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The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume II: The Hauhau Wars, (1864–72)



When Armed Constabulary posts were established in the Taupo district in 1869 a number of fortified stations were erected to protect the line of communication with Napier across the plains and the lofty ranges intervening, a distance of nearly one hundred miles. At Opepe, twelve miles from Taupo, a strong timber stockade was constructed. At Runanga, about thirty-six miles from Taupo, a stockade was built on a hill overlooking the Waipunga and Runanga Streams. There was a sheep-station there. The fort was built in 1869 by No. 2 Division Armed Constabulary, under Sub-Inspector D. Scannell (formerly of the 57th Regiment). The Armed Constabulary hauled timber from the bush and built a stockade after the Maori pattern, as there was no fern handy to bind the loose pumice soil into parapets. The palisade timbers were 10 feet or 11 feet high, with two horizontal rails inside lashed to the uprights with aka-vines and kareao (supplejack) in the native manner. The main posts were large timbers, and saplings were set between them. Inside the stockade a trench was dug, and the earth and sods were heaped up against the fence, which was loopholed at the ground-level. There were flanking bastions at two diagonally opposite angles of the work. The one weak feature of the post was its distance from water. Its position was on the edge of the bush.

The next post was that at Tarawera (forty-eight miles from Taupo and fifty miles from Napier). The site is near the present hotel. This strong stockade had a one-storey loopholed blockhouse in two of the angles; these blockhouses were constructed of thick logs, roofs as well as walls, for protection from bullets fired from the higher hills.

At Te Haroto (fifty-four miles from Taupo), near the kainga of the Ngati-Hineuru Tribe, a blockhouse had been erected earlier than the posts already mentioned. This post was a square building with an upper storey projecting 2 feet or 3 feet over the lower. A deep well was dug inside the blockhouse. The position was a commanding one, with a panorama of the mountainous country for many miles around. A mile away is the highest page 514 point on the Taupo-Napier road, Tupurupuru (2,980 feet), on the Turangakumu Range.

At Titiokura, on the Maunga-haruru Range, a stockade was built in a prominent position, about 2,450 feet above sea-level, and about thirty miles from Napier.