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Old Marlborough. or The Story of a Province.

Chapter VII. — The Wairau Massacre

page 250

Chapter VII.
The Wairau Massacre.

And thus in peace the Wairau lay
Unknown to strife, save for the human need,
Till coldly dawned the fatal day
Of Rauparaha's dark and bloody deed.

Amongst the many unsatisfactory negotiations for the purchase of land entered into between Colonel Wakefield and Te Rauparaha, few seem to have been so ill-defined as that relating to the Wairau Plain. Whether Wakefield really believed that he had bought it, and Rauparaha was as equally confident that he had not sold it, will never be known. Certainly, it is difficult to understand how such a wide difference of impression could have arisen between them had they both been sincere in the transaction. It is true the Colonel might have considered that the Plain was included in the purchases made in 1839, when he bargained for four hundred miles of country, extending from the 38th to the 43rd degree of latitude on the West Coast, and from the. 41st to the 43rd page 251degree on the East Coast; but he knew that the plain had never been specifically named, and in his heart he must have felt that no valid title could rest upon a purchase made as this one was; its full purport not being clearly explained by Dicky Barrett, who acted as interpreter; and the signatures of three chiefs only being obtained to the deed, when thirty thousand natives had, by native law, a voice in its disposal. That Colonel Wakefield did have some reservation, later on, about his right to the land is almost certain, for after the settlement of Nelson had been in progress for about a year he strongly opposed his brother's suggestion to include the Wairau in the district to be surveyed, partly because he considered that its occupation might militate against the success of the Wellington colony, but chiefly because he anticipated that the Company's title would be disputed by other claimants and by the natives. It would therefore seem that Captain Wakefield, the resident agent of the Company, was more to blame for the improper occupation of the valley, and for all the subsequent trouble, in the expiation of which he paid the penalty with his life. He was as conversant as the Colonel with the whole circumstances of the case, and perhaps more so, and had it not been that he had no alternative between opening-page 252up the Wairau, and acknowledging the ignominious failure of the Nelson settlement, he would hardly, in the face of so many warnings, have persisted in his high handed and injudicious course.

The story of the Nelson settlement repeats the tale of undue haste, imperfect preparations, a disposition to make florid promises and hold out inflated inducements, that was common to all the New Zealand Company's attempts at colonisation. One of the essential features of this settlement was that each settler could obtain 150 acres of rural land, 50 acres of suburban land, and one town acre; but when the most thorough exploration of the region around Blind and Massacre Bays had been made it was found that, although a great deal of inferior country had been included in the sections laid off by the surveyors, there was still an enormous deficiency in the area required to provide for all the settlers who had either paid for their land in advance, or were waiting to settle on it. Misled by the reports of some of his officers Captain Wakefield had caused it to be broadly published that there was more than sufficient land at Port Wakatu to meet the requirements of the settlement, and it was while looking round for some tangible fact to page 253justify his assertions that he bethought him of the Wairau.*

During the many excursions made by Mr. Tuckett, the Company's chief surveyor, in search of rural land, he had discovered a route via Top House, by which the Wairau might be reached after a journey of no miles. This fact was reported to Captain Wakefield, who ordered that a complete examination of the district should be made by Mr. Tuckett, who, accompanied by his assistant, Mr. Davidson, and Captain England, a land owner in the settlement, made an extensive exploration, and subsequently conveyed the discomfiting intelligence to the resident agent that the Wairau Plain was the only available surface between Cape Farewell and Cape Campbell sufficient to afford the number of sections required to complete the settlement. The survey of the plain was then decided upon, but intelligence had reached Kapiti that the pakehas had been down to the Wairau, and that they intended to take possession of it. Immediately upon the receipt of this news

* When the expedition ships, the "Will Watch" and "Whitby," were en route to Nelson they were driven by the unfavourable wind within the waters of Cloudy Bay, and while they were beating about between the White Bluff and Port Underwood, from their decks the emigrant passengers got a glimpse of the Vernon Hills, whose slopes were then covered with long waving grass, and the sight of the beautiful pasturage filled them with admiration. But at this time nothing was said by those in charge of the expedition as to the future occupation of this rich and tempting district. It therefore seems abundantly clear that the settlement of the Wairau was a pure afterthought, determined upon by Captain Wakefield when he found it was utterly impossible for the Company to fulfil its engagements with the settlers in the immediate vicinity of Nelson.

page 254Rauparaha, accompanied by Hiko and Rangihaeata, crossed over to Nelson, and sought an interview with Captain Wakefield. In plain and straightforward terms the natives told the Europeans, who had gathered in Dr. Wilson's residence to hear the korero, that they had not sold the Wairau to the principal agent of the Company, and that they had no intention of doing so, unless the payment, or to put it in Rauparaha's own expressive phrase, "the cask of gold was very great." They therefore warned them not to go there as they had no right to the land.

Captain Wakefield's answer was that he intended to proceed with the survey, as he claimed the land in the name of the Company, though on what grounds it is not clear. Rangihaeata vehemently denied the sale, and backed up his protestations by a threat that if Captain Wakefield attempted to carry out his intentions he would meet him and take his head. The agent was in no way disturbed or shaken by the hostile attitude of the chiefs, but to Rangihaeata's boisterous manner he calmly replied that if any interference was offered, he would come with three hundred constables and arrest the belligerent natives. This unconciliatory attitude did not in the least assist to clear the atmosphere, for Rangihaeata went about the settlement during the next few days openly threatening every one page 255with death whom he conceived had any authority amongst the colonists if they ventured to annex the Wairau, unless they could first succeed in killing him, in which event, he said, the land would remain as the lawful possession of the conqueror. Rauparaha, on the other hand, assumed the air of the diplomat, and professed not to sympathise with the policy of his lieutenant, whom he described as a "bad man." At the same time, in his fawning fashion, he entreated the Europeans not to go to the Wairau, and begged that the dispute might be referred to Mr. Spain, the Government Land Commissioner, who had been appointed to investigate the claims of the Company, but Captain Wakefield repudiated the jurisdiction of Mr. Spain in the matter, and refused to comply with the request. The chiefs, finding that neither threats nor persuasion could shake Captain Wakefield in his determination to take possession of the Wairau, indignantly left the settlement, but as a final warning Rauparaha expressed his intention to lay the whole circumstances of the case before the Queen's Commissioner, and demand an immediate settlement of the claim.

Scarcely had the angry Ngatitoas left Nelson than the three chiefs who were resident at the Wairau arrived. These natives were sons of Rauparaha's elder brother, Nohoroa, page 256the oldest of whom, Rawiri Puaha, had previously informed Mr. Tuckett, when that gentleman visited his pah, that the plain was theirs, and that Rauparaha had no power to sell it. They were gratified at the idea that the Europeans looked upon it with a favourable eye, but at the same time they were in no haste to enter into any negotiations for its sale until they had considerably extended their cultivations, in order that they might fairly claim a larger compensation. Doubtless one of their reasons for desiring closer intercourse with the pakehas was that in addition to their clearings they had a large number of pigs running on the plain, which they used as a marketable commodity with the settlers at Port Underwood; but as fast as they cleared and cultivated the land and reared their pigs, Rauparaha was in the habit of coming over and coolly helping himself, with the result that his relations with the resident people were by this time considerably strained, and they probably thought that the presence of the settlers would check these depredations on the part of their high-handed relative. When they heard that Rauparaha had been to Nelson, they, being utterly mistrustful of his methods, at once concluded that he had gone there for the purpose of selling the plain; and it was to counteract this policy as far as possible that they went to see page break
The Tua Marina Stream.

The Tua Marina Stream.

page break
Hon. J. W. Barnicoat, M.L.C.

Hon. J. W. Barnicoat, M.L.C.

page 257Captain Wakefield. That gentleman had always been much more considerate to resident natives than to those whom, like Rauparaha, he described as "travelling bullies," a friendliness which no doubt arose from the mistaken idea that those who held possession had the best title to the land. He was therefore most anxious to make a valid and binding bargain with Puaha, to whom he offered a small schooner and any reasonable quantity of goods, if he would acknowledge that the Wairau had been purchased by his brother, the Colonel. This Puaha refused to do, and therefore at a subsequent interview the resident agent adopted another line of argument, contending that the Company had already a legal title to the district by virtue of its being included in the latitude and longitude purchases made in 1839, and by right of a deed bought from Captain Blenkinsopp's widow for £300. Puaha denied the genuineness of both titles, pointing out that "the Wairau" had evidently been afterwards written into the first deed; and that in the second case, if Rauparaha had sold any portion of the land to Blenkinsopp, he had no right to do so without his (Puaha's) consent, which had never been asked, and never given. For three days the conference was continued by the agent and the chief, without either being able to convince the other; but at last Puaha with-page 258drew, still protesting in manly and dignified language against the views of the agent as to his title to the land.

After these animated interviews it might have been supposed that Captain Wakefield would, in his calmer moments, have seriously reviewed the position, and that against the vague and shadowy rights of the Company as expressed in the two deeds in his possession, in the first of which it was doubtful if the Wairau was included, and both of which it is certain the natives did not understand, he would have set the fact that the authenticity of these sales was being stoutly contested by the resident and non-resident natives interested, and that he would also have recognised that the whole question, having been placed in the hands of Mr. Spain, was entirely sub judice, and as such should have remained in abeyance until the court had pronounced its judgment. These considerations were, however, altogether outweighed by the desire to placate the settlers who were clamouring for their land and to prevent the exposure, of the Company's inability to perform all that it had promised. The fear that if this could not be done he would be open to crushing censure from all with whom they had entered into engagements, and the desire to rescue his own and his brother's reputation from public anger and ridicule, biased his page 259otherwise judicial mind against the merits of the opposing case, which he could scarcely even regard with patience. Accordingly he decided to act upon the impulse that moved him most, and on the 15th of April, 1843, he entered into three contracts for the survey of the plain with Messrs. Barnicoat and Thompson, Mr. Cotterell, and Mr. Parkinson. As there was a probability that the natives would evince a disposition to interfere, a special provision was made in the tenders that the contractors were to be indemnified in case of loss, and on this understanding the surveyors, with forty assistants, arrived a few days later, and commenced operations, Messrs. Barnicoat and Thompson at the Marshlands' side of the valley, Mr. Cotterell in the neighbourhood of Riverlands, and Mr. Parkinson still higher up the plain, towards Grovetown.

