Story: Māori prophetic movements – ngā poropiti

Page 5. Other 19th-century prophets

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Te Maihāroa

In the South Island, in 1877, Hipa Te Maihāroa led a protest group to reclaim their lands at Te Ao Marama (near Ōmarama) in north Otago. They called themselves Israelites and denied the validity of the large 1848 land purchase. They claimed the interior as their own. Te Maiharoa’s religion had developed in the 1860s, partly under the influence of the prophets Te Ua and Te Whiti; it was named Kaikārara (lizard eater) as its rituals involved the deliberate desecration of tapu sites. South Island runholders called in the police, who in 1879 evicted the Ngāi Tahu ‘squatters’. Te Maihāroa moved to Korotuaheka, at the mouth of the Waitaki River. When he died, in 1885, the kāinga was razed so that it could never be desecrated. He left a prediction that his successor would be a ‘little child’ from Taranaki.

Ani Kaaro

The influence of Te Whiti and Tohu spread. In the 1880s in Hokianga, three women contested for the mantle of Te Whiti. Ani Kaaro, daughter of Patuone, senior chief of Ngāti Hao, had visited Te Whiti and claimed to share his spiritual authority. Her rivals were Maria Pāngari (who died in 1887) and her younger sister Rēmana Hana, who founded a separate camp near Ōkaihau, where the people wore only white for peace. Intense quarrelling resulted in the imprisonment of Rēmana Hana and her father, Āporo (apostle) Pāngari, in July 1887 for assaulting policemen. Ani and Rēmana disagreed on the best way to keep Ngāti Hao lands closed to milling and European settlement.

Te Mahuki

At Te Kumi in Waikato, Te Mahuki of Ngāti Kinohaku, who had been driven out of Parihaka in 1881, founded his own community. He and his followers called themselves the Tekaumārua (the 12), after the 12 apostles and the 12 evangelists of Tāwhiao, created in 1866 and sent by the king to support Parihaka. In March 1883 Te Mahuki seized the surveyor Charles Hursthouse, who had been involved in the charges against Te Whiti, and his assistant William Newsham. Hursthouse and Newsham had been surveying inside Te Rohe Pōtae o Maniapoto (the King Country) with the permission of senior Maniapoto chiefs. Te Kooti, recently pardoned by Native Minister John Bryce, secured the release of Te Mahuki after his arrest when he led an unarmed protest march into Alexandra (Pirongia).

Te Mahuki was arrested in 1897 for setting fire to a cooperative store in Te Kūiti. Sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for attempted arson, he was transferred to the asylum in Auckland in April 1899. Cheerful when he arrived, he was dead within six months.

Pāora Te Pōtangaroa

The rise of the prophet Pāora Te Pōtangaroa in Wairarapa began in the 1880s. Te Pōtangaroa was of Ngāti Kahungunu and Rangitāne descent. He organised the building of a meeting house at Te Kaitekateka, Te Ore Ore, which, it was prophesied, would not be completed within eight years (E kore e mutu i ngā tau e waru). When it was finished in 1881 it was called Ngā Tau e Waru (the eight years).

Pāora erected a stone as a medium to the gods and spirits. With the completion of the house he made a number of prophecies, including that a great power was to come from the rising sun. The prophecies were made in the form of a flag which he asked for interpretation. In later times, some interpreted the prophecy as referring to the coming of the Mormons. Others saw it as the Rātana faith, as it was Tahupōtiki Rātana who later removed the medium stone from the marae.

Pao Mīere

In the Rohe Pōtae o Maniapoto (the King Country), another movement developed as a protest against surveying. In 1887 Te Rā Karepe and Rangawhenua directed the construction of a cruciform house, Te Miringa Te Kakara, on the site of an earlier house of the same name. This later house was burnt down by its custodian in 1983. The faith was called Pao Mīere (refuse honey), a reference to the sweet taste of money paid for land. The teachings were a mixture of Pai Mārire and the worship of Io, the Māori supreme deity acknowledged by the Kīngitanga. The movement was strongly associated with peace.

In October 1869, when the earlier house still stood, Te Rā Karepe had rejected Te Kooti’s call to renewed war. When Te Rā Karepe died in 1894, his book of teachings was buried under a pillar of Tokanganui a Noho, the meeting house built by Te Kooti in Te Kūiti in gratitude for his shelter by Tāwhiao and Maniapoto. In this way the prophetic traditions of Te Rā Karepe, Te Kooti and Tāwhiao were linked.

How to cite this page:

Judith Binney, 'Māori prophetic movements – ngā poropiti - Other 19th-century prophets', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 6 March 2024)

Story by Judith Binney, published 5 May 2011