Newspaper Article 1976 – Train ‘raid’ starts Takapau festivity

Train ‘raid’ starts Takapau festivity

Hundreds of people gathered to see the Endeavour express train “held up” at Takapau yesterday in a re-enactment of part of the district’s history which set its centennial celebration off.

When the Endeavour came into Takapau at 4pm – nearly half an hour late – Mr Tom Hanita, Takapau, acting the role of Chief Hirake Tuhua, challenged the right of the rail to go beyond Takapau.

The re-enactment was based on an incident in 1879 when the chief, bearing a grudge against the railways in general and one of its guards in particular, led a raiding party to stop the train.

3000 WATCH

As up to 3000 people watched in intermittent showers, Mrs Roy Hames, Takapau, played out the role of the only European who could have placated the chief.

With gentle words and many hongi greetings, he eventually met the demands of history, and the train was allowed to go on its way unmolested.

Then it was time for the official opening.


Challenged individually the MP for Hawke’s Bay, Mr J. R. Harrison, the chairman of the centenary committee, Mr B. E. Mabin and Mr Hanita, as spokesman for the Takapau Maori people, entered the Takapau Hotel area.

Mr Mabin told the crowd that the people of Takapau were not prepared to let the cold weather allow visitors and former residents to leave the district without the warmth of friendship which he was sure the celebration would create.

Mr Hanita said nothing the Maori people could accomplish could be done without working side by side with their European friends.


Mr Harrison, officially opening the weekend’s celebrations, briefly traced the history of Takapau in terms of its agricultural progress and its parliamentary and local government representation.

Last night’s big event was a hangi, focal point of a “family night” which was attended by the 1500 people who were able to get their tickets before the list was closed off last Monday.

Photo captions –

Above: Mr Tom Hanita, in the role of Chief Hirake Tuhua, urges his men on during the re-enactment of the train hold up at Takapau yesterday afternoon.

Left: The MP for Hawke’s Bay, Mr J.R. Harrison (in the white top hat at lower right) and other guests leave the train

Original digital file


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Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

16 October 1976


The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Mrs Roy Hames
  • Tom Hanita
  • J R Harrison
  • B E Mabin
  • Chief Hirake Tuhua

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