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Lore and history of the South Island Maori

Akaroa — (Whangaroa) and its district

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(Whangaroa) and its district.

Akaroa Harbour, that deep indentation 10 miles long towards the south-east portion of Banks Peninsula is so well known as a tourist resort that it barely needs an introduction, certainly not the small town of Akaroa (the oldest town in Canterbury) built on its shores in 1840. Akaroa is a corrupted name, to be correct it should be called Whangaroa (Long Harbour). This is made perfectly clear by that valuable possession, Captain George Hempelman's Diary, now in the custody of the Canterbury Museum.

When the Ngati Mamoe stronghold of Parakakariki fell to the Ngai Tahu Tribe about 1700A.D., several chiefs of the latter lost no time in exploring Whangaroa, and claiming parts of it as their own. Some of these chiefs were: Tutakakahikura, Te Ake, Manaia, Te Rangi Taurewa and Te Ruahikihiki. The more active and warlike of the Ngai Tahu chiefs kept on the war path, ever driving to the south the defeated Ngati Mamoe. Peace fell on those of the Ngai Tahu who remained at Akaroa. The calm was broken eventually by the Kai Huanga (Eat Relation) Feud, only to be followed on by the raids of Te Rauparaha of Kapiti Island in Cook Strait, well named the Maori Napoleon.

One mile from the Akaroa Post Office and just past Green's Point Memorial (where the British flag was hoisted prior to the arrival of the French on August 11th, 1840), is Red House Bay. When Te Rauparaha (with his hands red with the blood of Ngai Tahu tribesmen of Kaikoura) paid what was supposed to be a friendly visit to Kaiapohia, the natives of that placed scented treachery, and struck the first blow by slaying Te Pehi and several other northern Chiefs.

Thwarted by that event of 1829 Te Rauparaha withdrew his forces to his island fortress of Kapiti, and schemed revenge. In 1830 Te Rauparaha induced a degenerate whaling and flax trading captain, namely Captain Stewart of the brig Elizabeth (236 tons) to convey him and about 100 warriors from Kapiti to Akaroa. For his complicity Captain Stewart was promised a cargo of flax.

Te Rauparaha had for his objective the capture of Te Maiharanui, the leading chief of the Ngai Tahu Tribe. Revenge called for the life of the most exalted chief. Captain Stewart invited Te Maiharanui, the wife Te Whe and the page break
Maori Mission Cairn At Port Levy On September 2nd, 1950, the Methodist Church unveiled a Cairn at Port Levy to mark the site of the first Christian service to the Maoris of Canterbury by a native named Taawao at the commencement of 1840. Three years later a (Wesleyan) Maori Church was erected on the site. The Methodist Church pioneered Christianity in the South Island.

Maori Mission Cairn At Port Levy On September 2nd, 1950, the Methodist Church unveiled a Cairn at Port Levy to mark the site of the first Christian service to the Maoris of Canterbury by a native named Taawao at the commencement of 1840. Three years later a (Wesleyan) Maori Church was erected on the site. The Methodist Church pioneered Christianity in the South Island.

Anglican Maori Church, Port Levy

Anglican Maori Church, Port Levy

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Peni Kokianga of Onuku, Banks Peninsula Died July, 27th 1944, aged 101 years. Onawe Peninsula, Akaroa Harbour Pa destroyed by Te Rauparaha.

Peni Kokianga of Onuku, Banks Peninsula Died July, 27th 1944, aged 101 years. Onawe Peninsula, Akaroa Harbour Pa destroyed by Te Rauparaha.

Onawe Peninsula, Akaroa Harbour Pa destroyed by Te Rauparaha.

Onawe Peninsula, Akaroa Harbour Pa destroyed by Te Rauparaha.

page 73 daughter Roimata and others aboard. Taken below they fell an easy capture to Te Rauparaha and his concealed warriors. Te Maiharanui strangled his daughter to save her from dishonour. The chief and his wife were taken to the north, tortured and cruelly slain. Te Rauparaha inveigled other Akaroa natives aboard.

Before the brig Elizabeth left Akaroa for Kapiti, Te Rauparaha saw fit to destroy the peaceful and unsuspecting kainga of Takapiineke. The slain were cooked and eaten to the numbers of 100, and 50 persons were taken away as captives from Takapuneka. Takapuneke was destroyed on November 6th, 1830. The French documents call their Akaroa settlement Takobinik (their spelling of Takapuneke).

