Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.
Fought With Loyalists
Fought With Loyalists
Although his brother Komere—and, probably, most of his other relatives—linked up with the Hauhaus, Te Kooti himself filled the role of a loyal warrior at the Siege of Waerenga-a-Hika in November, 1865. His conduct, however, aroused suspicions, and he was placed under arrest in the Bishop's house. Charged with treasonable communication with the enemy, in that he had visited the rebel camp at Pukeamionga, he explained that he had gone there merely in an attempt to induce his brother to desert from the Hauhaus. Paora Parau (his principal accuser) then complained that he had withdrawn the bullets from his cartridges during the fighting, but he was unable to sheet home the charge, and Te Kooti was released.
Quite contrary to a widespread belief, Te Kooti was not rearrested and banished until some months after the siege. In the meantime his name remained on the district military roll. Towards the end of February, 1866, a party, led by Robert Espie, was waylaid and roughly handled by some Hauhaus in Mangatu Valley. Some members of the Defence Corps and some Forest Rangers were sent to scour the locality. Te Kooti was attached to the expedition.page 301
Why Te Kooti was rearrested has never been satisfactorily cleared up. He had, it seems, been absent from home for some time. Some Forest Rangers, who were sent to apprehend him, found him with some other armed natives at Repongaere, and, despite his plea that they were out only on a pig-hunting expedition, they took him to Wilson's Redoubt on Kaiti and locked him up. Nothing incriminating was found at his abode. He was sent off to the Chatham Islands with the third batch of exiles at the end of May, 1866. Moss (School History of New Zealand) says that, when Napier was reached, Te Kooti made three appeals through Edwin Hamlin (Government Native Interpreter) “be tried, or at least to be informed why he had been made a prisoner.” Moss adds: “No reply was given, but Te Kooti was put on board the ship with the rest.”
Responsibility for the exiling of Te Kooti must have rested with Major Biggs. It is certain, however, that the step had the approval of the loyal chiefs. Some accounts state that the settlers along the Waipaoa River [J.R. Wyllie, J. Hawthorne and others] were the prime movers. According to Hawthorne (Southern Cross, 1/12/1868), Te Kooti was a mere tutua (a scrub, a nobody) up to the time of his exile. He was known to natives and Europeans alike as the greatest thief in Poverty Bay, and was a confirmed drunkard, who would sell his last rag for grog.
“As might have been expected of such a scurvy wretch,” he added, “Te Kooti was a double-dyed traitor and spy.” Colonel Porter (Gisborne Times, 14/2/1914) avers that Te Kooti was regarded by the loyal natives, as well as by the Europeans, as a spy. Inquiries made by W. L. Williams (East Coast, New Zealand, Historical Records, p. 56) went to show that, when the Hauhaus were being taken into exile, someone suggested that, if Te Kooti was deported with them, the district would be relieved, for a time at least, “of a very troublesome character.”