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

Chapter 10: Wellington Settlement and Hutt War

page 88

Chapter 10: Wellington Settlement and Hutt War

THE NORTH PACIFIED, Governor Grey turned his attention to the Cook Strait settlements, where the position for the last year had verged upon war. The New Zealand Company's loose methods in the purchase of native lands had been followed by the repudiation of bargains, the estrangement of the two races, and the blocking of settlement. But the warriors who insisted upon muskets, gunpowder, and shot as the chief portion of the payment for the land upon which Wellington now stands were not at all dissatisfied in 1840 with the bargain they had made. They had secured arms, without which their tenure of the district in those days of almost constant intertribal jealousy and conflict would have been precarious, and they had given nothing of great value in exchange; for they were mentally resolved, if it had not been openly stated, that they would not suffer their existing cultivations and other grounds valuable as food-producing places, such as the portions of the forest richest in birds—the kaka, pigeon, and tui—to pass away for ever out of their hands.

Colonel Wakefield and his coadjutors in the first work of settlement suffered to a considerable extent from their want of knowledge of Maori laws and customs with respect to land, and also from their inability to make the natives understand the precise tenor of their questions and their documents. Richard Barrett, the whaler and trader, upon whom they placed reliance as interpreter and go-between, was illiterate, and his knowledge of the Maori tongue scarcely extended beyond colloquial phrases. Wakefield does not appear to have given close attention to the validity of the native vendor's title; so long as he found a chief or gathering of chiefs willing to sell such-and-such an area of bush, mountain and plain, he was satisfied. He was presently to gain by tragic experience a knowledge of the time and care necessary to complete a really safe and satisfactory purchase of land from the Maori. Doubtless there was at the back of Wakefield's mind a feeling that once the lands were settled by a strong body of British settlers, ready and able to hold their farms against all comers, the page 89 native population would quickly diminish in importance, if not in numbers.

Mr. Spain, the Land Claims Commissioner, in 1845 awarded the New Zealand Company 71,900 acres of land in Wellington and vicinity, excepting the villages and the lands that were actually occupied by the natives and thirty-nine native reserves. At the same time the Commissioner disallowed the Company's claims to the Wairau and Porirua lands, and in the end it was arranged (1847) that the sum of £2,000 should be paid to Ngati-Toa and their kindred for the disputed territory at Porirua, and £3,000 for the Wairau.

There seems to have been considerable uncertainty among settlers and Maoris alike as to the exact situation and boundaries of some of the reserves, more especially those in the Hutt Valley, and to this lack of precise information much of the trouble with the discontented tribes was due. In 1846 we find even the consistently friendly chief Te Puni complaining that the Ngati-Awa reserves at the Taita were occupied by European settlers. As the result of the failure to inform the Maoris of the position and bounds of the areas reserved for them, the natives in some instances cleared tracts of land outside the reserves, and in other cases occupied and cleared bush land that had been sold to settlers: disputes and suspicion were thus engendered.

The principal opposition to the white occupation of Hutt lands came in the first case from a chief named Taringa-Kuri (“Dog's Ear”), otherwise known as Kaeaea (“Sparrowhawk”). He derived his first name from his preternatural keenness of hearing; when out scouting, say the Macris, he would put his ear to the ground and detect the approach of an enemy at a great distance. “Dog's Ear” headed the Ngati-Tama Tribe, connected both with Ngati-Awa and with Ngati-Maniapoto. The clan had fought its way down the west coast as allies of Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata in the “twenties.” He and his people received a sixth part of the goods first given by Colonel Wakefield in payment for the Wellington lands. When the disputes arose as to the ownership of the Hutt Valley, “Dog's Ear” and his people cut a line through the bush as a boundary dividing the lower valley from the Upper Hutt, contending that the upper part should be reserved for Ngati-Tama* and their friends Ngati-Rangatahi. In 1842 he built a village called Makahi-nuku, fortified with palisades, on the

* Not many of the Ngati-Tama Tribe were engaged in the war in the Hutt Valley. The majority had gone with Pomare Ngatata to the Chatham Islands. Later, a number of Ngati-Tama, as the result of quarrels with Ngati-Mutunga at the Chathams, migrated to the Auckland Islands in a French whaler. To their disgust they found that the climate of the Aucklands was so wet and cold that their potatoes would not grow. They were removed a few years later and returned to the Chatham Islands.

page 90
The Valley of the Hutt, Wellington Showing stockades and scenes of engagements, 1846.