Red House Bay is a delightful, peaceful place to-day. As far as European knowledge goes, however, it has. not been popular as a dwelling place among the Maoris. On the other hand Tikao Bay, Ohae and all other parts of the Wainui (Opukutahi) Native Reserve on the opposite part of Whangaroa to Akaroa have from earliest European times been occupied. Tikao Bay was frequented by Te Maiharanui. Mrs Rahera Tikao, an escapee from Takapuneke, was one of the Rev. Canon Stack's informants. With its blood-stained soil (practically a place of murder) it is highly improbable Maoris would dwell on such a place as Takapuneke.

Onuku and Wainui were places requested for occupation by the Akaroa Maoris in the provisional purchase by the French, of portions of Banks Peninsula in 1838. Onuku, Opukutahi (Wainui) and Wairewa. (Little River) are the Native Reserves set out in the deed of the Akaroa Block Purchase by the New Zealand Government at the hands of Mr J. W. Hamilton and signed on December 10th, 1856. The Onuku of to-day is merely a blind end, situated a mile beyond Red House Bay. Little of its one-time importance is evident, consisting as the settlement does of two rather derelict houses, and a little church which was restored and put into service in 1940 by the Akaroa Centennial Committee. To Onuku is usually bestowed locally the name of Kaik.

The Onuku Nataive Reserve (No. 886) contains 426 acres with sea frontage and was originally surveyed by C. Davie under instructions form T. Cass, Chief Surveyor of Canterbury, in July 1856. The survey for its roading was carried out by R. Townsend under instructions from S. Hewlings, Chief Surveyor of Canterbury, in August 1873, and the chainmen were two Maoris, Karangohape and Wekipiri Korotepa. The original grantees of the Onuku Reserve were Wiremu Harihona, Hone Taupoki, Matene Paewiti, Rahera Tikao, Rauriri Te Ito, Wiremu Ngaere Te Ao (Hau), Hoani Kamokamo, Erihapete Kirihoto, Men Harihona and Ameria Wi.

The foundation stone of the Onuku Church was laid on page 74November 22nd, 1876, by the Rev. Mr Scott of the Wesleyan Maori Mission. The church was officially opened as undemoninational, and as the property of the Onuku kainga on Thursday, March 21st, 1878, at noon. It was built to accommodate 60 persons. Canon J. W. Stack was the preacher, the Revs. Anderson and G. P. Mutu said the prayers. The veteran Maori Wesleyan clergyman of Rapaki, the Rev. Te Kooti Te Rato led the hymns and the lessons were read by Charles Tikao. The sum of £35 was owing for the church building on opening day, however George Robinson, the Maori athelete of Wairewa went round with the hat and the debt was soon liquidated. The customary Maori feast concluded the proceedings.

In 1856 the Maori population of Onuku was 40 persons. At that period the leading characters of the place were Wiremu Harihona Puhirere (its chief), known as Big William, and Wiremu Ngaere Te Hau, his cousin called Little William. Both these men were present at Onawe when that pa fell to Te Rauparaha. Little William was a layreader of the Onuku Church and a stalwart helper of Canon J. W. Stack of the Anglican Maori Mission. He also took a keen interest in Maori education, and was for many years chairman of the Onuku School Committee. Wiremu Ngaere Te Hau (Little William) passed away in August 1891. The Maoris treasured his portrait painted in 1889, but his home following ancient custom was burnt down by them.

Briggy Puhirere, a Maori wrestler, passed away in June 1888 at the early age of 24 years. A daughter of Wiremu Harihona Puhirere named Ameria Puhirere (Mrs Peni Hokianga) despite her great age, took part at the re-opening of the Onuku Church during the Akaroa Centennial functions in 1940.

Place names at Onuku are as follows:—Tokoroa is the Pinnacle Rock near the Akaroa boundary of the Reserve. Manukatahi is the opposite end of the reserve. The creek that runs past the site of the old school is Te Waikopani. Opua Te Rehu is the school site. Te Ngaio is a point near the Pinnacle Rock. Te Ahi Taraiti is the part of the reserve near its centre line and Te One Potu is an old time burial ground. Otehore is the site of an old pa high up on the hill at the rear of Omuku near where the Flea Bay Road junctions with the Akaroa Lighthouse Road.

In 1880 the Maori population of Onuku was 50 persons, but within thirty years the inhabitants had fallen to 6 souls. Wiremu Harihona Puhirere in 1867 on May 27th, commenced an annual gathering of Pakehas and Maoris to celebrate the birthday of a son. This function was commemorated for many years. Nothing pleases a Maori better than to offer hospitality with an open hand.

