Dear Editor,

Tom Roa, Associate Professor at Waikato University, is reported on 20/2/20 as saying many things about the Rangiowahia affray which are not true and which he ought to know are not true.

First, there were no “atrocities” at Rangiowahia. It was an action planned by the humanitarian General Cameron to destroy the food supplies of the rebels in the strong fort at Paterangi and avoid a direct assault with many casualties on both sides.

Second, Rangiowahia was British sovereign territory in the hands of rebels. It was entirely legitimate for government forces to act to recover it.  Roa makes the false claim that they “invaded” it.

Third, almost all the women and children were allowed to escape safely to the home of Thomas Power before a shot was fired. Roa’s claim that “numerous Maori were killed including women, children and the elderly” is yet another falsehood.

Fourth, Roa states that “Several houses were burned down with villagers inside” which is also untrue. In fact, the only significant action was at one whare, which Roa has claimed elsewhere was a “whare karakia”, which was fashioned as a gun pit containing about a dozen rebels armed with loaded muskets.

One man with his wife and child escaped when invited to do so but when Sergeant McHale entered to call for the surrender of the remainder, an old fool called Hoani Papita shot him at point-blank range. In the short, sharp action which followed, Hoani and his fellow rebels and five of the troops were killed. But for that one incident, the capture of Rangiowahia would have been an almost bloodless and merciful action leading not long afterwards to peace being restored in the Waikato.

Yours faithfully,

Bruce Moon

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