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Through Ninety Years

Chapter XXII

page 191

Chapter XXII.

1864–1865. Native Unrest. Government Policy Discussed. Rev. E. B. Clarke Joins Waerenga-a-hika Staff. Bishop Visits Coast, Tauranga and Auckland. Diocesan Synod Te Araroa. Hauhaus Murder Rev. Volkner at Opotiki and Come to Turanga. Exodus from Waerenga-a-hika.

Bishop and Mrs. Williams arrived from Auckland by the schooner Tawera on January 2nd, 1864. Archdeacon Leonard Williams met them with horses to convey them to Waerenga-a-hika.

The natives arranged to hold a runanga at Whakako to discuss the Government and its proposals for the natives. The Bishop took the opportunity to attend this on January 4th and give the natives his report of interviews he had had with the Governor. During the next few weeks attention had to be given to harvesting their food crops; the wheat was found to have suffered from blight and gave a poor yield. The Bishop, however, was able a few weeks later to purchase 100 bags from native growers who had been more fortunate. The potatoes were a very good crop, and gave an abundant supply. A number of calves were also brought in and marked.

The Bishop had also to attend runangas (council meetings) held at other kaingas to discuss Government policy, as some were inclined to stir up mischief. The school work was reopened early in January.

When Rev. E. B. Clarke had to leave his work at Tauranga as mentioned earlier, he went to Waimate. While there he took part in the work among the natives for a few months. His friends wished him to remain there, but Bishop Williams was anxious to retain his services in the diocese and arranged with him to return to it.

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Rev. E. B. Clarke joined the staff at Waerenga-a-hika on February 15th, 1864, and with his wife took up his abode in the house previously occupied by Archdeacon Leonard Williams.

The third Synod of the Waiapu Diocese was opened on March 2nd and completed its proceedings on March 7th. No lay synodsmen were able to attend this session from the northern districts of the diocese, however, because of the fighting which had taken place in that region.

A party of principal native chiefs from Hawke's Bay arrived on March 8th and a korero (discussion) was held on the all-absorbing topic, which came to a satisfactory settlement in the evening. Rev. C. S. Volkner, who came overland from Opotiki, arrived with Mohi on March 8th and gave accounts of the native mind in his district. These runangas for discussion on the state of affairs continued to be held for several months.

Bishop Williams set off on March 24th on a journey through East Coast and Waiapu, holding his usual series of classes and services. From this he returned home again on April 13th.

Archdeacon W. L. Williams's third son, Alfred Henry Williams, was born at Waerenga-a-hika on May 8th, 1864.

Bishop Williams recorded that on July 15th, 1864, he received from the Maraetaha natives £102 17s. 11d. for the Endowment.

On July 17th he took passage by schooner Tawera and arrived at Tauranga on 22nd where he met Colonel Greer who discussed with him the proposals he intended to lay before the natives, for submission to the Queen. These the Bishop thought were fair and reasonable. In due course the Colonel met the natives and addressed them, after which they expressed approval and several came forward and signed their allegiance with hearty goodwill.

On July 26th Bishop Williams boarded the Sand Fly and landed next day in Auckland, where he called on several friends and interviewed Bishop Selwyn and the page 193 Governor, to whom he gave a report of the proceedings at Tauranga. While in Auckland Bishop Williams transacted a quantity of business, and on August 12th arranged, after long consultations, to purchase some property at Onehunga for £720 as an investment for his Endowments.

As he could not find a vessel bound for Poverty Bay Bishop Williams arranged with the Captain of the Queen to land him at Uawa and went on board at noon on August 13th taking with him Miss Spencer who was going on a visit. The following morning the Captain offered him the choice of landing at Uawa or Table Cape, so he chose the latter. Early on the morning of August 15th Bishop Williams and Miss Spencer landed in the river at Whangawehi, where after some difficulty they found their way to the house of a settler who gave them breakfast and secured a boat which conveyed them to Taikawakawa. Here they had a critical landing through the surf on the beach. Thence the Bishop sent for horses and reached home on August 17th at 6.30 p.m.

