Incidents of The Maori War
The sap continued, and a demi-parallel formed—Damaged rifles—Metallic sand of Taranaki—Obstinate defence of the enemy—The chief, Tarapipipi, arrives from the Waikato—The Armstrong guns—A trap laid—Its success—Heavy expense of artillery horses—Cape warfare and New Zealand compared—Some of the causes of the war investigated —Crushing artillery fire—Night firing—Death of Lieutenant Macnaughten, R.A.—Proposal to rush the pah—Eccentricity in a shell—Some indication of peace—"Waikatos leave Te Arei pah—Soldiers are gentlemen—Should fields be laid waste?—An opinion on sapping—Dangerous position of H.M. colonial war steamer, " Victoria" —General Cameron arrives—Terms of peace offered to the Ngatiawas—British and native losses—A new flag proposed—Camp at Otahuhu—His Excellency Sir George Grey resumes the government, and His Excellency, Colonel Gore Brown becomes Governor of Tasmania—Policy of Sir George Grey.
The sap was continued in front of No. 8 Redoubt until a depression in the ground occasioned its exposure to a heavy plunging fire from Te Arei pah, and it became necessary page 290to suspend it for a time. To keep down the fire of the enemy, a demi-parallel, to afford cover for marksmen, and for a howitzer and cohorn mortar, was formed on the left of the sap, and the sap was then recommenced, though exposed daily to a heavy fire. One day the enemy opened fire from their whole line, commencing from their extreme left in the bush, to the right rear of No. 7 Redoubt, in order to draw attention from the sap, into which they poured a sharp fire from the scrub on the edge of the precipice, about twenty-five yards to the left of the head of the sap.
A number of our rifles now became damaged by bursting at the muzzle, half way down the barrel, or at the breech; these pieces had been taken into use during the Crimean war, and seemed not to be calculated for long service; " leading " might have had something to do with the matter. Still the weapon may be too delicate, and if shortened and thickened, (without being made heavier) and the bayonet or sword bayonet lengthened, the proper " tool " may be devised for general service.
Whilst on the subject of rifles, I may remark, that I saw an unexpected mine of steel page 291in riding one afternoon along the beach at the Sugar-loaf Islands, Taranaki, with Deputy- Commissary-General Stanley Jones. The sand had the appearance of steel filings, and a magnet could take up a large quantity. The deposit was probably thrown from Mount Egmont when an active volcano; it extends for miles, and is of considerable thickness. It is a geological curiosity, and Captain Morshead, a gentleman from the west of England, has been turning it to practical use by smelting it. It is a pure ore, contains 88.45 of peroxide of iron, 11.43 of oxide of tetanium with silica, and only twelve of waste in a hundred parts.
The Messrs. Moseley, the eminent cutlers and tool makers of New Street, Covent Garden, have taken the Taranaki sand in hand, and pronounced in its favour, and manufactured from it razors, scissors, pen-knives, surgical instruments, &c, &c.; it is also said to be very valuable for gun barrels and boring cutters for Ordnance purposes.
In the beginning of March, some chiefs of the Waikato had a korero, or conference, with the Governor about peace, but as they had no page 292authority on the part of the insurgents to settle matters, nothing came of the conference.
Among the incidents " at the front," where the sappers deserved the greatest credit for the persevering manner they worked at the sap with cheerfulness and zeal under continued fire, (stimulated by the admirable example of Captain Mould, and who was ably supported by Lieutenant Warburton, R.E.) some casualties occurred to the 40th and 57th, who on the left occupied by day some Maori rifle pits. The enemy soon observed this, and a party of them concealed themselves in the pits in the early morning, so that when our people advanced as before to supposed empty pits, they were received with a volley; after delivering which the Maories fled down the ravine in rear, and on the pits being immediately charged, no one was in them.
