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Early Wellington

Chapter XI

page 116

Chapter XI.

The First Windmill—French Man-of-War—Wairau Conflict—Volunteering—Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata—Military Aid—Te Rauparaha's Visit to Wellington and his Capture at Taupo.

“Hist'ry paints what he hath done.
Maori valour's bravest son
Te Rauparaha, Te Rauparaha!
Quick of eye and lithe of limb,
Warriors bent the knee to him!—
Bold of heart and strong of hand,
Formed to rule and to command!”
Thos. Bracken, 1890.

On the 11th January, 1843, the Colonial brig arrived, bringing Lieutenant Shortland with his suite, and Mr. Spain.

The former was invited to a ball at Mrs. Daniell's house, and was féted in every possible way, and was invited to dine at the Club, and his levee was fully attended.

Anniversary Day.

The Third Anniversary was celebrated with great éclat. £150 was subscribed for the amusements, and a large number of natives were persuaded by Mr. Halswell and others to attend.

Pomare, the chief of the Ngatimutunga who had six or seven years before forsaken this place for the Chatham Islands, and his eldest son, besides Richard Davis and Te Puni, were all among the throng who came in front of the stand to go through their war-dance before the ladies and the Acting-Governor (Mr. Short-land) and his wife.

Wi Tako led the speeches, and Te Puni recited an old Maori legend, starting in the accustomed dirge-like manner, and working up to an impassioned climax, finally to head them in a sham charge down the Pa, about a hundred yards off, where they dispersed.

A rifle match was an event of the day. Mr. Moore won at 50 yards; Mr. Suistead at 100 yards; and Mr. Crawford at 150 yards.

The flax cleaning expert prize for Maoris was competed for by 43 candidates; the time limit was 15 minutes. The prize was won by E. Tuna, 21bs. 5¾ oz., and Ko Taweri (the same quantity) so the amount of the prize, five pounds, was divided.

The teetotallers had a pleasant party and a tea-meeting at Wilkinson's gardens * (Oriental Bay).

* N.Z. Journal, 8th July, 1843, p. 177.

War Alarms.

In 1843, news reached the Colony of the disturbed state of Europe, and fears were entertained that England would shortly be engaged in war with France page 117 or some other great naval power, and that the settlers, in their defenceless condition, would be at the mercy of the foe. Some agitation took place with regard to the matter, and the Gazette of March, 1843, contained the following paragraph:

“We have been informed on undoubted authority that an extensive battery is about to be erected on Somes Island, and this entirely free of cost to the public; also, that estimates of the same have been accepted in the right quarter.”

In spite of war alarms, the Colonists were busily employed in their various avocations.

The Wellington Almanack was first published this year (1843), and cheese began to be made in the Colony with tolerable success.

The first windmill in the Colony was built about this time (March. 1843), and several tanneries were busy at work near the town. The tanneries found both the bark of the hinau, from which the natives got their dye, and the bark of the towai, or “black birch,” highly suited to their purposes.

The 1843 Comet.

A Comet was seen on the 4th March, 1843, in the south-west, remaining visible
Fig. 38—The Beach from Taranaki Pa, at Te Aro, 1843.

Fig. 38—The Beach from Taranaki Pa, at Te Aro, 1843.

for nearly a month. The clearness of the atmosphere added to its beautiful appearance. The nucleus was like a small star, and the tail of uncommon brilliancy, subtended an angle of 36 degrees as observed from Wellington.*

* Wakefield's Adventure, pp. 581–582.

A Civic Reception.

The first French man-of-war to come in the harbour since the formation of the Colony, arrived on the 12th May, 1843, and was greeted with a salute from the shore.

Commander Bérard landed on Te Aro beach on the 14th, being received by the Mayor, Aldermen and others, and at 10 o'clock went to the Town Hall (fig. 39), where the Mayor read an address in English, rendered in French by Alderman Fitzherbert, and signed by the Mayor.

This letter was answered on the 21st May.

The undermentioned vessels and their passengers were among some of the arrivals during the year 1843:—

“City of London”: Mr. Houghton.