A school was opened at Onuku in the beginning of January page 751880, with A. G. Hamilton as the schoolmaster. His successors were Mr and Mrs Maloney. In 1888 they had 34 Maori pupils. In 1891, Mr Maloney was the recipient of a silver watch, duly inscribed from the Maoris as an appreciation of his having befriended their late chief 280 Wiremu Ngaere Te Hau during his illness, and for many acts of kindness to themeslves. The Maoris never forgot an injury, and always remember a kindness.

In 1892 the control of the Onuku School was transferred from the Education Department to that of the North Canterbury Education Board. Onawe, the pear-shaped Peninsula, almost an island, at the head of Akaroa separating Duvauchelles Bay from Barry's Bay recalls a tragic spot in Ngai Tahu history. There the tribe living on Banks Peninsula made a forlorn stand against Te Rauparaha's forces, fresh from the capture of Kaiapohia. The pa built in 1831 was placed for defence under the charge of Tangatahara whose lieutenants were the chiefs Puaka and Potahi.

Some writers have commended the choice of Onawe Peninsula (three quarters of a mile long by a quarter of a mile wide, and its highest point 348 feet) as the site of the Maori fort. The absence of cliffs affording natural defence, and the ease by which the pa could be observed by the enemy from higher land on the mainland contributed to its fall. This was proved when Tangatahara endeavoured to cut off Te Raupahara's forces in Barry's Bay from his other section in Duvauchelles Bay. The sortie from Onawe failed, and the appearance of Te Rauparaha's men mixed with prisoners from Kaiapohia disconcerted the defenders. The northerners gained entrance partially through the lingering jealousies occasioned in the Ngai Tahu Tribe in North Canterbury by the then comparatively recent Kai Huanga Feud.

A large number of the defenders fell in battle, many of the prisoners went into the ovens, and the rest who were not fortunate enough to escape to South Canterbury were conveyed as slaves to Kapiti. Te Rauparaha was too clever to accept a challenge to venture into South Canterbury. His scouts found that the Ngai Tahu at Te Wai a te ruati and south thereof were quite prepared to give him battle.

The fortifications on Onawe consisted of two large oblong blocks, one of which was 8 chains long by 2 chains wide, and the other 10 chains long by 2 chains wide. There was also an irregular annexe, and the two blocks were divided by a formidable fence. The foregoing formed the main position. The area enclosed was three acres—the whole however was surrounded by a stout palisade, outside of which was a very deep trench. The palisades were about 16 feet high. One or two of these posts were still standing in January 1920, when Mr L. Dent and the author visited Onawe. The trenches outside the palisades were about 15 feet deep. At the sides of the page 76fort were redoubts and other projections in order to strengthen the defence of the entrance gates. Two palisaded trenches gave access to the springs. The narrow neck entering Onawe was defended by a covered way.

In 1891, Mr O'Callaghan was the property owner. On March 17th, 1891, he ran a festival on Onawe. The Banks Peninsula Maoris were invited to take part, but to their credit held aloof, only Pakehas going to celebrate jollification on land sacred to "Ngai Tahu dead. On February 6th, 1904, Dr. Levinge, at the request of the Christchurch Beautifying Society, approached the New Zealand Government to acquire Onawe as an Historic Reserve. Sir R. Heaton Rhodes made a similar request in 1905 and again as an M.P. direct to the late Hon. R. McNab, Minister of Lands on May 2nd, 1908. The author appealed also to the New Zealand Government to acquire Onawe on October 4th, 1939, as a Centennial (Akaroa) 1940 gesture to the South Island Maoris, but without effect.

On the highest part of Onawe named Te Pa nui o Hau, dwelt the Spirit of the Winds that turned away intruders.A survey of the Maori fort on Onawe was made by J. S.Welch in January 1886, and by W. D. Wilkins of Akaroa in 1889. Another survey was made in 1094. The name of the point connecting Onawe with the Mainland is called Tara-o-kura.

The late Sir Arthur Dudley Dobson about twenty years ago as a result of a survey he made of Onawe, contemplated drawing a plan of the old fortification as a gift to the New Zealand Institute. Pupu Hine Pani is a point near Barry's Bay.

Barry's Bay, the western of the three bays at the Head of Akaroa Harbour, was frequented by the Maoris in early European days, and is referred to by Captain Greaves, one time harbour master at Akaroa, as Kai Bay. The Maoris had a small kainga near the northern part of the bay known as Ihutu. On May 12th, 1874, the Maoris requested the Canterbury Provincial Government to make a reserve there and erect a small Maori hostel on it. The Maori name of Barry's Bay is Taraouta, and the creek is called Kaituna. Te Kai waitau is the swampy foreshore.

