Sydney Grant



Sydney Grant


©   Sydney Grant 1977

First published 1977
by the Dunmore Press Ltd.,
P.O. Box 5115, Palmerston North

The support of the Maori Purposes Fund Board is gratefully acknowledged.

ISBN 0-908564-45-7

Typeset by W.T. Campbell Typesetters Ltd., printed by Kerslake, Billens and Humphrey Ltd., and bound by Bookwork and Stationary Ltd.


I have made an attempt to write a local history and, at the same time, the history of the establishment and disintegration of a large sheep station.  Waimarama is the Maori name for a small area, now mainly a beach resort, on the east coast of the North Island approximately fourteen miles south of Cape Kidnappers and seventeen miles by road from Havelock North.  The place name Waimarama, however, became the name of a sheep station of 35,000 acres leased from the original owners, the Maoris.  The story in itself is a microcosm of New Zealand history, attempting as it does to trace the first occupiers, the Maori people known as Ngati Kahungunu whose origins and doings are, in part at least, mythical; the first contacts with the Europeans, who, as in other parts of the country, were whalers; the coming of the squatter; the disputes about land, its partition and the displacement of most of its Maori owners; and finally the present state of the area.

The difficulties in writing about early Maori occupation are well known. Before the pakeha came, the Maori tradition and history were handed down from generation to generation orally and stories often conflict.  Waimarama is a district quite rich in pa and kainga sites, but as yet the archaeologist has not investigated. Nevertheless, the imbalance between describing four or five hundred years of Maori life and one hundred and twenty of European will be apparent to readers of this history.  Once the European appears on the scene written sources begin, although as has been remarked before, it is unfortunate that the whalers were not literate men.  The missionary Colenso, a contemporary of whalers in Hawke’s Bay, left extensive journals; one of the station partners kept a diary with great regularity over a period of six years: the Native Land Court kept minutes of its proceedings, and the appearance of newspapers added to the written record.  Waimarama Station is perhaps unique in that a long series of legal actions and petitions resulted from disputes over

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leases so that much of its history is well documented in the New Zealand Law Reports as well as in the records of the Native Land Court.

Finally, historians of Hawke’s Bay have one grave disadvantage hampering investigation – the 1931 earthquake and fire destroyed a great deal of valuable material, particularly that relating to land transactions, which it is difficult or impossible to retrace.


Even a comparatively short work of this nature requires a considerable amount of research and I am indebted to a number of people for assistance.  The interesting and accurate reminiscences of the late Duncan McKenzie, son of a former head shepherd of Waimarama Station, first stimulated me to record its history.  I also owe a debt to Dr M. D. N. Campbell for valuable assistance and encouragement.  Many of the residents of Waimarama not only helped, together with the Maori Purposes Fund Board, to sponsor this work, but also provided useful information.  My thanks are due to the following Waimarama people for their help with details concerning their district’s history: Miss B. Wall, Mrs H. McNeill, Messrs C. M. Gilray, C.D. MacGillivray, A. G. H. Parker, J. G. Blackmore, F. Field, S. T. and D. S. Belcher, J. D. Stewart, J. J. Palmer, B. Wilson, A. Little, D. Paul, C.T. Chesterman and J. Moeke.  Others to whom I owe thanks are Mrs G. Ross, daughter of the manager of Waimarama Station in its last years, Turanga Karauria, R.M. Bell, A.G. Bagnall, Dr R.S. Grant, Mrs J.M. McLeod of the Hawke’s Bay Museum Library, J.F. Hargrave, J.N. Birch, Mrs C. Wierz, Mrs Kay Mooney, Mrs Miriam McGregor, I. Gordon, C.M. White, P.D. Wilson, F.T. O’Kane of the Te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board and officers of the Lands and Survey and Valuation Departments.  For photographs I wish to thank Mrs J.M. Chambers, Mrs H. McNeill,  Mrs J. Wilson, Mrs D. Crawford, Mrs B. White, Messrs C.M. Gilray, R.L. Bone and I.W. Caird.  Thanks are due to Mr R. Angus for a map of subdivisions of Okaihau.  Finally, I am grateful to Mr L.S. Rickard for giving me the benefit of his experience of indexing and proof reading.

S.W. Grant
Havelock North


Forward   5
Acknowledgements   6
1.   The Area   9
2.   Beginnings   11
3.   The Europeans Arrive   18
4.   The White Farmers   31
5.   Partition   49
6.   The Legal Battle   59
7.   The New Era   85
Station Life and the Development of the Amenities 103
Appendix A:  Head teachers of Waimarama School   117
Appendix B:  Waimarama Riding Members   118
Index   119

Plan of Locality


The township of Waimarama is situated on the coast of Hawke’s Bay some fourteen miles south of Cape Kidnappers and seventeen miles south-east of Havelock North by road.  It lies on comparatively flat land and was first established on the banks of the Pouhokio River, really little more than a stream, but later stretched southwards along the beach as well as inland.  The infinitely older marae, known as Tau Punga, is still on its original site on the flats north of the beach settlement.

The larger area once comprising the Waimarama Station, which is the subject of the major part of this work, is bounded on the west and north by the Maraetotara River which rises in the high country about ten miles west of Waimarama township on Waipoapoa Station and makes its way in a north-east direction to enter the sea at Te Awanga within Hawke’s Bay.  The remainder of the northern boundary of the former station left the Maraetotara River some two miles from the coast and followed what is now known as the Ocean Beach Road down to the sea at Ocean Beach, or as it was once known, Waipuka.  It was bounded on the east by the sea extending southwards from Ocean Beach for nearly ten miles to a point on the coast known as Huarau. From Huarau the south-western boundary cut Waimarama off from Te Apiti Station by a straight line proceeding westwards to a high point not far from the source of the Maraetotara River.

This substantial area, now devoted, apart from the seaside resort itself, to sheep and cattle raising consists largely of limestone based hills, the surface broken by many spectacular limestone outcrops.  Limestone-bearing water and fragments of limestone from the outcrops shed down over lower slopes and increase the soil fertility. 1  For the most part the land is hilly and in the south-west section rises to a height of 2,000 feet.  Here and there are small flats and Waimarama township itself is situated on part of a considerable area

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of flat sandy ground which extends for nearly five miles from Pututaranui to Te Puku at the south end of the beach and stretches inland for three quarters of a mile at the widest point.  Apart from this area the coastal ranges drop quite steeply to the sea’s edge.  Off shore lies Bare Island, Motuokoura being its Maori name, a spectacular addition to the coastal scene. Small but stark and white, Bare Island once probably joined the mainland before the sea broke through its soft rock and separated it from the North Island in the neighbourhood of Te Puku and Te Wainohu.

1.   Soils and Some Related Agricultural Aspects of Mid-Hawke’s Bay. Bulletin No. 94, D.S.I.R.


The first inhabitants

Who were they?  There seems not much doubt that the people known as moa-hunters once roamed the area, although up to this time there had been no find of the moa-hunters traditional sites of burial with adzes, necklaces of shark teeth and moa bone reels.  Nevertheless, numerous finds of moa bones along the east coast of Hawke’s Bay have been reported in association with middens and the tools of earlier inhabitants.  Whether these associations are primary or secondary – that is, whether the shells and other traces of earlier occupants merely overlay the moa bones or whether the moas were killed and eaten by these early inhabitants not clear.  Duff himself admits ‘… cases of genuine primary association in Hawke’s Bay, e.g., might overlie the deposits in which the association is mainly secondary.  These North Island sites should be inspected by excavators with knowledge of South Island sites, before the verdict is given.’ 1

At Porangahau, moa bones, moa egg shell fragments and adzes have been found; at Ocean Beach several finds of moa bones have been reported.  While no significant evidence of moa-hunter occupation has been found at Waimarama beach and in the sand hills nearby, there has been one interesting discovery of large quantities of moa bones.  This was made by Mr A. Hamilton, F.G.S., who became Director of the Dominion Museum, and Mr H. Hill a Hawke’s Bay school inspector.  Their find is reported in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, first in 1888 and again in 1914.  In the earlier article Mr Hamilton says: ‘Another interesting locality about which I hope to have something to say in detail is the sea-beach near the woolshed at Waimarama.  Here the beach is often swept of sand by the waves right down to the blue clay in which are seen stumps and roots of trees and moa bones.  Mr Hill and I the last time we rode by

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there saw about half an acre of blue clay thickly studded with bones, all in too rotten a state to bear removal.  Many bones have been got from the creek, which here runs into the sea.’ 2  Mr Hamilton thus pinpoints the locality.  The Waimarama station woolshed was close to the shore near Kuku rocks, or “the reef” as it is now often called, and the Paparewa Stream here meets the sea.  In the later article Mr H. Hill says: ‘At Waimarama, as related by Mr A. Hamilton, F.G.S., we saw a place where a big storm had washed out half an acre or more of upper sand beds and had left exposed many thousands of bones in the lower beds, but too fragile for removal.  They were arranged as by an artist.  Had the birds to which the ones once belonged been killed and cooked by Maoris the bones would never have lain as we saw them and had there been dogs it is hardly likely that such an abundance of bones would have remained in perfect condition and spread about in regular order.’ 3

It is obvious from the foregoing account that Hill did not believe that the moas had been killed by the Maori inhabitants of Waimarama, but is he inferring that the moa bones had been laid in regular order by humans? Or is the hypothesis that the moas – there were thousands of bones – had been trapped, possibly between flooded stream and sea and met their death by drowning and not by human agency? Until thorough investigation of the Waimarama foreshore is made by those with knowledge of moa hunter sites we shall not know the answer to this question, but the possibility of interesting discovery is there.

The coming of the Maori

The conflicting stories relating to early Maori settlement of New Zealand, the repetitive but contradictory nature of many tribal legends and the absence of any written records prior to the nineteenth century make the task of the European historian a difficult if not impossible one, if he wishes to be accurate.  All must admire the feats of memory of the tohunga and those trained in the schools of learning, but in all fairness it must be admitted that history transmitted by word of mouth over many centuries, by the nature of human fallibility, is not likely to be completely accurate.  So says the foremost Maori historian, Sir Peter Buck.  In recording the arrival of the Maori people at Waimarama, the European historian must rely upon traditional accounts with all respect to the

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work of Andrew Sharp and other critics of the stories concerning Kupe, Toi, Whatonga and “the fleet”.

According to Buck, Toi arrived in New Zealand after a planned voyage at some time in the latter part of the 12th century A.D. From Toi was descended Rangitane, a grandson of Whatonga, well known in Maori history.  In an expedition proceeding southwards along the east coast of the North Island, in company with one Tara, Rangitane defeated the Tini o Ruatamore of Hawke’s Bay, and ‘the descendants of Rangitane, under their eponymous tribal name, occupied country in Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, Horowhenua, Otaki and Paekakariki.’ 4

Some of the local people trace their descent from Rangitane who was supposed to have lived in the 14th century. Partial corroboration of this span is provided in the minutes of the Native Land Commission set up to enquire into, inter alia, the ownership of the Waimarama Block.  Appearing before the Commission on behalf of Airini Donnelly, Iraia Karauria and Tu Tiakitai, Messrs H.D. Bell and T.D. Lewis filed a statement in which the following words appear: ‘Though Mr Morison (who was appearing for Miss Meinertzhagen) makes an appeal on behalf of the lessee on sentimental grounds, he has no hesitation in asking that certain of the native owners should be deprived of rights which have come down to them through four hundred years of uninterrupted ownership…’ 5  This period of four hundred years, claimed as the period of occupation by Airini and her Maori relatives is somewhat shorter than the traditionally supposed lapse of years since the first arrivals.  But taken in conjunction with the story of Rangitane’s descendants, it is as reliable evidence as we are likely to obtain until the pa sites are investigated by the archaeologists and their finds subjected to the carbon dating process.

Next, according to Buck, came the period known at the “third settlement”.  The famous canoe, Takitimu, is said to have taken part in a planned migration and on arrival in New Zealand Tamatea, the commander, was accompanied by his two sons, Ranginui and Kahungunu, the latter being the eponymous ancestor of the Ngati Kahungunu tribe which occupied the Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa districts. Takitimu made landfall at Whangaparaoa and later sailed southwards along the east coast of the North Island calling at various places, including Waimarama.  According to tradition, four members of the the crew here left the canoe.  They were Tuterangui-wetewetoa, Tunui, Tuaiteke and Taewha, who no doubt found some of the Rangitane people living there and inter-married with them.  In

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any event their names live on locally and Tunui’s is commemorated in at least two place names: On the Okaihau road near Te Aratipi, was a pa called Otu, Tu’s pa; and a deep sink hole above the Maraetotara road had the name Te Puta o Tunui, the hole made by Tunui. 6  Taewha was a tohunga, one of several, on the very sacred Takitimu, and he established a school of learning known as Rangi-te-Auria, situated at Maungawharau.  According to Elsdon Best this was one of the most famous schools of learning on the east of the North Island 7 and is said to have been the first instituted by the Takitimu migrants. The late J.D.H. Buchanan had information that the place Maungawharau was situated in the hills on the seaward side of Te Aratipi station, but searched unsuccessfully for the site, which is not surprising, as often no building was actually erected on the place where teaching occurred.

Other landmarks connected with the arrival of Takitimu are the rock Taupunga, the Kuku rocks and  Muhuaka.  The first mentioned rock is visible at low tide about 300 metres south from the watch tower of the Waimarama Surf Club.  The Kuku rocks are now generally known to the visitor as “the reef”. At times, it is said, certain tree trunks buried beneath the sand of the beach are revealed; these were once used as skids for the famous canoe.  In these days the Kuku rocks are found to be a convenient place for boats to put out to sea and to land so that there is no reason to doubt that the spot could have been used in such fashion by a large canoe.  We shall find too that “the reef” was the locality from which, in the early days of Waimarama station, the wool was loaded into surf boats to be taken out to a waiting ship.  Lastly, the rock Muhuaka.  It is though that this is what is now know as Capstan Rock situated about midway between Bare Island and the coast, south of Waimarama.  Apparently this was a sea anchor of Takitimu, jettisoned for some reason.

About 1550 A.D. Taraia, a great grandson of Kahungunu, invaded Hawke’s Bay from the north and hearing of rich food grounds near the mouths of the Ngaruroro, Tutaekuri and Tukituki rivers proceeded south to win a great victory at Otatara. 8  The country was divided among Taraia’s three leading warriors, the area between the Tukituki and the sea falling to Te Aomatarahi.  This warrior proceeded to Waimarama where, from a concealed position, he watched the Rangitane fishing and then attacked them.  The Rangitane fled to a fighting pa called Hakakino, a prominent feature on the landward side of the Te Apiti road. The pa was defended by the Rangitane chief Kopare, a descendant of Tunui, but eventually

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fell.  However, Kopare’s sister, Hinengatira, escaped into the bush but was later caught hiding in a cave.  Te Aomatarahi gave her to his youngest son, Rongomaipureora.  From their union many of the Maori families of Waimarama are descended.  At this time two other important marriages took place – those of Te Ikareora to Rakaitihura, a Rangitane woman, and Tumapuhierangi to another Rangitane girl, Huiteao.  The Waimarama families of Wi Rangirangi, Tangiroa, Ripeka and Harawira te Tatere are descendants.  One descendant who played a prominent part in the modern story of the district was Airini Karauria, later to marry a pakeha G.P. Donnelly.  Airini was related not only to the Waimarama chiefs, but the leading chiefs of Hawke’s Bay. (Vide p.52).

