Through Ninety Years
1865–1866. After Burning School Buildings Hauhaus Defeated at Waerenga-a-hika. Leonard Williams Returns Turanga, Work There. Joined by Wife with Young Children. Fighting at Wairoa. Threatened Hauhau Attack on Napier Foiled. Bishop Continues Work Paihia and Interviews Government Ministers.
From “East Coast Records” (W.L.W.): “After my arrival at the Bay of Islands Mr. J. W. Harris sent me reports from Turanganui, of which the following is the substance:
“The result of Mr. McLean's ultimatum of the 13th November (on page 216) was that Raharuhi and another of the leading Hauhaus came to tell him that Hauhaus to the number of 270 would come in on the following day to express the acceptance of the terms offered to them. As none came in in pursuance of this promise Mr. McLean sent word to them that he would give them until noon on the 16th. The only response to this was that on the morning of the 16th most of the buildings on the station at Waerenga-a-hika were burnt, the smoke of the burning buildings being plainly visible from Turanganui. Of our faithful Maori friends who had been in charge of the place, several had taken refuge at Oweta, but Wi Haronga, having special permission from Captain La Serre, stayed on in the hopes of being able to save some at least of the property. He had taken up his quarters in the Bishop's house with his wife and two children, and, as he obstinately refused to leave it when summoned by the Hauhaus, he was the means of saving it from the general destruction.
“The Bishop's house with the adjoining building which had been occupied by the girls' school was immediately taken possession of by the force and from the roof and from the upper rooms a plunging fire was directed into the pa. The Forest Rangers took up a position on the south side of the pa, and on the following day Lieutenant Wilson with his Military Settlers, three Maoris, and three English volunteers went round to the rear of the pa before daylight and found a shelter about 30 or 40 yards from the pa, from which the water supply of the pa was commanded. About 5 p.m. they were fired into from behind by a party of Hauhaus, who had crept out under shelter of thick scrub. Two of the party fell dead and several were wounded. As there was no shelter there was nothing for it but for the survivors to make the best of their way towards the Bishop's house, running the gauntlet of a severe fire from the pa, in the course of which three more were killed. Wilson himself received three wounds, but none of them was serious. On the 19th page 220 the Hauhaus were reinforced by a body of men under Anaru Matete, and a number of them came out of the pa towards the house in three bodies preceded by their fighting flag, each of them holding up a hand, presumably to ward off hostile bullets. Fire was opened on them from the house and from trenches in the garden, when thirty of them fell. On the next day a flag of truce was hoisted and an hour allowed for the burial of the dead. On the 22nd most of the defenders of the pa surrendered themselves and delivered up their arms. Two days afterwards the force returned to Turanganui with the defeated Hauhaus.
“The Waerenga-a-hika stronghold and other places fortified by the Hauhaus were at once dismantled, and a number of the Rongowhakaata Hauhaus were placed in the charge of the friendly natives at Oweta. Anaru Matete did not surrender himself but made his escape to Wairoa. Some of the prominent Hauhaus went off in the direction of Opotiki.
“This was the end of Hauhauism in these parts; for, though the name ‘Hauhau’ has been in use ever since to denote those who have been disaffected either towards the Government or towards Christianity, the peculiar quasi-religious practices prescribed by Patara were heard no more of from this time. ‘Paimarire’ had been put to a practical test, with the result that it had brought defeat and disaster instead of victory to those who had been deluded into adopting it.
“Among those who had been wounded was Dr. Ormond, who, soon after the Bishop's house was taken possession of, was standing beside Biggs and looking on at a black-letter book which the latter had picked up from the Bishop's library. He had his left hand in his trousers pocket, and a bullet from a rifle in the pa pierced his hand and made a flesh wound through both thighs, thus disabling him from rendering any professional assistance to other wounded. Another was Mr. Ross, an officer of the Forest Rangers. He was struck on the nose, the bullet taking a course below the brain and a little to one side, passing out towards the back of the page 221 neck. He was brought down to my cottage, which was occupied during my absence by Messrs. Harris and Espie. He suffered a good deal from hemorrhage, and his case was for some time considered to be hopeless, but he recovered and ultimately settled on a farm near Opotiki which he occupied for many years.
