Author: Dr Bryan Gilling. Commissioned by Treaty of Waitangi Policy Unit, Department of Justice. 1994


Section I: Introduction
The Whakatohea iwi, centred on opotiki, have claimed that they were prejudicially affected by the actions of the Crown in confiscating their lands in the 1860's. This claim is couched in nineteen specific allegations. These are: The invasion of the Whakatohea tribal lands in 1865 and the subsequent:
1. Loss of life
2. Burning and destruction of our Habitations.
3. Destruction of all the carvings and other cultural artifacts.
4. Confiscation of all our fertile lands.
5. Prejudicial Court Commission decisions following the confiscation.
6. Deliberate policies of settling foreigners consisting of Military settlers, Traders and members of other Tribal people, specifically Arawa, totally oppressing the Rangitiratanga of Whakatohea.
7. Resettling of Whakatohea on small areas of marginal land.
8. Denial of their fertile cropping lands.
9. Implementation of the New Zealand Settlements Act of 1863 and the purpose of that Act.
10. Confiscation which included our sacred Burial places and fishing grounds.
11. Destruction of the economic base of the Whakatohea.
12. Inability of the Whakatohea to develop a commercial fishing industry as a result of the destruction of their economic base.
13. Economic, cultural and social decline of our people.
14. Paltry sum of twenty thousand pounds granted to Whakatohea in recognition that the confiscation was excessive.
15. Restriction by rehabilitation policies to the choice of land available (at the time of purchase of land by the Whakatohea with compensation monies) to the category or classification of land that was unsuitable for soldiers rehabilitation.
16. Insulting and degrading act (with reference to the above) of the European Dominant authority as it ignored all those Maori soldiers of Whakatohea who fell in defence of the British empire.
17. Refusal of the Crown to honour the Treaty of Waitangi after numerous petitions by Whakatohea regarding all these injustices.
18. We are reopening the Claim that was previously negotiated in the knowledge that our earlier negotiators accepted the terms as an interim position, knowing that was as much as could be extracted from an inflexible culturally insensitive and European dominated Government.
19. Exclusion in the earlier claim settlement of 1947 of Ohiwa Harbour, a traditional food source and cultural repository of the Mauri of the Whakatohea to which we now lay claim also including the Islands within the harbour.
Whakatohea Trust Board to Registrar, Waitangi Tribunal, 22 May 1989.

Section II: Before the Confiscation

(A) Tribal Background of Whakatohea

The situation and background of Whakatohea before contact with Europeans is covered in brief survey form in the introduction to the report prepared for the Waitangi Tribunal by Buddy Mikaere et al at pp. 5-6 and in some greater depth in the "Whakatohea Case Commentary in Preparation for Final Report to the Waitangi Tribunal" at pp. 2-10.

H.G.D White, a local historian and archaeologist, comments on the natural concentration of Whakatohea on the sea coast, especially on the rich river flats and rolling foothills which seldom stretch more than five miles inland. (H.G.D White, 'Site Recording and Surveying in the Opotiki District', Whakatane Historical Review, Vol 19, No. 2 (Nov 1971). "Few of the people in the area lived more than an hour's walk form the sea." this was for agricultural reasons and also because of the great importance of the coastal areas as a food source, both in terms of fishing in the open ocean and for the varieties of seafood that could be acquired on the coastal rocks, in river estuaries and in the large almost lagoon areas, especially the Owiha harbour.

The most detailed discussion of the iwi's pre-European history that I have discovered is that written by A.C Lyall in 1979. (A.C. Lyall, Whakatohea of Opotiki (Wellington: A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1979). The the first two-thirds of this book, some 140 pages, are devoted to tribal origins, the emergence of each hapu within the iwi, and the struggle for the iwi to establish itself in the Opotiki region. I invite readers to refer to that work for this material.

Lyall comments, "Research into tribal histories leaves one with the almost indelible impression that the forest and mountain trails were beaten by a ceaseless traffic of battle-bound feet and that the hills, rivers, and plains witnessed perpetual scenes of blood-letting." (Lyall, 113). ....hapu of Whakatohea had to maintain a constant vigilance against potential challengers or invaders;

on their western flank Tuhoe and Ngati-Awa; to the east Ngai-Tai and Whanau-a-Apanui; from the sea to the north it could be anyone; and to the south, Ngati-Kahungunu, Aitanga-a-Mahaki and Whanau-a-Kai were the allies of one foray and the adversaries of another - but more frequently the latter. (Lyall, 113).

