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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 2 (May 1, 1940.)

The Night Ride to the Frontier

The Night Ride to the Frontier.

“Now he's quite comfortable,” whispered Barlow. “He won't wake page 28 up for three or four hours. You take his reins and lead his horse, and I'll ride alongside him and support him. We must watch and listen as we go.”

They rode quietly away from the village. It was well after midnight now. Even the dogs were asleep; at any rate not a bark broke the quiet of the night. It was frosty. Barlow's wife took a blanket from her saddle pack and fastened it about the prisoner's shoulders.

* * *

So, with amazing ease the capture of the wanted man was carried out. Thus far so good. But there was the long ride before them; it would be nearly daylight by the time they reached the frontier river.

After a few minutes the pair changed positions. Barlow, finding that the Maori rested like a sack in the saddle, and did not need support, rode ahead leading Winiata's horse; his wife rode last.

Suddenly the woman said, “We are chased! Listen!”

The sound of horses, travelling at a gallop, came through the midnight air.

“Into the manuka!” Barlow ordered. But the pursuers—some half-drugged sleeper had wakened and given the alarm—passed by within a few hundred yards on another track. They took the road down along the Waipa towards Alexandra.

Barlow, fortunately, had pushed along the track towards Kihikihi—the shorter of the routes to the border. The sound of the horses rapidly died in the distance.

Relieved, the pair hurried on through the Marae-o-Hine (the farm of the Franco-Maori Hetet family), forded the Manga-o-Rongo Stream, cantered a while, trotted, walked with caution past the whares and cultivations of old warrior Hauauru and his littlie tribe at Araikotore; hastened past the Three Sisters fort-hills at Tokanni, and at last down the long, easy slope to the Puniu crossing. In a few minutes they were trotting up the road to Kihikihi, the first township on the pakeha side of the border. The air was raw with the coming dawn, and the cocks were crowing.