The Valley of the Hutt, Wellington
Showing stockades and scenes of engagements, 1846.

banks of the Hutt about two miles above the present Lower Hutt Bridge, and cleared and cultivated part of a section purchased from the Company by Mr. Swainson. This section became the chief centre of contention between the whites and the natives. In this action “Dog's Ear” was supported by the direct instructions of Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata. But he had page 91 stated in his evidence before Mr. Spain's Court that Ngati-Awa and Ngati-Rangatahi sold the Hutt lest they would be invaded by Te Rauparaha with his Ngati-Toa, and Te Whatanui with his Ngati-Raukawa, from Otaki and the Manawatu. Those leaders were much offended at Ngati-Awa having taken possession of and sold the lands in the Hutt Valley. The Ngati-Rangatahi came originally to Porirua from the upper part of the Wanganui River; their leading men in the war-time migration were Kapara-te-hau, Te Oro, Te Kohera, and Kaka-herea; the last-named died in 1844. Ngati-Rangatahi shared in the Wairau affair in 1843, and soon afterwards occupied land on the banks of the Hutt under Te Rangihaeata's encouragement. The sum of £400 was paid to Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata by the Government on behalf of the New Zealand Company, by way of second purchase of the Hutt Valley; nevertheless the actual occupants of the land did not benefit by this payment, and they declined to remove.

By the end of 1845 the New Zealand Government had the support of five British ships-of-war and nearly a thousand Regular troops. These forces, with the exception of some men of the 58th stationed at the Bay of Islands and two companies left in Auckland as a garrison, and the frigate “Racehorse” and the brig “Osprey,” left at the Bay, were now available for the restoration of order in the Wellington settlements. There was also available a considerable and already fairly well-trained body of Militia, organized under the Militia Ordinance passed at Auckland on the 5th March, 1845. Under this enactment a citizen force was constituted for military service, composed of all able-bodies men between the ages of eighteen and sixty. Militiamen were liable for service within twenty-five miles of the post-offices in their towns, and their period of drill was twenty-eight days in the year. In Wellington the news of the war in the north and the disputes in the Hutt Valley had stimulated a volunteer spirit independently of the conscription measure, and in April, 1845, the daily musters of townsmen for military drill on Thorndon Flat and at Te Aro totalled 220 of all ranks. These drills were held at 5 o'clock in the evening; in addition there was a morning daily drill for the more enthusiastic held alternately on the parade-ground at either end of the town. The Militia drilled with the old Tower flint-lock muskets imported by the New Zealand Company for bartering with Maoris; they were exactly the same make as the guns with which the Company had purchased the Wellington lands from the Ngati-Toa and Ngati-Awa. Later, percussion-cap guns were served out. The uniform was not elaborate or showy, but it was more suitable for campaigning than the tight red tunics, high stocks, and awkward headgear of the Regulars. The oldest surviving pioneer of the Hutt recalled that it consisted page 92 of a blue shirt, a cap similar to that worn by sailors, and “any kind of trousers.”

A redoubt was built on Mr. Clifford's property on Thorndon Flat, very close to where the Normal School now stands (Hobson Crescent). It has sometimes been described as a stockade, but it was simply a square earthwork with a surrounding trench. The parapet of sods and earth was reinforced with timbers at intervals inside. All round the parapet were wood-framed loopholes for musket-fire; the timbers forming them not only kept them clear of earth but strengthened the parapet. In 1846, when the troops were on field service, a Militia guard of a sergeant, a corporal, and twelve men did duty daily at the fort.

