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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

Warrior Women

Warrior Women.

Many a Maori woman deserved a war medal for deeds of courage, even in the firing line. The white woman did not take the fighting trail, but Maori wives and sisters and even grey-haired mothers often accompanied their men in the field, carrying ammunition and food and attending to the cooking, and sometimes using a gun. Some of, those who served in the last Hauhau wars in their young days are still living. The lately dead Heni Pore, the heroine of the Gate Pa in 1864, who fought in 1865 on the Government side, used her rifle and also played a man's part with a spade in one of the Arawa saps before the Hauhau Pa at Te Teko. She fully earned a medal and a war pension, if such rewards had been for the women. When Te Kooti, in 1870, attacked the Government camp at Tapapa—close to the present motor road from Matamata over the Mamaku hills to Rotorua—the wife of Pehimana, a Nga - Rauru chief, turned imminent defeat into victory by her inspiring example. Her tribe were serving on the Government side. She climbed up on a whata, a high food platform, and waving her shawl she shouted her rallying cries, calling on her people to turn and charge. They did so, and Te Kooti's men were page 21 driven off. “Not a rap did she care for the bullets,” said Lieut-Colonel McDonnell afterwards. But there was no medal for Mrs. Pehimana. Some of those who used to be called the “sterner sex” have earned crosses and D.S.O.'s for less.