Story: King Country region

Boundaries: killing of Timothy Sullivan, 1873 (2nd of 2)

This rough sketch map was produced in 1873 during an investigation into the killing of farm labourer Timothy Sullivan [note: the bottom of the map is north and the top is south].

In February 1873 Sullivan and two others were working on land adjacent to the Waikato confiscation boundary that had been leased to a European settler. Ownership of the land was disputed. A hapū of Ngāti Hauā claimed ownership but, in keeping with King movement practice, had boycotted the Native Land Court hearing – meaning the land was awarded to other claimants who then leased it out. At first, cattle and sheep were removed from the land or killed by Ngāti Hauā to signal their opposition to the lease. These actions did not deter the leaseholder, who continued to develop the land. Mohi Hotuhotu Purukutu and Hori Te Tumu of Ngāti Hauā retaliated by killing Sullivan, who, unlike his companions, was unable to outrun his pursuers to reach the safety of the confiscation line.

Purukutu, Te Tumu and others who were present during the killing travelled south-west down to Tokangamutu (near present-day Te Kūiti), which was beyond the Pūniu River – the northern boundary of Te Rohe Pōtae – and were thus beyond the reach of European law. Though Ngāti Maniapoto leaders disapproved of their actions, the men were not surrendered and were never apprehended, demonstrating the government's lack of influence and power in the region at this time.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1873, G-3

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'King Country region - Te Rohe Pōtae', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 October 2019)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, updated 30 Mar 2015