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

Chapter 40: The End of the Waikato War

page 408

Chapter 40: The End of the Waikato War

ALTHOUGH THE Battle of Orakau was the final and decisive blow delivered in General Cameron's Waikato campaign, it did not end the Maoris' preparations for resistance. Ngati-Maniapoto fully expected that the British would follow up their victory, and would invade the country south of the Puniu River. The scattered hapus were collected, and the defence of the territory in the southern part of the Waipa basin was decided upon. The first fortification built was designed to block the advance of troops towards Hangatiki, the home of Wahanui Huatare and a large section of Ngati-Maniapoto. It consisted of entrenchments thrown up at Haurua, across a ridge on the main track between Otorohanga and Hangatiki, with swamps on the flanks. The ditches and parapets of this work are intersected by a riding-track on the west side of the railway-line a short distance south of Otorohanga. In rear of this advance work was a stronger position, Te Roto-Marama, an entrenched hill near the present Village of Hangatiki. The third pa built was Paratui, a hill-fort between the Mangaokewa and Mangapu Streams, a short distance south of Hangatiki; the site is to the west of the Main Trunk Railway. The whole strength of Ngati-Maniapoto was concentrated on the construction of these fortifications, under Rewi, Raureti, Wetini, Paku-kohatu, Te Rangi-ka-haruru (“The Thundering Heavens”), and Hauauru and his brother Patena, the chiefs of the Ngati-Matakore subtribe, both warriors of the old days of intertribal strife. Topine te Mamaku, from the Upper Wanganui, was also there. Haurua was for some time the headquarters of these Kingites, resolved to bar the southward march of the troops. But Cameron's advance had ended, and Kihikihi remained the most southern outpost of the troops.

It was at Ara-titaha, a Ngati-Raukawa settlement on the southern spur of Maunga-tautari, that the last shots of the Waikato War were fired, in a slight skirmish. This was a reconnaissance affair, about three months after Orakau. A Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Father Garavel, arrived at Te page 409 Awamutu one day from Taupo via Orakau, and mentioned that he had seen an armed party of Maoris at Ara-titaha, where the track ascended from the plain near Waotu. Lieutenant Rait, commanding the mounted artillery, on patrol around the advanced posts organized a secret expedition, which was joined by detachments of the 65th and other corps from Kihikihi and Rangiaowhia, under Captain Blewitt and other officers. The mounted men were engaged at long range by some Maori skirmishers near the Village of Ara-titaha, but the artillery troopers, having only revolvers, could not reply to the fire, and the infantry were some distance in the rear. Ensign Mair, the interpreter, however, was armed with a carbine, and he returned the Maoris' fire, and fired the last shot in the campaign. The force withdrew to the camps without carrying hostilities further.

Soon after the capture of Orakau the Ngati-Haua and their allies from Tauranga, who had entrenched themselves at Te Tiki o te Ihingarangi, evacuated their stronghold. The fortification, a pa of ancient days, had been strengthened by deepening the trenches, digging covered ways, and erecting palisades. The main pa stood on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the rapid Waikato, at the foot of the Pukekura Range; in rear was a higher pa of small area. General Cameron had made preparations to shell the place, and had gathered a strong battery at Pukerimu. Tamehana and his people did not wait for the bombardment. They abandoned the place under cover of night, crossing the river in canoes—a dangerous feat, for the current was very swift, and there were rapids just below the crossing-place. Men, women, and children all safely reached the eastern side and marched across the plain to Peria, near Matamata. For some time after the British occupation of Te Tiki o te Ihingarangi a force of Militia garrisoned a redoubt on the site of the upper pa. Wiremu Tamehana made his peace with the British, after his long and hopeless struggle, by meeting Brigadier-General Carey at Tamahere on the 27th May, 1865, and signing a document acknowledging submission to the law of the Queen. His tribe lost some land by confiscation, but Waikato were the heaviest sufferers; they were dispossessed of all their territory east of the Waikato River, and remained on the lands of their friends the Ngati-Maniapoto for nearly a generation after the war.

