Lore and history of the South Island Maori
Resorts North of Dunedin
Resorts North of Dunedin
Dunedin is singularly fortunate in having on the north line such historically interesting and picturesque holiday resorts as Puketiraki with Karitane, Waitati and Purakaunui. Puketiraki gives acess to Karitane which was the Waikouaiti of the early whaling days. The Native Reserve of Waikouaiti (Reserve No. 13) was set aside in accordance with Kemp's Purchase of the Ngai Tahu Block and then consisted of 1,800 acres. This area was later increased so as to total 3,000 acres. Not another native reserve or settlement in the South Island can compete with Old Waikouaiti for picturesque setting. The Maoris have enhanced their position by maintaining a better standard of living than is usual in most native settlements; this being brought about by an inherent pride of race.
From 1905 until 1920 the writer spent a large amount of his leisure time among the Maori people of Old Waikouaiti of whom practically all have now crossed the Great Divide. Memories of their abounding hospitality and brotherly actions however remain. The last full-blood, Hoani Matiu, passed away in June 1944. In no small degree did the following contribute to the writer's note books:—Tame Parata, m.p., C. R. Parata, m.p., Mr and Mrs Mohi Te Wahia, the Apes Brothers, the Paaka Family, Mrs Harper (Big Mary), George Watkin and Mrs He Kini (popularly known as Mrs Chicken). Mr Ned Parata is probably the last of that old brigade still living.
Old Waikouaiti has been the abode of aboriginal people dating back to the dim and misty past. The Waitaha (first of that name), Hawea, Papuwai, Waitaha (second of that name), Ngati Mamoe, and finally the Ngai Tahu Tribe have in turn occupied the locality. Now Old Waikouaiti is being flooded with European week-enders, who like the Maoris appreciate its charms. Merton is the nearest railway station giving access from the north, and is the second such south of modern Waikouaiti.
Ta wako o waka is the Maori name of Merton and denotes a canoe landing-place on the Waikouaiti River. Huriawa Peninsula is situated at the mouth of the Waikouaiti River, and consists of a cluster of small hills joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus (only a few chains wide and page 114a few feet in height) with the river running into the sea on the north side into Waikouaiti Bay.
Huriawa means the river turned round, and there can be little doubt that the Waikouaiti River once entered the sea on the south side into Puketiraki Bay. Huriawa Peninsula proved an ideal place for a Maori fort. On Huriawa Peninsula the Ngati Mamoe Tribe once had a pa, and its name Pa katata still clings to the outer part. When the Ngai Tahu Tribe forced its way south about 1730A.D. the great Te Wera immediately observed that Huriawa was a fine location for a pa. Te Wera was a chief of the Te Ruahikihiki hapu, and it was not long before his selection was put to the test.
Taoka the turbulent, whose mission in life seems to have been to cause the maximum of trouble for his fellow men, found an excuse to attack Te Wera's pa. The reason for the struggle between the two cousins was occasioned by events which had occurred a short time previously at Purakaunui and at Pukekura (Otago Heads). These events will be dealt with in another chapter. Te Wera beat off all attacks made on his stronghold. After a siege of six months Taoka gave up the effort to capture Huriawa Pa. Te Wera had taken the precaution of fully stocking the commissariat. Moreover a spring within the pa known to this day as Te Puna a Te Wera supplied an abundance of water. Te Wera had denuded the vicinity of Old Waikouaiti of vegetable foods. Taoka's force stationed on the bleak Waikouaiti Spit consequently lacked these necessities and their health gave way.
The Maoris of Old Waikouaiti can still recite Taoka's taunt and Te Wera's reply. Taoka camped on the Waikouaiti Spit called out to the besieged:—"Me whakatiki koutou ki te kai", (We will starve you out). Te Wera replied: "Ekore ai, e kore! Ekore au e mate i te kai, e kore ma matua whakatakoto ke te Kutu u Toretore—ekore i taea; Engarima te matua mate wai, ka mate ai". (Never, never, We will never die for want of food, neither will we be conquered by the army lying there below the lips of Toretore; You shall never reach us, only by the army of thirst shall we be overcome meaning if the water supply should be cut off).
