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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Colonials Ambushed

Colonials Ambushed.

This first fight was a test of Te Kooti's strategy, for he sent a body of Natives behind the colonials, who were thus caught in an ambush—Te Kooti being on a ridge above and other Hauhaus below. The fight resulted in the loss of ten colonials and friendly Maoris, six more being wounded. The rebels lost three killed. Many of the friendly Natives quickly reteated before the Hauhau attack, and the Poverty Bay Mounted Rifles, about thirty in number, gave themselves up for lost when Henare Kakapango, who was in charge of the friendly Maoris, came to their rescue. Kakapango was one of the best and most experienced pighunters in New Zealand and knew the bush backward. Realising the seriousness of the position, he headed the retreating party, who were to a large extent hampered by the wounded. For his bravery, Kakapango was later presented with a sword, accompanied by a gift of £100.