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

14b. TE PUNI

page 34

14b. TE PUNI



Honiana Te Puni, like Te Wharepouri was a chief of the Nga Motu hapu of the Te Atiawa tribe. Te Puni's life parallelled that of Te Wharepouri in many ways and it is quite probable that the two were great friends. For instance they were both chiefs in the Nga Motu hapu; once they both went on a trip to Sydney from New Plymouth in the 1820s, and they both later moved to Wellington where they were well known to the European settlers in the 1840s as powerful and friendly chiefs. (See Te Wharepouri No.15b for these details).

Te Puni however is usually credited as being the more senior of the two. S.C. Adkin in his book (1959) — 'The Great Harbour of Tara", notes that "the Chief Honiana Te Puni lived at Petone [Pito-one pa] and was the Ariki or paramount chief of the Te Atiawa people in occupation of the Wellington Harbour land at the time of the advent of the New Zealand company settlers".

S. Percy Smith also comments that Te Puni was held in such esteem by members of the tribe that when he spoke, his word was regarded as law. Te Puni like Te Whiti O Rongomai, was a descendant of a very famous Taranaki marriage between Takarangi and Raumahora. (See 19a).

Te Puni died in Wellington in 1870, but the man and his name have not been forgotten. Today the cemetery of the Te Puni family lies on the eastern side of Te Puni Street, Petone. In the cemetery there are tombstones dedicated to the memory of Te Puni and some of his later descendants. The cemetery is located approximately on the site of the old Pito-one pa. Many of Te Puni's descendants still live in the Hutt Valley today.