“There was nothing now to prevent the European residents from returning to their homes, and they set to work at once to repair damages and to take such steps as were possible to get their homesteads into order again. Most of the Colonial forces were sent to Wairoa, where it was thought that their services might be needed, but Westrupp, with his company of Forest Rangers, was stationed at Kohanga-karearea, on the Arai River, to guard against any possible incursion of Hauhaus from Wairoa. Wilson and La Serre, with their respective contingents were left for the time being at Turanganui in charge of the Hauhaus, but the Ngatiporou, under Hotene and Rapata were taken back to Waiapu.
“The forces that were sent to Wairoa soon had serious work to do. It will be remembered that the second party of the Hauhaus who visited Poverty Bay in March, 1865, had come by way of Waikaremoana and the Upper Wairoa, and most of the people who occupied those parts of the district had accepted what they were given to understand was the revelation made through the Angel Gabriel to Te Ua. The people on the lower Wairoa, under their chiefs Pitihera Kopu and Paora Te Apatu, the Nuhaka people under Ihaka Whanga, and the Mohaka people under Hoani Te Wainohu, showed the Hauhaus no favour, and when these became aggressive, ranged themselves on the side of the Government. The opposing parties first came into collision on Christmas Day, 1865, on the Mangaaruhe stream, about 15 miles from the mouth of the Wairoa. They were afterwards followed up towards Waikaremoana, in which neighbourhood they had taken up a strong position on the ascent towards the lake, rifle pits having been constructed behind a tall growth of fern, which effectually concealed them. The advancing force was met here on January 12th by a fierce page 222 fire from the rifle pits, Ihaka Whanga, among others, being wounded in the thigh. The Hauhaus, however, were soon driven out of their position with the loss of over forty killed, the friendly natives also losing twelve of their number. Among the Hauhaus engaged in these actions were many from other parts, including a number from Poverty Bay.”
From “East Coast Records” (W.L.W.):
1866. “On the 2nd of January I left the Bay of Islands on my return to Turanganui, but the means of communication were so irregular that, though I took passage by a small steamer for Napier, I did not reach my destination until the 31st. The Maori population of Turanganui was now estimated at about 1,000, of whom the greater number were the Hauhaus. The majority of these, now that Hauhauism was thoroughly discredited, were to all appearance utterly indifferent in the matter of religion, but there were some who were ready humbly to acknowledge their grievous error in having associated themselves with it, and seemed thankful to have the opportunity of joining again in the worship of God as members of a Christian congregation. These, it may fairly be supposed, had joined what they considered to be the patriotic side without any intention of renouncing Christianity, and without a thought of the injury which they might sustain by intimate fellowship with those who openly confessed themselves to be anti-Christian.
“As Waerenga-a-hika was now accessible I took an early opportunity of paying the place a visit of inspection, Lieutenant Wilson kindly accompanying me. The scene was one of dreary desolation, chimneys here and there showing where some of the buildings had been, fences on all sides were very much broken down. The Bishop's house, though still standing, was now not much more than a mere shell, the roof having been stripped in many places and the doors wrenched off their hinges; much of the interior lining being torn down and taken away, the floor in some of the rooms strewn with fragments of books and papers which had been destroyed, it was said, in order that some of the people might have something less page 223 unyielding than bare boards to lie upon. Of the very few books which had not been destroyed or taken away we found a copy of the Latin Vulgate and a copy of the New Testament in Greek, neither of which probably owed its survival to any sentiment of reverence. For the greatest part of this damage the Hauhaus were not responsible as they had been kept at bay by Wi Haronga till the force from Turanganui was almost upon them. About 150 yards from the house was what was left of the pa, of which all the heavy puriri posts of the palisade were thickly pitted with bullet marks on the side facing the house, giving some indication of the deadly character of the hail of lead which had been discharged at the pa during those four terrible days. The pa had been demolished but enough remained to show what an enormous amount of labour had been spent upon the fortifications and the skill with which it had been devised, labour and skill worthy of a better cause and inadequate to the securing from disaster of those who had put their trust in it. Among the saddest objects were the temporary graves in which the slain of both sides had been hastily buried where they had fallen. One small enclosure was fenced in with door and table tops, and on one of the doors was written a statement in Maori to the effect that nine men were lying in this grave. The spectacle altogether was indeed most melancholy, and it was impossible to avoid the thought that all this ruin and loss of life had come about without any adequate reason.
