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

The Raid on Poverty Bay

The Raid on Poverty Bay.

“Te Kooti's attacking force (about a hundred men) was divided into several kokiri, or raiding parties, as the settled country on the Poverty Bay flat was approached. I was in a party of about fifty men, led by Petera Kahuroa, of the Ngati-Hineuru tribe. I was armed with a rifle and bayonet. We first attacked the European settlers and the Maoris at Pipi-whakao. The prisoners we took there were all executed by one man, belonging to the Ngati-Kahungunu; he had been appointed to slay the prisoners. He killed them by stabbing them with his fixed bayonet. They had fled as we surrounded them, but were brought back and bayoneted one by one.

“We next attacked the house of Te Piiki [Major Biggs]. Te Rangi-tahau and Nikora were the leaders in this slaying. Volleys were fired into the house, after the door was broken in, and Biggs was shot down and his family also.
The schooner Rifleman (Drawn by A. H. Messenger, from a sketch by the late Captain M. T. Clayton, Auckland).

The schooner Rifleman
(Drawn by A. H. Messenger, from a sketch by the late Captain M. T. Clayton, Auckland).

The house of Wirihana [Major Wilson] was then surrounded. The principal man appointed to execute the Wilsons was Rawiri, of the Rongo-whakaata tribe. Other men appointed to kill prisoners were Te Rangi-tahau (usually called Tahau, who had been captured with Peita at Omarunui in 1866), and Timoti te Kaka, of Opotiki. Tahau's favourite weapon for these executions was a patu-pounamu, a sharp-edged greenstone club. Te Kaka used a patu-paraoa, a whalebone club. In these expeditions such men were told off specially to slay those taken prisoner. Some used the tomahawk. As for myself, I never liked killing men with the tomahawk; I preferred the gun. After the night and morning of killing, we returned to the high country, and we fortified ourselves at Makaretu, on the Wharekopae River. There was much fighting there.