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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 11 (February 1, 1935)

The Pakeha Wedge

The Pakeha Wedge.

Not until the year 1883 did Wahanui relax his strong anti-pakeha policy. It was in this year that he consented to the Native Minister's request that Government surveyors should be permitted to enter the King Country and make reconnaissance expeditions along likely road and railway routes. When the pioneer surveyor, C. W. Hursthouse, and his assistant, Newsham, were captured and ill-treated by the fanatic Hauhau prophet, Te Mahuki Manukura, at Te Kumi, near Te Kuiti, in 1883, it was Wahanui's men, with some of Te Kooti's, who released the pakehas from the whare in which they had been chained up. Mahuki's point of view was that pakeha surveyors were the first wedge to split the log of Maori independence.

From that time onward Wahanui supported the Government, or at any rate his antagonism ceased. But it was observed that he did not modify his anti-pakeha policy until the Government of the day had discreetly recognised his position and dignity by building him a large house at Alexandra and offering him a pension. At the same time—it was in Mr. John Bryce's period of office as Native Minister—Rewi Maniapoto was presented with a house at Kihikihi. It could not fairly be said that these gifts of the Government were bribes. They were rather expressions in a tangible form of the Government's recognition of the chiefs' mana, and of the newly-come permanent peace. Rewi certainly was only receiving a small measure of what was due to him from the white people; the fine pakeha house built for him was close to the site of his old home and the council-house “Hui-te-Rangiora” which the British soldiers burned when they invaded Kihikihi village in 1864.