The Long White Cloud
Chapter XVII — The Fire in the Fern
The Fire in the Fern
But War, of its majestic mask laid bare,
The face of naked Murder seemed to wear.
From the middle of 1864 to January 1865 there was so little fighting that it might have been thought that the war was nearing its end. The Waikato had been cleared, and the Tauranga tribes crushed. Thompson, hopeless of further struggling, ceased to resist the irresistible, made his peace with us, and during the short remainder of his life was treated as became an honourable foe. Nevertheless, nearly two years of harassing guerilla warfare were in store for the Colony. Then there was to be another imperfect period of peace, or rather exhaustion, between October 1866 and June 1868, when hostilities were once more to blaze up and only to die out finally in 1870. This persistency was due to several causes, of which the first was the outbreak, early in 1864, of a curious superstition, the cult of the Hau-Hau. Their doctrine would be hard to describe. It was a wilder, more debased, and more barbaric parody of Christianity than the Mormonism of Joe Smith. It was an angry reaction, a kind of savage expression of a desire to revolt alike from the Christianity and civilization of the Pakeha and to found a national religion. For years it drove its votaries into purposeless outbreaks and acts of pitiless and ferocious cruelty. By the Hau-Hau two white missionaries were murdered—outrages unknown before in New Zealand. Their murderous deeds and the reprisals these brought about gave a darker tinge to the war henceforth. Their frantic faith led to absurdities as well as horrors. They would work themselves up into frenzy by dances and incantations, and in particular by barking like dogs—hence their name. At first they seem to have believed that page 212 the cry Hau! Hau! accompanied by raising one hand above the head with palm turned to the front, would turn aside the Pakeha's bullets.
It was in April 1864 that they first appeared in the field. A Captain Lloyd, out with a reconnoitring party in Taranaki, fell, rather carelessly, into an ambuscade, where he and six of his people were killed and a dozen wounded. When Captain Atkinson and his rangers came up at speed to the rescue, they found that the heads of the slain had been cut off and carried away. Lloyd's, it appears, was carried about the island by Hau-Hau preachers, who professed to find in it a kind of diabolical oracle, and used it with much effect in disseminating their teaching. One of these prophets, or preachers, however, had a short career. Three weeks after Lloyd's death this man, having persuaded himself and his dupes that they were invulnerable, led them against a strong and well-garrisoned redoubt at Sentry Hill, between New Plymouth and Waitara. Early one fine morning, in solid column, they marched deliberately to within 150 yards of the fort, and before straight shooting undeceived them about the value of their charms and passes, thirty-four of the poor fanatics were lying beside their prophet in front of the redoubt. A number more were carried off hurt or dying, and thence-forward the Taranaki natives were reduced to the defensive.
In the summer of the same year another prophet met his death in the most dramatic fight of the war, that by which the friendly natives of the Wanganui district saved it from a Hau-Hau raid by a conflict fought on an island in the Wanganui River, after a fashion which would have warmed the heart of Sir Walter Scott had he been alive to hear of a combat so worthy of the clansmen in The Fair Maid of Perth. It came about a month after the repulse at the Gate Pa. For months the friendlies had been guarding the passage of the river against a strong Hau-Hau force. At last, tired of waiting, they challenged the enemy to a fair fight on the island of Moutoa. It was agreed that neither side should attempt to take advantage of the other by surprise or ambuscade. They landed at opposite ends of the islet. First came the friendlies, 100 strong; 50 formed their first line under three brave chiefs; 50 stood in reserve under Haimona (Simon) Hiroti; 150 page 213 friends watched them from one of the river banks. Presently the Hau-Hau sprang from their canoes on to the river-girt arena, headed by their warrior-prophet Matené (Martin). After much preliminary chanting of incantations and shouting of defiance, the Hau-Hau charged. As they came on, the friendly natives, more than half believing them to be invulnerable, fired so wildly that every shot missed. Three of the Wanganui leaders fell, and their line wavered and broke. In vain a fourth chief, Tamihana, shot a Hau-Hau with each barrel of his tupara, speared a third, and cleft the skull of yet another with his tomahawk. Two bullets brought him down. It was Haimona Hiroti who saved the day. Calling on the reserve, he stopped the flying, and, rallying bravely at his appeal, they came on again. Amid a clash of tomahawks and clubbed rifles, the antagonists fought hand to hand, and fought well. At length our allies won. Fifty Hau-Hau died that day, either on the island or while they endeavoured to escape by swimming. Twenty more were wounded. The Hau-Hau leader, shot as he swam, managed to reach the further shore. “There is your fish!” said Haimona, pointing the prophet out to a henchman, who, meré in hand, plunged in after him, struck him down as he staggered up the bank, and swam back with his head. His flag and ninety sovereigns were amongst the prizes of the winners in the hard trial of strength. The victors carried the bodies of their fallen chiefs back to Wanganui, where the settlers for whom they had died lined the road, standing bareheaded as the brave dead were borne past.
