The earliest accounts associated with Taranaki iwi ancestors precede the coming of Taranaki to the western seaboard. They were known as the Kāhui Ao, Kāhui Rangi, Kāhui Pō and Kāhui Atua, collectively called Te Kāhui Maunga. They occupied Mimi Maunganui (the mountain preceding Taranaki), Ruatupua (Pouakai), and Ruatawhito (Kaitake) ranges. Their principle village was Karakatonga, situated high up in the heart of the Waiwhakaiho river valley. When the new mountain surfaced the people temporarily evacuated the site with many also perishing.
The journey of Taranaki from the central plateau has been recounted for centuries. It is an account that describes cataclysmic volcanic activity.
Taranaki was formerly known as Pukeonaki and Pukehaupapa and stood in the area around Lake Rotoaira near Tūrangi, with Ruapehu, Tongariro, and Pihanga. Pukeonaki and Tongariro both loved Pihanga and fought over her. Following the conflict Pukeonaki, bearing the scars of battle, withdrew underground and down the Whanganui River valley. Led by his companions Te Ra-uhiuhi, Wheoi and the guide stone Rauhoto they entered the sea. When Taranaki surfaced he saw Pouakai Mountain standing inland. Pukeonaki then followed Rauhoto up the Hangatahua River and resurfaced beside Pouakai. Rauhoto continued her flight on the North eastern side of Pouakai where she then turned westward at the gap between Pouakai and Kaitake. Her flight path went through the sweeping saddle between Kaitake and Pouākai and ended near the mouth of the Hangatahua River by the sea. Pukeonaki remained there with Pouakai and their offspring became the trees, plants, birds and rivers that flow from their slopes.
From this story arises the Taranaki saying:—
Tū kē Tongariro
Motu kē a Taranaki
He riri kia Pihanga
Waiho i muri nei
Te Uri ko au ee!
THE NAMING OF TARANAKI
The name of the mountain is memorialised by the deeds of Taranaki iwi ancestors Maruwhakatare, Ruataranaki and Tahurangi. No sooner had the mountain become a permanent part of the geography, Ruataranaki travelled high up to the source of the Hangatahua River where he ceremonially anchored the mountain to have his name placed its slopes. He climbed to its base and dug a cave (rua) where he settled for a period of time. When the time came for the naming ceremony, Maruwhakatare, his father in-law consecrated the ceremony by karakia. After a while Tahurangi then climbed the peak and lit a ceremonial fire to fix the name of Ruataranaki and place his authority over the whole mountain. The rua (cave) that Ruataranaki had excavated became a famous burial cave named ‘Te Ana a Tahatiti’ that was used up until the end of the 19th century for the interment of bones. This is near the source of the Hangatahua River where it flows from the Ahukawakawa swamp and over Te Rere a Tahurangi (Bells Falls) into the Hangatahua river course.
The lighting of the fire by Tahurangi is commemorated in the following statements;
‘ko te ahi a Tahurangi moo te pukeaao
ka tuu tonu te pukeaao kia tiketike
ka whakahinga te pukeaao i ngaa awatea i ngaa ahiahi’
‘the fire of Tahurangi is like an alpine cloud
that ascends [the peak] and remains suspended,
it then falls during the day and in the evening’
The proverb of Tahurangi for the peak of Taranaki
‘ka puta ki waho ko Puketoretore
i whakakaitoa ana mai ki taku taiaha
takahia atu au ko raro ki te whenua
haapai atu ai au i taku taiaha
me he kakau toki’
‘Puketoretore (the water soaked peak) has emerged
my taiaha expresses satisfaction
I tread the land there below
bearing my taiaha like
the kakau toki (ceremonial adze)’
These expressions are still used today in varying forms. Taranaki people remark on the smoke from the fire of Tahurangi when cloud forms near the peak in the mornings and evenings. Upon Tahurangi’s decent from the peak he then stood on Panitahi (Fanthoms Peak) and declared;
‘koia teenei te mihi nui kei runga o koopuutauaki,
me he tangata pea koe e whai muri i aau
ka noho a Tahurangi i runga o Taranaki
kai atu he pikopiko mouku, he pikopiko mamaku
he pikopiko panako’
‘this is the greeting placed upon kōpūtauaki
(the exposed belly of the earth)
if you are a person who perhaps would want to find me
Tahurangi remains upon Taranaki
eating shoots of mouku fern, shoots of mamaku fern
and shoots of the panako fern’
Panitahi is the lower peak on the southern side of Taranaki. Accounts about Panitahi describe the peak as being orphaned. The western edge of Panitahi is named Rangitoto where the rock has a red, blood like hue.
