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



The final assurance of peace in Waikato came in a dramatic manner. On the 11th July, 1881, Tawhiao, escorted by between five hundred and six hundred men, many of them armed, came page 474 into Alexandra from his hill settlement at Hikurangi, on the southern shoulder of the Pirongia Range. The settlers assembled to welcome the Maori throng. Tawhiao was accompanied by Wahanui, Manuhiri, and many other chiefs. Major William Mair, the Government Native Officer in the Upper Waikato, went to meet Tawhiao, and there in the main street of the township the Maori King laid down his gun at Mair's feet. Scores of his men followed his example, until seventy-seven guns were lying on the road in front of the Government officer. The herculean Wahanui came forward and said: “Do you know what this means, Mair? This is the outcome of Tawhiao's word to you that there would be no more trouble. This means peace.”

“Yes,” replied Major Mair, “it is clear to me. I call to mind the words that Tawhiao uttered at Tomotomo-waka (Te Kopua) that there would be no more fighting. This is the day that we all have been waiting for. We know now that there will be no more trouble.”

Thereafter Maori and pakeha fraternized, and the frontier settlers rejoiced at the final decision for peace. Tawhiao and his followers made a kind of triumphal progress through the Waikato, spending a week at Kihikihi, where the Kingite warriors encamped around Rewi Maniapoto's house, and made the days and nights lively with their hakas and their Hauhau religious chantings. At Ngaruawahia they wept long and loudly over the grave of Potatau, the first Maori King. Tawhiao visited Auckland as a guest of the Government. On his return to Alexandra, Major Mair, with the Native Minister's approval, handed back to him all the surrendered firearms but one, and for this he gave Tawhiao his own gun in exchange.

But the Kingite chiefs, desiring to assure the Government of their earnestness for peace, declined to take back their guns. “No,” said Wahanui, “we have given them up; you must keep them. But we will accept your gun in token of the peace between us.”

Although peace had formally been made between Tawhiao and the Government, there arose now and again certain elements of disagreement. The principal dispute concerned the opening-up of Kawhia Harbour to pakeha shipping and traders. Kawhia had been closed to white enterprise since 1863, and after twenty years of isolation it was decided by the Government in 1883 that the time had come when this fine harbour and the fertile land around it should be made free to the pakeha. A small area of land at Pouwewe—the present township of Kawhia—was bought for a village-site, and Captain Fairchild, of the Government steamer “Hinemoa,” erected guiding-beacons at the heads and page 475
The Maori King's Flag

The Maori King's Flag

This drawing of the flag hoisted on the proclamation of Potatau te Wherowhero as Maori King was made at Ngaruawahia by Lieutenant (afterwards Colonel) H. S. Bates, of the 65th Regiment, in 1863, shortly before the Waikato War began.

buoyed the channel. The Maori King party strongly objected to this; Kawhia was the only harbour now remaining purely Maori, and it was desired to keep it so. In September of 1883 Tawhiao ordered that the beacons should be destroyed, preliminary to sinking the buoys and pulling up the survey pegs at Pouwewe. His intentions were carried out by the Ngati-Mahuta and Ngati-Hikairo, who manned three large war-canoes, paddled down to the heads, and removed and broke up the beacons. The Native Minister, Mr. Bryce, immediately had Kawhia garrisoned with Armed Constabulary. The “Hinemoa” landed 114 of the Armed Constabulary Field Force, under Major Tuke, at Pouwewe; the force had equipage and provisions for two months. A post was established on the hill Te Puru—an olden Maori pa—commanding the township-site, and materials for a small blockhouse were landed. This was the last defensible post established against the Maoris. Later the garrison was reduced to seventy-nine men, and these were withdrawn when the Maoris accepted the new order of things. The beacons were re-erected, and the last retreat of Kingism was laid open for the trafficking white man.
page 476
From a photo in November, 1881] Parihaka

From a photo in November, 1881]