At first the resident natives allowed the work to proceed with but slight resistance, once or twice they refused to permit timber to be sawn with which to make pegs and ranging rods, but with the exercise of a little tact and patience these difficulties were overcome, and the work had proceeded with so little friction that before Rauparaha arrived Messrs. Barnicoat and Thompson had practically completed their contract, the others not being quite so far advanced.

Rauparaha and Rangihaeata were at Mana page 260when the news of these proceedings reached them, and they at once engaged with their English friend, Joseph Toms, to convey them and a portion of their party, in his schooner "Three Brothers," to Port Underwood, from whence they intended to reach the Wairau in their canoes. On the 1st of June the schooner and the canoes arrived at the Port, and Rauparaha, with one hundred armed followers, at once proceeded to the house of Mr. Cave, who for seven or eight years had been employed there as cooper for the whaling stations, and with whom they were on the best of terms. To him they declared their intention of burning the surveyors' camps, and for that purpose they left for the Wairau the same evening in eight canoes and a whale-boat. Their threat was duly executed next morning, when Rauparaha with thirty of his people appeared at Mr. Cotterell's camp on the Opawa River, and after stripping his huts, they burned the toe-toe grass with which they were covered, as well as the survey pegs and ranging rods prepared from manuka sticks. They then assisted the surveyors to carry their belongings to the boats, and shipped them off to the pah at the mouth of the river. Their next proceeding was to paddle up the Wairau to Mr. Barnicoat's camp, which was situated on the riverbank close to the Ferry Bridge and there page 261they re-enacted their settled programme. In these proceedings Rauparaha was very firm yet conciliatory. There was no exhibition of temper or violence towards persons or property. He simply gave the surveyors to understand that he would have none of them or their surveying there, and the sooner they returned to Nelson the better he would like it, and to this end he assisted them to remove their instruments and personal effects to a place of safety before he demolished their whares. His reasoning upon this point was most logical, for he argued that the toe-toe, having grown upon the land, was his, that he was entitled to do what he pleased with his own, and so long as he did not interfere with any of the articles brought from England, he committed no breach of justice.

The instruments and baggage were placed in the boats and taken down to the pah, where they were safely landed and their owners treated with every consideration. But before matters had reached this crisis the contractors had despatched a joint letter to Mr. Tuckett at Nelson, explaining the gravity of the situation, and asking him to come down at once and certify to the work already done. On receipt of this communication Mr. Tuckett, accompanied by Mr. Patchett*, at once set out for the Wairau, and on his arrival at the

* Mr. Patchett represented the absentee land-owners in the Nelson settlement.

page 262Bar he was met by Mr. Cotterell, who briefly related all that had transpired since the arrival of Rauparaha, adding that he believed the chiefs were at that moment away in search of Mr. Parkinson, whom they also intended to bring to the pah, and that Mr. Thompson had started for home with most of his men*, but Mr. Barnicoat was remaining with two of his labourers to take charge of their goods and await Mr. Tuckett's acceptance of the survey.
So soon as he had grasped the situation, Mr. Tuckett hastily wrote a letter in pencil to Captain Wakefield, in which he detailed the situation, and intimated his intention of remaining on the scene until the Captain should make his pleasure known to him. This letter he entrusted to Mr. Cotterell, who at once left with his men in the boats for Nelson. The chief surveyor then set off up the Opawa River to the site of Mr. Cotterell's camp, where he pitched a tent and remained all night. In the morning he proceeded, in company with Mr. Patchett and Mr. Moline (Mr. Cotterell's assistant), to search for Mr. Parkinson, and when they arrived at

* The late Mr. Henry Hammond, of Fairhall, was one of the men employed with Mr. Thompson. Mr. Cyrus Goulter, who was surveying with Mr. Cotterell, also returned to Nelson with this party. They were camped just above "The Narrows" in the Wairau Valley on the day of the massacre.

page 263his hut* they found it in possession of a few natives, who had in no way interfered with it. The surveyor and his party not being there, Mr. Tuckett enquired for Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, whom he was informed were in the bush. He thereupon explained that he intended to go over to the Awatere, that he would be absent about three days, and at the end of that time he desired to meet the chiefs at Mr. Cotterell's camp, where he would converse with them over the recent events. The natives gladly undertook to convey this message to Rauparaha, who with Rangihaeata, a number of their followers, and Mr. Parkinson's men, were awaiting them at the appointed place of meeting when the party returned from their explorations beyond the Vernon Hills. Here the expected conference took place, Rauparaha calmly but firmly explaining his reasons for his interference, which were that he claimed the Wairau as his own, but since there was a dispute about it he had, on his return from Nelson, placed the

* This camp was situated near the junction of the four cross-roads at Grovetown, on land that is now the property of Mrs. Alex. Cameron. By the time Mr. Tuckett arrived, Mr. Parkinson, fearing trouble, but not wishing to relinquish the survey before it was finished, had divided his party into two sections. One he sent in charge of Mr. Drake, who formed a new camp on what is now Mr. Lucas' farm, but they were soon discovered and taken with the rest down to the mouth of the river. Amongst the members of this party was Mr. John Gibson, of Renwick, who was then a boy employed to look after the camp. Mr. Parkinson went down to the pah to confer with Mr. Tuckett, but sent his men higher up the plain on to land that has since been washed away by the Opawa River, where they formed a camp. By refraining from lighting fires during the daytime they managed to evade detection, and when rejoined by Mr. Parkinson they returned to Nelson by the overland route.

page 264matter in the hands of Mr. Spain, who had appointed a day on which to hear the case, Rauparaha on his part undertaking that in the meantime none of his people should enter upon the land. The day appointed by Mr. Spain had passed, and fearing that if the survey was finished before he adjudicated upon their claim they would lose their land, they had determined to stop the proceedings. Rauparaha expressed himself as being still willing to abide by Mr. Spain's decision, but the survey must cease and the Europeans must leave, until such time as that judgment had been given. Mr. Tuckett vainly endeavoured to point out the hardship this course would impose upon the contractors and their men, who were dependent upon their work for their living. He also explained that he was expecting instructions from Captain Wakefield, and he asked permission to remain until he heard from his superior.

His request for delay was met by a command to remove his tent to the boat, and upon his refusing to obey, Rangihaeata burst out into a violent passion, and' in a torrent of invective reminded Mr. Tuckett of the warning he had given him in Nelson, ironically remarking that if he was so fond of the Wairau he (Rangihaeata) would bury him there. This insulting outburst was treated with studied contempt by the chief surveyor, page 265who quietly rebuked Rangihaeata for his ungentlemanly behaviour, telling him that he would not converse with him until he mended his manners, the reproof having the desired effect upon the angry chief. While this brief altercation was proceeding Rauparaha had remained silent, although he was evidently exercising a restraining influence upon his comrade. But he now advanced, and once more politely requested Mr. Tuckett to have his tent removed; but that gentleman still persisted in his right to remain, whereupon Rauparaha, becoming impatient, ordered some of his own people to carry out his behest, and in a few minutes the tent was struck and stowed away in the boat. Mr. Tuckett then deemed it unwise to offer further objection, and together with the two chiefs he agreed to go back to the pah.

It had been Mr. Tuckett's intention to embark for Nelson next morning, but in the night a south-easterly gale came up and blew for three days, causing such a surf on the Bar that Rauparaha advised him not to attempt to cross it. During this compulsory stay that chief was most profuse in his expressions of goodwill towards the Europeans, and by his fawning and obsequious manner created a feeling of revulsion in the minds of the Englishmen. Rangihaeata, on the other hand, left them severely alone, neither seeking page 266favours nor intercourse of any kind, and save on one occasion his isolation was complete. That exception arose from the fact that one of the men reported that he had lost a handkerchief and a bill-hook, which he had seen in the possession of Rangihaeata's people, and Mr. Tuckett at once approached the chief and asked to have the property returned. His reply was that he had some bad men as well as good ones amongst his followers, sarcastically adding that perhaps Mr. Tuckett was in the same position, but that as he had come to the Wairau to defend his own and not to thieve, if the surveyor could identify the man he would have his property back, and, failing that, he could have utu instead. The bill-hook was soon found, and here the incident ended, but the impression it made upon Mr. Tuckett was, that if Rangihaeata was more violent than Rauparaha, he was up to this point, certainly the more noble of the two.

