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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)



At the beginning of the Hauhau troubles in the Ngati-Porou territory, near the East Cape, the chief Mokena Kohere took energetic measures to restore order and loyalty. He asked Mr. Titus White, R.M., to go to Auckland to procure arms for the friendly natives. Mr. White set out in a small schooner, but it foundered with all on board off White Island, in the Bay of Plenty. Mokena then decided to go to Napier and see Mr. Donald McLean. His mission was successful. Captain Deighton, R.M., of Wairoa, was sent up to Waiapu to organize the friendly sections of Ngati-Porou. Lieutenant Biggs (afterwards Major) had lately been sent to Wairoa with some twenty men to build a blockhouse; his men were chiefly disbanded members of the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry. Biggs arrived there from Napier in the schooner “Hero” (Captain John Campbell), a little vessel of about 15 tons, sharp-ended both bow and stern like a whaleboat. The blockhouse was only just finished when the cutter page 506 “Mahia” (Captain W. E. Bendall) arrived with orders for the force to embark for Waiapu, which they did that day. Biggs's Hawke's Bay volunteers were all picked men who had been well trained in the Defence Force Cavalry for two years. These were the first troops to go to the East Cape district. Shortly afterwards Captain Fraser and his Hawke's Bay Military Settlers were sent to Waiapu. Fraser was promoted Brevet-Major and took command of the operations. The friendly Ngati-Porou had by this time had several engagements, and had to retire from one pa at Tikitiki and fall back on Te Hatepe, close to the coast.

In the attack on Pa-kairomiromi (early in August) Major Fraser's life was saved by Private Wilford. This man killed a Maori who was aiming a blow at Fraser's head with a long-handled tomahawk. Wilford received a bullet-wound in the wrist.

Captain Deighton, R.M., was in the engagement at Pa-kairomiromi. He returned to Wairoa during August. Mr. G. A. Preece (now Captain Preece) was clerk and interpreter to the Court at Wairoa, and had been in charge of native affairs during the Magistrate's absence. Captain Deighton was ordered back to Waiapu, and Mr. Preece volunteered for service; on arrival at Waiapu he was attached to the force as extra interpreter with relative rank of ensign. Mr. Martin Hamlin was the interpreter with Major Fraser's force; Mr. Preece usually acted with Lieutenant Biggs.

Captain Preece writes: “I think it was about the 20th September, 1865, that Captain Deighton left Napier for Waiapu again (his second trip to Waiapu) in H.M.S. ‘Brisk.’ The ‘Brisk’ also took up Captain Westrup and Lieutenant Ross, with fifty or sixty of Von Tempsky's Forest Rangers, and sixty of the Colonial Defence Force. The C.D.F. were landed at Poverty Bay on the following morning (Sunday). A fatigue-party of Rangers was landed and assisted the others to build a redoubt (commenced by Lieutenant Wilson and twenty-five C.D.F.), about where the Farmers’ Freezing-works now stand at Gisborne. It was completed with the assistance of friendly natives before we sailed. We landed at Waiapu on the following morning, and attacked Pukemaire pa at dawn next day.”

Describing the attack on Pukemaire (3rd October, 1865), Captain Preece writes: “Just after we opened fire in front of the pa we saw Ropata and Hotene's men crossing the Waiapu River from the Tuparoa side, as had been arranged by Captain Deighton and Lieutenant Biggs the previous day. Biggs and his Hawke's Bay volunteers then worked round under the bank to a flanking angle at the rear of the pa. Here they were joined by Ropata and Hotene. A sortie was made from the pa by the Hauhaus, holding up their hands to drive the bullets away, but a number of them fell, and the rest got back quickly into the fort. The flanking angle was attacked; we worked up to it with a sap. A man named Hemi Tapeka cut the bush-vines which fastened the palisading of the angle, and killed a man inside the work. We were fighting the enemy from their own works, and should undoubtedly have taken the place had not the heavy rain flooded the streams and prevented Lieutenant Gascoyne reaching the foot of the pa with provisions and ammunition. The order to retire was given at 5 p.m. The rebels did not follow us up. The creeks which we crossed the previous night had become mountain torrents. We had difficulty in crossing on our way back to Hatepe, which we reached at 8 p.m. One man died from exhaustion.

“At the second attack on Pukemaire (9th October) it was intended to sap up to the position we had left, put a mine underneath, and blow it up. Supplejack gabions had been prepared for the sap. But the Hauhaus had abandoned the pa.

After the capture of Hungahunga-toroa pa (near the East Cape) and the surrender of Ngati-Porou, sixteen ringleaders, including Karanama te page 507 Kani and Hiriwetere te Whakamate, were shipped to Napier in the schooner “Surprise,” in which Captain Deighton returned to his district. The sixteen were handed over to the police, and were among those exiled to Chatham Island. They escaped in 1868 in the schooner “Rifleman” with Te Kooti. Mr. Preece recognized the man Hiriwetere when he surrenderd. He knew him when he (Preece) was a boy at his father's home at Whakatane. Curious to say, after his second spell of rebellion (1868–70) he surrendered to Captain Preece at Te Teko, having been separated from Te Kooti's party at Taupo.

Captain Hussey and 100 men, Taranaki Military Settlers, arrived from Opotiki just too late to take part in the Hungahunga-toroa expedition. Captain Hussey was killed in the engagement at Omaru-hakeke, Upper Wairoa, on Christmas Day, 1865.