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As was anticipated in a "Star" paragraph, the police arrested at Mercer yesterday seven Maoris who were drawn in the special native ballot for the Wai-kato-Maniapoto district early in May. and had failed to parade for medical examination after having been notified to do so. The police did not expect any trouble over the matter, but as the men were believed to be taking part in a large gathering of Waikato natives at the Mercer pa it was deemed advisable to reinforce the local constables when the time came for executing the warrants. Accordingly a party consisting of Sergeants Cowan (Pnkekohe) and Waterman (Ponsonby), and six constables went to the pah yesterday afternoon in two m.otor cars, Sergeant Waterman being included because he | had formerly been stationed at Mercer and knew, the natives well.

The gathering at the pa had been organised for the purpose of discussing conscription, and the natives, numbering about 400, had come from all parts of the Waikato. They were evidently not surprised to see the police, for the latter were received at the pa gate by a number of young women, who escorted them to the meeting-house, which waa crowded- Sergeant Waterman was invited by Puea, a ehieftainess, who wal present, to state the purpose of the visit, and in reply told the assembled natives that the police were acting under the orders of the Government, and desired to do their duty in a friendly fashion. Sergeant Cowan then read the list of men for whom the police held warrants, and invited all of them wlm were present to step forward. There was no response, and after waiting for a minute or two Sergeant Waterman proceeded to arrest Te Raungaanga Mahuta, brother of "King" Te Rata who was seated in the place of honour at the head of the room, surrounded by a number of Maori girls. Some of these spread a flag in front of the rangatira as if to protect him, but no resistance was offered. Mahuta, however, declined to walk, and the police had to carry him bodily to the waiting motor cars. Six other natives were identified amongst the crowd, and were apprehended without trouble. The seven men were driven to the railway station and brought to town by the Rotorua express. The military took charge of them on arrival and conveyed them to the Narrow Neck Camp. The names of the seven are:— Te Raungaanga Mahuta, Tame Wiremn Hugh McKinnon, Teira Paora, Riki Karaka, Kori Maiti, and Moki Taua. IJ is expected that a numtier more Wai* kati natives will be brought into camp shortly.

The attitude of the Waikatos ever since native conscription was mooted, has been one of passive resistance, and was typified by the action of Mahuta in compelling the police to carry him to the motor car. The chieftainess Puea also expressed the natives' view by saying thai if the Government desired any of the Maoris to go to the war, the police would have to come and take them, bui it was not her wish that any blood should be shed. Apparently the Waikatos consider that by making th« authorities fetch them from their home* they have recorded a protest, and sc have satisfied all the requirements at honour and native etiquette.

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Bibliographic details

MAORI CONSCRIPTION., Auckland Star, Volume XLIX, Issue 139, 12 June 1918

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MAORI CONSCRIPTION. Auckland Star, Volume XLIX, Issue 139, 12 June 1918

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