In the centuries following the arrival of the first settlers the population of Waimarama must have increased steadily, as the numerous pa and kainga sites bear witness, until by the year 1800 the area supported quite a large population.  As the people divided into their hapus feuds developed and Ngati Kahungunu were at war with each other.  The origins of these feuds are as obscure as the outcome of the various skirmishes, but an examination of some of the pa sites leaves no doubt that they were well sited for defence – Hakakino, for example, and Matanginui, which is situated on the north side of the spectacular gap in the hills through which passes the Okaihau road.  The latter pa, high above the pass, has some interesting buttress work of stones shaped and fitted and would have been extremely difficult to storm successfully.  Another place of refuge in times of trouble was of course, Motuokoura – Crayfish Island to the Maori, Bare Island to the European. A swift retreat by canoe across a mile or so of sea was sufficient to place the enemy at a hopeless disadvantage.  There are tales of fights both at Motuokoura and Karamea, or Red Island, which lies south of Bare Island and is a small steep outcrop of rock now connected to the mainland except at high tide.

The total population of the district within a few miles of the present township can only be guessed at, but it is interesting to note that both Cook and D’Urville, in passages to be quoted later, report seeing numbers of Maoris and considerable activity as the two navigators studied the coast from the decks of their ships – Cook in 1769 and d’Urville in 1827.  Yet when the missionary Colenso, the first white man to take any kind of census, visited Waimarama on regular trips along the coast from 1845 onwards, he found only eighty to one hundred people.  By the time of Colenso’s arrival the population had declined because of the invasion of Hawke’s Bay by


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people from the north and particularly from the Waikato, causing the inhabitants of Waimarama and other parts of the country to migrate to Mahia where they counted themselves safe from the invaders.  Some Waimarama families appear to have remained at Mahia or Wairoa, but others returned in small parties over a period of time.  At its height the local population could have been close to a thousand people. It must be remembered that sea food was abundant, particularly shellfish; eels were plentiful in the streams and birds available in the bush clothing the hills of Maraetotara and in other smaller pockets.

1.  The Moa-Hunter Period of Maori Culture, p. 288.
2.   Vol. XXI, p. 313.
3.   Transactions of the New Zealand Institute, Vol. XLVI, p. 344.
4.   The Coming of the Maori, p. 28.
5.   “The Waimarama Block”, Report of the Native Land Commission at Napier, February, March, April 1907. Reprinted from The Daily Telegraph, Napier, p. 43.
6.   J.D.H. Buchanan, The Maori History and Place Names of Hawke’s Bay. p. 73.
7.   The Maori School of Learning, p. 9.
8.   J.H. Mitchell, Takitimu, p. 114.


The greatest of all navigators, Captain (or as he was then – Lieutenant) James Cook and his crew were the first white men to set eyes on Bare Island and the Waimarama country.  In the Endeavour they were sailing south on Monday 16 October 1769 on the seaward side of Bare Island. Cook records the occasion thus: ‘First and latter part fresh breezes, Northerly in the night variable and sometimes calm.  At 2 p.m. past by a small but pretty high Island lying close to the shore, on this Island we saw a good many houses, Boats and some people, we concluded that they must be fishers because the Island was quite barren.  We likewise saw several people upon the shore, in a small bay on the main within the Island…’ 1

Two points will be noticed: First people are seen on both Bare Island and on the mainland beach, probably between the points Te Wainohu and Taingamata, which are south of Waimarama beach proper.  In the entry quoted the island is not actually named, but is described as “quite barren”. However, that Cook gave it the name “Bare” is evident from his chart of this part of the North Island coast.  On his return journey northwards, after reaching Cape Turnagain, he once more passed Waimarama, but makes no further mention of the coast here. After 1769 other ships may have passed this way, but if so, there is no record of them until the advent of the French explorer Dumont d’Urville who, during extensive exploration about the coast of New Zealand wrote the following interesting account of Bare Island or “L’Isle Sterile” as he called it.  To understand the following entry in his journal it is necessary to realise that d’Urville had on board his ship, the Astrolabe, two South Island Maoris who had asked to go voyaging with him.  On 3 February 1827 d’Urville wrote: ‘… at ten minutes past ten in the morning we were running quickly about half a league from Cook’s Bare Island whose real name is Motu-okoura.  It is merely a steep rock, quite bare and not more than a mile from land.  A pa (or stronghold) of considerable

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size occupies the summit and must have a quite impregnable position.  There are also a few scattered huts to be seen on the slopes of the little island.  With the telescope we could easily make out the inhabitants moving about their stronghold and keeping a careful watch on us as we went by.  As on other parts of the coast they had been careful to light a big fire on the summit to catch our attention.

‘A fully armed canoe came out from Motu-okoura and was rowed vigorously towards us.  I was told that on seeing this our two natives shouted for joy.  Delighted to be able to offer them a way out of their captivity I began to heave to.  The canoe was now only about a cable length from the ship and I told them they were free to seize this opportunity to land.  What was my surprise to see them terribly upset at this suggestion; they covered their faces with their hands and rolled on the ground with every indication of despair, saying most forcibly that their only wish was to stay on board.  Then they told me that the inhabitants of Okoura were their enemies, and that if they fell into their hands they could not escape being put to death and eaten… I should have been honoured to have had peaceful dealings with the inhabitants of Okoura rock to get to know their attitude and to form some idea of their resources.  But time pressed, I wanted to take advantage of the favourable wind…᾿ 2  And the Astrolabe sailed away northwards, to the joy of the two Maori on board, leaving the Waimarama canoe behind.  The observations of the laconic Cook and the more explicit d’Urville are separated by a period of 57 years, but are of historic interest as first hand European descriptions of Maori occupation. Unfortunately, neither navigator leaves a description of the hinterland.

As in other parts of New Zealand the explorers were followed by the whalers.  The seas around New Zealand, particularly on the eastern side, abounded in whales especially the right whale, but also the sperm.  In the second, third and fourth decade of the 19th century, whalers became very active in New Zealand waters and about the coasts of the North and South Islands and this period saw the establishment of many shore stations.  Bay whaling, as it was called, was based on the annual migration of right whales as they came into sheltered waters to calve, usually about the beginning of May for a period of about four months. 3  The Hawke’s Bay whaling stations were established a little after those of Cook Strait and the east coast of the South Island, the first having its beginnings at east coast of the South Island, the first having its beginnings at east coast of the South Island, the first having its beginnings at Waikokopu in 1837. 4  Unfortunately, whalers have not left us descriptions of the country as they found it upon arrival, being either illiterate or too busy going about their business to have time for

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descriptive writing, but the log of one, Captain W.B. Rhodes, master of the Australian, contains an entry worth quoting.  Rhodes, who with his brother became connected with the early history of Hawke’s Bay, records on 19 February 1838: ‘Steady breezes and fine weather.  At 9 a.m. spoke the cutter Trent of the Bay of Islands bound to Hawke’s Bay with a whaling party.  Got 6 baskets of potatoes from her.’ 5  W.B. Rhodes, on behalf of his firm Cooper, Holt and Rhodes, and on his own behalf, claimed to have bought more than 1,000,000 acres of North Island land, including the whole coast line of Hawke’s Bay with an area extending 30 miles inland and including Waimarama.  It is interesting to hear what Te Teira Tiakitai and others had to say about Rhodes when giving evidence at a Native Land Court sitting in 1884 concerning a portion of Waimarama land.  Said Tiakitai, ‘I know of a sale to Captain Rhodes of this (Waimarama) and other lands, but that was before my birth; it was sold for a pot, a hook and an axe, the sale was by Tiakitai my father.’ Two other Maoris also gave evidence.  According to one Meihana: Tiakitai sold Waimarama for a shirt, a pair of Trowsers [Trousers], a pot, an axe and many blankets.  He did not distribute the payment among the people.’  And Mohi te Atahikoia, of whom we shall hear more, said: ‘Had Rhodes come to take possession he would have been driven off’. 6

The Land Commissioners had no hesitation in disallowing Rhodes᾿ claims, but his brother, Joseph Rhodes, was later confirmed in possession of land known as Clive Grange, about and inland from Haumoana and Te Awanga.  Waimarama remained in possession of its rightful owners.  Nevertheless the first white residents had arrived and were to settle in the area until the diminishing returns from whaling removed their means of livelihood.  Stations were established near Cape Kidnappers, or more exactly, at Rangaiika which is about two miles south of the Cape; at Pututaranui a little beyond the northern end of Waimarama beach; and also (possibly temporarily) at a small beach a little south of Taingamata.  Although Rangaiika and Pututaranui were certainly permanent stations, whales were no doubt caught and landed at other points near the area.  For example, older members of the Bee family spoke of seeing a whale landed at Waipuka near the present Ocean Beach. 7  Rangaiika, generally referred to as the Cape whaling station, was owned by Morris, who was reported to have three boats and twenty men.  For nearly a century the tripots remained to mark the site of the station, but in 1971 they were removed.  The Pututaranui station was owned by William Edwards, but the date of its establishment and its size are

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obscure.  Careful examination of the ground reveals neither traces of building nor of gear.  The sea here has made inroads into the banks above the beach so that it is likely that any indications of the site’s whereabouts have been washed away over the course of years.

The establishment of these two whaling stations throws light on the earliest relationships between pakeha and Maori.  The association of the Waimarama Maoris, led by Tiakitai, with both Edwards and Morris and their men produced situations which sometimes had harmful effects, causing the missionary Colenso to be drawn into disputes.  Let us hear of Edward’s difficulties first.  It is not known when Edwards founded his station but the Reverend William Colenso, who first visited Waimarama in 1843, had this to say in his journal entry for 18 August 1845:

‘This morning at half past ten left the mission station (Waitangi).  In passing the whaling station at Putotaranui [Pututaranui], Edwards, the master ran after me to enquire whether it was true that the Natives round about us were coming in a body to attack and murder all of the Whites.  I said I believed not, as a proof I was now leaving home for 9 or 10 weeks, leaving my wife and children unprotected.  This calmed his fears.  He told me of Hadfield (a Waimarama convert’s) narrow escape and of his (Edwards) saving the party with his whale boat and crew.’ 8

Some quarrel had obviously arisen between white and brown (it is likely that Edwards was living with a Maori wife), threats had been made, and at this time were not carried out, although there was, in the first month of 1847, a sequel.  It appears that lack of catches caused Edwards to abandon the Pututaranui station and shift to a new house on the shores of Hawke’s Bay.  Tragedy followed.  Here is Colenso’s entry for 27 January 1847:

‘(At the station).  Morning prayers and school.  In going to the chapel I met three Whites who were coming to ask me to permit them to dig a grave for a son of Wm Edwards who was burnt to death yesterday, a remarkably fine boy whom I baptized last month.  They (Wm Edwards and his party) had after waiting several days got across the bay in safety to his new place of residence, and now he thought his anxiety was over, when the house in which was all his property caught fire, and he lost everything and his son.  In the crack of the morning Edwards came with his wife and children and the charred trunk of the poor child – he seemed truly wretched.  Last year he was unsuccessful in his whaling and now he is worse off than ever.  Gave them food – wood and nails to make a coffin -interred the child…’ 9

The original Waimarama Station store room, now the residence of Mr A. Little.

The original Waimarama Station stables.

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Whether the burning of Edwards’ house was accidental or whether the Maori had eventually carried out their treat [threat] we shall never know, but Colenso’s information is a definite indication of the end of whaling at Waimarama – at least for the time being.  But the Edwards story is not concluded.  If there had been bad feeling between him and the natives all must have been forgiven by 1851 when Donald McLean, who by this time had made large purchases of land in Hawke’s Bay on behalf of the government, went to Waimarama to arrange a transfer of land to Edwards.  McLean’s journal entry for 23 April 1851 reads:

‘…examined the natives of Waimarama in reference to their offer to bequeath or transfer a piece of land to a European married to a native woman at their place; a Deed for which was made out during Tiakitai’s life time, in April 1844.  I propose going to Waimarama tomorrow.  Te Hapuku goes with me.  Edwards and the Waimarama natives have gone on today.

‘April 24, 1851:  Rode on to Waimarama by Cape Kidnappers.  There is some good feeding for sheep and dry land on the bank of Tukituki, a fine large stream with good clean entrance for vessels of 30 or 40 tons, it would be a good situation for a small seaport town.  The land about Waimarama is well suited for the natives, and I think with Mr Colenso, that from Manawarakau, 10 should be a perpetual reserve; as there is abundance of fish, shellfish and grazing ground for stock that the natives are likely to possess until they become European in habit and manners.  Moreover the land is not calculated for English settlers.  Harawira is a sensible native.  He and E Waha are the principle chiefs of this place.  They are both anxious for Mr Colenso to settle here and I think it would be an excellent place for him.’

Interesting predictions, indeed, from a man deeply involved in early Hawke’s Bay, particularly in respect of the land “not calculated for English settlers” if, as most likely, McLean means “suited”. The port of the mouth of the Tukituki, where Haumoana is now, never materialized; neither did the Waimarama land become a perpetual reserve nor did Colenso settle there.  McLean’s last entry concerned his visit is dated 25 April 1851: ‘Got back from Waimarama having walked round the boundaries of a piece of 30 acres of land for Edwards’ children, half-castes, to whom Tiakitai granted the land during his life time…’ 11

As will have been noticed, the chief Tiakitai figures prominently in these early references.  The first mention of him by Europeans occurs in an account of a long exploratory journey along the east coast of the North Island by H.S. Harrison and J. Thomas in 1844.

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On 27 October, Harrison and Thomas arrived at Waimarama by canoe, approaching from the south, and reported that the paramount chief, Tiakitai, was planting kumara and that crops of wheat and barley were also seen.  Tiakitai charged them a blanket and six yards of calico to take them across “the stream”, presumably the Pouhokio river.  (No doubt there was a good deal more water in the river then, as under modern conditions it would be easy enough to wade across.)  The local Maoris told Harrison and Thomas that a whaling station was to be established in Waimarama in the next year: 12 this must have been Edwards’.  It is apparent from the report that Tiakitai already realized that the pakeha possessed goods that could be extracted from him when opportunity occurred and the report would also appear to date Edwards’ whaling activities to 1845-46.