As soon as the weather cleared the chief surveyor prepared to take his departure, but as the boat would not carry passengers and baggage both, it was finally decided that Messrs. Barnicoat and Parkinson should remain, and Messrs. Tuckett, Patchett and Moline proceeded to Nelson, although the chiefs raised no objection to the whole party remaining until additional boats could be page 267brought, or until they could be conveyed to one of the whaling stations at Port Underwood. By noon on the following day Mr. Tuckett and his companions had got well into Blind Bay, when they observed the Government brig "Victoria," under full sail, from which a gun was fired as a signal to board her. On doing so they learned that the vessel had just left Nelson, and was proceeding to the Wairau with the police magistrate (Mr. Thompson), Captain Wakefield (the Company's agent), Captain England, J.P., Mr. Cotterell, and some of the landed proprietors of the proposed settlement, as well as the chief constable, Mr. Maling, and twenty-four labouring men who had been sworn-in as special constables. The agent informed the chief surveyor that after Mr. Cotterell had arrived at Nelson and made his report, it had been decided to proceed as soon as possible to the scene of operations and arrest the chiefs on a charge of arson, a warrant having been granted by Messrs. Thompson, P.M., Captain Wakefield, Captain England, and A. McDonald, Esq., justices of the peace. Mr. Tuckett was naturally surprised and deeply grieved at this intelligence, and in antagonism to the rash and impolitic step, he informed Captain Wakefield of Rauparaha's interview with Mr. Spain, and of that chief's willingness to still abide by the decision of the court. He further pointed page 268out the great care observed by the natives not to interfere with any of the surveyors' property or to injure the persons of any of their employees. He proceeded to argue that the men on board would not number one-half the strength of the natives then at the Wairau, and contrasted this numerical weakness with the threat made by the Captain at Nelson, that if Rangihaeata interfered with the survey he would come with three hundred constables to arrest him. His impression, therefore, was that the smallness of the party would inspire confidence in the minds of the natives rather than dread, and he strongly urged that however satisfied the agent might feel about the result, prudence demanded that they should appear on the plain with such a force as would completely overawe the Maoris, and to which there would be no humiliation in surrendering. In support of his views he handed to Captain Wakefield a letter which he had received from the Rev. Mr. Ironsides on the 12th of June, the day that he had met Mr. Cotterell at the Bar, in which the missionary, ripe with experience of Maori customs, and knowing how tenaciously they clung to their rights in landed property, ventured the opinion that unless this dispute was most diplomatically handled, the result might be extremely serious. Captain Wakefield expressed him-page 269self deeply thankful for the counsel contained in Mr. Ironsides' letter and also for the advice tendered by Mr. Tuckett, with whose whole conduct he entirely acquiesced. So impressed was he with the force of the chief surveyor's arguments, that he at once went into the cabin, where Mr. Thompson was, and requested him to read Mr. Ironsides' letter, stating that from it and other considerations urged by Mr. Tuckett, he had come to the conclusion that it would be wiser to return to Nelson. Mr. Thompson was totally averse to turning back, as he begrudged missing the opportunity of giving the natives what he called "a prestige for the law" and of showing the Government the correct way to deal with such troublesome fellows, at the same time expressing the opinion that if the authorities at Wellington had dealt with these chiefs as he had dealt with Ekawa at Massacre Bay, they would have ceased to give annoyance long ago. He also stated that if they returned at that stage they would simply be laughed at by the settlers, and he was not going to put himself in that undignified position. In his determination to go on Mr. Thompson was seconded by the Crown Prosecuter (Mr. Richardson), who begged that the expedition might not be given up, as he considered it was "only a lark," and in deference to the aggressive wishes of the magistrate and page 270the pleasurable inclinations of the* lawyer, Captain Wakefield committed the fatal error of agreeing to proceed. Mr. Tuckett, still apprehensive that disastrous consequences would follow if Mr. Thompson's unwise counsels prevailed, earnestly remonstrated with that gentleman, taking up the attitude that he was exceeding his rights in proceeding to execute his warrant with an armed force. The magistrate admitted the correctness of Mr. Tuckett's premises, but he hotly resented the assumption that he intended to use the force at all. He then explained that he did not know that he would land the men. Certainly he would not give out the arms or take the force into the presence of the natives until he had first exhausted every plausible means to get the chiefs to submit themselves to trial on board the brig. Should they refuse to do so, which he did not expect, then he would investigate the charge on the spot, and afterwards decide whether he should call in the aid of the armed party or not. Had this plan of operations been strictly observed, much that afterwards happened might have been averted, but in no single particular did the magistrate follow his promised line of action, for as soon as the vessel arrived at Cloudy Bay the men were supplied with firearms and landed at the mouth of the Wairau River.

On seeing the Government brig enter the page 271Bay the Maoris had abandoned the old pah at the Bar, retired further up the plain, and next morning the magistrate's band of special constables was ordered to get ready and go in pursuit. Perceiving that his worst fears were likely to be realised, and that the magistrate would not go without the armed force, Mr. Tuckett made a final appeal to Captain Wakefield, and offered to go himself and see Rauparaha, in company with the chief constable and the interpreter, if only the men bearing arms were allowed to remain where they were. To this suggestion the Captain readily agreed, and at once put the proposal before Mr. Thompson, who also consented, and ordered the chief constable to prepare himself for the journey; but when Mr. Maling announced himself ready to go he presented such an armour-plated appearance that the chief surveyor absolutely refused to be seen in his company. He wore a cutlass at his side, a brace of pistols and a pair of handcuffs in his belt, while he carried a pair of heavy leg irons in his hand. How he proposed to get Rauparaha down to the Bar when he was both handcuffed and hobbled, is not very clear, nor did he have time to explain, for Mr. Tuckett at once drew attention to his accoutrements, and pointed out that the leg irons would have an especially exasperating effect upon the natives, while if he page 272insisted upon carrying pistols, it would at least be judicious to conceal them, and so avoid the appearance of intimidation. The magistrate at once ordered that the irons should be discarded, but also intimated that he had changed his mind as to the mode of procedure, and that he had now determined the whole force should participate in the arrest, a decision from which no amount of persuasion could induce him to deviate.

At the outset an attempt was made to ascend the river in boats, but as the ebb tide was flowing, and the wind was unfavourable, the travelling was both slow and laborious, and before they had proceeded very far the boats were abandoned, and the party, except Mr. Cotterell and his men, who remained in a whaleboat, commenced the march along a survey track which ran parallel with the river. By this time the ardour of the men had been considerably subdued; the bitter cold night experienced at the Bar had helped to extinguish their enthusiasm, and now the keen morning wind and bad walking through the long wet grass completely dissipated all idea that the affair was to be regarded in the light of a pleasure trip. During the course of the journey, which was both a slow and irritating one, Captain Wakefield expressed the opinion that the natives were more inclined to trade than war, and that the prospect of their at-page break
W. H. Eyes.Fifth Superintendent.

W. H. Eyes.
Fifth Superintendent.

page break
Relics of the Wairau Massacre.Including Captain Wakefield's Epaulet Box

Relics of the Wairau Massacre.
Including Captain Wakefield's Epaulet Box

page 273tempting
to fight in the event of a forcible arrest being made was very small. In reply to this Mr. Tuckett still adhered to his former opinion that the Maoris would most certainly offer resistance if the armed force was taken into their presence. While this discussion was going on, the party reached the bend in the river at the back of Grovetown, where they met a number of resident natives, who, in consequence of their differences with Rauparaha, were quitting the Wairau and were returning to Port Underwood. Amongst them were Puaha, a lad named Rore (who afterwards became the honoured and respected chief of the Wairau natives), his father and a few other Maoris cutting timber in the bush. Of these they enquired the whereabouts of Rauparaha, and were informed that he was a few miles further up the valley at the Tua Marina Stream. Night coming on they decided to camp in the Tua Mautine Wood*, but took the precaution to send Puaha forward to acquaint Rauparaha of the nature of their visit, and he was followed by the remainder of the natives at a later hour.
Mr. Thompson was careful to explain to Puaha that he had not come to interfere with him, but it was noticed that his countenance bore a most anxious and concerned expression, and in the brief interview he had with

* Big bush at Grovetown.

page 274the magistrate, he not only advised, but earnestly entreated him not to precipitate a quarrel by taking the armed men into the presence of Rauparaha and his followers; for if he did so it would be impossible to convince them that he had not come for the purpose of shedding blood. The pained look that fell upon the face of Puaha when he realised what the magistrate intended to do, made a deep impression upon Captain Wakefield, and he several times made reference to it. Even when waking from his sleep in the night he spoke of the fact as though he had a gloomy presentiment that all would not be well on the morrow. Mr. Thompson did not appear to be troubled with any such forebodings, his concern was that he would not have the opportunity of arresting the chiefs, who would probably make good their escape as soon as Puaha conveyed his message to them, and he endeavoured to make light of the agent's fears by explaining that Puaha's troubled looks were due to the conflict between the dictates of his barbarous nature and the influence of his Christian teaching, which, under the circumstance, would naturally rage within him—a course of reasoning that Captain Wakefield seemed to cheerfully accept.

At dawn next morning the camp of Rauparaha was easily distinguished by the smoke rising through the forest trees at the mouth of page 275the Waitohi Valley about four miles away. The magistrate then mustered his constables and served out to each man eighteen rounds of ball cartridge. When all-told they numbered 40 men, bearing muskets, bayonets and cutlasses, besides ten or twelve gentlemen who were without arms, the chief surveyor and Mr. Cotterell, being members of the Society of Friends, refusing to carry them in accordance with their religious principles. After a short march across the plain through the fern and toe-toe they arrived at the foot of the Tua Marina hills, and there they halted, having during the course of the journey been cautioned not to fire unless ordered to do so.

The constitution of the arresting party was not calculated to ensure success in the event of resistance on the part of the Maoris. They were untrained and without discipline, some of them were even unwilling participants in the expedition, for they had been coerced into coming by the threat that they would lose their employment in the service of the Company if they refused to assist in the arrest of the chiefs. Their arms were old-fashioned and not in the best of repair, there was a total lack of organisation, and apparently no common understanding as to who was in authority. Under these circumstances the result could scarcely have been different, page 276considering the character of the men with whom they had to deal.