“On February 20th the district was visited by Colonel Haultain, who was then Minister for Colonial Defence. He spoke of the deportation of a number of the Hauhau prisoners to Chatham Island as a step which the Government had under consideration, the object being to have them out of the way until the question of confiscation of land should be settled, as the people had been warned beforehand that they would be punished in this way for taking up arms against the Government. It was contemplated that, if they should be deported, they would be brought back again in the course of about 12 months. The Colonel stated also that whatever course the Government page 224 might decide upon, Mr. McLean would receive full instructions in due course.
“As the Colonel was going on the Sturt to Waiapu, I was glad to take the opportunity of revisiting the Ngatiporou, intending to return overland. I found the Rev. Mohi Turei at Te Ruaopango where the late defenders of Pukemaire were quartered under the charge of Mokena's people. All were living very amicably together as though their peaceful relations had never been disturbed. There was a detachment of the Military Settlers stationed for the time being at Te Awanui. The people, who in time of peace, were distributed along the coast from Reporua to Waipiro, were still crowded together at Tuparoa in a pa which was protected by a rough palisade only, the Rev. Raniera Kawhia being with them. South of Tokomaru very few people were met with, the majority being at Turanganui.
“On the surrender of the pa at Waerenga-a-hika some of the Hauhaus, as already stated, went off to Wairoa and others in the direction of Opotiki. An incident, however, occurred at this time which revealed the fact that some of them were still lurking in the bush some miles back. At the time of Patara's visit a German, named Beyer, had discovered petroleum some distance up the Waipaoa Valley. On my return from Waiapu I found that Messrs. Espie, senior and junior, with Sergeant Walsh of the Colonial Defence Force and a Maori lad had gone on an exploring expedition with the view of locating the petroleum. In the course of their journey they came to a steep hill, which, after tying up their horses, they proceeded to climb on foot. While they were so engaged a party of Hauhaus, consisting of six men and two women appeared. These first took possession of what they found on the saddles and then followed the party up the hill. Shots were exchanged with the result Walsh was hit in five places, though not seriously, and Espie senior was hit on the left arm. Walsh then seized one of the Hauhaus, and after a struggle took away his gun and secured him. The other Hauhaus then hurried away. After this adventure the party returned, bringing their page 225 prisoner with them, and reached Turanganui the following morning.
“On March 3rd H.M.S. Esk arrived bringing Sir George Grey with the Hauhau prophet Te Ua, whom he had been taking to various places to let the people see that in spite of his fame as a prophet there was nothing awe-inspiring about him, but that on the contrary he had the appearance of an imbecile.
“The St. Kilda had arrived on the same morning, bringing Mr. McLean who had received full instructions with reference to the deportation of Hauhau prisoners to Chatham Island. His first step was to take counsel with the friendly chiefs and to lay before them the decision at which the Government had arrived, viz., that the prisoners should be deported to Chatham Island for a period which might not be much more than twelve months, during which arrangements might be made for the confiscation of such land as the Government should decide to take. The friendly chiefs all approved of the measure, and ninety persons, of whom forty-four were men, were taken on board the St. Kilda as a first instalment. A guard was sent with them from Napier consisting of thirteen Europeans and twelve Maoris under Lieut. A. Tuke. Subsequent trips of the St. Kilda raised the number to about 300, some being taken from the Bay of Plenty.”
