Jade River: A History of the MahurangiRonald H Locker
First published 2001. Published online 2014–
This online edition is a work in progress…
Pages 77–96in printed edition
Last rangatira of Mahurangi and his hapū
The death of the rangatiraas published 2001, all following instances: chief Te Hemara Tauhia in 1891as published 2001: 1896. “He also describes Te Hemara’s tangi in 1896, however, it must have been Te Hemara Te Huia’s funeral”, attested by Eddy, A 2017, Neighbours at Puhoi River: A Cross-Cultural Dual Biography of Te Hemara Tauhia (1815–1891) and Martin Krippner (1817–1894), PhD thesis, University of Waikato marked the end of the tribal history of Mahurangi.
His birth date is unknown, but it seems likely that he was born in about 1815as published in 2001: in Mahurangi. Eddy, A 2017, Neighbours at Pūhoi River: A Cross-Cultural Dual Biography of Te Hemara Tauhia (1815–1891) and Martin Krippner (1817–1894), PhD thesis, University of Waikato, and that he would have been just a lad in 1821, when Hongi Hika made Mahurangi the first target of his muskets, as he swept south to devastate the Tāmaki Makaurauas published 2001: Tamaki; officially Auckland isthmus.
Te Hemara Tauhia’s mother, ’Mereana’as published 2001: Merihana. Mereana (Marianne, or Mary Ann) adopted name, attested by Eddy, A 2017, Neighbours at Puhoi River: A Cross-Cultural Dual Biography of Te Hemara Tauhia (1815–1891) and Martin Krippner (1817–1894), PhD thesis, University of Waikato Te Anini, was of Ngāti Rongo, and remembered the arrival of Captain Cook. Murupaenga was his maternal great uncle. Te Hemara had a sister, Makareta Paekotare, and a brother known as Henare Winiata (Henry Wynyard). Te Hemara’s father was the rangatira Kahotuanui. It was presumably he who elected to take his hapū into refuge with Pomare II at Otuihi in the Bay of Islands. To seek sanctuary with Ngāpuhi against raids by Ngāpuhi, may seem surprising, but at Otuihi they were kin, not enemy. A group of Pomare’s relatives had been settled among the Ngāti Rongo at Te Muri before the exodus. They had no doubt added links of marriage to those of ancestry. (Pomare claimed descent from Maki’s sister Pare; Ngāti Rongo from Maki’s son, Nga Whetu). Pomare was no friend of Hongi, in fact he quarrelled incessantly with his Ngāpuhi neighbours.
Tauhia was the rangatira’s family name; Te Hemara was a given name, the Māori version of Hamlin. (James Hamlin became a lay reader at Waimate in 1826, and later at Kerikeri. He spoke te reo Māori fluentlyas published 2001: Maori like a native. In 1835 he began service as a missionary in the Waikato, the Manukau and Hawkes Bay). Since Te Hemara Tauhia was literate and a Christian, it is likely that he attended the mission school at Waimate and was taught by Hamlin. The name could have been given at baptism. The missionaries were fond of so conferring the names of their colleagues.
Kahotuanui died when Te Hemara Tauhia was still a boy, and his mother married Paratene Te Peta, who became the “father” of the boy’s formative years. Paratene may also have assumed leadership of the hapū. On his death, his mantle passed to Te Hemara Tauhia.
In 1839 Te Hemara Tauhia came back to the Hauraki Gulf, apparently to scout the state of things there, before bringing his people home. Judge Fenton records that Te Hemara Tauhia came with Clendon in the former mission schooner Columbine. At Maraetai they saw a company of 200 Māori and their rangatiraas published 2001: chiefs, whose territories extended from the Tamaki to the Kaipara. Clearly, they were still too nervous to reoccupy their own lands, opting instead to bide their time on the safer ground of Ngāti Pāoa, who had already made peace with Ngāpuhi. They were settled in houses and had plantations in production. Te Hemara Tauhia then went with Clendon to help mark out the boundaries of land he was attempting to purchase, extending from Takapuna to Whangaparaoa. (In that year, land speculators were out in force, but the treaty of the next year largely nullified their efforts).
The British Resident’s correspondence file contains two interesting letters, also of 1839, concerning the ownership of Mahurangi. These appear to be the result of an attempt by Pomare to sell the place. The missionary Fairburn, writing to Busby on 20 December 1839, spoke of:
Mahurangi, a favourite fishing place … [that] some years ago belonged to some of Pomare’s relations, but they were driven out by wars, and thus it fell into the possession of the present owners, which according to native custom is correct.
By “present owners” he meant Ngāti Pāoa, whom he met camped there in 1833. A second letter, also addressed to Busby, reads:
I beseech you to warn the Pākehā from buying Mahurangi. Let them not take heed of what Pomare has to say that he is the owner of Mahurangi. I am the owner of my own home and Pomare should discuss the matter of selling any land with me. I hope you will take notice of what I have written. Hemara.
The letter also refers to an attempt by Pomare to forge a deed (see below).
After the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, Te Hemara Tauhiaas published 2001: Te Hemara Tauhia signed the Treaty, and then… “Locker does not always identify his sources, and many of his statements, for example, that Tauhia signed the Treaty of Waitangi, are incorrect.” attested by Eddy, A 2017, Neighbours at Puhoi River: A Cross-Cultural Dual Biography of Te Hemara Tauhia (1815–1891) and Martin Krippner (1817–1894), PhD thesis, University of Waikato took his remnant hapū back to reoccupy its ancestral lands around Te Muri and the Pūhoi.
In 1841, without consultation with traditional owners, the tribal land, and much more, was bought by the Crown from Ngāti Pāoa, who claimed it by right of conquest. In negotiating the Mahurangi Purchase, which stretched from Te Arai to Takapuna, Busby’s successors ignored the claims of both Te Hemara Tauhia and Pomare. Whether in the next decade Te Hemara and his people disputed the purchase is not clear, but they appeared to ignore it in their actions. In 1844, Te Hemara Tauhia sold Robert Graham the site for his Hot Springs Hotel, and later the Wenderholm site. Graham had eventually to pay the government as well. He got title to both in 1857 and built the first part of the Wenderholm house in that year. Te Hemara Tauhia also sold land at Ōtarawao in 1852, or earlier, to John Sullivan, who had taken a wife from the local Māori. To the annoyance of the government, Te Hemara also gained revenue from selling timber and firewood rights.
When government surveyors began to appear around Mahurangi in the early 1850s, the matter of ownership could no longer be ignored by the hapū. Te Hemara Tauhia was spurred into lodging a claim for a large area of Mahurangi, claiming that Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson had guaranteed him certain reserves. Demonstrations on Māori land claims are not new. In 1852 some of the hapū under “Roa, alias George King” (Hori Kingi), took positive action by turning surveyors off Sullivan’s purchase, although they admitted that he had paid adequately for it. About the same time, they stopped Anderson’s sawyers on the Waiwera River, and others on the Pūhoi. It may be coincidence that Graham’s first house at the hot springs burned to the ground in 1853, “supposed to be the work of an incendiary”.