Anyone sitting on the hillside even now can, without the aid of a vivid imagination, picture the animated scene which took place on that bright June morning. What are now grass paddocks were flats, more or less covered with native scrub, here and there only a remnant of what was then dense bush remains, but otherwise the physical features of the landscape are but little changed. The Maoris were squatting around their camp fires on the western side of the Tua Marina* Stream when they first observed the Europeans, whom they immediately hailed, and enquired if they intended to fight. Mr. Thompson answered in the negative, and after explaining the purpose for which he had come, asked the natives to place a canoe across the stream that he might come over and talk the more freely to them. Rauparaha consented to this course, but stipulated that the armed men were not to be allowed to cross over, and the magistrate agreeing to this condition, the special constables were left in charge of Captain England and Mr. Howard, who had instructions to act if called upon, while he, accompanied by Captain Wakefield, Mr. Patchett, Mr. Tuckett, Mr. Cotterell and Mr. Brooks, the interpreter, crossed over on the

* The original name of this stream was Wai Tua Marina, meaning calm, peaceful, or sleeping water

page 277canoe, which was immediately drawn back again alongside the bank by a native named Piccawarro (big fellow) to prevent any surprise from the force on the other side of the stream. When the magistrate walked into the presence of the natives he observed that they numbered about go men and 35 women and children, but as an indication of their peaceful intentions they had placed in the midst of their group three women, the wives of Rauparaha, Rangihaeata and Puaha, while the party of resident natives sat on one side and the immediate followers of Rauparaha on the other. The noble and dignified Puaha stood in the centre with a Bible in his hand, reading from it select passages, and exhorting both parties to peace, while the natives sitting around chanted the usual welcome Haere-mai Haere-mai. Rangihaeata lay concealed behind some bushes, but Rauparaha came forward frankly when Mr. Thompson enquired for him, saying: "Here am I," and offered to shake hands with the strangers, but this courtesy was declined by the magistrate, who pushed the chief's hand away, and it was left to Mr. Tuckett and Mr. Cotterell to perform the politenesses of a friendly greeting.

In reply to Rauparaha's enquiry as to what had brought them there, Mr. Thompson proceeded to explain to him through Brooks, the interpreter, that he was their prisoner.

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Rauparaha disdainfully replied that it would be time enough to indulge in such talk when Mr. Spain had made his inquiry about the land. They then strove to make him understand that as this case had nothing to do with the land, but was a charge of arson, it did not come within the province of Mr. Spain to inquire into it, but that the charge must be heard on the brig. Rauparaha declared that he had not destroyed any European property, in proof of which he appealed to Mr. Cotterell, who admitted the truth of his assertion and therefore he would not go on board the brig, but he was quite willing that the matter should be adjudicated upon there and then, and provided the compensation demanded was not excessive he would be prepared to pay rather than there should be any ill-feeling between the two races. Thereupon he was told that if he would not go voluntarily he must be taken by force, and a pair of handcuffs were produced to impress him with the sincerity of this threat. His chieftain blood was aroused by this insult, and he indignantly dared them to try to imprison his hands in such instruments and bind him like a slave. The magistrate, who was now rapidly losing his temper, began to stamp and rave, and then desired the interpreter to finally ask Rauparaha to say whether he would go on board the brig or not, and upon his still firmly page 279refusing to do so Mr. Thompson turned to Brooks and exclaimed, with a violent gesture in the direction of the opposite bank, "Then tell him there are the armed party, they will fire on them all." A native from the Bay of Islands who was present amongst Rauparaha's people, and who understood a smattering of English, told those of Rauparaha's party that an order to fire had been given, and sixteen of them at once sprang to their feet, and presenting their muskets at the magistrate, awaited the order from their chief to fire. The mistaken impression under which this hostile display had been made was at once removed by the chief surveyor and Mr. Patchetc, who walked over to them and explained that only a threat, and not an order to fire had been given, and on this assurance they immediately subsided to their seats on the ground. The altercation between Mr. Thompson and Rauparaha still proceeded, during which the former produced his warrant, which he told the chief was the "book-a-book" of the Queen "to make a tie," and that he was the Queen, again adding in high and excited tones, stamping his foot the while, that if Rauparaha did not consent to surrender himself, he would order the Europeans to fire on them. This was quickly interpreted to the armed natives by the stranger from the Bay of Islands, and they instantly page 280sprang to their feet, and pointed their muskets at Mr. Thompson and his companions as before. At this point the peace-making Puaha stepped forward with his Testament in his hand and strove to reason with Mr. Thompson, but that gentleman in his frenzy and rage pushed the native aside, and angrily called out for Rangihaeata to come forward. That chief, on hearing his name, came from behind the bushes which concealed him, and leaping into the midst of the throng, began to brandish his hatchet in dangerous proximity to the magistrate's head, meanwhile upbraiding him in a most violent manner. "What do you want with Rangihaeata that you come here to bind him? Do I go to Port Jackson or to Europe to steal your lands? Have I burned your house? Have I destroyed tents or anything belonging to you?" Such were the pertinent enquiries the angry chief made as to why the indignity of arrest should be put upon him, and as it was quite evident from his flashing eyes and bitter tones that he was in no mood to be trifled with, Mr. Patchett appealed to the chief surveyor to interfere, "otherwise," he said, "we shall all be murdered." Rauparaha, seeing that his companion's manner was not likely to improve matters, ordered him to retire and leave the settlement of the matter to Puaha and himself, at the same time leading Rangihaeata's page 281lame wife, Te Rongo, to him so that she might be under his protection. Mr. Tuckett then seized the opportunity of pointing out to Captain Wakefield that in the event of Rangihaeata's temper getting the better of him they would be completely at the mercy of the natives, seeing that their retreat had been cut-off by the removal of the canoe, and after a brief consultation with Puaha, they agreed it would be wisest to restore the means of communication between themselves and their party on the other side of the stream. Captain Wakefield took the initiative by jumping into the canoe, and with the aid of a pole shoved the bow down the stream until he found a convenient landing place on the other side. While this movement was in progress Mr. Thompson had made another attempt to place the handcuffs upon Rauparaha's wrists, and just at that moment, when the chief had indignantly wrested his hand from the constable's grasp and was bitterly expostulating against the conduct of the Queen's officers, Captain Wakefield stepped on to the opposite bank of the creek, and noticing a threatening movement towards Mr. Thompson on the part of the natives, in a loud voice he gave the command, "Men, forward; Englishmen, forward." The company at once obeyed, and four of the men who were in the front, Morgan, Clanzey, Ratcliffe and Tyrrell, page 282jumped into the canoe for the purpose of crossing over to assist Mr. Thompson, while almost simultaneously that gentleman turned and entered the canoe at the other end, with the result that she was nearly capsized, and a momentary confusion ensued, during which one of the Englishmen in striving to get in front of his companions on the bank, tripped and fell, and in the fall his gun was accidentally discharged. That was the fatal crisis, for it turned what had hitherto been only stirring drama into fearful tragedy. The natives now had no doubt that the Europeans had come to fight, and they at once returned the fire, the first volley being fatal to Tyrrell, who was shot in the throat, Clanzey and Ratcliffe being also shot by the first discharge of musketry, and their bodies fell into the water and sank to the bottom. The Englishmen returned volley for volley, and in the midst of the general fusillade Mr. Thompson and his party passed safely over on the canoe, Mr. Tuckett being the last to leave the bank on which the natives were, which he did by entering the stream, and with one hand on the canoe pulled himself through the water. At this stage of the fight the natives might easily have killed every one of the leading Europeans, for when they started to cross the stream the muzzles of their guns were no more than a few inches away from them, and the fact that page 283they were not shot must have been due to some chivalrous sentiment on the part of the natives, who, seeing them unarmed, honourably abstained from attacking them. For some ten minutes after crossing the creek Mr. Tuckett stood no more than twenty yards away, fully exposed to the fire that was being kept up by the natives and fourteen or fifteen of the European rank and file. Beside him stood Messrs. Barnicoat, Cotterell, Richardson, Patchett and Mating, the two latter of whom were shot almost at the same moment. Mr. Richardson bent over Mr. Patchett and enquired if he was hurt, to which that gentleman replied, "I am mortally wounded, I am mortally wounded; you can do no good for me, make your escape."

As the bullets now began to rain down upon them thick and fast, and as several of the labourers had fallen in the vicinity, amongst them being Northam, Smith, and Burton, Mr. Tuckett and his friends retired to the foot of the ridge whither the other officers had gone with a portion of the men to consult as to the best course to pursue. Their decision was to retreat up the hill, and they called to Mr. Tuckett and the rest of the party to follow them. This act of mistaken generalship cost them dearly, for up to that time their fire had kept the natives penned up on the other side of the stream, page 284but the moment they observed the Europeans falling back they dashed into the water, and carrying their guns above their heads to keep them dry, crossed over and took possession of the trees which grew on the opposite edge, and, secure within this cover, opened a galling fire upon the Europeans, who were now hopelessly exposed upon the face of the fern-clad hill. Mr. Thompson did his utmost to steady the party by exclaiming, "For God's sake men, keep together," but his appeals were for the most part disregarded, not more than a third of the men remaining with their leaders, the rest of them retreating up the ridge and firing haphazard as they went. Captain Wakefield's attempts to instil something like discipline into the men were likewise frustrated by some panic-stricken individual rushing up and shouting out, "Run for your lives lads, run!" — an injunction which they were not slow to obey—and in an instant all semblance of organisation had disappeared. Time after time a few men were got together, but the majority of them were always utterly beyond control. On the last occasion that some of them were rallied, Captain Wakefield and Warrant Officer Howard ordered the men to fix bayonets and charge the natives, but on one of the men, who had been in the artillery, pointing out that there was no one visible to page 285charge at, the idea was abandoned, and a further retreat up the hill-side was the result of a protest on the part of the artilleryman, who declined to remain where he was "and be shot down like a crow," for the natives were still maintaining a steady fire, those who were short of bullets using pebbles as a substitute. On the second brow of the hill they met Mr. Cotterell, who was sitting down with a double-barrelled gun at his side. At the commencement of the quarrel he had been unarmed, but he now had seized this weapon with which to defend himself. He appeared deeply distressed at what had occurred, and expressed his intention of quitting the scene, but he was dissuaded from this course by Captain Wakefield, who, addressing him in most earnest tones said, "For God's sake, Mr. Cotterell, don't attempt to run away, you are sure to be shot if you do." Mr. Cotterell therefore remained with the party, but remarked to Richard Painter, one of his own men, "This is bad work, Dick."

