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MASSACRE AT WAIRAU.

, < We have been favoured with the following statement of the late massacre at Wairau, which embodies, we believe, all the testimony givetuby the survivors, and all the information could be collected on the spot: — On the 15th of April, Messrs. Cotterell, Par-

kinson, and Barnicoat, surveyors, having contracted with the New Zealand Company's Agent, to survey the lands at Wairau, left Nelson with about 40 men, and landed at Wairau on Tuesday, April 25. Shortly" after this, Rauparaha and Rangihaiata being at Porirua in attendance on the Court of Land Claims, made known their determination to prevent the survey from proceeding, and Mr. Joseph Toms repeatedly stated that he understood from them that they would make a stand at Wairau, and lose their lives rather than allow the white men to take possession of that place. Mr. Spain used his influence to pacify them, and obtained a promise from them to do nothing before his arrival. He undertook to meet them there as soon as possible after the.adjournment of his Court on the 19th of June. Mr. Toms said he would take Rauparaha and Rangibiaiata in his schooner to his own place in Queen Charlotte's Sound, and keep them there until he received a communication from Mr. Spain. The survey was carried on with some slight interruption from a small party of Natives, not resident at Wairau, but collected from all parts of the Straits, until Rauparaha and Rangihaiata arrived with a body of Natives on the Ist June. They were brought by Mr. Toms in his schooner, and landed at Fort Underwood, in Cloudy Bay. They visited Mr. Cave and other settlers, some of whom had resided in that place many years, and declared their determination to burn down the surveyors' houses, and drive them off the land. They began to put their threats into effect by burning down the house of Mr. Cotterell, having first removed his goods, which they restored to him ; they then in a similar manner destroyed Mr. Parkinson's house, and compelled all the surveyors to remove to the mouth of the river. Mr. Cottefell was then dispatched by Mr. Tuckett to Nelson, to inform Capt. Wakefield. An information was then laid before the Police Magistrate, Mr. Thompson, who grant* ed a warrant against Rauparaha and Rangihaiata on a charge of arson. Having been informed that the Natives were armed, and in great numbers, the Magistrate determined to attend the execution of the warrant himself, accompanied by an armed force, and expressed his opinion that such a demonstration would prevent bloodshed, and impress the Natives with the authority of the law. It is clear, from subsequent events, that no one anticipated any resistance. The men of the labouring class were not armed at Nelson, nor selected as fighting men. They were sent down as a reinforcement to the surveying staff, and on arriving at Wairau, arms were distributed, but up to the last moment, no one had any thought of a serious encounter. There were about 40 men of the labouring class, most of whom had never handled a firelock. They consisted of surveying men and 8 boatmen, left at Wairau, to which Mr. Thompson brought an accession of force, consisting of four constables and 12 men, who were engaged as additional labourers in the survey department. Mr. Thompson wa3 accompanied by Mr. John Brook, as Interpreter, and the following gentlemen, viz., Ceptain Wakefield Captain England, Mr. Tuckett, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Patchett, Mr. Howard. Mr. Cotterell, Mr. Bellairs, Mr. Ferguson, and Mr. Barnicoat." The whole party consisted of 49, of whom Messrs. Tuckett, Cotterell, and Patchett, were unarmed, the other gentlemen had nothing beyond two or three pistols and one fowling-piece among them. It appears that the party left by Mr. Cotterell at Wairau had been compelled by the Natives to follow him on his way to Nelson, in tbe Company's large boat, but were met by Mr. Thomson's party, and returned with them to Wairau, some in the boat and some in the Government brig Victoria, which brought the Magistrate from Nelson. The whole party landed on the 15th and 16th of June, and proceeded on the afternoon of Friday, the 16th, about five miles up the banks of the river to a wood, where they expected to find the Natives. Muskets and a cartouche box of ball cartridges with each, were distributed on the Friday evening and Saturday morning, and cutlasses to'ats many as choose to avail themselves of them. The whole party slept at the wood called Tau Mautine. It appears that the movements of the party were watched and reported by scouts, in consequence of which the Natives had moved further up the river, and that they were joined, ~m the night, by two canoes full of people. They then consisted of about 80 or 90 men, 40 of whom were armed with muskets, the rest armed with tomahawks, besides women , and children. On Saturday morning, before sun-rise, two boats having been broughtup the river, the Europeans embarked in them and ascended about four miles further up. They then found that the Natives were posted on the right bank of a deep rivulet called Tua Marino, about SO feet wide, not fordable, and flowing into the Wairau on the left bank of it. The Europeans advanced and placed themselves opposite to the Natives on the left bank of the rivulet, with a hill behind them covered with fern and manuka, and sloping upwards with several brows or terraces. The Natives were on about a quarter of an acre of cleared ground, with a dense thicket behind them. The police magistrate called upon Rauparaha and Rangihaiata, ' and requested a canoe to be placed across the rivulet to form a bridge, whicn was done by the Natives. The magistrate with the constables and interpreter and some of the gentlemen crossed over, and entered into a parley with the Natives. In the meantime the men on the other side, under cover of a small thicket, were divided into two 'parties, under the command of Captain England and Mr. Howard.' Mr. Thompson, through the interpreter, explained the contents of the warrant. He said that he was the Queen's representative, that it had nothing to do with the land, and called upon Rauparaha and Rangihaiata to surrender; Mr. Thompson was very much excited, and pointed to the armed men. The Native chiefs refused to surrender ; they said that they would not fight, that they expected the arrival of Mr. Spain and Mr. Clarke, and would have a talk when they came. The warrant was presented to the chiefs two or three times, and on each occasion about 16 Natives, 'who had been sitting, sprung upon their feet and levelled their muskets at the Europeans. Mr. Thompson then ordered the men to cross the river, which they began to do, u" 0 ?, 1^ canoe as a bridge, when one of them stumbled