Perhaps the only real anxiety Te Wera had was when one of Taoka's warriors silently entered Huriawa Pa by one of the Blowholes on the Peninsula, and stole away the image of the protecting deity. Taoka held it up defiantly to the inmates of the pa. Hautu, the tohunga of Huriawa Pa, however, by a powerful karakia (prayer) caused the sacred image the following night to return to its rightful place. A similar story is told. When the Maoris of Taumutu under Te Rua pu raided Waikouaiti on one occasion the god was taken and conveyed north, but the karakia uttered by the Waikouaiti tohunga caused its return south through space.page 115
The present inhabitants of Old Waikouaiti are members of the Te Ruahikihiki and Huirapa hapus. The Runanga Hall is named Huirapa and its kitchen bears the name of that chief's wife Maririhau. Runanga halls frequently honour chiefs and their wives in this fashion. The Karitane Domain of 38 acres has its connection with the past. When a party of the Ngai Tahu were visiting Otakou by canoe from Canterbury, a chief died when off Waikouaiti, and he was buried ashore. In 1927 Europeans decided to turn the burial site into a children's playground. The Maoris rightly objected and at the Native Land Court on July 25th, 1929, Judge Gilfidder upheld the native attitude.
During November 1907, several pipi shells which were found on the beach at Karitane, contained shellfish embalmed in mother-of-pearl. Epiha Maaka and Miss Parata were the finders. It was Epiha Maaka in conjunction with Doctor Pomare and Henare Mairi who made the orations at the funeral of Tame Parata, m.p., on March 10th, 1917. Taare Parata, m.p., passed away on January 8th, 1918, and the funeral service was conducted by the Rev. E. J. Neale of Waikouaiti.
Since Old Waikouaiti is a healthy place it appears quite natural that the district produced many persons who lived long past what we term the allotted span. Mrs Ria Te Kini (Chicken) previously mentioned reached the age of 110 years, and was a young woman when the Wesleyan Mission was functioning at Old Waikouaiti. She was tattooed, and was known as a shrewd business woman. She died in July 1919. Mrs Mere Harper (Big Mary) passed away at a ripe old age in June 1924. Hoani Tamahika Matiu born at Old Waikouaiti on November 16th, 1854, passed away on June 4th, 1944. He was a strong supporter of the Ngai Tahu Claim, and on tribal history he was exceptionally valuable to Europeans.
Teoti Te Whai who passed away on December 24th. 1891, was aged 105 years, and then there was Mrs Mere Wheikori Te Haoutu, who died at Riverton that same month and year. She left 15 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. She lived over sixty years at Waikouaiti and was married by Bishop Selwyn. When W. B. D. Mantell, Maori Land Purchase Officer, went south in 1848, Miriama Matui had just married her third husband. She nursed Rawiri Te Maire. The lady applied for the old-age pension in September 1899. She was then over 90 years of age. She died on January 29th, 1902.
No story of Old Waikouaiti would be complete without reference to the Wesleyan Maori Mission established by the Rev. James Watkin on May 16th, 1840. The Rev. Watkin and his successor the Rev. Creed converted to Christianity practically every Maori chief of note in the southern districts. The Rev Watkin has left us a good pen picture of such page 116worthies as Koroko and Kurakura, chiefs at Old Waikouaiti; and Tangatahara of Wairewa, Banks Peninsula. Koroko stated definitely to the Rev. Watkin that he had seen a moa in his youth, and such information has been given by other Maoris of that period in other parts.
The site of the old Wesleyan Mission station is marked by blue-gum trees. However it cannot be gainsaid that the Wesleyans did the spade-work in the South Island Maori mission-field, making the task of the other communions easy. It is to be hoped the Rev. Rugby Pratt (or another Wesleyan historian) will publish more fully the history of their missions.
