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The Autobiography of a Maori

A Massacre and its Result

A Massacre and its Result

Four loyalist Maoris of Wairoa went to Whataroa in 1868 on a mission of inspection. Every member of page 153the mission had been massacred. On the receipt of the news a force was despatched to Whataroa. It found the settlement entirely deserted, but it was able to recover the bodies of the murdered Maoris. For years no trace of Te Waru and his people could be found. They had just disappeared. Years later, it was ascertained that they had entered the fastness of the Tuhoe Country and had made their homes there.

History gives only one side to the story of the Whataroa massacre: That it was a cold-blooded murder. I was pleased, therefore, when Manakore and a Wairoa man informed me that there was another side to the story: A woman, a relative of Te Waru's, had been murdered by loyalist Maoris, and, in revenge, the members of the loyalist mission had been massacred.

I had always been puzzled why Te Waru should have murdered people who must have been related to him. Only very late in life did I read the full story of the Whataroa incident and found that there was this other side to the story.

The descendants of Te Waru now live at Waiotahu, near Kutarere, on land given them by a past Government. My party spent a night at Waiotahu where we were treated most hospitably, the old chieftainess, a daughter of Te Waru, waited on us.