The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume II: The Hauhau Wars, (1864–72)
AS THE SUMMER drew on the conditions of bush travel improved, and in December, 1871, the search for Te Kooti was renewed from the western side of the Urewera Mountains. On the 7th of that month Captain Preece sent Sergeant Raimona out with a small party from the Rangitaiki to scout the last track followed, with instructions to go farther on towards the head of the Okahu, in the ranges, and then turn down-stream. Instead of adhering to these instructions the scouts crossed the range into the Waiau Valley, where they lost themselves. Then, going down the Waiau for four days, they came out at the western end of Lake Waikaremoana, and managed to communicate with Captain G. McDonnell at Onepoto. There they were supplied with rations, and got back to camp on the 15th, just as Captain Preece was starting with a party to search for them. They had followed the tracks of two men and a woman in the Waiau, and this gave a clue to the whereabouts of Te Kooti.
A month passed quietly by, and on the 18th January, 1872, Captains Mair and Preece made an expedition up the Horomanga Gorge, following a rumour that Te Kooti was in the vicinity of Tutaepukepuke. They captured two men, who denied that he had been in the locality. However, they detained them and surrounded the settlement at daylight next morning. The people were very indignant at being made prisoners, and stoutly denied all knowledge of Te Kooti; and after they had prepared plenty of food for the force, and invited Mair and Preece to remain a month and search the country, they convinced the officers of their good faith. The column scoured the whole country for days without result. On returning to the plains news arrived that Te Kooti had burnt Mr. Dolbel's wool-shed at Maunga-haruru, inland of Mohaka.
The Urewera Country
This topographical map of the central, southern, and western parts of the Urewera Country, reduced from a large-scale map, is given to show the extremely broken contour of the region which the Government native columns scoured during 1870–72. The map was the first one made of the Urewera district by the New Zealand Survey Department; it was drawn by Mr. M. Crompton Smith (now Chief Draughtsman, Survey Department), who was cadet and topographer with Mr. J. Baber in 1883. The party carried out the pioneer survey of the Urewera in that year in the face of considerable opposition by the Maoris.