and his piece went off accidently, but did not kill or wound any one ; directly the report was heard, the Natives jumped up, and poured a volley amongst the Europeans. The gentlemen attempted then to cross the rivulet by the canoe, and in so doing met their own men, which created confusion, and several fell wounded into the water. Captain Wakefield called upon his men to retire up the hill and form on the brow. TTiey began to- do so. At this moment it is ascertained that the Natives were on the point of taking to flight, when Rauparaha, seeing the retreat, excited his men { and raising a •war cry they darted across the rivulet and pursned the Europeans, the majority of whom never halted, but fled round the sides of the hill and escaped. The gentleman, who were unarmed, accompanied by a small number of the men, formed upon the hill and laid down to await the arrival of the Natives. They then exhibited a white handkerchief as a token of peace, which was understood by the Natives. Captain Wakefield then ordered the Europeans to deliver up their arms, which they did, and became prisoners in the hands of the Natives. They were standing quietly in a group when Rangihaiata,_who had just discovered that one of his wives had been killed by a chance ball, came up and said to Raparaha, " Dont forget your daughter." Rauparaha sat still and consented, and Ragihaiata, with bis own hand, put to death the whole of the prisoners. Some of the survivors found their way to 'the beach through the swamps, and were picked up by whale boats the same night, others wandered into the mountains and lost themselves several days. The last of these reached Port Underwood on Wednesday, haying tasted no food but three turnips, which be picked up on Tuesday. As soon as the Natives had perpetrated the deed, they rifled the bodies of a few articles, and retreated to the mouth of the river. They shortly after abandoned Cloudy Bay, accompanied by all the resident Natives. X)n the Saturday afternoon, Mr. Tucke'tt, and others who had escaped through the low grounds to the beach, set sail for Wellington to proenre assistance, and arrived in the night. A public meeting was called the first thing on Sunday morning, and 70 volunteers enrolled, to proceed to Cloudy Bay ; the brig sailed the same morning, but it coming on to blow a violent gale from the S.E., she was obliged to anchor for two days, when the mode of proceeding was altered, and a deputation from the bench of Magistrates returned in the brig on Wednesday. On their arrival at Cloudy Bay, they found that Mr. Ironside, the Wesleyan Missionary, had .proceeded with two boats' companies of whalers to inter the bodies, which they did on the ground where they fell. It appears that the Natives afterwards were seized with great terror) and had formed the determination of retiring up the Manawatu, a fortified pah in the interior, there to await the vengeance of the white men, which they fully expected would follow. The following is a list of the killed and missing: — KILLED. ' Captain Wakefield, </ - Captain England, • Mr. H. A. Thompson, / - Mr. G. R. Richardson, Mr. Patchett, Mr. Howard, Mr. Cotterell, . Mr. John Brooke, Interpreter, - Mr. William Clanzay, ■ Mr. Thomas Ratcliffe, • Mr. William Norlham, Mr. Thomas Pay, Mr. Coster, -Mr. James M'Gregor, v Mr. William Gardner, - Mr. Ely Cropper, Mr. Henry Bumforth, Mr. Thomas Tyrrell, • Mr. Isaac Smith, And several persons were wounded, whose names we are unabled to learn. MISSING. Mr. Mal«*», Chief Constable, Kty^i/ Mr. Edward Stokes, <> Mr. Thomas Hannam, Mr. John Burton,

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZGWS18430701.2.9

Bibliographic details

MASSACRE AT WAIRAU., New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, Volume IV, Issue 259, 1 July 1843

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1,772

MASSACRE AT WAIRAU. New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, Volume IV, Issue 259, 1 July 1843

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