Chiefs were hounded to sell
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Henare Tomoana, Pakowhai Pa
Though subordinate in rank to his elder half-brother, Karaitiana Takamoana, Henare Tomoana had greater ancestral rights to Heretaunga through his paternal side.
He achieved considerable prestige in the fight against Te Kooti at Taupo in the latter part of 1869.
Henare told the commission: “A greater portion of my debts was incurred going to Taupo. I gave authority to the shopkeepers and the debts of others were placed in my name.”
Fearing Henare might not return, Frederick Sutton, to whom he was in debt, summoned him on the point of departure. Despite the assurances of J.D. Ormond, Henare was tried while away fighting for the Government and he was judged.
The Government failed to reimburse Henare adequately.
On his return he was greeted by Tanner who threatened him with jail if he didn’t sign away his grant. He was called to his solicitor’s office where he was greeted by Tanner and Hamlin, the interpreter. He claimed he tried to leave but was physically prevented. Five hours later, on December 16, 1869, he signed.
“When I told Karaitiana he was sad. He knew Heretaunga had gone.”
Judge Richmond declared that Henare’s description of the circumstances of the signing was a deliberate falsehood, that the complainant came to the solicitor’s house by his own appointment, that he passed the greater part of the day agreeably, dined with them, called for the agreement to sign, then departed without any dispute or disagreement.
Manaena Tini, Pakowhai Pa
Manaena, as Tanner pointed out to him, was the only person left who had not agreed to sell. Karaitiana had gone to Auckland to persuade Donald McLean to intervene on their behalf. Tanner and Hamlin came to Pakowhai Pa and asked for Manaena’s share. He would not agree.
A week later, they tried again but Manaena concealed himself in a willow tree until they left. On yet a third occasion he evaded them by hiding in the ammunition loft above the minister’s house.
Tanner lost patience and set Sutton, to whom Manaena was in debt for £600, on the trail.
In cross-examination, Manaena was asked: “Was it because you wished to avoid these people or to make better terms, you went away?”
Manaena replied: “Because I was unwilling to sell. ”
Another creditor, Edwards, joined the next visiting party. They offered Manaena a side-payment of £100 if he would sign in Napier the next day. He failed to show up.
They came to the pa and presented him with a list of his debts.
After the usual bargaining session Manaena, realising the futility of his position, surrendered his grant on March 16, 1870.
Five days later the deed of purchase of the Heretaunga block was finalised.
Judge Richmond in his findings concerning Manaena saw Manaena’s efforts to avoid Tanner as either feeling or feigning reluctance to concur in the sale. He speculated that perhaps Manaena didn’t like to sign in Karaitiana’s absence, or perhaps by making a little difficulty he could secure himself better terms.
His description of Sutton as “a genial creditor”, and reference to Manaena “coyly taking refuge in the branches of a willow tree from the importunate advances of Tanner and Hamlin”, don’t reveal any great gift for summing up the character of either European or Maori.
Did the Treaty of Waitangi, the Native Land Court and the provincial administrators make sufficient provision for the protection of Maoris, untutored in the complexities of British law?
Judge Richmond describes Karaitiana Takamoana, Henare Tomoana and Manaena Tini as men of considerable intelligence, quite capable of transacting their own business.
To expect fighting chiefs to bridge in two decades, the gap of generations of evolution in education and law reform with which the European colonists were advantaged, was unrealistic.
The Maoris displayed a degree of adaptability that is to their lasting credit. However, most people today of both races have difficulty comprehending legal matters. What chance then had the Maori of more than a century ago?
Allowed Hastings to develop
Karaitiana Takamoana, rangatira of Heretaunga stands in history as the man who allowed the township of Hastings to develop.
He was one of William Colenso’s converts to Christianity, but, despite this, maintained three wives.
The two pas with which he was most strongly connected were Te Awapuni (Waitangi) and Pakowhai, both of which were finally destroyed in the great flood of 1897.
His grave is one of two in a paddock near the tangle of bridges and roads at Pakowhai. These and a couple of adjacent walnut trees are the last vestiges of what was once a thriving community.
In 1872, 12 years before Hastings came into being, Samuel Locke was reporting to the Government: “There are men like Karaitiana who are zealously endeavouring in every way to improve themselves and their fellow countrymen.
“They each have large farms on which the best and latest machinery is used. They live in well-built and comfortably-furnished houses.”
Karaitiana was a moderate who saw benefits for both Maori and the European in settlement of the Heretaunga Plains, but he wanted the Maoris to lease their land to the settlers, not sell it.
