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Story: Hine-i-paketia

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fl. 1850–1870

Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Te Whatuiapiti leader

This biography, written by Angela Ballara, was first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography in 1990. It was translated into te reo Māori by the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography team.

Hine-i-paketia was a leader of Heretaunga (Hawke's Bay), and of the district extending south to the Manawatū Gorge, during the nineteenth century. She was publicly consulted by influential chiefs. She did not hesitate to speak at meetings and her name headed petitions to the governor.

Her high rank derived from both her father and her mother. She was the eldest child of Hihipa-ki-te-rangi, whose own ancestry was from a line of eldest sons going back to Tama-i-awhitia, Te Rangi-ko-ia-anake and Te Whatu-i-apiti, and through his wife, Te Huhuti, to Taraia I and Kahungunu. Through Hihipa-ki-te-rangi's mother, Hine-i-wahia, Hine-i-paketia was related to the Wairarapa peoples, Ngāti Kahukura-awhitia and Ngāti Moe. She was the descendant of peoples whose marriage alliances had concluded a long war, several generations earlier, between Ngāti Te Manawa-kawa, Ngāti Te Rehunga, Ngāi Tahu and Rangitāne. These connections not only gave her great influence with all these descent groups, but also enabled her to claim ownership in blocks from the Ngaruroro to the Manawatū rivers. Her maternal grandmother was the sister of Te Uamairangi, the senior chief of Ngāti Te Upokoiri.

Born around the beginning of the nineteenth century, Hine-i-paketia (also known as Ani) lived her early life in a period shaped by wars and invasion by tribes from outside her region. As heir to chiefly mana over wide districts, her people protected her. In the early 1820s Te Pareihe, the warrior leader of Ngāti Te Whatu-i-apiti, took her north to Nukutaurua, on the Māhia peninsula, to escape approaching Waikato invaders. She was probably kept there in safety until peace was arranged.

The people of Heretaunga began to return to their homes around 1838. Little is recorded of Hine-i-paketia's life in the 1840s, but by the early 1850s she exercised great influence over her people of Heretaunga. She lived at least part of the time at Poukawa, south of the Ngaruroro River. Early visitors to Hawke's Bay referred to her as 'the Queen' and, as befitted her rank, she was one of the earliest Hawke's Bay Māori to own a horse.

In December 1850 Donald McLean, government agent, arrived in Hawke's Bay to negotiate Crown purchase of any land Māori would sell. As he travelled north-east from the Manawatū Gorge he received a message that the chiefs of Heretaunga would consent to the sale of a considerable block. On 14 December discussions were held at Waipukurau. The chiefs spoke generally in favour of disposing of a portion of their land, but by 16 December McLean became aware that the final say rested with Hine-i-paketia. Accompanied by Te Hāpuku he visited her at Pātangata, on the Tukituki River, downstream from Waipāwa. Te Hāpuku managed to get her consent to the sale of about 300,000 acres, later known as the Waipukurau block.

When the Hawke's Bay tribes later assembled to negotiate the price of the block, Hine-i-paketia outlined her reasons for consenting to the sale. She was determined to sell her land because it was now useless. The birds and other game – the fruits of the land – had been destroyed by introduced predators. She wanted the land to be settled by Europeans with whom her people could trade for 'goods for all old & young'.

Negotiations for the block continued. The chiefs asked for £20,000; McLean countered with an offer of £3,000. Te Hāpuku made a lengthy appeal to McLean about the extent and value of the lands. He wrote subsequently to Governor George Grey about the small amount offered by McLean. 'This we did not like, neither did our Queen Hineipaketia like it.' Te Hāpuku listed those in whose name the letter was sent and Hine-i-paketia's name headed the list. They were finally paid £4,800.

After this first sale Hine-i-paketia held to her resolve to sell her land. She shared in the sale of hundreds of thousands of acres. Her wide ancestral connections with different hapū enabled her to take part in sales from the Heretaunga plain to Northern Wairarapa, including parts of the Ruahine Range. In some sales she figured as Ngāti Te Whatu-i-apiti; in others as Ngāti Te Rangi-ko-ia-anake, Ngāi Tahu or Ngāti Kahungunu. Her signature appears in various forms, including Kuini Hineipaketia, Te Hei Hineipaketia, Hinepaketia Te Rangi and Hineipaketia Te Kuini.

Some of the sales in which she was involved were agreed to after discussions with other legitimate claimants. But in other sales, particularly those blocks sold in 1854, Hine-i-paketia was one of three, with her cousins Te Hāpuku and Hōri Niania Te Aroatua, who plotted to sell the land clandestinely, sometimes in Wellington. These sales were often secretly negotiated by Hōri Niania, the money squandered, and the major claimants to the land left in ignorance of the sale. Such blocks included the Tautāne and Ruataniwha blocks.

These clandestine sales of 1854 led to a war between Te Hāpuku and Kurupō Te Moananui at Te Pakiaka, a stand of timber near Whakatū; fighting broke out in August 1857. One of the immediate causes was a quarrel over the ridgepole of Hine-i-paketia's house at Te Pakiaka. Hine-i-paketia's supporters lost the battle and were forced to withdraw to Poukawa.

In spite of this reverse Hine-i-paketia and her cousins did not cease their land-selling activities. The Whenuahou block of over 3,000 acres, a portion of the Umuopua block, had been sold in 1854 by Hōri Niania and Hine-i-paketia. The sale was disputed by Hēnare Matua, leading the people of Pōrangahau, whose claims overlapped those of Niania and Hine-i-paketia. Niania was later found to have deliberately defined a boundary to the east of the legitimate line. When the Ōmarutairi block was sold in 1859, a reserve of 1,000 acres was set aside for Hōri Niania and Hine-i-paketia. This sale, too, was later disputed by the major claimants of the block, and caused endless problems for all concerned.

Despite the hostility of others, Hine-i-paketia remained firmly committed to land-selling. Her name continued to feature in Native Land Court grants after 1865. Some of her land dealings were investigated in the 1872–73 commission of inquiry into Hawke's Bay land alienation. Other than these mentions, little is known of her later life. She was married to Puhara (Puwhara) Hawaikirangi. The date of her death is unknown.

How to cite this page:

Angela Ballara. 'Hine-i-paketia', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1990. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1h21/hine-i-paketia (accessed 25 July 2024)