The celebrated whaler and trader of the early days, Johnny Jones, donated 64 sections at Old Waikouaiti for the purposes of the Anglican Church. Through the efforts of the Parata family, helped by a grant from the Government, an Anglican Church was built and named Hui te Rangiora (the place of heavenly assembly). The church was dedicated by Bishop Nevill in 1873.
Education was a feature of the work of the Wesleyan Church in the South Island as the public documents decidedly show. The Rev. C. Creed appointed a Mr Feren, an arrival by the Otago Association ship John Wickliffe, as a schoolmaster at Old Waikouaiti. However Mr Feren gave up the teaching profession, and became a runholder in Otago. Doctor Cracrome was the first medical practitioner. Matiu Kapene was an early Native Assessor (or J.P.), being appointed such on December 20th, 1862.
The native school at Waikouaiti in 1876 was in charge of Mr and Mrs Maloney. In later years they conducted schools on Banks Peninsula. In 1878 there were 60 pupils at Waikouaiti Native School, and in 1889 the roll was 34. During the eighties the average annual cost of conducting the school was £240.
Of the Old Waikouaiti of the whaling days, either on the Spit or the nearby mainland at the river mouth, nothing in the way of buildings remain. The later-tmentioned portion is now the fishing and holiday resort called Karitane. The word Karitane for forty years and more has been given at least six explanations. The most modern of these is that Karitane is a Maori parody to remember the Rev. Creed. Kari—Creed; Tane—Man. None of the old generation held that view. Hoani Matiu stated that it referred to a dance of welcome by men only at Old Waikouaiti when their women folk who usually performed that service were absent. Another explanation was it referred to a drain cut by men in which to trap eels. The fourth version says it signifies a swampy place near the Neck. Fifth, that at one time the district had more than its share of cripples. The sixth story has it that during the siege of Huriawa Pa by Taoka, the stalwarts of the garrison page 117slipped out on a fishing expedition leaving only a few wounded (maimed) men to guard the pa. The last-mentioned explanation appears the most satisfactory.
Huriawa is correctly the old Ngai Tahu name of the Peninsula; but just as Port Victoria for a time displaced Port Cooper as the name of Lyttelton Harbour, so was the venerable old name of Huriawa placed aside. The name Karitane applied to the real Waikouaiti now-a-days is equally unfortunate. The name Waikouaiti is held by many well-known writers to be a corruption. They maintain the spelling should be Wai kawa iti. However none of the old-time Maori inhabitants held such a view. In a round-about way they stated it signified a tidal peculiarity at the mouth of the Waikouaiti River. The channel of the river lies deep below the tidal mud flats. When the tide is well up these flats are quickly covered with shallow water. On the tide falling the covering water becomes less—the name Waikouaiti is therefore a descriptive one.
In 1872 the Maoris of the district made good use of their 3,000 acres of land. They owned 3,500 sheep and 30 horses, and had 350 acres growing wheat and oats. The natives owned 13 ploughs, 10 carts, 3 reaping machines and 2 threshing mills. For many years prior to 1872 the Maoris had to contend with European neighbors allowing sheep and cattle to graze on the native reserve. The protest of the Maoris through their chief Matiu Rapene and the Rev. J. F. Riemenschneider was forwarded to the Native Department on March 20th, 1866, with little result.
After the memorable siege of Huriawa, Te Wara's old fort was abandoned, and its inhabitants dwelt in kiangas along the Waikouaiti River or overlooking Puketiraki Bay. Te Wera migrated finally to Stewart Island where the old warrior died peacefully in his bed, a death he enjoined his sons not to emulate, but to go down fighting as true warriors. This injunction the sons carried out to the letter in the fighting around Colac Bay, Southland.
On the north side of Huriawa Peninsula is a small cove or boat harbor called Te Awa Mokihi, where Te Wera's fishing fleet was moored. The gateway to the pa was called Ngutu a Tore tore (the lips of Tore Tore): At the west side of Huriawa stood the carved house Kuramatakitaki and the Owhare kainga. On the south-east side of Huriawa Peninsula are two large pinnacle rocks known as the Old Man and Old Woman Rocks. The Old Man in the sea is Maramai Te Whata (left from the storehouse), and the Old Woman on the edge of the land is Araki Te Araroa (shaken to life). A rock nearby represents a child.
