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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 1, 1928)

Typical Ruse of Maori Warfare

Typical Ruse of Maori Warfare.

A story is told of an Irish soldier's adventure here one night towards the end of 1863. Jack Murphy was on sentry duty outside the redoubt, when he heard a Maori pig grunting, and presently observed a big porker rooting in the fern. The pig gradually came nearer, and to the soldier it seemed an unusually large one—a big bush boar, he thought. Getting uneasy, he challenged, and remembering stories of Maori tricks, he fired. He missed the pig, which next moment threw off its hide and leaped at him with a long-handled tomahawk. It was a naked warrior, who had adopted this old pigskin ruse of creeping up on an unsuspecting sentry. Murphy had no time to reload his muzzle-loading long Enfield. He tried to parry the blow, but the blade caught his left hand. The camp turned out, but the Maori had disappeared, and Murphy was yelling for some one to bring a lantern and find his thumb. The pig with the tomahawk had cut it clean off.