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Through Ninety Years



The following description of the Hauhau fanaticism is from notes typed by Archdeacon W. L. Williams: “The cult of Hauhauism or Paimarire, as it was sometimes called at first, has commonly been attributed to a harmless old man of the Taranaki District named Horopapera Te Ua. The real founder was a very different man named Patara, who was also from Taranaki, and had formerly been in the employ of the Government in the capacity of Policeman. He made use of Te Ua as an instrument to forward his own ends.

page 197

“In the year 1864 Te Ua is said to have been somewhat out of his right mind, and to have given utterance to ravings to which Patara attached his own interpretations, telling people at the same time that God was now through Te Ua making a revelation direct to the Maori people that Christianity might be all very well for the Pakeha, but that it was a religion not suited to the Maori, for whose special benfit the new revelation was now made.

“His object seems to have been to detach the Maori people from Christianity and so relieve them from any scruples which the profession of Christianity might cause them to entertain with reference to some of the measures which their leaders might think fit to adopt in the prosecution of War against the Pakeha. Some of the Waikato people who had taken part in the fighting at Waitara also favoured this movement.

“The religious observances of the Hauhau seemed to consist in walking round the ‘Niu’ as the pole was called, on which they hoisted their flags ‘Riki’ and ‘Rura’ and reciting a quantity of nonsense, to which they acknowledged that they could attach no definite meaning, though one of their leaders said Te Ua might possibly be able to explain it.

“Their recitation was concluded with the words ‘Rire Rire Hau’ the last being uttered with emphasis, and sometimes repeated, hence the name Hauhau. Another name by which they were known in the early days of the movement was Paimarire from a reported expression used by Te Ua and adopted by them.

“The rank and file were practically hypnotised and therefore promptly obedient to the word of command, having been assured that if any one of them should be in any danger from rifle bullets he had but to hold up his hand and the bullets would drop harmless to the ground. This was afterwards put to the test at one of the engagements near Waitara when most of those who tried the experiment lost their lives. After this very little was heard of Hauhauism.”

Also from notes typed by Archdeacon W. L. Williams: “Early in 1865 reports were circulated amongst the page 198 Natives on the East side of the Island that the emissaries of Te Ua who were spoken of as Tiu were going about the country to explain the new revelation. Shortly afterwards two large parties set out from Taranaki, one under Patara coming to the Bay of Plenty and the other coming through the Tuhoe country, and across Waikaremoana to Wairoa and Turanga. Patara's party made their way to Opotiki where Rev. C. S. Volkner was the resident missionary. There had been an outbreak of Typhoid fever in that district and Mr. Volkner had gone to Auckland, and at this time was on his way back bringing with him a supply of medicines and other requisites for the sick.

“When Patara arrived he announced that had he found Mr. Volkner there he would have cut off his head and taken it to Te Ua at Taranaki. He then proceeded to ransack the house and put up to auction everything that he could dispose of. The Whakatohea people were persuaded to submit themselves to treatment which hypnotised them and rendered them entirely subservient to Patara and his following.

“When the schooner arrived with Messrs. Volkner and Grace on board, Patara had gone to Torere to try and get the people there to join him, but Kereopa whom he had left in charge made the Whakatohea people believe that it was the will of the Atua (God) that Mr. Volkner should be put to death, and that it was necessary that they should give their consent to this being done. They did give their consent, but not without considerable reluctance. A few days after the death of Mr. Volkner, Patara and his party started for Poverty Bay with the avowed object of driving all Pakehas except Jews into the sea, and of putting to death all Christian Ministers. The other party which had come by way of Waikaremoana joined them at Patutahi, and as soon as they met they commenced a ‘Tangi’ (lamentation) on a large scale under the direction of Patara who informed the local people that the object of the Tangi was the Maori people who were stripped naked by the Pakeha, and already deprived of half their land (Mo te iwi tu kiri kau motu page 199 te hawhe). This worked greatly upon the sympathies of many, who soon afterwards joined their ranks.”

Archdeacon W. L. Williams also wrote the following: