Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume II: The Hauhau Wars, (1864–72)



In July, 1870, Lieutenant (now Captain) J. R. Rushton, acting as scout to the forces at Opotiki, received information through native sources that Te Kooti was in communication with the Whakatohea Tribe (who had shortly before that day taken the oath of allegiance) and that there was danger of the people joining the rebel chieftain. Te Kooti was then making forced marches from the heart of the Urewera Country to get to the rear of Opotiki and the Omarumutu pa, expecting the wavering Whakatohea to follow him and attack the Opotiki settlement.

Immediately Rushton heard of the arrival of Lieut.-Colonel McDonnell's Constabulary and native force at Ohiwa (20th July), by the steamer “Luna,” he rode through to Ohiwa and suggested to McDonnell that an attempt should be made to get the Whakatohea away before Te Kooti reached Omarumutu. This was approved of, and at great personal risk Rushton went through alone to Omarumutu (on the coast east of Opotiki) the same night. He met the tribe there and urged them to join Lieut.-Colonel McDonnell's force at Ohiwa. An old native scout of Rushton's, who was at the meeting, quietly urged him to leave at once, as there was great danger. Rushton had written a letter to the Whakatohea informing them that he knew all about Te Kooti's movements. His arguments prevailed, with the result that next day about sixty of the pick of the tribe, all armed, and bringing several boxes of ammunition, joined the Government column at Ohiwa. Two days later Te Kooti came down in rear of Opotiki and captured the Omarumutu pa, but too late to make the expected addition to his fighting force. For this prompt and skilful foiling of the enemy Rushton was promoted to Captain and received a letter of thanks from the Government.