The arrival of the Kurahaupo kin from Hawaiki foreshadowed a new period of occupation and interaction between the Kahui Maunga and Hawaiki people. This era was known as ‘ngā uruwaka’. When the Kurahaupō people arrived bearing the sacred kura, marriages soon produced a mix of Kāhui and Kurahaupō cousins. The influx of the new migrants also created tension and the Kāhui people were forced to relocate into various places along the western seaboard.
NGA PAHUKI – Our rohe
Taranaki iwi are the descendants of these two kin groups and since time immemorial have occupied the lands which extend along the coastal and mountain area between Ōuri and the Rāwa o Turi stream in the south and Ōnukutaipari in the north. The extent of Taranaki iwi interests also stretched inland to Te Whakangerengere on the north eastern flank of the mountain, up the Waipuku stream to Te Tahuna o Tūtawa (Warwicks Castle), over to Panitahi (fanthoms peak) and down to Mangoraukawa (Lake dive) and the source of the Ōuri stream. Following the Ōuri stream water course down, a deviation is then made to the headwaters of the Rāwa o Turi stream to the boundary stone of Matirawhati at its mouth, an agreement forged between Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Atua, Ngāti Tamaahuroa and Tītahi.
These pou (boundary markers) are captured in the following Taranaki iwi expression;
‘Ko Onukutaipari te pikitanga ki te pou o Okurukuru
Okurukuru ki Te Whakangerengere
Te Whakangerengere ki Te Tahuna o Tūtawa
Te Tahuna o Tūtawa ki Panitahi
Panitahi ki Ouri
Ouri ki Rāwa o Turi
ki te pou o Matirawhati’
‘Onukutaipari is the ascent to the pole of Okurukuru
from Okurukuru to Te Whakangerengere
from Te Whakangerengere to Te Tahuna o Tūtawa
from Te Tahuna o Tūtawa to Panitahi
from Panitahi to the waters of Ouri
from Ouri to Rāwa o Turi
to the pillar of Matirawhati’
Taranaki Iwi territory thus formed the segment of a circle dominated by the mountain from which the tribe takes its name. It is more mountainous than any other part of the Taranaki coast, for within it is Mount Taranaki, 8,260 feet, the Pouakai Ranges, 4,590 feet, and the Patuha Ranges, 2,240 feet. The country on the slopes of these mountains is fertile, and as the coast is approached there is a wide stretch of nearly level land, in former times covered with dense forest. Thus, the Taranaki territory was celebrated for its immense quantities of native flora and fauna in particular the various varieties of Harakeke. With large amounts of harakeke in the region Taranaki became renown as an iwi with superior knowledge in processing its fine varieties. So much so that obtaining it, became the subject of more than a few warlike expeditions by Northern tribes for trade.
THE NORTHERN MUSKET RAIDS
The nature and impact of Northern incursions during the 1820’s and 1830’s caused major upheaval in Taranaki and had a profound effect on nga uri o Taranaki iwi with women, men and children being killed or herded away like animals. Despite the effects of the loss during these times, some of the most inspiring acts of leadership also emerged, none more than the famed Wiremu Kingi Matakatea, Ngatairakaunui, Oaoiti and others, who distinguished themselves by repulsing relentless Waikato attacks at Te Namu and Orangituapeka, effecting a lasting peace between the two iwi with Potatau Te Wherowhero, Te Wahanui and other Waikato rangatira.
The effect of these conflicts saw many Taranaki Iwi migrate in the nineteenth century to join other Taranaki iwi on the Kapiti Coast, Wellington district and the top of the South Island, with some travelling with our Ngati Mutunga kin to Wharekauri (Chatham Islands). This was not, of course, a single exodus, but several heke (migrations) over decades with many travelling back and forth from these areas to Taranaki. While the heke took place, small settlements throughout our Taranaki rohe maintained ahi kaa and were present on the return of the majority of the Iwi in the 1840’s and again in 1868.
PAKEHA WARS AND THE LOSS OF TARANAKI IWI LANDS
The loss of Taranaki ancestral land began following British settlement after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. With the rapid increase in Pākehā population and their hunger for land an inevitable situation arose when apprehension amongst many Taranaki iwi locally and other parts of New Zealand led to huge numbers returning home. Two large groups returned from Te Whanganui a Tara and Waikanae under the leadership of Minarapa Taapu Te Rangihatuake in 1842 and Wiremu Kiingi Te Rangitaake in 1848. They immediately set about re-establishing communities, trade and agriculture to protect their tribal estates from increased expansion.