On the 5th of March, the enemy advanced to such close quarters, to interrupt the progress of the sap, and fired so briskly, that our people fixed bayonets, expecting a momentary rush at the trenches. The defence of the enemy was most obstinate, and the difficult country abundantly favoured them, The 12th, page 29314th, 40th, 65th, and 57th, Royal Artillery and sailors were all actively engaged and anxious to be let loose to charge the pits and Te Arei pah, and it was difficult to hold them back, and to make them wait for that opportunity which was now daily expected, namely, a rush with assured success, and with smaller loss than one hundred and fifty men, which would probably have happened if the assault had been made at this stage of the proceedings. It will be remembered, the consequences of the exposed rush over two hundred and fifty yards before the Redan of Sevastopol.*
The traverses were placed a few yards apart in the sap, and alternated right and left, and were not in the centre with passages round as is sometimes employed, and which facilitates the passing of reliefs.
Heavy rain interrupted now and then the progress of the advance, and it was not pleasant in No. 8 Redoubt, to keep an exposed watch after the labours of the day.
* See passages in the Life of a Soldier.
Among the last events at the Taranaki, were the arrival of the Armstrong guns, and of mortars, &c., these from Auckland; and a party cricketing outside the Omata stockade, receiving a volley from the bush, which, however, caused no casualties. A flag of truce was run up in the middle of March to enable Mr. Hay and Mr. Parris, the native commissioners, to communicate with Tarapipipi.
The beautiful and well-kept residence of Captain H. King, near New Plymouth, was given to the flames by the Ngatiruanuis, and the mansion-house, stables, and outhouses became a blackened mass of ruins; other fires also followed.
Negotiations not being concluded satisfactorily with Tarapipipi, &c., hostilities recom-page 295menced, the 10-inch mortars and Armstrong guns playing on the rifle pits about Te Arei pah, and the sap being vigorously pushed forward.
To prevent a second removal of the sap rollers, one was prepared with a shell behind it. Sunk in its box in the earth, a lanyard with a friction fuse, connected the shell with the sap roller. All was quiet for some time, when a loud explosion was heard at the head of the sap, the trap had succeeded as was afterwards ascertained. Three Maories had come down from the pah, and attempted to displace the sap roller as before; it was moved, and the shell bursting, drove one of the Maories in pieces over the cliff on the left, and wounded two others, who escaped with difficulty to the pah.
On the verge of the cliff over-looking the Waitara, were three or four neatly contrived pits lined with fern, and which I afterwards entered, they were intended to interrupt the progress of the sap on the left, shots from these wounded men, but the demi-parallel, or branch sap, before mentioned, helped to keep down the fire from these pits.page 296
A heavy item in the expensive game of war appeared in the shape of one hundred and eighty horses, purchased in Sydney for the artillery in New Zealand, these cost about £35 each, and the whole expense attending them, when in charge of Captain Watson, R.A., their passage in the " Light of the Age," a thirteen hundred ton ship, and with attendants, &c., amounted to about £10,000.
The New Zealand people thought that one hundred good horses used to draft, might have been picked up in the North Island, and which would have answered better than the unruly buck jumping animals of New South Wales, some of which struck with fore and hind feet alternately, plunged, snorted, and were perfectly frantic, and requiring much " Rareying."
In former wars at the Cape (in one of which I was engaged), it was not the custom to encumber the troops with much baggage, they were also made to understand that where the Caffres could move, there the white soldier could penetrate, that paths would be found in the bush, that attacks at early dawn were best, and that much was to be done by the page 297intelligence department, in ascertaining the position and strength of the enemy, &c. My former class fellow, Senior Department, Royal Military College, the late Sir William Eyre, perfected this system, and was particularly successful as a partizan commander. The same system was recommended for Maori warfare, but it was not altogether applicable, for though the Caffres occupied often strong ground among krantzes or cliffs, they had no pahs, no stockades, no flanking rifle trenches.