A more extensive work was that constructed at the southern, or Te Aro, end of the town, as a place of refuge for the citizens. This was a large earthwork forming two sides of a redoubt; the other two sides were left open, but the houses which stood there were capable of defence. A pioneer resident of Wellington, Mr. John Waters, who landed in Port Nicholson in 1841, describes this Te Aro fortification as follows:—

From a sketch by Judge H. S. Chapman in letter, 1845] Cross-section of Fieldwork at Te Aro, Wellington

From a sketch by Judge H. S. Chapman in letter, 1845]
Cross-section of Fieldwork at Te Aro, Wellington

“The earthwork consisted of a ditch and a strong parapet. The trench was 6 feet deep, and the sod wall was about 6 feet high. The area enclosed was the ground between Manners Street and the sea, which then flowed to the ground on which the Town Hall now stands. The longer side of the earth-work was that which ran from Manners Street a short distance westward or inland of what is now Lower Cuba Street. There was an acre of land fronting Manners Street between the Bank of New Zealand (present Te Aro branch) and the angle of the work. The length of this side of the fortification was about 330 feet. The other flank, which was considerably shorter, ran at right angles inland along the north side of Manners Street towards its present intersection with Willis Street. The Wesleyan Chapel in Manners Street was just on the opposite side of the street to the earth-works. The trench and parapet enclosed several large buildings, including Bethune and Hunter's and other brick stores, the bank, and some houses. There was a boatbuilding yard, besides jetties and store buildings, down on the beach inside the wall. I do not recollect any guns in this fortification.

“On the eastern side of Lower Cuba Street, close to what is now Smith's corner, was a stockade enclosure in which the Government commissariat-stores building stood. This stockade was constructed somewhat after the manner of a Maori palisaded page 93 pa. It consisted of large split totara posts sunk in the ground at intervals, the space between them closely fenced with high slabs or pickets with pointed tops, and fastened with horizontal rails inside.”

These defences of 1845 were not the first field-works constructed in Wellington for protection against the Maoris. After the Wairau tragedy in 1843 measures were taken by the New Zealand Company and the townspeople, independently of the Government, to fortify the northern and southern ends of the settlement, and guns were mounted in the works. These were 18-pounders which had originally been mounted on Somes Island, which the New Zealand Company in 1840 regarded as a suitable site for a fort. One of the fortifications of 1843 was in Thorndon; one was a small battery constructed on Clay Point, in the southern part of the settlement. “It was on the seaward extremity of the flat above Pipitea,” says the pioneer settler already quoted, Mr. John Waters, “that the first Thorndon redoubt was built, or rather commenced. I remember that very well, because I saw it being built by the volunteers of the town in 1843, just after the Wairau fight, and, in fact, assisted in the work as a boy. It stood very close to the cliff above Pipitea, between the present steps at the foot of Pipitea Street and the English Church of St. Paul's, but much nearer Pipitea Street than the church. Just below it on the beach-front, now Thorndon Quay, was the police-station, a long whare thatched with raupo. We boys were given a holiday one day to help the men by carrying the sods which had been cut close by to the workers, who placed them in position on the parapet. The earthwork was not completed; the rear was left open. It consisted of three sides of an oblong, the longer side facing the sea, and the flanks extending back a short distance westward. It was not of any great size. The redoubt ditch was about 5 feet in depth and the same in width. We boys used to amuse ourselves by helping to deepen it. The earth parapet was about 6 feet high. The later redoubt was built in a different place altogether, further in on Thorndon, towards what is now Fitzherbert Terrace.” The southern fortification was the battery on Clay Point, Clay Hill, or Flagstaff Hill, as the spot was variously named; after the construction of the work it was named “Waterloo Redoubt.” Clay Point (now demolished) was the abrupt termination of a ridge which trended down to the sea at the place which is now the junction of Lambton Quay and Lower Willis Street. The sea then flowed and ebbed where the Bank of New Zealand now stands, and the cliff jutted out steep-to above the narrow beach, then the only thoroughfare. After Wairau, the townspeople formed a working-party, cut a track to the flat top of the hill, and dragged up three of the New Zealand Company's guns—ship's howitzers (18-pounders) on wooden carriages. The work page 94 was not an enclosed redoubt, but a parapet facing the sea—an emplacement and protection for the guns, with a trench 9 feet wide. The work was completed in one day.

