Tribe Against Tribe Scenario: 
Catch Te Kooti at Maraetahi!
(Urewera Country, 25 March 1870)
        Introduction
        Forces Involved
        Player Briefings
        Special Rules
        What Really Happened
        Sources

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Right: A map for this wargames scenario, a condensed to fit a 6 x 8 foot table and only a rough and conjectural representation of the real place.

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Second Te Ngutu o te Manu 1868

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Introduction:

The hunt for Te Kooti has been on for almost two years. Hiding in the rugged vastness of the Urewera mountain country, Te Kooti and his band of Ringatu drawn from Tuhoe and Chatham Island-escapees are the last holdout of resistance against the colonial government, and have been for months. The government is not the only party out for his head – Te Kooti has killed Maori and Pakeha alike, enraging such tribes as Te Arawa, Ngati Porou, and Ngati Kahungunu, who have thrown in their lot with the government in the quest for utu.

The war by this stage has assumed a bitter, personal character. The Tuhoe lands in the Urewera have been devastated in “bush beating” campaigns designed to destroy their capacity to shelter Te Kooti. The numbers of men involved are very small, and the men on both sides often know each other by sight. There have been killings and atrocities on both sides too. Such is the feeling against Te Kooti that the government has begun a new policy: put a bounty on Te Kooti’s head and let Maori do the fighting on their own. As Peter Maxwell puts it in his book Frontier, “utu was now official government policy.”

Te Kooti has been surrounded and his followers routed time and again, but every time he escapes by the skin of his teeth. He is a very determined man, if nothing else. Nevertheless, Maori are beginning to lose faith in him, and he has had to round up entire villages and carry them off as forced converts to keep his numbers up. It is just after one of these dislocations, his raid on Opape on 7 March, 1870, that this scenario takes place.

The Ringatu and their prisoners are spread up and down the Waioeka River at several small settlements, with the main encampment at Maraetahi, the northernmost. Te Kooti’s village there runs from the old Tuhoe pa there to the riverbank. Immediately north of the pa is a narrow gorge with steep, rocky cliffs on either side and swift waters below, forming the encampment’s northern boundary. There are 20 warriors guarding the cliffs, another 47 and Te Kooti himself in Maraetahi pa, and most of the rest are at another pa some distance to the south, Raipawa.

Meanwhile, the Kupapa are closing in. Kepa has marched around the valley to attack Te Kooti's camp from  upriver, the south. Ropata has taken the more direct route from Opotiki on the Bay of Plenty coast and is attacking from downriver, the north. Te Kooti is completely unaware of the approaching columns, and will have to run hell-for-leather to escape with as many of his followers and captives as possible.

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Forces involved:
The Following Order of Battle is scaled down to 20% or a fifth of the actual numbers involved for ease of play.

The Government Maori:

Ngati Porou:
Advancing from the north:
Major Ropata te Wahawaha (Bold principal chief, breech-loading carbine, revolver)
Colonel Thomas Porter (Bold subsidiary chief, breech-loading carbine, revolver)
2 other Average subsidiary chiefs (Enfield Rifled muskets, revolvers)

70 Ngati Porou warriors – Enfield Rifled muskets

Whanganui:
Advancing from the south:
Major Kepa te Rangiwhinui (Bold principal chief, breech-loading carbine, revolver)
Topia Turoa (Bold subsidiary chief, breech-loading carbine, revolver)
3 other Average subsidiary chiefs (Enfield rifled muskets, revolvers)
75 Whanganui warriors – Enfield rifled muskets

Te Kooti’s Force:

Warriors:
In advanced positions to the north:
1 sentry on the rocky hill towards the table edge
4 warriors on the rocky hill towards the river

In Maraetahi pa:
Te Kooti Rikirangi te Turuki (Bold principal chief, Spencer repeating carbine, revolver – see special rules)
1 Average subsidiary chief
9 warriors

In Raipawa pa:
1 Bold subsidiary chief, breech-loading carbine, revolver
9 warriors

Te Kooti’s men should have a mixture of breech-loading rifles, Enfield rifled muskets, and muzzle-loading two-barreled shotguns. Many should have revolvers as well.

Non-Combatants:
In Maraetahi Pa:
Te Kooti’s 4 wives (1 figure)

To be divided among the riverside camps:
8 Ringatu women
5 Ringatu children
6 Maori prisoners – young men
38 Maori prisoners – women, children, old men

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Player Briefings:

Note: There is no reason for the players to keep their briefings and victory conditions secret. No units start hidden either.

Te Kooti Rikirangi te Turuki:
Te Kooti’s party is minding its own business, encamped along the Waioeka River, fishing, setting rat traps, cultivating potatoes and so forth with a small number of warriors and many noncombatants. Most of these are Whakatohea women and children captured at Opape with their men folk on 7 March, soon to be loyal Ringatu converts.