The pertinacity of the sap in advancing towards the enemy's stronghold, the display of new and terrible resources, in the form of great mortars and rifled cannon, the arrival of fresh troops, the excellent Commissariat arrangements under Mr Jones, Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Clerk and others to feed these, seemed at last to wear out the enemy. Some writers, at a distance, found fault with the sap. This good it answered, namely, to draw the insurgents towards it as a piece of meat does flies; no sap, and there might have been desultory and unsatisfactory warfare going on in several places at once, and more devastated settlements.page 298
In reviewing this conflict in the Taranaki, one should discriminate between the combatants ranged against us, the upper Waikatos, the Ngatiawas, the Ngatiruanuis, and the Taranakis, the two last were least deserving of consideration, for throughout they exhibited no generosity, but utter blood thirstiness and wanton destruction of property without having received previous injuries or loss of land; for years past, as was explained, they have hated the Pakeha.
Wiremu Kingi and his Ngatiawas fought for the tribal right over the land, whilst the upper Waikatos seemed to have entered on the contest, generally, for independence, or for Rangatiratanga, the chieftainship of New Zealand; where the King's flag flew they fought. It is true, lands in the Upper Waikato had not been acquired by the Government, but as they knew our settlements were gradually extending, and they were not in creasing in population, but the contrary, the apprehension not unnaturally seized them of being driven into corners, and of being forced from the fertile plains to the forests and the hills. It is absurd to call them rebels, for page 299they never were British subjects, and if we do not blame our own British ancestors for resisting the Roman dominion, neither can we blame the proud Waikato. But the contest once begun, it was necessary to continue it till peace could be established on a sure basis, and not a hollow one, patched up or hastily concluded.
The casualties in the 14th regiment occurred in the middle of March, and for young soldiers, never under fire before they came to the Taranaki, they acquitted themselves exceedingly well, fighting as stoutly and working as hard and as cheerfully as the men of the older corps. The 2.14th was the first of the new battalions which had smelt powder. When I rode up one afternoon to No. 6 Redoubt, occupied by No. 7 company, and the men turned out to cheer, I was much gratified to see them in such good case, and looking so well in their blue smocks after their hard work. No. 10 was in the Waitara camp, and, as a light company, could stand a comparison, as to smart men, with any in the field.
The active operations, being resumed, were prosecuted with vigour; after sunset the air page 300was rent with bursting shells and rushing shot. There were now in front of Te Arei pah, two 8-inch guns, and two 8-inch and two 10-inch mortars, as many cohorns, one 24lb. howitzer, a 12-pounder and a 9-pounder field-piece.
That the Maories held out well under the fire from these big guns proves their courage and endurance, as they had no artillery to reply to ours. Their well sustained rifle and musketry fire proved their determination to defend their position to the last extremity.
The demi-parallel and the sap were lined by the coverers of those working at the sap, and pushing it on under heavy fire. The Maories ever and anon exposed themselves from their rifle pits to take aim, and our men showed themselves over the crest of the parapet to have a better chance of a shot. The rattling of the musketry was accompanied by the booming of the great guns and the bursting of shells, which probably were the most destructive of all, by scattering an iron shower into the pits, or bursting in the ground like a small volcano. Hand grenades were also brought up and thrown by the Royal Artillery, page 301the fighting was now at such close quarters; there were casualties in the 57th and 65th regiments; men were wounded in the sap, one died of his wounds.
At night it was curious to watch the flight of the shell of the Armstrong guns, the fuse causing it to appear like a flash of lightning darting with irresistable force to its destination among the rifle pits near the pah, whilst the shells from the mortars, rising like meteors to a great height in the air, fell with a crash into the middle of the devoted stockade. " We did not like the shells," said a Maori warrior, " before this we used to leave off fighting at six o'clock, cook our meals and rest for the night; but now in the dark, one of these great things comes down upon us, buries itself in the ground, then there is a sort of earthquake, it blows up, and we are scattered with pieces of iron, and get no peace."
