Hidden Slide Menu on Left
Below, Hursthouse Page Index
Surveyors are Captured
"Old Frontier" by James Cowan: "Te Kooti had at least one good deed to his credit, and this concerned an important Maori named Te Haere and the surveyor Mr C. W. Hursthouse, when on a survey trip."
Mr Hursthouse and Mr Bob Newsham, surveyors, were caught by a band of Hau Haus led by the prophet Mahuki on March 20, 1883, near Te Kuiti and were bound hand and foot for 48 hours. They were on their way from Alexandra (now Pirongia) to explore the country from the Waikato frontier to the Mokau and were accompanied by the Mokau friendly chiefs, Te Rangituataka and Hone Wetere te Rerenga, and 25 other Mokau men.
Attacked By Hostile Maoris:
At Te Uira, 12 miles beyond
Otorohanga, on the afternoon of March 20, 1883, as, they rode along,
they saw a large body of Maoris approaching in a state of
excitement. Mahuki, or Manakura, a Ngatimaniapoto leader, was in charge of
a selected war party of the Taranaki chief, Titikowaru, called
Tekau-ma-rua.These men attacked Hursthouse's party and a lively fight
ensued, although no deadly weapons were used. The Tekau-ma-rua men pulled
the surveyors off their horses. Rangituataka's followers resisted
strongly, and used their stirrup-irons and leathers to good
The surveyors and Te Haere were thrust into a cook-house and were imprisoned there. The surveyors had been stripped of their coats, waistcoats and boots, their hands were tied behind their backs, and their feet were fastened together with bullock chains.
Acute Suffering; They suffered
acutely from theIr bonds and were tortured by mosquItos. They were
left without food or drink, except dlrty water and pigs' potatoes that had
been thrown at them. The imprisoned men remained there for two days and a
night listening to yells and threats of the natives outside aud
expecting to be killed at any minute.
Prisoners Released: Hursthouse and Newsham had already worked their hands free, and the former had picked up a piece of iron chain to use as a weapon in case he was attacked. The extreme tension and the anxiety of the preceding 36 hours, the painful confinement and lack of food had even affected the indomitable Hursthouse, old campaigner though he was. The surveyors were released from their bonds and were escorted to Alexandra by Wahanui's people and after Te Mahuki had himself been locked up, they resumed their exploring expedition after . (Written by R Sherson)
Family descendants care about their past; Nearly 140 yrs on, Tony, descendant of Charles Wilson Hursthouse, is custodian of the bullock chains which bound his forebear. They were passed on to him by his Aunt and are kept for safe-keeping in their original box which was presented to Charles Wilson Hursthouse after the court trial in Auckland.