HOW. HE WAS CAPTURED. EXCITING ENCOUNTER WITH THE MAORIS. To Rauparaha—the Napoleon of the West Coast Maoris—liis victories, vagaries, and capture, form tho subject of frequent.discussion in tho press, and such was tlio'dominating fascination of the man that To Rauparaha stories arc always acceptable. Somo of these stories ' aro hardly reliable, as, witness a, recent statement to the effect that To Rauparaha, after a marvellous career, was captured whilo wearing .ai British Admiral's uniform. ■ This was in July, 1816. For tho absolutely trap story of the great chief's capture no' written account can bo ( more reliablo than M'Killop's "New Zealand," a rare- volume, written by Lieut. M'Killop, ,of; H.M.S. Calliope, wlfo was himself concerned in Tβ Rauparaha's capturo by the English. ■ On tho flows' of threatened troublo in the Wellington district, the Calliope had been dispatched to Wellington early .in" 1846. . As to. the trouble which, led. up to tho capture, we will use Lieut. M'Killop's own words. , ■ ■...-. The Triio Story. "Wo soon reached the camp, and received the congratulations of our friends. They had obsorved an extraordinary explosion, and wondered, when informed what if was, that so little; damage had beon done! by'.it.
I was' minus"riiy eyebrows and'eyelashes; and my head ~ was rather'painful, 'but. with this .exception it,'had 1 dono' no harm. A few days', a'fter 'this, two."settlers",' coming down tho coast; one from Anckland and the other; from'Wanganui. (Mr. Dighto.n), fell in with a I largo body 'of natives,'; on 'their way to join' Rauparaha by his own invitation, after, which'they were all , to cp-operato with Rarigahiata in making an attack b nourcamp, on- learning '\yhieh they left 1, them 'at'night,, and made-the'best"of their way toi'Wolling-' tori,' whore ' they 'informed' Captain Grey ''■ of old' Rauparaha's' treachery. ' His Excellency immediately embarked a force iri'H.M. ship Driver,■'■■consisting' of .1 detachment of' the 58th' , arid 99th Regiments',-'and- 'as 'many , ofc the Calliope's crew as could be spared from the ship, and started at. once to intercept the body of natives coming from Wanganui.. They proceeded to, Waikanao, thinking that the rebels.would-.be in, and, his Excellericy! v /wished. Ho. ..secure, tho assistance, of; the .'chief, William Kiiig,Vtho principal one.of .this place, in. preventing,a junction'taking placo, between tho. party and the.other rebels....Jlirig promised to preyprit their, passing,alpngj ,tho. beach; ~but. refused to,.attack them : in. the' .bush.'.' ,Hero''the. Governor was fully .convinced, himself .'of the treachery, of his, protended ally, the wily t old Rauparaha,'.. as well. as.j.'other -chiefs' of '■ his tribe.,; Ho came, down'.iri'.tho Driver,,a'nehor-.ing'off'.th^-.pah"at.'night,''haying .previously passed iVboforodark'as'if going to'Wellington,'thus preventing any suspicion of his real which" were ;.to make prisoners \6i these traitors.''.l. , was 'sent' for soon after wo arrived, and had anintefvipw with the'Governor^'who .informed mo of 'bld.'Raiiijaraha's trcaolie'ry,,'and' h : is" ! wish' to■ Ijavp him arid throe others'taken , prisoners', ;'.if possible, by, surprise, and;.knowing that "I| ! was ..acquainted with their, persons and locality,'ho asked riie ifTwbuld undertake the; capturo of Sorperit" : myself;- , allowing; me to choose my own time and method of doing it; Major' Durie, the- Inspector 'of' Folic'p,'■ be-', irig selected■ to take tho others. , '■'■' '■ ■■ ; "Accordingly;. it was., 'arranged' that wo were, .to leayo tho,"sliip'i before, daylight tho; noxt 'morning,;.and land 1 'quietly on the rocks some little distance from ['the. pah in' which"" our treacherous allies, lived; ■ taking a "mixed; force; of.'bluejack'ets and' soldiers, ariioiinting to'2oo .men, to us in casp '.'of. the nativos"rising before wo had .oftectbd:our object. , .It was "tho. Governor's particular desire 'that we ' should riot lay;'bur on ; ' these men until wq. had-told'them-they- were prisoners for treason; ; but on' Wo. account to lot , ' old Rauparaha 'esca'po."'. 11 ; | •:■■;■•■ ;■ Tomahawk v. Pistol. .