The infant Town of Nelson also had its fortification in 1843, when the episode of the Wairau and reports of coming Maori raids stimulated the people to vigorous measures, with the result that the place was provided with the strongest fort south of Auckland. The resident agent of the New Zealand Company, Mr. Fox (afterwards Sir William Fox), agreed to advance the necessary funds for the work, protesting at the same time that the provision of means of public safety was the duty of the Government. Nelson's fort, named after Captain Arthur Wake-field, who fell at Wairau, occupied the most conspicuous place in the middle of the settlement, the hill at the top of Trafalgar Street on which Nelson Cathedral now stands. The following description of the redoubt and stockade was given in the Nelson Examiner of the 23rd December, 1843:—

Fort Arthur enclosed the hill forming part of Trafalgar Square. It was built from the design and under the superintendence of Mr. J. S. Spooner. It covers rather more than an acre of ground. It is built in the form of an oblong hexagon, with bastions at each angle. The embankments, or ramparts, and the bastions are of earth, faced with sods, squared and laid in courses. It is surrounded by a moat, 8 feet deep and 12 feet wide, over which is placed a drawbridge at the north end. Inside the rampart is a trench, 5 feet deep, for musketry. On an inner and level elevation, and enclosing the church and Survey Office, is a stockade, 7 feet high, built of 2-inch planking, double, with a space between of 2 inches filled with earth, making it ball-proof, and surmounted with a cheveaux de frise. It is in the shape of an oblong square, 156 feet by 48 feet, with flanking towers at the corners 10 feet high; pierced throughout with loopholes for rifles and musketry, and ports for the great guns (long 18-pounder carronades).

Nelson was not the only place in the South Island in which it was considered necessary in 1843 to erect fortified posts. The English and French residents of Akaroa resolved that three small blockhouses should be erected as a provision for the safety of the settlers and their families. One of these blockhouses was built at the eastern end of Akaroa Town, near the beach at the mouth of the Oinaka Stream; the Bruce Hotel now occupies the site. Another was placed midway along the bay, on the water-front, near the spot where the police-station now stands. The third was erected in Otakamatua Bay, near the head of the harbour. These buildings were the first posts of the true blockhouse type, with overlapping upper storeys, built in New Zealand.

The settlers of the Hutt Valley acutely realized their defenceless state, and early in the year 1845 they decided to assure some measure of protection by building a stockaded fort in some central position, a garrison station to which they might hurry page 95
Drawn from a sketch by the late Hon. J. W. Barnicoat, M.L.C.] Fort Arthur, Nelson, in 1843 (Nelson Cathedral now occupies the side of this fortification.)

Drawn from a sketch by the late Hon. J. W. Barnicoat, M.L.C.]
Fort Arthur, Nelson, in 1843
(Nelson Cathedral now occupies the side of this fortification.)