The Native Secretary, Nugent, went with John Grant Johnson, interpreter, from Kawau with directions from Grey “to ascertain the nature and extent of the Native claims to the Mahurangi and Matakana districts, and the limits to which their reserves could be confined”. Johnson spent some weeks investigating, and on 24 February 1853, reported to his boss. This is how he saw the tribal history and current position. It is an important statement because almost certainly it comes largely from the lips of Te Hemara Tauhia himself:
The country between Auckland and Whangarei was originally inhabited by a tribe called the Ngāti Rongo, a branch of the Kawerau, of whom Te Hemara and Parihoro are the remnants, who had from time immemorial waged fierce disputes with the Thames Natives relative to the rights of fishing in the rivers of this district, which right was at last finally given up to Ngāti Poa by the Ngāti Rongo, and such was the relative position of these tribes when the Bay of Islanders’ invasion commenced. Ngāti Rongo were exterminated with the exception of two or three small parties of families, who either fled before Hongi Hika, in common with the rest of the Natives, or taking advantage of relationship with the Bay of Islanders, amalgamated themselves with the conquerors. Among the former is the present claimant Rewiti, and to the latter belongs Te Hemara, who took refuge with Pomare, and Parihoro, who took refuge at Whangārei. At length the Bay of Islanders in their turn were driven back by the Waikato and Thames Natives, and the Mahurangi tribe having been exterminated, the Thames Natives, who had acquired the rights to the bays and rivers, now took the land also (there being none to contend with them), and on arrival of Her Majesty’s Government at Auckland they sold their claim to the whole block.
The accompanying plan will show the extent of the claims of Ngāti Rongo compared with the rest of the block, in which two distinct parties and interests exist: Hemara and party who merely wish a large reserve to live on, and Parihoro who urges extravagant claims to a large portion of the block.
Te Hemara Tauhia’s “Statement as to his Father’s Signature to the Deed of sale being Fictitious”:
Hemara has proved to me that his father’s name was inserted by Pomare in the deed executed by that rangatira after his father’s death, and that the document is not genuine, and that he had remonstrated at the time with his late Excellency, Governor Hobson, who guaranteed him certain reserves and sacred places, which statements are also corroborated by evidence.
He has with his party, numbering about 100 individuals, no other place to reside on, and the whole of the Natives of the country are convinced of his right to what he claims, which I have prevailed upon him to curtail to the extent delineated in the plan, consisting of timberland, no part of which is said to be available for the location of European farmers.
Parihoro does not appear to be strongly supported in his pretensions by the Natives in general, as the feeling among them is that he should relinquish his claims to all the land sold by Ngāti Poa as far as the Arai, and receive a small payment for the same, in addition to his reserve where he now resides, which would be just and reasonable.
signed, John Grant Johnson, Interpreter
The Native Secretary forwarded this report to the Colonial Secretary with comments, which show that he too had gone “to the residence of Chief Hemara, situated near the south head of the Mahurangi Harbour” (Te Muri) and talked, but realising negotiations were likely to take time, left his man on the job and returned to town. He noted:
I further directed him to endeavour to bring the respective claimants to Auckland, where they might be more inclined to listen to reason than at their own places.—These Natives, especially Hemara, are more obstinate on account of their receiving payments from Europeans for permission to cut firewood and timber on the disputed land, which there would be no way of stopping unless the Native Lands Purchase Ordinance were out in force. The Natives are now in Auckland, and I would suggest that the affair should be settled on the most liberal terms as regards Hemara, who appears to have a claim: but with regard to Parihoro, the question seems more difficult, as he lays claim to a large tract of land which contains several farms which belong to Europeans who have purchased from old land claimants who have got Crown Grants, and also a farm of 50 acres, for which a settler named Boyd has got a Crown Grant; and this tract he asserts his intention of holding, and threatens to pull down Boyd’s house and mill; and as his claim is acknowledged by most of the natives who previously sold the land, I think it would be judicious to extinguish it by giving a money payment and also a reserve of land.
C L Nugent, Native Secretary
The outcome was surprisingly generous for Te Hemara Tauhia: the grant of the Hemara Reserve, stretching from the south shore of the Pukapuka to Waiwera, and inland to the western boundary of the Purchase. Parihoro had indeed claimed much: an area about three times that of the Hemara Reserve, taking in the coastline from the freshwater Mahurangi Stream around Mahurangi East up to Whangateau, and inland to the western boundary of the Purchase. In the end he got £150 and the Tawharanui peninsula.
The remnant Ngāti Kahu of Whangaparaoa were less fortunate. Numbering less than fifty on their return from sanctuary in the Waikato, before the Treaty, they received no consideration, and became mere squatters on Crown land. They dispersed, some to the Kaipara, some to Awataha reserve on the North Shore, and some to join Te Hemara Tauhia’s people (with whom they had enjoyed close social contact, and shared Kawerau roots). Since their main site at Te Haruhi Bay (Shakespears) remained unsold Crown land until 1877, the Awataha group returned there periodically to cultivate and to join their Mahurangi friends in the fishing.
Johnson’s report reveals that on the death of Te Hemara Tauhia’s stepfather, Pomare had tried to cheat Hemara out of his patrimony at Mahurangi by falsifying a deed. (Whether this refers to his natural father or stepfather is not clear.) It is true that Pomare had some claim on the place by descent and by his relatives’ recent residence there. Perhaps he felt he was owed for nineteen years of sanctuary. But Hemara’s case was by far the stronger by reason of closer ancestral ties and long cultivation of the place by his hapū. The Crown saw it so, and extinguished Pomare’s claim with a vessel and £50.
Pomare had a reputation for crafty dealing, and an eye ever open for opportunities in revenue or real estate. He imposed tolls on ships calling at Otuihu and Wahapu. He tried, with Pākehā help, to make his pā as much an attraction as Kororareka for the whalers. Marsden reported in 1837:
There were 131 Europeans in Pomare’s pā—generally men of the most infamos character, runaway convicts and sailors, and publicans who have opened grogshops in the pā, where riot, drunkenness and prostitution are carried on daily.
It is said that 90 slave girls were employed for the pleasure of the whalers. Such was Te Hemara Tauhia’s sanctuary! It is hardly surprising that later in this chapter a journalist expresses surprise at the ordination of Pomare’s son, or for that matter, that his two sons chose a future in Mahurangi.
By 1853, all the claims against the Mahurangi Purchase were settled, at more than the original cost. The survey of the Mahurangi Harbour for settlement went ahead. The pressure of colonisation continued. Early the next year the hard-driving Native Land Commissioner, Donald McLean, was urging Johnson to:
…use your utmost exertion to acquire from the natives the whole of their lands in this district which are not essential to their own welfare, and that are more immediately required for the purposes of colonisation.
Johnson was again diligent in carrying out his instructions, negotiating the purchase of the great western tract of the reserve:
Deed 201. 22 June 1854. Ahuroa-Kourawhero Block. £1200.
Te Hemara Tauhia himself did not sign, but his group is represented among the signatories by Miriama (his wife), Hemara Te Huia (their adopted son, her nephew, who unlike Te Hemara, put his mark), and Hori Kingi Maukino. A wider interest is shown by the signature of Arama Karaka (Adam Clark, rangatira of Uriohau of the eastern Kaipara). On the same day a second block was bought:
Deed 200. 22 June 1854. Wainui Block. £600 as first instalment.
Among the local signatories are: Hemara Tauhia, Meriana Te Anini (his mother), Hori Kingi Maukino, Makoare (of Ōtarawao), and Kawena (Kewene of Ōpahi?). Again a wider interest is shown by the signatures of Arama Karaka and Te Rewiti (rangatira of Ngāti Whatua in the southern Kaipara):
Deed Receipt 36. 22 January 1855. Wainui Block. Final instalment £200.