<••>/■ •'■'< ■ ' " I took Mr. Dighton with mo to act as 'interpreter,..and four of. our. ( own, men ;unarmed,' givirig"tliem ; :direptions;,tp ; ;seize upon 'the old chief as ; soori as'lio was nia'dp. awaro of the charge,'prof erred'against him', 1 and to hurry him dbvai.to'tlie boat before lip could rousohis people—the principal object being to sec'urd him. Wo landed at break'of'day, and while they'were forming. the troops .on itno' beach,'l, with my snihll'party,-ran' on, as it -was.then light,:'feafirig that cpnsci'oiis guilt might .sharpen their' ears and frustrate ■.our'plahs;''' 'When we :reached' the; pah nota soul was , stirring; but .our- heavy''steps soon brought some of''tho sleepers' to" : -the, doors of'.their huts, knowing not of the bare-footed tribe. . Wo could not wait to give any explanation,- but pushed on Jo , the hut which contained ■' the' objec.t of ■ our search, ■whose quick oars had-detected .strange footnever having liked; me, : ho did not look at .all easy on ■ perceiving who tho intruder was, 'although' his wife showed no alarm, and received mo with her Usual salutation. Upon informing him "that ho was 'my prisoner, he immediately'threw himself : (being in a' sitting: posture), back into the hut, and seized a tomahawk, with which he made ; a blow at" his wife's head, thinking that she had betrayed, him.; I: warded tlio • blow with my pistol, and seized him by the throat, my-four imeri immediately rushing in: on, him, securing, him 1 by .!his : arnis.and logs;-, started off .as fast as : his violent struggles would'allow of, which, ior a .man of his ago : (upwards of seventy), woro almost superhuman.' , ' He: roared , most lustily 'Ngatitoal''Ngatitoa!! (the name of ; his endeavouring,ito,bring them to his 'rescue, and in a few secondsuevery man was /on: his legs,,and camo rushing over to see -what' was the matter 'with , their chief, but 'the- , troops and: the bluejackets, coming up. at,tho same timoj and surrounding tho pah; provonted, any' attempt at a rescue, as ho was.already'in-the boat..-.; His .last effort to free himself was fastening with-his-teeth .on: to my,'coxswain's shoulder, whoboro this piece''Of.-cannibalism I sent Mr. iDightoii;off to'the ship with him, thero riot being much-chance of his oscaping from the boat, .particularly;-, as he was informed ,that he..-would-be, shotif. -ho -attempted to 'escape. I-.then returned, to the pah to search for arms and .ammunition,'', and also ; "to, see if- the, other 'prisoners,had been secured; [.-The interior of-the pah presented a- : woeful appearance, the. women all howling in -chbrns with"'the, pips and. children, the two latter being-much knocked■;about, in the "search ' for/ arm 5...,,;. ; ,.,.;.,.,; ,'.;: ' "I found that .Major ( iDnrio had.been equally successful.'with, myself in capturing his portion ■ off:the traitors. Upon, searching •closely, wo found several barrels of gunpowder arid upwards of a-hundred: stand: of arms of various, descriptionsi .although the.v had stoutly : denied : being: in" the possession of any when asked to assist us against Rangy. , Lamentable Blundering. ~' .' "Frbni what could gather from them; it appeared" that;' parts of ,tho Valley of tho'Hutt, brought into cultivation' by the. settlers, had never been' satisfactorily made ,over to the Company." Where the blame lay" was not my object to' find out, but that there had been lamentable''blundering somewhere ,is beyond a doubt,'and consequently-, a boau- ' tiftil tract of land,' just coming into cultivation, and beginning to repay tlio holders of it for their hard work, soon became the scene of desolation and murder,' ,tho unfortunate farmers, : with few excoptions.boing obliged to leave their'farms and residences to'tho tender mercy of the # exasperated natives, and seek !for protection in Wellington. Tho arrival of tho force brought things to a crisis, for soon lifter two.murders' wore committed .on tho Hutt settlors, as a warning to the rest to withdraw —at least thoso who held disputed ground. ' A dotach.'■monf of troops was immediately marched but and. stationed there for'the protection of tho neighbourhood, a largo reward being offered for the apprehension of tho murderers, and every inducement held out to porsiiado tho natives ttgivo them up. Fair means failing, we tried intimidation, and to make a' demonstration the Calliope and Driver were sont ; round to Porirua, the Governor bavins
b'oeii Micro previously, endeavouring to persuade the wily old chief To E-auparnha to uso his influence with Rnngahiata—who was tiipn afTording protection to the murdcrera, as well as to other discontented and badly-disposed natives —to give up the two men supposed to be guilty of the crime, for trial. ;
