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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



A handsome monument in honour of the victims of the Poverty Bay Massacre stands in the burial plot in the Makaraka Cemetery. The cost (£155) was met by subscriptions of 2/6 contributed from all parts of New Zealand.

Mrs. Wilson told W. L. Williams that the frenzied rebels seemed to be obsessed with a single idea: to exterminate the settlers, their wives and their children with as little delay as possible. Writing to the Poverty Bay Herald (27/10/1887) he said: “I am not aware of any good ground for supposing that any of the victims were subjected to torture or to wanton outrage before they were put to death. The testimony of one who survived long enough to give a detailed account of her sufferings [this would be Mrs. Wilson] was: ‘Thank God! I suffered nothing worse than my wounds.’”

In his account of the court-martialling of the noted Urewera rebel, Wi Heretaunga, who was captured between Ruakituri and Lake Waikaremoana in August, 1871, Captain G. Mair says that Heretaunga was tried for treachery in that he attempted to knife him whilst he was attending to his injured kneecap. Captain G. A. Preece and Sergeant-Major H. P. Bluett formed the court. Two women, Mere Maihi and Maora Irirangi, told the tribunal that both Heretaunga and Eru Peka stabbed Mrs. Wilson at Matawhero with their bayonets. Heretaunga was sentenced to death. Kepa te Ahuru (a nephew of the condemned man) insisted upon being allowed to carry out the sentence. Mair adds that Heretaunga, prior to being executed, spat at him and declared: “Ah! Tawa (Mair): If I had had my way I'd have scattered your brains as I scattered those of the people we killed at Turanganui and at Mohaka.”