Thursday, 7 January 2010

Give the man a cigar

Tamati Waka Nene in old age. ca 1870. From : Pulman. Elizabeth fl 1861-1881 : Portrait of Tamati Waka Nene. Alexander Turnbull Library collection.

After all this plagiarism business about the Trowenna Sea I looked up some of the government correspondence on the matter. However, the same source (New Zealand. Further papers relative to the affairs of New Zealand. Correspondence with Governor Grey. HMSO 1848), reproduced the wonderful letter below from Tamati Waka Nene to Major Cyprian Bridge. So I'm going with that instead.

Waka Nene had just changed the course of the the Flagstaff war by defeating Hone Heke in battle at Ahuahu pa. The war started when Hone Heke started repeatedly cutting down the flagpole at Kororareka. Heke had had provided the pole himself, intending it to fly the flag of the United Tribes. The British however, flew the Union flag. There were a whole lot of other issues invloved, but this was the flashpoint. There were several resulting actions between the British and their Maori allies (and Heke's rivals in the Maori world), and Heke and his allies. The British couldn't get a victory, and it took the mercurial and long-experienced NZ campainer Waka Nene and his forces to defeat and capture Heke.

[Gilfillan, John Alexander] 1793-1863 :Honi Heke [about 1846]. From the Alexander Turnbull Library collection

Below is Tamati Waka Nene's victory letter to the chief of the British Army forces in the area in full:

Te Ahuahu, February 14, 1848

Friend the major:

Hone (Heke) and I am here at the Ahuahu ; we are waiting for you and the captain of the man-of-war to come and see "Hone Heke:" come you two to-morrow and likewise bring some tobacco.

Come, do not you delay, bring some tobacco. Oh, captain of the "Calliope," let there be plenty of tobacco.

From Waka Nene, Tamati Waka.