Robley: Te Ropere, 1840—1930
Appendix — New Zealand Memoirs
New Zealand Memoirs
Extracts from Mr Horace Fildes' unpublished biography of Robley; “Major General H. Gordon Robley: Soldier and Artist.” [VUW Fildes 1507]
Fildes compiled the biography from the many memoirs-filled letters he received from Robley during the 1910–1920 period. He retained the first person mode, although the account is an amalgam of Robley's experiences and information drawn from other sources; notably Captain Gilbert Mair.
The Robley/Fildes account of the battle at Pukehinahina (Gate Pa) has been augmented by excerpts from the letters of Heni te Kiri karamu, (Heni Pore/Jane Foley) who fought in the pa. [W.F. Gordon Papers; NMNZ Colonial History Collection Envelope III]
Our Regiment having now served abroad for close on five years, it was expected we should be sent home but late in 1863 orders were received to proceed on active service to New Zealand.
… The Head Quarters Division to which I was attached left Rangoon on the 21st November in the British India Steam Navigation Company's screw steamer Australian, commanded by Lieut. A.C. Dando, R.N.…
Early on the morning of the 8th January, 1864, the Australian was well up the Hauraki Gulf and had been signalled into Auckland from Tiri tiri. By 6.30 a.m. the Waitemata harbour was entered when anchor was dropped off Fort Britomart.
… the first detachment landing at the Wynyard Pier at 2.15 p.m., and when all has disembarked, they formed up, and with Queens & regimental colours cased, I having the honour of bearing the Queen's, and headed by our band, marched off to the strains of its music, and amid the pleasure and excitement of the populace, to our Depot at Albert Barracks.
Lieut-General (Sir) Duncan Cameron, who had succeeded Major-General T.S. Pratt as commander of the forces in New Zealand on 10th January, 1861, had on the 13th January, 1864, advised Governor Grey it was necessary to despatch a force to Tauranga to act in conjunction with the operations in the Waikato and so create a diversion, as it was reported that quite two-thirds of the adult male natives on the western shores of Tauranga Harbour were not only participating in the rebellion but were forwarding from their tribal lands large supplies of food for the rebel commissariat.
Sir George Grey, who was genuinely anxious to avoid further war, yielded to the demand made by the Commander-in-Chief, supported by the Ministry of the day, that the tribal lands in the Tauranga district should be conquered, and to this end it was decided to transfer there a large body of troops, the 68th Regiment with other detachments being placed under orders to proceed to the New Seat of War.
There were a great many spectators to witness the embarkation and to wish the brave fellows God-speed, not that the expedition was looked at as one of a more adventurous character, but because it was the first step taken to check the natives of the East Coast who were in revolt, and also serve as a means of opening up a fine and long dormant country to European occupation, an intention quite as beneficial to the natives as to those whom their intemperate and unprovoked violence and compelled to take possession.
By noon, on the 21st January, 1864, a capital anchorage in five fathoms of water was obtained well up the [Tauranga] harbour … close … to the settlement situated on a tonue [sic] of land known as Te Papa. Here [the S.S. Corio] discharged her own troops and then relieved the Miranda of her contingent, the landing being effected without difficulty or opposition from the natives, who were present in numbers, and by evening the disembarkation was complete. These natives, known as kupapa, or partisans to neither side, appeared page 378 to be friendly and yet eyed the troops with a certain amount of distrust, but they not only offered no obstruction, but had hoisted the Queen's flag, while their white flags of Peace were to be seen in every direction.
The troops were encamped at the Te Papa Mission-Station, which was placed on a most commanding situation, the tents of the soldiery being on the incline of a fine clover-clad field, the surrounding bush having either been burnt ot [sic] cleared off the land.
Myself and other junior officers had in the meantime to be content with canvas quarters. The Mission School house was by far the central edifice, it being a two-storied building of imposing appearance, possessing a gable roof, a fine front with wide verandah to front and side and was now utilized as the Commissariat Store.
In earlier years Tauranga had been one of the most densely native populated parts of the East Coast. In 1828 its tribe Ngaiterangi could muster at least two thousand five hundred fighting men, while on one occasion there was counted on the beach between Otumoetai and Te Papa one thousand great and small canoes.
