The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 75
Colonel Herrick's Expedition Against Waikare-moana, 1869
Colonel Herrick's Expedition Against Waikare-moana, 1869.
During the above year it was resolved to despatch a strong force against the rebel strongholds of Waikare-moana. This force consisted of nearly nine hundred men, of whom three hundred and fifty were colonial troops, and the balance made up of friendly Natives of the Ngati-Porou and Ngati-Kahungunu Tribes. The object of this enterprise was to destroy the crops and food-supplies of the hostiles, and to reduce several positions taken up by them at Matuahu and elsewhere on the western shores of the lake. This district had become noted as a refuge and recruiting-ground for rebel leaders such as Te Kooti, who, raiding down from these secluded ranges on the European settlements, rendered life and property alike insecure on the East Coast.
On arriving at One-poto, a redoubt was erected on a small hill overlooking the lake, the earthworks of which are still standing, Here a long stay was made, and great preparations undertaken for the destruction of Matuahu, the principal stronghold of the hostiles, Two large boats, each 40ft. long, were built, also some metal pontoons, which, with a whale-boat and dingy, comprised a most imposing fleet, by which it was calculated that two hundred men could be landed at one time on the western shore. Matuahu was described as a very strong place, and not to be taken without severe fighting, though it appears that many of the defences were fictitious, and merely intended for show. The intelligent aboriginal also bethought him of discharging at sunset on each day a heavily-loaded gun, the report of which was so magnified by echo that it was thought to proceed from a young cannon.
After this expedition had made preparations for transporting the force across the lake to attack Matuahu, and a start was at last to be made in the great cleaning-out of the lacustrine pas and retreats, of the enemy, they rose up one fine morning and retreated on Te Wairoa—whereupon the hostiles crossed the lake to the site of the page 65 abandoned redoubt, and there held a grand war-dance in token of derision. Trooper Noonan, shot down from ambush while carrying despatches, was the only victim of this imposing campaign.