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The Web of the Spider

Note D, p. 255

Note D, p. 255.

Wiremu Tamehana (William Thompson) Te Waharoa was the most notable figure amongst the Maoris at the time of the last wars. He was the chief of the Ngatihaua tribe, and it was at his instance that the Maoris elected a king for themselves—a proceeding which was the origin of the "king movement," and much of the subsequent trouble. Tamehana declared that his object was to supply the want of a government among his people. He has given the following account of his action. "In the year 1857 Te Heu Heu called a meeting at Taupo, at which sixteen hundred men were present. When the news of this meeting reached me, I said 'I will consent to this, to assist my work' (i.e., to cause the blood to 'diminish in the land'). I began at those words of the Book of Samuel, viii. 5: 'Give us a, king, to judge us.' That was why I set up Potatau in 1857. On his being set up the blood at once ceased, and has so remained up to the present year. The reason why I set up Potatau as a king for me was because he was a man of extended influence, and a man who was revered by the people of this island." The king-maker displayed throughout a reluctance to come into conflict with the colonists, and after the war was precipitated he was ever on the side of moderation and against the more violent of his party. When he saw there was no possibility of worsting the Pakeha he submitted with dignity. He was altogether a remarkable man.

Rewi was the fighting chief of the Maniapotos, a hot-headed warrior against whom Tamehana was continually in the scale of peace.