The natives in possession [in 1838] belonged to the large tribe of Ngatiawa and then lived in three strongly fortified villages, an important trade in flax and pigs being done, while along the coast there had settled a few pakeha maori, among them Phillip Hans Tapsell and James Farrow, who established themselves as traders and were found there by the Missionaries when they extended their sphere of operations to this locality in 1838. From that time on the natives had been mostly converted to Christianity by the Church of England ambassadors at Te Papa and by those of the Roman Catholic faith at Otumoetai, a settlement distant about four miles to the north west.
At the present time Te Papa comprised the Mission Block of some eight or nine hundred acres, most of which had been leased to Mr. Henry T. Clarke, R.M., for a term of years and portions of it sub-let by him. The Mission Station contained the residence of Archdeacon A.N. Brown, the resident Missionary, who was in this neighbourhood over twenty miles distant at Mata-mata as early as 1933 and had been in charge of the station here in 1838, a couple of villas occupied by the Rev. C. Baker and Mr. H.T. Clarke, a chapel and school, while apart from these were a few scattered buildings or warehouses belonging to the traders. Under native occupation Tauranga was one of the East Coast ports from whence Auckland derived supplies of meat, maize, potatoes, pork, onions and other produce for consumption, and as can be understood the cultivations were considerable, crops looked rich and rife, with fine fields of maize and well thatched corn-ricks to be seen in every direction, telling an agreeable tale of industrious plenty, but with the outbreak of the rebellion these supplies, to the vexation of the Auckland community, had either dwindled to nothing or all but ceased.
A group of officers and men of the 68th Durham Light Infantry, photographed after the battle of Te Rangaranga; June, 1864. Robley is seated on the ground, to the left.
The first two months of our occupation of Tauranga passed quietly and pleasantly. There was any amount of military work and camp equipage to be done, the most important of which was the construction of two strong redoubts that were so placed as to support one another and able to sweep the outer approaches, while some ditches that lay between were converted into rifle pits and lines of communication.
In their spare time the troops enjoyed any amount of sport. Wild duck and curlew were plentiful, but it was contrary to orders to go from off the Mission Block to shoot them; in the harbour waters the most wonderful sea-fishing was obtained.
The adult male native population was now estimated at five hundred and forty-two, and others were under arms and dispersed elsewhere, and of the former it was estimated that two hundred and twelve had been and were friendly to us, while the remainder, who were considered hostile, belonged to its western shores. The few natives who had not participated in the uprising and were not hostile to the British troops often visited out camp bringing fish, potatoes and wild peaches for the purposes of trade, and found a satisfactory market.
In a Library attached to the Mission buildings the officers had access to many interesting documents relating to the proceedings of the Missionaries with the Natives, and accounts of their travels.
[Colonel Carey] was succeeded in the command of the Tauranga Field Force by Colonel Greer … and following his assumption of command discipline was tightened and a greater degree of activity displayed. All of this was in view of an early brush with the Natives, as the possibility of avoiding conflict at the central shores of the Bay of Plenty was now out of the question. The worsted natives from these parts had returned home and commenced to show evidence that though defeated they were neither conquered or dismayed, and were in force in the direction of the Wairoa River lying towards the west. Reinforcements continued to arrive from to time until at length a very considerably force was in evidence and the occupation of Tauranga was fully completed in the full expectation of an early attack.
At Auckland people were becoming impatient at the apparent inaction of the troops as they were desirous that the fertile lands should be made available for European settlement without delay.
Occasionally bodies of troops marched out of camp a distance of four miles, and on one occasion were threatened that if they advanced to a certain spot an attack would be made on them. Undeterred, the advance was made, the force halted, and no enemy appearing it was marched back to camp.
Once when Captain Jenkins and several officers of H.M. ship Miranda were shooting ducks in a swamp, they were ordered to quit by a party of rebel natives, who at the same time informed them that battle with the Queen's troops was being prepared for the 1st April. Subsequent to this incident, a declaration to fight was communicated to Colonel Greer in a letter dated the 28th March, 1864, and page 381 written by a young Christian chief named Taratoa, it reading as follows:
“Te Wairoa, District of Tauranga.
