Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Rewi Maniapoto

Rewi Maniapoto.

The most illustrious of our Maori visitors is Rewi Maniapoto, the famous leader of the Maoris at the fight at Orakau pa. Rewi is now a very old man, and we scarcely expected to see him with us in Auckland again, but the ancient warrior said he had heard that at this time there would be a number of rangatiras (or chiefs) assembled at Auckland to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the colony, and therefore he must come, if it were for the last time. Rewi was from the first one of the most fiery spirits in the warlike section of the King natives. It was he who led the party who page 44 routed Mr. Gorst, the magistrate, out of Te Awamutu. He attended the great meeting at Ngaruawahia when it was resolved to elect Te Wherowhero as king, and he hoisted the king flag on the pole. Rewi fought against us at all the great fights, finishing off with the defence of Orakau, and his famous saying when asked to surrender, "Ka whawhai tonu, ake, ake, ake!" ("We will fight on, for ever, for ever, for ever!"). But Rewi was always a fair fighter; no massacre was ever laid to his charge, and he would not carry out old Maori customs when these were inconsistent with humanity. During the siege of Orakau, a tohunga, or priest, proposed to tear out the heart of a dead soldier lying within the fence, so that they might not be deserted by their Maori gods. Rewi said: "I forbid you to mutilate the bodies of the dead. I care not for your Maori god.

Rewi Maniapoto

We are fighting in Christian times." The performance of the ancient rite by the priest might have inspired courage, but Rewi was no longer a heathen, but clung to the faith the Europeans had taught him, although he wanted to cast off their rule. But hunger and thirst did their work amongst the defenders of the pa. A scanty meal of potatoes was distributed to the survivors, but the men could not get the food over their throats, which were burning with thirst. Rewi's resolve was taken. He said: "We shall now have to leave the pa, but not as the Waikato left at Rangiriri (that is, as prisoners). We shall go from here as free men, or leave our bodies on the land." Hapurona, a Urewera chief, proposed that a white flag should be hoisted, and when the troops came close up to the pa, to fire a tremendous volley, and in the confusion to charge through them and escape. This proposal Rewi overruled. Then Major Mair called out to them a message from the General that at least the women and children should be sent out. Then Ahumai, sister of Hitiri, said: "If our husbands and our brothers are to die, of what profit is it to us that we should live? Lot us die with the men." Then came the reply to Major Mair from Rewi: "Ake, ake, ane." The rush out of the pa was made shortly after, during which so many fell. Rewi escaped, but hi warfare was accomplished. He has come to visit us on this our Jubilee, and in all probability we will never see him again.