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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 3 (July 1, 1933)

Maning as a Free-Lance Fighter

Maning as a Free-Lance Fighter.

It must be remembered also that Maning was something of a fire-eater himself. He had carried his double-barrel gun in the battlefields of North Auckland himself, in Heke's war of 1845, alongside his friends John Webster and Tamati Waka Nene. John Webster, in his Reminiscences, has told the story of Maning's retort to Colonel Despard's arrogant question: “What do you civilians know of the matter?” when the three comrades went to him to protest against the attempt to carry the Ohaeawai stockade by storm. Maning indignantly said: “We may not know much, sir, but there is one apparently that knows less, and that is yourself!” When Despard threatened to arrest them, Tamati Waka made a contemptuous comment which still further infuriated the stubborn Colonel. All protests were in vain, and that afternoon Despard's insane order cost forty lives and a great many wounded.