During January, 1866, Bishop Williams with the assistance of Rev. E. B. Clarke continued the native school work. He also completed writing his book.
With the consent of Bishop Selwyn he set out on February 9th on a journey which occupied a fortnight to hold services with a number of English settlers and native villages he found at Kaeo, Pupuke, Kaitaia, Whangaroa and neighbouring districts. Among those he called on he met several old friends, the Matthews, Puckeys, Shepherds and others.
Bishop Williams found it necessary to apply to the Government authorities in Wellington for further financial help for his school. He left for Auckland on February 27th accompanied as far as Napier by his page 226 daughters, Marianne and Emma, and Mrs. W. L. Williams and her two youngest children. The latter were going to join Archdeacon W. L. Williams. During the ten days they had to wait in Auckland the Bishop had discussions with Archdeacon Brown and Rev. R. Burrows about Tauranga Mission land; he also transacted other business. The party then proceeded by steamer to Napier, where they landed on March 16th and received hospitality from friends. Rev. S. Williams took Misses Marianne and Emma Williams to Te Aute. Archdeacon W. L. Williams met his wife and children. They had to wait some five weeks for a steamer to Poverty Bay.
While in Napier Archdeacon Williams took the services at St. John's Church to relieve Dr. Saywell who was unwell, and the others paid a visit to Te Aute.
As peace appeared to be restored at Poverty Bay, in due course Archdeacon W. L. Williams with his wife and two children took up their quarters at the Waikahua Cottage near the mouth of the river. Bishop Williams landed in Wellington on March 19th where he had interviews with the Bishop of Wellington and discussed school requirements with the Government ministers, and returned to Napier a week later; thence paid a visit to Te Aute and on April 17th he left by steamer with his two daughters, landing at Tauranga where he had business to transact. When this was completed he proceeded homewards and reached Paihia on May 18th, 1866.
A further extract from “East Coast Records”: “The state of the country in 1866 could hardly be called one of peace, though after the fighting at Waikaremoana and after General Chute's march through the forest at the back of Mount Egmont during which Te Ua was captured, there was a general suspension of hostilities. In the Waikato the aukati or interdict against any Pakeha entering the King Country was still rigorously maintained. Tawhiao, the Maori King, issued a proclamation in April, couched in very figurative language and addressed to all the Maori people, inviting all to join Waikato in resistance to the Pakehas, success page 227 in which was assured inasmuch as God was their refuge. Anaru Matete, who had taken a prominent part in the proceedings of the Hauhaus in Poverty Bay, addressed a letter in pursuance of this proclamation to the principal chiefs in Hawke's Bay, in which he urged them to join the King, as, in spite of the reverses which the Hauhaus had sustained, the blessing of the Almighty was resting on the King's cause, giving full assurance of victory. The King was likened to high ground on which the people might take refuge from the Pakeha inundation. He also wrote in a similar strain to the people of Poverty Bay, urging them to ‘take refuge on the dry ground.’ Te Ua, he said, had disowned Hauhauism and the work of Patara and Kereopa as they, by their wrong doing, had brought disaster on the cause of the Maori. This cause was now committed by him to Tawhiao, who would be supported by Tohu, Te Whiti and Taikomako; the Hauhau methods were to be discarded. These letters met with no favourable response, but they clearly indicated that the time of peace was not yet. In June the Hawke's Bay chiefs who had turned a deaf ear to Tawhiao's proclamation, were threatened with an attack from people occupying the country between Hawke's Bay and Taupo under Paora Toki, but when they showed that they were prepared vigorously to defend themselves, the would-be assailants withdrew. Much uncertainty, however, continued to be felt as to their ultimate intentions. A little later in the month of August, Anaru Matete appeared at Te Pohue, on the Taupo track, with 270 armed men collected from various tribes who were said to be waiting for a signal from the Atua to attack Hawke's Bay; but they came no further. Again, early in September he came to Petane with a body of from 80 to 100 armed men professing a great desire that terms of peace should be arranged, but soon returned again to Titiokura. Their subsequent movements seem to indicate that the object of his visit was to obtain information as to the amount of resistance which they would be likely to meet with if they should attempt to carry out the threat which they had