James Williams arrived on September 5th by the Sea Shell and left again on September 21st.

On September 25th Bishop Williams held an Ordination Service and conferred Priest's Orders on Rev. Tamihana Huata and ordained as Deacons Mohi Turei and Hare Tawha.

Mrs. W. Williams and her daughters Kate and Marianne with Rev. Leonard Williams left for the south by the sailer Gem on September 27th and the latter returned on October 29th.

Colonel Whitmore arrived on October 20th to discuss the Government proposals with the natives, and while waiting for the arranged meeting, examined the Waerenga-a-hika schools. Bishop Williams had already conversed with the natives on the subject, and advised the Colonel on his arrival, so that when he spoke at the meeting Colonel Whitmore avoided saying anything to which offence could be taken. He took his departure on October 22nd and embarked on the Isis which was lying at Whero-Whero.

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Mrs. W. Williams and her daughters returned by the Tawera late on the evening of December 4th.

Throughout this year Archdeacon W. L. Williams, assisted by Rev. E. B. Clarke, conducted the schools for men and boys. The Bishop sometimes took his son's place when the latter had duties elsewhere. The Bishop as a rule took the Home Chapel Sunday Services, his son and Rev. E. B. Clarke sharing the duties at the outlying settlements.

Bishop Williams supervised and directed the farming operations, with the assistance of Archdeacon W. L. Williams, who at the end of November was also engaged in building a brick oven.

Bishop Williams wrote: “This closes another year of many mercies, not the least of which is that in a season of great trial throughout the Country we have at Turanga been kept in peace. Though we feel much the effects of the war, yet we have been less exposed to trials than any other part of the country.”

Archdeacon W. L. Williams set off on horseback on December 27th, 1864, to attend the Synod meeting at Kawakawa accompanied by two ladies of their party, and on December 31st, 1864, Bishop Williams and Rev. E. B. Clarke, accompanied by several ladies of their party embarked on the schooner Tawera for the same destination, where they were landed on January 3rd, 1865.

Archdeacon W. L. Williams wrote in his “East Coast Records”: “The Diocesan Synod which met in January, 1865, at Te Kawakawa, now generally known as Te Araroa, was not specially remarkable except for some of the attending circumstances. When travelling among the Maoris in any part of the country, we had been accustomed to be received with perfect courtesy and unfailing hospitality. It occasioned somewhat of a shock, therefore, that we should find ourselves treated with very marked incivility on the side of the Maori King. On our visiting some of our disaffected settlements in the Waiapu Valley the same unfriendly disposition was manifested, and our presence evidently page 195 was not desired. At one place, however, viz., Pukemaire, we succeeded in getting the people to give some explanation of their attitude. The matter was summed up by one of the speakers in a proverbial saying, ‘E ngaki atu ana a mua; e toto mai ana a muri!’ i.e. ‘The party in front is clearing the way; the party behind is dragging along (the newly-shaped canoe).’ His meaning of course was that the missionaries had come to New Zealand to clear the way for the armed force to follow and take possession of their lands. After a good deal of discussion we parted on much better terms, and a strong wish was expressed that, when visiting the district again, I should not fail to visit Pukemaire.

“This notion about the Missionaries was found to be very prevalent among the Maoris who were opposed to the Government, and this fact need excite little surprise when all the circumstances are taken into consideration. When the Treaty of Waitangi was first put before them the missionaries took an active part in explaining it to the chiefs in various parts of the country and in persuading them to sign it. They did this not without a deep sense of the possibility of this action of theirs coming in the distant future to be misunderstood by the Maoris, but in full confidence, at the same time, that implicit reliance might be placed on the honour and good faith of Her Majesty's Government.