Not far away are two remarkable rocks known as the Hongi Rocks, as they have the appearance of two women page 118pressing noises. On Huriawa Peninsula are three blowholes (Pehu), two of which can be easily seen. A legend explains their origin. Away in the dim past a Maori maid and a Maori youth fell in love, as most folk do. The parents on both sides objected to a marriage, so the young couple eloped. A year passed by, and they returned to Old Waikouaiti to receive forgiveness and a paternal blessing. In this they were disappointed. The parents took their respective offspring to the Puke Maeroero Hills behind Puketiraki, and angrily heaved them into space. The young woman had become much heavier than her spouse, and consequently her fall caused the larger blowhole, the one nearest to Puketiraki Beach.
Waikouaiti Beach is known to the Maori as O Hine-te-moa and Puketiraki Beach as Wha kawai Pakepake. On Puketiraki Beach midway south are remarkable basaltic rocks named Ka-whatu-a-haere (the rocks of Haere). Against these the seas dash with fury, the resultant spray rich in fragments of rainbows showing well in the sunlight. Haere is the deity of rainbow fragments.
The following is a list of place names obtained about forty years ago:—Kaka kutuna, the creek entering the Waikouaiti River near Merton and Oxley. Haka riki on south bank of the Waikouaiti River. Tupare koau, bush and cliffs below the junction of the branches of the Waikouaiti River. Te Rua karehu, a dip in the ground near to the site of the old customs house. Kiri kiri whaka horo, the creek west of Merton railway station which runs to the Tautaka a Poti, flat and backwash of the river. Te Pou a te Wera is a site behind the original Waikouaiti village.
Koko nui, is the creek running towards the swamp land at Merton on the east side of the railway and past the Apes home. Pohure is the modern Maori name of Maui's Rock at the southern end of Puketiraki Beach. In modern European times it has been called Mother Robertson's Tooth, but to the early whalers it was Mother Brinn's. With the latter name it honours the memory of one of the earliest pakeha women residents of Old Waikouaiti. Pohatu tautini, is the bush near the Puketiraki railway tunnel. Huirapa is the saucer-like depression near the old home of Mohi Te Wahia. Pata ma kiri is the site of the small bridge on the south side of the backwash of the Waikouaiti River west of Merton.
Whakamaniaro is the name of the creek flowing past an old home of the late Hoani Matiu, Okuroeero, a reef off Puketiraki Bay, Ouneahi part of the Puke maerero hills behind Puketiraki. Te Rua karihu is situated near Cameron's weekend house (formerly Hon. David Pinkerton's). Maramao or Murimao is the channel of the Waikouaiti River near the sea, Maukorea bight on Huriawa Peninsula outward from the canoe landing (Te Awa mokihi). Maiore is the neck of page 119Huriawa Peninsula; Hau te kapa akpa is the assembly ground; Pipi-te-one-ora is that portion of the beach south of the neck, and in the vicinity is Te one o makuku. Tau o te pukio is a reef just off the neck. Waipipi kaike is the site of an old hamlet as is Makuku and Marukure. Otohe represents the under-water rocks off Puketiraki Beach. O Hine pou weru is the name of the sandspit at Old Waikouaiti on which Taoka camped. Parahamiti is on the coast near the Yellow Bluff. Te Taumata-o-Kupe is the terrace overlooking Puketiraki Beach. The Yellow Bluff is Te Pa Hawea and is the site of a former pa. Te Awaparariki is near the Yellow Bluff. Te Awa kai pawa is Green's Point. Te Awa koeo is Brinn's Point, and south of the latter is Tau here keo keo. Ahuriri is the name of rocks off Waikouaiti Bay. Te Awa puaka is a creek entering Puketiraki Bay and the terrace nearby bears the name Te Taumatea o Puaka.