“Fyfe”: Judge Martin and Mr. Wm. Fox.

page 118

“Governor”: Messrs. W. Tankersley and J. Walden.”

“H.M.S. Hazard.”

“Lady Leigh”: Mr. Wm. Fitzherbert.

“North Star”: Captain Best and Mr. F. D. Bell.

“Phoebe”: Messrs. J. Boddington, J. Smith (Councillor); Rev. J. Duncan.

“Tyrian”: Messrs. G. and L. Levy and Crempton.

“Ursula”: Messrs. Atkinson; F. Dillon Bell (Asst. Secretary to the New Zealand Company); Budder; Couper; P. Hunt; Huntrace, Flitcher; Frazer; W. Spinks; J. Walton; I. Windsor; Withers.

“William Stoveld”: Mr. Wm. Dunn.

Wairau Conflict.

A public meeting was held at the Exchange in June. 1843, after the arrival of the “Victoria” at the Port, bringing news of the conflict between the Europeans and Natives at Wairau.

Mr. George Hunter presided. The report of the committee of public safety, appointed at the public meeting held on the 19th June, was considered, and a Volunteer Corps was formed, under the sanction and superintendence of the
Fig. 39—The Exchange, Reading Room and Town Hall, 1843, by Ridgway's Wharf, beyond which is Rhode's Wharf and Te Aro Pa. Messrs. Simmonds & Hoggard's Mill (Mt. Victoria slopes, site of de Luxe Theatre) in the distance. The Misses. Hoggard were known as the “Maids of the Mill.”

Fig. 39—The Exchange, Reading Room and Town Hall, 1843, by Ridgway's Wharf, beyond which is Rhode's Wharf and Te Aro Pa. Messrs. Simmonds & Hoggard's Mill (Mt. Victoria slopes, site of de Luxe Theatre) in the distance. The Misses. Hoggard were known as the “Maids of the Mill.”

Mayor, the Justices of the Peace, and Mr. McDonogh, the Police Magistrate, who swore them in as special constables, under the command of Major Durie, Major Baker, Captain Sharp and Mr. McDonogh, Director of Arms. A battery was built, mounted with two 18-pounders and placed on Flag Staff Hill, while the necessary measures were taken to store all the powder in the settlement under the control of the authorities.

On the 18th June, 1843, Capt. Richards, of the Government brig, “Victoria,” wrote as follows to Mr. A. E. McDonogh:—

“I have the honour to report that at the repeated request of the Chief Magistrate of Nelson, I consented, on his representation of the urgency of the case, to depart so far from the strict letter of my instructions as to convey that officer and a Justice of the Peace, together with 35 men, to the Wairau, to apprehend on a warrant, two native chiefs. That expedition having terminated disastrously with loss of life and total dispersion of the party. I deemed it proper to proceed here for the purpose page 119 of procuring medical assistance for any who might be wounded.

I have, etc.,

R Richards


(Vide New Zealand Journal. 25th May, 1844, p. 472.)

In “Wakefield's Adventure,” page 603, the following extracts occur:—“When we reached Tunuhaere, strange reports were shouted to us from the Pas and potato gardens as we glided lazily along in the glowing sunset.… . A shout came clear and distinct over the water, and I felt faint at each word: ‘There has been a fight’; and ‘Rauparaha killed Wideawake and 40 white people—no natives were killed.’ I tried to laugh it off, and ‘Kuru’ kept telling me it was all ‘tito’ (lies). But from each little settlement or hut the same story still rang, with varying additional circumstances, but all agreeing that Wide-awake was dead. I thought they meant my uncle in Port Nicholson, and could not understand how any fighting could have occurred There.… There was no longer any doubt. An Englishman had seen the Government brig arrive in Wellington and land Mr. Tuckett, the Chief Surveyor of Nelson, and two white men and a native who were dreadfully wounded, but had managed to escape from the combat which had taken place on the Wairau, near Cloudy Bay. It was supposed that no others had escaped out of a party of 40 Englishmen who had gone from Nelson to the Wairau Plains to assist the Police Magistrate and two other magistrates in executing a warrant upon Rauparaha and Rangihaeata. He knew no more details; but he knew that my uncle, Captain Wakefield and Mr. Thompson were among those slain, for he had received an account of this from Rauparaha himself at Otaki, on his way hither from Wellington.”

