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The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864

Special Service and Supper

Special Service and Supper

The Venerable Archdeacon Brown, a courtly, scholarly English gentleman, loyal to his Queen, yet deeply attached to his native flock, most of whom he had baptised and taught during thirty-five years of his incumbency, had a difficult role to fill. Yet his integrity and impartiality were never questioned, and he and his tenderhearted wife, in their beautiful home, exercised a noble influence over the young officers, as was evidenced by the many touching and grateful letters they received in after years when those young men had attained high rank and grown into war-worn warriors in other climes. It was my privilege to peruse these attributes of affection. The same gracious solicitude prompted the Archdeacon and page 20 his wife to invite those chosen to lead the assault to a special service and supper on the evening of April 28. All who could attend did so, including the General himself. Dr. Manley, who had a high reputation as a surgeon, whom I knew very well through meeting him frequently at Bishop's Court and at my sister's in Parnell, was, I believe, the only one present on that historic occasion who came out alive. He used to speak with deep emotion of the beautiful address made by the Archdeacon during that memorable evening. He won the Victoria Cross next day for having remained in the Pa in his endeavour to save a soldier from bleeding to death, and had to fight his way out, shooting with his revolver, it is said, a native chief who tried to take him prisoner. Medical men in those days were ranked as combatants and bore arms. It was before the Geneva Conference.

The last message sent in by the rebel leader was an intimation to the General that if nothing occurred he proposed to go into Te Papa for breakfast. Our attack was made the next day and the Maoris believed that this note hastened the climax. Rawiri Puhirake was experiencing the greatest difficulty in keeping his young men together during such a long period of inactivity.