But it was not only with Edwards and occasional travelers that Tiakitai and his people had dealing.  Their association with the Whaler Morris and his men at Rangaiika led to Tiakitai selling at last two of the Waimarama girls to Morris and his crew – an action which aroused the wrath of Colenso, who denounced Tiakitai in true Old Testament fashion.  From the commencement of his regular visits to Waimarama Colenso had found Tiakitai a troublesome person to deal with, and the relationship between the two men, both of strong personality, was an explosive one.  The difficulty of converting Tiakitai to Christianity was the exacerbating cause of much ill-feeling between the two men.  On 8 January, Colenso notes: ‘Tiakitai sometimes professes to attend Divine Service’.  Later, in October of the same year, an appendix to the journal is headed – “The Sad Conduct of Tiakitai”.  It relates to the chief’s selling of two women to the whalers of Rangaiika. From the price received for this transaction Tiakitai attempted to give Colenso some flour to be used for a tangi for Tiakitai’s daughter, Kore, who had drowned.  Colenso mentions that one of the sold women later had a half-caste child.  In August 1846 there was another encounter with Tiakitai at Waimarama which Colenso was visiting in the course of his duties.  On 19 August his journal entry reads: ‘Morning prayers and school about 35 present,  after which Tiakitai came up and proffered his hand which I refused, as (in addition to his conduct in the matter of Tirotine) he had resold one of the young women whom I had got away from the whale station at Cape Kidnappers to the whites of that place; he, therefore, returned in high dudgeon…

‘20th: Morning prayers and school.  Tiakitai kept back his wives and children alleging that I had turned them out of the house last

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night.  On Tiakitai’s keeping them back they wept and they said they wanted to go to school and prayers…’

The chief and the missionary were fated not to understand each other, which is not surprising and is a classic example of the difficulties of comprehension existing between two men of widely different worlds.  Colenso, who was a man of parts, explorer and botanist, as well as missionary and politician, was also a passionate and intolerant man, later to fall prey to his own lack of control and to be dismissed from the Church Missionary Society.  Tiakitai was, after all, the paramount chief of Waimarama and an autocrat not used to being reproved and checked.  The result was a head-on clash.  Eventually, in Colenso’s view, Tiakitai was punished for his wicked ways by the wrath of the Lord; firstly, in a minor calamity, but secondly in a major tragedy.  In May 1847 Tiakitai purchased a horse and had it brought down from Poverty Bay “at no little trouble and expense”, but it fell over a cliff and was drowned.  The missionary lost no time in pointing out to the chief that the Lord was punishing him for his evil ways.  When Colenso reached Waimarama, ‘Tiakitai kept loading and firing his double-barreled musket for a long while during the night (after the native fashion) in order to dispel his rage and grief’.  In July, Morris, the whaler, asked Colenso for help to restrain his natives from joining one Smith and other whites who were ganging up against him.  Colenso warned the natives not to interfere in pakeha disputes.  This was an unhappy state of affairs – brown versus white, white vs white, white and brown vs brown and white. But soon a tragedy was to occur which was to remove Tiakitai from the scene.  In September 1847 the chief set off by canoe for Poverty Bay, but was lost at sea during adverse weather,* with twenty-one others of his kinsmen, ‘Many of them Papists and heathens᾽, comments Colenso.  The wrath of God, indeed.

This dramatic event made a deep impact on the inhabitants of Waimarama and when Colenso arrived there on 1 October 1847 he was received ‘with much mournful wailing on the part of the Natives of the village on account of the loss of Tiakitai and his  party who belonged to the place.’  Colenso also found there Te Hapuku, Puhara and the other leading chiefs of Hawke’s Bay with a party of about fifty come to tangi with the bereaved relatives of Tiakitai.

* On the summit of the hill known as Whangaui-a-tara, in a small reserve just above Mr D.S. Belcher᾽s house, stands an obelisk erected to the memory of Teira Tiakitai, his spirit gazing out upon the South Pacific awaiting his father’s return.

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The missionary conducted service in the chapel 13  ‘discoursing on the late solemn events’ and talked with Tiakitai’s brothers, Thomas Walker and Hadfield, who acknowledged the justice of Tiakitai’s death but bewailed the loss of their young men.  ‘Some of the old people appeared to be quite overwhelmed with the stupid grief at the loss of their sons.’  One had lost his last surviving child of a family of ten and in his grief attempted suicide; another had lost two sons and a son-in-law, all communicants.  ‘I dare indulge the hope,’ says Colenso, ‘that those 4 young men were, through the abounding merit of Christ, saved from the wrath to come… Their fate, however, is a lesson to us all.’  Thus the missionary consoled and warned the inhabitants of Waimarama, taking the opportunity to convert Te Hapuku and the heathen party who had come to the tangi.  They had lost several of their children, ‘but they are still holding out against the Gospel.  Lord soften their hearts and open their eyes!’  On this occasion the missionary apparently made no headway, as the heathen party called after him as he left for Manawarakau ‘Haere atu korua ko toa Atua wake mate tangata – depart thou and thy man-slaying God.’

The difficulties of the missionary were indeed great, but he was not a man to cease from striving.  Not only was Colenso converting the Maoris to Christianity, but teaching them to read and write to facilitate the process of conversion; in this task he was assisted by pupil teachers – the most intelligent of his converts.  In this respect Tiakitai’s brothers, Waka and Tatere or Walker and Hadfield, to give them their European names, were invaluable.  At Waimarama, too, Colenso encountered some converts of a rival creed – few, it is true, but enough to arouse all the intolerant bitterness of his nature and the age in which he was bred.  Father John Lampila SM was making converts in Heretaunga in October 1844, three months before Colenso’s establishment of a Church Missionary Society station at Waitangi. 14  Some of the Roman Catholic converts were Waimarama people, or perhaps had settled there, and Colenso regarded their presence with great distaste.  The papists were anathema to him.  Hear him on 18 August 1845:

‘Proceeding on we reached Waimarama at 7 p.m. in rain, excessively tired.  Going quickly to the village in the darkness of the night we found the Xn party engaged in prayers… Walker a Xn chief, brother of Tiakitai, was reading the 2nd chapter of the Epistle of St Peter in a loud, clear voice and the 10th verse broke upon my ear – we stayed unknown to them on the outside.  Suddenly the tinkling bell of the few Papists (lately come from Table Cape)

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sounded forth its trivial summons and presently loud, lugubrious calls upon Michael, Dominic, John Baptist, Peter, Mary and all patron saints were sent up! – What a contrast! even to the most ignorant of my party of bearers…’ Even at this time the community was, therefore, divided about religion, and Colenso’s journals contain many derogatory remarks concerning the worthy men and their converts, who after all were working for the same cause as Colenso himself.

The argument between Roman Catholic priest and CMS Missionary must have been a source of puzzlement for the natives and could not but undermine the authority of the rival missionaries.  In Waimarama itself, however, it appears that the Church Missionary Society’s converts easily outnumbered the Roman Catholic ones, Colenso quoting from time to time the numbers of those baptized, e.g. on 11 August 1849 there were forty-six to be examined and further instructed before baptism – thirty-four females and twelves males including the chief Tuahu whom a year or two previously Colenso had rebuked for selling his daughter to a whaler for the purposes of prostitution.  At no time do there appear to have been more than three or four Roman Catholics at Waimarama, 15  although Father Euloge Reignier arrived in Hawke’s Bay in October 1850 and remained to carry on his life’s work in this parish, extending as it then did from Lake Waikaremoana in the north to Woodville in the south, and including Waimarama.

At this stage it is relevant to consider the route Colenso took when traveling on foot on his arduous journeys along the coast.  After leaving Waitangi, now marked by a stone and plaque placed by the National Historic Places Trust on the supposed site of the missionary’s house, he crossed both the Ngaruroro and Tukituki rivers close to their mouths, proceeded past Te Awanga and Clifton, ascended to the tableland and descended to the beach at Rangaiika.  From there he followed the beach, calling at a small village named Matarau or Mataurau’wi, to Waimarama.  Proceeding south from there he sometimes took the inland route to Te Apiti and Manawarakau, which followed the present Te Apiti road, but at other times he climbed Te Puku, the hill at the southern end of Waimarama beach, and descended to the less stony beaches on the way south, often to Port Nicholson.  The most dangerous part of the early section of his journey from Waitangi to Waimarama, which took about ten hours, was in crossing the river mouths by canoe and he mentions more than once near upsets.  But even the beach traveling must have been difficult at times, especially at high tide.

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He tells of scrambling over wet and slippery rocks, the heat, the lack of drinking water.  Because his clothes were often saturated on his many long journeys, both inland and along the coast, he suffered from rheumatism and was often foot-sore.  Here is his journal entry for 21 August 1847: ‘Left this morning for Waimarama (according to appointment) to marry two couples, one of the bridegrooms being lame and not able to walk so far as the Station.  Reached the village very tired a little before sunset…’  And on 22 August 1849: ’Myself and my single native had a very narrow escape from upsetting in crossing the mouth of the Tukituki river, the tide flowing with a heavy sea and our canoe a very small one.’

In 1849, disputes about land were beginning to warm up, some chiefs and their supporters being willing to sell and others opposing them.  While Colenso was at Waimarama he received a letter, sealed with black wax, advising him of the likelihood of fighting among the chiefs of Hawke’s Bay.  At this stage, according to Colenso, Te Hapuku was not inclined to sell but he must have changed his mind later when McLean approached him with his money bags.  The disputes reached ‘even this far off district” – meaning Waimarama.  On the subject of land, Colenso’s advice to the Maori owners of all districts he visited could be summed up in the following four maxims:

(1)   Not to sell their land;
(2)   Not to lease beyond twenty-one years;
(3)   Not to lease all their good grazing land;
(4)   Not to lease in large blocks.

Sound advice to the Maori owners; how much better for them had they followed it! Within a few years the Waimarama owners were to ignore part of this advice and thus commence the process of fragmentation and gradual loss of ownership.

On his spring journey of 1849 Mrs Colenso accompanied her husband on his visit to Waimarama.  He must have been yet thinking of establishing his mission station there, because he pointed out to Hadfield and others a spot suitable for the station ‘in a neighboring glen’. 16  From here the party traveled to Kohinarakau where Mrs Colenso arrived ‘quite knocked up’- and no wonder.  The entry for the following March 1850 gives an idea of the hardships of traveling:

‘…The sun set when we had got a few miles beyond Cape Kidnappers; the approach of night, with the rising tide, made our travelling disagreeable, we having, in several places, to scramble up the wet, dangerous, clayey and ever falling cliffs, groping about with our hands to save ourselves from the breakers.  At 9 p.m. we reached

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Waimarama, cold and wet, quite knocked up.  The Natives of the village who had been on the look-out for us had gone to rest, having quite given us up.  On our arrival being loudly proclaimed they all started from their huts to render some little service, showing thereby how glad they were to see us.’

In June of the same year the missionary made an unpleasant journey to Waimarama, spending the night under the cliffs near the Cape and proceeding next morning in the face of a bitter southerly wind.  He mentions his congregation, on this visit, as numbering ninety-seven.  Quite obviously his earnestness and persistence had impressed the inhabitants and in spite of several cases of backsliding, Christianity was well established.  For example: ‘I heard of the Native Teacher of this and the next village having agreed to give their baptized daughters to two young unbaptized chiefs of the disaffected party.  At Evening Service I preached from Col. IV, 5 and 2 Cor. IV, 14, when the Lord graciously gave me utterance; many of the congregation hung down their heads through shame like bulrushes. At night the chiefs and Native teachers came into my tent; I conversed with them till a late hour and spared them not.’

And so the work continued.  The contact between Maori and pakeha was becoming closer and the part-Europeanization of the aboriginals inevitable.  The apportionment of the effect of whaler and missionary cannot be clearly allotted and although the whaler’s influence cannot be said to be all bad, how much more impression a man of Colenso’s personality must have made.  With only two years to go until his missionary activities should cease, Colenso had altered the lifestyle of the Waimarama natives, as he was their only regular white visitor. In what was his last visit before he was suspended by the church Missionary Society for misconduct, he married two Maori couples, one being Te Hapuku’s son, Te Wakatomo, to Dina te Rangi Koinake.  The bride had ‘in addition to an elegant shawl over her gown an English straw bonnet and veil with artificial flowers in her hair!’  Te Wakatomo was dressed ‘both well and neat in plain and good English clothes; so too was Te Hapuku his father.’  This was on 11 June 1852, nine years after Colenso’s first appearance in Waimarama. How quickly European customs were adopted!  After the ceremony a large feast was held, paid for with some of the money remaining from the Ahuriri purchase.

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1.   The Journals of Captain James Cook, Vol.I, ed. J.C. Beaglehole, p. 179.
2.   The Voyage of the Astrolabe, translated by Olive Wright, p. 111.
3.   L.S. Rickard, The Whaling Trade in Old New Zealand, p. 52.
4.   ibid, p.59
5.   The Whaling Journal of Captain W.B. Rhodes 1836-38, ed. C.R. Straubel, p. 80.
6.   Proceedings of the Native Land court 1884. Napier Minute Book No. 7.
7.   Information from Mr Boyd Wilson.
8.   Journals of William Colenso.
9.   ibid.
10. The Journals of Donald McLean, Vol. 37.  Copy in the Hawke’s Bay Museum Library.
10.   The earlier name for the place now called Kairakau
11.   The Journals of Donald McLean, Vol. 37. Copy in the Hawke’s Bay Museum Library.
12.   J.G. Wilson, A History of Hawke’s Bay, p 156.
13.   The first chapel at Waimarama was built in 1845 by the Maoris, no doubt of raupo and timber, but later in the same year was deliberately burnt by one of
Colenso’s converts, because of his wife’s misconduct. Walker rebuilt it in 1847
14.   From an article by Kay Mooney in The New Zealand Tablet, 2 November 1960.
15.   An examination of the Register of Births Deaths and Marriages by permission of Father Fitzsimmons of St Mary’s Church, Taradale, shows 3 deaths, 1 marriage and 8 baptisms of Roman Catholics in Waimarama for the period 1850 to 1876.
16.   The author is inclined to locate this spot as on the flat beside the Waingongoro River, below Peach Gully, on Mr S. T. Belcher’s property.
17.   Bagnall and Peterson, William Colenso, p. 329.


