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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6 (October 2, 1933)

Down the Wanganui

Down the Wanganui.

Then the meeting appointed seven chiefs to paddle the surveyor down the Wanganui River to see Kepa and discuss the trouble. His instruments remained in the possession of an old page 44 chief. After a canoe voyage of two and a half days, calling at the principal kaingas on the way, the party reached Upokongaro. Rochfort noted that the riverside villages carried a large population, and that the Maoris about Hiruharama (Jerusalem) owned many sheep, cattle and horses. At that large settlement there was a Catholic Mission; Sister Maria Joseph (afterwards so well known in Wellington as Mother Mary Joseph Aubert) was there engaged in the mission work, besides other members of the Church.

After an inconclusive meeting between his captors and Kepa, Rochfort decided to return to Wellington to seek the advice of the Native Minister. Kepa had a conference with the Minister, promising assistance, and the result was that Rochfort returned to Wanganui and went up the river to Ranana, Kepa's headquarters, where a large meeting was held. Several of the up-river chiefs were there, and agreed to the continuance of the survey, but it was considered necessary to send a strong force of Kepa's men with Rochfort.