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Hauhauism: An Episode in the Maori Wars 1863-1866

CHAPTER I. — The Rise of the Prophet, Te Ua Haumene

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The Rise of the Prophet, Te Ua Haumene.

As a result of the previous wars, large areas of native lands were confiscated. The irritation resulting from this action was one of the chief reasons for the renewal of the conflict in Taranaki, and the consequent propagation of the new religion of Hauhauism under the auspices of the prophet Te Ua Haumene.

In a Despatch to His Grace, the Duke of Newcastle, the Governor stated that:—

“I feel certain that the chiefs of Waikato having in so unprovoked a manner caused Europeans to be murdered, and having planned a wholesale destruction of some of the European settlements, it will be necessary now to take efficient steps for the permanent security of the country.… I can devise no other plan by which these ends can be obtained than, first, by providing for the permanent peace of the country by locating large bodies of European settlers strong enough to defend themselves in those natural positions in this Province which will give us the entire command of it…; and secondly, by taking the land on which this European population is to be settled from those tribes who have been guilty of the page 17 outrages detailed in my various despatches to Your Grace.…”1

The confiscation was carried out under the New Zealand Land Settlement Act, which had been framed by the Whitaker-Fox Ministry, and passed by the Legislature in 1863.2

As there were large tracts of country lying unoccupied, useless, and unproductive, which might be made available for the introduction and location of such settlers “with benefit to themselves, and with manifest advantage to the Colony,” it was enacted that the Governor-in-Council might take native land where desirable in order to set aside sites for settlements.3 The money derived from the sale of land was to be devoted to recouping the expenses of the war, in the construction of public works, the establishment of schools and other institutions, and in promoting immigration for the colonisation of the confiscated territory. An enormous area of the Waikato and the neighbouring country was confiscated under this Act.4

1 Despatch from Governor Sir George Grey, K.C.B., to His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, K.G. Aug. 29th, 1863. App. H. of R. A. No. 8.

2 Proclamation. Wells, op. cit. Ch. XXV, p. 258.

3 Rusden, G. W.: Aureretanga: Groans of the Maoris. London: Will Ridgway. 1888. p. 25.

4 Governor's Despatch, No. 144. 8th Oct., 1864. Great Britain, Parl. Papers, Further Papers relative to the Affairs of New Zealand (11291). 7th Feb., 1865. The area affected may be seen in the accompanying map on p. 18.

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MAP showing the Territory confiscated in the Waikato country in the Province of Taranaki and near Wanganui under the New Zealand Native Land Settlements Act, 1863. Enclosed in Governor's Despatch No. 144, 8th Oct., 1864. Printed in Further Papers relative to the Affairs of New Zealand (11291) 7th Feb., 1865. Great Britain, Parl. Papers.

MAP showing the Territory confiscated in the Waikato country in the Province of Taranaki and near Wanganui under the New Zealand Native Land Settlements Act, 1863. Enclosed in Governor's Despatch No. 144, 8th Oct., 1864. Printed in Further Papers relative to the Affairs of New Zealand (11291) 7th Feb., 1865. Great Britain, Parl. Papers.

KEREOPA, THE NOTORIOUS HAUHAU MURDERER. From Gudgeon's Reminiscences of the War in New Zealand.

KEREOPA, THE NOTORIOUS HAUHAU MURDERER. From Gudgeon's Reminiscences of the War in New Zealand.

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The defeat of the Kingite tribes, and the settlement of the confiscated lands with large bodies of drilled men, secured peace in the Waikato.1 But General Cameron's successful campaign 1863–1864, by no means secured a general pacification of the Maoris.2 During the continuance of the Waikato campaign, no attempt had been made to carry on active operations on an extended scale at Taranaki, or to retain possession of the Tataraimaka block, the occupation of which had been the signal for the commencement of hostilities in May, 1863.3 Little more had been done than to maintain the position within the entrenchments of New Plymouth, and in a few neighbouring redoubts.

The temporary pacification was broken by renewed warfare in Taranaki, but this time accompanied by a fanatic ferocity unknown in previous campaigns. This new phase of warfare was due to the outbreak of Hauhauism, or the religion of Pai Marire. This religion hardened the Maori fighting spirit in a kind of holy war.