Leaving Old Waikouaiti or modern Karitane we pass south. Okai hau is the outlet to the sea of the Omimi Greek. The full name of the site of the Omimi railway station is Te Mimi e te haki. The location of the Seacliff Mental Hospital is Turau aruhe. Waikoko is the Seacliff Creek. Potaerua represents the bush at Seacliff and the bight on the coastline towards Omimi is Rau-one. Warrington, the aristocratic weekend resort, bears the name of a famous greenstone weapon Aka hau. Whaitiri-paku was the name of an old native village at what we now call Evansdale. The Evansdale Stream below its Kilmog branch, was an eeling place called Wai moi (sour water). The streams entering Blueskin Bay travelling south were the Totara, Waiputi and Waitete (the latter erroneously spelt Waitati). Waitete means "bubbling water", and no one who has lived alongside its course would question the translation as being truly descriptive.
The Orokonui Stream drains the northern slopes of Mount Mopariui entering the mouth of the Waitete not far away from the Orokonui Mental Hospital. Blueskin was the name of Waitete in the early days. The early settlers named it such after a well-tattooed Maori called Te Hikututu, whose nickname was Blueskin.
A Ngai Tahu chief named Tutakahikura visiting Southland, coveted the wives of a Ngati Mamoe chief named Tutemakeho when the latter chief was away foraging, and abducted the women. A chase from Southland resulted, and Tutemakeho fortunately caught up with the abductor at Pae Kohu (place of frogs) or Green Hill on the divide between the Silverstream and the coastal valleys. It was decided by the warriors to fight the matter out in gladiator fashion at Waitete. Tu te makaho won back his wives, taking them back to Otaupiri. A leaderless hapu of the Ngai Tahu returned to Canterbury.
Approximately 12 miles from Dunedin is Purakaunui page 120wrongly spelt Purakanui, which boasts a large native reserve, and its native inhabitants, who originally hailed from Kaiapoi, are proud of the fact that they are descendants of Ngai Tahu, who were there long before the fall of Kaiapohia, and are not begotten of refugee stock. Away back about the year 1750A.D. the War God Tu controlled the lives of the inhabitants of Purakaunui. Three cousins of chief rank but with no trace of family affection kept the Ngai Tahu Tribe in almost an unbroken state of strife. Their names were Moki II, Taoka and Te Wera. Te Wera of Huriawa Pa at Old Waikouaiti dwelt for a time at Pukekura Pa at Otakou Heads. When there the paramount chief Tu ki taha rangi died, also Moki II's son. Te Wera was accused of practising makutu (wizardry) on his kinsfolk and killing them. Te Wera fled away to Purakaunui where Te Rehu, his sister's husband held sway. Moki II was not to be outmatched; so he sent a surprise war party to Purakaunui kainga under the chief Kapo. The house of the chiefs was surrounded and most of the inmates slain, including a chief named Patuki. Te Rehu and Te Wera made a miraculous escape, indeed a wailing for their decease had commenced at Huriawa when they arrived. Safe back in his fortress Te Wera waited and gathered together his warriors. He then set out for Pukekura on which he exacted full vengeance.
Taoka took up the Pukekura cause and besieged Te Wera at Huriawa. He failed to capture that pa, so he turned his attention later to Mapou tahi on Goat Island Peninsula where the railway skirts the Blueskin Cliffs near the tunnel. When Taoha arrived at Mapoutahi in mid-winter, his scouts found the narrow neck of land which gave access to the pa well guarded. One exceptionally wild night, however, the sentries were withdrawn, and dummies put in their place. The ruse worked until Taoka went forth and did scouting for himself. He discovered the true position and Mapou tohi Pa was stormed. Only a few persons escaped by swimming and scaling the vine ladders on the Blueskin Cliffs which had been used for bird nesting.
The name for Goat Island is Mata awhe awhe (dead gathered in a heap), and its isthmus is called after Pakihaukea, its unfortunate defender. The portion of the Blueskin Cliffs nearest to Waitati is Wata awa awa (edge of the valley). The bay east of the peninsula is Paua nui (large ear shell fish). On October 22nd, 1930, Goat Island Peninsula, area 4 acres, was vested as a scenic reserve under the control of the Otago University. Why the Maori people were not favoured with possession is not clear.