Being now out of range of the native fire a council of war was held by such of the party as could be got together, and finally it was decided that Captain England and Mr. Howard should bear a flag of truce to the natives and endeavour to settle the dispute by negotiation. A white handkerchief was accordingly fixed on a stick, and with this page 286fluttering in the breeze the two officers started towards the wood. As an indication of their sincerity in desiring to relinquish fighting, Captain Wakefield ordered all those who were with him to lay their arms on the ground*, and the natives, seeming fully to appreciate the nature of the advances that were being made to them, ceased firing, and a number of them left their muskets behind the trees and came out to meet the bearers of the flag. Captain England and his comrade had almost reached the wood when some of the Englishmen who had halted much higher up the hill than Captain Wakefield, seeing the Maoris emerging from the bush, commenced to fire upon them, notwithstanding that they had seen both the flag of truce and their companions lay down their arms. Regarding this as a dastardly act of treachery the Maoris beat a hasty retreat back to the bush, and re-opened a rapid fire upon the Englishmen, whereupon Captain England and Mr. Howard ran back to the hill, and reached the spot from which they had started, uninjured by the native bullets. This attempt at conciliation having failed through the folly of their own people, at which the magistrate, in

* Some years ago the late Mr. Peake, schoolmaster at Tua Marina, while rambling over Massacre Hill, found the cutlass of a naval officer, which he believed must have belonged to Warrant Officer Howard, as from the description given of those composing the arresting party, he was likely to have had such a weapon in his possession. An old flintlock, pistol, cutlass, and bayonet, found on the same hill, are now in the possession of Mr. John Taylor. (See Illustration.)

page 287despair and disgust, stamped his feet and tore his hair, exclaiming "Oh men! men!" he and Captain Wakefield decided to go further up the hill and meet those who were in advance of them to induce them, if possible, to act in concert with the rest, but this seemed to be as impossible as before, for no sooner did the one section begin to advance than the other began to retreat, and Mr. Tuckett, seeing that this must go on indefinitely, endeavoured to persuade Captain Wakefield that their best hope of reaching the beach and getting back to the brig was to abandon the ridge they were climbing and strike down into the plain. Although this advice was twice pressed on Wakefield he took no notice of it, and Mr. Tuckett thereupon calling to Mr. Barnicoat and a labourer named Gay to follow him, descended in an oblique direction on to the plain below. For a moment Mr. Cotterell hesitated which course he would take, but finally decided to go up the spur with the rest, and this decision cost him his life. When Captain Wakefield and his party began their last retreat most of them left their muskets lying on the brow of the hill, and were therefore quite defenceless, but the Maoris kept up a running fire as they gradually crept up the side of the range. As they approached the summit of the first knoll Mr. Cotterell stopped and surrendered himself page 288when the natives reached him, calling out: "Enough, enough, that will do the fight," in the hope of assuring them that the Europeans wanted peace, but he was immediately struck down and his body thrown into a manuka bush. Captain Wakefield followed his example by surrendering a few minutes later, as did also Captain England, Messrs. Richardson, Howard, Brooks, Cropper, McGregor and the magistrate. A few of the younger natives were in the van of the pursuit, and these held the prisoners in hand until the arrival of Rauparaha, whom they had outstripped. At first gold was offered as a ransom, and it seemed as if the feud would end with no more bloodshed, for the chief had accepted the assurances of Captain Wakefield that the shooting had been a mistake, and he had shaken hands with them all, when Rangihaeata, who had killed the wounded as he found them lying on the hillside, panting with haste and anger, rushed up and called out to Rauparaha, "What are you doing? Your daughter Te Rongo* is dead! What are you doing, I say?" He thereupon scorned the acceptance of gold, and demanded the lives of the principal Europeans as the only utu

* Te Rongo was not the daughter of Te Rauparaha, as is generally supposed, but a much more distant relative she was the widow of Te Whaiti, a nephew of Rauparaha and a first cousin of Rangihaeata, who married her because she was the widow of his near relative. The story that she was shot while standing in front of Rangihaeata, to protect him, is pure romance. She was killed by a stray bullet while hiding in the swamp at the rear of the Maori camp.

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High Street, 1869.Eastern End in Flood.

High Street, 1869.
Eastern End in Flood.

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Raising the S.S. "Taranaki." Wrecked near Tory Channel on August 19Th, 1868. S.S. "Ladybird" acting as Tender.

Raising the S.S. "Taranaki."
Wrecked near Tory Channel on August 19Th, 1868. S.S. "Ladybird" acting as Tender.

page 289that would compensate him for the loss of his wife, exclaiming in impassioned tones, "We are sure to be killed for this some day. The white people will take utu, let us then have some better blood than that of these tutua (common men). We are chiefs; let us kill the chiefs and take utu for ourselves beforehand." To this Rauparaha was at first reluctant to agree, and his objections were well supported by Puaha and the other Christian natives, but he felt that in view of Te Rongo's death the demand was a reasonable one, and he at length yielded to the powerful appeal of his lieutenant, and delivered the unfortunate colonists over to their fate. At this juncture Mr. Thompson seemed, for the first time, to be apprehensive of serious consequences attending his conduct, and he implored Rauparaha to save their lives, but that chief haughtily answered, "Did I not warn you how it would be? A little while ago I wished to talk with you in a friendly manner and you would not, now you say 'Save me.' I will not save you." The whole party then retired a little lower down the hill, and there the massacre was commenced. Captain Wakefield and Mr. Thompson were killed by a son of Te Ahuta, the first native who fell in the fight, as a retribution for the death of his father. Brooks, the interpreter, was struck down by Rangihaeata and despatched by the slaves, which would page 290account for the mangled condition in which his body was found by the burial party from Port Underwood. The rest of the slaughter, according to native accounts, was conducted mainly by Rangihaeata, and was accomplished by that chief gliding silently behind the victims, while they were standing amongst the crowd of natives, and braining them with a single blow of his tomahawk. The peculiar part of the tragedy was that none of the Englishmen, except Captain Wakefield, made the slightest resistance, and even he was checked by Mr. Howard exclaiming, "For God's sake, sir, do nothing rash!" Perhaps their ignorance of the native language prevented them from understanding all that was passing around them until they received the fatal blow; but there was no struggle, no cries, except from the native women, led by Puaha's wife, who pleaded with the men to "save some of the rangitiras, if only to say they had saved some." No Englishman who survived actually saw the massacre, and therefore it is impossible to describe the exact method of its execution, but the colonists to all appearances met their fate with the greatest equanimity, for George Bampton, who had concealed himself amongst the fern only a few yards from the spot where the tragedy was enacted, in giving evidence at Nelson before Messrs. A. McDonald, Dr. page 291Monro and George Duppa, J.'sP., a few days after the event, deposed that "he heard neither cries nor screaming, but merely the sound of beating or chopping, which he supposed at the time to be the natives tomahawking the white people."

In accordance with Rauparaha's express orders, none of the dead bodies were mutilated or stripped, although Captain Wakefield's watch was taken by Rangihaeata and buried with Te Rongo, while one native regaled himself with a pair of white gloves, and another with a pair of silver-mounted pistols. After burying their own dead in the Waitohi Valley, the two chiefs with their followers came down to the mouth of the Wairau River, bringing with them their own canoes and the whale-boat which had been taken up by Mr. Cotterell and his men. In these they went first to Robin Hood Bay and then to Te Awaiti, where they remained a few days, finally crossing the Strait to Mana and Otaki, there to await developments.

Shortly after the skirmishing began, a Sydney merchant named Ferguson, who had been a passenger in the brig to Nelson, and had accompanied her to the Wairau under the impression that he would have a pleasant outing, had taken one of the wounded men, Capper, down to the river where the boats had been left that morning, and with the page 292boatman who had been stationed in charge, these three had paddled down the river to the Bar, and reached the brig that afternoon. A number of the men had also gone down the Waitohi Valley, which was then densely bushed, and by this means had evaded pursuit until they could return to Nelson by the overland route. Others again who had broken away from the main body had made for the sea, so that before Mr. Tuckett and his two companions had proceeded very far they were joined by eight of the original party, one of whom, John Bumforth, was badly wounded in the shoulder, an injury which afterwards necessitated the amputation of his arm. Mr. Tuckett first proposed that they should divide into two parties, the one to proceed to the Bar and the other to the vicinity of Port Underwood, thinking that by this means the chances of some of them reaching the brig would be increased, but the men stoutly refused to separate, and the chief surveyor then decided to proceed to the corner of Cloudy Bay nearest the Port, where luckily they found one of Mr. Dougherty's fully equipped whale-boats riding in the bay a few chains off. They hailed the boatmen and explained that they wished to be taken to the brig, which was anchored some seven or eight miles away, but owing to the heavy swell that was rolling into the bay at the time and page 293the large number of the party, there was the greatest difficulty in persuading the whalers to comply with the request. Even after the danger of embarking had been overcome, the headsman* had almost made up his mind not to risk the voyage to the brig, but to land the party at Port Underwood. But fortune still favoured the fugitives, for at this moment another boat's crew who had been watching their movements, imagining that they had sighted a whale, came out in pursuit, and in their delight at seeing their opponents fooled, and the desire to fool them still more, all thought of danger vanished as they raced away towards the brig, which was almost reached before the pursuing crew discovered the true position of affairs. Up to this point the whalers had not been informed why Mr. Tuckett and his friends desired to get on board the brig, but they were now told that a fracas had occurred between the Europeans and the natives, that the leaders of the party were Rauparaha's prisoners, and a promise, that was never fulfilled, was extracted from the boatmen that they would convey the intelli-

* There died at Picton Hospital on September 26th, 1899, Isaac Wallace—a Kauaka—one of the oldest residents in the colony, having, as he said, when a young man, lived with one of the first missionaries who had visited the colony. To give some idea of his age, he had a tattoo mark on his arm testifying that he was steersman in his fifth whale-ship in 1824. Wallace was one of the party who rescued, at the Boulder Bank, some of those who escaped from the Wairau Massacre in 1843. He had been a resident of the Sound for many years, following his calling as a whaler, until old age prevented his leading an active life, and for some years he had been an inmate of the above-mentioned hospital. Deceased was reported, and with probability, to be over 100 years of age.—M. Press.