The large bay known as French Farm south of Barry's Bay is Te Rau tahi. The next bay, Brough's Bay, officially known as Petit Carenage, was the site of, an outpost pa of Onawe, and it was named Opakia. Tikao Bay is named after the well-known Maori family of Banks Peninsula. The southern point of this bay is Otahukoka and its northern headland is Whata Manga. At Whata Manga the shark food was stored.

The Wainui or Opukutahi Native Reserve consists of about 500 acres and was set aside in 1856 for the Ngai Tarawa hapu of the Ngai Tahu Tribe. Te Ruahikihiki occupied Waniui prior to moving to Whakamoa and finally to Taumutu at the page 77outlet of Lake Ellesmere. Te Mai haranui who was captured at Takapuneke by Te Rauparaha had a secondary kainga at Wainui, as it was conveniently situated near the flax growing places, the flax being traded by him to Europeans visiting Akaroa Harbour. The Maori population in 1857 was 40 Maoris. In 1861 the number of the population has decreased to 30 persons. The Maoris past and present cultivate a fair amount of ground, and run quite a creditable number of stock.

Cape Three Points beyond Wainui Beach is named Nga Mautarua, and the cliff nearby is Te Aka Tarewa. Mat Wights Bay in old Maori days had groves of Titoki trees from which the Maoris obtained a scented balm. At Mat Wights Bay are cliffs called Te Ana Kororiwha and Ohine atua. Great caves are in this locality and reputedly haunted.

The hills which overlook the Wainui Native Reserve were the abode of the Patu Pairareha, a Maori fairy tribe. Saddle Hill bears the name of Puaitahi, but Mount Bossu (2,336 feet) has an ancient tradition, as it is said to be the ko or digging spade of Rakaihautu of the first Waitaha Tribe who came to the South Island in the Uruao Canoe about 850 A.D., and explored the land, digging out many lakes with that marvellous implement called Tuhi raki. According to tradition this chief, from whom descendants can be traced, ended his days on the shores of Whangaroa now called Akaroa Harbour.

The original grants of the Wainui Native reserve (Opukutahi) No. 885, were issued to Hone Tare Tikao, Paurini Hirawhea, Wiremu Ngaere Te Ao, Pirihita Raroiti, Tamati Tikao and Rahera Maireha. Akaroa has associations with Captain George Hempelman, a whaler who made a creditable purchase of lands in its neighbourhood from the Maoris in March 1837, that is so far as Europeans generally made bargains in land with the natives, at the best never honest.

Captain Hempelman, unfortunately for himself, did not French, the following year on August 2nd, 1838. The French came out of their deal receiving good compensation considering that the Maoris concerned admitted selling only an area of 400 acres at Akaroa, and smaller areas at Pigeon Bay, Port Levy and Camp Bay. The double selling of land on Banks Peninsula is said to have been engineered by Koroko, a chief at Waikouaiti, to spite Taiaroa, Karetau, Patuki and Tuhawaiki, who were friendly disposed to Captain Hempleman. Te Mena, Tikao, Waruwarutu, Toria, Pukonui and 12 other Maoris were concerned in the sale to the French.

Captain Hempelman, unfortunately for himself, did not jump at the award of Colonel Campbell, Sir George Grey's Commissioner, of 2,650 acres. When the Provincial Government's Commissioner made his award it was 250 acres, probably to please the Godley party who in the early part of Canterbury Government were a power to contend with. (During the fifties).

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The infamous Ngai Tahu Deed (Kemps) by which 12,500,000 acres passed to the New Zealand Company per the New Zealand Government officers for £2,000 (and broken promises) was signed on June 12th, 1848. The native vendors were Taiaroa, Maopo, Paoro Tau, Koti, Tainui, Karetai, Wiremu Te Raki, Horomona Pohio, Te Whaikai Pokeno, Rangi Whakana, Potiki, Tiare Wetere, Tare Te Aruru, Haereroa, Te Raki. Te Hau, Matiaha, Ihaia, Waruwarum, Taki, Ririwa, Koreke, Te Poriohua, Wiremu, Hape, Pukenui, Tuawau, Tuahuru, Te Hau, Manahi and Te Uki. The European witnesses were R. A. Olliver, T. Bull, John Watson, C. H. Kettle, James Bruce and H. T. Kemp. In 1944 claims by the Ngai Tahu Tribe under that land sale remained unsettled; though all the necessary legislation was passed in 1928 by Parliament to settle the claim. The Royal Commission of 1921 made the award, a fair and just one.