From the 1840s the Crown continued with its purchase programme for settlement and two large blocks of land were ‘acquired’ to satisfy settlers’ demands. These were known as the Tataraimaka and Omata blocks. However, as further proposed purchases came to light the concern of many Taranaki rangatira became apparent.
THE 1849-51 CASE FOR THE MOUNTAINS
This period was a tumultuous time between tribal groups as iwi sought to protect rights and interests in specific areas identified for settlement. During the negotiations for the Ōmata Block claims of ownership over Mount Taranaki, Pouākai and Kaitake ranges were also mounted by groups of Āti Awa willing to sell to the Crown, this came to a head when, Taranaki iwi rangatira Tāmati Wiremu Te Ngāhuru and Kerapa Te Whakahawe led a delegation of learned men to a hui at Pukeariki (Mount Elliot) to present their case. Crown land purchase officers Donald McLean and George Cooper were convinced that Taranaki iwi owned the mountains right up to the adjacent country opposite Paritūtū.
Tamati Wiremu Te Ngāhuru also called hui at Poutoko and Whitiora kāinga to confirm the outcomes of this hui and a large hīkoi of 300 people went up onto the mountain in 1850-1851 to erect carved tawa poles to mark important Taranaki iwi sites. A group of 60 men also occupied Karakatonga pā, on the Waiwhakaiho River catchment for several months. A series of ngeri were also composed confirming their stance.
By the early 1850s the whole region was talking with discernment about the common sight of armed Europeans and the unsanctioned sales of land to Europeans. As the glint of guns was observed and the motives of the Crown became clearer, rigorous debate and dialogue ensued and policy agreements between Taranaki iwi took the form of oaths sworn and sanctified by ceremony. These policies were known as Te Kurupū and Patutūtahi and formed under a framework of resistance to continued land alienation. Te Kurupū was confirmed in 1849-50 and Patutūtahi was confirmed after Taranaki iwi’s assertion of ownership over the mountains at Pukeariki. The importance of these policies are captured in the following statement;
ko te tikanga o teenei ingoa Patutuutahi, koia teenei…
‘ko au te puutakenga atu o te koorero herenga whenua,
ka whiua ki te rangi te kupu oati,
maa te atua taaua kupu oati herenga whenua, e here iho’
‘i am pivotal to the word that holds together the land
when the oath is cast to the heavens
that oath holding together the land, is held together by god’
During this time, Taranaki iwi rallied under their leadership to secure similar policies with rangatira from other parts of Taranaki and Whanganui, particularly in the 1854 meeting at Manawapou where land from Ōkurukuru (the southern boundary of the Ōmata Block near New Plymouth) in the north and Taipake (near Kaiiwi) in the south was made tapu and that those who sold land would be punished. The policies sworn at these meetings were known as Kumea mai te waka and Taiporohēnui, with the binding oath of “te tangata tōmua, te whenua tōmuri” (man first: land after/ or by the death of men, will the land be taken). Some Ngāti Awa (Te Āti Awa) hapū soon followed, under Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitaake, placing their line at Waitaha (near Bell Block) and stating that land beyond this point to the north was not available for settlement. Instead it would be retained under the policies and oaths sworn in previous meetings.
These events are captured in the following Taranaki iwi proclamations;
Ko te Kurunga i te raparapa o te pū
Ko te kaupapa kōrero rā tēnei o Taranaki
Nukuhia atu ki Pukeariki
Ko Patutūtahi rā tēnei
Ka herea te whenua, ka herea te tangata
Ka whakaoatitia ki te atua.
Tīkina mai e Ruanui, e Rauru
Whakaarahia mai ko Kumea mai te waka, ko Taiporohēnui
Whakatūria ngā pou, Ko Ōkurukuru ki raro
Ko Taipake ki runga
Ka herea te whenua, ka herea ate tangata
Ka whakairia te hinu tapu ki runga ki ngā whata
Whakatūria e Te Ati Awa te pou
Ka herea te whenua, ka herea te tangata.
WAR AND CONFISCATION
“Ka mate te whenua, ka mate te tangata,
Ka kātoro te ahi ki runga ki te whenua tāoro atu ai ki te takutai moana”
“Land and people will die
and fire will spread across the extremities of the land”
The Crown’s determination to overcome tribal policies saw an alternative programme implemented and sales agreements with individuals and groups of individuals took place without any sanction from all rangatira concerned. The flashpoint for armed conflict between Taranaki and the Crown was an attempt by the Crown to force the sale of the Pekapeka Block at Waitara despite the opposition of Wiremu Kingi, and other rangatira.
