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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Chasing Phantoms

Chasing Phantoms.

“When I came here in 1871 I did Armed Constabulary duty. There were only one or two civilian police in the whole district. The old A.C. did most of the work of this nature. We were always ready for a dash out into the country after any natives who threatened to become troublesome, but, during my time, we never actually came to grips with them—they knew the country too well. It was disheartening work, for we would be out for two or three days, with only such food as we could pick up en route, and we always seemed to be chasing phantoms. In those days we had no modern conveniences such as ration parties and field hospitals to follow us. We picked up such grub as we could and when a man fell, generally speaking, page 157 he lay there, for most fights were of a running nature, and the unwounded men had to carry on the chase and hope to pick up their wounded comrades later when time permitted.

The male residents of the town were all members of the Militia and paraded one day every month or so, at Ormond, where they were drilled and instructed in various points of service work. These parades were compulsory and each man was paid 4/- or 5/- a day to compensate for his loss of working time. It was considered a very serious crime to be absent from a parade, except through sickness.