Irritation with the Government was rife in 1863, and thus the Maoris were peculiarly susceptible to the influences of a new religion, especially when it promised them deliverance from their degradation. Lady Martin says:—

1 Wells, op. cit., Ch. XXV, p. 260.

2 Gudgeon, T. W.: The Defenders of New Zealand, being short biographies of colonists who distinguished themselves in upholding Her Majesty's supremacy in these Islands. Auckland, N.Z.: H. Brett. 1887. p. 46.

3 Supra, Introduction, p. 10.

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“The people were maddened by defeat, disease, and by the confiscation of their land.”1

A pioneer missionary reports to the Church Missionary Society:—

“Through the war they (the Maoris) have been vexed and prejudiced, sometimes maddened and driven to extremes.”2

Bishop Selwyn, fresh from the scene, thus addressed the Third Synod in Christchurch:—

“The war, which seemed to have come to an end, was renewed by the perversity of a few misguided men. Mixed with the new element of the confiscation of land, it acquired a bitterness unknown before. The missionary clergy were believed to be the agents of the Government in a deep laid plot for the subjugation of the native people. Our congregations melted away, our advice was disregarded. Exasperated by continued defeat, and loss of friends and relations, many became reckless. The feeling grew among them that they would abandon the religion of their enemies, and set up one of their own.”3

1 Lady Martin: Our Maoris. London: S.P.C.K. 1884. p. 170.

2 Grace, T. S.: A Pioneer Missionary among the Maoris, 1850–1879, being letters and journals. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Bennett & Co. N.D. Diary, August 10th, 1877. p. 267.

3 Rt. Rev. G. A. Selwyn, D.D., Charge to Synod, Christchurch, 1865. cited Rusden, op. cit., Vol. II, Ch. XIII, p. 284.

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Thus Pai Marire1 appeared just at the hour when the hostile tribes, embittered by heavy losses in men and property, were in a mood to welcome a new battle cry with the hope of turning the tide of war against the Pakeha. The Bishop of Waiapu declared in 1865:—

“The great moving principle of Pai Marire is that it is a scheme which promises a successful termination of the war with which we are afflicted.”2

Cowan, who wrote on the origins of the Hauhau Wars, said:—

“But when the white fire of a fanatic religion fused the people in a federation of hate against the Pakeha, all problems merged into one—that of race mastery… it spread like a fire in dry fern; and we find tribes who had no grievance against the white man united in casting off semicivilisation, and throwing themselves into the battle for Maori independence.”3
The development of the new religion was facilitated by the appearance of a prophet, Te Ua Haumene, who lived at Wereroa (Waitotara),

1 Pai Marire means “Good and peaceful.” Dictionary of the Maori Language. Williams, Herbert W.: The name is a curious paradox when compared with the practices of the religion.

2 Annual Report of Bishop of Waiapu, Dr. William Williams, to the Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, from Turanga, March 25, 1865. Published Church Missionary House, July 10, 1865.

3 Cowan: op. cit., Vol. II, Ch. I, p. 3.

page 22 pa. He coordinated the widespread dissatisfaction of the Maoris, and moulded it into what the Colonial Secretary and Native Minister describes as
“one of the most terrible and disgusting superstitions that ever found lodgment in diseased brain or perverted heart.”1

But it seems probable that even if Te Ua had not appeared at this critical time, the Maoris would have made some last attempt to withstand the apparently inexorable advance of the pakehas. The prime objectives of the Maoris were essentially “Maori independence,” and the “successful termination of the war.” Te Ua's contribution was to give a religious bent to an otherwise purely political movement.

Te Ua Haumene was otherwise known as Horopapera Tuwhakararo.2 He belonged to the Taranaki tribe, and was taken into slavery at the age of three years. This happened during a raid by the Waikato and Kawhia tribes, a few years

1 Fox, W.: The War in New Zealand. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1865. Ch. IX, p. 126.

2 P.C.B. Fraser's Magazine. Oct. 1, 1865, p. 583. Horopapera means baptised—thus the baptismal name of Te Ua was Horopapera Tuwhakararo, which means in English John Zerubbabel. Mr. T. W. Downes, a pakeha-Maori, informed me that Christian Maoris frequently adopted some Scriptural name to show their profession as in this case. Bishop Herbert Williams has further told me that the missionaries were averse to accepting Maori names at baptism, hence biblical names or names derived from the mission workers were generally adopted.

page 23 before the planting of the New Plymouth settlement, or the arrival of the missionaries in Taranaki. At Kawhia, which was for some years a flourishing Wesleyan mission, Te Ua heard the Gospel, learned to read and write, and received Christian baptism at the hands of the Rev. John Whiteley.1 At the commencement of the war in 1860, Horopapera espoused the cause of Wiremu Kingi, and fought against the English troops at Waireki.