Back in 1851, he was one of three chiefs, who pleaded with the Government: “ There is no other first cause of evil than that of land.
“If we come to a fair and mutual understanding on this one day friends this will indeed be a healthy thing. And if others see this, Maori and pakeha, let them follow our example and let their ills be cured. Let our words on this question be printed so that they may be seen by two faces, heard by two ears and adopted by two races.”
In September 1865, 300 Maori met messengers from other tribes at Karaitiana’s Pakowhai Pa: The Hau-Hau were urging them to join in an uprising against the European settlers. Under the guidance of Karaitiana and other chiefs, the meeting decided to stand by the Europeans of Hawke’s Bay.
The assembly ended with three hearty cheers for the Queen.
Within four years, Karaitiana was reluctantly signing over his people’s land on the Heretaunga block to Tanner and company.
In July 1869, he was protesting: “The European invites the Maori to whom the Crown Grant belongs to drink spirits. That Maori then says ‘I have no money’. The European then says “Your land is your money’.
“I look upon this as a cruelty to the Maoris.”
Seven months later, Karaitiana left Pakowhai with Te Heu Heu to go to Auckland to seek help from his friend Donald McLean.
At the boat, Frederick Sutton served him with a writ for debts. Karaitiana turned back to Pakowhai:
At the tollgate at Awatoto he found Thomas Tanner. The two talked Maori fashion, saying one thing, meaning another, about debts and land sales.
After this, Tanner and the interpreter Hamlin constantly visited Karaitiana at Pakowhai, asking him to sign the Deed of Sale on Heretaunga.
Karaitiana signed on December 6.
For the eight years between 1871 and 1879, as MP for Eastern Maori, he continued to fight for the land, through constitutional means rather than warfare. He led the pressure which resulted in Parliament setting up the Hawke’s Bay Native Lands Alienation Commission in 1873.
He was also to become focal point of a political drama in the House of Parliament.
Stafford was making a bid to topple the Fox Government, of which J.D. Ormond and Donald McLean were members. McLean was confident the MP for East Coast would support him, but Karaitiana was by this time disillusioned with both Ormond (who, as an apostle, was one of the syndicate against whom he sought an inquiry) and McLean who appeared to be supporting the syndicate with his silence.
Karaitiana voted with the Opposition and had the satisfaction of seeing the two Hawke’s Bay MPs change sides of the House along with members of a defeated Government.
At Pakowhai he continued to encourage his people to make the most of the European lifestyle. He hired two Napier bandsmen to go to the pa three times a week to play for the young people, who were being taught ballroom dancing and etiquette.
He ordered a piano from Wellington so they could learn to play.
A school at Pakowhai opened in January 1872. The teacher’s salary was 100 pounds a year and the daily attendance was 41. Adults were encouraged to join classes.
He and his half-brother, Henare Tomoana, established a Maori newspaper. The Catholic mission, next door; was encouraged in its work.
In 1874, Karaitiana led an intriguing struggle with Frederick Sutton over possession of 13 acres at Mangateretere. Sutton put sheep on the land. They were promptly turned off.
Sutton dismantled a large house and re-erected it on the disputed ground. Three men, helped by a crowd of women and children, then pulled the house down and carried the pieces back across the road where they threw them on to Sutton’s land.
In court, the Maori said that as soon as the house was erected on Karaitiana’s land it became his property.
However, instead of burning it or keeping it, Karaitiana had kindly had to dismantled and returned to Mr Sutton.
The following year, Karaitiana had another victory over Sutton. He obtained a writ to stop him cutting out the remains of the timber at Big Bush (Mangateretere).
In the end, however, Sutton obtained possession of the land and later sold it to Nelson Brothers. The trees went into the mills and were used for the building of Hastings.
Karaitiana died in 1879. A quarter of a century before Hastings came into being, he had been planning a township of his own.
The plan showed equal sections of land for 104 families. Elevations of the houses were drawn, with doors windows, fireplaces and chimneys in the European style. People would sleep on beds raised above the floor, a health and sanitation measure. There would be a church and parsonage.
The town would be called Ko Rauru “after the traditional Solomon of the Maori people.”
It would go on the balance of the Ngaruroro, just opposite Tucker’s Works at Whakatu.
Footnote: This article first appeared in Hastings 100 published by the Herald-Tribune in 1984 to mark the centennial of the city.
Photo caption – Karaitiana Takamoana… “land first cause of evil”