Te Tai – Treaty Settlement Stories

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Chiefly authority

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei rangatira Apihai Te Kawau and Paora Tūhaere were strategic, reciprocal and resilient. They led their people through many challenges, always striving to secure a sustainable future for their hapū.

Video: Whai Maia Trust 1 Ltd

What breeze blows gently hither?

From 1825, after being besieged by Hongi Hika and the northern tribes, Apihai Te Kawau and his people lived in the Waikato for nearly a decade. Te Kawau and his people returned to Tāmaki and re-established settlements, first at Karangahape, then at Māngere and Onehunga. Between 1836 and 1838, gardens were re-established at Te Rehu (Cox’s Bay), Horotiu (Queen Street), Maunga Rāhiri (Little Rangitoto, Remuera) and Ōkahu Bay.

News of Lieutenant-Governor Wiliam Hobson’s arrival in the Bay of Islands prompted a large gathering of high chiefs from the Kaipara, Waitematā, and surrounding areas, hosted by Te Kawau’s relation Whatarangi. Attaining peace was the primary topic. At a crucial stage of the hui, Tītai, a highly regarded Te Taoū tohunga, rose to speak and told of a conversation he had had with a god while in his dream state. He shared these prophetic words in a traditional chant.

He aha te hau e wawara, e wawara?
He tiu, he raki, he tiu, he raki
Nāna i ā mai te pūpūtarakihi ki uta
E tīkina e au te kotiu
Koia te pou whakairo ka tū ki Waitematā
I ōku wairangitanga
What was the wind that is roaring and rumbling?
It was a wind in the north (the Treaty at Waitangi)
A wind that exposed the nautilus shell (symbolising the unfolding of a new order)
And in my dreams, I saw that
I would fetch the 'wind' from the north
To establish them myself (pou whakairo) at Waitematā

Upon hearing this, the gathering sent a delegation led by Te Kawau's nephew Te Rēweti to the Bay of Islands. They offered Hobson a gift of land to establish his new capital alongside Te Kawau's people on the shores of the pristine, obsidian-like waters of the Waitematā.

Video: Whai Maia Trust 1 Ltd

Raupatu, mana and ahikā

Apihai Te Kawau was born around 1780. He was descended from the Te Taoū leader Tuperiri, who established his mana over Tāmaki (Auckland) after his uncle Wahaakiaki defeated the Waiohua chief Kiwi Tāmaki in single combat.

Te Kawau was raised in times of war. He led his people through difficulties, taking shelter with his Waikato relations during Ngāpuhi’s attacks in the 1820s, and then re-establishing his people’s mana across Tāmaki. In the spring of 1837, Te Kawau and his people planted their first gardens beside the Waitematā, where they lived permanently from the following year. 

At Te Kawau’s invitation, Te Wherowhero of Ngāti Mahuta moved to Onehunga. Te Kawau gifted land in Remuwera (Remuera) and Onehunga to repay Te Wherowhero for hosting and supporting his people.

In 1840 Te Kawau invited Hobson to establish the colony’s capital on the shores of the Waitematā. He signed the Treaty of Waitangi on 20 March 1840 and on 20 October gifted Hobson the land which is now central Auckland. 

In a few short years Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei lost significant tracts of land. In the early 1850s, Te Kawau began lobbying against the land sales in Tāmaki. In 1873 Judge Francis Fenton granted a certificate of title for an ‘inalienable estate’, the 700-acre block at Ōrākei. Te Kawau and his brother Te Tinana considered emigrating to Rarotonga, but instead they took up residence in the Kaipara, where they were gifted land by the Te Taoū chief Ōtene Kikokiko.

Apihai Te Kawau died at Ōngārahu, and was buried in the Kaipara.

Video: Whai Maia Trust 1 Ltd

Identity and mana motuhake

Born in 1825, Tūhaere was baptised around 1840 and given Pāora (Paul) as his Christian name. He succeeded his uncle Apihai Te Kawau as chief of the confederated hapū of Te Taoū, Ngā Oho and Te Uringutu. These hapū became known as Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei during Tūhaere’s leadership.

Tūhaere is best known for establishing and convening the Kohimarama Conference in 1860. He also hosted the Te Kotahitanga parliament in 1879 at Ōkahu Bay. Many rangatira attended and discussed mana Māori, Treaty grievances, land loss, laws and the lack of Māori representation on local bodies and in Parliament. Tūhaere asked on many occasions for Māori to be included in the framing of laws, but this request was continually denied.

Tūhaere witnessed significant change over his lifetime as Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s lands and seas, abundant with life, became the property of the Crown and settlers. He lobbied the Crown to honour the 1873 agreement that Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei lands remain inalienable. But his requests fell on deaf ears; the next 80 years were some of the darkest his people would face, with total land loss and pressure to assimilate.

When Pāora Tūhaere died in March 1892, he was mourned by many, including Tāwhiao, who attended his tangihanga (funeral). Tūhaere’s legacy was as an entrepreneur, mediator, innovator, facilitator, peacemaker and a true and loyal friend of the Pākehā people.

Video: Whai Maia Trust 1 Ltd

Tuku rangatira

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have maintained their position as ahi kā and responsibility as mana whenua, offering manaakitanga to the many people that have come onto their lands. It began with Apihai Te Kawau welcoming Lieutenant-Governor Hobson in 1840 and the tuku whenua – a chiefly gifting of lands for the site of Auckland. The hapū have continued to uphold these values and supported the interests of the wider community of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Video: Whai Maia Trust 1 Ltd

A Te Kawau genealogy

On 30 November 1866, Apihai Te Kawau attended the Native Land Court at Princes Street in the rapidly growing town of Auckland  . He outlined for the court his whakapapa (genealogy), iwi affiliations, and how he had come to be the paramount chief of the greater Auckland isthmus. He declared:

'My father was Tarahawaiki. His father was Tuperiri and Tuperiri's tribe was Taoū. I was born at Ihumatao. The land belonged to the Waiohua when I was born. Tarahawaiki belonged to Te Taoū. The name of the people who lived in the country from the Waitematā to the Manukau were the Waiohua and the Ngā Iwi. The Taoū were driven into this country by the Waiōhua. It was on account of the massacre at Waitūoro. Wahaakiaki avenged this massacre, he belonged to the Taoū. The people who owned Kohimarama, Ōrākei and Taurarua were killed by the Taoū. They were the Ngā Iwi and Waiohua. The pā at those places were destroyed by the Taoū. Te Taoū captured all the pā of Ngā Iwi. Tuperiri took the last one. It was when people were killed in the days of Tuperiri that Taoū came here. They came to Maungakiekie and built a pā. Only Te Taoū lived on this side of Tāmaki then.’

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are continuously researching their history. This published narrative is done to the best of their knowledge.

First published in 2021 by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Manatū Taonga.

© Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei 2021.