In the early nineteenth century there were a series of battles along the coast betweend Ngati Rua hapu of Whakatohea and Ngai Tai...
The conflicts of the "musket wars" did not leave Whakatohea unscathed. Apparently in the early 1830's Whakatohea already were in possession of some firearms and used them at the battle of Te Muhunga and subsequently...the invasions which were most destructive of Whakatohea to the extent that they were never again the military force they had been previously. (Lyall) While various inter-trivbal clases had always taken place, these were different in quantity and quality. The first came in 1823 in the aftermath of the Ngapuhi raid under Hongi Hika on Mokoia. His force divided and 800 under Pmare attacked Opotiki from the sea, several major pa being destroyed and many killed or captured. A second raid took place in 1825. Ngati Ira and Ngati Kahu of Ngati Ngahere were the hapu most affected by the Ngapuhi attacks. In April 1828, CMS missionary party came upon the remains of a cannibalistic feast at Onekawa Bluff near Ohiwa, victims of a Ngataiawa attack upon Whakatohea (Lawrence, M. Rogers (ed.), The Early Journals of Henry Williams. (Christchurch: Pegasus Press, 1961), 120.) Ngati Maru of Hauraki also mounted seeral assaults on Whakatohea in or just before 1830. In these Ngati Ira and Upokorehe were the greatest sufferers. the conflicts of the 1820's and 1830's apparently left the coast fringe centred on Opotiki virtually deserted by Whakatohea.

Some Maori with Whakatohea antecedents having been captured and often enslaved were therefore scattered as far apart as Northland and the Waikato. Others arrived in Tauranga, either being rscued by a Ngai Te Rangi attack on a homewardbound Ngati Maru taua or liberated by Te Waharoa's Ngati Haua after the attack on the Ngati Maru pa, Haowhenua, near Cambridge. Those at Tauranga returned to their ancestral lands in 1831. They had requested one of their relatives, Titoki, to come and collect them. He went to Tauranga at the time when it was under threat from aother Ngapuhi raid. The northerners though, were wiped out by Ngati Te Rangi and Te Waharoa, thus establishing further links between Whakatohea and E Waharoa, commemorated in the possession by Whakatohea until recent times of a greenstone battle-axe name Te Waharoa. (Lyall). Under Titoki's leadership, Whakatohea re-established themselves in their ancestral lands around Opotiki from 1840. ...

(B) Missionary Contact

Mikaere reports that the first Christian contact with the Opotiki district came in 1834 with the return to the region of Piripi Taumatakura, a Whakatohea who had been enslaved in the Ngapuhi raids and, now converted, released. For whatever reasons, Whakatohea became rapidly enthused by the new religion, to the extent that they asked the Anglican Church Missionary Society for their own missionary. In December 1839 they received John Alexander Wilson ...He would not have been able to fulfil the full range of ministerial functions, but began effectively to win converts and prepare candidates for baptism to the demanding standard expected by the CMS missionaries. When Bishop Selwyn visited the area in 1842, he was able to baptise a number in a raupo chapel which had been built at Opotiki.

The original formal decision to extend the CMS mission to Opotiki was made in January 1840... Wilson settled in March 1841. Even before he commenced work there, when Archdeacon William Williams held a service some 200 Maori attended, although many called themselves Catholics. Wilson was a catechist, a non-ordained church worker tasked with evangelising and instructing converts in the Christian faith. ....Catholic missionary priests arrived only three months after the Anglicans. Bishop Pompallier himself called on 24 March 1840. As had happened with the Anglicans, he was welcomed by some who were already adherents to the faith through inter-Maori contact, A CAtholic Ngapuhi chief named Moka having married a Whakatohea woman and built another raupo chapel at Opotiki. On this visit Pompallier only held one mass and baptised one child, but he made such a significant impression that Pakeha religion soon had other manifestations.

the fact that this brief missionary contact was significant to Whakatohea was revealed at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Acopy was brought to Opotiki by James W. Fedarb, commanding the trading schooner Mercury, and working as an agent for the CMS missionary REv. James Stack of Tauranga. There this copy was signed by seven Whakatohea chiefs on 27-28 March 1840. They have been identified by Claudia Orange as Tauatoro of Ngai Tama and Ngati Ngahere, Takahi of TE Upokorehe and Ngai TAma, Ake of Te Upokorehe, and Te Whakia of TE Whakatohea.(Orange) Those chiefs who were Catholic, as opposed to Anglican, insisted that their marks and names be prefaced by a cross to make their identification known officially. These were Tauatoro, Rangimatanuku and Rangihaerepo.

the Catholic presence in the Opotiki region was expand with the permanent residence of a Marist priest, Father Baty, who included most of the eastern Bay of Plenty in his ...responsibilities.
...Reverend Carl Sylvius Volkner was appointed to Opotiki in August 1861. ... Within three years he had constructed both a school and new church building. Whakatohea supported his construction work practically by cutting the necessary timber, kauri ferried from Auckland and transported on land by members of Ngai Tai. Those who did the cutting were Ngati Porou specialists as Whakatohea lacked the skills. (Karaitima, "Eye-witness Account).