Despite this objection, the Governor ordered his officials to identify each person’s individual part in the Pekapeka Block and to negotiate terms of sale with those identified. Wiremu Kīngi and many others from the Taranaki refused to undermine the traditional principles of collective interest by making individual claims. The Crown did not gain a collective agreement with the rangatira and hapū of Waitara before proceeding to detailed negotiations and the Pekapeka purchase was forced through.
Following attempts to resist the surveying of the disputed land, the Crown proclaimed martial law throughout Taranaki in February 1860 and War eventually broke out in March when Crown troops attacked.
This marked the beginning of war. With mounting tension from settlers the Crown dispatched various regiments into the region. Settler forts were also constructed to protect the town belt and the Ōmata Stockade was erected on top of the abandoned Ngāti Tāiri pā site, Ngāturi, on the southern outskirts of New Plymouth.
The Crown’s proclamation of war, increased military presence and subsequent aggression in Waitara saw Taranaki Iwi and Ngāti Ruanui respond by occupying Waireka. On 27th March 1860, Kaipopo pā was erected in Waireka near Ōkurukuru, the demarcation line between Māori and Pākehā land sworn by Taranaki iwi rangatira in 1851 and 1854 at Manawapou. Reprisals in the form of attacks and raids against settler properties in outlying areas also increased, forcing many into New Plymouth for safety, while those who remained directed to stay abreast of the conflict.
The perceived threat on the settlers’ lives led a group from the Ōmata Stockade to mount a ‘rescue’ attempt of those thought to be besieged at Waireka. A battle ensued and the pā was eventually assaulted by Captain Cracroft and his naval crew from the HMS Niger killing prominent Taranaki leaders Paora Kukutai, Paratene Te Kopara along with the Ngāti Ruanui chief Tito Te Hanataua. The settlers made their way into New Plymouth the next day stating “It was no wish of ours that an armed expedition should be set on foot on our behalf. We were perfectly safe”.
Two days after the Waireka engagement, Captain Cracroft was directed by the Governor twenty miles south of New Plymouth to Warea kāinga where he anchored about 2000 yards offshore, with heavy surf running, he opened fire on the pā and kainga.
Following the bombing of Warea various military regiments were detached with redoubts erected in the Tataraimaka block marking the Crowns protracted military presence in the Taranaki iwi rohe and despite a declaration of peace agreed to in 1861, an increased military presence by 1863 led to the killing of a small party of soldiers trespassing on Māori Land in Oakura.
THE NEW ZEALAND SETTLEMENTS ACT
The New Zealand Settlements Act of 1863 provided for the confiscation of Maori land when the Crown determined an iwi, or a significant number of members of an iwi, had been in rebellion against the Queen.
On 31 January 1865 “Middle Taranaki” was declared a confiscation district. The area commenced at the Waitara River mouth and extended to the Waimate Stream in the south, within which eligible sites were to be taken for military settlement. Oākura and Waitara South were then declared as “eligible sites for settlement for colonisation” being specific areas within the wider ‘Middle Taranaki’ district. In September of that year two other districts were declared, Ngatiawa and Ngatiruanui. The Ngati Ruanui and Middle Taranaki districts included the entire Taranaki Iwi rohe and the Crown assumed ownership of all the land within that district.
A Compensation Court set up under the New Zealand Settlements Act was intended to return land to some of those affected by the confiscations, principally those who were deemed not in rebellion against the Crown. Every member of Taranaki Iwi who sought the return of their land was required to do so through the Compensation Court. Those deemed rebels could not make claims.
In 1866, the Court made 147 awards totalling 20,400 acres for the whole of the Taranaki area. The awards were made via land scrip and promissory pieces of paper to individuals (and mostly settled out of court) rather than iwi, the customary way in which we had held title to our lands.
As the passing of the New Zealand Settlements Act and Compensation scheme began to take effect. The erection of strong fortified redoubts by Imperial troops was put into action with a network of smaller structures manned and settled on land owned by Taranaki iwi loyalists and rebels alike.
