Story: Police

Police and politics: arrest of Rua Kēnana, 1916 (2nd of 3)

Police and politics: arrest of Rua Kēnana, 1916

John Cullen, originally a constable in the Royal Irish Constabulary, joined New Zealand's Armed Constabulary in 1876 and rose to become police commissioner in 1912. A highly controversial figure, in 1916 Cullen organised and led a raid by 60 armed police to Maungapōhatu in the heart of the Urewera, to arrest the Māori prophet Rua Kēnana. A gun battle broke out and two of Rua's followers, including his son, were killed. This photo shows Cullen on horseback leading Rua, another son and other prisoners, plus several of the police party. Most charges against the prisoners were later dropped, and the Supreme Court declared the arrests to have been illegal.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-028066-F
Photograph by Arthur Ninnis Breckon

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Richard S. Hill, 'Police - Policing a stable society, 1880s to 1960s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/33864/police-and-politics-arrest-of-rua-kenana-1916 (accessed 21 June 2018)

Story by Richard S. Hill, published 20 Jun 2012