The evolution of land laws in New Zealand, emanating firstly from the Governor and secondly from the General Assembly had a direct bearing on the settlement of lands for farming.  Virtually none of the Waimarama Block 1 had been the subject of purchases by Donald McLean, the Government’s agent, who had successfully completed the buying of the Ahuriri, Waipukurau and Mohaka Blocks, totaling 600,000 acres, in 1851.  Rhodes’ claim to 1,000 acres had been disallowed so that this decision left the Waimarama lands open to treaty – that is, to whatever arrangement could be made between Maori owners and Europeans desirous of grazing their sheep – the Crown, before Governor Fitzroy waived the right of pre-emption, being the only lawful purchaser.  Nevertheless, McLean, confident after the success of his huge purchases of land in Hawke’s Bay, must have instructed the District Commissioner, G.S. Cooper, to negotiate for the Waimarama  Block, for in his report to the Land Purchase Department in 1862 Cooper writes: ‘With respect to the Waimarama Block I have the honour to state that the Natives will not accept £600 for this land.’ 2  Whether the Waimarama owners refused to accept this paltry amount because of their own common sense, or whether they were mindful of Colenso’s advice it is difficult to judge.  No sale took place and it was not until the 20th century that Europeans were successful in acquiring freehold land in the block.  This fact, when the early advent of the white men in the area is taken into consideration, makes Waimarama unique in the history of Hawke’s Bay.

In the same year as the McLean purchases in Hawke’s Bay, Sir George Grey had introduced the Crown Lands Amendment and Extensions Ordinance under which settlers were permitted to hold pastoral licenses for grazing land at an annual fee of £1 for every thousand sheep depastured with a currency of fourteen years.  The prospective runholder had to forward a detailed description of his run

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to the Commissioner of Crown Lands.  If his application was successful, the runholder was required to pay a deposit and within twelve months of issue to stock his run with one breeding ewe to every 20 acres of land.  He had to pay ¼d for an acre for the first four years of occupation, ½d for the next five and 1d for the remainder of the term. 3  That many settlers ignored the legal requirements and never applied for a license is well known, and two of the earliest occupiers of the Waimarama Block were prosecuted for grazing sheep there  without a license.  These were John Morrison, sometimes known as Captain John Morrison, and W.F. Hargrave.  How long these two farmers had been depasturing their stock on Waimarama is impossible to say, but Morrison’s case was heard on 4 January 1861 when he appeared before John Curling, the Resident Magistrate, in Napier.  The case was reported in The Hawke’s Bay Herald on the following day:

‘John Morrison appeared to answer an amended information (the first having been dismissed from informality) laid against him for using or occupying land near Waimarama, in the province of Hawke’s Bay, not comprised within a grant from the Crown, and not holding a license for that purpose, by residing thereon from the first day of July past to the day of the date hereof, contrary to the provisions of a certain Ordinance of New Zealand, intituled the Native Land Purchase Ordinance Sess. 7, No. 19…’

(According to this account Morrison had been on the block since July 1860, but may well have been there earlier than that before the authorities were informed.).  Two well known Hawke’s Bay persons gave evidence.  Samuel Locke deposed that he saw Morrison at Okaihau, living in a tent and building a house.  Locke had surveyed the Waimarama block and knew it to be Native Land.  H. S. Tiffen stated that Morrison held no depasturising license.  He believed that the Crown had paid a deposit for the Waimarama land, but that the money had been returned.  (This was interesting confirmation of District Commissioner Cooper’s failure to buy on behalf of the Crown.)  Jules Louis Painblanc gave supporting evidence.  Morrison was fined £50, with costs.  He appealed to the Supreme Court and such was the sympathy for him in the Provincial Council that a motion was passed that the Council pay the expenses of his appeal. 4  Morrison, who had been educated at Edinburgh University, died at Te Mata on 2 September 1865 and his stock and interest in his run were advertised for sale in December of the same year.  There were 1000 mixed sheep, sundry head of cattle, and an interest in a valuable run, the lease of which the Natives are prepared to renew to the purchaser.’ 5  In a

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subsequent advertisement the run is described ‘as situated at Waimarama about 10 miles from Mr Chambers, Te Mata, and is held by lease from the Native proprietors who have agreed with the official administrator to renew the lease to the purchaser of the flock for the residue of the term (9 years and upwards) at £70 per annum.  The purchaser of the flock will be entitled to an assignment of the lease free of any further payment.’ 6  In January 1866 ‘1,116 sheep – ewes and wethers, lambs given in – with interest of the run’ 7  were sold at 17s 6d each ($1.75), the buyer’s name not being mentioned.

Another farmer prosecuted, but not convicted, for illegal grazing was W.F. Hargrave who first arrived in New Zealand in 1842, but returned to England to marry.  When he came back to New Zealand with his wife he became interested in land in Hawke’s Bay. He is shown on an early map of Hawke’s Bay, drawn by the surveyors Igglesdon and Anderson, dated 1859, as being in partnership with one Couper in a block south of Manawarakau and in the Mangakuri region.  He must have been interested in Waimarama land at about this time as his youngest daughter was born there on the last day of 1860. 8 As Morrison was probably at Okaihau and Francis Bee was at Waipuka the probabilities are that Hargrave leased land near the present Waimarama township and the coast.  In May 1868 he was still leasing 8,000 acres, owned 3,500 sheep, and had 6,500 on terms viz. he was grazing another man’s stock in return for a percentage of the wool and of the increase in the flock each year.  During the period 1860 to 1868, Hargrave had borrowed money from the Union Bank of Australia, through J.G. Kinross and Co., merchants of Napier, but times being bad and farming conditions very difficult he fell into debt and was forced to sell his holding.  He left the district and later farmed in the Hunterville area.

The third grazier in the block was Francis Bee, a flour miller from Nottingham, who had emigrated to New Zealand in 1842 and established a flour mill near Wellington.  A heavy storm caused the destruction of his mill and he apparently turned his mind to farming, for by 1856 he was at Waipuka and had 500 sheep grazing there.  Bee is said to have obtained a lease of 11,000 acres in 1852, his family to have arrived in Hawke’s Bay in 1853 and his merino sheep to have been driven from Wellington.  After rearing nine children, one of whom was drowned near the Waingongoro River mouth, he sold his lease in 1865 and moved north. 9  There are no records of many of these three early graziers – squatters is the more opprobrious term – either having bought freehold land from the Maoris (which, in any case they were not

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entitled to do) or having registered leases.  The probabilities are that all three had verbal arrangements with the chiefs and hapu of Waipuka, Okaihau and Waimarama.  Because Hargrave and Morrison were prosecuted we know that they did not have pastoral licenses, although the acquittal of Hargrave may throw some doubt on his case.  That these white men could not have grazed their stock on the land without the permission of the Maori owners is certain and that they were contravening the existing land laws is more than likely. Two other Europeans are mentioned as living on the block – Reynolds and W.J. Birch.  Of the former, described as living at Maraetotara, nothing is known.  Birch farmed, or attempted to farm, at Big Stone, an area close to the coast and now owned by Donald Stewart.  However, with his brother, Captain Azim Birch, he was granted an area of four hundred acres on the Ruataniwha Plains in return for military services.  The brothers moved to the Plains in 1865, but later took up a large block which they called Erewhon, situated on the Inland Patea. 10  Probably Reynolds and Birch held their land for a short time on the same terms as Morrison and Hargrave, that is without pastoral licences and by some verbal agreement with the Maori owners.

When the condition of the land at this time is considered, it is understandable that all four of these early farmers were compelled to throw in their hands.  The area is described by a subsequent lessee, Gertrude Meinertzhagen, as wholly wild, largely covered with scrub, fern, tutu, and bush, unfenced and ungrassed, and infested with wild pigs in great numbers – the descendants of those landed at Pourerere by Captain Cook nearly one hundred years earlier. Men without capital could have found it very difficult to effect the improvements so necessary to carry on profitable farming. Added to this, the general uncertainty as to the attitude of the Maori owners concerning the leases, their apparently casual regard for property in general and the presence of undisciplined dogs were all factors making the pioneer white farmers life and operations difficult.  Morrison died, Hargrave left for the Rangitikei, and Bee went to Poverty Bay.

The puzzling question of who owned which land was to be clarified, to a certain extent, by the passing of the Native Lands Act of 1865.  This Act established the Native Lands Courts to give effect to the guarantee by the Crown in the Treaty of Waitangi to determine Maori title to land in accordance with custom and otherwise to safeguard it.  The Native Land Court, after the passing of the Act, was kept busy inquiring into the rights of ownership of large areas of land all over

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the country, the Waimarama Block included.  The principal rights or takes by which land could be claimed by the tribes were:

1.   Discovery (such as when the first canoes arrived).
2.   Ancestry or take tupuna.
3.   Conquest or take raupatu.
4.   Gift or take tuku. 11

The principle the courts endeavored to act upon was that of transmuting Maori ownership into one valid English common law and thus to facilitate dealing in land as between Maori and pakeha.  The investigations by the Native Land Court, documented in the minutes of the sittings of the Court in various districts, were long, tedious and litigious.  Argument between tribe and tribe, hapu and hapu was vexed by much contradictory evidence; appearance before the Court became a matter of mana for many of the Maori race and opportunities for partisan oratory at which the Maori excelled, were much sought after.  What Colenso described as ‘the tedious minuteness peculiar to the Native mind’ must have wearied many a Court.  Absence from their homes and prolonged stays in towns at the times of court sittings were not calculated to stimulate habits of industry among the people.  It will be seen that the Waimarama owners were subjected to temptations which might not otherwise have been placed before them.  Nevertheless, the ownership of tribal lands was a subject so serious and so much part of the Maori concept of life that all members of the race felt a passionate interest.  Unfortunately, it was not long before succession, inter-marriage and partition brought about state of affairs now nothing better than a chaotic fragmentation of holdings in multiple ownership.

The Advent of F.H. Meinertzhagen and W.L. Campbell

After Bee, Hargrave, Birch and Reynolds had left and Morrison had died, the leases of Waimarama, Okaihau and Waipuka were taken up piecemeal by two new lessees in partnership, both of whom had some capital to contribute to their venture.  The name Meinertzhagen is such an uncommon one and the family plays such an important part in Waimarama history that some explanation of its ancestry is warranted.  It is believed that the early Meinertzhagens were Vikings who sailed up the Rhine some time before the 14th

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century A.D.  Some settled near the river, particularly in and around Bremen.  However, Daniel Meinertzhagen, the fifth of that name, emigrated to England in 1826 and settling there, married Amelia Huth, the daughter of a prominent English banker.  The Huths had Spanish blood in their veins.  Frederic Huth Meinertzhagen, who took up the Waimarama lease, was the son of Daniel and Amelia and was born in 1845.  It will be seen from this account that F.H. Meinertzhagen was not an Austrian, as has so often been stated, nor a German, but a British citizen of German ancestry.  Meinertzhagen first went to Christchurch where in 1866 he married Ellen Moore, whose brother was to succeed Campbell as partner.  In Christchurch, too, Meinertzhagen met Campbell who had been his school friend in England – they were both twenty-three when they leased Waimarama.  Campbell was the son of Colonel Walter Campbell of Skipness Castle in Argyllshire, a prominent landowner and supporter of the Conservative Party, and a relative of the Duke of Argyll. Fortunately, Walter Lorne Campbell kept a journal with admirable regularity which affords an invaluable source of information about early farming conditions on the block as well as interesting references to his neighbours, both Maori and pakeha.  Entries from Campbell’s journal will be frequently quoted in the following pages. (It should be mentioned here that Meinertzhagen was generally known as “Fritz” to his friends and is described as a “delicate young man”).

Campbell arrived in Napier on 27 July 1868 and appears to have been at Waimarama by September, certain delays having been caused by negotiations about leasing.  Eventually a lease or series of leases for twenty-one years was obtained over approximately 35,000 acres at 10d per acre.  (The description of the run being covered mostly by fern and scrub has already been given, but mention should be made of about 2,000 acres of bush was mostly in the upper Maraetotara area.)

On 26 September 1868 the ship Mahia arrived on the coast with supplies for Waimarama.  The local Maoris used their canoes to bring timber and wire to shore, but, says Campbell, ‘we did not trust them with any things liable to damage by sea water.  Everything ashore by 6p.m.   Canoe men paid five shillings each.  Teira was there with his bullocks and took all the things up to his woolshed and mirabile dictu, never asked for payment.  I dispensed square gin among the crews both pakeha and Maoris, and they worked well. It is a great feat to have unloaded about 28 tons in a day.’ 12   Later, livestock, dogs, peacocks, 13 fowls and parrots were unloaded.  Notice that Teira had bullocks and a woolshed.  It seems that, by this time, there were Maori farmers too.

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On September 30 the men are reported at work ‘improving’ the homestead.  It can be assumed from this entry that there was already some kind of dwelling on the homestead site, but Campbell does not say of what materials it was constructed, although subsequent entries seem to indicate that it was of cob.  On this day, too, the diarist records the Waimarama station brands: a diamond for sheep, a double diamond for horses and cattle and the ear mark to distinguish the sheep, ‘a back bit out of the right ear for ewes and the left ear for wethers and rams.’

Early in October, Mr and Mrs Meinertzhagen arrived from Napier and ‘were very pleased with their new home, although it does look very disorderly at present what with straw, bits of paper and half empty cases lying all over the house and garden – Teira presented us with a splendid moki; the Maoris had been out in their canoes and had made a great haul – Fritz and I had a long and satisfactory yarn at our “ain fireside” and came to the conclusion that we have not made a bad spec. and that we shall be very comfortable here and get on well together.  I am sure the Wife and I will agree all right, altho’ as a rule it does not do for one partner to be married and the other to live in the same house, more especially if he also is a married man.  But I am not married yet and I don’t fancy I will be yet awhile.  Colonial girls have no charms for me…’  Young Campbell was inclined to adopt a superior tone when referring to the New Zealand born.  Well educated and of good family, he betrays in his writing a certain loftiness of speech in his dealings with the “colonials” – a trait which did not endear him to the station hands and others not as well educated.  And so the young married couple and the young bachelor settled down to the colossal task of creating from the wilderness an orderly station.  Learning to live with the Maori lessors and neighbours (Mrs Meinertzhagen was reported to be very frightened of them), obtaining leases, buying stock, sowing grass, burning off, exterminating wild pigs and fencing, were all difficulties confronting them, but tackled with the determination which is such an outstanding quality of the pioneers of this country.

One of the first tasks facing the partners was to ensure the leases of the property which they wished to farm and by early October negotiations for the purchase of the lease of the area known as Okaihau (vide map) were in hand.  This land or part of it, is later calculated to contain 5,615 acres and appears to have been leased from the Maoris by James Reynolds.  After a certain amount of bargaining, Campbell and Meinertzhagen agreed to pay £1,500 for the lease, the deal including 2,000 sheep and 46 head of cattle.  To clinch

Gertrude Meinertzhagen standing on the Kuku Rocks. The wool bales out of sight, are on their way to the ship waiting off-shore.  Note the bullock dray.

At the mouth of the Pouhokio, Bare Island in the background.

