Topic: If thine enemy thirst...

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The rules laid down by the Maoris for the fighting in the Tauranga area were among the most enlightening made for battle since the great days of chivalry. This article appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times on Monday, 27 April 1964, and is reproduced here with their permission.

The rules were composed and written by Henare Taratoa, a Maori who was a pupil of Bishop Selwyn at St John's College and later a teacher at a mission school.

Henare Taratoa was killed in the fierce hand to hand fighting at Te Ranga and on his body was found a copy of the rules.

They ended with a quotation from Romans XII 20... If thine enemy hunger, feed him, if he thirst, give him drink.

Delivered to the British on March 28, 1864, the rules for battle were:-

To the Colonel,

Friend, salutations to you. The end of that, friend, do you give heed to our laws for (regulating) the fight.

Rule 1. If wounded or (captured) whole, and butt of the musket or hilt of the sword be turned to me (he) will be saved.

Rule 2. If any Pākehā being a soldier by name, shall be travelling unarmed and meet me, he will be captured, and handed over to the direction of the law.

Rule 3. The soldier who flees, being carried away by his fears, and goes to the house of the priest with his gun (even though carrying arms) will be saved; I will not go there.

Rule 4. The unarmed Pākehā’s, women and children will be spared.

The end. These are binding laws for Tauranga.






Or rather by all the Catholics at Tauranga.

The rules were scrupulously obeyed and Taratoa obeyed the instructions from Romans.


See also: Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1864 Session I, 47, E-03.

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If thine enemy thirst...