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to the other settlers at the Port, and prepare them to act as they might think best under the circumstances. The captain of the brig then sent his boats to search the shore, in the hope that other fugitives had reached the beach, bat no one was seen, and no unusual event was noted except the burning of a large fire at the mouth of the river, which had been lit for some purpose by the natives. The anchor was then weighed and the brig sailed for Wellington, the captain, whose inclination was to enter Port Underwood, adopting this course at the earnest solicitation of Mr. Tuckett, who belived that if assistance was necessary it could be more easily obtained from the larger centre of population.
When the news of what had happened spread through the infant settlement early next morning, the excitement ran wild and high, and the settlers, believing that at the worst Captain Wakefield and his friends were only prisoners in the hands of the natives, immediately organised a band of volunteers to effect their forcible rescue. Their departure was, however, delayed by a gale, which had the effect of making most of the volunteers seasick, and by the time the storm had abated wiser councils prevailed, and it was decided that only a quorum of magistrates and Dr. Dorset, the surgeon of the settlement, should proceed to the scene, the impression having page 295gained ground that intercession was more likely to prevail with the Maoris than the presence of an armed force. The brig left Wellington for Cloudy Bay that night, and it was when she arrived at Port Underwood that Colonel Wakefield and Mr. Tuckett learned for the first time the appalling nature of the tragedy which had been enacted, and that the natives, both resident and visiting, had hurriedly left the Wairau, believing that retaliatory measures would speedily be taken against them. Altogether, about twenty-seven of the arresting party managed to elude the pursuit of Rangihaeata's warriors. After passing through intense privations, some wandered back to Nelson, but most of them went to Port Underwood, a few suffering from wounds and all from protracted hunger and exposure. The first to arrive were Morgan and Morrison, who reached Ocean Bay with their trousers worn to their knees, and they were shortly followed by others who were in no better plight. Their wants and wounds were attended to by Mrs. Dougherty, who ministered to them with the kindest of care, and it was by these few survivors that the whalers were first apprised of the catastrophe. The Rev. Mr. Ironsides had heard vague rumours about impending trouble between the chiefs and the Government, but as he had not seen the arrival of the brig he paid no page 296heed to them until the following Sunday, when, in the midst of a heavy rain-storm, he noticed a Maori swiftly paddling his canoe up the bay. Knowing that a native would only be out on such a day under exceptional circumstances, Mr. Ironsides sent one of his mission boys to enquire. The boy did not return, which only increased the anxiety, and later on, when a few particulars did reach the station, they were only sufficient to indicate that a collision had taken place, but there were no details; and that night the missionary and his wife retired to rest a prey to the greatest suspense. Next morning the storm had increased to a perfect hurricane, and as it was impossible to launch a boat, they could do nothing but wait until Tuesday, by which time the weather had moderated, and a boat's crew of whalers took Mr. Ironsides down to Ocean Bay, where the two chiefs and their exultant followers had arrived. From them the whole story was gleaned, and by them the tragedy was justified; "for," said Te Rangihaeata, "they killed my wife Te Rongo, and they did not punish the murderer of Kuika." Mr. Ironsides at once asked permission to go and bury the dead, whereupon the fiery Rangihaeata ejaculated, "What do you want to go for? Better leave them to the wild pigs. But you can go if you like." Still the gale was too page 297severe to safely venture across the twelve miles of open sea, but so anxious had they all become that next morning a start was once more made from Ngakuta, and at the imminent risk of their lives the brave crew* pulled their boat across the stormy bar into the river. On arriving at Tua Marina, Mr. Ironsides and his party found that all the bodies had been left as Rauparaha had directed—unmutilated. The watch of Captain Wakefield, for the reason already given, was gone, and one of the pistols, which he had evidently attempted to fire but the cap had missed, had been laid across his throat in compliance with Maori custom, and a piece of "damper," in savage derision, had been placed under his head. The body of Brooks, the interpreter, was found to be in the most mangled condition, the others apparently only having received the one final and decisive

* Some difference of opinion has arisen as to whether it was a European or native crew who took Mr. Ironsides up to Tua Marina, but the evidence seems to be in favour of the latter assumption. Mr. Tuckett in his account says: "Accompanied by a few attached natives, Mr. Ironsides entered the Wairau River when the state of the weather would have deterred others less habituated in self-sacrifice. Mr. Spain immediately engaged whale-boats and crews to proceed with the party on board the brig, but the boatmen could not be induced to attempt to enter the river until the weather moderated."

Mr. Ironsides is reported to have said, "The whalers were frightened to go down on account of the heavy sea until they saw me with a boat's crew of Maoris."

To this Mr. Aldrich, of Port Underwood, replies, in support of his contention that the crew was composed of Europeans: "This could not have been the case, as there were no Maoris at the Port except one young man, for whom Mr. Ironsides gave two blankets to his master, as he was a slave. I pulled up to Ngakuta in a seven-oared whaleboat and a full crew, and took in Mr. Ironsides and the young Maori, and we went down and buried the people.

page 298blow when they were struck down by the enraged Rangihaeata. Five bodies were discovered in the bush close to the creek, and were there interred with the benefits of a Christian burial, while those who were slain on the brow of the hill, thirteen in number, were buried near-by with similar rites. This fatiguing work had been almost completed by the devoted missionary* and his band of native helpers when Colonel Wakefield, with the party from the brig, arrived to assist in the work. On an extended search being made by the combined parties, one more body was found at the point where the road turns into the Waitohi Valley, and it was buried where it lay. Probably it was that of Isaac Smith, who had either sought to escape after being mortally wounded, and had died in the attempt, or had been overtaken in his flight and killed where he was found. Mr. Patchett was buried in a single grave on the spot where he fell, and Tyrrell and Northam were interred together close beside him.
Upon the return of the party to Port Underwood, Messrs. Spain and McDonough (the magistrate at Wellington), set about the collection, with all possible speed, of the available

* In recognition of the kindly and humane service rendered by Mr. Ironsides during this critical and anxious period, the Nelson settlers presented him with a testimonial in the shape of a handsome edition of the Bible, bound in three volumes. The gift was gracefully acknowledged by the reverend gentleman in a letter to Mr. Domett, dated from Wellington on February 20th, 1845.

page 299information concerning the disaster from those of both races who had been present, and who had now arrived at the settlement. Amongst those whose depositions were taken were two Maori boys, both of whom had been wounded, and who were being taken care of by female relatives. Their story is a general corroboration of the Maori version, and they were both unanimous in declaring that when the Europeans were overtaken on the brow of the hill, Puaha, who was one of the first to reach them, offered them his hand and did all in his power to obviate further bloodshed by pointing out that he had counted the slain, and as both sides had exactly the same number shot, there was no need for further utu. In this view Rauparaha at first concurred, but he finally gave way before the vehement protestations of Rangihaeata, who reminded him in violent tones of his duty to his dead relative Te Rongo, and allowed his enraged lieutenant to work his wicked will, which Puaha and his people, being unarmed, were powerless to prevent, and thus there was no friendly hand to interpose between the settlers and their fate. At the conclusion of his enquiry, Mr. Spain left for Wellington, taking the wounded with him, and those of the survivors who had escaped uninjured proceeded back to Nelson, some in the boats and some overland. Before leaving the Port, Mr. Tuckett was authorised page 300by Colonel Wakefield to act as agent for the settlement until the pleasure of the New Zealand Company was known. His journey home was rather an adventurous one, as he had a very narrow escape from being intercepted by the natives when sailing through the French Pass. Some of his companions who were venturesome enough to call in at Tory Channel, were detained there for a week by the natives, but were ultimately permitted to take their departure unharmed.
The body of Mr. Maling*, the chief constable, had not been found when Mr. Ironsides made his first search upon the scene of the massacre, a fact which created no surprise at the time, for it was thought probable that he had succeeded in making good his escape into the bush, but as he had not arrived at any of the settlements, the missionary again returned to Tua Marina for the dual purpose of making an extended search and of protecting the graves already made from desecration by the wild pigs, with which the valley was at that time thickly stocked. He was successful in finding two bodies floating in the stream, being the remains of Clanzey

* Mr Maling's body was not found by Mr. Ironsides, but, according to Mr. M. Aldrich, it was discovered in 1846 by himself and party while out pig hunting. They identified the body by the sword-belt, powder flask, and memorandum book, in which, the writing was still legible. They also found the bullet which had mortally wounded him. Mr. Aldrich says, "We hung the things on a manuka bush, and told the surveyors where to find them. We buried the remains as well as we could, having no spade or pick."

page 301and Ratcliffe, who were shot while crossing on the canoe, and which had afterwards risen to the surface. These were reverently interred on the banks of the creek near where Mr. Patchett had been buried. The last resting-place of these men bears no mark to distinguish it from the surrounding landscape, but a plain, though substantial monument* has been raised over the spot where Captain Wakefield and his companions fell; while a memorial church, built by the Wakefield family, stands prominently upon the point of the hill, and solemnly presides over the whole scene. The following is a list of the Europeans who were engaged in the catastrophe:—

* A representation of the monument appears on the cover of this book. The cost of its erection was defrayed out of moneys raised by public subscription in Nelson shortly after the massacre, but never expended until Mr. Eyes became Superintendent of the province. He then took steps to have the fund spent upon the purpose for which it had been raised. The monument was designed by Mr. Felix Wakefield, and unveiled by Mr. Eyes in March, 1869.