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the bargain it was necessary to borrow money from Kinross and Co., Napier merchants, who charged the steep interest rate of 12%.  Says Campbell, ‘… we are now, like all other squatters, in debt to our Agents.’  The acquisition of Okaihau brought the total acreage of the station to 31,000, all leasehold, with 11,000 sheep and 46 head of cattle.  It would appear that at this stage there are several leases for various parts of the station as Teira Tiakitai gave Campbell and Meinertzhagen a long list of the names of the lessors, but the partners were hopeful of obtaining one lease for the whole property eventually.  As for the stock, the sheep were merinos but the breed of cattle is unknown.

Towards the end of 1868, Campbell records in his journal some of the practical details of farming: e.g. 90% lambing, with which he is very pleased, fencing at £16 per mile, the Maori shearers, six of them, could shear only 245 sheep per day (shearers wages are not mentioned, but are later quoted at £1 per hundred), ‘the woolshed a villainous affair’, and then the shearers stopped shearing well before Christmas Day for a runanga, much to Campbell’s annoyance.  ‘I told them they were a lot of children in their customs and this annoyed them a bit.’ There are amusing and nostalgic entries for Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. ‘Xmas 1868. We had service in the morning, and felt rather gloomy when we thought of Christmas at home, but in the afternoon we got a little more lively.’  There were horse races on the beach and the Maoris performed a haka.  ‘Fritz and I dressed this evening in full dress white neckties and all and the Wife too, adorned herself, – so we sat down to dinner like respectable people, for a change and Mrs Meinertz. gave us a noble dinner – the bill of fare was a large moki which the Maoris presented to us, a saddle of lamb, an excellent salad and a plum pudding which was a triumph of the culinary art.  The liquor consisted of a bottle of sherry and some whiskey in the evening.  Could a better dinner be found anywhere?’  Outposts of Empire indeed ! New Year’s Eve 1868. ‘Well, we have got a run at last, and altho’ I don’t see how were are to make much money out of the place, still in the course of years I suppose the place will become valuable – God bless all the dear ones at home and grant us a happy meeting some day soon.’

The shearing produced fifty-eight bales which were loaded into surf boats from the beach, a practice followed by farmers on all coastal stations last century and the early part of this.  There is a good description of the process in Campbell’s entry on 8 January 1869: ’Shipping wool.  FHM branding bales – Wi sledging them to beach, Old John and I loading them on surf boats.  The bales are carried on

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stretchers and the water is often up to our waists.  My feet got very sore from running backwards and forwards on the hard shells and sand.’  Later, of course, the stretchers were superseded by bullocks and drays or horses and dray.

The size of the station staff is difficult to gauge, but by mid-1869 there was ‘a hard working Scotch lassie’ called Ewart, a sister of one of the station hands, installed as cook, several Maoris are mentioned, perhaps casual hands, and in August a married couple were engaged at £80 per annum – ‘the man a good carpenter’.

At the beginning of 1869 there were further discussions with the Maori owners, with the aid of the official interpreter, Locke (he was also a Government Land Purchase Agent), about ‘the lease’ – this may have been for Okaihau. After much haggling, the Maoris at first being against extending the lease to a term of twenty-one years (did they remember Colenso’s advice?), an improvement clause, the right to cut timber, a rent of £500 per annum and a premium of £201 were all agreed upon.  Fortunately for the partners they had recently a welcome offer of financial help from Meinertzhagen Senior who offered to lend them £1,000 free of interest for three years and also sent £2,000 for the purchase of the Okaihau lease.  Campbell refused to accept the interest free loan and it was finally agreed that Fritz was to lend the partnership £2,000 at 3%. 14

Earlier in the year the Ida Ziegler had been lost with 69 bales of Waimarama wool on board, insured at 8d per pound. The year ended somewhat gloomily in the last quarter, with the death of Meinertzhagen Senior in England and bad wool prices – 7½d to 8d per pound for the best wether hogget wool.

What of social life?  Very limited, if compared with modern ideas on the subject.  Campbell, the more energetic of the two partners, amused himself by frequent shooting expeditions – mostly shooting pigs, but also wild bulls.  By way of variation he mentions wrestling between Maori and pakeha on the beach, two of his opponents being sons of Edwards the whaler.  Fritz was a keen ornithologist and conchologist and followed these gentler and more studious pursuits steadily.  There is also evidence that he was a collector of Maori artifacts.  It must be remembered that both partners were well-educated men, fond of reading, and the well-stocked station library contained a catholic selection of good literature. The occasional journeyman bookseller visited the station and was assured of a welcome and a sale.  Cards and chess were played.  Intellectual visitors were rare, but Father Reignier and Archdeacon Samuel Williams called and stayed at the homestead on occasions – separate occasions, of course.  Of Father Reignier,

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Campbell, who was himself an Anglican says, ‘we had a great talk, both political and theological.’  One other social note should be mentioned: Gertrude Meinertzhagen, the first child of the union, was christened in Napier in ‘the English church’, Campbell being the godfather.

Campbell’s descriptions of such occupations as bullock driving, pig hunting and mustering are both vivid and amusing.  Here, for example, he describes coping with problems of bullock driving: ‘We had a great bother with the bullocks at the Big Hill and when I was taking them down the steep pinch at the boundary peg (of Couper’s Kahuranaki Station) the key in the near side leader’s yoke gave way, he broke loose and the whole team got in a horrid mess.  It took me two hours of hard work to get them on the flat and yoked again – I had to use one of my spurs as a key, thereby spoiling it effectually.  At the Green Gully creek I had another job – I was obliged to undo the chains and make the bullocks jump the creek in pairs – I then had an hour’s work before I could get them coupled again and finally I arrived at Okai Hau just before dark, very much out of temper, considerably tired and quite disgusted with bullock driving.’

Or pig hunting: ‘When we got to the raupo swamp at the foot of the Te Apiti Hill Agnew Brown’s dog dashed into the bush and in a few minutes we heard him baying a pig – “Laddie” joined him and we could tell by the sound it was a boar, as the dogs evidently funked going in – Brown and I tied up our horses and went after the dogs.  We found them in a thick of bush, but before we could get within sight the boar bolted through the bush and bailed up in a dense clump of ferns at the edge of the swamp.  We got a glimpse of the boar as he went in, and saw that he was a pretty big one, so, having no weapons, not even a knife, we rode on to Te Apiti.  Brown took his Enfield and bayonet and I a revolver, and back we went to where we had left the boar.  The dogs soon found him again and he stuck up in a worse place than before – a dense mass of ferns and raupo grass.  Brown gave me the rifle and I went into the clump of ferns, clearing my way with the second bayonet.  I soon got into where the boar was and getting a glimpse of him through the fern I “formed square” and waited for him.  However, he seemed to be too busy with the dogs to care about me so I crept quite close and gave him the bayonet right through the back.  Brown then came up and shot him through the head with the revolver.  A sword bayonet on a short Enfield is not a desirable weapon to tackle a boar with, altho’ a good deal better than nothing.  I expected it to snap every moment with the struggles the boar made to get round at me.’  And so died one of the thousands of wild pigs roaming the station.

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Mustering was a less exciting pursuit, but had its interests too, as this entry shows: ‘Fine. Fine.  All hands started mustering.  Gordon and Ewart took the Gorge, I was on top of the Devil’s Backbone, George on my right and Sutherland and Bill did the Boundary Creek side.  Old Ihauraia went on with the pack horse to pitch the camp at the Captain’s Gorge.  The sheep ran well and we got to the Captain’s by 3 p.m. Drove the sheep past Lookout hill and then lay down and rested our weary bones on the fern.  The men spun yarns round the camp fire as usual and told frightful untruths as to the distance their dogs had run, etc.  I rolled myself in my Possum rug and slept in the fern in preference to the tent full of ruffians.  It is very jolly lying on your back in the high fern, smoking a pipe and watching Southern Cross and the other beautiful constellations.’  Still rather stand-offish, young Campbell.  There is a lively scene on 7 October 1870, when the colts were cut and branded: ‘The Maoris all talked at once, the children, and the Entires neighed and squealed, the Pakehas swore and produced a chorus worthy of Pandemonium.’

Financially the partners were not yet prospering.  Campbell quotes an interesting valuation of the run, made in 1870, which is informative not only because of the monetary value for the leasehold, but also because the areas of different portions of the station are given.  It reads:

Area   Valuation
Waimarama   18,510 acres   £5,800
Waipuka   10,317 acres   £3,500
Okaihau   5,615 acres   £2,000
TOTAL   34,442 acres   £11,300

The average valuation per acre works out at six shillings and sixpence, but although the valuer based his valuation on the run being able to carry 22,000 sheep, Campbell thought it ‘rather an exaggerated one’.  There are two points of interest in the quotation: firstly, the subdivision of the station into three runs accords well, in acreage, with a subsequent map drawn probably as the Native Land Court gave orders for partitions and, secondly, it will be noticed that the smaller Okaihau block has a higher valuation at the time than the other parts of the run.  In forty years’ time, when the leases expired, litigation was at its height and subsequent valuers were called in, it is interesting to observe what a marked effect improvements had made on the valuers’ estimates.  However, on New Year’s Day 1871, Campbell has a pessimistic entry: ‘The mighty firm of Meinertzhagen and Campbell

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in a worse state than they were at the beginning of 1870.’  Fritz had left for England during 1870 to see whether he could raise money, but wrote to say that it was impossible to borrow on the security of leasehold land.  The prices of sheep and wool were low.  Campbell mentions exchanging 250 of ‘our best wethers for Chambers’ four bullocks’; for the purposes of this transaction he evaluated the wethers at three shillings and sixpence per head. As this was before the invention of refrigeration, the farmer could not dispose of his culls profitably, but had to sell them for tallow if he were fortunate enough to be near a boiling down works.  Nairn, of Pourerere, appears to have operated such a plant at this time and Campbell drove 1,650 sheep there. ‘Must expect great casualties among such old brutes” he says. However, there were only twenty-four which was satisfactory considering the droving conditions.  He does not mention how much he received for these sheep but later entry states that the rams gave six pounds of tallow per head and that he received one shilling and sixpence for each for the culls.  Not much profit there!

But there was good news to come.  On 12 May 1871, Campbell received a letter from his partner reporting the completion of a loan and in the same mail was a letter from Huth & Co. enclosing a letter of credit for £5,000.  ‘Hurrah!… No more Kinross & Co.  and their d – d 12½%!’ says Campbell. The terms of the loan were that all the station wool was to be handled by Huth & Co. and the firm was to deduct half of the proceeds until the loan was liquidated.  Interest was to be charged at the rate of 5% and commission on the sale of wool at 3½%, of which 1% would be returned when the loan was paid off.  Very generous terms indeed.  The partners were most fortunate that the name of Meinertzhagen stood well with Huth & Co.  Many another pioneer farmer who had to relinquish his holding would have been glad of such an infusion of capital.  Further good fortune was to come, for by September of the same year wool was fetching one shilling and a halfpenny per pound – ‘By Jove, it’s splendid, hurrah!’  The partners were getting on their feet.

What of relationships with the Maori owners?  As there were less than a dozen white men on the Block and the Maori population was still comparatively numerous, the latter undoubtedly felt in no way inferior to their pakeha tenants – probably quite the reverse.  Both Campbell and Meinertzhagen were intelligent enough to realise that if they wished to retain their leases it paid them to maintain amicable relationships with the “Natives” as they were so often referred to at this time.  In spite of Campbell’s references to them as a lot of children, great talkers and liars, perennially impecunious and

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argumentative, both he and Fritz were dependent upon the local inhabitants for much of their labour, and accordingly, were compelled by force of circumstances to walk carefully and – in the modern terms – to study the psychology of the Maori.  Over all one has the impression of a fairly successful partnership of Maori and pakeha, the former certainly well able to look after themselves in the matters of bargaining for wages and in the buying and selling of stock. Campbell understood this well enough.  For example, on 5 October 1871 he has these remarks about rent pay day: ‘Paying off Maoris all day … I am sick and tired of Maoris and their stupidity in understanding accounts.  Wilful stupidity, for they are as sharp as needles in reality.’  Attempts to beat down the Maoris shearing charges always failed.  There was no hint of a typical Victorian age master-servant relationship.  Of course, there were clashes.  The uncontrolled Maori dogs worrying the partners sheep were a constant source of friction.  Campbell kept a tally and recorded in June 1871 that he had shot 33 dogs since his arrival on the station.  Naturally, shooting often produced an unfavourable reaction from the Maori owners, Harawira, for one, taking strong exception to one of his dogs being shot; as a result, he and Campbell carried on something of a feud for a time.  There was argument too about cutting down trees.  Of the partners, Campbell seems to have been the less patient and understanding; Fritz, a man of gentler nature, seems to have had a more sympathetic approach towards his neighbors and landlords.

Towards the end of the year the diarist reports, among other things, a lambing of 72%, a visit from Father Reignier and a storm which ‘washed down’ the house – this last item giving fairly conclusive evidence that the house was built of sod.  November 25 marked the end of the main shearing: ‘12,168 shorn – 1,432 short, but I hope we may pick them up yet.  Paid off the Maoris and a mostly noisy affair it was.’

The year 1872 opened with the usual difficulties encountered in loading the wool clip. On January 3 the Napier, under Captain Bendall, anchored off the landing opposite the Kuku Rocks, or what is now generally known as the Reef, but the sea was too rough for landing operations and the ship sailed away.  This was a common cause of frustration for the coastal station owners, not to be relieved until roading obviated the necessity of shipping the wool out.  However, on January 18, the Napier returned, off-loaded stores, and began loading wool, two boats working with five bales at a time.  By evening the next day 135 bales had been loaded, but again sea conditions became adverse and the ship steamed off leaving 35

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bales which were finally picked up on February 6.  Tedious work. Nevertheless the average price for wool for the Year 1872 was 1.2 shillings per pound 15 which was a good return amounting to about £4,000 for the clip.

The countryside was beginning to change its appearance as burning and sowing continued, large areas of bracken and manuka being cleared off by fire.  ‘A good fire in the manuka on the Flat today.  Also burnt a lot of rushes’, says one entry.  ‘Sutherland lighting fires at Maraetotara and Reuben’s Spur” says another.  Or ‘More fires.  One swept the Manuka Flat, the Coast Range and down into Red Island Gully’.  These areas were all sown later and the land must have been beginning to lose its wild unkempt look and the wild pigs to find less and less cover.  Even so it must still have been difficult to muster, as witness other 1,432 sheep missing from the main shearing and it was yet lonely uninhabited land.  ‘Dillon and I rode to Clifton by the Matarau track… I think it is the loveliest track in the district – 19 miles without seeing a house or a Maori kainga or even meeting a human being.’

