Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

War to the Knife, or, Tangata Maori

Chapter XIII

page 282

Chapter XIII

While in one hemisphere Roland Massinger was revolving these momentous questions concerning love, duty, happiness, in this world and the next, Hypatia Tollemache was considering almost equally important decisions at the other end of the world.

Her range of thought and feeling was by no means so comprehensive as his, inasmuch as, by adhering to the strict line of duty embodied in altruistic sacrifice, she had considerably narrowed the field of argument. She had definitely abandoned the idea of "slum missionary" effort, having discovered by experience what had been previously suggested to her, that there is an unpleasant, even undesirable, side to these ministrations when the evangelist is a young and handsome woman.

She saw clearly that there were many worthy labourers in that vineyard who, possessing equal zeal, did not suffer from such disqualifications. The illness which she had contracted when weakened by overwork, possibly through infection, had chilled her enthusiasm, perhaps caused her to doubt the expediency of her mission.

She was on the point of reviewing the respective page 283conditions of missionary life in China and Hindostan, where the Zenana offered so fair a field for reformation by cultured sisterhoods, when she received a letter from her friend Mary Summers, the interpretation of which was, to Hypatia's sympathetic spirit, "Come over and help us."

With Mary Summers she had long since formed a close friendship. They had corresponded regularly since her departure to New Zealand as the wife of the Reverend Cyril Summers. He had been protégé of Bishop Selwyn, and, as a curate, a favourite attendant during the long, quasi-dangerous journeys in which the soul of that latter-day apostle delighted.

As often happens in friendships, and even closer intimacies, the schoolfellows were strongly contrasted in appearance and disposition. The one was tall and fair, with grey-blue eyes, which could flash on occasion. An air of hauteur, chastened by philosophic self-repression, distinguished her. The other was scarce of middle height, with a petite but perfect figure, dark hair, and wistful hazel eyes.

Hypatia was impetuous, disdainful of obstacles, hating the expedient, and scorning danger. Mary was persuasive, self-effacing, soft of speech and manner, of a goodness so pervading that it seemed an impertinence to praise it. Many people were strengthened in their convictions as to a future state by the belief that any such scheme must include a heaven for Mary Summers.

She and her husband had encountered trials and privations, borne unflinchingly. They had reached a moderate degree of success, and, so to speak, prosperity, having come to inhabit a comfortable cottage near page 284Tauranga, when this lamentable war bade fair to ruin everything, destroying the work of years, and even endangering their safety.

The epistle which decided Hypatia as to locality ran as follows:—

"My dearest Hypatia,

"Wars and alarms still prevail, I grieve to say. The colonists are determined, and the natives desperate, each race fighting as if for existence. Blood has been shed on either side, so that all hope of peace or mediation is at an end. I do not give any opinion as to the policy of the Government. My husband believes that an act of injustice provoked the contest which led to the war. The side on which the fault lay has a heavy account to settle. But now all agree that unless the natives make unconditional submission there is no hope of peace.

"And how terrible are the consequences! It is positively heartbreaking to see the dispersion of native schools, the empty churches, and to hear of promising pupils and converts in the ranks of the enemy—though they have not unlearned, poor things, all that we have been at such pains to teach them. Continually we hear of acts of humanity performed by them while fighting bravely in their own ranks. Poor Henare Taratoa went under fire to fetch water for a wounded soldier in the trenches at the Gate Pah. He himself was killed soon afterwards at Orakau.

"It is affecting to hear, as we did, from a man in active service, of their reading the lessons of the day and singing their psalms in the intervals of the hottest fighting.

page 285

"These were once our friendly natives, many of whom we know well by name. They will not fight on Sunday, or break the Sabbath in any way, which is more than our troops can say. Though at times downhearted and anxious, Cyril and I feel that we have enjoyed a high privilege in doing our Master's work.

"As to position, we are certainly not too far from the seat of war, but Cyril says they have not as yet harmed any of the missionaries. Outlying settlers have been murdered, and one poor family—but I cannot bear to think of the details.

"We are in God's hands. So far we have been shielded from evil. We are steadfast in faith and trust in the power of our Redeemer. The children and Cyril are well. If only I were a little stronger, and servants were not things of the past, I should be nearly quite happy. Always (in peace or war)

"Your devoted friend,

"Mary Summers."