their families in the event of a conflict. The site selected was the left (east) bank of the Heretaunga, at the bridge; the exact spot is now a bed of gravel in the middle of the river, about 100 yards below the present Lower Hutt Bridge. The fortification was designed by a settler who was officer in command of the Hutt Militia, Captain George Compton; he had lived in the backwoods of North America, and he planned the stockade upon the pattern of the forts built by the United States pioneers for defence against the Indians. Fort Richmond, as it came to be called, in compliment to Major Richmond, the Superintendent of the Southern District, was a square work 95 feet each way, with flanking bastions at two diagonally opposite angles, commanding the bridge and the river on both sides. The walls were built of large slabs of timber, 9 feet 6 inches in height above the ground and 5 to 6 inches in thickness. The flanking bastions were small two-storeyed blockhouses, one 15 feet and the other 12 feet square; the upper storey was not set square with the lower, but diagonally across it (as shown in Mr. Swainson's sketch in the Wellington Art Gallery collection). This design, an idea originating on the American frontier, enabled a fire to be directed from above upon any attack on the base of the bastion. A better method of construction, however, was generally adopted in the blockhouses on the New Zealand frontiers in the “sixties,” in which the upper storey projected over the lower by 2 or 3 feet all round. The Fort Richmond stockade was loopholed on each side, and the blockhouses in each storey; these apertures for musket-fire were about 4 feet apart. The one-armed veteran John Cudby (in 1919 ninety years of age) informed the writer that he helped to cart the timber for the fort. Most of the timber was cut in the forest page 96 which covered the flat a little to the south of the present Lower Hutt Railway-station, the Pito-one side. The stockade slabs were chiefly pukatea, a light but tough and strong wood; totara and kahikatea pine were mostly used for the blockhouses. The cost of the construction of the fort was set down at £124; this was exclusive of the value of the timber, which was given free by Captain Compton, and voluntary labour by settlers estimated at a value of £54 10s. The stockade was completed in April, 1845, and the Militia company of the Hutt occupied it until a redcoat garrison, a detachment of the 58th Regiment, marched in on the 24th April.
That little fort in the forest-clearing, guarding the Hutt bridge-head, and embodying the spirit of adventure and peril that entered into the life of frontier settlement, was in essentials a replica of the border posts in the American Indian country. It was the first of scores of stockades and blockhouses on the Maori border-line throughout this North Island, the advanced settler's refuge and protection, many of them garrisoned until the early “eighties.” The sketches and descriptions that remain of Fort Richmond, and many a post of military settlers or Armed Constabulary in the later wars, recall like scenes in the American woods pictured for us in Whittier's poem, “The Truce of Piscataqua”:—

Once more the forest, dusk and dread,
With here and there a clearing cut
From the walled shadows round it shut;
Each with its farmhouse builded rude,
By English yeomen squared and hewed,
And the grim flankered blockhouse bound
With bristling palisades around.

Not only the New England and Kentucky stockades but the forts of the Hudson Bay Company, scattered over the northern continent from the Atlantic to Vancouver, were in design the prototypes of our New Zealand stockades. Their walls were built of slabs and solid tree-trunks, as high as 20 feet, with bastioned angles for enfilading-fire. Fort Douglas, which stood on the Red River a hundred years ago, an illustration of which is given in Bryce's work on the history of the Hudson Bay Company, was very similar to Fort Richmond. It had a close-set palisade of slabs and tree-trunks facing the river; at the corners were tower-like timber flanking bastions.

The Karori settlers followed the example of those at the Hutt in the construction of a small fortified post, in order to guard against an attack from Ohariu. This place of defence, built in May and June, 1846, was surrounded by a ditch, and the site chosen for it was on rising ground in the oldest settled part of Karori, a clearing walled in by a dense and lofty forest, 600 feet page 97
From a drawing by W. Swainson] Fort Richmond and the Hutt Bridge (1847)

From a drawing by W. Swainson]
Fort Richmond and the Hutt Bridge (1847)