Among the signatories are Te Hemara Tauhia, Hori Kingi te Roa, Hori Kingi, and Paora (probably Paora Tuhaere, rangatira at Orakei, of Ngāti Whatua and Ngāti Kahu blood).
There appear to have been two Hori Kingi (King George) as lesser rangatira in Te Hemara Tauhia’s group: Hori Kingi Maukino and Hori Kingi te Roa. The spread of signatures on the deeds illustrate the intricate web of relationships between tribes, and the resultant perception of ownership. There was an eight-year pause until the next large sale. Prices had risen:
Deed 203. 29 September 1862. Komokoriki No.1 Block. £3500
Among the signatories were: Te Hemara Tauhia, Henare Winiata (his brother) and Hori Kingi:
Deed 204. 4 November 1862. Komokoriki No.2 Block. £39-10.
signed by Te Hemara and Te Keene
These purchases of 1854 and 1862 made possible the settling of the Mahurangi hinterland under free grant schemes, including the Pūhoi settlement.
The Ngāti Pāoa continued to assert their old fishing rights in the Mahurangi. About 1843 Graham recorded seeing up to 3,000 Māoris camped at Waiwera, drying shark and bathing in huge excavations in the hot sands. The skipper of the early steamboat Tam O’Shanter remembered the Sandspit covered from end to end with shark, drying in the sun on manuka poles. In a nor’wester the fragrance reached beyond Matakana Heads. Local Māori at Te Muri were no doubt involved in such fishing. From their whaling experience, Māori knew the art of rendering, and as a by-product of their catch were producing oil locally from the livers. (This was the main product of the later shark factory at the Sandspit.) It was sold to hms Buffalo in the Mahurangi Harbour in 1835, and found to make good lamp oil. The diaries of Joseph Gard, early settler on the upper Mahurangi River, record that in 1856 he bought two gallons of shark oil for three shillings from a waka. On 26 May 1865, a cutter cargo for Mahurangi included “five cases oilmen’s stores” indicating an ongoing rendering industry.
In 1856, Gard also purchased peaches from a waka, showing that the local Māori had established a trade in foodstuffs with the settlers. It may have extended to the capital. The gardens around the pā at the Pūhoi mouth were described by Heaphy’s survey party, which visited on 23 January 1862:
The richness of the soil exhibited itself in the profusion of peaches which literally covered the trees. Interspersed with these were fig trees in full fruit, patches of maize, pumpkins, water melons, potatoes, kumeras and other vegetables in great profusion.
Like many other Māori communities of the time, Te Hemara Tauhia’s people acquired a cutter, probably with the intention of shipping their produce and firewood to the Auckland market. In 1854, Thomas Scott built the 18-ton cutter Duke of Wellington for “Te Hemara and Hori Kingi, chiefs of Mahurangi”. When the cutter was wrecked off Mahurangi in 1863, they had a larger replacement built in the same year at the Pūhoi by George Ryan. The 23-ton cutter Prince of Wales was registered to “Hori Kingi, Taike a mana and Wiremu Pomare, chiefs of Pūhoi.” They employed Pākehā skippers, who used the boats in general trade. The Prince, under Lawrence, brought 10,000 bricks (Cowan’s) and two passengers into Auckland from Mahurangi on 2 April 1864; arrived in ballast from the Barrier under the same skipper on 17 June 1865; and came in under Law with firewood from Pūhoi, on 9 June 1867. The ship was sold in 1867. There were other native ownerships in the area at the time. The Darroch schooner William and Julia, was owned by Wharerangi, a rangatira of Mahurangi, 1862-6, but was skippered by Thomas Scott junior from 1864. (In 1866 he took it as far as Lyttleton for grain. It was bought by him in 1867). The Scott schooner Industry was built for “Te Kiri, chief at Pakiri and Mahurangi”, in 1858 and owned by him until 1864.
In 1863 the first wave of Bohemians arrived to settle, under the free land grant scheme, on land that Te Hemara Tauhia had previously sold to the government. Captain Kasper’s cutter landed them on the beach, and Te Hemara Tauhia’s canoes took them up-river to the daunting bush wilderness that was to be their new home. The two large nikau whare that were their first shelter were the work of the hapū. These settlers were to be eternally grateful for frequent and generous gifts from Te Hemara Tauhia’s people, which saved them from starvation in those first lean years. As one of them wrote:
Time after time he loaded their punt with peaches, vegetables and kumaras.
A History of Pūhoi Silk, 1923
The next round of subdivision of the tribal land was between the members of the hapū. It was imposed by the Native Land Court, instituted by the Native Lands Act 1865. Native Minister Sewell, architect of the Act, admitted its intention was to destroy the communal system of land ownership, seen as the major obstacle to alienation of native land for settlement, and the assimilation of the native race. The land court turned its attention early to Mahurangi, at a sitting in Waiwera in February 1866.
The hapū had no alternative but to parcel up the residue of the Hemara Reserve. It was subdivided into blocks on individual titles, dated 1866, to various rangatira. The Act permitted no more than ten names on a deed. These were normally rangatira or heads of hapū, seen as holding the land in trust for their people. However, those named could, and often did, sell of their own volition (as Te Hemara Tauhia did). Such malpractice was ended by the Act of 1873, which required all owners to be named, but introduced new evils of equal detriment. The 1866 Act also abolished the Crown’s sole right to purchase, opening the way for private sale.
The thirteen blocks with Māori names at western Mahurangi can still be seen on the modern cadastral map. The deeds are usually in one or two names.
The land court granted Te Hemara Tauhia the two largest blocks:
the Pūhoi Block, 2,351 acres (between the Waiwera and Te Muri Creek);and the Okahu Block, 2,521 acres (bounded by the Pukapuka, Huawai and Pūhoi Blocks).
He was also granted the smallest, the Orokaraka Block of 8 acres, near the Pūhoi mouth. He had already been granted the Mangatauhoro Block of 70 acres on the Waiwera Bluff in 1863, as the ancestral burying place.
The Pūhoi deed begins: “Victoria, by the Grace of God—we do hereby grant to Te Hemara Tauhia of Mahurangi, an aboriginal Native, his heirs and assigns—in our colony of New Zealand—.” There is an ironic ring to this “grant” of his ancestral lands. There would be nothing left for his heirs.
The two Ngāpuhi, Wiremu and Hare Pomare also did well, being granted jointly:
the Nokenoke Block, 38 acres, site of their kāinga on the flat behind the cemetery creek at Te Muri; the Ōtarawao Block, 92 acres, the western Mahurangi Head; the Huawai Block, 729 acres, containing Huawai Bay and the southern shore of the Pukapuka to its tidal limit; the Pukapuka Block, 361 acres, freshwater catchment of the Pukapuka.
Hemara’s brother, Henare Winiata was granted: the Te Akeake Block, 9 acres at the end of the Pūhoi spit; the Ōpaheke Block, 19 acres, later George Scott’s Bay, upstream of Ōpahi Bay; the Te Korotangi Block, 19 acres, now Jamieson Bay.
Makoare Ponui, Miriama Houkura and Mere Hai were granted the Tungutu Block, 410 acres, the northern half of Ōtarawao and the southern half of Mita Bay, extending over to Te Muri Estuary. This recognised the residence of this family in Ōtarawao. Its links by marriage with the Sullivan family are described elsewhere. Makoare’s headstone in Te Muri cemetery records that he died on 10 November 1876, aged 72.