previously made of an armed raid on the district, and by their page 228 profession of an earnest desire for peace, to put both the friendly natives and the English off their guard. Towards the end of the month an armed party of about 140 came again to Petane professing the same earnest desire for peace as on the previous visit. On the 4th October these moved on without invitation to Omarunui, where there was a small pa which they occupied. The circumstances were such as might well have aroused suspicion, but it was not until some information as to their designs which had been obtained by the Rev. S. Williams had been communicated to the authorities and to the friendly chiefs that any steps were taken to guard against suprise. On the 8th the Volunteers and the Militia were called out and a small body of the Defence Force under Major Fraser and a force of friendly natives were summoned from Wairoa. The local friendly natives under Renata and Karaitiana, also prepared to defend themselves at Te Pawhakairo. Mr. McLean, who was superintendent of the Province and Government Agent, sent the Hauhaus a message requiring them to leave the district, to which they replied that they would be guided as to their movements by their atua. It seemed to be quite clear that they intended mischief, and therefore on the night of the 11th the Volunteers, the Militia and the friendly natives started for Omarunui, and Fraser and his men were directed to proceed at once to Petane to intercept a party from Titiokura. Both of these parties were summoned to surrender, but they preferred to fight, with the result that some of them were killed and others taken prisoners. It was afterwards ascertained from the prisoners that their plan had been that the party from Titiokura should attack the Port, and that, when the defending force should be engaged with them, the party from Omarunui should come down and make short work of Napier, and the neighbourhood. It was a cause for much thankfulness to Divine Providence that the scheme was so completely frustrated.”
The writer places on record what Rev. S. Williams told him he had done to save Napier from the threatened attack of these parties of Hauhaus.page 229
Early in October, 1866, Rev. S. Williams heard from reliable natives the hostile intentions of these Hauhau parties. He promptly sent word to Mr. McLean urging him to take immediate steps to guard against a surprise attack on Napier. While at Waipawa a few days later he heard that the uninvited Hauhaus still remained at Omarunui. He again rode speedily to Napier. On his way he saw Karaitiana Tomoana who lived at Pakowhai and asked him if he believed the nonsense he had told him, that the Hauhaus were coming in to make peace. When further asked if he had ever known of Maoris coming to make peace who acted as these people were doing without women and children in their company, he looked alarmed and said he did not. Rev. S. Williams then urged him to send a messenger at once to Renata Kawepo and tell him to get his men together with arms and ammunition ready or they might be murdered before next morning, and when he had done that, to tell Karaitiana to do the same (Karaitiana as a Maori would understand the latter part as emphasising the message). He then rode on to Napier where he met Ihaka Whanga of Nuhaka, who said that he was “pouri” (distressed) that he could not get the authorities to move. Making use of this additional evidence Rev. S. Williams at last succeeded in impressing on those in authority the urgent necessity of dispatching the troops that night against the two opposing parties at Omarunui and Petane. This prompt action led to the success of these operations.
At this date the only road from the south-west in to Napier was through Meeanee and Awatoto, the road from Taradale through Greenmeadows had not then been made. Scinde Island was bounded on the west by swamps and salt water lagoons.
The day after the fight at Omarunui Rev. S. Williams found among the prisoners the son of the Taupo Chief Rangihiroa and asked him what they had proposed to do. At first he could get no answer, so Mr. Williams said he would tell him, and he had not gone far when the native thought that he knew all the details and asked sharply who had told him. He replied “My Atua” (my God) page 230 implying that his God-given sense had shown him, as he had said that they would attack from the west. Thereupon the Maori carried on the story and told where the canoes would be found with which they proposed to cross, also that the day before an urgent message had been sent to the Titiokura party to co-operate with them. He did not know that they had already been met and defeated.
The canoes were subsequently found in the place indicated.
As the Napier ammunition magazine was in Onepoto gully, the miraculous escape from fearful disaster can be fully realised.