...In early 1863 100 pounds was granted by Governor Grey, which elicited grateful and positive responses not only from Volkner, bur also from at least some of Whakatohea.

Their involvement and identification with Volkner's project reveal at this time, 1862-64 , a residual affection amoungst Whakatohea for Volkner personally and presumably for Anglicanism generally. This contrast with the pro-Catholic, pro-French, anti-Anglican statements with with C. Hunter Brown... revealing perhaps an ambivlence within the tribe [towards Volkner]. On the one land, here was certainly violent criticism of Anglicanism directed towards the Government official; on the other hand, actual expenditure of time and effort and probably money was made to construct permanent symbols of Anglican attempts at cultural change. Perhaps this demonstrates a difference perceived by Whakatohea to exist between "Government" Anglicanism and "missionary" Anglicanism. Or, it might be that there were varying reactions to the individual Pakeha concerned, one a Government official, the other "their" Pakeha missionary (but this does not explain the antipathy towards Anglicanism). The most likely explanation appears to be that there was some division within the tribe; that the official, Brown, was confronted by Catholic Whakatohea only and that Anglicans might not have been so virulent, nor so ready to link their religion with land acquisition or Government activities.

...The arrival of Catholicism and its rapid gaining of influence amongst Whakatohea caused great anxiety to the CMS missionaries. ...In 1845 the Anglicans noticed a perceptible shift of allegiance from Catholicism to Anglicanism, visible in that their congregation was too large for the chapel. Sixty-two took communion, something which the CMS missionaries allowed only to those who were baptised after passing a relatively rigorous couse and demonstrated an appropriate lifestyle. A new Anglican chapel, 63 x 33 feet in size, was being constructed by Whakatohea... Williams observed smugly that Father Chouvet [Catholic] was having to Maori to construct his competing chapel.

...By 1848, Wilson reported over 1000 professed Christians in the Opotiki District. ...In 1851, there were 163 Anglican communicants at Opotiki...

...Something happened at Turanga to the Catholic priest of Opotiki in December 1849, for which CAtholic Whakatohea held Williams responsible. He noted that they were 'in great rage on account of what passed here with the priest last month and they propose to shoot me as a payment when I go that way.'

(C) Other European Contact
The Maori tribes in the Bay of Plenty, such as Whakatohea, seemed to have been adapting relatively successfully to the arrival of European culture and commerce. A range of economic activities are mentioned by Mikaere at p. 6 and Whakatohea Report at pp.15-20.

Whakatohea were prepared to trade flax and mats in 1828. They had already learned of the desirability of gunpowder ...

By 1840, Bay of Plenty Maori generally had been used to trading with Europeans for two decades. By the mid-1830's there were a number of European trading stores among the trives and Maori began to crew European vessels, soon leading to Maori ownership of some. by 1843, Whakatohea already owned two small ships, acquiring more both for commercial reasons and to enhance tribal mana. In 1844, one twenty-ton schooner was acquired for 200 100kg pigs as throughout this decade transactions were conducted by barter, not for cash. Some of the ships were built locally by European tradesmen.

The inter-facial contact this shipping facilitated is revealed in that in 1849 most of the male population of Opotiki visited either Auckland or the Bay of Islands. The ships were small, on average twenty-ton and forty-foot schooners and cutters suitable for crossing the harbour bars and being rowed upstream. They had a working life of only about ten years because weather and dangerous bars caused many wrecks.

In August 1847 a gazetted list of Maori shipowners revealed eight of the f45 throughout the country as belonging to Whakatohea owners. The official register listed 11 from Ohiwa and Opotiki in the period up to the early 1860's, but most small vessels in outlying districts remained unregistered, so the actual figure was probably much higher.

A new road was opened between Opotiki and Turanga on the East Coast by March 1841, and an overland postal service was established. The frequency of the service apparently depended upon the volume of correspondence to be transported. Previously, such communication relied on the coastal shipping service - and would have continued to do so to some extent as a ship, when available, would have travelled faster. this new 'road' was the inaldn Te Kowhai track via Lake Waikaremoana, Puekiwi/Pukukiwi, Motu, Pakihi, Te Wairapukao, Whakanguru, Turangatohu and Okorahia which William Williams was the first European to travel in November 1840, a year before Colenso, and then used whenever travelling to Opotiki on foot. The trip ...took five days...

the seige of Toka-kuku at Te Kaha in 1834 had created such a level of emnity between East Coast tribes and those of the eastern Bay of Plenty that rumours of a expedition from Opotiki still caused great agitation in Turanga in 1841, the automatic expectation being that it would be hostile.

