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Lore and history of the South Island Maori

South Canterbury

page 90

South Canterbury

The tract of country extending from the Rakaia River to the Waitaki was well travelled over by the old time Maoris. There is hardly a portion of the Canterbury Plains which has not yielded Maori curios. It was usual however for the Maoris when on long journeys to keep near the coast. The common interpretation of the word Rakaia, "adorn the hair" is a questionable one, as it is not the type of river which allows placid pools to act as a mirror for hair adornment. The Rakaia was a difficult river to ford and the Maoris crossed it arranged in ranks holding on to a pole or rope.

Rakaia is the South Island variation of the standard Maori word "rangaia" (to arrange in ranks). Rangitata can be translated "close sky" or "day of lowering clouds". From the Rakaia Mouth to the Rangitata en route to Arowhenua trudged the escapees from the fall of the pas at Kaiapohia and Onawe, excluding of course, the survivors who hid in the bush of Mount Grey (Maunga tere) in North Canterbury.

Through the kindness of Mr Te Aritaua Pitama the writer was privileged to see a Maori account of their journeys. Taken in conjunction with information on place names gathered by surveyor Davie on instructions by Thomas Cass, Chief Surveyor of the Early Canterbury Province, it is possible to state the halting places. The halting places going south from Taumutu were Otepeka near Rakaia Mouth, Tahu a Tao (Dorie), Outoo (Kyle), Takapuneke (Seafield), Rerepari, Wharauka (Sea View), Whakanui, Hakatere (north side of Ashburton Mouth), Tuhina-a-po (near south side of Ashburton Mouth), Te Takanga o te-koutuku (described as a place where there was a scour in the beach cliffs) five miles north of the Rangitata River, and Pakihaukuku a stream two miles north of the Rangitata River.

According to Tare Wetere te Kahu the Maoris called the Rangitata Mouth Kai Whareatua, as a war party found little food there, and had to subsist on mushrooms. The Maoris used to have a fishing camp on the Ashburton (Hakatere) River above the site of the present borough.

Between Orari and Timaru the Maoris of Arowhenua possess several reserves, alas mostly leased out to Europeans—905 (600 acres at Kapunatiki), 913 (15 acres), 914 (30 acres), 908 (20 acres), 882 (187 acres) Waipopo, 883 (20 acres) page 91Rakipawa, 909 (10 acres), 910 (20 acres) and 911 (2 acres) Waitarakao or Washdyke Lagoon. Wai tarakao has been translated in many ways, but information gleaned by Herries Beattie settles the matter as "water with quicksands". European settlers have suffered with stock being caught in the quicksands at Washdyke Lagoon; the Maoris knew the danger long ago.

Timaru has for its literal translation "sheltered cabbage tree". Under the terms of Kemp's Deed a reserve of 20 acres was set aside in 1849 at Caroline Bay, Timaru, (Reserve 884). In 1871 the reserve was reduced in area to allow the formation of the Southern Railway, and the Maoris were compensated.

The Maoris with interests in the reserve made little if any use of this valuable land. In January 1914, the reserve was partitioned into 66 sections. Some of the owners made use of their sections and paid the half-rates required to the local body. the others did not. The Timaru Borough Council then demanded the half rates on the whole reserve. The matter of rates was brought before the Native Land Court with Judge Gilfedder on November 29th, 1916. After numerous petitions and counter petitions, the Native owners of Reserve 884 of 16 acres resolved to accept the offer of purchase made by the Timaru Borough Council at £12,000.

The acceptance of the Borough's offer was made on October 7th, 1920, in accordance with the Maori Land Board's decision of May 20th, 1920. On September 3rd and 4th, 1926, Mr A. N. Booth paid over £8,000 to the Maoris who went to the Arowhenua Runanga Hall to receive it. The individual amounts varied from £423 to 10/-, the larger sums being given to those with several succession orders. A year afterwards it could be truly said the Timaru Borough Council alone had something to show. The borough decided to call the land Ataahua (beautiful place), where the park on this beautiful part of Timaru is known to all as Maori Park.

