The schooner Rifleman

The schooner Rifleman in 1868, as drawn by A.H. Messenger in 1921.

The supply ship Rifleman was the ‘ark of salvation’ that Te Kooti had predicted. On 4 July 1868, Te Kooti seized the ship and led an escape of 163 men and 135 women and children from Wharekauri. The Rifleman made landfall at Whareongaonga, south of Poverty Bay, on the evening of 9 July. Te Kooti kept his promise that no harm would befall the crew, paid them £6 each and provided a letter for the authorities exonerating them from any involvement in the escape. 

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