Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 6 (September 1, 1934)

A New Zealand Duel — Honour Satisfied

page 29

A New Zealand Duel
Honour Satisfied

The following brief account of the only regular duel ever fought in New Zealand, was given to the writer by an old gentleman who, as a young officer in the British Army, acted as second to one of the combatants.

AT the close of the Maori wars some of the officers who had completed their period of service, or who had decided to settle in the country, retired from the forces, and proceeded to settle upon the areas granted them on account of their military services. They were good soldiers, but were not very well fitted for the rough and tumble work of pioneering, although many of them eventually made good. One of these military settlements was established near Kaipara Harbour, north of Auckland. It was here that the duel was fought.

Life in the little settlement was very quiet, dull, and monotonous, so the ex-officers indulged in social functions at one another's homes. Liquor flowed freely, and a flutter at cards provided excitement. At one of these card parties, a dispute arose over an accusation of cheating, and words were used that no gentleman could suffer to have applied to him. This scene was followed by a scuffle, but the combatants were separated. The tumult subsided eventually, but the portents were such that everyone saw that serious things were about to happen—as happen they did.

A court of honour was held, and it was decided that, as officers and gentlemen, the parties to this dispute must satisfy their wounded honour by a duel. They were both willing, and the details were soon arranged. My informant acted as second for one of the combatants. It was decided that pistols should be the weapons to be employed.

At sunrise the whole party walked down a bush track to an open space in the manuka, thought to be just the place for an affair of honour. A doctor in the party carried his case of instruments; one of the seconds carried the case of duelling pistols. Upon arrival at the chosen ground, the principals and the seconds observed all the punctilioes of a formal duel. At last the duellists stood facing each other, pistol in hand, at the regulation fifteen paces. “One! two! three!” was counted, and both pistols were discharged simultaneously. One combatant registered a clean miss; the other chipped a nick out of his opponent's shoulder, a mere scratch.

Honour was satisfied. The quarrel became a thing of the past, and the party returned to eat a hearty breakfast, and rejoice for several days over the happy issue from what might have resulted in a tragedy.

Wonderful is the power of tobacco in safe-guarding smokers from infection! A lady, in writing to the Auckland “Star,” related, how, during the terrible epidemic of influenza in 1918, she volunteered to help nurse the Auckland sick, and with her assistants, tended patients innumerable in their own homes. The sole precautions observed by these ladies before entering a sick room was to smoke a cigarette. Not one of them contracted the malady. Also, out of the many drivers of ambulances conveying patients only four were affected, and of those four three were non-smokers! Of course the tobacco used for disinfecting purposes would be good. So, of course, should the tobacco used by ordinary smokers who value their health. The best tobaccos are the New Zealand toasted ones. Toasting absorbs the nicotine, and you can smoke them not only with the keenest enjoyment but with absolute safety. There are only four brands of toasted: Navy Cut No. 3 (Bulldog), Riverhead Gold, Cavendish, and Cut Plug No. 10 (Bullshead). Of course there are imitations. Every good thing is imitated. Beware!*

page 30