To the Colonel,
Friend the Colonel. Give heed. We are searching for the meaning of your thoughts, because we have considered your offence. Your first offence — the shooting of Maoris by soldiers on the 24 Feb. 1864. [the fight at Rangiaohia]
The second — The going of the soldiers to Maketu, the meaning of which is an eager desire to fight the Ngati-Porou.
The third — The Queen natives have taken up arms.
The fourth — The coming of the soliders [sic] to Peterehema.
Friend, we thoroughly understand your intentions now.
Do you hearken. A challenge for a fight between us is declared.
The day of fighting, Friday, the 1st day of April, 1864. This is a fixed challenge from all the tribes. When our letter reaches you write a reply to us. No more.Henare Wiremu Taratoa
From all the Tribes.
March 28, 1864.”
No reply was made to this chivalrous, yet characteristic, summons to combat, and this we afterwards learned was considered highly discourteous by the natives encamped at Te Wairoa, whereat they resolved to occupy a position elsewhere and fortify it.
… and it was found the rebels were in force three or four hundred strong at a place known as Huria or Judea … some two thousand yards distant to the west side of the camp. To the accompaniment of yells and war-dances they were firing across the arm of the harbour, until a well directed shell from an Armstrong gun burst in their midst, scattering them like crabs, or in native parlance, whati a papaka, and that was the end of the April foolery.
Another curious document also forwarded to Colonel Greer ran as follows:
page 382“28th Mach [sic] 1864.
Poteriwhi, District of Tauranga
To the Colonel,
Friend, Salutations to you. The end of that. Friend do you give heed to our laws for regulating the fight.
Rule 1. If wounded or captured whole, and the butt of the musket or hilt of the sword be turned to me, he will be saved.
Rule 2. If any pakeha, being a soldier by name, shall be travelling unarmed and meets me, he will be captured, and handed over to the directors of law.
Rule 3. The solider who flees, being carried away by his fears, and goes to the house of the priest with his gun (even though carrying arms) will be saved. I will not go there.
Rule 4. The unarmed pakeha women and children will be spared. The end. These are binding laws for Tauranga.by Aterea Pui-Manuka
or rather, by all the Catholics of Tauranga.”
Towards the middle of April some cattle belonging to the contractor to the Commissariat were almost captured [by the Maori].
Three days later a force of two hundred and fifty men marched out for the purpose of driving in about one hundred head of cattle when the new position of the enemy was visible at a distance of thirteen hundred yards, and men and women could be distinctly seen engaged in the construction of defensive works.
The Ngaiterangi and associated rebel tribes had already advanced to our frontier and were digging their entrenchments across the Pukewharangi isthmus, exactly at the border of their grant of land to the Mission station. The site chosen was known to them as Pukehinahina a name derived from the fact that at one time there grew on the hill (Puke) the hinahina or mahoe tree. It was the narrow neck of ridgeland, about 250 yards inside that lay between the swamps that ran up the two arms … of Tauranga Harbour and was distant about three miles from the camp at Te Papa. It will therefore be understood there was swamp and water to both sides of the ridge, enemy land to the rear, with the whole of the front taken up with their line of entrenchment.
The rebels were allowed to construct this work without molestation, though on the other hand they would sometimes approach our camp at night amusing themselves by firing into it, or else as just detailed, cut off our supplies by seizing the Commissariat cattle within a few hundred yards of our sentries, without much attempt or success on our part to punish their audacity.
Viewed from the lower levels at front and rear the palisading gave the impression the redoubt consisted of a single work, whereas it has been shown there were two of them, and the mistaken belief prevailed up to the time of attack.
To the rear of the whole, distant about fifty yards from the centre of the principal defence, and beyond the palisade, was a flag-staff on which was to be flown a red flag bearing in white the devices of a cross, a new moon and a star … The erection of the flagstaff in this position, the construction of the subsidiary redoubt and the creation of earth covered roofs were all a ruse, and so far as the flag was concerned it was for a time a successful one, while the others had for us most disastrous results.
