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Te whakatuwheratanga o Te Tumu Herenga Waka : 6 Tihema 1986, Poneke, Te Whare Wananga o Wikitoria


page 29




Titokowaru was a rangatira of Ngaruahine hapu of Ngati Ruanui tribe of South Taranaki. He had been a follower of Te Ua Haumene, and with Ngaruahine had fought against the British and Colonial forces between 1860-7.He lost an eye at Sentry Hill (April 1864).

Most of Ngati Ruanui land had been confiscated in 1865 and settlers began slowly moving in on allotments. For a while there was peace, but as settlement proceeded on disputed land, Titokowaru and Ngaruahine took to arms in June 1868. In the fighting that followed, Titokowaru was never defeated on the field, and he inspired a series of brilliant victories over regular colonial forces, at Turuturu-mokai (12 July 1868), te-Ngutu-o-te-manu (7 September 1868), and Moturoa (7 November 1868). The following February he prepared to face Colonel Whitmore in the fortified stronghold of Tauranga-ika.

On the night before the attack Titokowaru and his forces inexplicably deserted the position. It is believed he suffered a loss of his mana-tapu, and was deserted by most of his allies. He was pursued for several months but was never captured. In 1875 he joined the prophets Te Whiti and Tohu in their passive resistance campaign at Parihaka.He was arrested with the prophets at the sacking of Parihaka in November 1881. He was arrested again in 1886 for his part in the Taranaki land marches of that year.

Titokowaru was a warrior-priest and a prophet of Pai Marire. One military historian describe him as "probably the most brilliant military mind the country ever produced." (Belich). He is said to have carried a sacred taiaha by means of which he selected his "tekau ma rua" — twelve sacred warriors.

The Prussian soldier of fortune, Major von Tempsky, fell to Titokowaru at Te-Ngutu-o-te-Manu. In response, Governor Bowen placed a price of one thousand pounds on Titokowaru's head. The latter responded by placing his price on the Governor's head; two-and-sixpence.

The old warrior died in Manaia in July 1888.