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Story: Pōmare, Hāre and Pomare, Hariata

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Pōmare, Hāre

fl. 1863–1864

Ngāpuhi tour party member

Pomare, Hariata

fl. 1863–1864

Nga Puhi tour party member

This biography, written by Steven Oliver, was first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography in 1990.

Hariata, a Ngāpuhi woman from Te Ahuahu, near Ōhaeawai, was the daughter of Pikimana Tūtapuiti and the wife of Hāre Pōmare, the son of Pōmare II, of Ngāti Manu. Both Hariata and Hāre were young adults when they visited England in 1863 with a tour party of Māori 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 Māori party to demonstrate songs and dances. He set up a company to promote the venture, the purpose of which was to demonstrate to the Māori the resources and power of Britain, and persuaded 14 Māori to join his tour: Kihirīni Te Tūahu, of Tūhourangi; Hūria Ngāhuia, of Ngāti Whanaunga; Tākerei Ngāwaka, of Ngāti Tūwharetoa; Hāpimana Ngāpiko, of Te Āti Awa; and from Ngāpuhi, in addition to the Pōmare couple, Horomona Te Atua, Reihana Te Taukawau, Kamariera Te Hautākiri Wharepapa, Hariata Haumu, Paratene Te Manu, Tere Hariata Te Iringa, Wiremu Pou (also known as Wiremu Te Wana or Te Whai) and Hirini Pākia. The party sailed from Auckland on the Ida Ziegler on 5 February 1863.

During the voyage, which took 100 days, the Māori 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 Māori; 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 Māori 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 Māori 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 Pōmare was pregnant and expressed a wish to be the child's godmother. Hariata and Hāre Pōmare 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 Māori 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 Pōmare 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. Hāre is thought to have died in Wellington Hospital soon after returning to New Zealand. Hariata is said to have married a man from Ngāti Huia at Ōtaki and to have died in the late 1860s.

After the return of the Pōmare 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 Māori 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 – Tākerei Ngāwaka and Hāpimana Ngāpiko – 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 Pōmare 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. 'Pōmare, Hāre 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 18 July 2024)