It was my good fortune to be the first member of the Field Force to make close examination of the site of this formidable work. It came about on an occasion when shooting wild fowl I had passed beyond the Mission Block and at low water waded round to almost the rear of the pa site when the view presented called for a drawing. As was usual with me, I was carrying my sketch-book in my haversack, and the drawing I then made, though hurriedly done, was correctly drawn. When I later saw their preparations for the construction of the defence-work, I recognised I had been round the east flank and sands and had mapped the outlines of the land, so handed the sketch into Headquarters, and in course of time it accompanied General Cameron's dispatches to London and was subsequently published by the War Office as a reconnaissance sketch of the operations.
Now, the native guide to the Field Force for some reason had not disclosed this discovery I had made, but on the sketch being shown to him by the Commander-in-Chief, he vouched for the correctness of the page 383 plan which was now to be utilized in the military dispositions. This guide was Raniera, or Daniel, Te Hiahia.
A great weakness of the Maori stronghold was one common to them, namely, an inadequate supply of water.
To obtain water the inmates of Gate Pa proceeded down one of the long trenches leading to the edge of the swamp. On this being discovered early in April it was deemed necessary to post marksmen to watch the water-carriers, and the selection of these sharp-shooters was entrusted to me as Instructor of Musketry. The natives so employed generally kept well under cover and so only a few shots were obtained, but the sight of me in charge of the marksmen, and at work with my sketch-book, drew some volleys from the enemy.
At night-fall on the 28th April a force comprising the Head Quarters company of the 43rd Light Infantry under Lieut. Colonel H.J.P. Booth, and the Naval Brigade, marched out of camp and lay close to the front of the pa as a storm party, this advanced camp being pitched twelve hundred yards from it, while for the protection of Te Papa there were left three hundred and fifty men of the 43rd, the movable column of the 68th and the Waikato Militia.
It has been shown that the mud-flat on the enemy's right could be passed in safety at low water, and so as to carry out a movement whereby some seven hundred men of the 68th Regiment could take up a position to the rear of the pa, and intercept the possible retreat of its occupants, a feigned attack was made on its front on the 28th by way of diverting the enemy's attention.
The feint being completly successful, the 68th Regiment under Colonel Greer moved out of camp at 7 p.m…. led by the guide, Raniera Te Hiahia.
… by three o'clock the movement had been well executed, a position directly to the rear of the pa and about one thousand yards distant from it being our bivouac, and known as the Pukewharangi camp … [The Maori] were now hemmed in at front and rear, while to either flank were the two arms of the harbour.
When ground was taken up on the first day the rebels showed themselves in considerable numbers, and hoisted their red flag of war, which from the front had the appearance of being within the pa. The next day, however, no flag was flown and for a time not a man was visible. They had now learned of the troops spread out behind them and perceived their situation was similar to a snared kiore (Maori rat) or kaka (parrot), but they were determined to make the best of it so their order was to keep low and not show their heads. Their voices could be plainly heard.
On their leader Rawiri opening fire he came out from cover and advanced to the parapet where for a short time, until range was found, he walked up and down haranguing his men in native fashion.
The inmates of both strongholds, numbering not more than two hundred and fifty, were without artillery, while the force against him was almost seventeen hundred men, armed with every species of modern ordinance.page 384
”… there were two pas at “Gate Pa” quite detached from each other, distance between I suppose would be about 50 yds, one larger which was manned with more than 300 men & the lesser ours [Te Koheriki] with the small number of 31 … We [had] arrived at Pukehinahina at dark & were entertained in the big pa for a short time talking over what was to be done. Then most of the men turned out & built the second pa for our party.”
When morning dawned on Friday, 29th April, 1864, heavy rain was falling and the sky was obscured by a murky atmosphere. At half-past seven o'clock the General Officer commanding gave orders to open fire from the batteries, and it was kept up until four in the afternoon, and not a Maori showed his head nor was there any sign of life.
For the first two hours fire was directed at the flag-staff when it was found to be placed behind and outside the pa. Up to this time the range on the whole had been rather wild, the rounds often going a distance of one thousand to two thousand yards and occasionally falling among our men, four of them being wounded.