“This messenger also told me that about 70 volunteers had embarked with Colonel Wakefield on board the brig, and were going to Cloudy Bay in hopes of saving their fellow-countrymen, but he had, of course, learned at Otaki that they would be too late.”

“The deputation from the Wellington Magistrates, with Dr. Dorset, sailed for Cloudy Bay on Wednesday the 21st. On arriving there, they found that Mr. Ironside, the Wesleyan Missionary stationed at Cloudy Bay, had been to Wairoa with two boats' companies of whalers, had discovered seventeen of the dead bodies, and having no alternative, had already commenced their interment on the spot, according to the rites of the Church of England.

“The bodies of Captain Wakefield, Mr. Thompson, Captain England, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Howard, Bumforth, Cropper, Gardiner and Coster, were found near the spot where the last of those who escaped left them alive, lying within 20 yards of each other, in their clothes as they fell. Captain Wakefield's coat and waist-coat alone had been stripped off, and under his head was found a piece of bread, and a pistol across his throat.”

An answer to an address issued to natives on the 24th June, 1843, was couched in the following terms:—

“Friends—Listen to the above saying, and good is the saying of the white man to search out the truth of who is to blame—perhaps it is the white man, perhaps it is the Maori. Do not spread false reports respecting the matter; do not talk much about it, and let all the Maoris at every place know this.

From your friends

Wi Tako, Moturoa, and Wairarapa.”
page 120

Mr. McDonogh's reply was worded thus:—

“Remain quiet on the subject of this lamentable event. Remain at your several positions, and pursue your intercourse with the people of Port Nicholson as usual.”*

* N.Z. Journal 6th January 1844, p. 339.

Preparations for Defence.

The newly formed volunteer corps profited well under their drilling, except a troop of about 20 cavalry, composed of gentry, whose horses were not accustomed to the drums or to the banging of the sabres about their ribs. There were about 400 bayonets mustered; and a rifle corps of about 100, composed of the higher class. They were well drilled by Major Durie, the Chief Commandant of the volunteers, who received special praise for the appearance and evolutions of the latter body.

The Government brig was despatched to Auckland on the 30th June, and Dr. Evans was deputed to represent the whole circumstances to the Acting Governor.

Fig. 39A. Captain Arthur Wakefeld. R.N.

Fig. 39A. Captain Arthur Wakefeld. R.N.

Fig. 39B. Major D. S. Durie.

Fig. 39B. Major D. S. Durie.

Fig. 39C. Major M. Richmond.

Fig. 39C. Major M. Richmond.

The Government brig returned from Auckland to Wellington on the 24th July, 1843, and soon after she was anchored the reveille sounded from the bugler of the detachment of troops on board, and was answered by the different divisions of volunteers on shore.

The passengers in the brig were Major Richmond, newly appointed Police Magistrate for Port Nicholson: Colonel Godfrey, Land Commissioner: Mr. Edward Shortland, sub-Protector of Aborigines; Dr. Evans; Capt. Bennett, Engineers; Capt. Eyton and Ensign Cervantes, with 53 men of the 96th regiment.

The wooden immigration barracks of the Company were at once placed at their disposal by Colonel Wakefield as a temporary location, and there they remained for a lengthy period.

The letter here reproduced, written to the inhabitants of the settlement of Nelson on the 11th of July, 1843, expressed the sympathy and condolence of the signatories.

The original letter is in the “National Historical Collection,” and a copy is in the possession of the Blenheim Borough Council.

The writer is indebted to Mr. R. P. Furness, proprietor, for the loan of the page break page break page 123 blocks used for the reproduction of the letter and signatures, in the jubilee number of the “Express,” issued on the 21st April, 1926.

Mr. Furness' father, Mr. S. J. Furness, was born in Wellington in 1852, and started business life on the old “Independent” newspaper.

Major Richmond, soon after landing, accompanied by Mr. Hanson and Mr Spain, went to Major Durie's house to request that he would take immediate steps for the disbanding of the Rifle Corps of Volunteers under his command. And a proclamation was placarded about the town on the 26th July, 1843, warning the settlers against the “unlawful assemblage of people under arms.”

