SHORT SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS
The disturbances on the West Coast commenced on the 9th. June 1868, by the murder of Sergt. Cahill, and two others near Waihi; when Lt. Col. McDonnell was directed to organise a Force to punish the murderers; and Lt. Tokowaru having declared his intention to recover all confiscated lands from Waihi to Waitotara, defensive posts were established.
On the 12th. July the Redoubt at Turu Turu Mokai was attacked when Capt. Ross and 7 men were killed and 8 wounded. The post was held until relieved by a reinforcement under Major Von Tempsky.
On the 28th. July, an Armed Escort of 13 men was attacked near Waihi, but on being reinforced, the rebels retreated.
On the 21st. August, Lt. Col. McConnell attacked Te Ngutu, with a loss of 4 killed and 8 wounded; and retired (without destroying the pah) on Waihi, closely pressed by the rebels.
This position was again attacked on the 7th. September, by Col. McConnell, when the Force was defeated with the loss of 5 Officers and 14 men killed, and one Officer and 24 men wounded; the whole of the dead, and
many wounded being left on the field.
In July 1868, Te Kooti, with his followers, landed on the East Coast, from the Chatham Islands; when measures were taken by Major Westrup and Biggs, to surround and prevent them from getting the Country. But they broke through the picquets, and engaged our Forces in skirmishes at Paparatu and Kounake until the 4th. August, when Col. Whitmore, with a force of 260 men, proceeded in pursuit of them; this force was subsequently reduced to 118, and on the 8th. attacked the enemy at Ruakiture, but were defeated, losing 4 killed and 5 wounded. The dead were left on the field.
After the disaster of Ngutu, Titikowaru, emboldened by his success, came out of the bush, and destroyed the houses, etc., of the settlers.
Major Fraser's Division, Armed Constabulary, was removed from Napier to Patea; and the redoubts beyond that place were abandoned, except Manawapou; and the rebels occupied the whole country North of Tangahoe.
About the 20th. September, they crossed the Patea, and got in rear of our positions, when the Native Contingent who had been allowed, a few days before, to return home) were again called out; and 00 men occupied Werearoa.
The Militia and Volunteers were also called out at Wanganui, Rangitikei, and Wellington.
About the middle of October, Col. Whitmore assumed command of the Patea Field Force, and reinforced Patea with 400 Friendly Natives, which then had a mixed Garrison of Europeans and Natives; while the enemy took up a strong position in the bush near Wereroa.
About this time, Te Kooti was joined by Te Waru and his party, causing much alarm to the settlers at Wairoa and poverty Bay.
This was followed, on the 14th. October, by the murder of 5 scouts at Whataroa; and reinforcements of Friendly natives were brought from the East Coast to support the Europeans and their settlements. An Expedition was undertaken by them in the direction of Puketapu, but they did not succeed in finding the enemy; and a woman who was taken prisoner, gave information to the Officer in command, that it was the intention of the rebels to attack Poverty Bay, Wairoa, and Napier in succession; and on the night of the 9th. 10th. November, the Massacre of Poverty Bay occurred; when 32 men, women and children were killed. Reinforcements of Natives and Europeans were sent to
Poverty Bay from Napier, and the East Coast.
On the arrival of the Napier natives, they at once pursued the rebels, and engaged them at Makaretu an the 23rd. November, and subsequently pursued them to their stronghold at Ngatapa, skirmishing occasionally until the 5th. December, when the pah was attacked by Ropata, without success. The loss of the enemy during these affairs is variously stated at from 39 to 65 rebels killed. The loss on our side, being, 8 killed and 17 wounded.
On the 27th. November, an Escort of 11 Europeans and 20 Friendly natives, was attacked near Patutahi, and the rebels took 8 kegs of ammunition from them; when Capt. Tanner's Troops of Yeomanry Cavalry volunteered for Escort Service, and were sent to Poverty Bay.
On the West Coast, the position of Titokowaru at Moturoa, (Okutuku) was attacked by Colonel Whitmore on the 7th. November, 1868, resulting in a loss of 17 killed or missing, and about 20 men wounded. Our Forces were driven back on Wairoa redoubt. The rebels now crossed to Waitotara; while Colonel Whitmore withdrew his forces, also, across the river, leaving a small garrison of Militia at Wereroa; which place was attacked by the enemy without success; and it was
abandoned next day by Col. Whitmore, who retired to the Wanganui side of the Kai-iwi River; when five Redoubts were erected to protect the line. Beyond this line there were only four posts - Patea, held by about 200 men; and Wairoa, by 60 settlers; communication being held with them by sea, or strong parties of Cavalry.
It was on the return of Captain Newland's Cavalry, from Wairoa, that the skirmish at Nukumaru occurred on the 28th. December, - resulting in a loss of 5 rebels killed; there being no casualities on our side.
