on the marae. Walking round it with his right hand raised, he began to chant the Pai-marire service. The people watched the strange pakeha in astonishment; then several joined him at the niu. It was in self-protection that this page 15 man had gone to the niu immediately he entered the village; he knew that by doing so he would assure his safety. He was a deserter from the colonial forces at Tauranga, and had already lived a bush life with the Piri-Rakau and Ngati-Raukawa Tribes for some months (1865–66).
One of the first worship-poles set up by Te Ua's followers in Taranaki was the niu at Taiporohenui, near Hawera, the principal gathering-place of Ngati-Ruanui in the first Hauhau campaign. In front of the great meeting-house the sacred mast was planted, a totara pine flagstaff 50 feet in height, with a yard about 14 feet long; the mast was stayed like a ship's. The war-flags of the Hauhaus were flown from the staff, and the people daily marched around its foot in their Pai-marire procession, intoning the chants their prophets had taught them. It was the old Maori custom, when the centre-pole of a large meeting-house, or the first large palisade post of a fort, was set in position, to place a piece of greenstone, often in the form of an ornament such as an eardrop or a carved tiki, at its foot. Similarly, at the foot of the niu at Taiporohenui a large piece of unworked greenstone was planted, as the whatu or luck-stone of the sacred pole.*
It was an ancient Maori custom to place a human head beneath the central pillar of a scared house. As recently as 1873 there was a recrudescence of the belief in this custom. Mr. James Mackay, Government Native Commissioner in the Waikato, while at Tokangamutu (Te Kuiti) on a political mission to the Kingites after a murder on the frontier, was attacked and nearly murdered in his tent one night by a fanatic Hauhau. This Maori, Ruru, had been incited to the deed by a speech made by a Hauhau priestess, who demanded that the white man should be killed as a sacrifice in connection with the taingakawa, or ceremonial opening of a new Hauhau praying-house, at Tokangamutu.
* Taiporohenui is a name of great mana among the Taranaki tribes. It is a very ancient Hawaikian name. A great Polynesian temple in Tahiti, one of the father-lands of the Maori people, was called Taiporohenui. The original Taranaki meeting-house of the name stood at Manawapou, but in the first Hauhau campaign an even larger house of assembly was built near Hawera; the present native village of Taiporohenui is on its site. Kimble Bent described this whare as the largest building of Maori construction he had ever seen. It was constructed of hewn totara timber, with raupo-reed walls and nikau-thatch roof. The house was about 120 feet in length, a size so exceptional that the ridge-pole was supported by four poutoko-manawa, or pillars, instead of one or two, as in the ordinary meeting-house. At night five fires burned in the stone fireplaces down its long central aisle. The interior of the house was lined with ornamental tukutuku work of kakaho reeds and thin laths fastened with kiekie fibre. At the foot of the first house-pillar was buried a large uncut piece of greenstone, and another block of greenstone was placed at the foot of the niu.
The entrance of the Pai-marire party into active hostilities in Taranaki dates from the 6th April, 1864. Early on that day No. 1 Company (Grenadiers) of the 57th Regiment, and some newly enlisted Taranaki Military Settlers (No. 9 Company), were despatched from the redoubt at Kaitake—the position captured by Colonel Warre—to the high land above Te Ahuahu, a short distance to the south along the main track from New Plymouth and Oakura southward. The instructions were to destroy all native crops found. Captain Lloyd (57th) who had only recently arrived from England, was in charge of the expedition; the next in command was Captain Page, of the Military Settlers. The force foraged about the deserted settlements and cultivations on the Patua Range, and after destroying a quantity of maize and other crops the main body returned to the foot of the hill at Te Ahuahu and there awaited the return of Lieutenant Mansfield Clarke, who with a detachment of twenty 57th men was cutting down maize on the hill above. Captain Lloyd ordered the men to pile arms while they rested and waited for their comrades. Lloyd was new to Maori warfare, and was quite unsuspicious of danger. The soldiers were sitting round their stacked rifles when a volley was fired from the fern at very close quarters, and next moment a party of Maori warriors leaped from their well-masked trenches and rifle-pits and came charging down with appalling yells, some firing and other wielding long-handled tomahawks. “Pai-marire—hau, hau, hau!” they shouted, as they dashed on their panic-stricken foes. To the soldiers, struggling to use their rifles, the “Hau-hau” war yells sounded like the barking of dogs. Lloyd ordered the men to take cover and return the fire, but the resistance was short and useless. Those who essayed defence were killed; the rest made for the ocean-beach, two miles away. Seven soldiers were killed, and twelve were wounded. The Maori casualties were slight. Lieutenant Clarke, with the rear-guard on the hill above, escaped northward by a track along the side of the ranges. The firing was observed from the redoubt at Oakura, and a party was despatched to Lloyd's help, but the Maoris had gone, and only the naked and decapitated bodies of Lloyd and his men were found in the fern on the scene of action. The spot is about a mile south of the present village of Oakura, and on the line of the main road. Captain Frank Mace, with some of his Taranaki Mounted Rifles, was the first to make the discovery. When the alarm was given in New Plymouth a column consisting of the 57th Regiment (Major Butler) and the Taranaki Bush Rangers (Major Atkinson) was despatched to Te Ahuahu, and Colonel Warre took an Armstrong gun out to Hauranga, at the mouth of the stream, and thence inland to the foot of the page 17 Patua Range, where some shells were fired into the Maori position.