“When the fight commenced, the shelling was aimed at ours [Te Koheriki, who inhabited the smaller of the two pa], the first shell went through the fortification & hence through our (hangi) of potatoes which was meant to be our breakfast (of course we fought all day without a bite to eat) There [was] plenty of water in our pa and no one attempted to go out of our pa for anything during the fight which lasted all day … the chaplain was killed by the first shell, [he] was one of our men in our pa, & his name was Hori a Koheriki man and not Ihaka as is stated by Hori Ngatai, and there were two killed by the same shell, the other was Eraihia, he also was a layreader before the fight took place …”
[Heni Pore — W.F. Gordon op cit.]
The evening was now wearing in; it was wet and fast becoming dark, so General Cameron decided the time had arrived for the assault.
During all this time the defenders had hardly fired a shot and it was judged the bombardment had perhaps buried most of them in their earth-works.
The covering party concealed in the fern were but one hundred yards from the pa face and opened fire, the defenders aware the moment was come instantly replying, some of them leaping from cover to defend their works, and right gallantly they fought.
Giving a rousing cheer and splendidly led by their officers they then advanced at the double and in a moment the ditch was passed, the breach entered and a desperate conflict took place at close quarters.
On gaining the breach the stormers had suffered little loss, but inside the earth-works were torn, the passages confusing and advantageous to the defenders. Here in a space barely sufficient for the enemy was pouring in an ever thickening crowd of our men, who found themselves confronted with the unexpected. The rebels were there in force and far from annihilated, and from their fire-pits discharged their weapons with murderous effect on a mark page 385 that was only too easy, while the garrison of the small pa opened with such a hot and raking fire that in a few minutes numbers of our men had been laid low.
Then an extraordinary thing happened. There was a momentary lull broken by an occasional shot when our troops suddenly gave way, some of them shouting “There's thousands of them! There's thousands of them!” and rushed out through the breach, and being without officers never rallied. They were followed by the Maori fighters, who poured into them a destructive fire, and as the fugitives failed to take cover many were shot down as they fled.
Only fifteen minutes elapsed from the moment of assault to the unaccountable debacle.
During the early part of the night the occupants of Gate Pa were exulting in their success, and could be heard challenging the troops to advance.
“the soldiers set fire to all the scrub around about & toetoe bush that remained from the fire but we escaped without a scratch … our people in our pa was the last to leave & firing was kept up till we left.”
[Heni Pore — W.F. Gordon op cit.]
The night had not far advanced when the natives recognized their battered position was untenable, so they took advantage of the darkness and stole out of the rear part of the pa.
They were, of course, fired upon but the target presented was a difficult one and so only a few were wounded, and refuge was for a time obtained in the Waoku Pa, situated not far away to the south and in the direction of the head waters of the Wairoa River. Our troops in front of the redoubt knew nothing of this movement, the wily rebels having kept up an appearance by now and again firing a shot to show the pa was still in occupation with its inmates on the alert.
The price paid for this indecisive and disastrous fight was the highest in the whole history of the Maori Wars and one which led to a lot of recrimination in the Colony.
On the Gate Pa being occupied, General Cameron at once caused it to be placed in a position of defence, and a small redoubt was made of it.
By daylight I had entered the works from the rear and gave assistance to the wounded. Having a plentiful ration of rum with me I was able to administer some of this to them.
My sketch-book accompanied me, and so soon as it was possible I commenced to make drawings of scenes in the pits.
I remember while sketching them how curiously they looked at me, perhaps wondering what use the pakeha soldier would make of it.
I also made a sketch of what was left of a part of the interior of the pa, and though the time in which to complete it was short it was faithfully drawn, and when finished was hastily despatched to the coastal steamer Alexandra … with a request from me to Captain Williams, her commander, that he forward the sketch to the Illustrated London News. It was splendidly reproduced by page 386 that paper in its issue for the 23rd July, 1864, along with some letter-press.
The fugitives from [Gate Pa] after retiring into the ranges at Waoku Pa, made further retirement towards the delta of the Wairoa River, where they again occupied the pa known at Poteriwhi usually inhabited by the Maori engineer Penetaka. This stockade was also known as the Wairoa and L Pa [Te Papa o Whaia]. It was necessary to dislodge them from here, and to that purpose a reconnaissance in force was made on the 6th May by the General towards the Wairoa River some four miles to the westward of Te Papa.
