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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)


page 458

AS THE SUMMER drew on the conditions of bush travel improved, and in December, 1871, the search for Te Kooti was renewed from the western side of the Urewera Mountains. On the 7th of that month Captain Preece sent Sergeant Raimona out with a small party from the Rangitaiki to scout the last track followed, with instructions to go farther on towards the head of the Okahu, in the ranges, and then turn down-stream. Instead of adhering to these instructions the scouts crossed the range into the Waiau Valley, where they lost themselves. Then, going down the Waiau for four days, they came out at the western end of Lake Waikaremoana, and managed to communicate with Captain G. McDonnell at Onepoto. There they were supplied with rations, and got back to camp on the 15th, just as Captain Preece was starting with a party to search for them. They had followed the tracks of two men and a woman in the Waiau, and this gave a clue to the whereabouts of Te Kooti.

A month passed quietly by, and on the 18th January, 1872, Captains Mair and Preece made an expedition up the Horomanga Gorge, following a rumour that Te Kooti was in the vicinity of Tutaepukepuke. They captured two men, who denied that he had been in the locality. However, they detained them and surrounded the settlement at daylight next morning. The people were very indignant at being made prisoners, and stoutly denied all knowledge of Te Kooti; and after they had prepared plenty of food for the force, and invited Mair and Preece to remain a month and search the country, they convinced the officers of their good faith. The column scoured the whole country for days without result. On returning to the plains news arrived that Te Kooti had burnt Mr. Dolbel's wool-shed at Maunga-haruru, inland of Mohaka.

On the 31st January, 1872, Captain Preece with Sergeant Bluett and forty men left Ahi-kereru, travelling by the trail used in the previous October, then through rough rocky country, cautiously following the bed of the Upper Waiau River. On page 459
Photo in 1874] The Armed Constabulary Redoubt at Onepoto, Waikare-moana

Photo in 1874]
The Armed Constabulary Redoubt at Onepoto, Waikare-moana

the following day, going down the rapid river, they discovered a hot spring just above the junction of a creek with the main stream, and then several other boiling springs, a hot creek, and one place where hot water burst up in the middle of the river. The Waiau proper comes in on the left, rising near the headwaters of the Whakatane behind Ruatahuna. Old Hapurona Kohi, who accompanied the force on this expedition, informed Captain Preece that the boiling springs were well known to the old natives, and also that the range between the two branches of the Waiau had in old times been a well-known hunting-ground for the kakapo (night-parrot or ground-parrot) and the kiore maori (the indigenous rat), considered by the natives a great delicacy.
After visiting the deserted camp which Sergeant Raimona had found, the searchers on the following day found the tracks of a man and a dog, and then came on a plantation of potatoes. For two days the tracks were followed, and a new camp only two days old was discovered, but the clues then were lost. Striking Sergeant Raimona's trail, Preece and his men now page 460
The Urewera Country

The Urewera Country

This topographical map of the central, southern, and western parts of the Urewera Country, reduced from a large-scale map, is given to show the extremely broken contour of the region which the Government native columns scoured during 1870–72. The map was the first one made of the Urewera district by the New Zealand Survey Department; it was drawn by Mr. M. Crompton Smith (now Chief Draughtsman, Survey Department), who was cadet and topographer with Mr. J. Baber in 1883. The party carried out the pioneer survey of the Urewera in that year in the face of considerable opposition by the Maoris.

made for the Marau Inlet, at the end of Wairau-moana, the western arm of Lake Waikare-moana, and found traces of natives there. On arrival at the Marau shore they lighted a fire, the first they had had in daylight for six days, and followed the Maori tracks to a canoe. Taniora, an Urewera, and his wife, page 461 seeing the smoke of the fire, came across the bay and told Preece that the last tracks found had been made by their people; those seen in the Waiau were not theirs. On learning this Preece sent a message by canoe to Captain Ferris, at Onepoto, and arranged with him to take his men along the other side of the lake and work in concert with the Arawa column. Raharuhi, an old native acquainted with the country, agreed to accompany the Arawa. On the 10th Ferris and Preece joined hands, but neither of them had any success to report; the rain had obliterated all tracks. For one day Captain Ferris remained co-operating with Captain Preece and scouting the country. He then left for Ngaputahi, while Preece worked towards Te Putere, south of Waikare-moana. Heavy rain set in, and that day (12th February) he was compelled to allow the men to light fires to warm themselves.