If the shades of the old native trustees Tamati Tarawhata, Wiremu Takitahi, Te Maiharoa, Pita Korako, Kepa Toeka, Hoani Kahu, Wiratu te kou, Himiona Titok, Whata Uira, and Te Ote Kahu pass by what would be the opinion of their descendants?

Within easy motoring distance of Timaru are places with old native rock paintings, which, like those of the Weka Pass in North Canterbury, are the subject of many theories. One thing can be conceded—the work was done either in early Ngati Mamoe days or in the earlier Waitaha period. There is Maori authority for saying the paintings were made by roving bands of the Puhirere. The rock paintings at the Te Ngawai Gorge (Te Ana wai) are situated on the Albury Park property four miles from Albury railway station.

The painting at Cave are on Dog's Head Rock half a mile page 92from Cave railway station. The paintings at Hanging Rock (Noah's Ark) are at the north end of the bridge over the Opihi River. At Leys the paintings are on the south bank of the Opihi River half a mile above Hanging Rock. The paintings at Hazelburn are nine miles north-east of Cave. There are paintings at Raincliff, three miles north of Hazelburn.

During January 1931, Professor Speight and the writer's friend H. McCully inspected the various sites of moa hunters'camps, and places with rock paintings. Some of the places were Waitaki Mouth, Kakahu, Otaia, Gray Hills, Temuka and Upper Pareora. There are quite a number of sites at Upper Pareora with these remarkable paintings particularly that portion known as Frenchman's Gully. Duntroon and other places of the Waitaki watershed have also a number of interesting paintings to show.

The Timaru Borough Council during January 1943, in conjunction with the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce paid a visit of inspection to the rock paintings at Raincliff, which are situated on a rock bay 30 feet long. Rock paintings are supposed to be protected by Act of Parliament, and any appearance of vandalism requires prompt checking.

On August 9th, 1943, the Oamaru Presbytery with the Right Rev Moderater J. G. Laughton and the Rev. J. T. V. Steele as speakers called attention to the value archaeologically of the ancient rock paintings, and as a result the Mackenzie County Council made representations to the New Zealand Government for enforcement of the law.

Pareora according to the late James Cowan (1937) should be Pureora, "a sacred ceremony for the recovery of the sick". Mr Johannes Andersen about the same time called attention to the name Te Nga wai being correctly Te Ana wai, quoting as authority Rawirri Te Maire and Hoani Kahu. Tangi harakeke was the name of an old kainga and eeling place at Coal Creek (Nga Waro) between Cave and Albury. Manahune is Mackenzie Creek and the Whalesback is Te Horo where the traveller is on the verge of the Mackenzie Plains.

Hare Kokoro of Temuka has asserted that for many ages the Maoris were well acquainted with the Mackenzie Country and the Upper Waitaki, which parts were brought to the notice of Europeans by the Highland Reiver Mackenzie. Greenstone tools have been found alongside Maori ovens at Haldon, Jack's Creek, Simon's Hill and Boulton Gully situated on the north-east side of Lake Pukaki. Judging by the number of fractured skulls found at a hollow near Black Forest, warfare was not unknown on the Mackenzie Plains.

When the site for the Mount Hay homestead was being cleared in 1858 old Maori fishermen's whares were still standing. The Maoris used to have a quartz quarry at Gray Hills, where the Ngai Tahu possessed a small pa. The Maoris as recently page 93as 1889 brought down from Lake Pukaki 3 tons of preserved birds.

Gray Hills saw a conflict between the Ngai Tahu and the Ngati Mamoe, and a gossiping woman named Hinekato was the cause of the strife. Tu te Urutira and Kahore of the Ngati Mamoe were slain at Opuha, inland from Geraldine, and their companions were caught up with and killed at Gray Hills, (Tau whare kura). Revenge for the slaying of the chiefs Tu te Urutira and Kahore was exacted by Wahakai, who also slew the gossiping woman Hine kato.