The bag of powder to make a breach in a pah, had not yet been tried in this war. We remember long ago the inefficiency of round shot fired directly against Burman stockades, and it is understood the best way to shake and destroy a Maori pah, is to fire diagonally page 302at the prolongation of a face, instead of at right angles to it, and thus, like firing diagonally at the gable of a house, knock a hole in its side.
A scaling ladder could rest on a Burman stockade, its' top allowed this, but the irregular picketing of a Maori pah rendered escalading difficult.
On March the 17th, St. Patrick's day, the anniversary of the war that commenced the desolation of the beautiful province of the Taranaki. One of the most zealous and hard working officers, a young man of rare courage and modesty combined, Lieutenant Macnaughten, R.A., fell. He was in the branch parallel; with plumb line in hand, he was adjusting the elevation of a mortar when a musket ball striking his right wrist entered his breast. An officer near him said, " Macnaughten, you are hit!" he smiled and said, "Oh, it's only in the hand;" but turning pale he staggered, fell back and died. There was great grief expressed by the officers and men of both arms, with whom he had served for the last twelve months, as the gallant young soldier was carried to the rear.page 303
The Maories had cut a narrow ledge leading from the pah to the left of the branch parallel, this was two hundred and fifty feet above the bed of the river, and it was notched with rifle pits, as I before noticed. It was proposed to have charged up this ledge, but it seemed to me that this would have been madness, as the storming party could only have advanced along it in Indian file, and if met by a score of the enemy, they must have been hurled over the precipice in detail,—truly a forlorn hope.
On the 18th of March a fierce conflict raged for some time on the right of No. 7 Redoubt, where the engineers were constructing a battery to play on the hills and pits on the right. The 14th, 57th, and 65th formed the covering and working parties for the trenches. Major Nelson was field officer of the day, and he moved about with his usual energy; the natives, collected in great numbers on the right, were met by the 40th, and rapid file firing took place between them, whilst the Maories from the pits outside the pah opened a brisk fire on the coverers in the sap. The roar of the great guns was intermingled in the fray, the result of which was three privates page 30440th killed, and Lieutenants Reese and Whelan wounded, and two privates of the same corps, and a serjeant (Christie) of the Royal Artillery, wounded.
A shell from a cohorn mortar fired by Captain Mercer, Royal Artillery, fell on hard ground, and not bursting, rebounded and returned, like a bomerang, to nearly the spot from whence it was discharged, a curious incident in projectiles.
On the 19th of March, a white flag was again hoisted on Te Arei pah, the guns were silent and the sappers at a stand still, waiting the result of this peaceful indication. Messrs. MacLean, Parris and Hay, arrived at No. 6 Redoubt; another white flag was hoisted at the edge of the forest, to the right of No. 3, and the commissioners repaired thither to meet the insurgent chiefs, who now evidently desired an end of the contest. Shouts were heard in the trenches when the commissioners met the chiefs in the forest, it was conjectured that the natives knew that Te Arei (or Pukerangeora) must immediately fall, their ammunition was running low, winter was approaching when their sufferings would have page 305been great for the want of adequate clothes. Of food, it was understood they had yet stores of potatoes, pigs, wild in the woods, and fern roots, besides a number of the settlers' cattle to kill and eat.
On the morning of the 20th of March, parties of Waikatos were seen to leave Pukerangeora and move off to the north, they went away in sixes and sevens, carrying pickaus or packs, and firing off their muskets, apparently as a parting salute. Though an hospital for wounded had been established at W. Kingi's place, Mataitawa,* beyond the forest on the right of Huirangi, the Waikatos carried with them to their own valleys, a considerable number of wounded, with whom they moved slowly up the coast, before they struck into the interior.
At one of the conferences the natives said, " Another rush had been intended at one or other of the Redoubts, like that on No. 3, but the plan was not matured."
* Mataitawa; matai,' a view or prospect from a hilltop, 'tawa,' a tree, Saurus tawa.
