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THE TE KOOTI EPISODE.

The news of the arrest of Te Kooti, and of his followers quietly returning to their homes, will pat an end to the anxieties ot the settlers of Poverty Bay, and to the more or less sensational telegrams which for a week or two past have been served up to newspaper readers throughout the colony every morning with their toast and tea. It is quite true that had the old ex-rebel been permitted to carry ont his notion of a sort of triumphal tour, or expedition of swagger through the country yet quivering with the memory of his former deeds of blood, the result might very probably have been a collision between his followers and the outraged European settlers, or even more probably between his Maori sympathisers and other Maori tribes who years ago fought against him and still cherish their tribal hatreds. For this reason we have all along sympathised with the contention of the settlers that the Government was bound, m the interests of the publio peace, to interdict Te Kooti's projected visit, and we regard Mr Mitchelson'g conduct as having been foolishly weak. When Te Kooti interviewed him m Auckland about his then* intended jonrney, the Native Minister should not merely have sought to dissuade him, as ho did, but should have told Te Kooti absolutely and determinedly that if he persisted m attempting to visit Poverty Bay he would be arrested. The tacit understanding that while the Government earnestly desired that the visit should not be made, Te Kooti was free .to go, if be still so determined, was ! clearly the cause of al} the subsequent trouble, excitement, anxiety, and expense. Not indeed until it became clear that the settlers and some of the Maori tribes were determined to take the law into their own bands did the Government lift a finger, but, seeing at last that the colony was on the eve of what might prove a serious difficulty, they acted with vigour, sending out troops and police to effect Te Kooti's arrest and the dispersion pf his followers. Before the expedition arrived at hiß camp, however, Te Kooti showed his practical faith m the doctrine that " discretion is the better part of valour " by executing a rapid movement to the rear, taking himself off with his wives and two or three only of his male following m the direction of Waikato. There we think the matter might have been allowed to end; but, acting, we preBume, nnder instructions from the Government, the force under Major Porter pursued the fagitiye, and have brought him under arrest to Opotiki, whence he is to be sent to to Auckland. We question the right of the Government to arrest him under the circumstances. Had Major Porter found him at the head pf a large following, and determined to proceed with that following into the midst of the excited settlers, Te Kooti amid doubtless have been arrested quite properly, ag being engaged m an enterprise dangerous to the pnblic peace ; but had [he upon being challenged to do bo dispersed his following and returned towards his own home we do not think he could have been lawfully arrested. Still less, Beeing tljat ]^ajor Porter found Te Kooti's following broken up and Te Kooti himself quietly travelling homewards, do we think that his arrest and detention would be upheld by a Court of lew. Indeed, it appears to us that an action for illegal arreßt and false imprisonment would lie as. against the authorities, who m our opinion will not be safe from such proceedings unless and until Parliament chooses to pass a Bill of Indemnity. Shortly stated, our view then of the whole business is that Te Kooti's journey should have been m the first instance peremptorily interdicted, that if persisted m m epito of that interdiction it was quite right to give him the choice of disbanding his following and abandoning his enterprise, or of being arrested for taking proceedings calculated to disturb the public peace, and that upon his voluntarily taking the first alternative be should have been suffered to go his way unmolested. In a word it seems to us that the Government have blundered from beginning to end of the whole business . (Statutory Declaration.— l, Franz Eaabe, Ironbark, PanSrorßt, m the colony of Victoria, Australia, do solemnly and Binoerely deolare that pn the 25tb June, 1877, my son Alfred, si* years of age, was accidentally hurt with an axe on hie pnee, \at once took all pains to secure medical assistance. However, }n spite of all efforts, on the 37th Auguat, 1877, the opinion was given by Dr Maogillivray that an amputation of the injured limb had bepome imperative, m order to save life. At this juncture I called on Messrs Sander and Sons, proouring Borne of their Extraot of the Euoalyptus Globulos, and by the application of the same I had the satisfaction of Beeing my son within a fortnight ont of all danger, and to-day he is reoovered. I may just add that it was when the crisis had been reaohed that the Extraot referred to was first applied, and I make this solemn declaration, eto.— Fbahz Rube. Deolared at Sandhurst, m the colony of Viotorja, Australia, this seventeenth day of October, one thousand eight hundred and BiientT-BOTen before pie, Morita.Conh, I '• •■ ■■

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890302.2.26

Bibliographic details

THE TE KOOTI EPISODE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2077, 2 March 1889

Word Count
893

THE TE KOOTI EPISODE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2077, 2 March 1889

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