“It might be thought that the opposition shown by the Bishop and the missionaries to the action of Governor Browne and his responsible advisers on the question of the Waitara purchase would have made it quite clear to the Maoris that their work was absolutely independent of any action of the Government, but on the other hand there were circumstances which tended to produce a different impression. When the troops marched into the Waikato, as there were no regular chaplains, Bishop Selwyn considered it to be his duty to attend them. Dr. Maunsell, too, who had been obliged to leave his station at Kohanga, assisted Bishop Selwyn in this work, and narrowly escaped being shot by the Maoris while so engaged. At Tauranga again, under similar page 196 circumstances, Archdeacon Brown undertook military chaplain's duty. To the Maori mind the inference seems to have been irresistible that the Clergymen so acting were ranging themselves definitely on the side of their enemies. Religious ministrations to the troops would be looked upon as analogous to the karakia or charms which were recited in former times by their tohungas, and had for their object the strengthening of their own forces or the weakening of those of the enemy.”

After the completion of the business of Synod, Archdeacon W. L. Williams and Misses Marianne Williams and Wood left on their ride homewards, but Bishop Williams and the remainder of their party were delayed for several weeks waiting for the return of the Tawera from Auckland. As the native builders of a new church at Kawakawa had some difficulty in cutting the 100 panes of glass for the East Window, the Bishop therefore undertook this work for them on January 9th and the natives then completed and painted the windows.

While waiting they were tantalised by seeing four sailing vessels and a steamer go by, before the Tawera took them off on January 30th. She landed them at Poverty Bay on the morning of February 3rd and they reached home the same afternoon.

On February 10th Rev. S. Williams and his wife and children arrived by the Tawera and went on to Napier by the same vessel on February 15th.


The following description of the Hauhau fanaticism is from notes typed by Archdeacon W. L. Williams: “The cult of Hauhauism or Paimarire, as it was sometimes called at first, has commonly been attributed to a harmless old man of the Taranaki District named Horopapera Te Ua. The real founder was a very different man named Patara, who was also from Taranaki, and had formerly been in the employ of the Government in the capacity of Policeman. He made use of Te Ua as an instrument to forward his own ends.

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“In the year 1864 Te Ua is said to have been somewhat out of his right mind, and to have given utterance to ravings to which Patara attached his own interpretations, telling people at the same time that God was now through Te Ua making a revelation direct to the Maori people that Christianity might be all very well for the Pakeha, but that it was a religion not suited to the Maori, for whose special benfit the new revelation was now made.

“His object seems to have been to detach the Maori people from Christianity and so relieve them from any scruples which the profession of Christianity might cause them to entertain with reference to some of the measures which their leaders might think fit to adopt in the prosecution of War against the Pakeha. Some of the Waikato people who had taken part in the fighting at Waitara also favoured this movement.

“The religious observances of the Hauhau seemed to consist in walking round the ‘Niu’ as the pole was called, on which they hoisted their flags ‘Riki’ and ‘Rura’ and reciting a quantity of nonsense, to which they acknowledged that they could attach no definite meaning, though one of their leaders said Te Ua might possibly be able to explain it.

“Their recitation was concluded with the words ‘Rire Rire Hau’ the last being uttered with emphasis, and sometimes repeated, hence the name Hauhau. Another name by which they were known in the early days of the movement was Paimarire from a reported expression used by Te Ua and adopted by them.

“The rank and file were practically hypnotised and therefore promptly obedient to the word of command, having been assured that if any one of them should be in any danger from rifle bullets he had but to hold up his hand and the bullets would drop harmless to the ground. This was afterwards put to the test at one of the engagements near Waitara when most of those who tried the experiment lost their lives. After this very little was heard of Hauhauism.”

Also from notes typed by Archdeacon W. L. Williams: “Early in 1865 reports were circulated amongst the page 198 Natives on the East side of the Island that the emissaries of Te Ua who were spoken of as Tiu were going about the country to explain the new revelation. Shortly afterwards two large parties set out from Taranaki, one under Patara coming to the Bay of Plenty and the other coming through the Tuhoe country, and across Waikaremoana to Wairoa and Turanga. Patara's party made their way to Opotiki where Rev. C. S. Volkner was the resident missionary. There had been an outbreak of Typhoid fever in that district and Mr. Volkner had gone to Auckland, and at this time was on his way back bringing with him a supply of medicines and other requisites for the sick.