" The British soldiers," said a Maori, " are a tribe of gentlemen, they bear no malice after a fight, but holding up their tins, call out, ' Tea capai!' here is good tea for you to drink!"
Some more of the fighting men afterwards came in, gaunt and hungry looking; at first they craved tobacco, one said he was dying for it, not having smoked for three months, but afterwards clothes were in demand.
* Corynocarpus lævigata.
I have seen the destruction of crops, and the burning of houses or huts in seats of war, and the terrible misery to helpless women and children; among other places in Turkey after the passage of the Balcan by the Russians under Marshal Diebitch, and I never wish to witness this again. Columns have been directed to penetrate an enemy's country for the purpose of burning dwellings, and destroying grain ripe from the sickle. Splendid crops of maize and millet in the fertile valleys of another beautiful mountain land, with an undergrowth of pumpkins, melons, &c., have been cut down, dug out and destroyed, to bring the owners of this food to sue for peace. Occupation and patrolling might have effected the same object, and in a way more worthy of a civilized page 308people, and many deaths of cold and hunger spared.
It was the opinion of Colonel Mould, commanding Royal Engineer, and who has had considerable experience of the Maories and of their mode of fighting, that an attack conducted as that against Te Arei pah was the only one which, under the circumstances, was likely to be effectual in reducing the enemy to submission. Looking at the difficult nature of the country, the admirable positions taken up by the enemy, their peculiar mode of warfare, their character and disposition, attacks by " vive force" on their position would not have had any moral effect upon them, whilst, on the other hand, they would probably be elated, and their courage raised by the mischief they had done. The enemy themselves, unseen in their rifle pits would have an attacking force in full view during their advance, would by a dropping fire have harassed the columns in their approach, and when the troops were sufficiently close would have poured in a deadly volley, and slunk with little loss into the bush, the scrub and impracticable swamps and gullies in their rear, leaving nothing but page 309empty rifle pits as a barren conquest gained at considerable loss, and giving the savage enemy, what would be in their eyes, a victory, increasing their audacity, and placing a peace-able solution at a greater distance.
Position after position might be attacked and taken in this way until the enemy retired into their fastnesses, where it would be destruction to follow them, and from whence they would emerge on the retirement-of their assailants. The Maories having their scouts constantly on the watch for every movement of their enemy, would in anticipation of an attack, according to their customs, inflame their passions and excite their courage to make a determined resistance on the advance of the columns, but when driven out of their positions, and having retired to their next line, or to their bush and fastnesses, the excitement for the time subsides, until they again arouse it to meet further assaults. But this excitement they cannot sustain, and when a patient, though determined advance is made day by day, and they are incessantly harassed, they lose heart in proportion as they lose ground and men, their casualties becoming infinitely page 310greater, whilst those of the attacking party are in proportion diminished as they are under cover, they become wearied and depressed, are confounded by a mode of attack so novel and so pertinaciously persisted in, and desirous of peace and rest. It was, therefore, considered that the mode of procedure adopted by General Pratt was the cause of the cessation of hostilities, and the evident desire for peace evinced by the Waikato natives, the real principals in the war, as shown by their rapid retirement from the recent scene of operations.
A sketch, without a correct survey, could not give a precise idea of the difficult nature of the ground and the strength of the positions, especially the last, so admirably selected and occupied by the natives. Nor can a verbal description give a knowledge of the nature of the defences constructed by them. Their sites are but barely indicated by a narrow line of newly moved earth carefully spread, not exceeding six inches above the general surface of the ground, whilst for the most part they, as well as the defenders, are invisible, a head only occasionally being raised page 311above the level of the ground to reconnoitre, though the line may be thickly occupied; in the recent case, it is presumed by a force at first amounting to fifteen hundred men.