On 11 February 1872 Campbell’s partner returned with his wife and two children.  Campbell gives us a description of his god-daughter, now nearly two years old – ‘Gerty had grown from a baby into a most charming little girl in the world – very pretty with a most winning smile.’  The young partner made much of the little girl who was to grow into the formidable woman, ably farming the station and fighting with great spirit for her right to leasehold.  Fritz’s second child is also pictured as a fine, strong looking baby girl.’  Manuela (there was Spanish blood in the Huths) was her name.

One of the first matters discussed by the partners was the building of a new house, as the old dwelling was quite unsuitable for Fritz’s family.  ‘Fritz wants the new house put up at once and we are scheming how to get the timber as cheap as possible.’  In the meantime Meinertzhagen family had the use of the Nelson homestead known as “The Lawn”.  This was not a very satisfactory arrangement, as it meant that Fritz was often absent from Waimarama.  Yet discussion of the new homestead continued; sites were inspected, and architect consulted, suitable timber sought.  Unfortunately it is unlikely that Campbell ever saw the new homestead.

At this period further sheep worrying by the Maoris’ dogs drove the partners, or more particularly Campbell, to take drastic action.  Court proceedings were instituted against Matiu and Wi Rangirangi and on May 7, at Napier, both defendants were fined £20 with £5 costs, for

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allowing their dogs to worry Campbell’s and Meinertzhagen’s sheep.  Says Campbell, ‘Lots of country fellows in the Court, all very much delighted with the issue of the case – it being a sort of precedent.’

As his partner had visited his home country, Campbell decided to take his turn to see his homeland and parents, and left from Auckland on June 14.  He continued to keep his diary during his sea voyage, while he was in the United States and in his homeland, but unhappily ceased in March 1873, thus ending a full, regular, and valuable account of life in the early days of a large Hawke’s Bay sheep station.  There are few such extensive accounts of early farming available; perhaps only Guthrie Smith, of Tutira, kept fuller records of his station than Campbell did of Waimarama.

Campbell must have returned to New Zealand either late in 1873 or early 1874, but he was to meet a sad end.  On July 17 of the year 1874 he, with three helpers, was engaged in floating rafts of timber for fence posts down the Tukituki River.  It was a cold, wet winter’s day.  Sutherland, the head shepherd on Waimarama, was sent to Havelock to buy grog for the raftsmen. When he returned he found his employer alone at the Waimarama ford, 16  very cold, seemingly cramped or paralysed in the legs.  After Campbell had had a little grog, Sutherland left him by the river bed in order to go to Couper’s place at Kahuranaki for help.  Couper, with another man arrived at the ford at 11 pm to find Campbell dead.  Although Campbell’s nose and mouth were in the water, Couper, in giving evidence before the Coroner, DR Hitchings of Napier, said that he did not think Campbell had died from drowning. He observed no bruises on Campbell’s body and no appearance of a struggle.  The coroner’s jury found that death was from natural causes and from prolonged exposure to cold and wet, adding a rider that the witness Sutherland ‘acted as well as the circumstances of the case would admit’, and attributed no blame whatever to him. 17  At the time it seems that there was some suspicion of foul play, and indeed it appears extraordinary that a young, fit, man, only twenty-nine years old who had hardly ever had a day’s illness could succumb in this manner to what was really nothing more than a strenuous day’s work in the wet and cold.  Walter Lorne Campbell was buried in the Napier cemetery where his head stone still stands.

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Meinertzhagen and Moore

Not long after Campbell’s untimely death Fritz Meinertzhagen took on a new partner, his brother-in-law, Thomas Richard Moore.  Born at Salisbury, England, in 1844, Moore came to New Zealand at the age of six with his father who practiced medicine in Christchurch.  T.R. Moore was educated at Christ’s College where he established a reputation as a cricketer and athlete, later playing for Canterbury against the first All England cricket team to visit New Zealand.  He also held the provincial title for the 440 yards hurdles for three successive years.  After leaving school he became a clerk in the Union Bank in Christchurch, until his brother-in-law induced to become a partner in Waimarama.  While Campbell may have held something like equal shares in the partnership – Meinertzhagen paid Campbell’s estate £8,000 as his share of the stock and improvements – it is likely that Moore was very much the junior partner, at least financially, as bank clerks were then poorly paid.  However, an uncle had given Moore some capital when he came of age and perhaps he put this into the partnership.  There is evidence to show that Moore held only about a fifth share and was also restricted as to what he could spend on station improvements during Meinertzhagen’s absence.  Yet, as will be seen, he died a wealthy man, a benefactor to his old school, his church and to the cities of Palmerston North and Napier.  Whether his original share in Waimarama was small or not he seems to have been an able farmer and a man who could make money earn money.  From the early 1880’s until he retired from partnership in 1906 Moore was the manager in fact, as Fritz became less and less an active partner, partly because ofill health worsened by too much drinking and partly because of a domestic tragedy which seems to have unhinged his mind.

Those who remember Moore pay tribute to his ability, but perhaps one of his more prominent characteristics was a certain crustiness of manner.  There is a story of Moore standing on the beach, watch in hand, timing the mailman as he rode from Havelock, a journey that included cutting though Te Mata (now Tauroa) station, fording the Tukituki and Maraetotara Rivers, descending to the beach at Waipuka (now Ocean Beach) and riding along the beach to the station homestead, regardless of the state of the tide.  The difficulties of the journey were apparently no excuse for the mailman being late, at least in Moore’s eyes.

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Some surviving letters also reveal the man; there are scathing comments on those of whom he disapproved or who did not measure up to his standards of efficiency. Such was the man who was to assume the day to day management of Waimarama station for the best part of the next thirty years.  No doubt, too, Gertrude Meinertzhagen learnt a good deal about farming from her uncle, as she was to show a sound grasp of the station’s affairs when the time came for her take over the lease.  It is true that by 1874 some of the hard pioneering work had been done and the price of wool continued to remain at one shilling per pound or above until 1877, so that Meinertzhagen and Moore got off to a good start.  But Fritz had had to find £8,000 for Campbell’s executors and for thirty years after 1876 the price of wool was not to reach one shilling per pound.  To offset these disadvantages was the great advantage of being able to lease the run at approximately ten pence per acres – until 1886.  The time was to come when critics of the partners were to claim that Meinertzhagen and Moore made a fortune out of the station, while the partners countered with the claim that they had barely made ends meet.

1.   In Maori Deeds of Land Purchases by H. Turton, Vol. 2, p. 577, Deed Receipt No. 1 records the payment of £200 to Tamaihikoia for a piece of land in the Waimarama Block, neither the area nor its whereabouts being detailed.
2.   “Report of the Land Purchase Department relative to the Extinguishment of Native Titles in the Ahuriri District”, AJHR 1862, A-G, p. 323.
3.   M.D.N. Campbell, The Evolution of Hawke’s Bay Landed Society 1860-1914, Vol. 1, p. 39. Doctoral thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 1973.
4.   J.G. Wilson, History of Hawke’s Bay, p. 212.
5.   Hawke’s Bay Herald, 9 December 1865.
6.   Ibid., 19 December 1865
7.   Ibid., 13 January, 1866
8.   Information from J.F. Hargrave.
9.   Miriam McGregor, Early Stations of Hawke’s Bay, p. 260.
10.   Information from J.N. Birch, a great-nephew of W.J. Birch.
11.   Norman Smith, Maori Land Law, p. 88.
12.   W.L. Campbell, Journal 1868.
13.   The peacocks’ descendants still survive to this day in Peach Gully on S.T. Belcher’s property.
14.   The price of farm materials and the cost of shipping at this time are illustrated by the following items: matai posts at £3 per 100, a team of oxen (number not stated) £70, a plough at £10, timber shipped from Napier: 1000 palings at 5 shillings and rails at 4d each.
15.   M.F. Lloyd Prichard, An Economic History of New Zealand, p. 112.
16.   The exact location of this ford is not certain, but is believed to have been not far from the present Patangata bridge.
17.   The Hawke’s Bay Herald, 20 July 1874.


We have reached, in 1874, a stage in history where we find that the entire block of 35,000 acres is being leased to two European farmers in partnership, while the ownership remains in the hand of the Maoris.  To understand the situation regarding dealings in land in the latter half of the nineteenth century we must look at the enactments of the legislature concerning Native Land.  The relevant Acts were passed after the first European occupation of Waimarama, but before F.H. Meinertzhagen and his partners obtained leases.  Firstly, the Native Rights Act of 1862 stipulated that there could be no alienation of land without prior investigation of title. The purpose of this provision was to ensure that only those Maoris who were actually entitled to land sold land.  To counterbalance this sound principle the Crown waived its right to pre-emption thus enabling unfettered trading in Maori lands once titles had been established.  Secondly, in order to confer titles the Native Lands Act of 1865 was passed.  Under this Act Native Land Courts were set up; (1) to ascertain the owners of land according to Maori custom; (2) to transmute any title so recognized into one understood at English law; and (3) to facilitate dealings in Maori land and the peaceful settlement of the country.  In 1873 further legislation was passed to promote the individualisation policy.  Virtually all modern historians are unanimous in their opinion that this policy was disastrous for the Maori as a landowner.  In the words of a Royal Commission set up in 1891 to investigate ownership of Native Lands, ‘The Alienation of Native Land under this law (1873) took its very worst form and its most disastrous tendency … The right to occupy and cultivate possessed by their fathers became in their hands an estate which could be sold.  The strength which lies in union was taken from them.  The authority of their leaders was destroyed.  They were surrounded by temptation. But it was not only in the alienation of their land that the Maoris suffered.  In its occupation they found themselves in a galling and anomalous position.  As every


From N.L.P 125

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single person in a list of owners comprising perhaps over a hundred names had as much right to occupy as anyone else, personal occupation for improvement or tillage was encompassed with uncertainty.’

How were the owners of Waimarama affected? Donald McLean and District Commissioner G.S. Cooper had been active in Hawke’s Bay in the 1850’s.  The Ahuriri Block, Te Hapuku’s Block (Waipukurau), Mohaka, Te Mata and Matau-a-Maui (Kidnappers) had all been purchased by the Crown to be sold to the pakeha.  But attempts to buy the Waimarama block, including Waipuka and Okaihau, had failed.

In 1862 District Commissioner Cooper reported to Donald McLean, ‘With respect to the Waimarama Block, I have the honor to report that the Natives will not accept the sum of £600 for this land.’ 1  And nothing further was heard of the matter. 2  Sensible Natives ! One wonders what had dissuaded the owners from selling, as Te Hapuku had some interest in the Block and had already sold huge areas of land with the consent of his people.  Was the price insufficient?  If Te Hapuku’s Block (Waipukurau) of 279,000 acres sold for £3,800 it does not appear that £600 for Waimarama was unsatisfactory.  Had the Waimarama owners heeded Colenso’s advice?  Was it good leadership? Was it love for their ancestral lands?  Whatever the reason, nearly all the Waimarama land remained in the hand of its Maori owners until after the turn of the century and even now, when the national average of land owned by Maoris has declined to only 5% of the total, the Waimarama percentage is over twenty.  It is true that the Crown later brought extensive areas in the Block, but had this occurred in the 1850’s the history of Waimarama would have run a different course.  In that event Meinertzhagen and Campbell or Meinertzhagen and Moore would not have been able to carry on large scale sheep farming at a cheap rent.

We have already referred to the establishment of a Native Land Court by the Act of 1865.  To facilitate the working of the Court the country was divided into areas for which Lands Boards were created, Hawke’s Bay native land thus falling under the administrative jurisdiction of the Te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board.  Two years after the passing of the Native Lands Act 1865, the Maoris of Waimarama applied for the first time to have the Block partitioned.  No doubt, as they looked upon the ready money and trade goods their neighbors were acquiring, thoughts of enriching themselves in similar manner occurred to them.  In 1867 Judge H. A. H. Monro of the Native Land Court ordered titles to be issued to owners and joint owners, totaling 135, for the following pieces of land: (1) Waimarama

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(called Okaihau and Waimarama); (2) Okaihau; (3) Waimarama.  The areas so named are not defined and it is noticeable that there is no mention of Waipuka.  The leading owners, of whom we shall hear again, were Te Teira Taikitai, Wiremu Rangirangi, Te Hapuku and Mohi te Atahikoia, all of whom were awarded shares in all blocks.  It was interesting to note that at this stage Karauria, Airini Donnelly’s father, was unsuccessful in claiming a share in the blocks, 3  but as Airini’s mother was a Tiakitai, this did not preclude Airini’s later claims for the land.

This brings us to the entry upon the stage of a woman of great character who was to become the principal land owner in the Block and who, with her husband was to have a decisive influence upon the history of Waimarama.  Airini was the daughter of Karauria-a-Tamia-Whakaititi-i-a-te-rangi, sometimes known as Karauria Pupu, and Haroma Tiakitai. Apart from being the grand-daughter of Tiakitai, the leading chief of Waimarama, she was related to such important men as Te Moananui and Renata Kawepo. Her whakapapa is as follows: 4

Kahungunu   Hikawera = Hinetemoa

Kahukuranui   Whatuiapiti = Huhuti

Rakaihikuroa   Wawahanga = Teaopatuwhare

Hineteraraku   Rangikawhuia

Rangiauatakoha   Manawaakawa

Rakaimoati   Rangikoianake = Kaihou

Kahukuramango   Hawea = Waipu

Humarie   Whakato = Heitawhiri

Te Taiaho   Matenga = Wikitahutahu

Tuwairau   Karauria-a-Tama-Whakakiti

Rakaipaka   i-a-terangi = Haroma Te Ata

Airini   Iraia   Turanga   Matu   Erena

Airini’s mana, therefore, was as high or higher than that of any other Maori in Hawke’s Bay.  Together with the advantage of her high rank she possessed determination (a study of her photograph, taken in her forties, reveals high cheeks bones and a strong jaw), foresight and a

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desire to preserve the lands of her race.  Aided by her husband she certainly came into possession of large areas of land for herself, but in the Waimarama Block she obstinately opposed attempts by Europeans to extend or even retain their interests.  It was inevitable that she should clash with the Meinertzhagens and try to prevent them from renewing their leasehold tenure.  In this clash Airini was to have an opponent in Gertrude Meinertzhagen who was every bit as determined as Airini in standing up for what she believed to be her rights.

Their quarrel over the lands of Waimarama led to protracted and expensive litigation, which took the litigants through the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Native Land Courts and the Native Appellate Court, and included a petition to he Legislative Council for good measure.  Even Prime Ministers were to be drawn into the argument.  It is doubtful whether any other area of land in the country was the cause of so much litigation; in this respect, if no other, Waimarama was certainly an historic station.

