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 they denied the validity of the South Island purchase of 1848. 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 deliberate desecration of sites of tapu. The South Island runholders called in the police, who in 1879 evicted the Ngāi Tahu ‘squatters’. Te Maihāroa moved to Korotuaheka; when he died, in 1885, the kāinga was razed so that it should never be desecrated. He left a prediction of his successor, 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 Maria’s younger sister Rēmana Hana, who founded a separate camp near Ōkaihau, where the people wore only white for peace. Their intense quarrelling resulted in the imprisonment of Rēmana Hana and her father, Āporo (apostle) Pāngari, in July 1887 for assault on the police. Ani and Rēmana disputed the best way to keep Ngāti Hao lands closed from milling and European settlement.

Te Mahuki

At Te Kumi in the 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 give support to Parihaka. In March 1883 Te Mahuki seized the surveyor Charles Hursthouse, who had been involved in the charges against Te Whiti. Hursthouse was surveying inside the Rohe Pōtae o Maniapoto (the King Country) with permission of senior Maniapoto chiefs. Te Kooti, recently pardoned by Native Minister John Bryce, ensured his release.

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

In the 1880s the rise of the prophet Pāora Te Pōtangaroa in Wairarapa began. Te Pōtangaroa was of Ngāti Kahungunu and Rangitāne descent. He organised the building of the meeting house at Te Kaitekateka, Te Ore Ore, which was prophesied to 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 protest to surveying. In 1887 Te Rā Karepe and Rangawhenua directed the construction of a cruciform house named Te Miringa Te Kakara, built on the site of an earlier house of the same name. This later house was burnt down by its keeper in 1983. The faith was called Pao Mīere (refuse honey), referring 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 at their deaths.

How to cite this page:

Judith Binney, 'Māori prophetic movements – ngā poropiti - Other 19th-century prophets', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/maori-prophetic-movements-nga-poropiti/page-5 (accessed 23 September 2017)

Story by Judith Binney, published 5 May 2011