That three such blows as Sentry Hill, Moutoa, and Te Ranga had not a more lasting effect was due, amongst other things, to the confiscation policy.
To punish the insurgent tribes, and to defray in part the cost of the war, the New Zealand Government confiscated 2,800,000 acres of native land. As a punishment it may have been justified; as a financial stroke it was to the end a failure. Coming as it did in the midst of hostilities, it did not simplify matters. Among the tribes affected it bred despair, amongst their neighbours apprehension, in England unpleasant suspicions. At first both the Governor and the Colonial Office endorsed the scheme of confiscation. Then, when Mr. Cardwell page 214 had succeeded the Duke of Newcastle, the Colonial Office changed front and condemned it, and their pressure naturally induced the Governor to modify his attitude.
An angry collision followed between him and his Ministers, and in November 1864 the Ministry, whose leaders were Sir William Fox and Sir Frederick Whitaker, resigned. They were succeeded by Sir Frederick Weld, upon whose advice Grey let the confiscation go on. Weld became noted for his advocacy of what was known as the Self-reliance Policy—in other words, that the Dominion should dispense with the costly and rather cumbrous Imperial forces, and trust in future to the militia and Maori auxiliaries. And, certainly, when campaigning began again in January 1865, General Cameron seemed to do his best to convert all colonists to Weld's view. He did indeed appear with a force upon the coast north of Wanganui. But his principal achievement was the extraordinary feat of consuming fifty-seven days in a march of fifty-four miles along the sea-beach, to which he clung with a tenacity which made the natives scornfully name him the Lame Seagull. At the outset he pitched his camp so close to thick cover that the Maori twice dashed at him, and though, of course, beaten off, despite astonishing daring, they killed or wounded forty-eight soldiers. After that the General went to the cautious extreme. He declared it was useless for regulars to follow the natives into the forest, and committed himself to the statement that two hundred natives in a stockade could stop Colonel Warre with five hundred men from joining him. He declined to assault the strong Weraroa pa—the key to the west coast. He hinted depressingly that 2,000 more troops might be required from England. In vain Sir George Grey urged him to greater activity. The only result was a long and acrid correspondence between them. From this—to one who reads it now—the General seems to emerge in a damaged condition. The best that can be said for him is that he and many of his officers were sick of the war, which they regarded as an iniquitous job, and inglorious to boot. They knew that a very strong party in England, headed by the Aborigines Protection Society, were urging this view, and that the Colonial Office, under Mr. Cardwell, had veered round to the same standpoint. This is probably the true explanation of General page 215 Cameron's singular slackness. The impatience and indignation of the colonists waxed high. They had borrowed three milions of money to pay for the war. They were paying £40 a year per man for ten thousand Imperial soldiers. They naturally thought this too much for troops that did not march a mile a day.
Whatever the colonists thought of Grey's warfare with his Ministers, they were heartily with him in his endeavours to quicken the slow dragging on of the military operations. He did not confine himself to exhortation. He made up his mind to attack the Weraroa pa himself. General Cameron let him have two hundred soldiers to act as a moral support. With these, and somewhat less than five hundred militia and friendly Maori, the Governor sat down before the fort, which rose on a kind of high, steep plateau, above a small river. But though too strong for front attack, it was itself liable to be commanded from an outwork on a yet higher spur of the hills. Bringing common sense to bear, Grey quietly dispatched a party, which captured this, and with it a strong reinforcement about to join the garrison. The latter fled, and the bloodless capture of Weraroa was justly regarded as among the most brilliant feats of the whole war. The credit fairly belonged to Grey, who showed, not only skill, but signal personal daring. The authorities at home must be assumed to have appreciated this really fine feat of his, for they made the officer commanding the two hundred moral supports a C.B. But Grey, it is needless to say, by thus trumping the trick of his opponent the General, did not improve his own relations with the Home authorities. He did, however, furnish another strong reason for a self-reliant policy. Ultimately, though gradually, the Imperial troops were withdrawn, and the colonists carried on the war with their own men, as well as their own money.