above sea-level. It was built exactly on the crown of the gentle rise of ground in Karori Township, on the right-hand side of the deep cutting in Lancaster Street as one walks up from the main road, and only a few yards from the electric-car line. This was the most central and commanding spot in the Karori clearings of 1846; the ground about it was still encumbered with half-burned logs and stumps. The forest had been felled for about 100 yards from the stockade on the south and west sides, but there was standing timber in the little valley alongside which the main road runs to-day. The stockade was small, measuring about 28 or 30 feet in length by 20 feet in width; its greatest axis ran about north-east and south-west. Around it was dug a trench, 3 feet in width and 4 feet in depth; this ditch filled with water in the winter soon after it was excavated. The stockade was constructed of heavy timbers, chiefly rimu (red-pine) and miro. The logs were split, squared up with the axe, and roughly trimmed into points at the top; these timbers measured 6 or 7 inches in thickness, and when firmly sunk in the ground close alongside each other formed a solid wall 10 feet high. Loopholes for musket-fire were made by cutting away with saw and tomahawk a piece in the sides of a number of the timbers before they were set in the ground; the apertures so formed were shoulder-height from the ground, between 2 and 3 feet apart, and measured about 5 inches in length vertically by 3 inches in width. Between the foot of the stockade and the page 98 surrounding small trench there was a space of 3 to 4 feet; the earth from the trench was packed firmly against the base of the timbers. The space thus left enabled the sentries on duty at night to walk around the post between trench and wall. The doorway in the stockade faced the south; the door was of thick slabs, and for want of iron hinges it was pivoted on timber sockets, after the manner still seen in some remote settlements. Within the stockade the settlers built a small house of sawn rimu, roofed with kahikatea shingles; this house measured about 16 feet by 12 feet, and was divided into two rooms. One of these rooms was for the men of the Militia garrison, and the other for the women and children of the settlement in the event of a Maori attack. In one corner was a fireplace with chimney of clay. The floor was the bare earth. There was a clear space of 10 feet all round between this house and the stockade-wall.*

The Karori Militiamen who built the stockade, assisted by a party of bluejackets from H.M.S. “Calliope” and by a detachment of the armed police from Wellington under Mr. A. C. Strode, numbered thirty or forty small farmers, sawyers, and bullock-team drivers. The post was designed chiefly as a protection against possible attack from the natives at Ohariu Bay and the mouth of the Makara Stream, and in the nights of alarm a good lookout was kept in that direction. Some of the settlers worked on their holdings with cartridge-belts over their shoulders and a “Brown Bess” lying close by. However, most of the Ohariu Maoris left by canoe for Porirua and places higher up the coast. There was greater danger from kokiris, or small raiding-parties, of Rangihaeata's force. The armed settlers formed sections each of eight or nine men for garrison duty, and these detachments in turn occupied the stockade-house at night. The Militia mustered for drill three times a week—two hour's drill on each muster-day.

On a commanding position on the Wellington—Porirua Road a stockade was built on Mr. Johnson's land, Section 11/181, now the heart of the Township of Johnsonville. The stockade was a structure of thick slabs, with slits for musket-fire. There was a small loft, to which access was given by a ladder.

On Sunday, the 20th April, 1845, a report reached Wellington that a strong body of natives “all painted and feathered” had descended on the Lower Hutt Valley, and had given notice of their intention to attack the whites' stockaded pa next day. Major Richmond ordered fifty men of the 58th Regiment to the Hutt. The quickest means of reaching the scene of trouble was

* This description of the Karori stockade is the first yet published. The details were given chiefly by Mr. George Shotter, one of the earliest settlers at Karori (died 1920).

page 99
From an oil-painting by C. D. Barraud] An Early Colonial Home

From an oil-painting by C. D. Barraud]
An Early Colonial Home

Judge H. S. Chapman's residence, “Homewood,” Karori, Wellington, in 1849. The site of this pioneer dwelling, in the rata and rimu forest, is now the heart of the suburban Township of Karori. The Hon. F. R. Chapman, son of the first Judge of the Southern District of New Zealand, was born in “Homewood.” The place was temporarily abandoned during the war of 1846.

by water. The brig “Bee” was lying at anchor off the town ready for sea, and the soldiers were boated aboard her. Making sail for Pito-one, the brig landed her troops on the beach. At 3 o'clock in the morning of the 21st the detachment marched into the stockade, relieving the little garrison of Militia and forestalling the native plan. A few days later two 18-pounder guns belonging to the New Zealand Company were sent out from town and mounted on the bastion blockhouses.