Te Awamutu was the winter quarters for the Waikato army of occupation. When the Government fixed the confiscation-lines the Puniu River was made the frontier, and no attempt was made to drive the defeated Kingites farther south. Four thousand regular troops remained at Te Awamutu and the outposts until the end of 1864, and as they were withdrawn the military settlers embodied in the regiments of Waikato Militia took page 410
The Maori Fortifications at Te Tiki o te Ihingarangi

The Maori Fortifications at Te Tiki o te Ihingarangi

The large plan is that of the main or lower pa, Ngati-Haua's headquarters early in 1864, on the west bank of the Waikato River, opposite and above the present Town of Cambridge. The drawings are from plans made in April, 1864, by Brevet-Majors F. Mould and E. Brooke, of the Royal Engineers.

page 411
The Chiefs of Ngati-Maniapoto

The Chiefs of Ngati-Maniapoto

This photograph, taken at a settlement in the King Country about 1884, shows most of the leading chiefs of the Ngati-Maniapoto Tribe from the Puniu to the Mokau. Wetere te Rerenga was the leader of the small war-party of Mokau men who killed the Gascoignes and the Rev. John Whiteley at Pukearuhe Redoubt, White Cliffs, in 1869.

their places and established frontier villages, each defended by a redoubt, which developed into towns as the settlement of the surrounding confiscated lands gradually increased. The 1st Regiment of Waikato Militia were given their sections of land at Tauranga; the other three regiments garrisoned and settled the southern Waikato—the 2nd at Alexandra (now Pirongia, at the head of steamboat navigation on the Waipa River) and Kihikihi; the 3rd Regiment at Cambridge, at the head of the Horotiu navigable waters; and the 4th at Hamilton, formerly Kirikiriroa. The river-steamer “Rangiriri,” from Mercer, landed the first of the military settlers at the site of the present Town of Hamilton on the 24th August, 1864; they numbered about page 412 one hundred and twenty men, under Captain W. Steele. Each Waikato military settler received a grant of one town acre and a section of from fifty acres upward, according to rank. Jackson's and Von Tempsky's Forest Rangers were given land at Rangiaowhia, Te Rahu, Kihikihi, and Harapepe. South of the frontier most of the Kingites remained in isolation, planning the reconquest of the Waikato, but deterred from a renewal of the war by their lack of good arms and by the presence of strong and well-trained bodies of soldier farmers on the fringes of the conquered territory. It was not until 1881, when Tawhiao laid down his guns at Major Mair's feet at Alexandra, that Waikato and Ngati-Maniapoto definitely and finally made their peace with the Government of the colony.

The New Zealand Settlements Act of 1863, under which the confiscation of native lands was carried out, set forth in the preamble that it was necessary “that some adequate provisions should be made for the permanent protection and security of the well-disposed inhabitants of both races, for the prevention of future insurrection or rebellion, and for the establishment and maintenance of Her Majesty's authority, and of law and order throughout the colony.” The best and most effectual means of attaining those ends would be by the introduction of a sufficient number of settlers able to protect themselves and to preserve the peace of the country. As there were large tracts of land lying unoccupied, useless, and unproductive, which might be made available for the introduction and location of such settlers “with benefit to themselves, and with manifest advantage to the colony,” it was enacted that the Governor in Council might take native land where desirable in order to set apart sites for settlements. The money derived from the sale of land was to be devoted to recouping the expenses of the war, in the construction of public works, the establishment of schools and other institutions, and in promoting immigration for the colonization of the confiscated territory.

An enormous area of the Waikato and neighbouring country was confiscated under this Act. It embraced the whole of the country on the east side of the Waikato-Waipa basin, from the Manga-tawhiri south to the summit of Mount Pirongia, thence along the Puniu River to the Waikeria, and from there across to Pukekura, on the foothills of the Maunga-tautari, thence northward to the Thames Gulf. Portions of this area were afterwards returned to hapus who had not shared in the war, but by far the greater portion was parcelled out for white settlement.

In 1866 Dr. Edward Waddington, who was for many years the Government military surgeon in the Waikato, in a report on the district gave the following statement of the strength of the principal military settlements (number exclusive of officers):—Alexandra (now Pirongia): 2nd Waikato Regiment—675 men, 102 women, 183 children. Cambridge: 3rd Waikato Regiment—843 men, 87 women, 198 children. Hamilton: 4th Waikato Regiment—432 men, 282 women, 751 children.

In addition to these chief settlements there were the Militia township at Kihikihi and the Forest Rangers' allotments already mentioned. In all, the Government introduced about three thousand military settlers into the Upper Waikato country.

page 413
Plan of Waiari, on the Mangapiko River Scene of the engagement of 11th February, 1864. (See pages 346–9.)

Plan of Waiari, on the Mangapiko River
Scene of the engagement of 11th February, 1864. (See pages 346–9.)