On reaching the pa it was found to be carefully constructed in a strong position overlooking the Wairoa River on its right bank. It was deserted and had been so for a week or more, so the palisading was pulled down and set fire to.
A redisposition of the forces was now decided upon by the authorities, and to this end the military post at Te Papa was to have a permanent garrison of six hundred men.
… the following communication was received by Colonel Greer:
“Wainui-a-Tane, part of Waoku
June 4 1864
To the Colonel,
Sir, I salute you! Herewith I communicate to you my plans, that you may see them. Long waiting for the days for our fight. Now as for this month, mine will be the days, mine the nights, mine all the creeks, mine the hills, mine the plains, all are mine. I am free to act in or on any of them. This is a warning to you. Let your Europeans desist from coming to Waimapu to shoot, or indeed to any part of that country. I am to be met with in all parts of the country, everywhere. This is a warning to you, lest it be said that the cutting off of your men is a murderous proceeding, that is the reason why I send this letter to you. A timely notice from me to you. No more from your friend.
Rawiri Kingi Tuaia [Rawiri Puhirake]”
Meanwhile the rebel natives to the number of six hundred under Rawiri and Taratoa and other leaders had assembled further south in the vast extent of country backed by forest lying between the sources of the Wairoa and Waimapu rivers.
It was soon ascertained they contemplated entrenching themselves at a place known as Te Rangaranga, a narrow neck of land flanked to either side by steep ravines, the land conformation being very similar to that of Pukehinahina and but four miles further inland from it.
[21st June, 1864] the rebels were discovered engaged entrenching themselves. This ground had only been reconnoitred on the previous day when no signs were observed of any such preparation, and what had now been done was the labour of a single night. At the approach of the armed party the rebels paused in their work and stood watching the soldiers who were drawn up in line some distance away with bayonets fixed.
The work then consisted of a single line of rifle-pits four or five feet deep by about two hundred yards long, extending from east to west across the most forward narrow neck of the ground occupied. Taken by surprise the digging party, among whom were several women, page 387 retired into their trenches and on some of the rebel outposts opening fire on our column, Colonel Greer decided to dislodge them before they could carry out any intention they may have had of constructing a formidable pa.
By 10.30 a.m. it was evident the ditch was so full of fighters that retreat without heavy loss was impossible. So soon as the reinforcements were sufficiently near to be counted on as supports the order to “cease fire” was sounded, followed by the “advance” at 12.45 p.m.
Caught unexpectedly the defenders fought most desperately and at a critical moment the reserve led by Major Shuttleworth was rushed up, and in a few minutes taken up with some fierce and deadly bayonet work, the natives were routed, they turned and fled, leaving sixty-eight dead in the pits. It was indeed strange to see many of the then survivors climb slowly out of the trenches, and disdaining to run, walk away under a fire that mowed them down; some halting and firing as they retreated and others with their heads bent down stoically and proudly receiving their inevitable fate.
Unfortunately for me I did not participate in the charge on the rifle pits through having been attached to the second line of reserves, but on reaching the captured position there was presented a sight it is not possible to fittingly describe. Here were some seventy splendid dusky warriors, who but a few moments before were in the full vigour of life and filled with the exultation of battle, now lying dead in and about their own trenches and amid their wounded.
That night a grand tangi was held over them by the friendly natives, who after all were their relatives and friends.
After the action every kindness was shown to the wounded rebels and wonder expressed at the coolness and insensibility they displayed when suffering from the most severe wounds.
The one hundred and eight Maori dead were fittingly buried on the day following the fight by the friendly natives under a strong patrol in charge of Major Colville, and in the line of rifle pits they had constructed by Archdeacon Brown who took up a position at the centre of this extensive sepulchre. The day was gloomy, at noon rain came on and continued to fall without intermission.
Within the next few days fifteen of the rebels died at Tauranga of wounds, nine wounded were detained for further treatment, and the rest, nineteen in number, including eleven not wounded, were sent up to Auckland as prisoners.
… an account can now be given of the subsequent surrender of the decimated tribes. The first yielding was on the 21st July, 1864, when one hundred and thirty-three rebels including several chiefs of rank came in to lay down their arms. Four days later one hundred and twelve more assembled for the same purpose, while those who had already done so were again in attendance to sign the declaration of surrender and to take the oath of allegiance.