Near Purakaunui is Long Beach, known as Whare wera wera, which contains a native reserve of a few hundred acres. The original trustees of this poor quality reserve were Tamati Tiko, Te Ati Poroki, Hipa Porekaha, Riki Tuete and Haereroa. The land is of sandy nature, with, however, miniature lagoons through which a very wandering stream passes, and in the days when the Piorakaunui district once held a large native population, provided good eeling places. There is no doubt that the Maoris living between Purakaunui and Otago Heads suffered severely from European diseases during the period sealing ships were frequenting the coast. The cold-water treatment by the tohungas of influenza and measles could only result in one way—death.
South of Longbeach is Murdering Beach which should be known by its Maori name of Whare ake ake. On December 24th, 1817, a Tasmanian brig named the Sophia, commanded by Captain Kelly, anchored there to trade with the Maoris. However a man named Tucker was recognised as a person who at Riverton traded in dried Maori heads. Such sacrilege quite rightly brought down on the pakahas the anger of the Maoris. Tucker fell to the blow of a mere wielded by Te Matahaere, as did two or three others. The remaining boatsmen returned to the ship for reinforcements, and in the skirmish the Maoris were defeated, and prisoners taken back to the Sophia, including the chief Korako, a progenitor of the Taiaroa family. The Maoris rallied under the chief Tukarekare, and in canoes attacked the ship, but without success. Korako rejoined his friends by jumping overboard to the canoes. The Europeans then killed their other prisoners, and sailed away to Otakou Heads where they destroyed the native village.
The bay south of Whare ake ake is called Kaikai after a Ngati Mamoe man dwelling there in a cave in the early days. The proper name is Takeratawhai. The cave belonging to Kaikai is now used as a sheep pen. A heavy "tapu" rested on Murdering Beach until it was lifted by a North Island tohunga at the request of the Purakaunui Maoris. The three bays south of Purakaunui have been the happy hunting-grounds of curio collectors, alas many not venerating the burial-places. It has been estimated that 3½ tons of worked greenstone has been page 122recovered. In 1912 a large part of this collection passed to British and American museums.
In 1926 a curious adze hogbacked with a very narrow cutting edge was found. Mr Washbourne Hunter was the land owner in the early days, and during his time 400 curios were discovered. Two dozen greenstone tikis have been found at Whare ake ake. The late Mr Murray Thomson, who had a weekend house at Murdering Beach, was an enthusiastic collector, and he assisted greatly the archaeological section of the Otago Institute during a fortnight of March 1935, in cross trenching, digging and searching every nook and corner of Kaikai, Murdering and Longbeach, and the chance of finding a good cache of curios is now very remote. Though a "green-stone workers' factory" the meres found have invariably been executed in slaty stone.
When Edward Shortland visited Purakaunui in October 1843, the Maori population had dwindled to 32 persons. Pukai-a-te-ao and Kaitipu of the Huirapa hapu had succeeded Urukino in the leadership. When Mantell made his census of Purakaunui in connection with the sale of the Ngai Tahu Block the inhabitants numbered 46. The majority of the people belonged to the Ngai tuna hapu. The Huirapa hapu (mostly females) counted 8 and the Ngati Tuahuriri 2 persons. The few Maoris who now occupy Purakaunui are half-caste descendants of whalers. The settlement is now a popular Dunedin weekend resort. The little fenced-in cemetery on the Purakaunui Spit alone reminds the visitor of the Maori backgroundOld Waikouaiti and Purakaunui are usually by-passed by motorists journeying to Dunedin who travel on the Main Road. The Main Road from modern Waikouaiti to Waitati crosses over the well-known Kilmog Hill, Kilmog being a corruption of the Maori name of the plant Kirimoko known to botanists as Septospermum ericoides, which grows profusely in the locality.