"Poor dear Mary! Nearly quite happy indeed! Just like her to think of every one but herself. 'If she were only a little stronger!' No servant, too; and here am I, Hypatia Tollemache, as strong as ever I was, now that I have got over that horrid fever; safe, protected, in luxury even, only disturbed by the thought of where I shall betake myself with my gifts and endowments (such as they are), and all uncertain of what good I shall do when I get there. From 'India to the Pole' seems prophetic. I was nearly going to India; now shall I go to the 'Pole'? Yes, I am resolved. Writing to and condoling with poor dear Mary will be saying in effect, page 286'Be ye warmed and fed'—the lowest hypocrisy of all, it always seemed to me. I am determined—that is to say, I have fully made up my mind. I will go out and help poor Mary, the Reverend Cyril, and the dear children, besides taking my turn with the heathen, unless they bring their tomahawks to church. It will be a charity worthy of the name. There can be no mortal doubt about that. As for the danger, do they not share it? So can I. That never put me off anything, I can safely say. I shall write to Mary when I have taken my passage—not before,"

So fixed in the resolve to offer up herself on the altar of friendship, duty, and danger delightfully combined was this latter-day damsel, that she went off to London, and, having no parents or near relatives to control her—only a couple of trustees, who, provided she did not spend more than her income, permitted her to do pretty well as she pleased—took her passage to New Zealand by the very next boat, the Arawatta. The said trustees raised their eyebrows when informed of her intention, but consoled themselves, being men of sense and experience, remarking that if young women of independent means and ideas did not do one foolish thing they would be sure to do another, even perhaps less desirable. So, the decisive step being taken, she had only to tell a few friends—Mrs. Merivale, née Branksome, being one—and get ready a suitable outfit for the voyage to this Ultima Thule of Maoriland.

Up to this time, though hard knocks, hard fare, and hard marches had convinced Massinger that volunteer soldiering in Northern New Zealand was no child's play, yet, on the whole, the experience had page 287been less depressing than exciting. The health of the triumvirate was unimpaired. The youth and uniformly good spirits of Massinger had served him well. Mr. Slyde's pessimistic philosophy had much the same effect, apparently, leading him to assert that "nothing mattered one way or another in this infernal country; that all things being as bad as they could be, any change would probably be for the better; that if they were killed in action, as seemed highly probable, it would be perhaps the best and quickest way out of the hopeless muddle into which the Governor, the ministers, the settlers, and the soldiers had got the cursed country. The alternative was, of course, to desert, which, for absurdly conventional reasons, could not be thought of. His advice to Massinger was to marry Erena Mannering and join the Ngapuhi tribe, which, under Waka Nene's sagacious policy, was bound to come out on top. That would be, at any rate, a decided policy, such as no party in the island had sufficient intellect to grasp. He might then give all his support to the King movement, and possibly in course of time be elected Sovereign of Waikato and surrounding states, do the Rajah Brooke business, and found an Anglo-Maori dynasty."

These and similar suggestions, delivered with an air of earnestness, and the slow persuasive tones which marked his ordinary conversation, never failed to produce a chorus of merriment, in effective contrast to the unrelaxing gravity of his expression.

As for Warwick, the war-demon which had possessed his Maori ancestors had temporarily taken up its abode with him, for, as the campaign progressed, page 288he seemed day by day to be more resolute and unflinching, in action or out of it.

"Seems to me," said Mr. Slyde, as they commenced their march in the discouraging dawn of a dismally damp day, "we're in for a deucedly hot picnic. Colonel been blocked two or three times in his advance; made up his mind to go for this Orakau pah, spite of all odds. Hope he won't start before he's ready. Pluck and obstinacy fine things in their place, but the waiting business pays best with Tangata Maori. Devilish cool hand at the game himself."

"How about our artillery?" asked his friend.

"Not weight enough, fellows say. Guns always beastly bother to transport. See when we get there."

Another scout had just come in with the news that Pate-rangi had been abandoned, and that Brigadier-General Carey was in force at Awa-mutu. The Ngati-maniapoto had crossed the Puniu river, and at Orakau one of the chiefs had shouted out, "This is my father's land; here will I fight." Riflepits were formed, and a determined stand was resolved upon. Before the position, however, could be strongly fortified, three hundred men of the 40th Regiment had been sent to occupy the rear. At three o'clock next morning a force of seven hundred men, artillery and engineers, the 40th and 60th Regiments, marched past the Kihi-kihi redoubt, picking up a hundred and fifty men from it on the way. The Waikato, the 65th and 3rd Militia, with a hundred men, moved up from Rangi-ohia to the east side. At day-dawn thirteen hundred rank and file had converged upon Orakau, strengthened by a contingent of the Forest page 289Rangers, among whom were Messrs. Massinger, Slyde, and Warwick, expectant of glory, and by no means uncertain as to taking part in one of the most stubborn engagements they had as yet encountered. The defenders of Orakau numbered under four hundred, inclusive of women and children.

