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Reminiscences of The War in New Zealand

Chapter XLVIII. — Operations Against Titokowaru—continued. — Colonel Whitmore Marches on General Chute's Track to Taranaki. Hunting up Stragglers. Capture of Pakakohi by Major Noake

Chapter XLVIII.
Operations Against Titokowarucontinued.
Colonel Whitmore Marches on General Chute's Track to Taranaki. Hunting up Stragglers. Capture of Pakakohi by Major Noake.

The Hauhaus had apparently retreated in the direction of Ngtimaru, inland of the Waitara river; but as it was possible that straggling parties of the enemy might be in the neighbourhood of Te Ngutu, Colonel Whitmore sent the chief Kepa to scout that country. This was done on the 3rd of April, but no trace of the enemy was found, and it was evident that the Hauhaus had really deserted their country. Such being the case, the Wanganuis were sent page 265back to their homes, and the European portion of the force, 318 of all ranks, tinder Colonel St. John, marched through the bush by General Chute's track to the Waitara. The column camped that evening at the Patea river; they had been delayed by the illness of Colonel Fraser, who had an epileptic fit on the road, and a portion of the force were detached to carry him back to Patea. The second day's march brought the column to Mataitawa, and on the afternoon of the following day they reached the Waitara. From here Colonel Whitmore and the Hon. J. C. Richmond reconnoitred Mokau from the deck of the Sturt; but decided that the landing would be attended with too much danger, and that it was not advisable to attempt an attack. The various divisions were therefore embarked for Tauranga, on the long-projected campaign against the warlike Uriwera tribes, in their own mountain fastnesses. Operations against the Hauhaus in the Patea district did not cease with Colonel Whitmore's departure. Titoko and the Ngaruahine tribe had certainly cleared out of the districts, but his allies the Pakakohi and Ngarauru, numbering about two hundred fighting men, were still to the fore, if they could only be found. These tribes had joined Titoko while successful, and deserted him immediately after the fight at Otauto, when it became evident to them that the Pakeha would be too much for the Hauhau, who were now about to reap the reward of their misdeeds. Colonel Lyon was left in charge of the Patea district, and he had under his command about two hundred of the constabulary, including No. 9 Division (Ngatiporou) and several local volunteer corps, the majority of whom were tried men.

Captain Bryce of the Kaiiwi cavalry commenced the work that ended so successfully. During the latter end of March, while scouting the bush behind Pakaraka, that officer took prisoners a man, woman, and child; the man was spared on condition that he acted as guide to an expedition then forming to proceed up the Waitotara river. On the page 2661st of April a party of 143 men, under the command of Major Noake, started through, the bush to strike the river inland, and on the second day arrived at a small settlement called Pokai, where they had the good fortune to find a canoe. From this point Captain Hawes was sent back to Te Auroa village, with the double purpose of keeping open the track in case of retreat, and searching for canoes, while Captain Kells was sent forward with a small party in the captured canoe, on a similar errand. Both were successful Captain Kells found two large ones at pah Rakau, and Hawes another at Te Auroa. Major Noake was now in a position to ascend the river, and pushed forward to Te Iringi with sixty men. This was a large settlement, which it was fully expected would be defended by the enemy; but such was not the case, for it had been recently deserted, the cattle and poultry being left behind. The guide, when questioned, said he believed the men had retired to Piraunui, a large settlement at no great distance. The column therefore advanced cautiously, expecting a volley every minute; but on nearing the pah a white flag was seen waving from the palisades, and our men were welcomed by a decrepit old woman, who had evidently been left to receive them.

Captain Bryce was sent forward next day and ascended the river ten miles farther, until he came upon three men in a canoe; the men escaped, but the eanoe fell into our hands.