In December 1877 Airini married George Prior Donnelly, an Irishman from County Tipperary.  Legend has it that Donnelly, who had been acting as an estate manager for Airini, eloped with her pursued by her relatives anxious for utu.  Donnelly himself was an interesting character who acquired large areas of land in Hawke’s Bay, some of it by means of his wife.  He was a shrewd and successful farmer who died a wealthy man.  If some of his methods of gaining wealth were not to everyone’s taste, yet he had a jaunty kind of personality which seems to have served him well in his relationships with others and particularly with a good many, if not all, of the Maori race among whom were his wife’s relatives.  It has often been remarked that the Irish temperament strikes a corresponding chord in the make-up of the Polynesian, and this seems to have been the case with Donnelly, although by no means all the owners of Waimarama were in sympathy with him and Airini in their desire to oust the original leases.  It should be said here also that the Donnellys were notable litigants not only in connection with the Waimarama land, but also in other matters. 5 They had the money to indulge in this luxury.

It was not very long after their marriage that Airini and her husband made their influence felt in Waimarama.  The lease to Meinertzhagen and partner was due to expire in 1889 after a term of twenty-one years and in the words of Gertrude Meinertzhagen, ‘…since 1883, your petitioner’s father made various attempts to obtain a renewal of his lease from the Native Owners and had at one time

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obtained the signatures of a large majority of those interested in the land.  He was, however, then advised that under the laws then affecting the tenure of Native Lands his leases would not be valid unless the signature of every owner of the block were obtained.  The lease was opposed by one of the Native Owners who would consent only on such terms as appeared to your petitioner’s father to be impossible and for that reason he preferred to abandon all hope of completing renewal of the lease.’ 6  This attempt at renewal by Fritz, or more probably his partner, was six years before the lease was due to expire and six years after Airini’s marriage.  It seems obvious that Airini and her husband must have been active among the owners of Waimarama, canvassing oppositions to Meinertzhagen and Moore; indeed, it seems incredible that only one owner, Airini herself, refused to sign and, if correct, is an indication of the esteem in which Fritz was held by the local inhabitants.

In the meantime, while negotiations for the renewal of the lease were in train, an important partition by the Native Land Court took place in 1884, called for by Airini who after the death of her mother had rights both in Okaihau and Waimarama.  Airini was opposed in the Waimarama Block by Mohi te Atahikoia, representing 20 objectors, each with a share of 397 acres.  After a prolonged hearing during which much interesting evidence was adduced, judgment was given by the Court as follows: ‘ … we have arrived at the following conclusion: that Te Teira (Tiakitai) and those under whom he claims possessed the principal mana over the several blocks and that Mohi (te Atahikoia) and those whom he represents and their ancestors, came from Wairoa as refugees and lived under the mana of Te Teira’s ancestors and that their right (if any) is derived from long permissive occupation.’’ 7  The partition was made as follows:

Waimarama Block   Te Teira Tiakitai, with 41 others named, 14,670 acres.
Mohi te Atahikoia, with 42 others named, 4,000 acres.

Waipuka Block   Te Teira, with 38 others, 6,621 acres.
Mohi, with 59 others, 4,379 acres.

Okaihau Block   Te Teira, with 37 others, 3,757 acres.
Mohi, with 46 others, 1,797 acres.

The total acreage partitioned was thus 35,224 acres.  An undated map, obviously after 1884, is shown, as it defines approximately the areas and boundaries of the blocks abovementioned.

The effects of the partition were to strengthen Airini’s influence in

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all the blocks, but particularly in Waimarama and Okaihau through descent from her mother and through her relatives, thus enabling her to oppose Meinertzhagen and Moore effectively.

At this stage of the story tragedy entered F.H. Meinertzhagen’s life.  He had taken his wife and children, now numbering four, together with an adopted boy, the son of Wi te Maangi and Horiana Tiakitai, to England in 1881.  When the family reached Liverpool his wife, his two youngest daughters and Tami te Rangihauturu, the adopted son all contracted scarlet fever from which all four died.  Meinertzhagen seems never to have recovered from this blow and from this time his health, apparently worsened by drinking, gradually declined until he died in 1895 at the age of forty-nine.  Three daughters survived him – Gertrude, Manuela and Hermine.

We find, in 1885, G.E.G. Richardson, a Napier businessman, holding F.H. Meinertzhagen’s Power of Attorney, presumably because of the state of Fritz’s health or because of his absence from New Zealand or both.  Anxious about the difficulty of renewing the leases in view of the Donnelly activities, Richardson and Moore entered into negotiations with Airini and her husband.  From a position of power they drove a very hard bargain.  Firstly, Meinertzhagen and Moore were compelled to pay the Donnellys a Premium of £10,000.  Secondly, they had to agree to sub-let, at a rent of £1,000 per annum, 15,496 acres of the northern part of the run but including part of Okaihau and a small part of Waimarama.  It was into this northern section, known as Waipuka, that the  partners had put most of their improvements.  Thirdly, the rental for the new lease of the remaining 18,497 acres was increased by £1,000 per annum, i.e. from £500 to £1500 for three years from 1886 and thereafter for the remaining eighteen years to £1,800 per annum. The renewal agreement not only contained no clause for compensation for improvements, but a condition was made that the benefit of a clause under the old lease, which gave the partners the right to compensation for improvements, should be abandoned.  It is difficult to conceive of a more arrant piece of blackmail.  In effect the Donnellys said to Meinertzhagen and Moore, ‘Either you agree to the stiff terms of ours or we block your lease!’  The partners submitted.  Thus, the 1886 lease was burdened from the outset with a sum of £30,000, being the increased rent of £1,000 per annum for three years, the value of the improvements made prior to 1886  and estimated by the partners at £12,000, a sum of £5,000 debts owed to Meinertzhagen by the Maori owners but now forgiven, and finally the premium of £10,000. (More will be heard of this premium).  The partners must have had very

The Waimarama homestead in the early 1900’s.

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serious doubts about carrying on under such conditions, but it must be remembered that Fritz had established his home at Waimarama eighteen years ago; that after the tragedy in England he probably did not want to return there for some time, and that he and Moore must have thought that they could still farm the remaining substantial acreage profitably.  So the partners carried on farming their 18,500 acres comprising almost the whole of Waimarama and part of Okaihau, much the rougher portion of the whole Block, but it contained the partners’ home, woolshed, landing site and other outbuildings without which it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for them to work the station efficiently.

Meanwhile the Donnellys ably farmed their 15,000 acres under the sub-lease and continued to work against Meinertzhagen’s and Moore’s interest among the owners.  Another partition took place in 1891, strengthening Airini’s position, as the Native Land Court awarded her 3,395 acres of Waimarama No. 3, 477 acres of Okaihau No. 3 and 154 acres of Waipuka No. 1.  (The subdivision of the blocks into numbers indicate the progress made in surveying).  The large amount of Waimarama No. 3 was awarded to Airini because of her expenses incurred in the Waimarama Blocks – a matter along with the £10,000 premium beforementioned, which occasioned much criticism in later court proceedings.

Further complications occurred after the 1886 lease had been signed.  It appears that the Donnellys were not satisfied with the victory they had already gained, as it still left Meinertzhagen and Moore in leasehold possession of a considerable acreage.  Airini’s aim, as she later admitted, was to get the Europeans out and in order to effect this, she needed the controlling interest in all the blocks.  The new tactics were, therefore, to dispute the title of one of the other principal owners, Mohi te Atahikoia and his people.  Here are the words of Mohi, giving evidence before the Native Land Commission of 1891, at Waipawa on May 6: ‘…A new lease was negotiated before the old one expired.  Donnelly was the man who instigated the new lease.  Before the original term had expired he tried to get a new lease for himself and then dissension and confusion took place amongst the owners.  Minets Hagen [sic] and the others went away on Donnelly’s suit.  Then afterwards Donnelly applied to the Native Land Court for a sub-division, the total area of the land being 35,000 acres.  Donnelly got 30,000 and 3,000 were given to the people.  After a good deal of fighting in the court, Donnelly’s lot got 25,000 acres and my people who were the majority got 10,000 acres.

‘I did not agree to that subdivision of the Court and I applied,

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therefore, to have the case reheard.  I represented the majority of the owners.  My application for a rehearing was agreed to by the Chief Judge and I then carried on my application to the Supreme court.  An arrangement, however, was come to between the parties, the result of which was that, with the consent of the Chief Judge, a subdivision order was made by the Native Land court and the land went back to its original state in which it is now.  When it reverted to its original state Donnelly wanted a renewal of the lease.  After this a new lease was granted to Thomas Moore by me.  There were three years of the terms of the old lease remaining unexpired when we got the new lease prepared.  Assuring friendship, the Donnelly party joined in this lease, but after it was executed they started an action which had the effects of preventing the rent being paid and this, too, after they had signed. We have not received any rents, in consequence, since the time of signing the new lease.  There is £8,100 rent now due to us and we cannot get one sixpence of it.  Donnelly and his lawyers have taken such steps as have had the effect of preventing that money being paid and during the interim he is seeking to purchase the shares of the Natives who are interested.’ 8

Even if allowance is made for Mohi’s personal feelings of injustice, here is clear evidence of the activities of the “Donnelly party”.  Although Airini is not mentioned by name, her husband could have made no headway with the Waimarama Maoris had it not been for his wife standing amongst them.  The situation, then, in the 1890’s was this: dissension among the Maori owner, uncertainty for the pakeha lessees and the Donnellys ever intriguing to increase their influence.

1.   AJHR. 1862, A-G. C No. 1, p.223.
2.   In Turton’s Maori Deeds of Land Purchases, Vol. 2, p. 577, there is a Deed Receipt signed by Te Hapuku, Te Harawira Tatere, and G.S. Cooper, dated 10 Feb. 1885, in connection with one Tamaihikoia’s claim which appears at first to be for Waimarama land, but later refers to land at both Ahuriri and Heretaunga. Tatere lived at Waimarama and Te Hapuku had interests in the Block, but the earliest recorded purchase by the Crown was in 1884 for 496 acres in Okaihau 1D.  In the absence of definition of an area the Deed Receipt is inexplicable.
3.   Te Ikaraoa District Maori Land Board. Napier Minute Book No. 2, pp. 19-23.
4.   Information from Turanga Karauria, great nephew of Airini Donnelly.
5.   For example, Donnelly & Ors v. Broughton, NZLR 1888. This case which concerned a very dubious alteration of the will of Renata Kawepo, Airini’s great uncle, went to the Privy Council which found against Airini and her relatives.  There was much comment in the Courts about direct conflict of evidence.
6.   Petition of Gertrude Ellen Meinertzhagen presented to the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Council, 15 October 1907.
7.   Te Ikaroa District Land Board. Napier Minute Book No. 7.  Mohi lived at Mokomokouri which was at the mouth of the Waingongoro.
8.   AJHR 1891, Session 2, Vol. 2, G-L. pp. 62-63.


In the 1890’s the feelings against the holders of large blocks of land intensified.  With the advent of the Liberal Government in the 1890 elections and the accession to power of men like Ballance, Reeves, Seddon, and particularly, McKenzie, it became apparent that the demands of those who desired to farm but had little or no capital would receive a sympathetic hearing from the new government.  John McKenzie, the son of a crofter, believed passionately in the rights of the small farmer and took steps, with the approval of his colleagues, to see that opportunity was given such men to buy small holdings.  To achieve this, it was, of course, necessary to break up the big estates and the first measure introduced for this purpose was the Land and Income Assessment Act 1891 which provided for a graduated tax on the actual value of land, reaching a maximum of two pence in the pound!  A second step was the Lands for Settlement Act 1894 which gave the government compulsory purchase power and authorized the use of loan money to buy land.  The third and perhaps most important step was the Advances to Settlers Act 1894 designed to provide farmers with cheaper and more extensive credit than was available from the trading banks, stock and station agents and private lenders (remember Kinross White’s 12½%).

This land policy of the Liberal Government was a marked success.  Originally the lease in perpetuity was the tenure proposed, but it was abolished in 1907 and short term renewable leases with an option for the right of purchase were substituted to meet a vocal demand for the freehold.  Although it was dear to the hearts of the Liberals that the land should belong to the State and not be freeholded, the New Zealanders’ passion for the latter form of tenure was too strong for the Liberals to resist, especially as there was some division upon the matter within the party.  Between 1892 and 1911 the Crown offered 8,500,000 acres for settlement, divided into 33,000 holdings.  Of this area the Crown had purchased 209 estates totaling 1,200,000 acres for £6,000,000 and had subdivided them into 4,800 farms. 1

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However the general and desired effect of the Liberal legislation was to reduce the size of holdings.  ‘From a consideration of the average size of holdings it appears that beyond the 1,000 acre limit, despite an increase in average, the overall effect was to diminish the size of holding because of an increase in the number of holdings.’ 2  Before the turn of the century Waimarama was not affected.  As yet there was not a European freeholder in the area, which makes Waimarama’s case quite remarkable, considering that the land was proving to be rather better than third class farming land.   Yet the effect of Liberal legislation in other parts of New Zealand was to cause Hawke’s Bay eyes to turn towards the Waimarama Block.  Here was land suitable for breaking up into smaller farms, held in two large pieces, leasehold it is true, one by a European with a Maori wife, the other by European partners. As a consequence, in the first decade of this century pressure of opinion mounted; the local press, priding itself on its liberal sentiments, took up the case and thundered denunciations of the large landowner; the attention of “King Dick” himself was drawn to the dispute.  Strangely enough most of the public wrath fell upon the head of Gertrude Meinertzhagen who carried on single-handed a determined struggle to retain the leasehold, her father having died in 1895 and his partner, Moore, having been bought out in 1906.

