Major Ropata in the meantime had travelled west and north from the Wairoa, working up into the almost unknown Waiau country, an unpeopled region of ranges, gorges, and forests to the west of Waikare-moana. Reaching the lake he visited some settlements, captured a few Hauhaus, and crossed by canoe to Onepoto, where the Armed Constabulary redoubt stood. Marching from there to Orewha and Pounui he was compelled to halt through sickness, and remained ill in his camp in the forest during September. His men became anxious to return to Gisborne, and made an amo
(litter) for the purpose of carrying their sick chief out. He refused to be moved or to abandon his mission, and sent a hundred men out for supplies of food. By the time they returned Ropata was better, and at the end of the first week in October he was able to resume his march. He decided to go to Maunga-pohatu and join Captain Porter, who he knew would be anxiously waiting him in that district. Following Porter's route he reached the Tauaki pa,
where he inquired of the Urewera the whereabouts of the other contingent. He was informed that Porter had been out to Opotiki (for supplies) since the fight at Te Hapua, and was now at Maunga-pohatu.
Ropata then marched off on Porter's trail, and, finding he had just left for Ruatahuna, fired volleys. These were heard and replied to by Porter's contingent, who turned about and met Ropata. The two commanders narrated the incidents of their respective marches, and completed arrangements for ensuring the good behaviour of the Urewera, who were now wearying of the association with Te Kooti
and Kereopa, and expressing their willingness to capture the outlaws. At Maunga-pohatu Ropata drew out the lines of a pa,
and earthwork redoubt with strong stockade, which the combined columns speedily built. The purpose of this pa
was to guard the district and enable a watchful eye to be kept on the actions of any Hauhaus in the neighbourhood. It was garrisoned by a strong detachment of Porter's Ngati-Porou. The fort was named Kohi-tau (“Gather the years”), an allusion to the length of time the contingents had been in search of Kereopa and Te Kooti
. The main body then marched to Ruatahuna, where Ropata met Tamaikowha. Most of the Urewera in that district had taken alarm at his approach and scattered into the forest, fearing an attack. Ropata sent out reassuring messages. To Tamaikowha, who inquired his intentions regarding the Urewera, he explained that he only wished to find the two chief rebels and murderers, and he requested the fugitive tribespeople to return to their villages. In family groups and hapus
they gradually came in until about four hundred were assembled at the principal Ruatahuna settlement. After war-dances (peruperu
) and ceremonial speeches on each side, Ngati-Porou and the Urewera established friendly relations, which were never broken. All the chiefs of the Urewera or Tuhoe were now at Ruatahuna; the principal men were Paerau, Te Whenuanui, Te Haunui, Tutakangahau, Te Purewa, Hataraka, and Te Puehu. The last-named man, hitherto a bitter foe to the pakeha,
Kohitau Redoubt, Maunga-pohatu*
he would have nothing more to do with Te Kooti
or Kereopa or other evil men. Ropata constructed a redoubt here similar to that at Maunga-pohatu; the site was on the right bank of the Manga-o-rongo Stream, a little below the Orangikawa pa
at Tatahoata (captured in 1869). The pa
was given the name Kohi-marama (“Gather the months”), carrying a reference similar to that bestowed upon the fortification at Maunga-pohatu.