Police Magistrate and County Judge Mr. Thompson massacred.
Magistrates Capt. Wakefield massacred.
Capt. England massacred.
Crown Prosecutor Mr. Richardson massacred.
Land Agent Mr. Patchett killed.
Company's Storekeeper Mr. Howard massacred.
Surveyors Mr. Tuckett escaped.
Mr. Barnicoat escaped.
Mr. Bellairs escaped.
Mr. Cotterell massacred.
Passenger of Brig Mr. Ferguson escaped.
Interpreter John Brooks massacred.
Chief Constable Mr. Maling died of wounds.page 302
Constables Capper, wounded, lost use of hand.
Coster and Wm. Gardiner, killed or massacred.
Special Constables Edward Stokes died of wounds.
James McGregor massacred.
Thos. Tyrrell killed.
Rich. Burnet wounded.
John Gay escaped.
Wm. Maunsell escaped.
Richard Warner escaped.
John Noden escaped.
John Bumforth lost an arm.
Eli Cropper, William Northam, Henry Bumforth and Isaac Smith. killed or massacred.
Boatmen Thomas Pay, killed or massacred.
Sam. Goddard escaped.
Abraham Vallard escaped.
John Kidson escaped.
George Bampton escaped.
William Burt escaped.
Men Engaged on the Surveys H. Richardson escaped.
Thomas Hannam escaped.
W. Chamberlain escaped.
James Grant escaped.
Richard Painter escaped.
Wm. Morrison escaped.
Joseph Morgan escaped.
John Miller escaped.
Henry Wray escaped.
Robert Crawford wounded.
John Smith wounded.
Wm. Clanzey killed.
John Burton killed.
Thos. Ratcliffe killed.
page 303

It would be difficult to describe the intense excitement which agitated the whole colony as the tidings of the massacre flew from settlement to settlement, and in the white heat of their anger the settlers were guilty of saying and doing many rash and intemperate things. Few of them had made themselves conversant with the whole facts of the case, and fewer still stayed to reason out the natural actions of men under the circumstances. All that they knew, and all that they cared to know, was that their countrymen had been, as a Nelson settler forcibly expressed it, "brutally butchered by a parcel of miscreant savages, ten thousand of whose useless lives would have all too cheaply purchased their survival, let the cant of ultra-philanthropists say what it will."

But this unbridled indignation was not alone participated in by the Europeans, for the natives, on leaving the Wairau, had taken with them the handcuffs and leg-irons which had been foolishly brought down by Mr. Maling to ensure Rauparaha's capture, and these were sent from one pah to the other throughout the North Island: and wherever they were exhibited the enemies of the pakeha were not slow to insinuate that when the English became numerous in the land, they would provide leg-irons for the whole of the natives. The sight of these manacles and page 304the dark hints with which they were everywhere accompanied, created bitterness and resentment against the settlers, with whom the Maoris had always lived in perfect harmony; so that before many weeks had passed away it only required a single spark of indiscretion to set the whole colony in a blaze of war. At no period of her history did New Zealand stand so much in need of firm, discreet and conciliatory guidance as in this critical juncture, and fortunately the hand of authority was strong enough to prevent the fiery brand being applied to the fern. Acting-Governor Shortland took a bold but unpopular initiative, and on the 12th day of July, 1843, issued the following proclamation:—

"Whereas it is essential to the well-being of this colony that confidence and good feeling should continue to exist between the two races of its inhabitants, and that the native owners of the soil should have no reason to doubt the good faith of Her Majesty's solemn assurance that their territorial rights should be recognised and respected. Now, therefore, I, the officer administering the Government, do hereby publicly warn all persons claiming land in this colony, in all cases where the claim is denied or disputed by the original native owners, from exercising rights of ownership thereon, or otherwise prejudicing the question of title to the same, until the question of ownership shall have been heard and determined by one of Her Majesty's Commissioners appointed to investigate claims to land in New Zealand."

The wisdom of thus holding the hands of the settlers until the title to their lands had been page break
P.S. "Lyttelton,"1869.

P.S. "Lyttelton,"1869.

Old Opawa Ferry.

Old Opawa Ferry.

page break


page 305settled by a constitutional course, was not at first apparent to the pioneers, who treated the proclamation with scant respect, and roundly abused it and its author in the public press.
"If," said one writer, "it had been the desire of its framer to hound a troop of excited savages upon a peaceable and scattered population, to destroy the remains of friendly feeling existing between the two races, to imbue in blood the hands of both, and lead to the extermination of one or the other, such a proclamation might have served its purpose."

This style of exaggerated invective will serve to show the unreasoning pitch to which even the better class of colonists had allowed themselves to be worked by the news of the catastrophe. Nor were they content with merely upbraiding the authorities in the press and at public meetings, but deputations waited upon the Acting-Governor at Auckland, urging him to take immediate steps to avenge the death of Captain Wakefield. The Nelson deputation consisted of Dr. Monro and Mr. A. Domett, and the essence of their petition was contained in the following paragraph:—

"We have no hesitation in stating that it is the general opinion of the settlers at Nelson that our countrymen who were killed at Wairau Plain, lost their lives in endeavouring to discharge their duties as Magistrates and British subjects, obedient to British law, and that the persons by whom they were killed are murderers in the eyes of common sense and justice."

They therefore hoped that impartial justice would be done, and that the penalties of the page 306law would certainly overtake those whom its verdicts pronounced to be guilty; but to this and all other petitions of a similar tone, Mr. Shortland staunchly refused to accede, and in his reply to Dr. Monro and Mr. Domett, he clearly set forth the error the settlers were labouring under when they ascribed the cause of the disaster to the performance of a duty on the part of the magistrates, and pointed out that it might be more fairly attributed to an excess of duty on the part of those officials in attempting to annex land which had never been legally purchased. After dwelling upon the criminality of those who were responsible for the fatal conflict, he proceeded to say:—

"But whatever may be the crime, and whoever may be the criminals, it is but too clear that the event we must all deplore has arisen from several parties of surveyors, without the concurrence of the local government, proceeding to take possession of and to survey a tract of land in opposition to the original native owners who have uniformly denied its sale. His Excellency therefore deems it proper to inform you that the New Zealand Company has not selected any block of land in the valley of the Wairau, nor has the local government yet received any intimation that it is the intention of the Company to select a block in that district."

To say that the Englishmen were trespassers is the mildest way in which the case against them can be stated, especially in view of the forceful opinion expressed by Mr. Swainson, the Attorney-General at the time, who described their conduct as "illegal in its page 307inception and in every step of its execution, unjustifiable in the magistrate and four constables, and criminal in the last degree on the part of the attacking party." Writing from Port Nicholson ten days after the massacre, Mr. Spain, confirmed Mr. Swainson's condemnation of their conduct, which he declared to be "an attempt to set British law at defiance, and to obtain, by force, possession of a tract of land, the title of which was disputed, and then under the consideration of a commissioner specially appointed to investigate and report upon it." From the information he had been able to collect, Mr. Spain arrived at the conclusion that at the commencement of the affair the natives exhibited the greatest forbearance and evinced the utmost repugnance to fight with the Europeans, and his views were cordially endorsed by Mr. Clarke, the protector of the aborigines, who reported to the Acting-Governor that he was "satisfied that such an unhappy affair as that of the Wairau could never have occurred had not the natives been urged to it by extreme provocation." These emphatic opinions from men who were not only capable of arriving at a judicial conclusion, but who were impartial in the sense that they were not concerned in the catastrophe, together with the decision of the Attorney-General that no act of felony had been committed by the natives in burning the page 308huts, fortified His Excellency in ignoring the violent clamour of the settlers for revenge, and induced him even to go further and prohibit the military displays they were beginning to organise amongst themselves, under the plea that they were in imminent danger of being attacked by the natives. This prohibition was to their excited minds the crowning injustice of all; and in October, when H.M.S. "North Star" arrived at Port Nicholson, as the result of a memorial sent by the settlers to Sir George Gipps, Governor of New South Wales, the Wellington and Nelson settlements were practically in a state of open rebellion; so much so that when her commander, Sir Everard Home, was applied to by the colonists to execute a warrant against Rauparaha and Rangihaeata for murder, he was compelled to "decline the honour" and admit candidly that he did not consider a force so necessary to put a check upon the natives as to keep in subjection the irate settlers themselves. At the same time that the settlers requested help from New South Wales, they also memorialised Sir Eardley Wilmot, Governor of Tasmania, for assistance, and he immediately sent the battleship "Emerald Isle" to their aid, but he took the precaution to warn Captain Nicholson not to land his troops unless the natives and Europeans were in page 309actual conflict; and this not being the case when the ship arrived, she soon after took her departure. In their extremity the settlers then turned to a French frigate, which was lying in New Zealand waters, but upon Major Richmond hearing of the proposal to call upon her captain for aid, he indignantly rejected and vetoed the idea as being "a stain upon the British arms."

