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

Slaying of Loyal Chief

Slaying of Loyal Chief

Paratene Turangi and several other Rongowhakaata chiefs visited Te Kooti at Patutahi on the day following the massacre. Hoera Kapuaroa told the Poverty Bay Crown Grants Commission in 1869 that their object was partly to induce him not to commit any more murders and partly “to make a league with him for themselves.” Te Kooti replied that he required the Rongowhakaata to join him. He was informed that he would have to fetch them himself. According to Maata te Owai, he went over to Oweta on the morning of the 12th, halted outside the pa and said prayers. He was received as a guest and food was prepared for his party. Lazarus, although he hated the pakehas, had, with some others, cleared away. Aperahama Kouka told the commissioners that he had tried to persuade Paratene to leave.

Thomas Bartlett, junior, a well-informed half-caste, told the writer that, after the meal, Te Kooti ordered some members of his band to round up Paratene and nine other non-Hauhaus. They were required to sit down in front of him. Turning to Paratene, he said reproachfully (referring to his exiling): “You told me to go on the boat!” He then ordered Nepia Tokitahi to slay them all. As the other natives at Oweta had agreed to join Te Kooti, they had been taken away earlier. Nepia slew Paratene and four of his companions on the spot. He then led the others, under escort, a little way into the bush, where he deprived them of life.

Tuta Nihoniho gave an imaginative and much more colourful page 271 account of the slaying of Paratene to James Cowan, who published it in the Lyttelton Times:

Te Kooti,” according to Tuta, “had Paratene brought out to him. One hand was stretched forth by Te Kooti in mock welcome; the other, which he held behind him, gripped a tomahawk. ‘Greetings, my father!’ said Te Kooti, who stroked the petrified Paratene's cheek as if in affection. And then he added: ‘Salutations, my father! You who uttered those words, “Go on the boat!” A-a Ko ana ki te Tomahawk!’ His tone changing with the last sentence to one of frightful biting ferocity, his eyes darting flames, his white teeth glittering, Te Kooti swung his sharp hatchet with a terrible blow and Paratene fell almost decapitated.”

An analysis of the death rolls—that in connection with the major massacre on 10 November, the isolated slayings on the 11th, and that in the case of the minor tragedy on 12 December —shows that all of the 13 European male victims were attached to the Defence Forces. Most of them were in their twenties or thirties, but two had attained the age of 60 years. Six of the women were wives of male victims, whilst another was the wife of an absent soldier. The nine European juvenile victims were between the ages of one and seven years, five being under two years old. In addition, two half-caste youths, a half-caste girl and a half-caste boy were slain. A native lad who was among those slain on 12 December is included in the list of native victims.