The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume II: The Hauhau Wars, (1864–72)
TE KOOTI'S LAST YEARS
TE KOOTI'S LAST YEARS
In the King Country lived Te Kooti and his band of warriors and worshippers, who revered him as an atua and a worker of miracles. His headquarters were at Tokangamutu, close to the present town of Te Kuiti. The old rebel was anxious for peaceful relations with the Government, and at last, in 1883, Mr. Bryce, Native Minister, met him at Manga-o-rongo, some fifteen miles from Kihikihi, shook hands with him and announced an amnesty for all those who made war on the Government. This arrangement was made possible by the passing of an amnesty Act, the final step in the restoration of friendship between pakeha and Maori.page 492
Major F. J. Gascoyne
Major Frederick J. Gascoyne, who was born in India, was given a commission in the Hawke's Bay Squadron of the newly formed Colonial Defence Force Cavalry in 1863, and served in the colonial forces for more than twenty years. He gained great credit in 1868 for gallant rides with despatches, under very perilous conditions, during the early operations against Te Kooti. Major Gascoyne was an officer in the Armed Constabulary until the disbandment of this force in 1885. For some time he was Resident Magistrate and Government officer in charge at Chatham Island.
The last years of Te Kooti's stormy life were not without trouble that nearly became tragedy. After his pardon in 1883 he came out of his long retirement in the Rohepotae and visited many Maori tribes, preaching his Wairua-Tapu gospel and practising the art of faith-healing among the credulous natives, even among some of the Arawa who had once been his foes. At Kihikihi, in the mid “eighties,” we frequently saw the old cateran passing through the township with his cavalcade of Hauhaus, on his way from his kainga at Otewa, on the Upper Waipa, to Tauranga, the Upper Thames, Rotorua, or other native districts. His bodyguard was always armed; his immediate guardians were his two wives, who carried loaded revolvers in their blouses.
In 1889 Te Kooti made an attempt to revisit his old home, Poverty Bay. He went to Auckland, and soon afterwards, in spite of Government warnings, he travelled to the Bay of Plenty with a large body of followers, intending to march overland to the page 494 Turanganui district. The people of the Gisborne district were up in arms at once, and there were many threats that the old rebel would be shot if he ventured to revisit the scenes of his bloody deeds in 1868. The Government took prompt measures to prevent the conflict that would have been inevitable had Te Kooti set foot in the Turanganui country. European and Maori forces were assembled at Gisborne, under Colonel Porter and his old comrade Major Ropata, and marched through the Motu forest to Opotiki. Porter so disposed his command as to block Te Kooti's progress or his flight to the Urewera Country, and arrested him at Waiotahe. He was sent up to Auckland, and released on the understanding that he would not repeat the attempt to visit the East Coast. The Government gave his people a block of land on the shore of Ohiwa Harbour, and there he died in 1893, revered as a demigod by his disciples.