"There goes the big gun from the south-west ridge," said Slyde. "It ought to make the splinters fly. A breach is only a matter of time."

"Yes, but what time?" asked Warwick. "I don't know Rewi, if he hasn't blinded the outer lines with fern-bundles tied with flax. It's wonderful how they will stop a cannon-ball. Yes, I thought so. No making for a breach just yet."

"They can't have any food or water to speak of," said Slyde. "Have to give in if we wait."

"True enough; they're short of water, and have only potatoes and gourds, I hear," said Warwick. "But Maoris can live upon little, and fight upon nothing at all."

"There goes Captain King and the advanced guard," said Slyde.

"Too soon—too soon!" said Warwick. "There's a devilish deep ditch, besides earthworks and timber. Ha! there the Maori speaks. The troops have made a rush; they're driven back. The reinforcement comes up. Another assault. My God! Captain King's down—badly wounded, I know. See, Captain Baker has dismounted, and calls for volunteers. Rangers to the front! Hurrah!"

And like one man, the little band joined the 18th. But though the assault was made with desperate courage, the close fire again forced them page 290to retire with a heavy loss. No breach had as yet been made, while the fire from behind the earthworks was incessant and accurate.

Seeing that it was not a case for a cheer and a bayonet rush, the general decided to take the place by sap.

"Might have thought of that before," growled Mr. Slyde, "and saved my hat." Here he pointed to a bullet-hole in his headpiece with so rueful a face that his smoke-begrimed comrades burst out laughing. "Are you hit, Warwick?"

"Only a graze," replied he, feeling his right arm, from which the blood had stained his sleeve. "I was afraid the bone was touched. It's all right."

"Here come those Maunga-tautari fellows," said Warwick, pointing to a compact body of natives now appearing on the scene. "Ha! you may fire a volley and dance the war-dance, my fine fellows; you're out of this game. There goes a shell among them. How they scatter! Too late for this play."

So it proved. Within the next twenty-four hours a British reinforcement, four hundred strong, appeared. The sap had been carried on; none could escape. Another day, another night, passed. At length, about noon, an Armstrong gun was carried into the sap, a breach was made, and the siege was virtually over.

On the score of humanity, women and children being in the pah, the garrison was called upon to surrender, with a promise that their lives should be spared.

Now was heard the immortal rejoinder: "Ka whai-whai, tonu—aké—aké—aké!" ("We will fight on to the end—for ever—for ever—for ever!")

page 291

The interpreter pleaded for the women and children. "Why not send them out?"

The answer came back: "Our women will fight also."

But they commenced to find the rifle-pits untenable. The hand-grenades made terrific slaughter. The riflepits had been too hastily formed for safety; but still they fought stubbornly on.

When the assault was made, half of the first troops that entered fell; nor was the second assault more fortunate. Then the enemy's ammunition failed. It was pathetic to note them in their deep despair. Standing amid their dead and dying, the blood-stained warriors sang a mission hymn of old days, and raised their voices—which were plainly heard—in passionate supplication to the Christian's God.

"But there was no voice, nor any that answered." Still pressed nearer, with hail of shot and shell, the resistless pakeha. Once again their mood changed, and they turned to the heathen gods of the children of Maui. Chanting an ancient karakia, or imprecation, they marched forth in a solid column. The women and children, with the high chiefs, were placed in the centre.

An opening had been made in the ranks to enable the heavy gun to open fire. Through this, in the full light of the afternoon sun, the unconquered garrison marched out steadily, as if going to church in the peaceful days of missionary rule. Rewi ordered that no shot should be fired. The scanty ammunition would be all needed for the marsh passage, on the route to the Puniu river.

Like the Moorish monarch giving his last sigh to page 292the glories of the Alhambra and the snow-crowned Sierras, did Rewi cast a lingering look on his ancestral possessions? Eastward frowned Maunga-tautari, on the flank of the great Waikato plain. Pirongi on the west held watch and ward over the Waipu. Kihikihi, his own settlement, was in the hands of the pakeha. But, the Puniu once crossed, there was refuge in the forests of Rangi-toto.

