According to considerable Maori testimony, the makeup of its residents reflected Rangiaowhia’s status as a place of sanctuary for non-combatants. It was understood that some kind of message had been exchanged with British commanders, possibly through Bishop Selwyn, to this effect, as a result of which the British raid was considered an act of great treachery. After Rangiaowhia, Wiremu Tamihana later stated in a petition to Parliament, ‘I discovered that this would be a very great war, because it was conducted in such a pitiless manner.’
|The British Attack on Rangiaowhia (source: www.teara.govt.nz)|
here are your foul murders: - General Cameron told us to send our women and children to Rangiaowhia, where they should remain unmolested; but he went away from Paterangi with his soldiers after them, and the women and children were killed and some of them burnt in the houses. You did not go to fight the men; you left them and went away to fight with the women and little children. These things you conceal because they are faults on your side, but anything on our side you set down against us, and open your mouths wide to proclaim it. That deed of yours was a foul murder, and yet there is nobody to proclaim it. (AJHR, 1869, A-12, p. 12)
Following the British attack on Rangiaowhia, the main body of Kingitanga defenders manning the Paterangi line abandoned their position, but suffered further heavy losses in their hastily constructed new defensive post at Hairini the next day.