In January 1866, however, after General Cameron had by resignation escaped from a disagreeable position, but while the withdrawal of the troops was still incomplete, his successor, General Chute, showed that under officers of determination and energy British soldiers are by no means feeble folk even in the intricacies of the New Zealand bush. Setting out from the Weraroa aforesaid on 3rd January with three companies of regulars, a force of militia, and 300 Maori under the chief page 216 Kepa, or Kemp, he began to march northward through the forest to New Plymouth. At first following the coast, he captured various pa by the way, including a strong position at Otapawa, which was fairly stormed in the face of a stout defence, during which both sides suffered more than a little. There, when one of the buttons on Chute's coat was cut off by a bullet, he merely snapped out the remark, “The niggers seem to have found me out.” Both the coolness and the words used were characteristic of the rough, capable soldier. Further on the route Kemp in one day of running skirmishes took seven villages. Arriving at the southern side of Mount Egmont, the General decided to march round its inland flank through a country then almost unknown except to a few missionaries. Encumbered with pack-horses, who were checked by every flooded stream, the expedition took seven days to accomplish the sixty miles of the journey. But they did it, and met no worse foes than continual rain, short commons, deep mud, and the gloomy silence of the saturated forest, which then spread without a break over a country now entirely taken up by thriving dairy-farmers. Turning south again from New Plymouth by the coast-road, Chute had to fight but once in completing a march right round Mount Egmont, and thenceforward, except on its southern verge, long-distracted Taranaki saw no more campaigning.
Other districts were less fortunate. By the early part of 1865 the Hau-Hau craze was at work on the east as well as the west coast. It was in the country round the Wanganui River to the west, and in the part of the east coast between Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay, that the new mischief gave the most trouble. The task of coping with it devolved on the New Zealand Militia, and the warriors of certain friendly tribes, headed by the chiefs called by the Europeans Ropata and Kemp. In this loose and desultory but exceedingly arduous warfare, the irregulars and friendlies undoubtedly proved far more efficient than the regular troops had usually been permitted to be. They did not think it useless to follow the enemy into the bush; far from it. They went there to seek him out. They could march many miles in a day, and were not fastidious as to commissariat. More than once they gained food and quarters for the night by taking them page 217 from their opponents. In a multitude of skirmishes in 1865 and 1866 they were almost uniformly victorious. Of the laurels gained in New Zealand warfare, a large share belongs to Ropata, to Kemp, and to Militia officers like Tuke, McDonnell, and Fraser. Later in the war, when energetic officers tried to get equally good results out of inexperienced volunteers, and when, too—in some cases—militia discipline had slackened, the consequences were by no means so satisfactory. It did not follow that brave men ready to plunge into the bush were good irregulars merely because they were not regulars. Nor were all friendly natives by any means as effective as the Wanganui and Ngatiporou, or all chiefs as serviceable as Ropata and Kemp.