The Ōpahi Block, 104 acres, including Ōpahi Bay and the northern part of Mita Bay, has the most interesting history of all. During Hongi’s wars, some of Ngāti Whatua of southern Kaipara, under rangatira Rewiti, took refuge in the Waikato. (Rewiti’s signature appears on the Wainui deed of 1854, above). A common expression of gratitude for services, was to make gifts of land. It is said that Te Hemara Tauhia had already gifted Ōpahi to Waikato in 1856 (hence its alternative name of Waikato Bay). As the seat of Maki-nuialso known as Maki and Maki the Great, the most revered ancestor of the Kawerau, it was a gift of some mana. It was soon to prove of real value as a refuge for some of the Waikato prisoners who escaped from Kawau in September 1864. When that incident was resolved, some Waikato stayed on in the bay, having little to go home to after the confiscation of 1.2 million acres. The gift was formalised in the subdivision of 1866, by a title in the names of Tuna Ho and Ngakope. Their story is forgotten, but presumably they were Waikato, already settled there, perhaps from the time of the gift.
The deed for Ōtarawao, 1866, has “Te Hemara’s kaianga” clearly marked beside the site of the present Te Muri cemetery (in agreement with Nugent’s letter of 1853, above), and “Pomare’s kaianga” on the Nokenoke Block, just across the side-creek. The New Zealand Almanac of 1862 notes “a native village” at Te Muri. The rangatira later gave five acres of his former kāinga site as a burial ground for both Māori and Pākehā, probably when the church was built about 1871. The spot is marked “Tapu, Māori burial ground” on the Greenwood Plan of 1886. By 1871, the rangatira was resident on the Pūhoi flats, where he lived in a European-style house until his death. The Akeake deed, also of 1866, shows a kāinga on the Pūhoi flats, which must therefore have existed before Te Hemara Tauhia moved there.
The Mahurangi settlers were thrown into panic in September 1864 by the escape from Kawau of prisoners, taken at the Battle of Rangiriri; the story is told in detail elsewhere. Te Hemara Tauhia was accused of being a party to the escape, but this he strenuously denied. He did play a key role in subsequent events, and acted as a voice of moderation. Hare Pomare went with Major Cooper to visit the “rebel’s” eyrie on Tamahunga. Te Hemara Tauhia helped his Waikato friends with gifts of food. In the end it was he who negotiated between Native Minister Fox and the escaped prisoners, persuading them to come down to his kāinga. It was there that they finally assembled, ate Christmas dinner with their hosts, and moved off to the Kaipara, en route to the Waikato.
In 1867, Te Hemara Tauhia and other rangatira of the district, appeared in the Auckland Land Court, claiming Tiritiri Matangi Island on grounds of occupation by the Kawerau from ancient times until Hongi’s wars, and subsequent continuous residence, 1840–56. Although their cultivations were at Whangaparāoa and Mahurangi, they often visited the island for fishing, living in whare on seafood and fernroot. The principal pā there was Kawerau. The case was tricky. The map of the Mahurangi Purchase excluded Tiritiri Matangi and islands to the south, but the text included “all the islands on the coast”. Judge Fenton found for the Crown, perhaps influenced by the fact that it had already installed the present cast-iron lighthouse there, which had shown its first light on 1 January 1865.
Gladwyn Wynyard, in an unpublished recollection, wrote:
The Maoris were very plentiful, living around the bays, and had their kumara and melon patches, and they worked a good deal in the shipyards. When the Māori War was on some would leave and come back to the shipyard to work, and when asked where they had gone they would say: ‘Went to the War’; so they did really.
This brief testimony is interesting in several respects. Firstly, it shows that the local Māori still felt a strong sense of obligation to Waikato; secondly, that they were distributed about the Mahurangi and not just congregated at Te Muri or Ōpahi; thirdly, that they were finding employment with Europeans. They probably worked in the bush as well as in the yards. Where did they live? The eastern shore of the Mahurangi Harbour had all been sold, although some may have lived on unused Pākehā land there, or while working for the owners. However, the eastern portion of the Hemara reserve was still Māori land, enabling them to live anywhere between the south shore of the Pukapuka and the western heads. It was the Pākehā bushmen, such as my great-grandfather, who were the squatters there.
Some local Māori worked at times on the gumfields. A local correspondent (Weekly News 6 June 1875) lamented that at Mangawhai, Māori diggers from as far afield as Taranaki and the Bay of Islands, and including some from Mahurangi, had:
…benefitted the public house and storekeeper only and moved off with the bulk of their gains.
My great-grandfather, Govanalso known as: Gough; Jimmy Gough Jamieson, brought his family from Auckland to a timber camp in Te Muri about 1859. He was there when the first Pūhoi settlers arrived. The kāinga was close by, and Govan became fluent in Māori and a friend of Te Hemara Tauhia, who called him Jimmy Gough. The rangatira and his kin often called on the Jamiesons, when, in about 1864, they shifted to Te KorotangiJamieson Bay. The visitors were always fed. At the tense time of the Kawau escape, Te Hemara let it be known that “Jimmy Gough” was not to be touched. The pair became drinking companions. There was an old photo in the family of the pair, with the rangatira in bare feet, wearing his bell topper—a Graham castoff—and trousers torn off at the knees. Sadly, this treasure has been mislaid.
When my grandfather was born at Te Muri in 1860, the first white child to be born there, the rangatira wanted to adopt him. Much later, in 1890 when the twins, Cecil and Herman, rounded off the Jackson brood of twelve at Ōtarawao, the rangatira again begged for at least one to adopt. Their mother, Julia, compromised by naming the younger, Herman Te Hemara Jackson. The eagerness to adopt arose from the fact that Te Hemara and Miriam never had children of their own. They adopted Te Hemara’s nephew, Henry Wiapo of the Kaipara, and Miriam’s nephew, Te Huia. William McElroy, an early settler, wrote:
They had no children of their own, but there was an adopted son. I knew him, a huge mountain of fat, who predeceased his adoptive father.
It is not clear to which adopted son he refers. In 1876, a journalist was:
…pulled from the mouth of the Pūhoi to the Pūhoi settlement by a young stalwart native – a son, I believe, of the famed chief, Te Hemara.
Weekly News 6 July 1876
Under the heading “Consecration of Pomare and Christian Revival Amongst the Māoris”, a journalist filed this report (Weekly News 17 February 1871; here abridged):
A great native festival was held on January 30 on the Pūhoi River. The object was twofold: to commemorate the coming ordination of William Pomare, and to induce those led away from Christianity to Hauhauism to abandon that barbarous creed. All will heartily welcome the advent of William to his gown in that church whose doctrines he has so steadfastly adhered to. I knew the elder Pomare when he resided at Kawakawa in the years 1845 and 1846, and wonderful indeed seems to me the working of the Almighty when I am able to write of the ordination of a descendent of that old chief. In those days might ruled right, and barbarism covered the face of the land. What a contrast to find a native preaching peace and goodwill to all mankind!
The day was a lovely one, and the scene well-chosen for its beauty. Māori and Pākehā had assembled, resolved to make the best of an enjoyable day. The hosts, Te Hemara and his kindly wife Miriam, did their utmost in bestowing hospitality on one and all. A dinner was served, the entire cookery by the natives in ‘kapa Māori’, all a gourmand could desire. It would have put a blush to the best restaurant in Auckland.