“When Patara arrived he announced that had he found Mr. Volkner there he would have cut off his head and taken it to Te Ua at Taranaki. He then proceeded to ransack the house and put up to auction everything that he could dispose of. The Whakatohea people were persuaded to submit themselves to treatment which hypnotised them and rendered them entirely subservient to Patara and his following.

“When the schooner arrived with Messrs. Volkner and Grace on board, Patara had gone to Torere to try and get the people there to join him, but Kereopa whom he had left in charge made the Whakatohea people believe that it was the will of the Atua (God) that Mr. Volkner should be put to death, and that it was necessary that they should give their consent to this being done. They did give their consent, but not without considerable reluctance. A few days after the death of Mr. Volkner, Patara and his party started for Poverty Bay with the avowed object of driving all Pakehas except Jews into the sea, and of putting to death all Christian Ministers. The other party which had come by way of Waikaremoana joined them at Patutahi, and as soon as they met they commenced a ‘Tangi’ (lamentation) on a large scale under the direction of Patara who informed the local people that the object of the Tangi was the Maori people who were stripped naked by the Pakeha, and already deprived of half their land (Mo te iwi tu kiri kau motu page 199 te hawhe). This worked greatly upon the sympathies of many, who soon afterwards joined their ranks.”

Archdeacon W. L. Williams also wrote the following:

“The Exodus from Waerenga-a-hika, 1865.

“The declaration of war by the Government at Waitara in 1860 excited strong patriotic feeling among the Maoris generally, even among those who did not afterwards take up arms against the Government. Some of the Ngatiporou from the neighbourhood of the East Cape went to the support of the Waikato tribes in 1863, though they were too late to take part in the engagement at Rangiriri. In the same year emissaries from Waikato came to Poverty Bay, and were received with much sympathy, though the people of the district at that time showed no disposition to take sides in the struggle. By the end of 1864 a notion had been very widely spread among the Maoris that they had been deceived by the Missionaries, who, it was said, had come to New Zealand under false pretences, not to benefit the people, but simply to pave the way for the British nation to come and take forcible possession of their lands.

“When the notorious Patara came from Taranaki with a large party of Hauhaus in 1865 through Taupo to the Bay of Plenty, news was brought to Waerenga–a–hika on March 1st that Mr. Grace's house at Taupo, and Mr. Volkner's house at Opotiki had both been plundered by the Hauhaus. Four days later a man came through from Opotiki with the news that Mr. Volkner had been cruelly murdered on March 2nd, that Mr. Grace was a prisoner in the hands of the Hauhaus at Opotiki, and that Patara and his party were coming through to Poverty Bay for the express purpose of putting to death all clergymen, and of driving all other Pakehas out of the country. On the receipt of this report people from all parts of the District assured us that we need not fear, as they would allow no one to do us any harm, and that they would send Patara and his following back again immediately by the way by which they had come.

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“On March 12th it was announced that the Hauhaus were already in the district, and a large number of our local people came at once to Waerenga–a–hika with arms in their hands, to stand by us in case of need. On the following day H.M.S. Eclipse, Capt. Fremantle, arrived bringing Bishop Selwyn as passenger. Capt. Fremantle and the Bishop came up at once to Waerenga–a–hika to ascertain the position of matters. As Mr. Grace was still at Opotiki, the possibility of effecting his rescue was discussed with the result that two chiefs of this district left by the Eclipse, to go to Tauranga, if necessary, to get the assistance of Hori Tupaea in procuring the release of Mr. Grace.

“While Capt. Fremantle and Bishop Selwyn were at Waerenga–a–hika it was announced that Patara and his party had arrived at Taureka, about four miles distant. They were met there on the following day by a number of the influential people of the District, but the strangers were not bidden to return to Opotiki.