In 1862 Te Ua claimed that the Angel Gabriel appeared to him. In September of that year, the “Lord Worsley” was wrecked off the coast of Taranaki. The natives debated among themselves what should be done. A few, including Te Ua, wished the goods to be sent into the town untouched.2 When he found that his advice was not taken, but on the contrary, that the goods were plundered, he was so afflicted that he became very ill, and while in this state the Angel Gabriel appeared and spoke to him.3

After this initial hallucination, other reports began to circulate, until Te Ua was regarded as having miraculous powers. Extravagant ru-

1 Ward: op. cit., Ch. XXII, p. 441.

2 Meade, H.: A Ride Through the Disturbed Districts of New Zealand: Together with some account of the South Sea Islands. Being Selections from the Journals and Letters of Lieutenant the Hon. H. Meade, R.N., edited by his brother. London: John Murray. 1870. Ch. V, p. 142.

3 Taranaki “Herald,” 1864. Quoted Appendix to the House of Representatives. E.8.5. 1865.

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became current, which the credulous natives believed.

Bishop Williams believed that he showed strong signs of insanity.1 Other evidence seems to confirm this. Gudgeon says:—

Te Ua up to the date of his inspiration had been considered a harmless lunatic. His tribe looked on him as of weak intellect, but yet of peaceful disposition.”2

The Presbyterian Chaplain to the Imperial troops says:—

“He seems to have been afflicted with a species of insanity for some years.”3
Supernatural accounts of Te Ua spread amongst the natives. One account related how Te Ua, at the instigation of the Angel Gabriel, had cut off the hand and foot of a child with an American axe. The mother of the child related the crime to the tribe, who sent forty picked men to investigate. In the meantime the Angel Gabriel had spoken again to Te Ua and commanded him to reunite the hand and foot of the child. The natives, on arrival, found the child whole and well. It was obvious that Te Ua

1 Rt. Rev. William Williams, D.C.L., “Christianity Among the New Zealanders.” London: Seely, Jackson & Halliday. 1867. Ch. XIX, p. 366.

2 Gudgeon, T. W.: Reminiscences of the War in New Zealand. 1879. Ch. IV, p. 24.

3 P.C.B. Fraser's Magazine. Oct., 1865.

page 25 had miraculous powers as the blood could be seen on the ground.1

The Resident Magistrate of Central Wanganui confirms the above account in substance, although details vary. He says:—

“Horopapera took his son and twisted the leg until the bone broke in several places. A voice then cried: ‘Horopapera, spare your son.’ The Angel Gabriel then said: ‘Take your son and wash him in water.’ He took his son to a river called Wairau, and the leg was restored whole as the other.”2

Again another version relates that a child had a twisted foot, which he tried to straighten by pulling it violently, and then striking it with an axe, he broke the bone and the child died.…3

Another account relates how on one occasion, Te Ua was successively bound to a post with lashings, chains, and handcuffs, all of which he in turn broke.4 Such reports certainly contributed towards the prestige of Te Ua Haumene among the Maoris. The discrepancies in the various versions are probably due to their legendary and fantastic nature, but they do not seem to have damaged the prophet's reputation.

1 The full account of this episode as given by a Maori, Rawiri Te Kakawaero, will be found in Appendix I, p. 61.

2 App. H. of R. 1865. Session V, E. No. 4.

3 P.C.B.: Good words. Oct., 1865.

4 App. H. of R. 1864. E. No. 8. Enclosure. Memorandum by T. H. Smith, Esq., Civil Commissioner. Bay of Plenty.

page 26 Instead, these accounts confirmed the natives in the belief that Te Ua was no maniac, but a great prophet who was raised up for their deliverance.1

1 William Williams: op. cit., Ch. XIX, p. 367.