This was the third time during three years and a half that the settlers had been compelled by an emergency to meet in arms.

Two days after an amendment appeared in the paper, signed by Mr. Hanson, Crown Prosecutor, in which he stated that the offensive terms of the proclamation were attributable to him and used inadvertently.

Meetings were again held, and resolutions passed, expressive of the disgust of the settlers at the proceedings.

Major Richmond, who had been to Nelson, returned on the 6th August, and a meeting was held to concert their measures. Those present were Mr. Chas. Clifford, Mr. Henry Petre, Mr. Wm. Fitzherbert, Dr. Evans, Capt. Daniell and Jerningham Wakefield. The Government officers in the magistracy were Mr. Hanson, Mr. Spain, Mr. Mc-Donogh and Major Richmond.

The Mayor, Mr. Hunter, had died a day or two before the arrival of the Government brig, Mr. Guyton was ill in bed, Mr. Swainson away protecting the abode of his family against the encroachments and annoyances of “Dog's Ear” and the other natives of the Hutt, and Colonel Wakefield and Mr. St. Hill were at Nelson.

At the first meeting the right of the Justices of the Peace to meet as a body was established, a chairman was elected and other business was done. Representations were made concerning reports circulated that danger was to be feared at the Hutt. For there, about two miles from Aglionby, a constable had tried to apprehend a native who had been guilty of theft from a white man's house; but he had been surrounded by friends of the culprit, flourishing spears and tomahawks, and was roughly handled. Rauparaha and Rangihaeata were said to be forming a new Pa at the entrance of Porirua Harbour, and there was an assemblage there of 200 men. The Police Magistrate was asked to rescind his prohibitory proclamation as the 53 Grenadiers would be insufficient to protect their own barracks in case of a sudden attack by the natives. It was ultimately resolved that the settlers act for themselves and continue to drill.

On the 28th August a native of Pipitea Pa entered the house of Mr. Allan Cameron, when Mrs. Cameron was the only one of the family at home. The intruder opened a box and abstracted a large piece of printed cotton. When Mrs. Cameron remonstrated and attempted to take the print from him, he insulted her, and struck her under the ear and about the body. Several neighbours, alarmed by her screams, entered the house, and Mr. Bee, having sent for a constable, strove to quiet the native, and recommended Mrs. Cameron to give up the print and wait until a constable appeared. The native proceeded to the Pa, and the constable, following him, compelled page 124 him to disgorge. A number of natives were in chapel at the time, but, on hearing the disturbance, they rushed into the Pa, and casting off their blankets, maltreated the constable by throwing him down and jumping on him. On his calling for assistance, another constable and some neighbours arrived and attempted to protect him, but the natives were too numerous and drove them from the Pa. The first constable was seriously injured before he could be rescued. The native after some persuasion, was prevailed upon to go to the Police Court, but was dismissed with a caution.

This, and other matters, chiefly at the Hutt, caused uneasiness and dissatisfaction amongst the settlers.*

* Wakefield's Adventures in New Zealand.

Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata.

The following appeared in the New Zealand Journal, dated 1st March, 1844, p. 382:—

“Rauparaha and Rangihaeata and their followers are building a very extensive Pa at Porirua, on the cleared land near Tom's (Thom's) place. These gentry, believing it was intended to do nothing concerning the massacre, have become greater braggarts every day, and talked of the white man with contemptuous indifference.”

The consciousness of impunity had so increased among the natives, that a repetition of the affair that happened in August took place in the same Pa, under similar circumstances, and with the same performers. Major Richmond, in a letter to the Governor at Auckland thus describes the occurrence:—

“Wellington, 5th December, 1843.