The marsh was reached, though many fell before the converging fire of the troops. The cavalry intercepted them at the neck. Many were thus slain; but, in spite of all losses, the main body gained the Puniu river and escaped, after a pursuit lasting over six miles.

Orakau had fallen; of the garrison, nearly one half lay dead around the pah or on the Puniu river trail. How stubborn a fight had they made for three days and two nights against fearful odds, short as they became of food, water, and ammunition! The sap had reached the last ditch. Even then they did not despair. They might die, but would not yield. Maunga-tautari was abandoned. Rewi's warriors were scattered. It was the Maori Flodden; and the crossing of the Puniu was akin to that of the historic river, immortalized in the verse of the Magician of the North—

"Tweed's echoes heard the ceaseless plash,
As many a broken band,
Disordered through her currents dash,
To gain the Scottish land."

"This Orakau business should finish up the infernal war, any one would think," said Mr. Slyde on page 293the following morning, when, after a decent night's rest, a complete personal renovation, and a breakfast, much assisted by the arrival of fresh supplies, he and Massinger were cleaning their accoutrements.

"But surely it will end it," replied Massinger, with an air of conviction. "More than a hundred natives were found dead. It is almost certain that fifty more were either killed or mortally wounded. The rest are scattered. They will never be so mad as to tackle the troops we can bring against them now, engineers and artillery too, besides the volunteers and friendlies."

"Any other country, any other people, quite so," assented Mr. Slyde, in a tone of philosophical argument; "but Maoris devils incarnate when their blood is up. Remember what Tutakaro said, chaffed with fighting against us once and for us afterwards?"

"No. I saw the man, though—fine, powerful youngster."

"Beggar coolly replied, 'What matter? Fighting is fighting: if we young fellows can get a share of it, don't much care which side we go for.'"

"And did he go well for us?"

"Of course he did. Killed a chief. Shot through the arm, too. Tied it up and blazed away till the affair was over."

"What a splendid mercenary soldier he would have made in the Middle Ages! Is he with us now?"

"Yes. Very nearly got Rewi, as he was crossing the mound. Strictly impartial."

"And a most pathetic sight it was" said Massinger, "when they were crossing the mound at the other side of the swamp. I saw the column file by—men, page 294women, and children, all as serious as a funeral, and as cool as if they were going to market I hadn't the heart to fire another shot. Every now and then I could hear a woman's voice—not complaining, far from it—urging on the men to keep going and to shoot when they saw a chance."

"Warwick says you had a close shave. So much for not minding your business. Thinking about Erena Mannering. Soldiers no right to have feelings. Harass the enemy, sink, burn, kill, destroy, Navy regulations; army too."

"Certainly a bullet did hit the tree I was leaning against, close to my head. Queer thing, too; it came from the friendly side. I distinctly saw the smoke from the bush, where our natives were."

"You must have been in the line of fire."

"Nothing of the sort. It was a side shot."

"Any one cherishing ill feeling that you know of?"

"Well—no. Now I come to think, there was an ill-looking dog of a Ngapuhi with us at Rotorua, that was turned out of the party by me and bullied by the chief. His name was Ngarara."

"Wh—ew! I've heard the reptile's name before. Cousin or something of your Zenobia—admirer probably. Acute attack jealousy."

"Might have been. After he went I didn't trouble my head about him. I had a great mind to give him a thrashing, but Warwick said it might cause trouble."

"And so at any time he may take a steady potshot at you; probably did. 'Keep your eye skinned,' as that Yankee said. Set Warwick at him. By the way, wonder how he is? Shot through the shoulder yesterday. No bone hit. Doctor says all right directly.

page 295

Lay up for a week. Painful all the same. Suppose we look him up?"