The east coast troubles began in March 1865 with the murder at Opotiki, on the Bay of Plenty, of Mr. Volckner, a missionary and the most kindly and inoffensive of mankind. At the bidding of Kereopa, a Hau-Hau emissary, the missionary's people suddenly turned on him, hung him, hacked his body to pieces, and smeared themselves with his blood. At another spot in the same bay a trading schooner was seized just afterwards by order of another Hau-Hau fanatic, and all on board killed save two half-caste boys. A force of militia soon dealt out condign punishment for these misdeeds, but meanwhile Kereopa and his fellow fire-brands had passed down the coast and kindled a flame which gradually crept southward even to Hawkes Bay. In village after village the fire blazed up, and a rising equal to that in the Waikato seemed imminent. It was, indeed, fortunate that much the ablest warrior on that side of the island at once declared against the craze. This was Ropata Te Wahawaha, then and afterwards the most valuable Maori ally the Government had, and one of the very few captains on either side who went through the wars without anything that could be called a defeat. Without fear or pity, he was a warrior of the older Maori type, who with equal enjoyment could plan a campaign, join in a hand-to-hand tussle, doom a captive to death, or shoot a deserter with his own rifle. As he would not join the Hau-Hau, they and their converts made the mistake of attacking him. After beating them off he was joined by Major Biggs and a company of militia. Together they advanced against the stronghold of the insurgents, page 218 perched on a cliff among the Waiapu hills. By scaling a precipice with twenty picked men, Ropata and Biggs gained a crest above the pa, whence they could fire down into the midst of their astonished adversaries, over 400 of whom surrendered in terror to the daring handful. But the mischief had run down the coast. Spreading from point to point, dying down and then starting up, it was as hard to put out as fire abroad in the fern. The amiable Kereopa visited Poverty Bay, three days' journey south of the Waiapu, and tried hard to persuade the natives to murder Bishop Williams, the translator of the Scriptures into Maori. Though they shrank from this, the Bishop had to fly, and his flock took up arms, stood a siege in one of their pa, and lost over a hundred men before they would surrender to the militia. Further south still the next rising flared up on the northern frontier of the Hawkes Bay province. Once more Ropata stamped it under, and the generalship with which he repaired the mistakes made by others, and routed a body of 500 insurgents, was not more remarkable than the cold-blooded promptitude with which after the fight he shot four prisoners of note with his own hand. It took ten months for the spluttering fire to flame up again. Then it was yet another stage farther south, within a few miles of Napier, amid pastoral plains, where, if anywhere, peace, it would seem, should have an abiding-place. The rising there was but a short one-act play. To Colonel Whitmore belonged the credit of dealing it a first and final blow at Omaranui, where, with a hastily raised force of volunteers and some rather useless friendlies, he went straight at the insurgents, caught them in the open, and quickly killed, wounded, or captured over ninety per cent. of their number.
After this there was a kind of insecure tranquillity until June 1868. Then fighting began again near the coast between Wanganui and Mount Egmont, where the occupation of confiscated lands bred bitter feelings. Natives were arrested for horse-stealing. Straggling settlers were shot. A chief, Titokowaru, hitherto insignificant, became the head and front of the resistance. In June a sudden attack was made by his people upon some militia holding a tumble-down redoubt—an attack so desperate that out of twenty-three in the work, only six remained unwounded when help came, after two page 219 hours' manful resistance. Colonel McDonnell, then in command on the coast, had proved his dash and bravery in a score of bush-fights. In his various encounters he killed ten Maori with his own hand. He was an expert bushman, and a capital manager of the friendly natives. But during the eighteen months of quiet the trained militia, which had done such excellent work in 1865 and 1866, had been in part dispersed. The force which in July McDonnell led into the bush to attempt Titokowaru's pa, at Ngutu-o-te-manu (Beak-of-the-bird), was to a large extent raw material. The Hau-Hau were found fully prepared. Skilfully posted, they poured in a hot cross fire, both from the pa and from an ambush in the neighbouring thickets. Broken into two bodies, McDonnell's men were driven to make a long and painful retreat, during which two died of exhaustion. They lost twenty-four killed and twenty-six wounded. McDonnell resigned in disgust. Whitmore, who took his place, demanded better men, and got them, but to meet with no better success. At Moturoa his assault on another forest stockade failed under a withering fire; the native contingent held back sulkily; and again our men retreated, with a loss this time of forty-seven, of which twenty-one were killed. This was on 5th November. Before Whitmore could try again he was called to the other side of the island by evil tidings from Poverty Bay.
These had their cause in the strangest story of the Maori wars. Amongst the many blunders in these, some of the oddest were the displays of rank carelessness which repeatedly led to the escape of Maori prisoners. Three times did large bodies get away and rejoin their tribes—once from Sir George Grey's island estate at Kawau, where they had been turned loose on parole; once from a hulk in Wellington Harbour, through one of the port-holes of which they slipped into the sea on a stormy night; the third time from the Chatham Islands. This last escape, which was in July 1868, was fraught with grave mischief.