The state of the pa at Opotiki in 1844 was apparently miserable and unhealthy. Williams described it as "in a damp situation with many pools of stagnant water which are enough to destroy all the population". The consequence is that they have been much affected with an epidemic which has carried off many". Wilson had convinced many of the survivors of the need to move to higher, drier ground 'on the mission station'.

Other indications of the activities carried on the area were given by Archdeacon William Williams in 1850. Within the space of less than one week, he commented on a cargo of potatoes being taken from Ohiwa up to Auckland for the market, and gave a detailed description of the quantity of shars taken at the Ohiwa mouth and the process for extracting oil from their livers. These Maori had a cutter, a small European boat, for their fishing. John Wilson (the son of the missionary, who would himself become the Crown Agent at Opotiki) took a cargo from Opotiki to Auckland in the schooner Dove of 53 sheep and wool. Williams was himself transported to Tauranga from Opotiki in another Maori tradi vessel of about 12 tons with two crew, "in the best of order as to her sails & ropes", also equipped with a small equivalent of a windlass and its own rowboat.

"By 1860 Hira Te Popo's hapu, Ngati Ira, had become wealthy traders and farmers." thehy had sufficient lands under close cultivation to have been able to build and operate their own flour mill and they had their own cutter, the Hira, hapu-owned but registered in Hira's name, to carry gtheir produce to market, especially in Auckland.

Hanson Turton, a former Wesleyan missionary turned Government official, travelled the the Bay of Plenthy and Waikatop in 1861 discover how well the various Maori tribal runuga were functioning as courts and agents of social control. for all their benefits, there were frequent instances of abuse. At Whakatane they were imposing hefty fines for merely carrying a pistol, or even for criticism of the rununga itself, while some areas women were being encouraged to flirt or even to prostitute themselves so that money could be made from rununga-imposed fines on those thus enticed. [!!!]

Opotiki had two rununga, one for the young men and another of seventy members for the adults. Turton persuaded them to collapse these into one, with Poihipi (a very intelligent chief) chosen, subject to the Governor's approval, as Assessor, the only man acceptable to both religious parties. it was now comprised of two sets of twelve members each, with Roman Catholics and Protestants carefully intermingled.

Turton also commented on the general state at Opotiki. Whakatohea owned 13 vessels,...For agriculture, they had more than 50 ploughs, 26 drays and carts and other implements in proportion, while their miles of good roads centred on a water mill for which they had paid 800 pounds. Some of the bridges which they had constructed themselves, were the equal of any European ones on the road south from Auckland. Much of this prosperity had resulted from the earlier influence of Wilson and Davies, and the present Catholic priest, Fr J Alletage, still advised them with great zeal and judgement.

There was a problem, though. Having expended so much money and enthusiam on this valuable equipment, they were already beginning to lose some through inability to maintain it, so Turton exhorted the Government to encourage European tradespeople to settle there as a model of inter-racial cooperation and Maori development. The rununga displayed their keenness by promising gifts of land to any who would come..

C. Huner Brown, a Government official reported to Governor Grey in June 1862 on the sate of the whole eastern Bay of Plenty region stretching back from the coast between Whakatane and TE Kaha to the Upper RAngitaiki and into the Ureweras to Waikaremoana. An important part of his task was to reconnoitre the area for access and the attitude and numbers of potential combatants in the event of war, as well as to explain the ramificiations of Grey's new rununga system, but he also provided many details of various aspects of life in the Whakatohea rohe at that time.

At Opotiki the alluvial flat stretching inland had been nearly exhausted by extensive Maori cultivation, for which some one-horse ploughs were used in places while in others work was still performed by hand. The coast track was interrupted by the mouths of the harbours at Ohiwa and Opotiki and those Maori who provided a ferry service there were ..."extortionate". Some form of mail service reached as far as Opotiki - he did not mention any still operating from Opotiki to Turanga. Pig trading was conducted inland with the Ureweras, who used this trade as a means of acquring the few European goods they possessed, demonstrating that in some respects Whakatohea were already more Europeanised than some of their more remote neighours. Horses were being widely used, for farming and for transport of both people and goods. ... brown described what he understood to be Whakatohea's rohe at that time:
The Whakatohea occupy the coast from Ohiwa to a point called Tirohanga, about half way between Opotiki Heads and Opape - that is, to a hill with some Rata trees on it, about half way along the sand beach South-East of Opotiki ... THE REST I WILL SCAN!!!