night of the 11th of October 1866, the night before Omaranui. It was a still clear night and though everyone’s nerves were tuned up to the highest pitch, the sound of a galloping horse approaching from the direction of Clive did not cause undue alarm. The members of the Militia however, had been warned that they might be called up at any moment, and when the rider drew rein in the middle of the village and sounded the call to arms on the bugle, they knew the great day had at last arrived. We, in these days, cannot possibly imagine the feelings of the women and children that night. Many of them had had experience of the Hau Hau fighting methods already, and when the men left in order to attack Omaranui at daybreak, they were almost frantic with anxiety. Fortunately for Napier perhaps Te Rangihiroa from Tarawera was intercepted near Petane and killed with several of his followers, thus completely upsetting the Maori plan of action and the fight ended in a complete victory for the Pakeha. The Militia men immediately returned to their homes but it was years before the brothers in the Constabulary returned from the chase after Te Kooti.
From this time on, the Heretaunga District was free from active hostilities, but bands of Maoris, both local and rebel, were continually passing through on their way up the coast to join one side or the other. Hau Hau recruiting parties occasionally endeavoured to obtain converts in the local Pas and although Te Kooti appeared to be on the run, the Pai Marire religion was still a power in the land. Every time the rebel succeeded in eluding his pursuers and bringing off some fresh raid, the local friendlies became more anxious, since many of their own relatives were very lukewarm in their affection for the Queen. One of the largest and most important Pas in the district was then, as now, Paki Paki and as this was not very far from her Pukahu home, my grandmother frequently visited it.
As she was a fluent Maori linguist and a skilled nurse, she always received a warm welcome and many a sick Maori obtained relief from her home-made remedies. Imagine her surprise therefore to arrive one day to find the Maoris in a wild state of excitement and to see her old friend Hirini Pirika ride past without even recognising her. Something unusual was obviously astir, and although she had been accustomed to the dancing and chanting at Maori gatherings ever since she could remember, she sensed rather than saw at first that this gathering was no ordinary one. Full of curiosity she drove her trap through the Pa gates where an unforgetable sight met her eyes. There in the middle of the Marae a pole, similar to a Maypole, had been set up, and crowds of Maoris were marching round and round, dancing and gesticulating, whilst all the time chanting a jargon of Maori and pidgin English –
“Ora te mene rauna te nui.
All the men round the nui.”
She had heard enough of the Hau Haus and their strange practices, but this was the first time she had actually seen their ceremonial ritual and she watched fascinated. The local Maoris did not know what to do. They did not want to offend their not too welcome guests, yet they were afraid to show any active