" Upon our arrival, Rangy, and those who had cause to fear, as well as those who had a natural aversion to us, left the coast and proceeded to a pah at tho head of a crook, partly surrounded by a email river, marshy ground and wood: tho approach to it was most difficult, the river being too shallow to admit of anything but a light boat ascending it. We had no idea of tho strength of this retreat, and every day's delay was taken advantage.of by ihem to secure themselves against surprise. Wo disembarked the troops we had brought round, and left them on a flat point of land with their tents, which wero in a very bad condition, to encamp themselves, and to cut off tho communication between Ransy and tho natives on the coast, who were supplying him with provisions. Tho piece of ground on which they wero encamped having been tabued, or made sacred, rendered it highly probable that they would bo attacked before ■they had time to fortify themselves, which they did at first -by digging a trench round their front, mooting the sea on either side, which protected their rear; hut finding that twico. the number of men which they could muster would not have filled, it, that mode of fortification was abandoned, and a stockado contemplated. Pursuit of the Murderers, "Tho commanding officer- of the troops applied for a boat, and a party of seamen to co-operate in carrying out the Lieutenant- , Governor's views which were to cut off, if possible, any canoes endeavouring to get up with a supply of fish to the rebels, as well as to prevent any of .their party from lcav-. ing their present abode. I was accordingly sent in, command of a light, eight-oared 1 boat and. crow., having also a small whaleboat, manned by tho.Wellington polico, also under-my-orders, My-instructions wore, to'ehdeavour'to get possession of-the persons of the murderers, and also to ■ capturo their canoes, which would prevent their getting away without, taking rogularly to tho hush—inthis' neighbourhood 'almost impassable from' the dense Voqds and the steepness of the hills—at the same,time to avoid, if possible)' commencing hostilities.- With these instructions .from the military commandant, -'.and with orders'from, my own captain to make myself thoroughly acquainted withHhe .naviof the , creek, at the head of which uiio. pnoiny wero supposed to bo located, as well as.to find out the exact spot and-nature of their retreat, and to-report'to him my opinion as to the-possibility of surprising the place by taking a 'force from the camp in boats at night,,l was loft behind when ; the. ship returned -to . Wellington, ' not qxacjtly knowing how we wore to avoid coming to blows if we. endeavoured .to cut off their supply, of provisions, to make any of them .prisoners. - However, the-.day after the ship left ~one ; of. their canoes coming down for provisions, the natives taking to tho bush.and leaving ,us : an empty prize. Soon after this, being anxious to find out their whereabouts,, wo started at about , three o'clock.in .the:morning, in a light- four-oared •boat) belonging to so'mo of tho military officers, several of whom, volunteered to make a crow for her.., Wo accordingly pulled up-with muffled oars, accompanied by my own boats, all of;us' being well-armed, in-case of accidents." Wq, managed to reach tho head , of the' creek, a distance of about three miles, just, -beforp, daylight,- luckily without sticking in the mud,..or being discovered by any of the scouts, who wero always watching our movements, from a' ; little hill-commanding a view ■ of : : tho.camp.,' .' . : ■.: '■ ■ :' - The Pah.' . ~ : ~'„■' "Leaving , tho; two larger'boats at the entrance- of tho small river which ran out from. the wood,: we proceeded in tho little gig, guided -by,.tho smoke,; but unfortunately, wo got tho boat aground; I was obliged to get out and wade, to look for tho deepest water. ;. After, some;little delay we succeeded-in getting,into tho proper channel, ami pulled up tillvwo; saw tho sakes of the pah just /over us on ; tbo bank of. tho-river, which was very: stoop and,- high, .arid tho river -itsolf : not ! broad : enough to-allow of'.'the , boats 'being turned irqundtj: this we had luckiljvforoseen, and iha'd taken "tho, precaution of going-up stern first. "-I' , - ascended- tho bank, and soon found mysoff looking "through the palings of tho pah, which, were' trumpery defences.': Therti was , an oiiVwoinau'washirig , potatoes •inside, and a , nasty little cur' with'her, 'who discovered mo, and commenced barking.' Tho old woman-looked up and caught sight of-inoj'. and set up'i a howl that would have' awakened the seven. sloepors, calling but, , ' Pakeha'l'-. (stranger) l and rushing off -to one of the hiits to tell her tale.' I rushed off. , the other way, to tell riiy "comrades of tho alarm/-I had created, and. meeting the : artil- : lory officer-who was ascending-'the bank, I rolled ' over him in .my haste, and riearly : •knocked-him into the river. I had no time to apologise, but jumped into the boat, knowing that tho natives would bo in pursuit of us in a : minute. ;■ .' ;, ■" ' ',- ." "Pulled for our Lives." : -.■.■■ : ."As soon as I had made my companions understand;, what', had happened, we pulled for our lives, and had hardly advanced a boat's length before wo heard a musketry, fire betweon us and the party wo had left at the entrance of. the river. We 'gave way , .manfully, and soon we cliscoveredHliat a party of natives on" the beach, a few hundred yards . from the mouth of tho small-river, wore keep-, ing up a brisk fire on the other two boats, which were, ' however, at too great a dis- : tanco for it to take effect. ' ' ,
