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AUCKLAND NOTES., Issue 8022, 26 September 1889
[From Odb Own Correspondent.]
Waiwera, September 18,
Since I wired to you about the strange proceedings of a party of Kaipara Maoris in connection with the abduction of a Native girl named Mary Campbell (Mere Kahimo), I have been making inquiries in several quarters to ascertain the cause of them. As 1 indicated in my telegram, the Natives are very reticent as to why they abducted the girl from Lucas Creek, There have been various rumors in connection with tho affair, some of which are beyond credence in these enlightened days; but nevertheless I am of opinion that some of the old customs and usages of the Maori race are not yet extinct, especially in settlements which are entirely Native. Very little information was elicited at the judicial inquiry as to the cause of the abduction of the girl, but I have been given several reasons, some of which are to me absurd in the extreme. On interviewing one of the tribe concerned in the carrying away of the girl, I have, I think, gleaned the cause of it. It appears from this Native’s statement that the father of Mere Kahimo has been boasting that his daughter was a prophet, and that she had prophesied that whoever took his wife from him should be killed, and that he was delegated to do the business. The manner in which tho job was to be performed was this : Houngariri was to break in the skull of the offending party, take the brains of the victim, roast them on the fire, and eat them. This is the cause of the whole trouble. It seems that Houngariri has been living, with the wife of one Matakino, and this threat was apparently levelled at him, as he had been devising all kinds of means to get his wife back and among her own tribe. Matakino therefore enlisted the services of some of his tribe, who made a raid on the abode of the supposed prophet’s father, and not only succeeded in securing his (Matakino’s) wife, but also the daughter of Houngariri, who from accounts wasnot atall averse to accompany the attacking party. Certainly this opinion is borne out by a circumstance which took place on the day of the arrest of tho prisoners, I happened to accompany a friend to To Hemera’s paddock, where all the Maoris (some twenty-five innumber) were assembled. The Natives were, as is their custom, lolling about doing nothing in particular. However, on our appearance everyone appeared on the alert, and our presence seemed to create a deep interest, as the Natives evidently thought we had come about the abducted girl. However, our business was of a different character, and on hearing it they volunteered to assist us. While in the paddock I was shown Mere Kahimo, who appeared to be in a pleasant mood and not at all sorrowful or downhearted, for she was not only doing a good washing with a large tub before her, hut also enjoying the contents of a nice-looking G.B.D. with a silver ferule round it. She appeared quite contented. I spoke to her, but nothing fell from her to indicate that she was the least unhappy. I append the girl’s narrative of her abduction before the police magistrate at Auckland, which, I have reason for stating, may be taken cum gram salts. She is said to be only fifteen years of age, but from appearances she is over a score, or thereabouts at any rate. On her being placed in the dock she became somewhat agitated, but gave her version of the affair in a confident manner. Having teen sworn, she stated I reside at Okura with my father, Kahimo Houngariri. I remember last Saturday. I was in my father’s house that day. I saw all the prisoners at my house at Okura in the morning. They were all strangers to me. I do not know where they live. I first saw them outside my father’s house. They spoke to us. An old man spoke in thehearingoi thepri soners. He was with them. He was angry. He said he was angry, and that they were all angry, and came in anger. I answered that what I had to say was in peace, and that I had nothing in anger to say. I was not angry with them in any way. They then said they were still angry. They then said they had come to take me away. This is all I remember them to have said. This conversation took place outside. Then they came into the house, and took me outside on the Sunday, My father, mother, and myself were in the house. They came towards me on the Saturday, and I ran into the house. They followed me. They tried to get in and my father prevented them. I don’t know any more, that is all I saw. None of them came into the house on Saturday. That night they slept in a house close by. I saw them on Sunday morning. They came into the house aad dragged me out. I was on my bed in my father’s house. The women dragged me out. I was not willing. They used force. They took hold of my body. The men were outside close by the house. I was not willing to go, and my father had hold of me. I did not fight, but I did not want to go, I did not resist. I pulled back, but did not strike at them. I do not know what the men did when I got outside. I did not faint, but my clothes were torn by the women dragging me out. The women gave mo the clothes I have now when we got to our destination. They tore all my clothes. If my clothes were mended they might be used again. When they got me outside they still continued to take me away, and my father resisted. After a little while my father thought I might be hurt, and gave me up to them willingly. None of the men touched me until they commenced to take me away. The men said they had come to take me away, and I said I did not want to go. One of the men (Roa Rangitia) took hold of me by the body, and the woman Mata also took hold of mo by the body. I had my torn clothes on me. I did not ask the reason they wanted me. One on each side of me put their arms around me and led me away. I don’t know how far
they led me. We went a considerable distance past the house. Then they put me on a horse. All the prisoners were of the party and accompanied me. There were i four more men. They took me to their! settlement at Mahurangi. It was a wet, day, and they travelled through the rain. ' I do not know how far it was from my father’s house. Ido not know what time it was when we got there on Sunday afternoon. I was dark and sorrowful, and did not take notice. Going along the road they wanted mo to go in the middle of them ; but I said: “ Let me go as I like, and I will go willingly.” They all wished that. None of them ” said during the journey why they were taking me away. They said they were going to take me to their place. When we got to Mahurangi we sat down. I was unhappy and sorrowful, and did not take any notice. I was sorrowful because they had taken me away from my father. They gave me food, and we all slept in one house. They did not tell me what they were going to do with me, and I do not know. I do not know how long we were there at Mahurangi. The policemen brought me here from Mahurangi last night. The prisoners remained with me all day on Monday, and did not speak to mo. By Roa Rangitia: I do not know if on the road you told me to go quietly. I was living with my father at Okura. Ido not know the place by the name of Dairy Flat. I saw you come to Okura. You said you had come to take me away. Ido not know why you came to take me away. I was so sorrowful that I did not know whether you said on the road that I had better go quickly. The affair has caused considerable excitement here among the Natives especially, but I am of opinion that too much has been made of it.
AUCKLAND NOTES., Issue 8022, 26 September 1889
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