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

In Exile on Chatham Island

In Exile on Chatham Island.

“We prisoners of war,” Peita continued, “were kept on Wharekauri (Chatham Island) for two years. We were compelled to work for the Government. Some of us built a large stone house there. We cut the stone and carried it up and placed it in position. The house was used as part of the barracks. For a long time I worked as shepherd for a European sheep-farmer on a distant part of the island, and because of this I was not one of those who assembled for worship after the ritual set up by Te Kooti, who had been shipped down from Turanganui (Gisborne).

“There were many of the Tangata-whenua or original people of Wharekauri, the Mai-oriori, living on the island. They were a strange people as to customs and language and their skins were very dark. When we first went there we could not understand their tongue.