His Excellency Governor Gore Brown, accompanied by the Honourable Mr. Waitaker, the Attorney General, the Honourable Mr. Weld, the native Minister, the Chief Commissioner MacLean, Captain Steward, Private Secretary, and the following Maories of note: Tamati Waaka Nene, Tamati Ngapura, Mangonui, Rikari, Ihaka (Isaac), Te Tihi, Horomona (Solomon) Aihepene, Anuru, Te Huia Te Keene, Te Hemara, Wyniata (Wynyard) Papahia, Hohepa (Joseph) Tamaihangia, Hapimana, Mokoera, Te Horohau, Te Mokena, Pita (Peter), John Nobbs and Perikanau, a native who was for some time at the Cape with Sir George Grey, arrived at the Taranaki by H.M.S. "Victoria." I was on board this war steamer when she was nearly swallowed up by giant waves in crossing the bar at the Manukau Heads. The pilot on shore there gave no signal of danger, but when the steamer got out to sea, one great wave succeeded another, rolling up from the south-page 312west in great masses, upon which she climbed and descended on the other side, till the captain on the bridge called out, " hold on every body!" and suddenly the bows disappeared with a roar in a mass of spray; fifty tons of water rushed aft, washed some of the hands, bruised, under the guns forward, swept those of us who were aft off our legs, I clung to the mizen rigging, whilst the interpreter, Mr. Baker, was carried over the side on the top of the wave, but managing to hold on at the gangway was saved. The Governor and others, were below and escaped a wetting, the Maories were drenched to their necks, but seemed to enjoy the excitement. If the sea had reached the fires, or the machinery had become deranged, (at one pitch we seemed to touch the bottom) we must have been driven upon one of the numerous sand banks, among which we were, and miserably perished; but we were providentially preserved.
The insurgents still held out, and occupied their places of strength and rifle pits, disdaining to yield easily; towards the south the enemy retired from their pahs into the forests.page 313
Settlers venturing out from New Plymouth to examine the state of the country, found it nearly completely ravaged; four houses out of five were destroyed, some had been spared to serve as lodging places for the enemy, others had been attempted to be set on fire, but it had not taken, five-sixths of the cattle were gone, and the bodies of cows, oxen and sheep, shot in wantonness, apparently by the Ngatiruanuis and Taranakis, polluted the air. No horses appeared.
In the morning of the 30th of March, whilst I was staying with Colonel Sillery at New Plymouth, the " Airedale " steamer, with the mail, dropped anchor, and from her unexpectedly landed Lieutenant-General, D. A. Cameron, C.B., who had come to supersede General Pratt in the command of the troops at the seat of war, the Australian and New Zealand commands becoming distinct. General Cameron was accompanied by Major Whitmore, as Military Secretary, and Captain MacNeil, A.D.C., also the General's niece, Miss Cherry, was on board. I had been a brother officer of the General in the 42nd Royal Highlanders, some years ago. His well known ability, page 314energy and firmness of character had induced his Royal Highnes, the General Commanding-in-chief, to ask him to give up his desirable command of the troops in Scotland, and to go on active service to the World's End, and he immediately undertook what was required of him. Having got horses, he rode off at once, after landing, to the Waitara, where he dropped into the midst of the camp like a shell into the Redan, and announced his appointment. General Pratt soon afterwards returned with his staff to Melbourne, where he met with a distinguished reception, and afterwards was rewarded with the Commander's Star of the Bath.
On the 30th of March, twenty years ago, the first ship load of emigrants arrived off the Taranaki, dropped anchor off Maturoa, and found shelter near the Sugar-loaf Islands in tents, and in a shed built by Barrett, the whaler. " To these people, many of whom still call this place their home" as the intelligent editor of the Taranaki Herald said, " as they gazed on the symetrical cone of Egmont, the luxuriant fern where now are rich pastures, and the lovely copses of low page 315delicate trees, such as now are found in the narrow valley of the Waiwhakaiho river,* the idea can hardly have occurred that twenty years would find many of them as houseless as on their first landing."