Te Kooti knows that he cannot fight a stand-up gun battle here with any hope of winning. If the pakeha’s middlemen arrive, the only thing for him and his followers to do is to run like hell for the bush with as many women, children, and prisoners as possible. The warriors can be used to cover the evacuation, but Te Kooti must remember they too must leave or be captured or killed. Above all Te Kooti himself must escape to continue his holy mission.

To keep figures from getting killed or captured, the Te Kooti player must move them off the Eastern table edge; having crossed the edge, they are safe and out of the game. They may not come back.

Te Kooti's Victory Conditions:
Te Kooti wins if he himself gets away and together Ropata and Kepa’s points together total less than 100. If they total more than that but Te Kooti escapes, it is a minor government victory.

Major Kepa te Rangiwhinui:
Major Kepa has served the government faithfully since Moutoa Island in 1864. Ever grateful for the Government’s handling of the Hauhaus in his district, he and his Whanganui were instrumental in the defeat of Titokowaru and are some of the most dependable fighting men at the government’s disposal. Although he eminently-capable, battle-hardened leader, he bears no grudge against Te Kooti personally and is in fact on the verge of shipping back home, his task nearly done. He is most concerned with liberating Te Kooti’s Whakatohea prisoners and with taking Ringatu captives of his own to hand over to the Magistrate in Opotiki for prize money. Te Kooti himself, however, is the ultimate prize, and to take him, dead or alive, is why you’re here.

Kepa's Victory Conditions:
Whanganui deed:
Points Gained
Te Kooti killed or captured
50
Each Ringatu subsidiary chief killed or captured
5
Each Ringatu warrior killed
1
Each Ringatu warrior captured
3
Each Ringatu noncombatant captured
2
Each Prisoner liberated (young men)
2
Each Prisoner liberated (female, old men, or children)
1
Note: These can only be exploits of the Whanganui - losses inflicted, captures made, etc. by Ropata's men don't count.
 
Major Ropata te Wahawaha:
 Major Ropata has long served the government too, but unlike Kepa, he hates Te Kooti with a passion, several of his own family having been murdered and left on the ground as “a portion to foxes” at Poverty Bay. A courageous and ruthless leader and vengeful by nature, Ropata is said never to forget a slight. He will free the Whakatohea driven from their homes by the renegade if he can, all right. As for Te Kooti’s people, however, now that he is in charge, they may expect no quarter. As for Te Kooti himself, God alone knows what Ropata has in mind.

Ropata's Victory Conditions
Ngati Porou deed:
Points Gained
Te Kooti killed or captured
50
Each Ringatu subsidiary chief killed or captured
5
Each Ringatu warrior killed (may kill any prisoners)
3
Each Ringatu noncombatant captured
1
Each Prisoner liberated (young men)
2
Each Prisoner liberated (female, old men, or children)
1
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Note: These can only be exploits of Ngati Porou - losses inflicted, captures made, etc. by Kepa's men don't count.
 

Special rules:

Maraetahi and Raipawa:
These positions are each to consist of merely a light palisade with a trench behind it, perhaps a defensive ditch in front, and a number of whares inside. An obvious entrance and two hidden bolt-holes on each may be designated to the GM by the Ringatu player at the beginning of the game, to be discovered as under the ordinary rules.

The Government Maori:
- Kepa and Ropata act as allied principal chiefs. They may not attack one another in any circumstances, but need not take each other’s advice at the playing table and only record results from the actions of their own men
- The Whanganuis and Ngati Porou act as two allied Maori hapu, not European troops.
- Both hapu must observe the 50% Break point – i.e. when either is reduced to two-thirds strength, it must abandon the fight and retreat off-table, with any freed Maori or Ringatu prisoners they have already under guard.

The Ringatu:
- Te Kooti Has Nine Lives – The first four shots that hit Te Kooti miraculously miss!
- No Break Point
- Te Kooti’s prisoners at the beginning of the game will stay in place until a warrior figure from either side comes to move them.

Captives and Noncombatants:
Young men or warriors move at the speed of Maoris, and the rest as European Regulars in Close Order.

Ringatu women and children act as warriors without weapons and move under the Ringatu chiefs’ command dice. If captured they act as captives (see below).

Te Kooti starts with 44 Maori prisoners – 6 young men of fighting age and 38 others, to be taken off the eastern edge of the table. The kupapa players must take captives to prevent this, and the escape of Te Kooti and his followers.

To capture or recapture an unarmed figure, assuming no opposition from enemy warriors, a warrior need merely walk up to within 4” it without fighting or shooting, becoming its guard next turn.