. " Upon' discovering us thoy immediately, ran , over,- and endeavoured to intercept us ■but; as luck would have'it, their progress ■ was impefled by , ' thoir having' to cross several deep creeks, : otherwise, we, would have ifallen' into their hands. Just' as they discovered iis, a bi'isk'firo was|oponed upon us by our friends from the pahj'who had lost'ho. time in-the pursuit. -, 'I'h'e two boats which .we" had left outside now pulled in to our assistance, endeavouring to draw tho attention,,of the"Maoris to themselves, without however, firing a single shot in return: The natives, luckily for' us,' fired very, hurriedly, : and; bur piilling' fast caused them, to. make very bad shots, notwithstanding which many .passed.quite close to our heads to encour'ago .our'efforts'to'got ."out of.'reach of this nest :of hornets. I was'steering the boat, •, and kept"' my oye : anxiously : on the party.who •were wading across the last creek, about •twenty yards from the entrance of our channel, when unfortunately the boat ran on the sand and stuck fast;. 1 .:: , ; ,;•.;:
: " Wo all immediately . jumped into tho water, and carrying her bodily, over the sand-
bank on which she had grounded, quickly got hor afloat. Taking to the boatragaiu:. wo pulled across a rather disagrccablo flro, tlio rauskct-balls making a noise i liko tlio drawing of corks in- evory direction about us. Tlio othor two boats, seeing we had got through tho worst of our difficulties, pulled away, and none of us returned tho lire, having been ordered not to commence hostilities. As we approached tho camp wo met tho troops marching out, tho commanding officer thinking that tho natives would follow us down. Tho latter, however, gave up the chaso half a mile from whoro they met us. Wo reached our quarters in safety, having' mado tho discovery that Rangy would not allow us to trespass on his retreat with impunity. The next day, a report having reached :Wcl--lington that we had been attacked in the camp, tho superintendent and officer- commanding tho troops in tho southern-district, camo out to ascertain what had really happened, and upon hearing my account they-ro— gretted exceedingly that this decidodly 'Uii- - ; friendly disposition should have been evinced,as it was not their policy to come torblows with Rangy and his party. ~,.--. The Camp Attacked. .;.,>.,/. "A day' or two after this tho-c'amp.at the H.utt was attacked, this district being a bono of contention. •' Tho rebels commenced' by plundering tho settlers hero and at; the Wahvotu river. Two of them were -taken prisoners and tried by special commission. One of them, Kumate, was found guilty, and sentenced to ton years' transportation,' but subsequently pardoned, after which, vin a few days,'ii man of the name of'Gillespio and his son were murdered by-tho<rebelSj-showing that the leniency shown.-.Kumate bad been thrown away. Martial law ; was now proclaimed in the southern district,: and whenever wo ventured now to approach within,musket shot of any struggling \-. parties of llangy's Maoris we always found them -on the alert, and I was frequently harassed whilst reconnoitring their position ..in '.my.. light boat, and twice had to retreat .upoit: their showing out in large numbers in n their.' war canoes/-my eight men being no"match for two or three such boat loads,; each-canoe-containing fifty men, mostly < armed" .'.with, double-barrelled guns. ' However;* havingfound.out that tho water was 'doop- onough 'to admit, of. a much larger boat being»cm-, ployed on this service, 1 suggested'to KCaptain Stanley 1 tho necessity of tavingo'onc which would enable us to meet thorobels on something liko an equality. fA ~ici-' ■•: "A ship's long boat was .accordingly; purchased, and converted into a-gmi'boat'-by-tho carpenters of the Calliope; mounting a--12-pound carronade, which : was ,f*brought round by the ship, and I was/installed in! my; now command, Captain' Stanley londing'mc a- brass gun, ' which ho had purchased for his, own boat. With these two pieces of ordnance, and tho addition of six nuj'ro"l)lue-. jackets., wo were anxious to havej'anotlicr meeting. with our cannibal enemies.