When our friends were comforting themselves with the belief that perhaps the dragging and unsatisfactory war was near its termination, how little they were aware of the decisive engagement ahead of them—the very next in succession, as it turned out, when the 43rd was fated to lose more officers than any of the regiments engaged at Waterloo! A crushing repulse, followed by a disastrous rout and the death of their gallant colonel! With what indignation would they have repelled such asuggestion! It was destined to come to pass, nevertheless. That two of the speakers would be dangerously wounded, and the other at death's door—"reported missing," besides? Long was it before the soldiers of the gallant regiment, which had won glory on many a bloody field, could endure an allusion to the Gate Pah, a name which always brought up memories of bitter grief and shame intolerable. It was a case of "threes about"—those simple, apparently meaningless words, spoken by chance or otherwise—which clouded the well-earned fame of a gallant cavalry regiment in India, and caused the death of their colonel by his own hand. And in the memorable disaster at the Gate Pah, in the moment of victory, it is alleged that the ominous word, to a British ear, of "Retreat!" was distinctly heard.

Orakau fight was over. The dead were buried. The women were still mingling blood with their tears for those who would never more defy the pakeha or their hereditary enemies. But the national war-spirit was alive and redly glowing.

page 296

Many of the Ngaiterangi and other natives had gone from Hawkes Bay to Tauranga, indignant at the blockade of the coast. Major Whitmore, as a counter-stroke, raised a contingent from among the friendly natives, confident of their willingness to fight anybody and anywhere. His opinion did not long lack confirmation.

The Ngaiterangi speedily changed position, building a strong pah at Puke-hina-hina, long afterwards memorable as the Gate Pah, so named from its peculiar situation on a narrow ridge with a swamp at each end. It was about three miles from the mission station at Tauranga. Here the insurgents proposed to await the attack, Not unused to the rules of war, they sent a protocol (March 28) to the colonel in command, announcing that unarmed persons, or even soldiers who turned the butt of their muskets or the hilt of their swords to the enemy, would be spared. This resolve was fated to stand them in good stead.

On the 21st of April, General Cameron transferred his headquarters to Tauranga.

"'Quern Jupiter vult perdere dementat prius,'" spouted Massinger, who saw an opening for a classical quotation as, soon after daybreak on the 29th, the guns and mortars, placed in position overnight, opened fire in front. "What possible chance do they think they have against a park of artillery and nearly two thousand men?"

"'Let not him that putteth on his armour, etcetera,'" returned Slyde. "If I were anything but a thick-witted Englishman, I should say, don't like the look of things. Maoris too d——d quiet. Bad sign.

page 297

See that fellow coolly shovelling up earth to fill a hole."

Warwick, whose wound was presumably paining him, but who defied the surgeon to keep him in the hospital, said nothing. Afterwards brightening up, he began in his usual cool way to discuss the situation.

"We've got guns enough this time to pound them to bits, and men enough to eat them, but they'll make a fight of it, and a stiff one. That redoubt's an artful piece of work, and the line of rifle-pits between it and the swamp is well placed. More than the flagstaff is—for us, I mean. I believe it's ever so far in the rear to draw the fire. That's an old dodge of theirs. However, there must be a breach in the afternoon."

"I should say before that; the firing's very accurate," said Massinger. "And that Armstrong six-pounder is enfilading their left."

"After lunch, if we get any," quoth Slyde.

Whatever "stomach for the fight" the men told off for the assault had, the ration served out to the Forest Rangers, who were notified for that service, along with a hundred and fifty sailors and marines and the same number of the 43rd, was discussed with appetite. A reserve of three hundred men, under Captain Hamilton of H.M.S. Esk, formed the reserve.

"The cannon's loud-mouthed summons ceased,
A rocket signal soared on high."

The assault was on.

Colonel Booth and Commander Hay led the way into the inner trench, where no enemy was to be seen. But from earth-covered pits and passages poured forth a volley, under which officers and men page 298fell rapidly. Still the crowd of assailants pressed on, only to be shot down as they entered the fatal deathtrap. The reserve joined, with headlong rush, in support of their comrades—all vainly, as it seemed. The officers of both services continued to drop, but the ranks closed up—

"Each stepping where his comrade stood,
The instant that he fell."

Captain Hamilton fell in his place when leading the reserve. Colonel Booth and Commander Hay had fallen before. Captains Hamilton, Glover, Mure, Utterton, and two lieutenants, all of the 43rd, were shot dead or mortally wounded, as also Captain Glover's brother, whom he tried to carry off. The front ranks of the storming party were annihilated.

In a very few minutes every officer of the column was either dead or wounded. Among the latter were Slyde and Warwick. They had gone down along with the officers of the 43rd. When they awoke to consciousness it was dark, and their comrade Massinger was nowhere to be seen or heard.