“My Dear Sir,

“As I have been obliged, much to my regret, to call out the military in aid of the civil power, I take advantage of the sailing of “The Sisters” to give you a hasty sketch of the affair.… . On Thursday last, a constable, who was in search of stolen goods, detected some of them in a box belonging to or in charge of a young chief; and while endeavouring with the assistance of two other constables, to take him into custody, they were attacked, knocked down, and ill-treated by all the natives who were in the Pa at the time. I hastened to the spot and found the native and his party were still determined to set the law at defiance, and refused to yield to the civil force. I was reluctantly compelled to call upon the military. Their appearance brought them to reason, and I was enabled, without further difficulty, to lodge the prisoner in the new gaol.

Next morning, not wishing to cause any excitement by sending the military through the town to bring him before me at the Police Court, I directed the constables to conduct him. They used every precaution, but, when opposite the Pa, the prisoner contrived to slip his hand out of the handcuff which attached him to one of the constables, and bounded into the Pa; when the whole of the natives immediately turned out, armed, to protect him.

“I gave Mr. Clarke a certain time to endeavour to get him to go quietly with the constables to the Police Office; but both the prisoner and the rest of the tribe refused, and I was again obliged to call for the assistance of the military. The natives were awed by their presence and the chief surrendered… I have written to all the magistrates, Mr. Hadfield, and other gentlemen of the Mission along the coast, that they may give the page 125 natives a true version of the business; and although those at the Pipitea Pa, where the prisoner was taken from, are rather sulky, I do not apprehend any mischief, especially as the nearest relative of the prisoner says he shall not interfere and will be angry with any native that does.”

With great esteem


M. Richmond

His Excellency Willoughby Shortland.”

The trial took place on the 19th December, 1843.

The prisoner, guarded on either side by a Grenadier with his fire-lock and bayonet, glanced angrily upon the crowd of anxious townspeople who thronged the Court. The troops were ready to turn out at a moment's notice, and the Commanding Officer was anxiously looking towards the Pa, about 50 yards off (see illus. Wellington, 1841), as though he expected a sudden rescue, while the Ensign, also on duty, was watching the proceedings inside the Court. At their termination, the prisoner was guarded to the new gaol, about a mile off, by a file of soldiers.

When the stolen things were seen in the prisoner's box, clothes, said to have been worn by Milne the night he was murdered and stripped, were also seen and identified.

Meanwhile the natives held meetings at all the Pas, and numerous strangers arrived.

At an early hour the Court was crowded with both natives and settlers. The Judge entered the Court, accompanied by the Lord Bishop of New Zealand. Dr. Selwyn, who took his seat on the bench. Moturoa, Chief of Pipitea, also sat with him. Counsel was retained for the prisoner and Mr. Clarke Junr. was sworn in as Interpreter. After the evidence was finished. Judge Halswell charged the jury very carefully. It so happened that one or two of the jurors were men married to native women.

They retired for an hour and returned an informal verdict. And on reconsideration, after an hour and a half more, they returned a verdict of guilty.

The prisoner, in his evidence, stated that the things he had been accused of stealing belonged to his sister. He was sentenced to two months' imprisonment, with hard labour, in the Wellington gaol.

Upon hearing the sentence the prisoner ioudly complained of the degradation of imprisonment, and requested most earnestly to be killed with a tomahawk!

The trial lasted 10 hours, and the Bishop remained in Court the whole time.

It was now found that the natives contemplated a rescue. Those that had assembled at Pito-one were now understood to have reached Kaiwharawhara. Dr. Evans rode down to them and advised them to retire, but they advanced to Pipitea Pa. Mr. Clarke Junr. and Dr. Fitzgerald also tried their influence. A small body of military were ready; a sergeant's guard of 25 men were marched out, and the prisoner (not handcuffed) placed between two constables, was marched off to gaol.

It may be mentioned that the Judge asked Wi Tako to dinner with him on Christmas day, and kindly assented to his bringing Moturoa and his wife Martha also to his table. This action had the effect of quietening the natives considerably for a time.

Mr. Halswell had thus the happy art of blending private kindness and attention to the relations of the Maori prisoner, with a strict performance of the public ends of justice.

Taupo Pa, Plimmerton.

page 126

Natives at the Hutt.

About this time (1843), the road was finished a mile above the gorge of the Hutt, so that one could ride thither on horseback: and a bridge was nearly completed by the Company over the river just above Mr. Molesworth's large barn and threshing machine. In various spots on the lower valley, settlers were daily being driven off land, which they attempted to occupy, by the natives living near Mr. Swainson's curtailed farm.

