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THE MAHIA TRAGEDY., Issue 7912, 21 May 1889
THE MAHIA TRAGEDY.
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE ACCUSED. The career of Makoare, sometimes called M'Quarrie, who is awaiting trial at Gisborne on a charge of murder and cremation of the body of Robert Gollan, appears (says the Auckland ‘Star’) to have been a rather remarkable one. Various stories have been published respecting his early history, but for the most complete account we are indebted to Mr John Lundon,
Mr Lundon says that Makoare is a fullblooded Maori, and that his parents live at Awanui, near the North Cape. Makoare used to work for Mr Lundon at Awanui, and was chiefly employed planting potatoes. About 1865 Mr Lundon left Awanui for the Thames goldfields, and brought along with him, as prospectors, forty-four Natives. The chiefs of the district objected to Makoare accompanying the party, on the ground that he had not a good character. Makoare was then a young fellow of about eighteen years of age. He cried a good deal at the prospect of being left behind, and Mr Lundon, taking compassion on him, eventually relented, and brought him to the Thames, He behaved himself
very well, and conducted himself the same as the other Natives, except that when he received money he refused to go home with the others, and became a habilud of public houses, deserting the homes occupied by the other Natives. Soon after this Mr Lundon learned that Makoare had run away with a Maori woman named Susan (Rangituia), the wife of Pita Taukaka, a chief of importance at Coromandel, and after the lapse of a short time this romantic couple put in an appearance at Mr Lundon’s residence at Onehunga. Mr Lundon declined to receive them, and they were perforce compelled to look for quarters elsewhere.
The Coromandel Natives were so incensed at the conduct of this dusky pair of lovers that they followed them to town, and remained on the wharf keeping watch for a whole day in order to prevent the runaways from flitting northwards, Makoare and bis Susan, however, succeeded in eluding the vigilance of their pursuers, and got away in a vessel from the Wynyard Pier, near Mechanic Bay. The next heard of the runaway couple was from Awanui, and the Coromandel Natives wrote to tho chiefs there urging them to take tho Maori woman from Makoare. A minister stationed at Kaitaia, having been requested to interfere, instituted inquiry, and ascertained that the Native woman had not been legally married to the Coromandel chief Pita Taukaka. He therefore not only declined to accede to the wishes of the Coromandel Natives, but considerably strengthened Makoare’s position by performing the marriage ceremony, which united the runaways as man and wife. Tho romantic clement which had pervaded the acquaintance of the couple up to this stage now ceased, for tho union did not prove a happy one, and it was soon dissolved by the death of tho woman, Makoare then found his way back to Auckland, and joined a man named Kelly as part proprietor of a public house in Victoria street, and subsequently went to Gisborne, accompanied by Kelly. It has been stated that Kelly and Makoare were related, but Mr Loudon says this is not the case. His history from this point is briefly related by a Gisborne paper as follows : “ Makoare came down from Auckland to Poverty Bay about 1873, in company with his brother-in-law, Mr Kelly, who formerly kept tho Shamrock Hotel in Gisborne. After living at Poverty Bay some time, he came to Mahia, finally marrying a Native woman of the place, and settling on the Tawapata block, near Table Cape, where, in conjunction with two other Natives, he has been running some sheep. He does not bear a good character, having on one occasion been convicted of sly grog-selling, and is generally feared and disliked by tho Natives of the place.”
THE MAHIA TRAGEDY., Issue 7912, 21 May 1889
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