It has been stated at various times that Lake Tekapo should be Takapo and Lake Ohau as Ohou. As both forms are good Maori words, and from the fact that in the first documents both forms were used, it is now absolutely impossible to dogmatise to-day. Burkes Pass is Te Kopi Opihi, the islet in Lake Tekapo was Motu ariki. Lake Alexandrina is Taka-moana and Lake Macgregor has for its Maori name Whakarukumoana.. Mount Cook was named Aorangi by an arrival by the Arai te uru Canoe; Mount Tasman is Horo koau, Mount Sefton is Maunga atua, Mount Cook Range is Kirikiri katata, and the lowest peak of Mount Cook is Aroaro haihe. These mountains represent persons who arrived by the Arai te uru Canoe, which was wrecked near Shag Point in North Otago.

The Maoris of South Canterbury visiting the Upper Rangitata invariably journeyed there by proceeding up the Opihi River to Raincliff, (Hurutini) and then going up the Opuha and over a saddle and down the Forest Creek (Totara) to the Rangitata River near where Ben McLeod Station now stands. It is extremely unlikely that the Maoris journeyed over the Dennistoun or other of the headwater saddles to Westland.

There is some possibility of the Sealey Pass at the head of the Godley Glacier further south having been used, as green-stone tools have been found at the head of Sealey Pass. Moreover it is known that despite its high elevation and the crevasses on the Godley Glacier, over four dozen European men and women have made the cross trip without Government tracks to help them. What Europeans could do, so could Maori explorers.

At Lake Ohau (place of wind) about 1750 A.D. stood a Ngati Mamoe Pa. This settlement was attacked by a section of the Ngai Tahu Tribe led by chiefs Te Kaimutu and Tawhiri ruru. They managed to kill Pohowera and others. Te Rakitauhopo the son of Pohowera gathered together his friends and they slew both Te Kaimutu and Tawhiri ruru. The Ngai Tahu decided to even up matters, and a taua was sent to Ohau, which proved successful. Te Rakitauhopo was slain by a spear thrown by a Ngai Tahu lad named Kaunia, just as the Ngati Mamoe chief was escaping. Mr Herries Beattie page 94informed me that the lad's reward was permission to marry Te Hau Maiia, the grand-daughter of Kaweriri (this chief was slain in battle in Southland by the Ngati Mamoe chief Tutemakohu).

The traditional wanderings of Tamatea the explorer of six centuries ago included a trip to the West Coast from Lake Ohau—the route being from Lake Ohau via the Hopkins River, Huxley River, over the pass, down to the Otoko River and on to its junction with the Paringa River, following that stream to the coast. Opokia was an old time kainga, at the south eastern shores of Lake Ohau, Te Wakapapa was another village in the same locality, and Rua taniwha is Ben Ohau.

Europeans who know the back country are sceptical of it ever having been universally used by the Maoris, and the same remark applies even more strongly to the printed statements that the Maoris used the Whitcombe Pass at the headwaters of the Rakaia (despite its low altitude).

The Maoris in their food-gathering expeditions frequently crossed over the saddles from the Upper Rangitata to the Upper Ashburton, to the Upper Rakaia Valleys. The Clent Hills were called Uhi, the Stour River was Matakou, and the small tarns known as the Maori Lakes were called collectively Otuwharekai. Lake Heron and its outlet stream to the Rakaia were Oturoto. Lake Tripp or Clearwater was Punataka, Lake Howard or Camp was Otautari, Lake Acland or Emma was Kirihonuhonu, Lake Denny was Otamatako and Lake Roundabout was Otuharekai. Near Double Hill by a lagoon and on the south side of the Rakaia River almost opposite to the Mathias Junction, the Maoris had a seasonal kainga named Toki nui, where the totara posts were visible until the early nineties (when the timber was removed for European fencing). Mount Somers is Koi koi, Mount Winterslow is Opihako, Alford Forest is Te Makaha and Mount Hutt is Opuke.

At Staveley near Mount Somers there is a tapu tree. Through successive Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu chiefs touching it, the tree had absorbed much "mana" and was in consequence very sacred. The Ngai Tahu named the tree Hine Paaka, a memorial to the wife of Maru. The present day European residents state the tree is now a dead skeleton, but they would not remove it until this is absolutely necessary.