--: After' taking some little time to make the necessaryarrangements'which the boat requiredp.-wo-again ascended tho creek. Having : seen tho natives through.a glass in rather, largo.;numbers- assembled on a point of. land*-about;'a mile, and a half .from the. camp, I-thought it a good opportunity- of■ > trying -if ground, shot and canister would compensate disparity in our numbers. . Tho,,;ai;ti)iory,: oilicor kindly allowed- two of. his ; gunners to .'accompany me.,outhis, occasion) and,il> found them most serviceable.- ~-..•..-'.'..•■": -■ Effect Likei'Magio.' ' ':j
"As we approached tho point of land -whorei I had observed the natives it appeared. ..to <bos quite deserted, , not a: living creature .-■ stirring j'lbitt knowing how well they bush, 1 pulled close in and raked tho bushes with a discharge of canister.. The effieot-was liko magic. Upwards of a hundred .tatpoed faces were to bo seen in a second in great 'confusion (for thorn), not having expected that our shot would' have' penetrated 'their covor. They, however, wore not long in recovering their usual coolness,, and. WO; gppn found'.that they did n6tmean to allow'iis to have '■'all the fighting on' our ; surrounding bush giving forth its fire;:hut they; , finding that tho canister was too pane--trating for tho bush to afford , them* , .any.shelter, showed boldly outj- rushiriginto.>tncT water up to their waists, and keeping-.iip.'sif incossant and well-directed fire, nearly? every' shot.' striking the boat—many, passing through, although she was coppered .'uoarly.. up to the gunwale. ', ■.- ;f'■'•it.-i-■■; "I had -taken the-precaution of "lashing tho' men's'.beds , up in their.'hanimocksj-'antl' fastening them round the boat, '•■'inaking'i-a-bullet-proof .breastwork, which afforded, great' protection to' thbi crew:' Tho .water 'ifasi'Very shallow, arid' wo "had' approached "so ■'•hear) the point 'that' they made an attempts to board us , , fancying , we were aground. i'~A% 'this timoj finding tlinf I'could not briiig'the; 1 carronacle to boar so as to , keop them' afe 'bay;' i directed the brass'gun against 'a ■ party^-who l woro making ari attempt to; board, usonHhs: quartor. Unfortunately: the knocking'nie down; blinding mo for a minute; and ■ also ' cutting my .head with- , tliq</lock,\: which, however, was all the harmL'itr.did;. I soon washed tke powder out of ;»-ud fpiind that the artillerymen; under j.tb«i direction of my coxswain,- had.! checked"itho; advanco of the enemy, with'the other gun. t .
The Natives Retreat. , • '■'■„ '. 1 ., M,,,,, "The. Maoris had become so .confideni) v ,qf, their superiority from their having caused us formerly to; retreat that .thoy still'"'.pjersen. |vered; : but' a few of tho-cautious oriesj!,t'qoli' 'shelter'.'.behind'.'the rocks... rThoy > must; bajs, sustained considerable loss by this time,, and Rangahiata was urging them to mako.anQthet' attempt to board us, he himsolf standing' foremost and uttering yells of defiance. I .now took my double-barrelled: gun. and v.sed ' it with some effect, keeping up a smart firo of icanister at the same timo, which caused them : at length to l retreat, which thoy did in.very good order, taking their killed and- wounded' with them, and 'inviting us to follow.'them into the bush, using every provoking'and.'insulting, gesture and speech calculated.to , .do so. 1 knew; too iwell,; however, v 'tho advan-v tago of my position afloat, and contented myself with driving them into the , bush nnd> sending, a' few 12-pound shot afterothem;* .which brought down: some young treestabout their ears, but had not the desired effect of; bringing them out to the attack now took to our oars (which hadibeenJtossed; up, one end resting in a socket at-therbotr torn of the boat, to be out of the way..of the working of-the gun, and had been riddled •by musket-balls), ; and.pulled away, 'liot-.hav-,ing any of the crew wounded—which .-iiViNew;.; Zealand warfare gives- a decided victory; rOn our return we mot'the small boats, manned by the polico coining up to render ance,. as some of tho officers had seen, usi from a hill in the neighbourhood of the!camp< and fancied wo had sustained a considerable, loss, from the fact of our having kopt out of sight under the shelter of the hammocks, and not using our muskets." , .'.'•■■'
Permanent link to this item
TE RAUPARAHA., Dominion, Volume 1, Issue 16, 14 October 1907
TE RAUPARAHA. Dominion, Volume 1, Issue 16, 14 October 1907
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.