The Northern War.
In the latter part of 1844 trouble commenced with the Maoris in the district north of Auckland, and the settlers were threatened, and asked the Government for assistance. Hone Heke
, a powerful chief,
whose grandson of the same name was afterwards a member of the Parliament of New Zealand, cut down the flagstaff at Kororareka, on the 10th of January, 1845. This was considered equal to a declaration of war, and a reward of £100 was offered for his apprehension. Heke bitterly resented this; he considered that it was likening him to a pig, which could be bought, and he threatened that, within four months, he would bring 2,000 men to Auckland and cut down the flagstaff there. Fifty soldiers were immediately despatched to Kororareka, and the flagstaff was re-erected. Nevertheless, on the 11th of March, 1845, the town of Kororareka was sacked and destroyed by the Maoris. The property thus destroyed was estimated to be worth about £50,000. Heke, however, not only protected the churches of the Church of England and Roman Catholic, but fought solely against the soldiers and sailors, and even allowed the settlers to escape to the ships without molestation.
A second time Heke cut down the flag-staff at Kororareka, when the settlers joined Nene's war party against Heke. Prominent among them was Mr John Webster, of Opononi. Mr Francis White, a blacksmith, became armourer; Mr William Webster manufactured cartridge boxes; and Judge Maning and Mr G. F. Russell supplied the powder. This war party started from the Upper Hokianga and met Heke at Lake Omapere. Each party built a pa, and fighting was daily carried on for two months, during which time Waka Nene held Heke in check while he awaited the arrival of troops.