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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)

Preface to Volume II

page v

Preface to Volume II

THIS VOLUME of the New Zealand Wars History carries on the narrative of the Maori campaigns from the commencement of the Hauhau War in Taranaki in 1864 to the final expeditions against Te Kooti in 1872. The period covered is the most critical and the most adventurous in New Zealand's history, and the story here given is the first complete account written of the numerous campaigns conducted under the colony's self-reliant military policy which dispensed with the aid of Imperial troops.

The description of the Pai-marire, or Hauhau religion, under whose impulse the war against the pakeha was waged with a desperation unknown in the earlier years, contains much that has not previously been recorded. For this and for many other word-of-mouth contributions to a better knowledge of the Maori side of the long racial conflict my thanks go forth to my old warrior friends, both Kawanatanga and Hauhau. Many a day was spent, frequently on the fern-grown site of some fortification or on some battle-ground, in gathering from the veteran bush fighters of two races the stories of the past—stories, in the case of the Maori, often given a high dramatic value by the graphic manner of the narrator. The stirring tales of the past have been drilled into the memory of the native of the old type by unvarying repetition in the tribal home, until every incident of a day's action has been indelibly impressed, to be released like a phonograph record when the time comes. This remark applies in particular to the generation of men now fast passing away; the young Maori's mind has been transformed by books and colleges, and he has lost the marvellous memorizing powers of his forefathers.

For documentary evidence of special value I am indebted to Captain G. A. Preece, N.Z.C., of Palmerston North, one of the very few colonial soldiers who kept a diary throughout the war. His private journal of the period 1869–72 is of particular importance for its narrative of the last expeditions against Te Kooti in the Urewera Country. These expeditions in the final period of guerrilla warfare, carried out under most arduous conditions in a savage and roadless territory, are now described in detail, through the co-operation of Captain Preece and the hearty assistance of his comrade Captain Gilbert Mair, N.Z.C.

page vi

Death has claimed many of the veterans, pakeha and Maori, who were among my authorities and helpers—chief among them that good soldier Colonel Porter. I regard it as fortunate that so much material enabling us to picture accurately the life and incidents of a vanished day was gathered while there was yet time.

Wellington, New Zealand, March, 1923.