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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Mr. Tame Parata

Mr. Tame Parata, Member in the House of Representatives for the Southern Maori Electorate, was born at Ruapuke, an island south of the Bluff in 1837, and is therefore sixty-five years of age. He is a chief of the Ngaitahu, Waitaha, and Ngatimamoe tribes of the South Island of New Zealand. His genealogy runs away back to the time of the traditional migrations from Hawaiki, and he is a direct descendant of that famous navigator, Tamatea, the captain of the Takitimu canoe which arrived from Hawaiki, the ancient land of the Maori, sometime during the tenth century. After landing some of his companions (now the Ngatiporou tribe) at Poverty Bay, and some (now the Ngatikahungunu tribe) at Hawke's Bay, Tamatea and his canoe proceeded on southward, until he reached Murihiku (Southland), where he landed, and his long and remarkable voyage came to an end. The canoe Takitimu still lies there, not now, however, as her gallant skipper knew her then, but a long mountain of stone, so transformed by the hand of time. The name of the place is known to the Europeans as the Nightcaps and to the Maoris as Takitimu. Tame Parata is also a descendant or Paikea-ariki, a famous demi-god of ancient days, and an ancestor of the Maori. Paikea was an ariki, or priest-chief, in Hawaiki, and was invited by Ruatapu in the fatal canoe, in which 140 first-born chiefs of houses were decoyed from their homes. After proceeding to mid-ocean they were all destroyed by Ruatapu, except Paikea-ariki, who, by the aid of his magic spells, commanded his atua (god) Paikea, a whale, or water monster, to carry him on his back to dry land and was thus saved. Paikea's name in Hawaiki was Kahutiaterangi, and he received the name of Paikea, or whale, because he crossed the ocean on a whale. The murder of these chiefs was called Te-puruunuhia (the pulling of the plug), because it was accomplished by the deceitful Ruatapu by pulling out the plug of the canoe. So much for genealogy and the traditional lore of Tame Parata's interesting and noble race. While Tame Parata himself was a youth he moved to Waikouaiti, to reside with his uncle, Haereroa, otherwise known as Tommy Roundhead. Then he joined the pilot service at Otago Heads. After a few years in that employment he left to rejoin his uncle at Waikouaiti, where he has resided ever since, following agricultural and pastoral pursuits. He was elected to Parliament in 1885 by the South Island Maoris as their representative, and they have returned him regularly every election ever since, so that he has been a member for a period of sixteen years. Mr. Parata is a very intelligent man and speaks English as fluently as he does the Maori language, and thoroughly understands European as well as Maori politics. He has paid special attention to the question of securing lands for landless Maoris in the South Island, and by his energy he has, so far, obtained for them lands in Southland, Otago, Canterbury, Westland, Nelson, and Marlborough, amounting in all to over 150,000 acres. He is an ardent advocate for Native schools for the education and general advancement of his race. In Parliament he is very popular with both sides of the House.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.Mr. Tame Parata.

Wrigglesworth and Binns, photo.
Mr. Tame Parata.