August 09, 2023
Diary reveals lost Te Kooti pa
Historian Ron Crosby says he wants to set the record straight about crucial events of 1870 involving rebel leader and prophet Te Kooti Rikirangi.
In researching his new book Te Kooti’s Last Foray, he used the diary of colonial soldier Samuel Austin to identify and travel to the previously unknown site of his Waipuna Pa inland from Opotiki.
He’s also standing by Austin’s reporting that about 200 Whakatōhea captured by Te Kooti’s force were freed by warriors from Whanganui.
That rescue has long been attributed to Ngāti Porou, based on the claim of Captain Thomas Porter – a pakeha soldier travelling with Ngāti Porou.
“Porter, over later years, fudged that account, and everybody got the impression – including historians like James Cowan and Dame Judith Binney, they all acepted the Porter account,” Mr Crosby says.
He says it’s good to set the record straight – and it doesn’t alter the larger story of Te Kooti’s life.