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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 11 (February 1, 1938)

Te Kooti's Scout

page 49

Te Kooti's Scout.

(Continued from page 29.)

our rearguard fight. I was with the main body and did not take part in the fighting this time. We lost many men and retreated round the base of Tumunui mountain, and our enemies gave up the chase. We camped at Okaro lake that night, and next day crossed the Kaingaroa Plain to the mountains of the Urewera country.”

* * *

That was the last march in which our well-seasoned scout took part. He had had enough of it; and now there was a lady in the case. He was attracted by a young woman of the Ngati-Manawa, and war had no more charms for him. He made his home with the Ngati-Manawa—they had been his opponents in the war—and lived there most of his life afterwards.

The grey old rifleman summed it up: “I left the war-path while I was still well and unhurt. Though in my many battles I was struck by bullets on eight occasions, I never received any injury beyond a bruise or a graze. All my old comrades went before me; I am the last of the men who escaped from the prison island of Wharekauri, and I have long outlived my great chief, Te Kooti. He was a man of god-like power. I had my atua, too, to protect me. That was well—but I also was a straight shot with my carbine.”

There were others from whom at one time and another I heard details of the escape from Wharekauri in the Rifleman. One was that grim old battler Te Rangi-tahau, mentioned by Peita. He was a tohunga too, learned in all kinds of occult lore. His treasured execution weapon was a stone club significantly named “Te Ringa Toto” (“The Bloody Hand”). Tahau survived all his campaigns to die in the peaceful practice of magic and spells, in the year 1900.