The erection various redoubts and blockhouses (Fort Robert, Pahitere, Kaitake, Timaru, Stoney River, Tataraimaka and Allens Hill) newly confiscated lands were erected between 1863 and 1865 and became the base for operations for Crowns southern advance into Taranaki Iwi territory. With bolstered numbers of troops and heavy artillery to maintain their positions, an on-going factor of confiscation was incremental, advancing forward while placing military settlers behind the lines to protect the peace. This resulted in a whole new level of resistance under Te Ua Haumēne Horopāpera Tūwhakararo.
THE RISE OF PAIMARIRE AND THE MILITARY RESPONSE – Ka tae mai a Tamarura, Ka puta te atua ki Taranaki
Te Ua Haumēne founded Paimarire during the crisis generated by the grounding of the mail steamer Lord Worsley (Rōri Wētere) at Te Namu Bay in Opunake in 1862. This event is described by Taranaki as the appearance of Tamarura in a vision to Te Ua where he became pōrewarewa (mesmerized). The vision appeared as Kapariera (Archangel Gabriel) who in essence, instructed him to ‘Rise up’, reject the warlike practices and to cast off the yoke of Pākeha domination, to restore the birth right of Israel (te iwi Māori) in the land of Canaan (Kēnana or Aotearoa).
The tension and renewed conflict in 1863 became a key point in the rise of Te Ua’s Paimarire faith. Taranaki Iwi had assembled at Kaitake pā on the ridge above Oākura and other smaller pā along the base of the Kaitake ranges. Te Ua spent days challenging the people to liberate themselves of their faith in Pākeha doctrines (in particular pākeha missionaries) and turn to ‘te atua paimarire’ (god of peace and goodwill), who would protect them from ill harm and liberate them from degradation and conflict. Despite the scepticism of many of his Taranaki iwi relations it was not until the southern Taranaki Iwi hapū had joined them that a niu (mast head) was erected, the ‘hau’ ceremonies conducted and a resolution to adopt the new faith confirmed. Te Ua then appointed his apostles and his flag ‘Riri’was hoisted.
Te Ua had now provided a theological aspect to the issue of Taranaki iwi’s independence, which was largely political at the time. The embracing of the religion signalled a rejection and distrust of Pākeha missionaries over their involvement in land purchase issues and against a backdrop of proposed confiscation and war, gained support from other Taranaki iwi which spread further afield as emissaries from Taranaki moved across the land as far as the East Coast.
The show of military might was brought to bear on many Taranaki Iwi under Te Ua and in 1865 the troops, under Colonel Warre and Assistant Native Secretary Robert Parris landed on Opunake beach. With the impacts from the loss of life after the famed attack on Te Morere (Sentry Hill) almost a year prior, (and the bulk of Paimarire followers engaged in conflict in south Taranaki), Warre and Parris erected the Opunake redoubt on the hilltop above the beach. They then ‘negotiated’ with Taranaki Kaumātua rangatira Wiremu Kīngi Matakatea and Arama Karaka Te Raeuaua and sought to bring them under the Governor’s influence with promises of protection and land. By this time Te Ua Haumēne had also proclaimed that fighting should cease (‘kia tukua te haeata, kia rere kia mau te rongo, kia whakamutua te whawhai’ amongst the people and became the basis of Te Raeuaua and Matakatea’s decision to surrender. However, they were under no illusions of what to expect in terms of the soldiers behaviour and to whom sweetness would result, this was captured in the following speech made by Te Raeuaua as he spoke with Parris;
‘tūwhera kau atu ngā kūhā o te wahine
he kokomo kau tā te tāne i te ure ki roto ki te puta
te mutunga iho, he reka.’
‘the thighs of the (our) women are open
entry now by (your) the mens’ penises into the vagina’s
will result in sweetness.’
Despite the Opunake people’s surrender, further military campaigns were mounted to suppress any remaining Taranaki Paimarire resistance and Crown forces burned villages and stormed pā with bayonets along the south Taranaki Coast and into Taranaki Iwi lands. Days later, upon reaching Opunake, Te Ua, alongside Arama Karaka, Hone Pihama and 34 other men were marched at bayonet point into camp and compelled to swear an oath of allegiance for the second time. Matakatea’s village was also sacked and his house Nuku-te-apiapi burnt, despite his oath for peace sometime earlier. While Arama Karaka, Hone Pihama and the others were freed, Te Ua was held prisoner. He was paraded around various settlements in the country to demonstrate the failure of Hauhau resistance. He was also held under house arrest with Grey at his Kawau Island home.
In 1865 Taranaki Iwi responded to the plight of war and Crown acts of violence with an alternative non-violent action with Te Whiti o Rongomai, Tohu Kakahi and other prominent Taranaki leaders appointed to lead the community.