The Pas there had become the rendezvous for all the immediate followers of Rauparaha and Rangihaeata and for all the worst characters from many of the tribes. These fugitives and reprobates, living almost without chiefs or subordination, were contented while they could grow potatoes for the market of the town, with a good road along which to carry them; but seemed resolved to prevent the white people from entering into competition with them in this pursuit. They were not to be made friends of. Missionaries, settlers and sawyers were alike laughed at and scorned. Mr. Clarke, Junr., was on one occasion threatened and driven away for attempting to interfere; and they seemed to taint the air in the very path of settlement and civilisation.

Te Rauparaha's Ride.

Te Rauparaha, attended by a number of natives, visited Wellington and Pito-one, on May 17th, 1845. He was met by Mr. Forsaith, Protector of Aborigines, and Dr. Fitzgerald. At mid-day the Maori Chief stepped from his canoe, attended by the Bishop (Dr. Selwyn). Dr. Fitzgerald having given a horse to him, the procession was formed in the following order:—

25 Maoris on foot; Te Rauparaha and Protector Forsaith on horseback; the Bishop and Dr. Fitzgerald on horseback; and 25 Maoris on foot.

On arrival at Wellington Te Rauparaha was conducted by the Bishop into the house of the Rev. Mr. Cole, the Anglican Clergyman, whose premises were immediately filled by a crowd of native attendants on the chief.

On June 22nd, 1846, Te Rauparaha again visited Wellington, returning to Porirua on the 29th. His actions were looked on with suspicion, and preparations were made for his arrest.

His son Tamehana (Thompson) gives a detailed account of events leading up to the capture of his father, in Mr. Travers “Stirring Times of Te Rauparaha,” pp. 161–166. He writes:—“A letter was written by some one, to which the name of Te Rauparaha was signed. It is said that Mamaku and Rangihaeata wrote the letter and signed the name of Te Rauparaha to give it force.”

On July 20th, 1846, His Excellency Governor Grey embarked on board the “Driver” with a body of sailors from the “Calliope,” under Capt. Stanley, 100 troops under Major Last, and a detachment of armed police under Major Durie, and proceeded to Porirua.

The capture of Te Rauparaha was effected on the 23rd July, 1846. Kanae, Charley, and four other natives were taken at Porirua at the same time. The following account of Te Rauparaha's capture is taken from Sir James Wilson's “Early Rangitikei,” page 14:—

“Te Rauparaha was alone in the whare when he was taken. There had been a number of other Maoris in the whare, but when they heard the tramp of the men, they fled, and Te Rauparaha, who was seemingly on the best of terms with page 127 the soldiers, remained behind, as he never dreamed that it was he who was to be taken. The small body of men who were sent with some of the sailors to capture the old man belonged to the Carbine Rifles, under Major Durie, and the two selected to go into the whare and effect the capture were John Frazer (later of Rangitikei) and a sailor from the “Calliope,” called White. When Te Rauparaha was laid hold of he made a struggle to get away, and is said to have nearly bitten White's thumb off. But this time the wily old savage was not able to effect an escape. He was placed on board the “Calliope” and kept there some time, where he seems to have thoroughly enjoyed himself.”

The “Spectator,” dated 29th July, 1846, announces the arrival of the “Driver,” having on board as prisoners Te Rauparaha and six other natives, who were arrested at the Taupo Pa (now Plimmerton Beach), on Thursday, 23rd. William Kanae, Mohie, Whangaroa, and Charley were the names of four of the natives. When Te Rauparaha was liberated in the year 1846, he urged the Ngatitiraukawa Tribe to build the Maori Church at Hadfield Town (Otaki), where he worshipped until his death, on 27th November, 1849.

Fig. 39D. The remains of the old Redoubt (slowly crumbling to decay and disappearing) are north of the Paremata railway bridge to the left. (see page 135).

Fig. 39D. The remains of the old Redoubt (slowly crumbling to decay and disappearing) are north of the Paremata railway bridge to the left. (see page 135).