After dinner, Te Hemara and others addressed those assembled. As I am not a great Māori linguist, I give the gist of what they said. Te Hemara welcomed Māori and Pākehā to his home on the Pūhoi, happy to see both united in friendship; pointed out the blessings his fellow natives enjoyed through their knowledge of the white man, compared with the barbaric state of ignorance in which their forefathers dwelt; solemnly adjured those who had fallen away from the paths of Christ to regain the road to salvation, and once more become a united people, vying with the white man in the culture of the land and the arts of civilisation.
Speaking of the late wars in New Zealand, he traced the root of the evil to the pernicious effects of intemperance. The Māori tasted waipiro and loved it; sold one piece of land, then another, till nearly all was gone; then one dishonest Māori, pointing to the land, asked where was the utu? It was gone, and to get more waipiro they must have the land back to resell it. Hence the first land dispute and consequent Māori War. Te Hemara Tauhia earnestly besought his fellows to put aside waipiro altogether, but if they must have it, use it carefully and not abuse it, and train the rising generation to be all total abstainers, and true friends of the Pākehā. His speech was long and eloquent, and produced a great effect on his hearers. He is a fine specimen, standing some six feet and equally proportioned, with a countenance at once candid and determined, and with the eloquence and gesture of a thorough orator, carrying conviction to all unbiased minds.
William Pomare followed, and gave an impressive and passionate appeal to his fellows. I feel convinced he will prove a good and honest pastor to any flock he may have charge of. You cannot but perceive his sincerity. He is not one to tell his natives: ‘Do as I say but not as I do’, but can fearlessly tell them to do as he does. How many of his persuasion are there like him?
One or two others addressed the meeting and at the end a kind of poll was held as to whether Te Hemara Tauhia or some other was fittest to hold rule over their religious morals. A large majority was in favour of Te Hemara, and he stated that after that day he would not permit any intoxicating liquor of any kind to be brought into his pā; that if any Māori desired it he must go to the public house to get it.
The evening had now set in, and dancing became the order of the night, and was, I believe, kept up to a very late hour.
Te Hemara Tauhia’s view of the origin of the land wars is remarkable, but he was a man with liquor on his mind. His urgings towards temperance may have been sincere, but alas, he could not say “Do as I do”. His ban on liquor in the pā appears to have held, but he was certainly among those who went out to buy. The waipiro had a firm hold on him. The Hot Springs Hotel was far too close, and he was a regular patron, with a circle of drinking cronies, including Pākehā settlers. A biography of Robert Graham, the proprietor, (G Cruickshank, 1940) gives a picture at odds with the preacher of temperance and abstinence:
Te Hemara, a fine old type of rangatira, was a noted character, and often about the hotel. In later life he always contended that Graham did not pay him enough for the springs. He would come to the hotel wearing one of Graham’s old top hats, and after having had a few nips he would playfully enter the bath house and pull out all the plugs, emptying the water and depriving the visitors of their baths for the time being.
On the day after Graham’s death in May 1885, old Te Hemara with his bell topper came into the hotel grounds. He went into the bath house, pulled out all the plugs and brought them into the hotel office and said to the manager, ‘Graham is now dead; all this property comes back to me’, and he held up his armful of plugs.
In this belated land protest, the old rangatira appears to be guilty of what he had denounced in 1871: wanting the land back to sell for more waipiro.
William McElroy jun. wrote of him as “A very handsome man, in every sense a chief. Alcohol was his weakness.” He thought he was about 75 (presumably when he died).
Te Hemara Tauhia was remembered in Pūhoi as:
…six feet tall, of fine features, and a noted orator—wearing a dark suit and bowler on all important occasions. He kept a firm hand on his people and never tired of lecturing them on the evils of drink. When he said a thing he meant it, and did it!
It was also said that he forbade liquor from his pā. Apparently, he stuck to his avowed intent at the 1871 gathering.
Despite the inconsistency between his attitude and behaviour towards drink, there is no doubt that Te Hemara Tauhia had mana in the region, among both Māori and Pākehā. He moved about a good deal, maintaining links with his Ngāti Whatua relatives in the lower Kaipara and Auckland (where he was often seen), and with Kawerau kin of the Waitakere and Manukau. If there was a conflict with Māori interests, the government or county would turn to him as mediator.
For example, during the construction of the West Coast Road in 1881:
Mr Treadwell, contractor, informed the Council that the Māori had again interfered, and stopped the works. He complained that he was put to great trouble and expense unless he could commence the Araparera Bridge at once. The creeks would soon be rising and render it difficult. It was resolved to communicate with the government and with Te Hemara.
Weekly News 9 April 1881)
It is likely that the dispute was over inadequate compensation for land taken, and would have involved the rangatira’s old henchman, Hori Kingi, who had settled there.
Te Hemara Tauhia was present at a tense gathering on the Kaipara on 26 December 1863. Four days before at Kaukapakapa, a Māori had murdered the wife and a daughter of John Thompson, absent on duty as mail carrier. Since the Waikato War was in progress, some saw it as the beginning of another uprising. Fox and the local Ngāti Whatua rangatira agreed to an identity parade at Awanui pā. Some 300 Māori with their rangatira faced a line of grim Pākehā. A surviving daughter unhesitatingly picked out Ruarangi as the murderer. (He was known to the family, and had made threats). Rangatira Paraone said Ngāti Whatua were surrendering him, not from fear of the government, but out of respect for the law.
The great waka were a feature of Auckland regattas in the last century. That of 1868 was intended to be special for the visit of Prince Alfred. But in spite of a prize of £150, only two waka started: one manned by the Ngāti Whatua of Öräkei, and a second belonging to Te Hemara Tauhia and people of Shoal Bay, and paddled by a mixed crew. The bad weather had prevented three canoes from the lower Firth of Thames from arriving. The Ōrākei waka pulled away, turned the marker and finished. Te Hemara Tauhia’s waka was seen to be in difficulties, and approaching the mark was swamped in a squall. The crew was rescued by the other craft without loss. The press commented that if ninety Pākehā had been so thrown into the water, at least twenty would have drowned.
Te Hemara Tauhia was considered an authority on tribal traditions, and left some valuable whakapapa. Sir George Grey, a dedicated collector of Māori lore, gathered a group of elders for that purpose at Kawau in 1881, and Te Hemara was one of them.
Close links with the Kaipara show again in a festival on the day before New Year, 1876, reported in the Weekly News:
A Māori wedding took place yesterday at the Pūhoi settlement. A number of Kaipara natives were present; altogether there were about sixty horsemen. They started for Auckland this forenoon. This has been a beautiful day. A fishing party were out this morning but were unsuccessful. Two other boats have just started another attempt.
The story of the Pomare brothers is part of the local tribal history. Wiremu was the most prominent, and probably the elder. They (and a sister) were as much Ngāti Raukawa as Ngāpuhi. Their mother was sister to the paramount Ngāti Raukawa rangatira, Te Whatanui, at Otaki. The links were strengthened when Wiremu married his cousin, Te Riti, the rangatira’s daughter. Hari’s wife, Harieta, was probably from Otaki also, since she was half Ngāti Toa (Te Rauparaha’s iwi at Kapiti). The granting of 1220 acres of the Hemara Reserve to the brothers, jointly, in 1866, and the maintenance of their own kāinga, indicates mana among their adopted people, and that they hung together and stood a little apart from the rest.