Mount Peel which overshadows the Peel Forest district on the south side of the Rangitata is Tarahaoa, and Geraldine with its old time forest was Rau kapuka. Returning to the coast, there is the Otutohukai Creek draining into the Washdyke Lagoon, and the former lagoon named Waimataitai (now drained) on the north side of Timaru.

At Caroline Bay when the native reserve was set aside there was situated a spring called Ponui-a-hine, a name imported from Hawaiki. Te Aitarakihi is the commencement of the Ninety Mile Beach. At Dashing Rocks quite an page 95assortment of Maori curios have been found. The Otipua Lagoon south of Timaru has been drained—the old time settlements there were Tipua and Hine te kura. Pititi is the point south of Timaru on which the lighthouse stands, and Te Motu motu the old canoe landing.

Jack's Point, three miles south of Timaru, is usually known to the Maoris as Paparoa, though there is some evidence that the original name was Ohinekaweau. Otaoka is the vicinity of St. Andrews, where the firebrand Ngai Tahu chief Taoka possessed a pa. Wherever that worthy dwelt, trouble brewed for someone! Otaia is the correct spelling of the place now named Otaio, and a stream south of it is the Owhatawhata.

Te Whanga a Kohika a lagoon south of Otaia was visited by Edward Shortland in January 1844. The north branch of the Makikihi River is the Makihikihi-wai-pakihi and the south branch is the Makihikihi-wai nui. The Hook River is the Waiariari; Pighunting Creek is to the Maoris the Wharetane-whiwhi. At the Upper Hook the Maoris used to have bird-catchers' camps.

The Native Reserve No. 907 (Puhakati), at the mouth of the Hook River at the Wainono Lagoon contains 20 acres, and the Native Reserve No. 906, at the south end of the Wainono Lagoon has an area of 10 acres. Native Reserve No. 891, on the beach south of the Waihao River, known as Waikawa contains 156 acres.

Native Reserve No. 903 at Waihao (Morven) contains 500 acres and is known as Raukawa. Reserve No. 880 is Tauhinu or Te Kapa's Pah on the Waitaki River has an area of 23 acres. No. 904, west of Waimate has an area of 30 acres, and No. 888 at Waimate contains 40 acres. The Maoris possess also a very small camping reserve north of Waitaki Mouth. The halfcastes' lands at Glenavy cover approximately 450 acres. Practically all the Maori population south of Timaru now dwell at Waihao (Morven). Oteheni is the site of the present fishing camp on the north side of the mouth of the Waitaki River. According to information gleaned by the writer the place is named after a woman who flourished there about 150 years ago. The statement has however appeared more than once in print that the name commemorates a male survivor from the Arai te uru Canoe wrecked centuries ago. Te Ruakoaro is the mouth of the Waimate Creek or close nearby. Ohari is the name of the stream near Studholme Junction.

During 1941 the writer spent a week in the Waitaki district endeavouring to locate the old Maori haunts. It proved a difficult task as European drainage work, etc., has altered the whole appearance of the country near the coast. The country on the south side of the Willowbridge Stream was called Punatarakio, where stood a pa named Ko te Kaiatiatua. Its page 96chiefs were Kaikaia waro and Te Karara, and they controlled the lives of two hundred people. The back-wash arm of the Waihao Estuary was called Takiri twa, and was a favourite duck-catching place. The mouth of the Punatarakio Creek was the abode of a taniwha. The pa was originally built by Hateatea, the name being the same as the site of the native cemetery on the North Road between Kaiapoi and Woodend in North Canterbury.

The base of the low hills which separate the valley of the Waihao and Waitaki was called Marokura. Somewhere on it was situated Te Umu-a-te-Rakitauneke. The late Mr W. H. S. Roberts of Oamaru stated some forty years ago that human flesh was roasted at the oven of Te Rakitauneke, and karakia (prayers) were always said there by Maori travellers to ensure a safe journey by placating the spirits. The custom was called uru-uru-whenua. Te Rotopateke is the swamp at Dogkennel Creek. The borough of Waimate occupies the site of a seasonal settlement of the Maori people, indeed nearly all the so-called kaingas such as Tauhinu came under the same category.

