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The Old Frontier : Te Awamutu, the story of the Waipa Valley : the missionary, the soldier, the pioneer farmer, early colonization, the war in Waikato, life on the Maori border and later-day settlement

Mahuki's Raid on Alexandra, and His Capture

Mahuki's Raid on Alexandra, and His Capture.

On Sunday, 25th March, 1883, three days after the release of Hursthouse and Newsham, Mahuki and twenty-six followers invaded the township of Alexandra (now Pirongia), in pursuance of the leader's announced intention to loot the place. Mahuki had prophesied many extraordinary things, and his followers had implicit belief in his supernatural powers. He had even sent word of his intended visit, so Alexandra was prepared. A force of Armed Constabulary under Captain (afterwards Major) Gascoyne, who was in command of the Alexandra Redoubt, and the Te Awamutu Cavalry troop were on hand, and so disposed in detachments out of sight as to surprise and surround the invaders. Mahuki's men, fortunately for themselves, were not armed. Two Europeans who had ridden out to reconnoitre the road to the Waipa bridge had to make a speedy retreat when the Tekau-roa-rua came in sight. One of them—Mr Alfred H. Benge, the schoolmaster at Te Awamutu page 103 —returned safely with the loss of only his hat; the other, a well-known Alexandra resident, parted company with his horse in the race, and was caught, tied up, and deposited by the roadside to reflect on the position at leisure, while the Hauhmi troop galloped on into Alexandra. Their surprise was complete. Armed Constabulary and Cavalry troopers rusihed out and surrounded them, pulled them off their horses, and tied them up. Twenty-three were captured in this way, including the much-astonished prophet himself, and four more were arrested at the bridge. Only one man got clear away to carry the news of the prophet's capture to the kainga at Te Kumi. Four of the twenty-seven, being young boys, were released; the rest were marched, handcuffed in couples, to Te Awamutu, where they were entrained for Auckland. Mahuki and his principal followers were tried at the Supreme Court for the assault on Hursthouse and Newsham, and received terms of imprisonment.

Some years later Mahuki ran amok again, this time at Te Kuiti, and was once more imprisoned, and he died while serving his sentence. He was the last of the troublesome religious fanatics of the Rohepotae.