By this time the column had penetrated sixty miles up the river, and had destroyed or carried off everything portable; but the main object of the expedition failed, as the Hauhaus were evidently on their guard, and had retired to the Upper Wanganud. Such being the case, Major Noake retired to the Weraroa, where the loot was sold, for the benefit of the men engaged. On the 20th, Captain Hawes, one of the best scouts in the service, started with ninety men, composed of No. 9 Division Armed Constabulary (Ngatiporous) and some volunteers, to scout the country inland of the page 267Whenuakura river. No sign of recent occupation was seen, and it did not appear that the Pakakohi tribe were inhabiting that district. The Waitotara and Whenuakura districts had now been searched unsuccessfully, and there only remained the Patea; this was left to Colonel Lyon, who on the 3rd of May crossed the river at Hukatere and camped at Otauto, where fresh tracks were seen. A party of Ngatiporou scouts under Te Hata were sent in pursuit, and came across three men, two of whom were caught and shot. On the following day two others were seen, and met the same fate; one of them proved to be a woman dressed in men's clothes. Another party of our men saw about forty Hauhaus, most of whom escaped by their canoes; the others scattered in every direction, and our force having no canoes returned to Patea. On the 9th of June, Major Noake took the matter in hand with complete success; he started from Patea with 270 men of all ranks, and proceeded up the river in canoes. On the fourth day they arrived at a village called Paetata, where they were met by an envoy from the leading chief of the Pakakohi (Ngawakataurua), who wished to sue for peace. Mr. Booth, native magistrate, went up the river to arrange terms, while Major Noake held the envoy as hostage for his safety.

Mr. Booth was absent longer than was expected, and Major Noake, uneasy as to his fate, took fifty men and started for Kurenui, where he found Taurua and his people. The major was not learned in Maori diplomacy, and cut the Gordian knot in a manner very pleasant to think of. He first gave Mr. Booth to understand that, having arrived on the ground, he (Major Noake) was master of the occasion; so after sending half his men to the rear of the pah, he informed Taurua that, before he treated with rebels, they must lay down their arms. The Hauhaus, unused to such decisive measures, hesitated, but it was too late, the Pakehas were all round them, and evidently quite ready to commence. So Taurua made a virtue of necessity and fell gracefully, by laying his gun at the major's feet. His page 268men followed suit, and thirty guns were quietly laid on the ground. The tribe were then informed that they would be taken to Patea, until the Government had decided as to their treatment; so the whole of that section of the tribe, forty-six men, including the chiefs Taurua, Iraia, and Kiriona, thirty-seven women, and forty children, were taken prisoners and handed over to the safe keeping of Ngatiporou. Eighteen canoes were taken as Government loot, but their houses and cultivations were not destroyed, as they had given in peacefully. Thus far we had been most successful, but there were still about seventy members of this tribe at large; and immediate steps were taken to capture them, before they could join Titokowaru at Ngatimaru.

To accomplish this, Hori Kerei and a party of the Wanganui tribe started in pursuit, and returned on the 21st with forty prisoners, of whom sixteen were well armed. The last expedition was on the 7th of July, when Captain Hawes succeeded in capturing eight men up the Whenuakura river, but unfortunately allowed the chief Te Onekura to escape. This man had been the leader in the treacherous murder of Mr. C. Broughton; he was recaptured a few weeks later, and died in Otago, as did all those who took an active part in that murder. Nearly the whole of the Pakakohi tribe were now in the hands of the Government, to the number of 180. The men were transported to Otago, and won golden opinions fiom the authorities by their quiet behaviour; it may therefore be concluded that imprisonment did them good, as quiet behaviour had not been characteristic of that tribe for several hundred years,

These operations ended a campaign which had commenced with the murder of the three settlers a year before. During that period, many engagements had been fought, in everyone of which our loss had been much heavier than that of the enemy's; but, for all that, the Hauhaus had been completely beaten, and driven out of their country.

The following table will show the losses on both sides during the campaign.

page 269
Losses suffered by the Colonial Forces in the Campaign against Titokowaru.
Corps. Killed. Wounded.
No. 1 Division Armed Constabulary. 1 7
No. 2 Division Armed Constabulary 20 17
No. 3 Division Armed Constabulary 17 10
No. 5 Division Armed Constabulary 6 7
No. 6 Division Armed Constabulary 4 8
No. 7 Division Armed Constabulary 2 0
No. 8 Division Armed Constabulary 3 3
Scouts 2 0
Wellington Eangers 4 9
Wellington Bines 5 6
Taranaki Militia 2 7
Patea Cavalry 2 1
Patea Rifles 3 0
Kupapas 4 6
Settlers 6 1
Total 81 82
Total ascertained Loss of Enemy.
Killer 45
Prisoners 182