“On the 20th another party of Hauhaus arrived at Manutuke, about eight miles from Waerenga–a–hika. This party had come by way of Waikare–moana, and included a number of Waikato people. On the 22nd the two parties met at Patutahi, where, after some preliminary speechifying, they began a great ‘tangi,’ which was announced to be ‘for the people who were reduced to destitution, and for the island already half lost.’ This ‘Tangi’ wrought with powerful effect upon the feelings of the people, and from this time it became evident that the Hauhaus, chiefly through Patara's plausible speeches, were rapidly gaining ground, especially among our nearest neighbours. On the 25th people began openly to join them, and the position was fast becoming critical. Most of the rank and file of those who joined them were hypnotized by a peculiar process, and were therefore completely under the control of the Hauhau leaders, and ready to carry out without hesitation any orders that might be issued to them. Another disquieting element in the position was that several of the most influential men who, at the first, protested so loudly that they could page 201 give no countenance to the murderers of Mr. Volkner. were now either wavering, or openly showing sympathy with the Hauhaus.

“On April 2nd there were rumours in circulation that some serious mischief was in contemplation, and during the following night our staunch friends among the Maoris kept guard round our premises, each having armed himself with something that might serve as a weapon, no fire–arms being procurable.

“The uncertainty of the possibility of frustrating any evil designs which the Hauhau leaders might be harbouring seemed to indicate that it would be well that all who were likely to be obnoxious to Patara and Kereopa should be got out of the way as soon as possible. The Government steamer St. Kilda was then at anchor in the bay, and therefore the Bishop, the Rev. E. B. Clarke, with the various members of our families, to the number of sixteen persons, took passage by her to Napier on April 3rd.

“Several southern chiefs from Wellington, Otaki and Napier including Ti Tako, Matene Te Whiwhi and Wirihana Toatoa, accompanied by the Rev. S. Williams, had arrived on March 31st, their object being to urge the people not to allow themselves to be beguiled by the sophistries of Patara. I remained with them and accompanied them to several of the settlements in which Patara had been especially successful. The urgent appeals of the visitors had little effect upon the new recruits to Hauhauism, but it was probably owing to their presence that Kereopa left the district on April 13th and Patara on the 17th.

“The position was greatly improved by the departure of Patara and Kereopa, and I decided to stay on with the view of keeping our pupils together as far as possible, until the best course to be pursued should be more clearly indicated. There was plenty of important work to be done on the farm, which would serve to keep the young men employed. We had hoped that the people who had been so grievously led astray by Patara might be brought to see that the course to which they were com- page 202 mitting themselves could, if persisted in, end only in disaster, and therefore that it might be possible for the Bishop and all the staff to return before long and resume work at Waerenga–a–hika which had been so sadly interrupted. It soon however became evident that any early resumption of the work in the old place was not to be looked for, and Sir George Grey kindly offered to accommodate our schools at Te Kawau in vacant buildings which he had there; but as the old Mission Station of Paihia in the Bay of Islands seemed to be a more suitable place, they were sent there towards the end of August, the Bishop and the Rev. E. B. Clarke being there ready to receive them. I had accommodation at Turanganui, where I remained to give all the support I could to those who maintained their Christian profession.

“Events on the coast had not tended to improve matters in Poverty Bay. Patara had visited the disaffected people in the Waiapu district in June, but those who were friendly to the Pakeha could not tolerate the presence in the District of the man who was responsible for the murder of the Rev. C. S. Volkner, and took up arms at once to drive him out. The friendly Natives were afterwards assisted by Colonial troops and fighting continued there for four months. Henare Potae also and his people were at war with the Hauhaus at Tokomaru, and, as a result, about 200 of the latter, having been defeated in their own district, came and occupied the pa at Waerenga–a–hika.”

Bishop Williams's son–in–law, Mr. Henry Williams Junior, who lived at Bay of Islands, heard of the tragic events at Opotiki, and being anxious for the safety of the Bishop and his family, took passage by the S.S. Ladybird and arrived at Waerenga–a–hika on March 16th. Rev. Samuel Williams also came the same day, and next day went on to Napier, taking Miss Carter and his children.

During the next fortnight Mr. Henry Williams took part in the various meetings and discussions with the Natives, and the final decision to leave, after which he page 203 ably assisted in the hurried packing and despatch of such effects as could be got away.

On March 27th news was received with thankfulness that Mr. Grace had been able to escape from Opotiki in a small vessel which had called there.

On March 31st Rev. Samuel Williams arrived again with Wi Tako and several Hawke's Bay chiefs and joined in the discussions with the local natives and the Paimarires or Hauhaus.