Stunned and panic-stricken, deprived of their officers, the men had broken and fled—in such headlong haste that they took no advantage of the ground. On the open surface of the ridge, many were shot. No one could account for the disaster. Some said that the word "Retreat" was heard and acted upon; others, that the main body of the natives had rushed to the rear, and being met by the 68th Regiment posted there, recoiled, and dashing back to sell their lives dearly, were mistaken by the soldiers for a Maori reinforcement. Then the Maori warriors turned to the work of slaughter. Rawiri page 299leaped on to the parapet as he fired, taunting the soldiery and inviting them to renew the fight. As the day declined, the garrison made a determined rush to the right wing of the pah. During the darkness of the night they stole away in small parties. They passed silently through the fern, or by the right rear, leaving (and this was most exceptional) their dead and wounded behind them.

In the garrison fought all day Henare Taratoa, educated under Bishop Selwyn at St. John's College before 1853. He tended one of the wounded, who in his dying agonies thirsted for a drop of water. The Maoris had none. Taratoa threaded his way through the English sentries in the darkness, and returned with a calabash of water to slake his enemy's thirst. More than that. By the side of each wounded Englishman was found in the morning some small water-vessel, placed there by the Maoris before they deserted the fort.

Colonel Booth was carried out of the pah in the morning. The general went to him, but the gallant soldier felt the repulse so deeply that he turned away his face, saying, "General, I can't look at you. I tried to carry out your orders, but we failed." He died that evening.

The tameless islanders were not minded to give up all for lost, even now. By one great effort they might force back the invader, or possibly combine the tribes against him. At any rate, in the quasi-victory of the Gate Pah they had obtained utu for the death of many a warrior, many a chief. But, even now, the tribes were unbeaten. News came to Colonel Greer from the Maori allies that yet another pah at Te page 300Ranga was rising, a few miles from the scene of the recent conflict.

Slyde and Warwick, severely though not dangerously wounded, were both in hospital, precluded from participation in the closing engagement, which they deeply regretted. Lieutenant Massinger reported missing.

"Hard lines," said the former, raising himself with difficulty from his stretcher, "not to have a throw in at the finish. I feel convinced this must snuff the beggars out. The colonel will at them before they have time to do much. Friendlies in great heart. The 43rd die to a man or wipe out their defeat"

"Yes," said Warwick, "I believe their hour is come. How grieved Massinger will be that he is out of it! However, he may think himself lucky to escape with his life."

"You think he has, then?" said Slyde.

"He was all right when I saw him last, waving his sword, shoulder to shoulder with Von Tempsky, who was doing his best to rally the troops. Then I went down. Saw nothing more. I had a crack with the butt end of a tomahawk also. I have no doubt that he is with Mannering's hapu, most likely with Erena looking after him."

"In that case he's all right," said Slyde, "Maori women great nurses, always heard."

"They've got a tohunga in the tribe," continued Warwick, "the natives say, can cure any man that's not actually buried—bring him to life, they believe. Between him and Erena we'll see him back in Auckland all right."

Colonel Greer made no delay at Te Ranga. He marched at once with six hundred men, enfiladed page 301the enemy from a spur which commanded their right; drove in their skirmishers and kept up a sharp fire for two hours. Then, reinforced by a gun and two hundred additional men, the advance was sounded.

Short work was made of the assault. The 43rd and 68th, with the 1st Waikato, carried the riflepits with a rush. For a short space the natives fought desperately, then turned and fled, leaving sixty-eight men dead in the rifle-pits. The pursuit was keen. The 43rd avenged their losses at the Gate Pah. One hundred and ten Maoris were killed, twenty wounded, and ten made prisoners. Henare Taratoa lay among the dead. On his body was found a written order of the day. It began with prayer, and ended with the words, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink."

Three stubbornly contested engagements had broken the Maori power. In them they lost their bravest warriors and nearly all their leading chiefs. They had no option but to yield. On the 5th of August the Governor, Sir George Grey, with General Cameron, met the assembled tribes. They had previously surrendered their arms to Colonel Greer, they now surrendered their lands; upon which the Governor promised to care for them as the Queen's subjects. He would retain one-fourth of their lands as atonement for the rebellion, but would return the remainder in recognition of their humanity throughout the war.

The Waikato tribes had sustained a final and crushing defeat. The flower of their race lay low, were wounded or in prison. They had forfeited their port at Tauranga, their most available outlet for produce. The war was ended.