Story: Ngā pakanga ki tāwāhi – Māori and overseas wars

Armed police expedition to arrest Rua Kēnana, 1916

Armed police expedition to arrest Rua Kēnana, 1916

Police are issued with firearms and ammunition in the Urewera mountains, while on an expedition to arrest Rua Kēnana, in April 1916. A prophet of the Ngāi Tūhoe people, Rua had declared himself to be the Mihāia (Messiah) whose coming had been foretold by the prophet Te Kooti. In 1907 Rua and his followers had established a community at Maungapōhatu in the Urewera mountains. Following the outbreak of war in 1914 Rua discouraged his followers from volunteering to fight. His movement was seen as subversive by many Pākehā, and by Māori leaders such as Āpirana Ngata and Māui Pōmare. The 1916 police expedition was organised to arrest Rua after he failed to appear in court to answer charges of illicitly selling alcohol. He was apprehended after a shoot-out in which his son and uncle were killed and one policeman was wounded.

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How to cite this page:

Monty Soutar, 'Ngā pakanga ki tāwāhi – Māori and overseas wars - Māori and the First World War', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/36680/armed-police-expedition-to-arrest-rua-kenana-1916 (accessed 19 March 2019)

Story by Monty Soutar, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 10 May 2016