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The Autobiography of a Maori

Hauhau Troubles on the East Coast

Hauhau Troubles on the East Coast

My mother, Henarata Pereto, belonged to Horoera, and my father, Hone Hiki, was one of a large family, and the eldest child of Mokena Kohere, a chief of the Ngati-Porou tribe, who in 1865 led the friendly Maoris against the Hauhaus. After the brutal murder of the Rev. Carl Volkner at Opotiki, the Hauhaus, led by emissaries from Taranaki, made their way towards East Cape, drawing in sub-tribes as they went along. At Mangaone stream, near Tikitiki in the Waiapu valley, they met with resistance, chiefly at the hands of the Aowera sub-tribe, who inhabited the district at the foot of Mount Hikurangi. Armed as they were with primitive weapons, the Aowera suffered at the hands of the rebels, losing amongst others two of their chiefs, Henare Nihoniho and Makoare. Elated with their success, the Hauhaus occupied Pukemaire, the tableland above Tikitiki.

Here sub-tribes who sympathised with the Hauhau movement came to swell its number. Wai-o-Matatini, just across the Waiapu river, had been the centre of the Kingite movement, and therefore readily threw in its lot with the rebels. Ngati-Hokopu, led by Mokena Kohere, alone remained loyal of the immediate sub-tribes. By sheer force of number, Mokena Kohere was driven towards the sea, and entrenched himself with a small garrison in the Hatepe pa. The chiefs Wiki Matauru, Pine Tuhaka and Arapeta Haenga joined page 17him. Mokena Kohere would have been crushed in Hatepe if white troops had not come to his relief. The Hauhaus were ousted from Pakairomiromi, then from Pukemaire, and took up their last stand at Hungahungatoroa, in the Karaka-tuwhero valley. Mokena Kohere, recognising that the position of the rebels was desperate, and taking pity on his fellow-tribesmen who were in the pa, pleaded with them to surrender and thereby to save themselves. On his second attempt to save the doomed rebels he succeeded. As his fellow-tribesmen trooped out their instigators from Taranaki, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty followed on their heels and slid down a steep bank and disappeared in the dense wood and so escaped.1

Mokena Kohere took upon himself to pardon the rebels, to resist confiscation of the Ngati-Porou lands, a policy which has been proved to be wise and statesmanlike.

1 I give a more detailed account of the incident in The Story of a Maori Chief.