Taranaki Iwi traditions record the plight beginning with proclamations in 1865 and 1866 following the raids by Chute through the Warea and Opunake districts. These proclamations are known as ‘Te Haeata’ (new dawn) and ‘Te Tau Ariki (a time of prominence)’, signalling an end to the bloodshed and conflict, and the beginning of a new struggle for self-determination through non-violent action;
‘1866 Ko te tau ariki tenei, ka kuhuna te patu. E kore rawa e kitea. Ka haere mai ngaa tahua a te koorero atua kia Te Whiti raaua ko Tohu. He tukituki i te kino kia mate i te pai. Kia tau ko te whakaoranga me te rangimaarie me te rongomau ki runga i te whenua, ki runga i te tangata. He puru i te toto, puta noa i ngaa iwi e wha o te ao, kei te pakanga raaua ki te rangatiratanga kei te muru mai i runga a tauiwi, i a te kuini…
Under its own autonomy and independence, Parihaka flourished in an environment where development was inspired by the principles of discipline, faith, organisation and unwavering dedication. A strong agricultural base was also established with advanced agricultural machinery in everyday use. The population grew steadily as those who had been displaced and dispossessed by the war and confiscation sought refuge. Under the inspiration of Te Whiti and Tohu and other Taranaki iwi leaders Parihaka grew to pre-eminence, leadership of the central district (Hangatahua River to the Waingongoro River) was vested in the village with Tohu and Te Whiti at its heart. They established monthly meetings on the 18th day to which Māori and Pākehā leaders were invited to attend to discuss the injustices and strategise for the resistance to land alenation and assimilation. The 18th became a consistent institution for the Parihaka movement. It recalled the date of the start of the first war in Waitara which began on March 18, 1860.
By 1878, the Crown facing pressure for more land began surveying. However, promises of restitution for Waitara and large reserves for Taranaki Iwi from the Compensation process had not been implemented. Following the refusal of the Government to meet with Te Whiti to discuss the question of reserves, the two leaders launched an “army” of ploughmen to plough settlers’ land throughout Taranaki. Taranaki Iwi records that these lands included Tapuae and Oakura in the Taranaki Iwi rohe.
In 1880 the Government then began building a road to Parihaka, a telegraph line and Lighthouse to aid in the further invasion into Taranaki Iwi lands. When the road reached the Parihaka block in June 1880, the armed constabulary pulled down fences during construction, exposing Mäori crops to their horses and wandering stock. As the fences were broken, Te Whiti and Tohu sent fencers to repair them.
These passive resistance campaigns led to close to 400 “ploughmen” and “fencers” from throughout Taranaki being arrested and imprisoned. No court proceedings were conducted by any Supreme Court trial and special legislation was passed, first to defer them and then to dispense with the trials altogether. Subsequently, all prisoners were shipped to jail in Dunedin, Hokitika, Littleton and Ripapa Island for 2 years on charges of forcible entry, malicious injury to property, riot.
Lenience was not given to rebel and loyalist alike as everyone implicated in fencing or ploughing was detained and imprisoned. Even the famed old warrior Wiremu Kingi Te Matakatea, who had been instrumental in assisting and supporting Pākeha over the decades was imprisoned, however, after a bailout effort by Wi Parata Te Kākākura and Wi Tako Ngātata he responded by saying “…I will not leave the Prison. If my children are to suffer then we will suffer together. If I may go, let them go also. Our hands are not soiled with crime and we are therefore not pouri…”
Many prisoners, including people of Taranaki, were later held at the Government’s will in prisons in the South Island. These included the following Taranaki Iwi people: Wiremu Kingi Te Matakatea, Ngahape, Te Ara, Ruaroa, Te Ratupu, Toko, Himiona Te Toko, Te Raho, Haterei, Te Ngoungou, Hetaraka Riha, Hunanga, Pene Muhu, Te Kai-o-Roto, Warihi, Taurua, Matiu Te Waero, Takuta, Ikaroa, Renau, Toti, Wiwini, Tukino, Tamanohomai, Rangihaeata, Ngawari, Kohi, Uira, Rangi, Huiroa, Te Hama, Uakora, Tapihana Rawhirawhi, Niu Tireni, Tapuke, Reweti Ngahuhi, Tamihana te Karu, Tamahuki, Toroa, Te Kaka
Conditions were harsh and included hard labour. The detrimental impact of these conditions was compounded by the effect of ill health and exile.