Te Waimate mate was the full name of Waimate when first settled by Europeans, though the natives referred to the place as Kaherehire. The Creek from the Waimate Gorge is the Wai kokopara, the name being derived from that of an indigenous fish that abounded in its waters. From a paper tracing made by the survey or Samuel Hewlings it was possible to give the Maori name of Kelcy Bush which is Te Wai-ki-a Te Maiheraki, as a chief of the name Te Maiheraki camped there beside flowing water and not oozing trickles as at Waimatemate. Waimate Gorge is Huruhia kaiua. The find of moa bones at the Kapua Swamp at Arno was a goldmine to archaeological folk in 1896.

The Maoris opened a Centennial Runanga Hall at Morven on January 15th, 1941, Mr George Dash, Mayor of Waimate, being the principal speaker. Mr H. Wixon, a Maori elder, opened the hall, which was built by Mr J. Scoringe. A patriotic eel drive held at Lake Wainono during February 1941, by the Maoris, resulted in 2,500 eels being taken and preserved for sending overseas to the Maori soldiers at the World War.

The Maoris at the time of European settlement had a small kainga in the vicinity of Point Bush complete with church and meeting house. The site was above Huruhuru's Monument, and was called Tutekawa. Point Bush was named Titipa, and Urutane is the well known hill near Waimate.

On June 11th, 1867, Native Commissioner A. Mackay, approached the Waimate School Committee to educate the Maori children. The Native Department of the Government offered to subsidise a native school by £3 for every £1 subscribed, but the Maoris held aloof. Mr W. McClune of the Waimate Public School offered to teach the Maori children page 97free, but the Maori parents would not entertain the scheme. On November 13 th, 1868, Mr McClune informed the Secretary of the Native Department that the chief Horomona Pohio had told him "He did not like, too late, he believed in receiving money, so why did the Government not pay him." Another Maori remarked, "Why not the white man send his children to a Maori School and learn Maori?"

Horomona Pohio, who passed away on March 12 th, 1880, was a Native Assessor and a staunch Wesleyan Methodist, and when his land was subdivided, he caused a section to be reserved on which to erect a church. The land was purchased by him in 1862, the first subdivision took place on February 18th, 1879, and further subdivisions have taken place until recent years. Native Commissioner Alexander Mackay on December 25th, 1868, visited the Maori kainga near Point bush, Waimate and reported favourably on the state of their ten dwelling whares.

On July 18th, 1854, Michael Studholme arrived at Waimate, and contacted Huruhuru, the paramount chief of the district. He was welcomed, and on February 1st, 1855, he took up the Waimate Run. At that time the Maori population numbered fifty. Edward Shortland met Huruhuru at Puna a maru on January 10th, 1844 and had his services as guide until they parted at Waiho five days later. Huruhuru furnished Shortland with a map of the Waitaki watershed. The Maori chief was highly spoken of by Shortland.

Commissioner W. B. D. Mantell visited the Waitaki in 1852 and was not impressed with either Huruhuru or his friend Rakitawini whom he states were wantonly destroying bush to spite the Europeans. Commissioner Mantell praised Te Whare-korari of the Hakataramea kainga on the other hand. The Messrs, Studholme and other early settlers of Waimate owed much to the kindness of Huruhuru. At the Maori Cemetery near Point Bush the Borough of Waimate has erected a monument to the memory of Huruhuru, who had first qualifications to be considered a member of the Ngai Taoka hapu of the Ngai Tahu Tribe. He went north with the Ngai Tahu to Marlborough when Te Rauparaha suffered defeats. When the northern forces under Te Puoho captured the pa at Hawea, Huruhuru successfully escaped to the Waitaki.