The officer in charge of prisoners there had fruitlessly protested against being left with twenty men to control three hundred and thirty captives. The leader of these, Te Kooti, one of the ablest as well as most ferocious partisans the colonists ever had to face, had been deported from Poverty Bay to the page 220 Chathams two years before, without trial. Unlike most of his fellow-prisoners, he had never borne arms against us. The charge against him was that he was in communication with Hau-Hau insurgents in 1865. His real offence seems to have been that he was regarded by some of the Poverty Bay settlers as a disagreeable, thievish, disaffected fellow, and there is an uncomfortable doubt as to whether he deserved his punishment. During his exile he vowed vengeance against those who had denounced him, and against one man in particular. In July 1868 the schooner Rifleman was sent down to the Chathams with supplies. The prisoners took the chance thus offered. They surprised the weak guard, killed a sentry who showed fight, and seized and tied up the others, letting the women and children escape unharmed. Going on board the Rifleman, Te Kooti gave the crew the choice between taking his people to New Zealand and instant death. They chose the former, and the schooner set sail for the east coast of New Zealand with about one hundred and sixty fighting men and a number of women and children. The outbreak and departure were successfully managed in less than two hours. When head winds checked the runaways, Te Kooti ordered an old man, his uncle, to be bound and thrown overboard as a sacrifice to the god of winds and storms. The unhappy human sacrifice struggled for awhile in the sea and then sank. At once the wind changed, the schooner lay her course, and the mana of Te Kooti grew great. After sailing for a week, the fugitives had their reward, and were landed at Wharé-onga-onga (Abode-of-stinging-nettles), fifteen miles from Poverty Bay. They kept their word to the crew, whom they allowed to take their vessel and go scot-free. Then they made for the interior. Major Biggs, Poverty Bay magistrate, got together a force of friendly natives and went in pursuit. The Hau-Hau showed their teeth to such effect that the pursuers would not come to close quarters. Even less successful was the attempt of a small band of White volunteers. They placed themselves across Te Kooti's path; but after a long day's skirmishing were scattered in retreat, losing their baggage, ammunition, and horses. Colonel Whitmore, picking them up next day, joined them to his force and dragged them off after him in pursuit of the victors. It was winter, and the weather and country both of the roughest. The page 221 exhausted volunteers, irritated by Whitmore's manner, left him half-way. For himself the little colonel, all wire and leather, knew not fatigue. Even the best of his men, however, were pretty well worn out when they did at last catch a Tartar in the shape of the enemy's rearguard. The latter made a stand under cover, in an angle of the narrow bed of a mountain-torrent floored with boulders and shut in by cliffs. Our men, asked to charge in single file, hung back, and a party of native allies sent round to take the Hau-Hau in flank made off altogether. Though Te Kooti was shot through the foot, the pursuit had to be given up. The net result of the various skirmishes with him had been that we had lost twenty-six killed and wounded, and that he had got away.