TE TAU O TE PĀHUATANGA / THE PĀHUA
By 1881, the Crowns concern with Parihaka has reached new heights. Many of the strongest and fittest of Parihaka men were in Prison while Parihaka continued to flourish, so on 5 November 1881 more than 1,500 Crown troops, led by the Native Minister, invaded the occupied the pā in order to dismantle the community. No resistance was offered. The experience of the Paahuatanga (sacking) is captured by the following whakataukitanga korero:
I tenei rangi ka opehia noatia te kopae heki i raro i te katua, kahore he kai pipipi, kahore he kai kokoko
Today we will be bundled together like eggs under the parent, without food and sustenance.
Over the following days some 1,600 men, women and children not originally from Parihaka, were also forcibly expelled from the settlement and made to return to their native homes. Houses and cultivations in the vicinity were systematically destroyed, and stock was driven away or killed. Looting also occurred during the occupation. Taranaki Mäori assert that women were raped and otherwise molested by the soldiers. Special legislation was subsequently passed to restrict Mäori gatherings. Throughout this period restrictions were also placed on Mäori movement. Entry into Parihaka was regulated by a pass system.
During the raid, six people were imprisoned and Te Whiti and Tohu were charged for sedition and held until 1883. Their trials were postponed and ultimately special legislation was passed to provide for their imprisonment without trial. This legislation also indemnified those who, in the action taken to “preserve the peace”, might have exceeded their legal powers.
Some 5,000 acres of the promised reserve at Parihaka were taken by the Crown as compensation for the costs of “suppressing the…Parihaka sedition”.
The invasion of Parihaka caused much more than the destruction of physical property but caused considerable emotional and physical personal harm. This experience is aptly captured by Te Whiti o Rongomai’s statement to his people on his return from incarceration in 1883 when he saw many light skinned children playing on the marae:
NAA WAI HEENEI KOPURAPURA? NAA TAATOU!
Who do these speckled potatoes belong to? They belong to us!
Parihaka was our Taranaki Iwi statement of Tino Rangatiratanga and has been described as symbolic of autonomy. John Bryce justifying the use of force in Taranaki in Parliament in the 1880’s stated:
“…while others of the native race had engaged in battle and been defeated, he (Te Whiti) with no force behind him, stopped as it were the tide of civilisation in that direction. Government after Government had been determined to occupy the land and proceed with the settlement…”
In 1883 Te Whiti and Tohu were released and Parihaka was being rebuilt. It was not the end of the fight for them, until their deaths in 1907 both men spoke vociferously in opposing the death of the land and the people.
WEST COAST COMMISSIONS
After a litany of complaints and protests by Taranaki iwi, more than ten years after the compensation process, the Crown appointed a Commission of Inquiry (known as the West Coast Commission) into the promises made to Taranaki Maori about confiscated land, none of the land awarded by the Compensation Court to Taranaki Iwi had been allocated or granted. Nor had the Crown implemented an earlier proclamation guaranteeing the retention of 5% of any land sold in a confiscation district to provide for reserves.
Before the investigations began, the Mäori Member of Parliament appointed to the first Commission sought to be relieved of his post, claiming that his fellow Commissioners were not impartial and that they had previously been Ministers responsible for trouble on the West Coast, and had supported confiscation.
The functions of the Commission were narrowly focused on the Compensation Court awards and specific Crown promises and did not empower the Commission to inquire into the question of justice of the confiscations and compensation process. They refused to hear counsel who wished to question the validity of the confiscation and told Mäori that it was not there to discuss such questions with them (although the validity of the invasion and the confiscation for Māori was the root cause).
The Commission focused mostly on evidence and testimonies from Māori who chose to speak, generally this was from those who had a close working relationship with the Government. It was well known that those from Parihaka did not participate and were vocal in their suspicion of the Crowns intentions. These factors combined to minimise the amount of land considered eligible for return to Mäori and maximised the amount available for settler use and occupation.
The first Commission concluded that a large majority of the Crowns promises were not kept. It noted several related problems including the shortage of lands available for compensation awards and the lack of available land for Chatham Islands returnees, but offered no solutions.
The second Commission was appointed in December 1880 to implement the recommendations of the first Commission. It identified for return approximately 118,520 acres among 1855 grantees. Some of the reserves were large but were scaled right down to that which was promised during the compensation process. Those that had not taken up arms were all affected.
The ownership of the blocks to be returned was determined by the second Commission without right of appeal by claimants. Of the land returned, all was under individualised title. Many of the reserves were protected against permanent alienation when granted, but these restrictions were later removed and much of this land was sold.