The birth of Hari’s first-born in 1863 (below), suggests that the brothers would have been born around the time when Te Hemara Tauhia returned to Mahurangi. They must have been products of a mission school at the Bay, since Wiremu became the hapū’s pastor in 1871. It seems likely that they came to Mahurangi as young men in the late 1850s or early 1860s. According to the ship register, Wiremu, was already a rangatira there in 1863.
Hari’s first-born had the unique distinction among Māori of having Queen Victoria as godmother. In 1863, William Jordan, interpreter and would-be impresario, induced 14 Māori, mainly Ngapuhis, to go with him to England on a lecture tour, illustrated with song and dance. He promised comfortable travel and rewards, but failed to deliver. During a miserable journey on Ida Zeigler in steerage and on appalling rations, one of the party went insane. England meant a succession of cheap lodgings and exploitation. At the Isle of Wight, the party presented a Māori lament for the Consort to the newly widowed Queen. Noticing the pregnant wife, she rescued the young Pomare couple and sent them to live with Elizabeth Colenso in Tottenham. When a son was born, he was baptised Albert Victor in honour of the late Consort. Presents of gold and silver arrived from the royal godmother. The Queen later received the child, kissed and held him. She sent the family home first-class, at her own expense. They arrived in Auckland on 7 May 1864. (The trip was a financial disaster, and the others, abandoned, arrived home in July, two dying on the way).
Albert Victor was presented to the Queen’s son, the Duke of Edinburgh, at a great tribal gathering in 1869. One source says that he was put in an orphanage in Auckland at the age of four, another he was sent to St Stephens College, another that he was a frequent visitor to the Moirs’ homestead on Moir Hill. As a young man he went overseas. His fate is unknown, but a Māori saw him in the guard of honour at the coronation of Edward VII in 1901, and on speaking to him, found he had barely a word of Māori.
To Hari and Harieta, the kāinga at Te Muri must have seemed a little mundane for a time. In October of that year, Hari went with Major Cooper to visit the escaped prisoners on Tamahunga, to ascertain on what terms they might be induced to surrender. The two apparently mistrusted each other, and gave differing reports. Hari could not elicit from Cooper what his instructions were, or whether they came from Grey. He considered that Cooper’s command of Māori was so limited that he could not grasp what was going on at the meeting.
Probably when the last of the Pomare land was sold on 31 October 1884 (including their kāinga), Hari and his wife moved to live with their maternal kin at Otaki. Hari was remembered there as a “tall and handsome young chief”, and his wife as “diminutive”. He worked around that district for some years. He died before his wife and was buried in the yard of Rangiatea Church. Harieta had several subsequent husbands, the last a local rangatira. Finally, she lived with kin at Porirua, where she was buried.
In 1871 Māori were invited to submit their views on the workings of the Native Lands Act 1865. The collected submissions in the Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1871, include two pages from Wiremu Pomare, who is introduced thus:
…his father a Ngāpuhi chief and his mother a Ngāti Raukawa woman of rank. He is now training for Holy Orders.
The submission reveals a highly literate man of strong social conscience. It is a statement both moving and sad, revealing the strains generated by the Act amongst Māori in general, and in Te Hemara Tauhia’s community in particular. It also offers an unexpected and unflattering view of the rangatira by an associate.
Pomare lists the factors that work against the Māori in the land court:
Their ignorance of laws ‘stowed away in the pigeonholes of government, and we never see them.’ They should be translated and circulated among Māori;
The inadequacies of many paid Māori assessors;
The distortions of licensed interpreters, who should be excluded;
Lawyers should not be allowed to practice in the land court. They are ‘a great waste of money. The Judges should be the only lawyers.’;
The imposition of court fees. ‘I was one of the first Natives who passed land through the Court at Mahurangi: a block of 1,220 acres was investigated by Mr Rogan, but I did not pay any fees, and this seems to be a new custom.’
The limitation of ten names on a Crown grant was unjust. He, his wife, and his brother and sister had already missed out on a half share of 7000 acres sold at Horowhenua, after the death of Te Whatanui. (Wiremu later pursued this claim to the Supreme Court).
Every owner’s name should be in the Crown grant, and if they are too numerous for convenience, the land should be subdivided before grants are issued. There is a block of 2,537 acres at the Pūhoi, belonging to Te Hemara Tauhia and 31 others. It was heard in court in January 1866 and Te Hemara got the grant in his own name: he has sold some portions of the land and mortgaged other parts, but the other owners have never received any portion of the money and have no redress. The land court was asked in the first instance to insert all 31 names, but it was arranged that Te Hemara’s name only should be inserted. I was present.—Te Hemara also sold a piece of 8 acres called Ōrakorako (at the Pūhoi mouth, to Ryans), granted to him alone—he has sold the land and never gave the others a share of the money.;
Surveyors have caused great trouble to the Natives. 1,220 acres of my land at Mahurangi was surveyed by Campbell; he was to receive £2 per day, and the bill came to £33. I could not pay the money at once, and Campbell threatened to sell the land, and instructed a lawyer to demand the money, who said that the land would be sold if I did not pay it. I did pay it and got my Crown grant, but it cost me a great deal of money. We had an agreement with the surveyor specifying the terms, and telling him he might have to wait for his money, but it was not witnessed, and it was our own fault; but these things often happen, and Māori get frightened when they are threatened with the law, and do as they are required.
There was a need for more reserves:
The Natives are selling their lands at too rapid a rate.—At least 100 acres should be reserved for each Māori man, woman, and child—I would oblige a portion the purchase money from all lands sold to be permanently invested for the benefit of the sellers and of their children—You need not care whether the Māori would like it or not; make it a law. The Māori are poor because they waste all their money. Te Hemara had £3,500 for one block of land (Komakariki, 1862), and has spent every penny of his share, which was about £1,000; he spent it in drink, in clothes, and in other purchases. The others did the same; it did not last more than two or three months; one man spent £300 in three weeks.
Pomare’s testimony suggests that Te Hemara sold most of the land he held in trust for his people, butas published 2001: The inescapable conclusion from Pomare’s testimony is that Te Hemara frittered away a great deal of the land he held in trust for his people. Pomare did not do so well in holding on to their land, and I note also that Wiremu refers always to “my land”. The last of their interest in the Pukapuka Block was extinguished in 1871 (to Barker), in the Huawai Block in 1873 (to Whitaker), and in the Ōtarawao and Nokenoke Blocks (on one title) in 1884 (to Dufaur). So they parted with 1220 acres over 13 years.
William McElroy wrote down a curious tale, undated, which appears to explain the final loss of the ground they were living on:
That land lying between the Mahurangi River and Te Muri stream, the most beautiful on the coast, passed from Māori hands in this wise. A case was brought against the Te Hemara hapū for the abduction of a girl, with the result a sergeant of police with a number of constables visited Te Hemara and arrested everyone there. The case was tried in Auckland with the result the hapū was fined £200. The Māori borrowed the money but failed to pay any interest on this. The mortgagee foreclosed and another piece of land was lost to them.