After conferences and negotiations with the insurgents, and the Waikatos and southern natives having retired from the contest, the terms now offered by the Governor to the Ngatiawas of the Waitara, whose valley we now held, were these: " Haperona and Ngatiawa. For twelve months you have been carrying arms against Her Majesty the Queen, and the authority of the law, you have now laid down your arms and expressed your desire for peace, believing you to be sincere, I have come from Auckland for the purpose of stating the terms upon which it will be granted, and upon which Her Majesty's gracious pardon and protection will be extended to you. They are as follows:
" 1. The investigation of the title, and the survey of the land at the Waitara to be continued and completed without interruption.page 316
* 'Waiwhakaiho', descending waters.
" 2. Every man to be permitted to state his claims without interference, and my decision, or the decision of such persons as I shall appoint, to be conclusive. " 3. All the land in possession of Her Majesty's forces, belonging to those who have borne arms against Her Majesty, to be disposed of by me as I may think fit. " 4. All guns belonging to the Government to be returned. " 5. All plunder taken from the settlers to be forthwith restored. " 6. The Ngatiawas, who have borne arms against the Government, must submit to the Queen and to the authority of the law, and not resort to force for the redress of wrongs, real or imaginary. " 7. As I did not use force for the acquisition of land, but for the vindication of the law, and for the protection of Her Majesty's native subjects in the exercise of their just rights, I shall divide the land, which I have stated my intention to dispose off, amongst its former owners; but I shall reserve the sites of the Block-houses and Redoubts, and a small piece of land round each, for the public page 317use, and shall exercise the right of making roads through the Waitara district.
" On your submission to these terms you will come under the protection of the law and enjoy your property, with lands and goods without molestation."
The Juror's list for the province of Taranaki did not show more than two hundred and twelve country settlers who had houses in the country, of these one hundred and seventy six were totally destroyed by the insurgents, whilst those houses which were left standing, were chopped and broken in pieces, doors, windows, lining boards destroyed, and in some cases the upright boarding taken away, that the houses were almost as much injured as if burned. We may, therefore, say in round numbers that two hundred settlers' houses were destroyed in the Taranaki.
Of the natives, it was understood that three hundred had been slain besides a great number wounded, and latterly in the pahs, rifle pits and woods round the sap, fifteen hundred warriors were the numbers collected there, with all the advantages of ground in their favour, they found the war a losing game, and page 318submitted, that is the Ngatiawas; the Ngatiruanuis and Taranakis fled south and made no terms; the Ngatiawas remained in the Waitara district, and with them the above terms were made. Wiremu Kingi retired to the Waikato with the Waikatos who had joined him against the Pakeha, and Haperona was left to conclude a peace for the Ngatiawa of the Taranaki.
His Excellency and the ministers came from the Waitara to New Plymouth on the 8th of April. A considerable number of people were assembled to see them enter the town, but owing to the doubt and anxiety in their minds respecting the terms of peace, His Excellency was received without any demonstration.
General Cameron reviewed the force at the Waitara and at New Plymouth, and the prisoners of war remaining were liberated. They had been treated with every consideration.
The Nagatiruanuis and the Taranakis having retired south, as I have stated, without any terms of peace being made, it was conjectured that the repayment of the settlers' losses, to page 319a certain extent at least, would be required of them, the formation of a good road through their country to Wanganui, would be undertaken, and the establishment of one or two military posts along it; while among the Waikato, the lowering the King's flag, the acknowledgment of the Queen's authority, and the formation of roads, would be held sufficient submission by the bold tribe, which had already lost so many of the flower of its warriors. As so much importance is attached to flags by the Maories, and displacing one was the cause of a former war, I took the liberty of submitting a united British and Maori flag for consideration, with a red or blue field, the union in the upper corner, and in the centre the favourite device of the Maories, three stars, emblematical of " religion, love and law," the motto of the great chief Te Whero Whero.
