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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)



Although actual fighting had ceased, several important expeditions were carried out by the colonial forces in the South Taranaki and Waitotara districts during April, May, June, and July, 1869. The Pakakohi and Nga-Rauru Tribes, who had not remained with Titokowaru after the final defeat at Whakamara, page 311 had taken shelter up the Patea, Whenuakura, and Waitotara Rivers, where they considered themselves safe from further molestation. In April a force of sixty men, under Major Noake, Captain Kells, and Captain John Bryce, ascended the Waitotara by canoe for many miles in pursuit of Nga-Rauru, but found only deserted settlements. Captain Hawes, of the Wairoa, with ninety men, chiefly Ngati-Porou, scouted the banks of the Whenuakura, and Colonel Lyon examined the Patea country. The Ngati-Porou company, searching the bush along the Patea, shot four Hauhaus. Colonel Lyon was highly pleased with Ngati-Porou; he wrote of them “as the best body of natives it had ever been my fortune to command.” In June Major Noake made a canoe expedition up the Patea, taking two hundred and seventy men in his flotilla, and captured the old chief Nga-waka-taurua and many of his Pakakohi Tribe. The warriors surrendered their arms, and were taken out to Patea. Gradually other sections of the tribe were rounded up on the Patea and the Whenuakura, until practically the whole of the fighting-men of the Pakakohi were captured, to the number of over a hundred, besides most of the women and children. The men, to their great disgust, were transported to Otago, and were not released until peace was thoroughly established on the West Coast. Had the Pakakohi anticipated this imprisonment it is extremely unlikely that they would have surrendered as they did.

Narratives by two veterans of the West Coast forces describe the principal canoe expeditions in search of the Pakakohi Tribe. Mr. R. B. Hamilton, of Manawapou, Manutahi, who served in the Colonial Defence Force Cavalry in the Waikato War and afterwards in the Wanganui Yeomanry Cavalry and the Patea Rifles, stated that in June, 1869, a force of about one hundred and thirty men set out up the Patea River in canoes in order to attempt the capture of the Hauhaus. “Major Noake,” he said, “sent me on ahead in a small canoe with two other men to scout the river and report to him if I saw any Maoris or indications of their whereabouts. We were a day and a half working up the river with paddle and pole, a long way up past Otautu. We in our small light canoe got on well ahead, but we encountered trouble at the first big rapid. I was in the bow with my carbine pointing out over the gunwale ahead, as I worked along, now paddling, now poling. When we reached this rapid I advised my companions to keep to the still water under the bank, but the steersman sent the canoe right into the middle of the rapid, and before I knew where we were we had capsized and I was over my head in the swift water. I had a narrow escape from drowning, for I had two hundred rounds of ammunition at my belt in the heavy old-fashioned pouches, my page 312
Major M. Noake

Major M. Noake

carbine, and an army revolver. After a lot of scrambling we got out and righted our canoe. Fortunately I had a bottle of whisky, and a good tot of this helped to put warmth into us after our ducking in the icy-cold water. When we had put things to rights and partly dried ourselves we went on up and round the bends of the winding river, under high banks covered with heavy forest. At last we saw blue smoke rising from the green bush far ahead, and we went on cautiously, always expecting attack. We landed below the place where the smoke was seen, tied up our canoe, and scouted cautiously up the bank and into a good-sized village. It was quite deserted. Evidently the people had only just left, and it was an eerie feeling that came over me, knowing that armed men must be lurking in the trees about us. Suddenly a Maori, unseen by us but quite near, called out, and Tom Adamson, who was with me, found that the Maoris wanted a korero with the white authorities and were willing to make peace with us. We returned to our canoe and paddled down the river as fast as we could go, and when I met the flotilla I reported to Major Noake. The end of it was that 128 of the Pakakohi Tribe surrendered and came down with us to Patea. The men were shipped off to Otago, to tame them. page 313 Old Nga-waka-taurua was the chief of this tribe. He was a fine aristocratic type of Maori, of patriarchal appearance. Of course, had the Maoris wished they could have ambuscaded us at any one of a hundred places on the river and cut up our expedition very badly.”

William Kelly, of Stratford, Taranaki, who had been an American man-of-war sailor before he enlisted in the New Zealand forces, gave the following account of the last expedition after the remnant of the Pakakohi, who were sheltering on the upper part of the Whenuakura River:—

“In July, 1869, a detachment of twenty of us (Patea Rangers and Armed Constabulary), under Captain Kells, went up the Whenuakura River in canoes in order to try and capture the chief Te Onekura, who was concerned in the murder of Mr. Broughton, the previous Government interpreter, on the Patea in 1865. Te Onekura was supposed to have taken the Government money—a large sum—with which Broughton had intended to pay for a block of land. All the members of our expedition were experienced canoe-men. I had learned to paddle and pole when we were at Pipiriki, on the Wanganui. We reached a good-sized settlement some miles up the river, and took the Maoris there by surprise, but there was no firing except by way of ‘bluff.’ We found an old Maori there, one of the Hauhaus, who, we thought, would be able to tell us something. Captain Kells, Tom Adamson, and I took him out into the bush a little distance from the settlement, within gun-shot sound. We stood him out there and told him that we'd shoot him unless he told us where Te Onekura had hidden the stolen money. The old man could not or would not tell. He maintained a stubborn silence. We told him he was about to be killed for his failure to answer us, and I slowly levelled my carbine and fired just past his ear. The plucky old man never moved. The shot was heard in the village as we intended; the idea was to compel the Hauhaus to divulge the secret of the money and to impress them with the belief that we had shot the old fellow for his obstinate silence. We kept the first Maori back in the bush a while, and dealt with another Hauhau in the same way, but with no success. Returning to the settlement, we got a boy to show us the track down through the bush to another place on the river-bank. There we took the people by surprise; they were all gathered in a large wharepuni, which was partly dug out of the ground, with the sides earthed up, so that the floor was a foot or two below the level of the ground outside. We interrogated these people also, but to no effect; the Government never recovered the looted money. We took a number of prisoners here and brought them down to Patea.”