To capture an armed figure, one of these two circumstances must occur:
1. The figure is beaten by 4 or more in a close combat roll.
2. A group is completely surrounded and fails its morale check

A guard must be within 4” of the captives to control them. Each can handle at most 24, treating young men and captured warriors as six ordinary figures. He may not fight or fire his weapon.

If on any turn there are more captives than the guards can handle and there is any chance at all of them getting away, the captive figures farthest from the guard beyond his maximum each roll a die at the beginning of the movement phase to see if they can escape. On a 5 or 6 they do, and may be moved by the nearest enemy player for the rest of the game or until recaptured, using his command dice. Otherwise they do as the other captives in the group. If there is no guard, the prisoners all escape for free.

Only Ringatu warriors captured by the Ropata player may be executed, though he need not really take them at all to win. To execute prisoners takes a number of figures equal to the number of prisoners a melee phase in base to base contact with them. No need to roll.

Firing:
Use reloading chart from Tribe Against Settler, with shorter weapon ranges as follows:

Weapon ranges:
Weapon Short Long
Thrown tomahawk
--
4"
Maori Darts/Throwing Spears 
--
6"
Pistols
--
6"
Shotguns
4"
12"
Rifled Muskets
18"
36"
Breechloading rifles/carbines on foot
18"
18"
Breechloading rifles/carbines mounted
12"
24"
 
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What Really Happened:

Initial forces:
Government Force
Advancing from the north:
370 Ngati Porou - Major Ropata te Wahawaha
       with Colonel Thomas Porter assisting

Advancing from the south:
400 Whanganui – Major Kepa te Rangiwhinui
       with Topia Turoa assisting

Te Kooti’s Force:
Warriors:
1 sentry beyond the cliffs to the north
20 men on the cliffs
47 men in Maraetahi Pa + Te Kooti himself and 4 wives
34+ men in Raipawa pa or scattered in settlements farther up the valley

Noncombatants:
Spread along the riverside settlements:
38 Ringatu women
26 Ringatu children
219+ Maori prisoners, mostly Whakatohea captured at Opape on 7 March, 1870, and at that, mostly women and children

The Battle:
Ropata  approached Te Kooti’s camp from the north, silently tomahawking a surprised Ringatu sentry before rushing up the cliff face and surprising another 20 Ringatu, who ran to the pa. Ropata descended into the valley, splitting his force in two, Porter on the left, himself on the right (nearest the river). After “sustained shooting” on both flanks, the position fell and the Ringatu fled into the bush.

Meanwhile, Kepa had been flushing out the valley from the south, and ran with his force at the sound of the firing to cut off the survivors. Te Kooti, however, had fled, perhaps as soon as he saw Ropata’s men approaching. He was wearing the blue, silver-braided uniform jacket which had served him so well at Opepe as a disguise, but he abandoned it in the bush as he fled. With him were his four wives and 20 or so warriors. During the battle and the pursuit that followed, Kepa and Ropata captured 57 or more of Te Kooti’s men, 38 women and 26 children, and liberated 218 Whakatohea prisoners of Te Kooti’s. At least one Whakatohea woman remained captive with Te Kooti, Mere Maihi, not to be liberated until 11 August, 1871.

Just after the battle Ropata summarily executed 19 of Te Kooti’s warriors in utu, the only deaths of the fight other than the sentry, and dumped their bodies into the river in a heap. Unlike Kepa and Topia, Ropata had a personal vendetta with Te Kooti for the murders of his relatives at Poverty Bay, and had to be restrained by the Whanganui chiefs from executing more. As it was he considered it a minimal result for the effort spent. Porter was under orders from the Defence Minister Donald McLean not to intervene in such decisions, being pakeha, and did not. This left  23 captured on Ropata’s end and more than 34 on Kepa’s. Kepa later sent the 34 Ringatu, whom he thought were the worst of the offenders, to Wellington via Opotiki for trial, but though most were sentenced to death for treason, all finally received terms of imprisonment instead. Feeling his work to be at an end, Kepa and the Whanganui contingent sailed home from Opotiki soon after the fight, leaving Ngati Porou, Te Arawa, and the Pakeha to carry on their war to the bitter end.

For Te Kooti, although the death toll had been low and he himself had escaped to carry on his resistance for another year-and-a-half, the skirmish on the Waioeka went on record as one of his worst disasters. It had rendered the entire raid on Opape useless, and despite Te Kooti's best efforts, he was never able to regain the numbers he lost there while the wars lasted.

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Sources:
Binney, Judith. Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1995.

Maxwell, Peter. Frontier: The Battle for the North Island of New Zealand, 1860 - 1872. Auckland: Celebrity Books, 2000.

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