A group of men prepare to dig a channel to allow Lake Ōnoke in southern Wairarapa to drain into the sea. In 1886 local Pākehā formed the Ruamāhanga River Drainage Board to open the lake entrance and prevent flooding. This was opposed by Māori, who relied on the lake for food resources. In 1892 a group of Māori led by Piripi Te Maari-o-te-rangi attempted to stop the opening of the lake entrance. Following the death of Te Maari-o-te-rangi in 1895, Lakes Ōnoke and Wairarapa were gifted to the government by Wairarapa Māori.
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