The social and political atmosphere was still in this condition of ferment, when, towards the close of the year, Captain Fitzroy, the newly-appointed governor, arrived. It was not, however, until February that he was able to give his undivided attention to the adjudication of matters connected with the massacre, but he then spared no pains to make himself master of all the facts upon which his decision would be based. He first studied the merits of the European case, and then journeyed to Waikanae, where he landed on the 12th of February, 1844, with his suite, consisting of Sir Everard Home, Mr. Spain, the officers of the "North Star," Major Richmond and Mr. Symonds, the Wellington magistrates, and Mr. George Clarke, the sub-protector of the aborigines, and there met Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, with upwards of four hundred of their tribe, congregated for the korero, m a large enclosure in the centre of the pah.

page 310

His Excellency, in addressing the assembled natives, said:—

"I have heard from the English all that happened at the Wairau, and it has grieved my heart exceedingly. I now ask you to tell me your story, so that I may compare the two and judge fairly. When I have heard your account of that dark day I will reflect and then tell you what I shall do. The bad news I have just heard about killing the English after they had ceased fighting and had trusted to your honour, has made my heart very dark, has filled my mind with gloom. Tell me your story, that I may compare it with the English, and know the whole truth. When I first heard of the death of my friends at the Wairau I was very angry, and thought of hastening here with many ships of war, with many soldiers, and several fire-moved ships (steamers). Had I done so, your warriors would have been killed, your canoes would have been all taken and burnt, your houses and pahs would haye all been destroyed, for I would have brought with me from Sydney an irresistible force. But these were hasty, angry, unchristian thoughts; they soon passed away. I considered the whole case. I considered the English were very much to blame even by their own account, and I saw how much you had been provoked. Then I determined to put away my anger and come to you peaceably. Let me hear your story."

Rauparaha then arose, and after being exhorted by several of his tribe to speak out that all might hear, he began in slow and measured tones to narrate their land troubles with the Company in the Wellington settlement, and then he passed on to the Wairau. This land, he declared, was taken away by Thompson and Captain Wakefield, and he described the visit of Rangihaeata and page 311himself to Nelson to protest against its occupancy; nor did he omit to mention the threats then used towards them by Captain Wakefield. Then he told how they had gone over and stopped the survey, and brought Messrs. Cotterell and Barnicoat down to the Bar, how they had afterwards met Mr. Tuckett, and likewise refused him permission to remain.

"After Mr. Tuckett had gone to Nelson," said Rauparaha, "we continued our planting till one morning we saw the "Victoria" (the Government brig). Then were our hearts relieved, for we thought Mr. Spain and Mr. Clarke had come to settle the question of our lands. Being scattered about on the different places on the river, we took no further notice, expecting a messenger to arrive from Mr. Spain, but a messenger came up to say that it was an army of English, and that they were busily engaged in cleaning their arms and fixing the flints of their guns. They met Puaha, and detained him prisoner. They said 'Where are Rauparaha and Rangihaeata?' Puaha said, 'Up the river.' After Puaha and Rangihaeata arrived, we consulted as to what we should do. I proposed going into the bush, but they said, 'No, let us remain where we are, what have we done that we should be thus beset? The Europeans slept some distance from us, and after they had breakfasted came on towards us in two boats. We remained on the same spot without food, we were much alarmed. Early in the morning we were on the look-out, and one of the scouts, who caught sight of them coming round a point, called out, 'Here they come, here they come.' Our women had kindled a fire and cooked a few potatoes that we had remaining, and we were hastily eating them when they came in sight. Cotterell called out, 'Where is Puaha?' Puaha answered, 'Here I am, come here to me.' They said again, 'Where page 312is Puaha?' Puaha again saluted them. Cotterell then said, 'Where is a canoe for us to cross?' Thompson, Wakefield and some other gentlemen crossed over with a constable to take me, but the greater number stopped on the other side of the creek. Thompson said, 'Where is Rauparaha?' I answered, 'Here.' He said, 'Come, you must come with me,' I replied, 'What for?' He answered, 'To talk about the houses you have burned down.' I said, 'What house have I burned down? Was it a tent belonging to you that you make so much ado about? You know it was not; it was nothing but a hut of rushes. The materials were cut from my own ground, therefore I will not go on board, neither will I be bound. If you are angry about the the land, let us talk it quietly over. I care not if we talk till night and all day tomorrow; and when we have finished I will settle the question about the land.' Mr. Thompson said, 'Will you not go? I said, 'No,' and Rangihaeata, who had been called for, and who had been speaking, said so too. Mr. Thompson then called for the handcuffs and held up the warrant, saying, 'See, this is the Queen's book, this is the Queen to make a tie, Rauparaha.' I said, 'I will not listen either to you or your book.' He was in a great passion; his eyes rolled about and he stamped his feet. I said, I would rather be killed than submit to be bound. He then called for the constable, who began opening the handcuffs and to advance towards me. Mr. Thompson laid hold of my hand. I pushed him away, saying, 'What are you doing that for?' Mr. Thompson then called out 'Fire.' The Europeans began to cross over the creek, and as they were crossing they fired one gun. The women and children were sitting round the fire. We called out, 'We shall be shot.' After this one gun they fired a volley, and one of us was killed, then another, and three were wounded. We were then closing fast; the pahehas' guns were levelled at us. I and Puaha cried out, 'Friends, stand up and shoot some of them in payment.' We were frightened because some of them were very close to us.

page 313

We then fired; three of the Europeans fell. They fired again and killed Rongo, the wife of Rangihaeata. We then bent all our energy to the fight, and the Europeans began to fly. They all ran away, firing as they retreated; the gentlemen ran too. We pursued them, and killed them as we overtook them. Captain Wakefield and Mr. Thompson were brought to me by the slaves, who caught them. Rangihaeata came running to me, crying out, 'What are you doing, I say?' Upon which some heathen slaves killed them at the instigation of Rangihaeata; neither Puaha nor the Christian natives being then present. There was no time elapsed between the fight and the slaughter of the prisoners. When the prisoners were killed, the rest of the people were still engaged in the pursuit, and before they returned they were all dead. I forgot to say that during the pursuit, when we arrived at the top of the hill, Mr. Cotterell held up a flag and said, 'That is enough, stop fighting.' Mr. Thompson said to me, 'Rauparaha, spare my life.' I answered, 'A little while ago I wished to talk to you in a friendly manner, and you would not; now you say save me, I will not save you.' It is not our custom to save the chiefs of our enemies. We do not consider our victory complete unless we kill the chiefs of our opponents. Our passions were much roused, and we could not help killing the chiefs."

At the conclusion of Rauparaha's address, Captain Fitzroy desired time to reflect upon what he had just heard, and at the expiration of half-an-hour, he announced his decision as follows :—

"Now I have heard both sides, I have reflected on both accounts, and I am prepared to give my judgment. In the first place the English were wrong; they had no right to build houses upon lands to which they had not established their claim—upon land the sale of which you disputed; on which Mr. Spain had not decided. They page 314were wrong in trying to apprehend you, who had committed no crime. They were wrong in marking and measuring your land in opposition to your repeated refusal to allow them to do so until the commissioner had decided on their claim. Had you been Englishmen you would have known that it was wrong to resist a magistrate under any circumstances, but not understanding English law the case is different. Had this been all, had a struggle caused loss of life in the fight—wrong and bad as it would have been to fight in the sight of God—I could not have blamed you so much as the English. The very bad part of the Wairau affair—that part where you were very wrong—was the killing of the men who had surrendered, who trusted to your honour as chiefs. Englishmen never kill prisoners; Englishmen never kill men who have surrendered. It is the shocking death of these unfortunate men that has filled my mind with gloom, that has made my heart so dark, that has filled me with sorrow. But I know how difficult it is to restrain angry men when their passions are aroused. I know you repent of your conduct, and are now sorry that those men were killed. As the English were very greatly to blame, as they brought on and began the fight, and as you were hurried into crime by their misconduct, I will not avenge their death."

In arriving at this determination, Captain Fitzroy may have been actuated to some extent by considerations of expediency, for had he decided in any other way the reprisals of the English would undoubtedly have created a war with the natives, which the Government was not in a position at that juncture to carry to a successful issue, and therefore to have provoked hostilities with Rauparaha would have meant the obliteration of all the settle-page 315ments before the necessary reinforcements could have arrived. At the same time there was a large measure of justice in the course he chose to adopt, which in the calmer moments of to-day, must receive the endorsement of all impartial men, as it did of Lord Stanley, the Secretary of State for the colonies, immediately the Governor's decision was known to the Home authorities. In his despatches on the subject, Lord Stanley made it clear that in his opinion Mr. Thompson and Captain Wakefield had needlessly violated the rules of English law, the maxims of prudence and the principles of justice; and having thus provoked an indefensible quarrel with a barbarous tribe, they could not reasonably complain at the barbarities practised in the subsequent conflict. He was therefore satisfied that in declining to make the Wairau massacre a subject for criminal proceedings, the Governor had taken a wise, though undoubtedly bold decision. As might have been expected, the action of Captain Fitzroy in refusing to arrest the two chiefs created a tempest of ill-will against him amongst the settlers, but on the other hand the Maoris were overjoyed at the prospect of once more possessing the friendship of the pakeha, and instantly resumed a sociable demeanour towards the colonists, which, upon the advent of Captain (afterwards Sir George) Grey page 316as Governor, was gradually reciprocated by the Europeans, who in time came to recognise the folly of their fears and the absurdity of their hostile attitude. In this way the startling nature of the catastrophe, which had paralysed the efforts of the New Zealand Company and thrown a shroud over the settlement of the whole colony, began to lose its deadly effect, and the splendid scheme of setting a new gem in the British Crown was rescued from the disaster which threatened it while the scales trembled in the balance.