I believe that this case can only refer to the Ōtarawao and Nokenoke Blocks, which were mortgaged by the Pomare on 15 June 1878. This case does not appear in the indexes of the Supreme Court, but might be found in the records of the Magistrates’ Court. It does not appear in New Zealand Herald court reports of that time. The mortgage was not paid off, and the land was conveyed in two parts to the lender, Dufaur, in 1882 and 1884.
The Pomare had gifted an acre of land at their kāinga to the Church of England in October 1868. A church was built there, perhaps before the ordination in 1872 of Wiremu, who became its pastor. William McElroy remembered attending service there at the age of four, when his father was building the first Waiwera bridge (1881). John Sullivan was buried there by Wiremu on 23 October 1883. This must have been near the end of his ministry there, since the land was lost exactly a year later and the kāinga abandoned (see below). The church’s fate is not recorded, but I suspect it is the “music room” added by Major Whitney to his home (now Couldrey House, Wenderholm), said to have been a:
…disused chapel, barged in from Mahurangi harbour.
The ministry of Wiremu Pomare extended to the Kaipara and even to Auckland. What became of him when it ended, I do not know. He may have joined his brother on the ancestral land at Otaki, although he is not mentioned in that respect, and does not appear on the roll of pastors of the Rangiatea Church there.
In 1873, Te Hemara Tauhia sold his last big holding, so providing land for the third wave of Bohemian settlers. The Ōkahu Block, 2408 acres, lying between the Waiwera River and the Pūhoi and Huawai Blocks was sold on 8 February 1873 (Deed 204) for £500. The Provincial Superintendent was irate at finding that Christopher Nolan had timber rights over 600 acres of this land. He swore that he would not have paid so high a price had he known. Mr Sheehan mp, who had negotiated the deal, defended it, asserting that both he and the rangatira had made the situation clear, and that was why the price was so low. Nolan’s rights had in fact been bought out for a modest sum.
Weekly News 15 January 1876
The story survives that to send his adopted son, Wiapo to college in Auckland, Te Hemara Tauhia borrowed some hundreds of pounds from one of the Ryan family on mortgage against part of the Pūhoi Block. (The Ryan family had settled on the Ōrokaraka Block opposite the Pūhoi spit. John Ryan was settler and timberman; A. and G. Ryan were shipbuilders in the early 1860s). The loan was not repaid and 400 acres were transferred to Ryan in 1879. This is almost certainly the Wenzlick and Ryan lot shown on the Greenwood litho (see below), measured today at 398 acres. The deed shows that in fact the mortgage was taken out to Dufaur in 1875, and in 1879, 400 acres were sold to Ryan to repay Dufaur.
In such ways almost all the tribal land had been sold or lost on mortgage by the 1880s. Robert Graham’s holdings had reached 438 acres by 1884: the Maungatauhoro Block and lands on either side of the Waiwera, including parts of the Pūhoi Block and his hotel and house (Wenderholm) properties. Just before his death in May 1885, he was in financial trouble, and sold his house and lands to an Auckland syndicate, in which he retained a share. The prime mover was the real estate tycoon, Robert Greenwood, who had also picked up much of the the Pūhoi Block (the coastal terrace at Te Muri, and more) from Te Hemara Tauhia, the Akeake Block (Pūhoi spit) from George Ryan, to whom it had passed on the death of Winiata. The Nokenoke and Ōtarawao Blocks, then in the hands of Dufaur, were part of the plan, suggesting that the latter was part of the syndicate. The total approximated the future regional parks.
Holding such a good hand, Greenwood launched the “Greenwood Estate” on the Auckland market in 1885. It was advertised by a magnificent steam-litho poster, in colour. (An original is displayed in the dining room of Couldrey House). The land was largely divided into lots of under 100 acres, but the Pūhoi spit was cut into residential acre sections. A grandiose plan to remodel the Waiwera foreshore was part of the deal.
Fortunately for posterity, and for regional reserves in particular, this pioneer enterprise in seaside development hit the market at a time of deep depression. In the following year, Greenwood joined many other merchant princes of Auckland in bankruptcy. Greenwood was the most audacious of the speculators in city land, holding almost 300 properties, all heavily mortgaged. His lifestyle was said to be “more appropriate to the Governor of New Zealand than a Mt Albert land agent”. He was one of the first to fall in the great crash.
However, his litho poster has real value as an historical document. It includes a detailed analysis of the forest composition of the area. It also shows Māori sites in fine detail. Only one kāinga appears: the Pomares’ on the Nokenoke Block, just behind the site of the present cemetery. Cultivations and an orchard are marked, as well as ten whares and a house (presumably the Pomares’). A church stands between the settlement and the hill. Since the site is described as “old native settlement” and is included in the sale, it must be abandoned. The whole tip of the spit (about two acres) is marked off as “tapu, Māori burial ground”, indicating that burials extended well beyond the confines of the present cemetery. A substantial area of the Pūhoi flats (above Wenderholm) are attributed to Te Hemara Tauhia, but no village is marked.
The Greenwood Estate was quitted piecemeal. The litho shows “Wenbrick” (Wenzlick) and Ryan already in possession of the upper left slopes of Te Muri (adjoining the Tungutu Block, then Jacksons’). Vincent Wenzlick and family farmed it. Their homestead stood at the head of the tidewater, until it was barged out to Pūhoi. The land is still in the family. Thomas Ansell bought the Nokenoke and Ōtarawao Blocks and farmed them until he died in 1895 in his 50th year. Their homestead stood on the site of the Pomares’ kāinga into the 1920s, when it was used as a summer camp for orphans. Only two battered fig trees remain. (The chimney nearby is irrelevant, belonging to a later cottage). This land passed to Edmund Schischka, and in 1968 to his brother Victor, from whom it was acquired for the Mahurangi Regional Park. The Te Muri front and hinterland went to John Schischka, merchant of Auckland, and later to his nephew, Victor. His descendants continued to farm most of this land after the coastal terrace and Te Muri headland became regional parkland,as published 2001: His descendants still farm most of this land, but the beach flats and the Pūhoi headland have also gone into the park. but, in 2010, that land was also purchased for the park. The Tungutu Block, granted to Makoare Ponui and kin, passed by marriage to the Sullivan and Jackson families. The best of this has also come into the Park, along with the southern part of the Ōpahi Block, lying in Mita Bay.
The New Zealand Herald of 9 July 1888 reports the introduction of the Contract and Promises Bill, allowing grant of title to named persons:
Most of the cases are in fulfilment of promises to natives with regard to land. One is for a grant of 48 acres to Te Hemara of Mahurangi, in fulfilment of a promise by the late Mr Sheehan, when Native Minister. Mr Moat has been interesting himself in this case for several years. A block of native land had been sold and this reserve never cut out.
In 1895 Te Hemara Tauhia sold 85 acres, the site of his kāinga (Te Rapa) on the Pūhoi flats to Joseph Schischka, retaining only five acres around his house. When he died there in 1891as published 2001: 1896. “He also describes Te Hemara’s tangi in 1896, however, it must have been Te Hemara Te Huia’s funeral”, attested by Eddy, A 2017, Neighbours at Puhoi River: A Cross-Cultural Dual Biography of Te Hemara Tauhia (1815–1891) and Martin Krippner (1817–1894), PhD thesis, University of Waikato, this also passed to Schischka in payment of a debt. The rangatira’s house became the family’s home for eighteen years. The Schischka children were all born in the house, including Victor and Edmund, later owners of Te Muri, now deceased, and Vincent, who still farms his father’s land on the Pūhoi flats.