Whitmore went away to take command on the west coast. Thus Te Kooti gained time to send messengers to the tribes, and many joined him. He spoke of himself as God's instrument against the Pakeha, preached eloquently, and kept strict discipline amongst his men. In November, after a three months' lull, he made his swoop on his hated enemies, the settlers in Poverty Bay, and in a night surprise took bloody vengeance for his sojourn at the Chathams. His followers massacred thirty-three white men, women, and children, and thirty-seven natives. Major Biggs was shot at the door of his house. Captain Wilson held out in his till it was in flames. Then he surrendered under promise of life for his family, all of whom, however, were at once bayoneted, except a boy who slipped into the scrub unnoticed. McCulloch, a farmer, was shot as he sat milking. Several fugitives owed their lives to the heroism of a friendly chief, Tutari, who refused to gain his life by telling their pursuers the path they had taken. The Hau-Hau killed him and seized his wife, who, however, adroitly saved both the flying settlers and herself by pointing out the wrong track. Lieutenant Gascoigne, with a hasty levy of friendly natives, set out after the murderers, only to be easily held in check at Makaretu with a loss of twenty-eight killed and wounded. Te Kooti, moreover, intercepted an ammunition train and captured eight kegs of gunpowder. Fortifying himself on a precipitous forest-clad hill named Ngatapa, he seemed likely to rally round him the disaffected of his race. But his red star was about to wane. Ropata with his page 222 Ngatiporou now came on the scene. A second attack on Makaretu sent the insurgents flying. They left thirty-seven dead behind, for Ropata gave no quarter, and had not his men loitered to plunder, Te Kooti, who, still lame, was carried off on a woman's back, must have been among their prizes. Pushing on to Ngatapa, Ropata found it a very formidable stronghold. The pa was on the summit of an abrupt hill, steep and scarped on two sides, narrowing to a razor-backed ridge in the rear. In front three lines of earthwork rose one above another, the highest fourteen feet high, aided and connected by the usual rifle-pits and covered way. Most of Ropata's men refused to follow him against such a robbers' nest, and though the fearless chief tried to take it with the faithful minority, he had to fall back, under cover of darkness, and return home in a towering passion. A month later his turn came. Whitmore arrived. Joining their forces, he and Ropata invested Ngatapa closely, attacked it in front and rear, and took the lowest of the three lines of entrenchment. A final assault was to come next morning. The Hau-Hau were short of food and water, and in a desperate plight. One cliff, however, had been left unwatched, and over that they lowered themselves by ropes as the storming party outside sat waiting for the grey dawn. They were not, however, to escape unscathed. Ropata at once sent his men in chase. Hungry and thirsty, the fugitives straggled loosely, and were cut down by scores or brought back. Short shrift was theirs. The Government had decided that Poverty Bay must be revenged, and the prisoners were forthwith shot, and their bodies stripped and tossed over a cliff. From first to last at Ngatapa the loss to the Hau-Hau was 136 killed outright, ours but 22, half of whom were wounded only. It was the last important engagement fought in New Zealand, and ended all fear of a general rising. Yet in one respect the success was incomplete: Te Kooti once more escaped. This time he reached the fastnesses of the wild Urewera tribe, and made more than one blood-stained raid thence. In April he pounced on Mohaka, at the northern end of the Hawkes Bay Province, killed seven Whites, fooled the occupants of a native pa into opening their gates to him, and massacred 57 of them. Then the collapse of the insurrection on the west coast enabled attention to be page 223 concentrated upon the marauder. He fell back on the plateau round Lake Taupo. There, in June 1869, he outwitted a party of militiamen by making his men enter their camp, pretending to be friendlies. When the befooled troopers saw the trick and tried to seize their arms, nine were cut down. McDonnell, however, was at the heels of the Hau-Hau, and in three encounters in the Taupo region Te Kooti was soundly beaten with a loss of 50 killed. He became a hunted fugitive Ropata and Kemp chased him from district to district, backward and forwaid, across and about the island, for a high price had been put on his head. For three years the pursuit was urged or renewed. Every band Te Kooti got together was scattered. His wife was taken; once he himself was shot in the hand; again and again the hunters were within a few yards of their game. Crossing snow-clad ranges, wading up the beds of mountain torrents, hacking paths through the tangled forest, they were ever on his track, only to miss him. It was in the Urwera wilderness that Te Kooti lost his congenially bloodthirsty crony Kereopa, who was caught there and hung. Left almost without followers, he himself at last took refuge in the King Country, where he stayed quiet and unmolested. In the end he received a pardon, a Minister for Native Affairs shook hands with him, and he died in peace after living for some twenty years after his hunters had abandoned their chase.
Colonel Whitmore, crossing to the Wanganui district after the fall of Ngatapa, had set off to deal with Titokowaru, who, however, threw up the game and fled to the interior, where he was wisely left alone, and, except for the fruitless pursuit of Te Kooti, the year 1870 may be marked as the end of warfare in New Zealand.