At the sitting of the Native Land Court held at Temuka in February 1935, the alienation of Sub-division 5 of the Waimate Native Reserve No. 888 containing the grave of Huruhuru, without restrictions was confirmed by the Waimate Borough Council. The Europeans of Waimate are appreciative of the Maori race, and show it in practical form. Maori-designed shelters for visitors in various parts of the Borough brighten its appearance. The Carved Maori House in Seddon Square, Waimate was officially opened on October 17th, 1929. The carvings were executed by carvers of the Arawa Tribe of page 98Rotorua. The arch at the gates of Manchester Park, Waimate, built wholly of concrete and depicting Maori art was unveiled on August 9th, 1934. The compliments to the Maori race were reciprocated also in 1934 when Charles Thomas Huruhuru, grandson of the chief (who, tattooed and paralysed, died in 1861), laid the Waimate Borough Jubilee Memorial Stone.

On the north bank of the Waitaki River stood a pa named Takiharakeke, which Te Rakitauneke, the Ngati Mamoe chief, built after he left the Temuka district. A Ngai Tahu chief named Huruhuru (not the Waimate celebrity) set forth to capture the place. Te Rakitauneke was away strolling when he was clubbed and left for dead, but he recovered and managed to warn his warriors at Takiharakeke. The men of Takiharakeke fought well against the Ngai Tahu, who, seeing what they took to be the ghost of Te Rakitauneke, turned and fled. Huruhuru made for the Waitaki near Warokuri, plunging into the waters at the place which bears his name, narrowly missing being speared by the Ngati Mamoe. The spot is clearly marked in early maps as Te Papaka o huruhuru, a reminder of an event of 300 years ago. Te Parekura was a pa up stream from Takiharakeke.

The Maoris had a ford over the Waitaki River near the confluence of the Otematata Stream. At the Goose Neck (Te Pire a whakataka kura), there are rock paintings, also at Sheppard's Creek (Pari karangaranga). Te Kaika tahu was an old village below Te Kara, where the Europeans built a stone protective wall. When Commissioner W. B. D. Mantell visited Hakataramea in 1852, he found a small kainga where dwelt Te Wharekorari, the wife Tuapuka with their children and relatives Wharekorari helped Mantell in his duties, and a reserve of 150 was recommended. A. Domett, Colonial Secretary notified W. B. D. Mantell on April 6th, 1853, of the New Zealand Governments approval, and in addition instructed the Commissioner to make a present worth £10 to the chief.

The Canterbury Provincial Government sanctioned the reserve but by an oversight, His Honour, the Superintendant of Canterbury neglected to make the Proclamation. The reserve was made temporary on September 10th, 1862, and confirmed on October 29th, 1862. When Commissioner Alexander Mackay visited the locality in April 1868, he found that all the good portion of the Hakataramea Reserve had been sold as European freehold or under pre-emptive right. The General Government in an endeavour to right matters purchased at a cost of £300 land at Waikawa on the Lower Waitaki. The new reserve there was allotted to Rawiri Te Maire and other relatives of Whare korari on November 1st, 1870. The exchange was evidently not satisfactory as the Maoris continued to visit the vicinity of Station Peak hunting weka. In 1870, page 99three tons of preserved birds were brought down to Waimate.

The Middle Island Native Claims Commission of 1891 records the Maori view point when evidence was given at Waitaki by Tahiti, Hemi Paiki, Tamati Toko and others on March 18th, 1891. The following are extracts: "All the old mahinga kai are taken by the pakeha" "The Waitaki is not available to us owing to its being stocked with trout," "Some of us were nearly put in gaol through catching weka on the runs, as the station owners stated they wanted them for game, but afterwards the wekas were killed off with poison." Te Haka tarewa is now called Akatarewa.

In 1866 a chief named Rauki ran a ferry boat over the Waitaki near Maerewhenua. On the east bank of the Pukaki River near its junction with the Tekapo once stood a village called Rauru (rustling leaves) named after an ancester of the South Island Maoris, namely Toi. Puna kotuku is Station Peak. The Maoris used flax rafts extensively on the Waitaki River.