The site of the church at Te Muri came into dispute. Said to have been a gift of an acre to the Anglican Church, it had not been surveyed and could not be identified. The judge solved the problem in 1945 by deeding it to Edmund Schischka, who owned the surrounding land. It appears on the deed as a perfectly square acre, position unspecified, within the Nokenoke Block. There was a last court hearing about 1960 when a descendent of Wiapo tried to sell Te Hemara Tauhia’s cemetery gift to the adjoining farmer. Local Māori, such as Reti Roa, protested, and the attempt failed. The present fenced graveyard is but a fraction of the original.
Te Hemara Tauhia’s tangi at the Pūhoi in 1891as published 2001: 1896. “He also describes Te Hemara’s tangi in 1896, however, it must have been Te Hemara Te Huia’s funeral”, attested by Eddy, A 2017, Neighbours at Puhoi River: A Cross-Cultural Dual Biography of Te Hemara Tauhia (1815–1891) and Martin Krippner (1817–1894), PhD thesis, University of Waikato was a large one. Visitors, including many rangatira, came from far afield. Fred Jackson, then 17, left an eyewitness account:
The coffin was huge, for a big man, grown bigger during an overlong lying in state (the gas had to be tapped). In such a ceremony, time is not held to be important. There were interminable prayers and speeches, as well as the blessing of the coffin and the rangatira’s personal possessions as they were consigned individually to the casket. By lunch time, two young men were dismayed at the prospect of the rituals lasting the rest of the day. They decided to speed the process. While the rest were eating, they transferred some of the remaining pile to the coffin. When the company returned, some noticed that the pile had diminished. Looks were exchanged, but nothing said, and the ceremony proceeded to an earlier conclusion.
Te Hemara Tauhia did not join Murupaenga and his illustrious forbears at Mihirau, the burial ground of ariki on the sea cliffs between the Pūhoi and the Waiwera. His own action may have prevented it. A local tradition claims that when the land was alienated, Te Hemara Tauhia ordered the cliff path to the burial cave to be destroyed. After the tangi, his body was taken to the Ngāti Rongo heartland on the Kaipara and buried at Ruronga Point (Aotea Bluff), off Barrs Road.
The remnant of his people at the Pūhoi moved across to the Kaipara, to the environs of Glorit.
In 1990, my wife and I spent a day pursuing Te Hemara Tauhia’s ghost around the Kaipara, in the wild hope that some recollection of him might have lingered among his kin there. It was evident that Ngāti Whatua had at least survived on the land there, even if they had not prospered. At Araparera Bridge I was directed to an elder, who denied any significant knowledge, but directed me to Neil Barr, the well-known farm forester, on whose farm Te Hemara was buried. At the farm, we found Neil had retired a little to the south, but his daughter-in-law kindly walked us to the grave. It stands on a little terrace with a commanding view of the great waterway, facing the entrance. A tumbledown fence kept the stock from the grave but allowed thistles to submerge the stone. The iron railings had collapsed. The marble monument is quite elaborate. Comparison with an old photo shows it to be reduced in height by a column going missing. The stone reads, in te reo Māori:
In memory of Te Hemara Tauhia, rangatira of Mahurangi and Kaipara, died 30th October 1891. Care for my children and people. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
A mature cypress shading the grave was probably planted at the interment. To the west lies the white cliff of Aotea Bluff. The hill above, a prominent pā site, has yielded many artefacts to the Barr plough. The quality of the monument shows initial respect; its present condition suggests a fading local concern. The farm, at the time of our visit, had just been sold to a well-known Auckland businessman, Alan Gibbs.
We continued southwards, not pausing at nearby Kakanui Marae, where a kōrero was in progress. We found Neil. He too disclaimed much knowledge of Te Hemara Tauhia. But he had grown up on the property, where some of the local Māori had worked for his father, and he remembered a few of their tales. He knew the elder we had just met, and made two surprising disclosures. He believed this man held the local whakapapa books. He had also held some grudge against the rangatira’s grave, and once took the drastic step of showing his disrespect by pissing on it. The local Māori told with awe how shortly afterwards he lost a son and a wife. (I have since heard of another who did the same thing and was immediately gripped with stomach pains). We had clearly been unlucky in our first subject of interview. It became evident that there were considerable tensions between local hapū, and rather mixed attitudes to the presence of Te Hemara Tauhia’s remains. There had even been a proposal to shift these back to Mahurangi, and Māori Affairs had been prepared to put up money for the purpose.
Neil said that Hori Kingi, formerly rangatira at Mahurangi, had moved across to Araparera Bridge and settled, an act not entirely welcomed by the local people. Neil remembered as a schoolboy, seeing the old man in his suit and bowler hat, come down from his house to the shore to give his blessing to a shark fishing expedition a notable event in the local calendar. (I suspect that the third Mahurangi kāinga, that shown on the Pūhoi flats, visited by the surveyors in 1862, and shown on the Akeake deed of 1866, was that of Hori Kingi te Roa. The Sullivan’s granny, Rawinia, married Roa Rangitia, known as “Pūhoi” Roa, possibly his son. The removal of Kingi to the Kaipara may have allowed Te Hemara Tauhia to shift from Te Muri to the Pūhoi between 1866 and 1871).
One last story came from Neil. Among the Māori of the Kaipara, it was believed that when Te Hemara Tauhia was dying, he rose from his bed and took from its hiding place a pickle jar containing 500 sovereigns. With the help of a slave, who had had his tongue cut out, he went out and buried it. Many have since tried to find the treasure, but failed. It is wildly improbable that the old man had so much “in kitty” in his last days, indeed there is evidence he was in debt. By that time too, a deaf-mute would have been more probable than the mutilated slave. However, it is an example of legend generation too splendid to lose.
We moved on to Haranui marae near Helensville, where a rather curious conversation yielded nothing. The unexpected aspect of the day was that all we had learned had come from a Pākehā. It merely confirmed a warning to me from an expert, that collecting Māori history from tribal sources is likely to be unproductive for a stranger.
I was left with regret that the proposal to move Te Hemara Tauhia’s remains back to Mahurangi had failed. His bones must now be earth, but his neglected memorial stone might be more appropriately re-sited at Mahurangi, on the Mihirau bluff, where his chiefly ancestors are buried, overlooking the lands where he spent his life.
The dominant theme of this history of the last rangatira of Mahurangi and his hapū, has been the struggle to regain their heritage, and their failure to hold it, one repeated with variations all over this land. Te Hemara Tauhia himself emerges as a leader of mana, of compassion and generosity, but a man with flaws that left him vulnerable to the temptations of the Pākehā world.
There is a brighter postscript. Although not all Māori might agree, I believe that in the end we have seen the best possible outcome for the pick of the tribal land. The greatest triumph of regional vision, at a time when it shone more brightly than today, was the creation of the Auckland Regional Parks. The best of the coastal margins of this former Ngāti Rongo land have been secured intact in the public estate. The Wenderholm and Mahurangi Regional Parks now protect a continuous sea frontage from Waiwera River to Ōpahi Bay (and beyond to the eastern heads), a sample of the Northland coastline unsurpassed in quality, a taonga beyond price.
In this oblique fashion, it has come back to Māori, who now share it with all other New Zealanders, and indeed are using it. I have noted with pleasure an increasing number of Māori families among those camping and taking their leisure there.