The second Commission recommended a system of management, which was subsequently adopted, that placed the reserves under the control of the Public Trustee rather than the owners. Uor peoples response to this was ‘Ka murua katoa te whenua ki te rihi…’
Where reserves intended for Taranaki Maori were established, the owners had no control over their land. Control of the land was instead in the hands of the Public Trustee who leased the land to settlers, usually without the consent of the owners. The West Coast Settlement Reserve Act of 1892 made the leases on these lands perpetually renewable and rents were based on the unimproved value of the land, with the owners meeting the costs for surveying, fencing, drainage and roads out of this rent. With the provisions of this Act, reserves intended for Taranaki Maori, including Taranaki iwi, became permanent European settlements.
TARANAKI IWI SEEK JUSTICE
In spite of the treatment at the hands of those in successive Crown Governments Taranaki Iwi continued to seek justice and seven Crown inquiries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries investigated the impact of the confiscations on our people. These culminated in the Sim Commission of 1926-27, which, although limited in the extent of its inquiries, was one of the first gave serious consideration to our grievances.
Among other matters, the Commission found that the consent of Wiremu Kingi and his people was required for the sale of the Pekapeka Block, that Taranaki Maori were treated as rebels and war declared against them without cause, that in fighting against the Crown, Taranaki Maori were acting in self-defence and that the confiscations of land by the Crown should not have occurred.
The settlement sum recommended by the Commission for injustices was a £5000 annuity and a £300 payment for the loss of property at Parihaka. The compensation was never discussed with Taranaki Maori. Taranaki, and other iwi of Taranaki, regarded the compensation as inadequate. Payments of the annuity for the first 17 years were irregular and, in the 1930s, were not fully paid. Nor, in years of high inflation, were they adjusted for the loss of value.
The settlement was enshrined in the Taranaki Maori Claims Settlement Act 1944 that stated Taranaki Maori agreed to the annuity and the £300 payment as full settlement of our claims arising from the confiscations and Parihaka. There is no evidence Taranaki, or any other Iwi of Taranaki, agreed to this.
Taranaki Iwi rights were further eroded by legislation in the 1950s and 1960s when specific interests in reserves located within our rohe were removed and replaced with general interests in reserves throughout Taranaki and land sales to leases were made easier. By 1974 more than 63% of our original reserves under the control of the Public Trustee had been alienated.
Loss of land also affected our capacity to sustain ourselves beyond the loss of our ability to cultivate food. Our access to rivers, lakes, forests, swamps and the foreshore was also impeded as alienated land close to these food gathering areas was enclosed. Such access difficulties continue to this day.
The reacquisition of assets and access rights to resources was seen as extremely important to the future development of Taranaki iwi. Economic activity has been minimal in the past with few Iwi assets held as a result of the complete confiscation of Taranaki Iwi resources during the 19th century.
In 2008 Taranaki Iwi undertook to negotiate redress for the impacts of the Crown’s actions to address this issue. Negotiations are currently ongoing.
TARANAKI IWI TODAY
Prior to the arrival of tauiwi to Aotearoa, Taranaki Iwi was an autonomous, independent and self-governing confederation of hapu. Some of these hapu included:
Ngati Tairi, Potikitaua, Nga Mahanga, Nga Mahanga a Tairi, Patukai, Upokomutu, Waiotama, Puketoretore, Ngati Tuhekerangi, Ngati Tara, Ngati Rongo, Ngati Haumia, Titahi, Ngati Tamaahuroa, Ngati Tamakumu, Ngati Haupoto, Ngati Rangikotuku, Ngati Moeahu, Ngati Kahumate, Ngati Atua, Ngati Tamarongo, Ngai Wetenga
As Taranaki Iwi we exercised tino rangatiratanga over our traditional rohe through many of these hapu. However, many hapu no longer form distinct functioning communities of the past and maintain their identity within certain families and Marae in our rohe. Current Taranaki iwi Marae are Okorotua/Oakura, Tarawainuku/ Puniho, Parihaka, Te Potaka and Orimupiko.
It is difficult to determine how many Taranaki Iwi people there are. Like most Iwi, Taranaki now has members spread across various parts of the world with the main concentrations of Taranaki Iwi populations located within Taranaki, Hamilton, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. The huge amount of Taranaki descendants (approximately 40%) live outside Taranaki.
Copyright © Te Kahui o Taranaki Iwi Trust 2013