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

The Escape in the Rifleman

The Escape in the Rifleman.

“When the schooner Rifleman came into Whangaroa Bay, Wharekauri, from New Zealand with stores for the prison station (in 1868), I was away on the sheep station inland, and so I did not witness the actual seizure. As soon as the vessel had been captured Te Kooti immediately sent messengers out to bring in all the exiles who were working in various outside places. Then until the vessel was ready to sail, I and a number of others did duty as guards to prevent the Europeans of the principal settlement communicating with those living in other parts of the island, who did not as yet know of the successful rising of the prisoners. When Te Kooti was ready we went on board, and we took a supply of water in casks from the shore. The Rifleman had plenty of stores in the hold, which had been intended for use of the station; there were about twenty tons of flour, biscuit, sugar and other provisions. Our ship of deliverance was a three-masted schooner, painted black; she not only had square topsails on her foremast, besides carrying a large lower squaresail for running, but she had double topsails on the main; for the rest she was fore-and-aft rigged.