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The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume I (1845–64)

The Karori Settlement, Wellington

The Karori Settlement, Wellington

The following is an extract from a letter written by Judge H. S. Chapman, Wellington, 24th July, 1846, to his father in England:—

“The attack on the camp at the Hutt produced a good deal of alarm among the settlers, even in the town and elsewhere, and for several days even our quiet neighbourhood [Karori] was agitated. A body of thirty-two Militia was enrolled; twelve armed police were sent up, and other preparations made to prevent surprise and repel attack. This was something, though not so well done as it might have been. Some of the settlers went into town, but we did not see any reason for so doing until 26th May, when I received an especial warning from Moturoa, a friendly chief of the Ngati-Awa, and from Hemi, another of the same tribe, that I had better go into town, as it had certainly been determined in Rangihaeata's pa to attack Karori. I have since learned that this was true—that it was discussed whether the attacks should be confined to the Hutt or be extended elsewhere, and Rangihaeata said it should be at Karori. I believe his policy was to send out parties of ten or twelve to plunder and murder in different directions, but I believe he has been restrained by the weakness of his own force, by the preparations everywhere made, and by the opposition of his own followers. This last may be attributed to native custom being in favour of attacks on the Hutt, where he had a real quarrel and a real claim for satisfaction (utu), whereas he has no such claim elsewhere. Rauparaha claimed the merit of this, and I think it not unlikely that he may have used his influence in that direction, but I believe the chief opposition was within the pa Wai-taingi-nui [Paua-taha-nui]. I know for certain that there is an old chief of the Ngati-Toa called Te Ra-ka-herea who joined his relation Rangiheata from what the Natives called whakama—“cause (to be) white,” or shame—that is, because all his relations being with Rangi, he felt whakama at not being with them; but being at the same time not ill-disposed towards the pakehas, he has acted as a bridle on Rangi's angry passions.

“Karori is certainly the least likely place for an attack. It is far from Rangi's pa—the military station is between it and Karori in one direction, and other difficulties intervene; still, I thought a diversion might be made here simultaneously with an attack on the Hutt. Then, all the settlers rely on me, and as I could not be sure that we were secure I could not feel justified in lulling the people into a feeling of security which might be fallacious. I therefore told all the settlers to send the women and children into town, which was done, and we followed in the evening.”

A party of sailors from H.M.S. “Calliope” went out to Karori to protect the property of Judge Chapman and other settlers.