As there did not appear to be any chance of attacking Titokowaru with success at this, time, and as Te Kooti still threatened the East Coast settlements, Colonel Whitmore detached a force of 280 men, and with them proceeded to Poverty Bay. On arrival there, Expeditions were undertaken for a short distance into the Interior, without discovering any trace of the enemy; and it being supposed that they had retired into the Mountains, preparations were made by Colonel Whitmore, for a return to Wanganui; when, on the 13th. December, just as the forces were about to embark, firing was heard; which turned out to be an attack by a party of Ihaka Whaanga's men on a foraging party of
the enemy. Colonel Whitmore at once started to intercept the retreat of the rebels, and continued the pursuit as far as Ngatapa; which was invested on the 3rd. January 1869, and taken on the 5th. with a loss on our side of 10 killed, and 7 wounded; while the rebels lost 136 men killed. Colonel Whitmore then withdrew his force, and returned to Wanganui.
Te Kooti having escaped from Ngatapa, pushed through the Urewera Country, and re-appeared near Opotiki; which place he threatened at the end of January.
Colonel Whitmore having returned to the West Coast, made preparations for advancing; and on the 3rd. February, attacked Tauranga-ika, when the rebels retreated, followed by our forces, and were on the same day attacked by the Friendly Natives, under Kemp, at Wearearoa.
On the 7th. March they were again attacked at Waitotara, with a loss of 1 man, and they continued retreating, followed by Colonel Whitmore as far as Otauto, on the Patea River; which place was attacked by him on the 13th, killing 7 of the rebels; the loss on our side being 3 killed, and 9 wounded; He came upon them again at Whakamara on the 18th. March; but they fled at his approach. Colonel Whitmore followed their trail to the Te Ngaire swamp, but the few rebels
who were there escaped. The forces were then marched to New Plymouth, by the back of Mt. Egmont; leaving the Patea district under the protection of the local Militia and Friendly natives, who continued at intervals to scour the surrounding country.
As it was considered probable that Ngatimaniapoto would join Titokowaru after his entry into the Ngatimaru country, after his flight from Patea, Colonel Whitmore collected and stationed his force near the White Cliffs, (the scene of the murder of the Revd. Mr. Whitely, and others, on the 15th. of February.)
After consulting with Mr. Richmond on the spot, it was determined that the force could do better employed in pursuing Te Kooti, than remaining encamped at Pekearuhe; and accordingly, on the 10th. and 11th. April, they were embarked; and proceeding via Auckland, were landed at Tauranga and Maketu about the 14th. and 15th. and were concentrated at Te Awa or Te Atua.
Te Kooti, after threatening Opotiki, turned towards Whakatane, murdered Mr. Pitcairn at Ohiwa on the 3rd. March, and invested Ngatipukeko pah at Rauporoa, the occupants ultimately falling back on the Arawa settlements; while Te Kooti (who had lost about
45 men, proceeded to the mouth of the Whakatane, where he destroyed the small European settlements, and was driven up the river by a force of 250 Europeans and natives under Major Mair, as far as Tanaroa; where Major Mair endeavoured to surround him, (18th. March); but the rebels escaped to the Ahikereru Mountains; where he remained recruiting and threatening both Hawke's Bay and the Bay of Plenty.
About the same time, a band of Hau Haus, under Kereopa, manaced Tauranga, causing much alarm. But the prompt measures taken, added to the non-success of Te Kooti, it is presumed, decided the rebels not to attack.
Te Kooti did not continue idle long, for on the 10th. April, he pounced suddenly on the settlement of Mohaka, killing 7 Europeans, and 57 Friendly Natives; and after securing a small quantity of ammunition, attacked a small Friendly Native pah; which was relieved by Ihaka Whaanga, from Wairoa; who held it for two days; when the rebels retreated, with a loss of 7 or 9 men. The Napier Militia and Volunteers were pushed on for the relief of the place; but the enemy had retired into the mountains.
Colonel Whitmore despatched his force (augmented
by the Arawa and Ngatipukeko) on the 4th. and 5th. of May, in two Columns, - one proceeding up the Rangitikei to Ahiketeru, - the other by Whakatane Gorge; and both were to meet at Ruatahuna. Posts were established to keep open the communication with the Bay of Plenty.
On the 6th. Ahikereru was surprised, when 6 rebels were killed and about 50 women and children were taken. The advance was continued towards Ruatahuna. The Whakatane Column, under Lt. Col. St. John, surprised Omarateani, with some loss to the enemy; and both Columns joined.
The pah at Ruatahuna was attacked on the 12th. May, but the rebels escaped. During the advance on this place, both columns had skirmishes with the enemy inflicting small loss.
At the time Colonel Whitmore's double column was advancing from the Bay of Plenty, an Expedition of Europeans and natives was organised by Lt. Col. Herrick at Wairoa, to advance on Waikare-Moana, with the object of effecting a junction with the force under Colonel Whitmore. They started from Wairoa about the 9th. May; but being unsuccessful in that object, were recalled.
At this time Te Kooti left the Urewera Country and proceeded towards Taupo; and at Opepe, on the 8th. June, surprised a Detachment of Cavalry, killing 9 men;
and afterwards surprised the pah of a Friendly Chief, killing 21 men, women and children. He then establish-himself at the Southern end of the lake, having taken prisoners Te Heu Heu and about 40 of his followers.
After Colonel Whitmore left the Patea district, a force of Ngatiporou were enrolled at the East Coast for service on the West; and they, in conjunction with the local forces, kept up a series of scouting expeditions; which resulted in the surrender of the whole of the Pakekoke tribe, about the 14th. of June.