Shortly after the cessation of hostilities at Taranaki, in 1861, the Waikatos organised a plan of operations, in the event of a misunderstanding arising with the Government, as they fully believed at the time that the Government was going to press them for the part that they had taken in the Taranaki war, and also against the King movement
This opinion was shortly after confirmed when His Excellency Colonel Gore Browne issued his Manifesto, May 21st, 1861, by which they understood that negotiations would cease on the 31st August, and that war would be declared, and Waikato invaded, on the 1st September, 1861.
The plan of operation was, as near as I can remember, for the whole of Waikato to come down in a body to Maramarua, and proceed up that river to a place called Paparata, in the Tirikohua District, making that place their head-quarters.
From thence parties were to proceed and occupy the following positions, viz.—Maketu (situated behind Drury, to the right of the coalmines, there is an old war track from Maketu to Paparata), the Razorback, Pukewhau (overlooking Baird's farm), and Tuhimata. The Razorback and Pukewhau have direct and partly independent tracks to the Maketu and Paparata warpaths. The parties at the Razorback and Pukewhau were to destroy the bridges on the Great south Road, and those at Tuhimata were to observe and oppose any military movement that might be male against them.
The party at Maketu (which was to be a strong one) were to maraud the Drury and Papakura districts.page 5
The Ngatipou were to concentrate the whole of their force at Tuakau, and from thence attack the Patumahoe and Waiuku settlers. The Ngatiteata taking no active part.
This was the first plan, afterwards it was altered as to the plan of attack—namely, after the troops bad invaded Waikato, the natives were to assemble at the back of Maketu, and another party were to assemble near Te Whau. The Thames natives were to meet in the neighbourhood of Taupo, and upon a given day, some natives (living in town for that purpose) would fire Auckland at different points, and whilst the citizens were extinguishing the conflagration, the assault was to be made both by sea and by land. The natives fully believed that they could have accomplished their design, and the "Puku o te weke" would have been theirs; and that they could have moved from their rendezvous without its becoming known to the Government.
There were certain houses and persons to have been saved; the dwellings were to be recognized by a white cross upon all the doors,—a native to mark the houses on the same night that the town was to be attacked.
The attack was not to have been confined to Auckland alone. It was to have taken place simultancously all over the Island. It was intended to have been a general war against the Pakeha, and to have taken place upon the 1st September, 1861.
It was the news that His Excellency Sir George Grey was coming to succeed Colonel Gore Browne, that averted the general rising of the natives.
By what I have been able to ascertain, the plan Waikato intends to follow out now is the one that I have first described.
At the time that these plans were organised, most of our friends were made acquainted with what was intended, but they did not think it worth their while to inform the Government and some even promised to assist. I believe Wiremu Nero Te Awaitaia was the only man that acquainted the Government of it, shortly after he was requested to join the conspiracy.
A Mr. Hurst, of H. M. 12th Regiment (lately acting as engineer upon the Great South Road) has been over all the war paths that I have mentioned, and has made rough surveys of the country during his rambles.