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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 27, September 1983

By Athol MacKinnon

He was big and strong, about four axe handles around the chest, but he was gentle and softly spoken and he walked as softly as a cat. A man of peace, he was ideally suited to the vocation that he was later to follow and, when he chose a little Lowland bride and was disowned by his father, he emigrated to New Zealand, to become a Westland mounted police trooper. Quiet and dependable, he neither sought nor avoided trouble, but plenty there was in that wild and remote area.

Years passed and with the reduction of mounted troopers, Grandfather, (William Hector MacKinnon) transferred to Wellington as a beat constable and, with promotion to Sergeant, again transferred - this time to Waihi, and so it was in Waihi that this particular little episode took place.

The rumblings of the strike were already beginning and tact was far more desirable than any show of authority and it became noticeable that Grandfather kissed more of the miner's babies than did the local parson. However, it came to Grandfather's notice that one particular troublemaker needed attention when a young constable came to him. The constable related the indignities he had suffered during "closing time" at the Southern [Golden ? – E] Cross Hotel. Grandfather gave advice and sent the lad back - but no - further abuse followed, so the following night Grandfather accompanied the young constable.

The very moment that they entered the hotel the verbal abuse started but it was noticeable that his companions moved slightly away from this agitator. Grandfather pointedly turned his back but still the abuse continued. Came "Time Gentlemen", and then, as the two policemen walked slowly back to the Station, the pest, having mounted his bicycle, pedalled slowly beside them still offering abuse.

Without breaking his line of conversation with the constable, Grandfather whipped out his nightstick and thrust it through the spokes of the front wheel, then quickly back into his pocket and it was most unlikely that any of the many miners who watched their comrade spread his length along Seddon Street were aware of the cause but it was certain that on that evening, the would-be orator lost whatever standing he may have had amid the guffaws of his mates.

Result - no more trouble.