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The information below has come from: http://www.boprc.govt.nz/media/32512/MatthewsMatthews-091119-OpotikiHertiageStudyPart1.pdf
OPOTIKI TOWN CENTRE HISTORIC HERITAGE STUDY PART ONE
Prepared for Opotiki District Council New Zealand Historic Places Trust Environment Bay of Plenty
By
Matthews & Matthews Architects Ltd Lyn Williams and
R A Skidmore and Associates Archaeology B.O.P.,March 2006

OPOTIKI TOWN CENTRE HISTORIC HERITAGE STUDY
The killing of Volkner was a major catalyst for the subsequent turmoil of the late 1860s. Skirmishes between Maori and Europeans further along the coast led to the whole eastern Bay of Plenty area being declared by the government to be under martial law. A force of 500 colonial troops (including Te Arawa and other Native Contingents) was organised and on 9 September 1865 Pakowhai was invaded. Several Hauhau were killed.28 Whakatohea and the Hauhau visitors were forced to retreat into the hills. Pakowhai village was occupied by the troops, a camp was established around Hiona St Stephen’s church and the next day the erection of a defensive ditch and earth bank was begun.29
In subsequent months the military forces, supplemented by more men of the 1st Waikato and 2nd Waikato Regiments, maintained their occupation of Opotiki, erected other redoubts to the south and engaged Hauhau and their followers in several skirmishes. A battle at Te Tarata on the Waioeka River, on October 4 1865, resulted in 35 Hauhau dead and many wounded, and three dead and nine wounded on the government side. The Hauhau retreated; 200 men of Ngati Rua hapu surrendered. Later in October, 21 people were captured in the Waimana valley and brought to Opotiki for court-martial.30
Land was not all that Whakatohea lost. Food stores, stock, crops, personal possessions and taonga were looted. Lt Stoate boasted that he was having six meals a day: pork chops, beef steak and potatoes. After five days on shore having “glorious fun” he left with a canoe figurehead, tomahawk, spear, paddle and some greenstone; he rejected the Maori books which were available in “any amount”. At least 20 horses were appropriated as cavalry horses; a few were taken by officers and other horses were sold by auction. Major Charles Stapp wrote to his wife: “What a quantity of cultivations corn in abundance such fine potatoes, all their ploughing was done with Horses .... I should say they were very rich.... Ploughs brand new all sorts of implements.... [The force] have got thousands worth of property belonging to them.” Stapp himself appropriated a wash stand, iron bedstead, table, chair, bath tub and straw bed.31
The new-comers
The men of the 1st and 2nd Waikatos were of British and Irish descent, some having been born in New Zealand but most recruited from goldfields in the South Island and Australia. Amongst them were farmers, small businessmen, carpenters or other tradesmen. For over a year Opotiki was a “men-only” settlement, and the visit by Colonel Haultain’s wife in 1866 caused quite a stir. A contemporary account stated: “Now the whole camp off duty, with all the natives, men, women and children, were present to ... give us welcome. Mrs Haultain ...
26 Vaggioli 2000:241-2, 243

27 See Grace and Gilling 1994 for full descriptions of this episode. 28 Cowan : 108

29 Cresswell 2003: 67-8

30 Cresswell 2003: 78

31 Stoate and C. Stapp as cited by Gilling 1994: 15-16


created no little excitement ... [she] ... is the first European lady that the natives have seen since Mrs Volkner left Opotiki.”32
With the arrival of wives and children of the 1st and 2nd Waikato militiamen in 1867, Opotiki began to take shape as a colonial town. Conditions were harsh initially, as rations and pay were in short supply and rural land was not immediately available. Many families left. However by 1870 the population had become more settled. Figures for the non-Maori population of the whole county rose from 300 in 1874 to 773 in 1881 and a gradual increase to 864 in 1886. Population figures for the borough only show that the population continued to increase through the first decades of the 20th Century, from 683 (non-Maori only) in 1906, to 1140 in 1921, despite the loss of c.50 men on active service in World War I. Total population figures show Maori numbers were also increasing, as was the proportion of Maori in the community. By 1956 the non-Maori numbered 1808 and Maori 538, making a total of 2346.
In 1893, 121 women registered to vote on the Opotiki roll, and a further 16 had signed the petition in 1892.33 Of the women registered to vote, only 15 had occupations other than household duties/domestic duties. They were teachers, a storekeeper, milliner, nurse, housekeeper, tailoress, dressmaker, lady’s help and cook.