The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 1, 1929.)
Relics of the Hauhau war-party were still found within and about these fern-hidden ditches and mounds when I paced its lines with Captain Mair and sketched the trench—a broken gun-barrel of wide bore, apparently an old Tower musket, broken iron cooking pots or “go-ashores,” and fragments of human bone, a memento mori of Kihitu's warriors slain. There was the five-foot butt of a totara pole, said to be the remains of the sacred niu; it stood on a clear space near the north-west angle of the pa.
In the days of '67 hundreds of Hauhaus marched in procession round that tall flag-staff of Riki, the red war-god, chanting their savagely beautiful Karakia, the black-tattooed priest with upraised hands leading the service. Standing on this tapu storied spot, we may imagine something of that spectacle; see again the Pai-Marire warriors marching round and round, their hands thrown up in a frenzy of militant exaltation, eyes rolling, voices chanting the psalms of David so strangely turned to the purposes of Maori war. The rebel chorus, the volleys of musketry, the pakeha bugle call and the Hauhau war yells, the independent firing, the scattered irregular shots of the forest chase, all these we may conjure up again, but the only sounds we hear to-day are the trill of the little riroriro in the bushes and the bell-like anvil note and the flutey gurgle of the tui in the shadowy bush gorges. Now, too, the distant rumble of the train as the engine pants its way up the Mamaku ascent across the gulch of the old-time line of flight to Waikato. And the venerable Niu staff yonder—its smoothed-off butt is a rubbing-post for the Maori pigs rooting for a living in the bracken that spreads a blanket of peace over the Hau hau battle-ground.
The bell-birds in the magic woods—
Oh, harken to the 'witching strain:
It flows and fills in silver floods
And fills and flows again.
“All bright and glittering in the smokeless air …”—Wordsworth.