During 1845 two companies of Regulars had been stationed in Wellington. As soon as it was possible to withdraw troops from the Bay of Islands preparations were made for a transfer of the military forces to Wellington, and on the 3rd February, 1846, a body of nearly six hundred men under Lieut-Colonel Hulme embarked at Auckland for the south. The fleet which transported them consisted of the British frigates “Castor” and “Calliope,” page 100 the war-steamer “Driver”—which had just arrived from the China Station—the Government brig “Victoria,” and the barque “Slains Castle.” Inclusive of a detachment of the 99th Regiment, lately arrived from Sydney in the barque “Lloyds,” the following was the detail of the force: 58th Regiment—one field officer, two captains, four subalterns, and 202 non-commissioned officers and privates; 99th Regiment—one field officer, two captains, six subalterns, and 250 non-commissioned officers and privates; 96th Regiment—one captain, four subalterns, and seventy-three non-commissioned officers and privates; also a detachment of Royal Artillery.

The excitement created by the opportune arrival of so large a body of British soldiers, bringing the total force of redcoats in Wellington up to nearly eight hundred men, was heightened by the novel spectacle of a steam-vessel. H.M.S. “Driver” was the first steamship to visit the port; she was a wonderful craft to many a colonist, and amazing to the Maoris, who congregated to watch the strange pakeha ship, driven by fires in her interior, moving easily and rapidly against wind and tide. The “Driver” was a paddle-steamer of 1,058 tons, with engines of 280 horsepower; she was rigged as a brig. She was armed with six guns. Her crew, under Commander C. O. Hayes, numbered 175 officers and men. The vessel had recently been engaged in the suppression of piracy in the East Indies. Her figurehead attracted much attention: it represented an old-time English mail-coach driver with many-caped greatcoat and whip.

On the 27th February some of the troops marched to the principal village occupied by the Maoris on the Hutt banks and destroyed it. The natives had abandoned their homes on the advance of the soldiers, and were camped in the forest above Makahi-nuku. The Governor sent a missionary, the Rev. Richard Taylor, as a messenger to the Ngati-Tama and Ngati-Rangatahi, promising that if they left the place peaceably he would see they were given compensation for their crops. The destruction of the village appears to have been rather hasty, for Kapara-te-Hau, the principal chief, had agreed to the terms, and promised to leave the following day.

In retaliation for the destruction of their villages and cultivations on the banks of the Hutt the Maoris on the 1st and 3rd March, easily eluding the troops who were in camp, carried out systematic raids of plunder and destruction on the farms of the white settlers. Dividing into small armed parties and moving with rapidity and secrecy upon the Hutt and the Waiwhetu, they visited each home separately, stripped the unfortunate people of all their property but the clothes they were wearing, destroyed furniture, smashed windows, killed pigs, and threatened the settlers page 101
H.M.S. “Driver,” the First Steamship in New Zealand Waters

H.M.S. “Driver,” the First Steamship in New Zealand Waters

This drawing is the first picture of H.M.S. “Driver” yet published in New Zealand. It is drawn from a sketch by Captain M. T. Clayton, of Auckland, who was in Wellington in July, 1846, as an apprentice in the barque “London,” and is also based on a blue-print of the hull-details received from the Secretary to the Admiralty.

page 102 with death if they gave the alarm. They took away such goods as they could carry, and destroyed the rest, but they did not burn the houses. Little bands of distressed settlers and their families, robbed of nearly all they had in the world, and temporarily without means of livelihood, trudged into Wellington. By order of Governor Grey the plundered people were supplied with rations. The numbers of persons to whom rations were served out on the 5th March were: Adults, 79; children, 140; infants, 17: total, 236.

The troops remained inactive on the day of the principal raid (1st March), greatly to the indignation of the civilians. Then it became known that the Governor was undecided whether or not to proceed with hostile measures against the natives. He had been advised by the Crown law authority that he was acting illegally in evicting the Maoris, inasmuch as the grants issued by Governor Fitzroy after the purchase of the valley had excepted all native cultivations and homes. The legal adviser, further, was of the opinion that the natives were justified in resisting such eviction by force of arms.

Captain Grey, however, was not long influenced by this opinion. He quickly made up his mind to protect the settlers at all hazards, and on the 3rd March he issued a Proclamation declaring the establishment of martial law in the Wellington District, bounded on the north by a line drawn from Wainui (near Pae-kakariki) on the west coast to Castle Point on the east.