The interest of the Maori struggle, thus concluded, does not spring from the numbers engaged. To a European eye the combats were in point of size mere battles of the frogs and mice. What gave them interest was their peculiar and picturesque setting, the local difficulties to be met, and the boldness, rising at moments to herosim, with which clusters of badly armed savages met again and again the finest fighting men of Europe. It was the race conflict which gave dignity to what Colonel Gudgeon in his chronicle truthfully reduces to page 224 “expeditions and skirmishes grandiloquently styled campaigns.” Out of a multitude of fights between 1843 and 1870, thirty-seven (exclusive of the raid on Poverty Bay, which was a massacre) may be classed as of greater importance than the rest. Out of these we were unmistakably beaten nine times, and a tenth encounter, that of Okaihau, was indecisive. Of twenty-seven victories, however, those of Rangi-riri and Orakau were dearly bought; in the double fight at Nukumaru we lost more than the enemy, and at Waireka most of our forces retreated, and only heard of the success from a distance. Two disasters and six successes were wholly or almost wholly the work of native auxiliaries. The cleverness and daring of the Maori also scored in the repeated escapes of batches of prisoners.
By 1871 it was possible to try and count the cost of the ten years' conflict. It was not so easy to do so correctly. The killed alone amounted to about 800 on the English side and 1,800 on the part of the beaten natives. Added to the thousands wounded, there had been many scores of “murders” and heavy losses from disease, exposure, and hardship. The Maori were for many years left without hope and without self-confidence. The missionaries never fully regained their old moral hold upon the race, nor has it yet shown much zeal and enthusiasm in industrial progress. On the other side, the colonists had spent between three and four millions in fighting, and for more than fifteen years after the war they had to keep up an expensive force of armed police. There had been destruction of property in many parts of the North Island, and an even more disastrous loss of security and paralysis of settlement. Since 1865, moreover, the pastoral industry in the south had been depressed by bad prices. It is true that some millions of acres of Maori land had been gained by confiscation, but of this portions were handed over to loyal natives. Much more was ultimately given back to the insurgent tribes, and the settlement of the rest was naturally a tardy and difficult process. Farmers do not rush upon land to be the mark of revengeful raids. The opening of the year 1870 was one of New Zealand's dark hours.
Nevertheless, had the colonists but known it, the great native difficulty was destined to melt fast away. Out of the page 225 innumerable perplexities, difficulties, and errors of the previous generation a really capable Native Minister had been evolved. This was Sir Donald McLean, who, from the beginning of 1869 to the end of 1876, took almost entire direction of the native policy. A burly, patient, kindly-natured Highlander, his Celtic blood helped him to sympathize with the proud, warlike, clannish nature of the Maori. It was largely owing to his influence that Ropata and others aided us so actively against Te Kooti. It was not, however, as a war Minister, but as the man who established complete and lasting peace through New Zealand, that his name should be remembered. By liberal payment for service, by skilful land purchases, by showing respect to the chiefs, and tact and good-humour with the people, McLean acquired a permanent influence over the race. The war party in the Dominion might sneer at his “Flour and Sugar Policy”; but even the dullest had come to see by this time that peace paid. Into the remnant of the King Country McLean never tried to carry authority. He left that and the Urewera country further east discreetly alone. Elsewhere the Queen's writ ran, and roads, railways, and telegraphs, coming together with a great tide of settlement, made the era of war seem like an evil dream. It is true that the delays in redeeming promises concerning reserves to be made and given back from the confiscated Maori territory were allowed to remain a grievance for more than another decade, and led, as late as 1880, to interference by the natives with road-making in some of this lost land of theirs in Taranaki. There, round a prophet named Te Whiti, flocked numbers of natives sore with a sense of injustice. Though Te Whiti was as pacific as eccentric, the Government, swayed by the alarm and irritation thus aroused, took the extreme step of pouring into his village of Parihaka an overwhelming armed force. Then, after reading the Riot Act to a passive and orderly crowd of men, women, and children, they proceeded to make wholesale arrests, to evict the villagers, and to destroy houses and crops. Public opinion, which had conjured up the phantom of an imminent native rising, supported the proceeding. There was no such danger, for the natives were not supplied with arms, and the writer is one of a minority of New Zealanders who thought that our neglect to make the reserves page 226 put us in the wrong in the affair. However, as the breaking up of Parihaka was at last followed up by a reasonable and liberal settlement of the long-delayed Reserves question, a settlement in which Sir William Fox and Sir F. Dillon Bell did humane and honourable service, it may be classed as the last of the long series of native alarms. There will be no more Maori wars.