The writer can recollect that prior to the exodus on April 3rd, 1865, the Bishop's and Archdeacon Williams's families and Rev. E. B. and Mrs. Clarke all slept for several nights at Bishop Williams's house, which was closely guarded by some natives who could be trusted, and that on the last night most of the adults spent their time completing the final packing, and making preparation for leaving next morning. After the midday meal on April 3rd Miss Maria Williams, who was still somewhat of an invalid, and the children were sent off on a sledge drawn by a team of bullocks, followed by the rest of the party on horseback to Turanganui (now the site of Gisborne) some 9 miles off, whence they were sent off in boats to the S.S. St. Kilda for passage to Napier and slept the night on deck. Archdeacon Williams and Mr. Henry Williams and Rev. S. Williams remained behind. The St. Kilda towed to Napier a large boat with another party of refugees.

On arrival next morning the party received hospitality from several members of the community at Napier, from which three days later they embarked on the S.S. Ladybird for Auckland.

On April 8th they called at Poverty Bay and picked up Mr. Henry Williams who conducted them to Auckland and Bay of Islands.

After the exodus Archdeacon W. L. Williams still occupied the Waerenga–a–hika premises with the School natives, and with the assistance of Mr. H. Williams, until he left on April 8th and Rev. Samuel Williams, who remained a fortnight longer, continued packing more of page 204 their household effects, which as they were ready were sent off from time to time to Turanganui for shipment.

Archdeacon Williams supervised and kept the School Natives employed at their usual duties, and also directed the farm work of the establishment, which was kept on with the object of keeping the School together as long as possible, and securing their crops of food supplies which had been already harvested and had further wheat sown in the hope that it might be available for future use.

The Hauhaus persisted in their activities, holding “runangas” at the various local settlements. “Niu” poles as centres of their devotions were erected in several places. These meetings were attended by Rev. S. Williams, Wi Tako and the southern Chiefs who had come with him, and they refuted the wild statements of miraculous powers which the Hauhau leaders claimed to possess. This opposition, though it did not stop the Hauhau propaganda, no doubt led to the withdrawal from the district for a time of Kereopa who left on April 13th and Patara who went four days later. Wi Tako got possession of Kaiwhata's “Taiaha” (decorated weapon) and presented it to Rev. Samuel Williams who with Wi Tako and the party of chiefs returned to Napier by the St. Kilda on April 22nd.

Although Archdeacon Williams endeavoured to maintain the regular Sunday Services at the principal settlements with the natives who remained faithful, they could frequently hear the Hauhau “karakia” going on in the neighbourhood, which kept the district in a state of ferment, and constant reports of laxity or falling away increased the feeling of insecurity.

From “East Coast Records” (W.L.W.): “On May 3rd Captain Luce of H.M.S. Esk paid the District a visit, bringing with him a letter from Bishop Williams addressed to the Rongowhakaata tribe, pointing out to them the extreme folly of the course which they were pursuing, and suggesting that as they were abandoning the neutral position they had maintained in the past, they would be wise now to declare themselves adherents of the Government. I accompanied Captain Luce to Manu- page 205 tuke, where he duly delivered the letter, giving them at the same time a few words of sound advice from himself, but neither the letter nor the Captain's words met with a favourable reception from the majority of those who were present.”

The party of refugees from Waerenga-a-hika who landed in Auckland on April 10th, 1865, consisted of Bishop and Mrs. Williams and four daughters, Mrs. Leonard Williams and seven children, Miss A. Wood, Miss Lettie Spencer, and Rev. E. B. and Mrs. Clarke. The Bishop and Mrs. Williams were the guests of Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn. The others enjoyed the hospitality of friends or found suitable lodgings. Mrs. Leonard Williams with her three sons and Miss Wood were allowed by Rev. R. Maunsell to use his house next door to St. Mary's Church until they went to the Bay of Islands in June. Mr. and Mrs. H. Williams (junior) took Misses Marianne and Emma Williams and Mrs. Leonard Williams's daughters to the Bay of Islands by the schooner Sea Breeze on April 17th.