The soldiers killed, besides Captain Lloyd, were Private Dooley, Gallagher, and Sadler, of the 57th Regiment, Corporal Banks and Privates Megles (or Neagles) and Bartley, of the Taranaki Military Settlers. (This corps was a battalion raised by the Government at the end of 1863, recruited chiefly in Victoria and Otago, where many of its members had been gold-diggers. The men were enlisted for three years, and on discharge were given grants of land in Taranaki.) Lloyd's headless body was identified by the rather slender hands and wrists.
On examining the ground it was found that a zigzag trench ran down the face of the hill from the abandoned Maori pa on the skyline of the range above Te Ahuahu, and that there were other rifle-pits and trenches near the crops and on the face of the ridge near the flat where the troops had halted. These entrenchments were completely masked by the high fern being pressed down over them. It was the practice of such ambush-parties also to tie bunches of fern above their heads to enable them to steal on their enemies unobserved. The affair was an instance of inexcusable laxness and neglect to take ordinary military precautions; and the easy victory of the Maoris over a British force numerically stronger gave an immense impetus to the newly-born Pai-marire religion.
The heads of the slain soldiers, including Captain Lloyd's, were carried by the Pai-marire disciples to their prophets, and several of them were preserved by the ancient smoke-drying process, and were sent from tribe to tribe to enlist Hauhau recruits, as in the Highlands of Scotland the fiery cross was sent from clan to clan. One of the heads was recovered in 1865; it was sent to Taranaki and mistakenly buried as Captain Lloyd's. The Maoris state that Lloyd's head was taken by Kereopa across the Island as far as Opotiki, on the Bay of Plenty; another head, said to have been Gallagher's, was carried by the prophet Patara Raukatauri to the tribes between Turanganui (Gisborne) and the East Cape.
Patara, who was one of Te Ua's apostles sent out to spread the Pai-marire faith, was a chief of Oakura and Kaitake, Taranaki.
The decapitation of the slain soldiers at Te Ahuahu was the first instance of this mutilation of enemies' bodies in the wars of the “sixties.” To decapitation the West Coast Hauhaus added cannibalism in 1868–69. Tamaikowha, of the Ngai-Tama and Urewera, revived the practice of eating the hearts of his enemies (1866–67). The last instance in New Zealand of the beheading of a foe occurred in 1873, after the end of the wars. This was the murder of Timothy Sullivan by Purukutu and his party near Roto-o-Rangi, on the Upper Waikato frontier. The killing was an agrarian and semi-political affair; it was a protest against the occupation by Sullivan's employers of native land for which Purukutu had not received his share of payment. The Hauhaus, after shooting Sullivan, cut off his head, and also cut out his heart as an offering to Tu and Uenuku, the gods of war. The head was taken to Wharepapa, a Ngati-Raukawa village; the heart was carried through the King Country from village to village.
A shrewd excuse for decapitation of foes was made by a Samoan chief after the defeat in 1888 of a German naval column at Vailele, on Upolu Island. The Germans who fell were beheaded. Mr. Carver, a Wesleyan missionary, had occasion to visit Mataafa's camp, and spoke of the practice with abhorrence. “Misikane,” said one chief, “we have just been puzzling ourselves as to the origin of the custom. But, Misi, is it not so, that when David killed Goliath he cut off his head and carried it before the King?”
There is a curious parallel to the Pai-marire fanaticism in the history of the North American Indian Messianic rising in 1890. Mr. James McLaughlin, U.S. Indian Inspector, tells the story in his book “My Friend the Indian” (1910). In the autumn of 1890 Kicking Bear, a half-crazed fanatic of the Minniconjou band, left the Cheyenne River reservation and imparted to Sitting Bull, the great medicine chief of the Sioux, the secrets of a new religion which would bring the Indian into the inheritance of the earth. The doctrine took an enormous hold upon many of the Indian people. Sitting Bull had already heard of the new religion, which was said by some to have taken form at the instigation of some south-western Indians who had observed the practices of those descendants of the Aztecs who look to the east every morning in anticipation of the return of Montezuma, who is to redeem them from toil and subjection, and set them to rule over the earth. Sitting Bull, having lost his former influence over the Sioux, now planned to use the new belief to establish himself in the leadership of the people, whom he might then lead in any desperate enterprise. Kicking Bear, describing his journey to the wonderful land of the ghosts, said he and his companions met the Messiah, who showed them the wounds in his hands and feet made by the whites when they crucified Him, and took them to the Great Spirit, saying that He (the Messiah) would come again on earth, and would remain and live with the Indians, who were His chosen people. The Great Spirit said to him, “While my children are dancing and making ready to join the ghosts they shall have no fear of the white man, for I will take from the whites the secret of making gunpowder, and the powder they now have will not burn when it is directed against the red people, my children, who know the songs and the dances of the ghosts; but that powder which my children the red men have will burn and kill when it is directed against the whites and used by those who believe.” “We found our horses,” continued Kicking Bear, “and rode back to the railroad, the Messiah flying along in the air with us and teaching us the songs for the new dances.” The Great Spirit was to make the eath anew, a paradise for the red man.page 20
Sitting Bull kept his people madly engaged in the new dances, and it was evident that he was secretly preparing for some rash movement. That autumn there were strenuous times on the Dakota frontier. The rising, however, was early quelled by the Indian police. The fanatic ghost dancers at Standing Rock, North Dakota, and their chief, Sitting Bull, found that the magic medicine did not save them from the white man's bullets.