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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.

Hanged for Treason

Hanged for Treason

Hamiora Pere, one of the Te Kooti rebels in Poverty Bay, was required to stand his trial for high treason at Wellington in September, 1869. He was captured after the fall of Ngatapa. The chief witness for the Crown was Maata te Owai, who said that she was married at the Chatham Islands to Te Kooti, who had seduced her. She testified that Pere was one of the band which had participated in the Poverty Bay Massacre. He had been a prisoner at the Chatham Islands. It was urged in Pere's defence that the rebels were savages who felt that they had a right to repel a foreign foe which had entered into the occupation of their country. Pere said that, in order to save his own life, he had had to stay with Te Kooti after they had returned from exile.

Following a retirement of only 15 minutes, the jury returned with a verdict of guilty. Mr. Justice Johnston, upon sentencing Pere to death, congratulated him upon the fact that the practice page 265 of drawing and quartering after hanging had been abolished. Sobbing bitterly, Pere had to be assisted to ascend the scaffold on 16 November, 1869. Huskily he attempted to utter a few words. All traces of nervousness then left him. Standing up erect, he repeated, in a loud, clear voice, the prayers that were being said on his behalf.