A military settlement was also talked of on British land, on the Waikato to preserve order. The Waikatos professing that the original idea they had in hoisting a King's flag, was to establish order and prevent crime by the strong hand among themselves. If their King page 320then becomes a chief magistrate, assisted by a native council, but all directed by and subject to the British Government, the native difficulty may be thus settled.
The Taranaki settlers held a meeting, and a deputation from it waited on His Excellency to hear further regarding the terms of peace, and to ascertain, if possible, what would be their position. The Governor stated that he desired to do the strictest justice to the settlers of Taranaki in whose sufferings he warmly sympathised, he believed the land league to prevent the sale of land to the Pakeha was broken up, as far as related to the Taranaki, and that land could again be bought in it from the natives. If the Taranakis and Ngatiruanuis did not make peace soon, the affair would be placed in the hands of General Cameron. As the war might not yet be half over, he did not encourage the idea of bringing back at present, the families from Nelson, &c. The militia would be recognized and classified. British law would be enforced strictly in the Taranaki generally, and arms would be supplied to every settler, to enable him to assist in preserving order and preventing insult.page 321
Shortly after this, the Governor and his ministers returned to Auckland, detachments of the 14th garrisoned some of the pahs in the Taranaki, the 12th, 40th, and 65th being withdrawn to the province of Auckland.
The 57th remained alone in the Taranaki with a united detachment, 57th and 65th, at Wanganui, and the detachment 14th joined the camp at Otahuhu, where, when first established, as senior officer, I commanded. The 70th came from India, the field-officers of which were Colonels Galloway and Chute, Majors Ryan and Mulock, and there were for the winter months under canvas, the detachment 12th regiment, the head-quarters of the 14th, 40th and 70th regiments, and the 65th and Royal Engineers, and Royal Artillery in Auckland; at the camp and in Auckland about three thousand men altogether.
I will not enlarge on the discomfort attending living in a subaltern's bell tent (we had no marquees for field-officers) during the three months of winter rains, and frost occasionally so severe at night, that the blankets failed to enable one to sleep through it; but we weathered it, had good appetites, and found page 322the huts afterwards a very agreeable change from the mud and damp of the tents, which sometimes too were blown down by the violence of the gales on our hill side, between the Tamati creek and Manukau harbour.
When the weather and the roads permitted, I made excursions to the Howick Ranges with their extensive views of sea, and forest, and distant hills, to the Mangaree native settlements, and to the noble valley of the deep and clear Waikato beyond the ten mile forest, glorious with tree-fern and nicau palms, and entangled with bush ropes, creepers, and parasites.
On the 26th of September, His Excellency Sir George Grey, K.C.B., arrived in H.M.S. ' Cossack ' from his Government at the Cape of Good Hope to resume the Government of New Zealand, where for eight years he had previously most successfully conducted affairs. His Excellency, Colonel Gore Brown, C.B., was now relieved from the Government which he had held for six years, was directed by the Colonial Minister to proceed to Sydney, which he did, and there received the intelligence of his appointment to the Government of Tasmania.
Instead of a war policy, Sir George Grey page 323offered to the Maories a system of civil institutions, similar to that which he introduced at the Cape of Good Hope, and which led to the settlement of difficulties of far greater magnitude then any which existed in New Zealand.
He proposed to divide the colony into districts, over each of which was to be placed an European Commissioner, resident magistrate, or other officers, who were to be assisted by a district council of leading chiefs, and a subordinate council or runanga. To each runanga was to be attached a chief policeman and a certain number of native constables; the members of the district councils to receive pay as well as other office bearers, differing in amount. Judicial powers to be conferred on the members of council with certain limits, also power of local taxation and the construction of public works. Europeans to be allowed to settle within native districts on certain terms, and with the consent of the native authorities. This system has had a trial at the Cape of seven years, is somewhat costly at first, but pays its own expenses in the end, and has been eminently successful. In New Zealand, " so mote it be!"