The first shots in the campaign were fired on the morning of Tuesday, the 3rd March, 1846. A party of natives under cover of the bush and felled trees fired on Captain Eyton's company of the 96th, who were stationed some distance in advance of the camp at Boulcott's Farm, two miles above Fort Richmond. Several volleys were fired into the camp. The fire was returned effectively, and the Maoris were obliged to retreat. When the news of the definite outbreak of war reached the Governor in Wellington he ordered H.M.S. “Driver” to weigh anchor and steam to Pito-one with troops. The soldiers embarked were Captain Russell's company of the 58th, twenty men of the 99th, and thirty of the 96th, under Lieutenant Barclay. A party of men of the three regiments was also despatched to the Hutt.

On the 2nd April a Lower Hutt settler named Andrew Gillespie and his young son Andrew were attacked and so terribly tomahawked that they both died. Gillespie was the first settler placed in possession of the land at the Hutt from which the natives had been evicted in the previous month. Te Pau, of Ngati-Rangatahi, was the leader of the raiding-party. The Gillespie tragedy stirred Governor Grey to speedy action. A police party set out for Porirua, as the result of a message received by the Rev. O. Hadfield from Rauparaha, who gave a hint that the slayers might be found page 103 in his district. Then, for the first time, it was discovered that the hostile hapus had built a stockaded and entrenched stronghold at the head of the Paua-taha-nui arm of the Porirua Harbour, five miles from the open sea. Porirua, the Governor perceived, was practically the key of the west coast; a military station there would keep communications open, and would also directly menace Rangihaeata and his insurgents, and strike at the rear of any force attacking the Hutt. A body of 250 men of the 58th and 99th Regiments, under Major Last, embarked in the warships “Driver” and “Calliope” and the barque “Slains Castle”; on the 9th April the three vessels sailed up the coast to Porirua, where the troops were landed. The force encamped on the low sandy point near Toms' whaling-station, just within the mouth of the harbour, and presently their tents gave place to a barracks of stone, surrounded by a stockade. At the same time the Governor took measures for the construction of a good road from Wellington to Porirua by the military, under Captain Russell (58th Regiment).* Another useful step was the formation of an armed police force of fifty men, under the command of Major Durie as inspector, with Mr. Chetham Strode sub-inspector. The police company was divided into four sections, each consisting of ten whites and one Maori, under a sergeant; small detachments were stationed at the outposts at the Hutt, Porirua, and Ohariu. At the end of April H.M.S. “Calliope” was despatched to Porirua, and then began a boat patrol of the shallow inner waters, which the warship could not enter.

* Mr. Kilmister, of Karori Road, Wellington, who arrived from London in the ship “Lady Nugent” in 1841 and landed at Pipitea, gives the following information (1920) regarding the military stockades which in 1846 protected the Wellington-Porirua Road:—

“When I was a boy I frequently went out along the Porirua Road with my father, who was engaged in transport work for the troops, and I remember the old stockaded posts very well. First of all, as one went out from Wellington there was a small outpost at Khandallah, not fortified; this was popularly known as ‘Mount Misery,’ and officially as ‘Sentry-box Hill,’ now abbreviated to ‘Box Hill.’ The present road over Box Hill, Khandallah, passing close to the little church, goes almost exactly over the spot where the outpost was quartered. This was a kind of midway lookout place between Wellington and Johnsonville, and was garrisoned by a few men from Johnsonville. At Johnsonville—then known as ‘Johnson's Clearing’—there was a stockade, strongly built of roughly squared timbers. Then there were stockades at intervals down to Porirua Harbour—Middleton's, Leigh's, and Elliott's. Leigh's stockade stood on Tawa Flat. Fort Elliott stood near the head of the harbour. From Porirua there was a ferry service in large boats down the harbour to Fort Paremata. These places of defence along the road between Johnson's and Porirua were built in this way: A trench was dug, and large split trees and small whole trees were set in close together, and the earth firmly filled in round them; this palisade was loopholed for musket-fire.”