Story: Marutūahu tribes

Page 5. Resources of the Hauraki region

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The Hauraki Gulf

Hauraki is a region rich in marine, mineral and forest resources. Since the arrival of the Tainui peoples in the region, there have been conflicts and negotiations for control of these resources. The Hauraki Gulf itself is a major source of seafood, and coastal and deep-sea fishing has been maintained over many generations. Conflicts with Ngāpuhi of the north often centred on the control of waterways across the gulf, and access to prized fish such as whāpuku (groper). The islands of the gulf were fought over, and some island settlements were transitory. Today, the protection of the gulf remains an important issue for the Hauraki people, who have been prominent in discussions on the management of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park.

Fisheries and marine management

Marine aquaculture is an important enterprise of the Marutūahu peoples. Projects such as a mussel farm in Manaia Harbour have been the catalyst for Hauraki involvement in national concerns relating to fisheries and marine management. Hauraki people have long taken a leading role in the settlement of fisheries claims. The 19th-century Ngāti Tamaterā chief Tanumeha Te Moananui brought a claim to the foreshore and seabed out from the township of Thames. This claim gives context to contemporary Hauraki activities relating to the sea, and has featured in the Hauraki claim to the Waitangi Tribunal.

Gold and timber

Gold was discovered at Coromandel in 1852, in the bed of the Kapanga Stream. This attracted great national and international interest to the Hauraki region, but brought conflict to Hauraki Māori. Some, including Te Hira Te Tuiri, Ngāti Tamaterā chief Tukukino and his cousin Mere Kuru, resisted the intrusion of European gold miners and the subsequent loss of land.

The four Hauraki posts

When the Māori King movement was established in the late 1850s, some tribes pledged mountains as symbolic pou (supporting posts). In Hauraki, the Kohukohunui and Rātāroa mountains on the western side of the Firth of Thames, and Te Aroha and Moehau on the eastern side were pledged. Kohukohunui (sometimes referred to as Wharekawa) was offered on behalf of Ngāti Whanaunga, and Rātāroa on behalf of Ngāti Pāoa. Te Aroha mountain was given by Ngāti Maru, and Moehau by Ngāti Tamaterā.

The Hauraki goldfields were to become immensely rich sources of gold in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, and gold seeking resumed in the later 20th century. Gold mining has revived awareness of the widespread loss of land, desecration of sacred sites, and management of key places of interest such as Moehau mountain.

Timber was another resource coveted by Europeans, and large-scale kauri and other timber milling began on the Coromandel Peninsula in the early 1800s. By the outbreak of the First World War, this resource had been depleted. Although there are now a number of forest parks in the region, only a few stands of original kauri remain.

How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Marutūahu tribes - Resources of the Hauraki region', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 July 2024)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 22 Mar 2017