In 1945, the Ngai Tahu Claim Act settled the whole grievance by severely pruning the award suggested by the Royal Commission and awarding £300,000, to be paid in annual payments of £10,000 for 30 years. The point is that at the end of the period, £200,000 remains in the Fund seeing that two-thirds of the annual £10,000 payment can be borrowed from the treasury only (which is an investment fund). Clause 20 of the Ngai Tahu Trust Board Act, 1946, distinctly disfranchises all real Ngai Tahu Block beneficaries. In the printed words of Mr E. T. Tirikatine, m.p., "the act benefits the Maoris of the South Island as a whole".

Bishop Selwyn visited Akaroa by the schooner Richmond on January 4th. 1844. Sir George Grey in company with Te Wherowhero and other North Island chiefs visited Akaroa in March 1848, and held a conclave with leading Banks Peninsula chiefs. On May 25th, 1913, H.M.S. New Zealand anchored off Akaroa. The Maoris gave Captain Halsey and his men a typical Maori welcome. The principal speakers were Taokahi Ropata Paurini and Mrs Peni Hokianga. The gifts were presented by Hoani Tehau Pere, Mrs Pere and Mrs Keef.

On April 20th, 1940, over 500 Maoris gathered at Akaroa to assist in the Akaroa Centennial Celebrations. Of this number 100 belonged to the North Island tribes. The welcome to the North Island Maoris was extended on behalf of the Southerners by P. H. McDonald. Prominent North Island Maoris present were: P. K. Paikea, A. T. Ngata, H. T. Ratana, M.P's; and Rangi Mawheti, M.L.C., Purere Katene, K. T. Hemana. H. W. Hui, W. K. Waiaua, Riri Maihi Kawiti, Mete Takerangi, Hohepa Winera, Hari Katene and Kengi Tahiwi. Mr Piki Te Mairaki Taiaroa, Bishop Bennett and Kengi Tahiwi extended the welcome to His Excellency the Governor.

When the occasion offered Mr R. M. Taiaroa on behalf of the Ngai Tahu Tribe requested the Prime Minister, the page 79Right Hon. Peter Fraser and the Hon. T. Armstrong to give sanction to the settlement of the nearly a century-old grievance—the Ngai Tahu Claim. The replies of the honourable gentlemen were by no means what should have been expected. The Church at Onuku was reopened by Bishops West-Watson and Bishop Bennett assisted by the Rev. Rugby Pratt (Wesleyan) and the Rev. Lawson Robinson (Presbyterian) on April 21st, 1940. Rain marred the proceedings.

On May 16th, 1943, the gift of the Rhodes family, a new carved altar for the Onuku Church was dedicated by Bishop West-Watson, who was welcomed by Mr H. Keefe. Mr Tom Robinson acted as interpreter. The carving was executed by the Arawa Maori Trust Board to a design by Mr Tai Mitchell. The Tuku Tuku and Paniko work is a replica of such art at the Ohinemutu Maori Church.

The following are place names at Akaroa:—

Te Papaki, bay past Red House Bay. Tahi na torea, point opposite the buoys at Akaroa. Te Pito o Tutahi is a point towards Onuku. Kaitangata, the mouth of the Aylmer's Valley Creek. Te Wai iti is the central stream in Akaroa. Te Wai pirau is the creek on entering Akaroa. Otahuahua, is the foot of the main road as it enters Akaroa. Otipua is the German Bay Hill. O Tangamatua (Takamatua) is German Bay, and Kaka kaiau is Robinson's Bay.

Very few Maoris reside now at Akaroa, very different from was the case in the year 1877, when the natives found it necessary to request the New Zealand Government to make a grant of half an acre of land, and build thereon a Maori hostelry. However, then as now, efforts to promote Maori welfare do not meet with success from the powers that be.

The Akaroa Maoris of sixty years ago were ardent fishermen. A day's catch made on March 19th, 1884, accounted for 350 barracouta, and for the week 1,000 barracouta were caught, only two boats being used. In 1944, the natives had to contend with strong European competition in the fishing industry.

The Maoris of Banks Peninsula made their first direct contact with a New Zealand Government at Akaroa on May 28th, 1840, when Major Bunbury came ashore from H.M.S. Herald to obtain signatures for the Treaty of Waitangi, a document which has never been given legal status, and so far as a gentleman's agreement is concerned, only partially carried out by the pakeha.