In consequence of a wish expressed by the Tauranga natives for a visit from the Governor, Sir George Grey, and the General Officer Commanding the Forces embarked on the 3rd August, 1864, in H.M. ship Miranda for Tauranga, and arrived there on the following day.page 388
Several speeches were made and responded to by the Governor who promised the natives that land settlements would be set apart for them and their children in such localities as they might wish, and that they would be provided with seed and potatoes for the cultivations and for their nourishment.
So far as the British troops were concerned the war on the East Coast was over, but a new and threatening cloud had already appeared [Paimarire] … Its followers called themselves hauhau.
With the introgression of this heathenish belief to this part of the island much fighting history was made along the East Coast, and I obtained leave with Gilbert Mair to join that expert Maori fighter, Major William Mair, at Maketu, who was to be in command of the Arawa levies raised to combat it.
As the new movement spread like fire in the fern it was not surprising the surrendered natives came within its influence and perhaps hoped to regain what they had lost, notwithstanding their recent assurances. In December, 1864, almost the entire native population at Tauranga, who so recently submitted to the Queen's authority, had taken themselves to the mountains, the village of Matapihi across the arm of the harbour to the east was quite deserted, and Raniera Te Hiahia was only prevented from going at the moment he was about to step into the canoe which would convey him inland.
After some little delay the Government took in hand the punishment of those responsible for these murders, the duty being entrusted to Mr. William Mair, Resident Magistrate at Maketu, who was gazetted a Major, and enrolled a number of the friendly Arawa tribe for the purpose. Mr Volkner's assassins had taken refuge in their pa at Matata on the banks of the Te Awa o te Atua river, from where they were driven by the gallant Mair on the 10th October, 1865. I made a sketch of the interior of this pa, which was reproduced in the Illustrated London News for 28th April, 1866.
To return to Tauranga. Notwithstanding this unrest my stay along the shores of the Bay of Plenty in 1865 was peaceful.
Any spare time I devoted to interesting myself in the native inhabitants, their art-crafts and history, while I did a great deal of sketching, some seventy water-colours being the result, and these are now owned by the New Zealand Government.
[Descriptions of these paintings are included as notes in the Catalogue]
I also made some portraits of the fighting chiefs of Tauranga and particulars have already been given concerning some of them. It was not always an easy matter to draw the sacred heads of these tribe leaders, but my rum ration was often the means of allaying any scruples that may have existed, and at other times it could be exchanged for Maori curios. When at work on portraits there were always native onlookers about and what exclamations they made when moko was correctly copied on to the recognizable likeness I had perhaps made.page 389
With the inauguration of the Self Reliance Policy promulgated by Premier Frederick Weld in 1864, the withdrawal of the Imperial troops became a burning question, and resulted in a request being forwarded to the British government to recall the whole of its land force.
By January, 1866, the 68th Regiment was making preparations for departure. Many of our men obtained their discharge and became worthy settlers of Auckland.
The 23rd of February witnessed the departure of the Headquarters Regiment from Tauranga, the s.s. Ahuriri conveying us to Auckland on the evening of that day. Large numbers of natives had gathered in the camp to say good-bye to those whom they first feared and then respected, and that the regiment had also won the esteem of the settlers was quite evident.
On arrival at Auckland the Regiment was sent into depot at Otahuhu Barracks, joining up with a detachment of the 68th which for the past few months had been doing special duty in Taranaki.
As was to be expected we were destined for an early departure from New Zealand, and on the 12th March, 1866, the left wing of the Regiment marched into Auckland, immediately embarking for Spithead.
My personal connection with New Zealand was now ended and I left that fine country, the land of the Maori with feelings of the utmost regret, nor was I ever so fortunate as to again visit its shores, and yet how often I have wished I could go its rounds again. What I took away with me of its native arts was a gracefully carved jewel of finest greenstone shaped like a shark's tooth, and some old weapons of whale-bone and stone, and I was happy in the possession of them.
Spithead roadstead was entered on the 28th June, 1866, a day happening to be the anniversary of my birth, and here after a complete circumnavigation of the world commenced in 1858 we were back in Old England and were quartered at Portsmouth.