Story: Pomare, Hare and Pomare, Hariata

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Pomare, Hare

fl. 1863–1864

Nga Puhi tour party member

Pomare, Hariata

fl. 1863–1864

Nga Puhi tour party member

This biography, written by Steven Oliver, was first published in 1990.

Hariata, a Nga Puhi woman from Te Ahuahu, near Ohaeawai, was the daughter of Pikimana Tutapuiti and the wife of Hare Pomare, the son of Pomare II, of Ngati Manu. Both Hariata and Hare were young adults when they visited England in 1863 with a tour party of Maori people organised by William Jenkins, a Wesleyan lay preacher, who had been an interpreter for the Nelson provincial government. He proposed to give a series of illustrated lectures in England, using the Maori party to demonstrate songs and dances. He set up a company to promote the venture, the purpose of which was to demonstrate to the Maori the resources and power of Britain, and persuaded 14 Maori to join his tour: Kihirini Te Tuahu, of Tuhourangi; Huria Ngahuia, of Ngati Whanaunga; Takerei Ngawaka, of Ngati Tuwharetoa; Hapimana Ngapiko, of Te Ati Awa; and from Nga Puhi, in addition to the Pomare couple, Horomona Te Atua, Reihana Te Taukawau, Kamariera Te Hautakiri Wharepapa, Hariata Haumu, Paratene Te Manu, Tere Hariata Te Iringa, Wiremu Pou (also known as Wiremu Te Wana or Te Whai) and Hirini Pakia. The party sailed from Auckland on the Ida Ziegler on 5 February 1863.

During the voyage, which took 100 days, the Maori members travelled steerage in cramped and unpleasant conditions, while Jenkins travelled first class. They were provided with no fresh food but were given worm-infested biscuits, which they threw overboard. They relied on gifts of food from soldiers travelling on board. Reihana Te Taukawau commented on their discomfort and disillusionment: 'We…felt deceived because…by the words in his [Jenkins's] invitation we were to live with him and his Englishmen and eat with them but it was all very different'. Hariata Haumu went mad during the voyage and was later committed to an asylum.

The party arrived in London on 18 May 1863 and were at first successful. They were presented to the Prince and Princess of Wales, went to the opera at Her Majesty's Theatre, had their first sight of a train at Victoria station, and visited the Royal Arsenal, the Bank of England, and the Zoological Gardens at Regent's Park. They wore traditional garments and ornaments and were treated as distinguished guests from a foreign land. They were received as guests at aristocratic receptions in London and followed by crowds of onlookers.

They performed songs and dances at receptions but had no conception of performing for payment. Jenkins, however, needed to recoup his expenses. The British government considered that the lectures by which he proposed to do so degraded the Maori; further, the government would not assist the tour financially because it had heard nothing from Governor George Grey about Jenkins and his party. Jenkins felt that the government should pay for the tour as the Maori were acting as unofficial ambassadors. A committee to raise public donations was set up, and on the understanding that the tour was not a commercial speculation the party were introduced to Queen Victoria. Nevertheless Jenkins gave illustrated lectures to paying audiences and was accused of exploiting the Maori people in his care. From their point of view this was so, for they were not paid and were housed in a charitable institution. In addition, they had to remain in England long after they wished to return to New Zealand.

The party was presented to Queen Victoria at Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, in July 1863. The Queen noticed that Hariata Pomare was pregnant and expressed a wish to be the child's godmother. Hariata and Hare Pomare then left Jenkins's party and went to stay with Elizabeth Colenso in Tottenham, at the Queen's expense. On 26 October 1863 Hariata gave birth to a son, who was named Albert Victor, after the Queen's deceased husband. He was the first Maori known to have been born in England. Victoria sent presents – for Hariata £25, and for the child a green morocco leather case containing a silver cup, knife, spoon and fork. Albert Victor was baptised at St Paul's, Tottenham, on 3 December 1863. The next day the couple and their son were presented to the Queen and her daughters at Windsor Castle. The Queen admired the baby and questioned Elizabeth Colenso about Hariata's health. Victoria told the party how the war in New Zealand 'troubled' her; she hoped it would soon be over.

At the Queen's request the Pomare family were photographed and equipped with clothes. The family left England on Christmas Day 1863 on the Statesman, this time travelling first class with the Queen paying their fares, and arrived in Auckland on 7 May 1864. Hare is thought to have died in Wellington Hospital soon after returning to New Zealand. Hariata is said to have married a man from Ngati Huia at Otaki and to have died in the late 1860s.

After the return of the Pomare family, the rest of the party continued with the tour, attracting large crowds but making little money. Some of its members quarrelled fiercely with Jenkins, who abandoned them. Dorothea Weale, an influential philanthropist, came to their rescue, and the Colonial Office made the arrangements for their return. At a farewell ceremony in Birmingham, Reihana Te Taukawau refused to receive gifts presented by local firms. Bitter over Jenkins's mishandling of the trip, he observed sarcastically they should be given to the gentleman who had lost money in bringing the Maori to England. The party left on 4 April on the Flying Foam and arrived in New Zealand on 13 July 1864. Two members had died on the voyage – Takerei Ngawaka and Hapimana Ngapiko – and a baby had been born to Wharepapa and his English wife, Elizabeth Reid.

In 1869 the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria's second son, visited New Zealand and Albert Victor Pomare was presented to him at a great gathering of Northland tribes. Albert attended St Stephen's school in Auckland. The Queen had wanted him to join the Royal Navy, but there is no record of his having done so. He went overseas as a young man and all record of him was lost.

How to cite this page:

Steven Oliver. 'Pomare, Hare and Pomare, Hariata', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1990. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1p21/pomare-hare (accessed 16 November 2018)