In the latter part of 1905 and the beginning of 1906 Gertrude began making preparations to renew her lease, due to expire in August 1907.  According to her petition, presented to the Legislative Council in October 1907, Miss Meinertzhagen made these endeavours ‘at the desire and request of a large number of Native Owners’, 3  but before proceeding to obtain the signatures of the owners she caused an account of the working expenses and profits of the run for a period of ten years to be drawn up.  She also consulted three competent Hawke’s Bay sheep farmers as to the value of the run and in addition obtained a valuation from the Government Valuation Departments (not long established) satisfying herself that the Waimarama Block consisted exclusively of third class land – that is to say, land which is pastoral only and which in the event of a fall in the value for wool and stock would be useless for agricultural purposes. 4  Having regard to that assessment the lessee offered the owners a rent of five shillings per acre and envisaged that the expenses of development of the run over another five years would cost her the equivalent of another one shilling per acre.  In April 1907 a special Assessment Court sat in Napier and assessed the 18,497 acres lease by Miss Meinertzhagen at £130,530 or about seven pounds one shilling and sevenpence per acre.  Gertrude

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claimed that the value was an inflated one because of the high price of land and wool then prevailing.  Indeed, the price of wool had taken an upward turn in 1903, merino greasy selling at 10 and 7/12 pence per pound in that year and half bred at 1s and 2/16 pence per pound and did not fall below these prices in the next seven years. 5

In May 1906 Gertrude Meinertzhagen acquired the shares of her father’s partner, T.R. Moore, for the residue for the lease yet to run – namely fifteen months – and became the tenant in possession, farming the run on behalf of her two sisters Manuela and Hermine and herself.  Unfortunately there is no record of how much Gertrude paid her uncle for his interest.  Gertrude estimated the value of her sheep which, she says ‘had taken many years of careful breeding to bring to their present condition’, 6 and her other stock at not less than £20,700, so that she must have had to pay her uncle a substantial sum.  These valuations of the run and the stock are particularly interesting, as the proceedings of the Native Land Commission the following year much play was made by the Donnellys and that the lessees had made a fortune out of the station, the inference being that Meinertzhagen and Moore had fleeced the Maori owners by paying such a low rent for so long.  At this point, perhaps, no more need be said about this line of argument than that all the pakeha farmers occupying the Waimarama Block became wealthy people – Miss Meinertzhagen, G.P Donnelly and T.R. Moore.  Of the last mentioned, as he makes his exit from Waimarama it should be recorded that in 1896 he had married Miss Elizabeth Coutts of Palmerston North and that three years after he sold his share of the leasehold he retired to live in Palmerston North where he died childless on 23 July 1935 at his residence named “Waimarama”, survived by his widow. After providing for her, Moore left his entire estate in a trust known as the T.R. Moore Trust, the income being paid annually to charitable and educational institutions in the cities of Napier and Palmerston North.  As the capital of the trust is now valued at a little over $250,000, 7  it is obvious that the one time partner in Waimarama had made considerable profit from his farming operations there.  It is true that Moore had other interests and property, e.g. he bought land in the Heretaunga Block and was a shareholder in the ill-fated Colonial Bank of New Zealand, but the evidence points to Waimarama Station as the source of the bulk of his wealth.  At some time before Moore’s marriage his sister Jane came to live at the station homestead where she managed the household for some years.

Continuing to collect the owner’s signatures to her lease during

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1906, Gertrude eventually claimed that she held enough to give her a lease of 23,042 acres, nearly 5,000 acres more than the number assessed in 1907.  It seems that these additional acres must have been land leased to the Donnellys and that those who signed repudiated their promise to Miss Meinertzhagen. In any event such repudiations made little difference to the final outcome. The lessee agreed to pay five shillings per acre, although the old lease still had fifteen months to run, and paid £2,880 in advance rent in the months of March and September 1906.  She also agreed to provide 5,114 acres as reserves to be occupied by those owners who desired to work a portion of their lands for themselves.

Unfortunately for Gertrude she had been incorrectly advised in making arrangements to renew her lease and should have lodged a Declaration of intention to lease with the Te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board before the leases were executed, not after, as she subsequently did.  This technical breach of Section 26 of the Maori Lands Administration Act 1900 was to prove a serious matter for the lessee.  The raising of the technicality was no mere chance as the Donnellys had been actively working to oppose Gertrude’s claims.  Indeed, considering Airini’s influence with her people and relatives it is astonishing that Gertrude was able to obtain so many signatures.  It would seem to indicate that the Meinertzhagens, father and daughter, were esteemed by a considerable section of the Maori lessors.  However, Airini Donnelly and her sister, Pani Karauria, both lodged written objections under Section 26 of the Act with the Te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board.  So began the protracted and bitter litigation between Gertrude Meinertzhagen, daughter of the English pioneer settler, and Airini Donnelly, descendant of the chiefly owners of Waimarama.  Both were women of character, intelligence and spirit.  What of their motives? On the English woman’s side was the determination to keep the home she knew and loved and no doubt the desire to make money out of farming the station.  On the Maori woman’s side lay the intense feeling for her land and the land of her people 8  and an equally intense desire to prevent the pakeha woman from remaining in Waimarama.  There is no record of personal correspondence between them – lawyers acted for them – but there must have been face to face confrontation from time to time.  It seems certain that personal dislike played a part.  An eye-witness of a clash at a wedding reception in 1906 speaks of insults freely exchanged between Miss Meinertzhagen and Mrs Donnelly. 9

Before the legal battles, about to be described, an interesting event occurred in February 1906 when the Premier, the Right Honorable

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R.J. Seddon himself, visited Hastings and subsequently attended a wedding in Waimarama.  The marriage was between Miss Tiana Karauria and Mr Tu Teira, the bride being a niece of Airini. The Hastings Standard of 22 February 1906 reported: ‘This morning in company with Mr G.P. Donnelly the Premier drove to Waimarama in a carriage supplied by Mr C. Hart, leaving Hastings about 8 a.m. in order to escape the morning tide along the beach.  Mrs Seddon, the Hon. J.D. Ormond MLC, Messrs A.H. Dillon MHR and R.D.D. McLean followed in another of Mr Hart’s conveyances.’  It should be noted that at this time the through road to Waimarama had not been completed and the customary route along the beach from Waipuka (Ocean Beach) was followed.  The wedding reception was a very large one, all Waimarama residents, as well as many Maori and pakeha guests from afar, attending.  In the speeches made at the reception mutual recriminations between the Donnellys and Miss Meinertzhagen were exchanged, probably much enjoyed by Seddon who was accustomed himself to giving and taking hard verbal knocks.  According to the Hastings Standard of 24 February, both G.P. Donnelly and Mohi te Atahikoia appealed to the Premier to have the Waimarama lands preserved for the natives for the support of their families, Donnelly also proposing schemes for dairy farming and sawmilling. 10  When Gertrude spoke she agreed that the land should be preserved for its Maori owners, but injudiciously stated that before they were settled on it they should learn how to farm!  This speech stung Airini to retort that the natives could farm just as well as the Europeans, and high words ensued.  Thus ill-feeling was exacerbated.  However, the Premier, in a speech lasting two hours – poor wedding guests – after first wishing the bridal pair very success in life said that he believed that the Maoris were capable of farming their own land, but could not do so if it were leased to the Europeans.  A rebuff for Gertrude.  The scene must have been a picturesque one with the Maori bride and bridegroom, hosts of their relatives and friends, the Donnelly’s pakeha friends, the Premier and his lady and the leading Hawke’s Bay politicians.  Indeed, the occasion was as much a political meeting as a wedding, supporters of the Liberal Government’s policy of breaking up the big estates taking the opportunity of presenting the Prime Minister with an on the spot case, wedding or no wedding.

Although 1906 was a peak year of activity for all those interested in the future of the Waimarama Block, two earlier moves, which had a bearing on the legal battle had taken place. Firstly, Airini Donnelly had in 1901 and 1902 formed partnerships between herself and other owners, 11 most of whom were relatives, in Waimarama, Okaihau and

Dick Lamb’s team of oxen in front of the first Waimarama store.

F.H. (“Fritz”) Meinertzhagen, first lessee with W. L. Campbell of the entire Waimarama Block.

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Waipuka for the purposes of carrying on the business of sheep and cattle farming.  Such was the ostensible motive, but the hidden one was to thwart Gertrude Meinertzhagen by including possible lessors to her in a partnership which she hoped would prevent them leasing land to Gertrude.  This partnership, which was for a term of fourteen years, came under heavy fire from the Chief Justice when the Native Land Commission was hearing evidence concerning the Block, mainly because the agreement permitted Airini to have the sole and exclusive control of all the partnership affairs, including the right to appoint a special manager who could not be removed except with the consent of all the partners.  It was not surprising, in the event, the special manager appointed was her husband, G.P. Donnelly.  Secondly, the Maori Land Administration Act of 1905 contained a clause prohibiting any person from leasing more than 5,000 acres of Maori land.  Although there was to be legal argument as to whether an owner of free hold land could also have 5000 acres leasehold, such as provisions was bound to preclude Gertrude Meinertzhagen from ever again leasing the large areas she once had.

1906 and 1907 were to be the fateful years for the Waimarama Block. The opportunity to present arguments to the Prime Minister himself has already been described.  All interested parties were active.  The Maori owners held numerous meetings in order to arrive at an agreement for the partition of their lands and at the same time circulated a petition 12  to parliament, praying that legislation would not be passed taking their lands and rights from them.  This petition was to have been presented in June 1906, but was withdrawn because it was anticipated that the Native Land Court would agree to a partition favoured by all parties.  The clauses of the petition were strongly anti-Donnelly in content: Clause 6, for example, states that’ your petitioners within the last few months have for the first time heard with great grief that the sum of £10,000 was paid by Messrs Meinertzhagen and Moore to Mr and Mrs G.P. Donnelly.’ And in Clause 7 ‘that although Mr and Mrs Donnelly expressed great friendship for the Maori owners they kept a judicious silence on the fact of their having received the £10,000 and of their having obtained a sub-lease of the land.’  Clause 8 asked that those who signed the partnership deeds should be released from their obligations; Clause 9 asked that G.P. Donnelly should have nothing to do with their lands and they should be leased to Miss Meinertzhagen.  The petition ended thus ‘Therefore your petitioners humbly pray –

(1)   That a Court shall be speedily set up to hear and determine the applications for partition of these lands.

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(2)   That legislation may not be passed by your honourable House under which our lands may be compulsorily taken or that will affect our right over our lands or that will prevent our leasing our lands to whom we desire

(3)   That your honorable House may enquire into the circumstances of the payment of £10,000 to Mr and Mrs Donnelly and that you may grant the owners of the land such relief as your honourable House may see fit.’

Then follow the signatures.

It is interesting to speculate upon the identity of the organizer of the petition.  The strongly anti-Donnelly tone and the pro-Meinertzhagen clause lead to the suspicion that Gertrude was not entirely uninterested in the matter.  A noticeable feature is the presence of the names of Airini’s relatives, including her brother and sister, among the signatories.  Some of those who signed, it will be seen, were parties to the partnership agreement, but a prominent name missing from the list is that of Mohi te Atahikoia, who by this time, in spite of  past differences, can be described as, if not pro-Donnelly, at least anti-Meinertzhagen. Gertrude was later to allege that Mohi had been bribed by the Donnellys to oppose her.

In the meantime, while the petition described was being circulated, it appears that G.P. Donnelly himself was preparing a petition praying that some Waimarama land should be compulsorily taken by the Crown for closer settlement by Europeans. 13  Donnelly was a supporter of the Liberal Party and appears to have had a  great deal of influence “beyond the field of local politics.” 14  That he would use his influence with the Government to block Miss Meinertzhagen’s aspirations goes without saying.  Moreover, Donnelly was quite obviously au fait with current feeling and thinking of his European acquaintances, both in and out of Parliament, and was giving impetus to the general desire to provide land for closer settlement by Europeans.  Thus he was able to assist his party and to thwart Gertrude Meinertzhagen.

As Airini Donnelly was estimated to own over 5000 acres of Waimarama land in her own right, as well as to have a share of other land in the Block, any sales to the Crown must be to her advantage.  Was the Donnelly’s interest in the Maori owners retaining their lands merely specious?  In all human beings, conflicting motives influence behaviour. That Airini was genuinely concerned in the future of her race cannot be doubted; nor can her feelings of enmity towards Gertrude Meinertzhagen.  Thrown into the scales were the influence and cupidity of her husband.  The balance weighed against

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Gertrude; the Donnellys were prepared for Maori lands to be sold rather than that they should be leased to the hated European woman.

The Native Land Court, having agreed to hear requests for partition, met in Hastings on 20 September 1906, Judge Jackson-Palmer presiding, but after discussion with counsel, the Judge agreed that the Court should adjourn to Waimarama itself, the meeting house on the Tau Punga marae being the venue.  Indicative of the happenings coincident with a Native Land court sitting are the reasons given for a change of venue.  The words “a state of demoralization” and “to remove them from the temptations placed before them in town” were used in applying for removal of the Court to Waimarama.  It was alleged – and not denied – that Mrs Donnelly kept open house at Ellingham’s Hotel in Hastings and that she gave £300 to be divided among the natives.

On 15 October, therefore, the Court sat in Waimarama for the first time on record.  The areas in dispute were known as Waimarama No. 3A, Waipuka No. 1 and Okaihau No. 3, but the main interest centred in Waimarama No. 3A, an area comprising nearly 16,000 acres which included Gertrude’s homestead block and was therefore vital to her interests.  At stake were her home, woolshed, landing place and her appurtenances in a part of the Block known as Paparewa. 15  The principal lessors of No 3A were Morehu Turoa and Maraea Aorangi, but they were joined at first by Airini’s sister, Pani Karauria, and her cousin Tu Tiakitai.  Airini herself was a non-lessor, but claimed that she was entitled to a share of ownership in Paparewa and should not be excluded therefrom.  She was able to persuade Pani Karauria and Tu Tiakitai to dissociate themselves from Morehu Turoa’s party and to join her in claims for Paparewa, her purpose being to exclude Gertrude and cause her enemy to lose her home. After hearing extensive evidence the Court gave a judgment which admitted Airini Donnelly and her relatives to ownership in Paparewa, excluded a number of the lessor party from ownership there, and created a papakainga (reserve) which had not been asked for by any of the owners except Airini, her brother and one sister and Tu Tiakitai.  Partition orders were also made for Waipuka No. 1 and Okaihau No. 3, but as the lessors had agreed to these on condition that Waimarama No. 3A was awarded to their satisfaction they, (the lessors) appealed against the judgment.

At this stage, when the dispute became exceedingly complex, it is as well to recapitulate the existing state of affairs.  Miss Meinertzhagen was fighting to renew her lease, knowing that she would eventually be limited to 5,000 acres upon which were situated her home and station buildings. Airini Donnelly was working to oust the lessee, claiming

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that by ancestral right she could not be excluded from that part of Waimarama No. 3A known as Paparewa.  All the Maori owners of 3A, except for Airini’s relatives, were in favour of leasing to Gertrude.  Airini’s husband had been successfully farming approximately 20,000 acres, the northern part of the Block, and had built a house 16 and station buildings close to the boundary between his run and Miss Meinertzhagen’s.  Undoubtedly Airini was aided and abetted by her husband, but whether his motives were dislike of Gertrude Meinertzhagen, sympathy for the Maori owners or self-interest – or a combination of all three – it is difficult to decide.  His later refusal to take possession of his wife’s Waimarama lands, which she had bequeathed to him, seem to indicate that self-interest in this case at least, was not his guiding principle.  As has been related, the quarrel had already been brought to the notice of the Prime Minister, petition and counter-petition had been circulated, partition had been made by the Native Land Court and an appeal against that partition had been lodged.  To add further complications to the position were the Liberal Party’s views on the subdivision of large runs and an awakening of interest in the small but growing town of Hastings in the use of Waimarama as what was in those days known as a “watering-place”.  Certain citizens were beginning to take the view that an individual run holder could not lock way from the people an attractive beach.  Gertrude had opponents on all sides, but she was not the woman to submit tamely.

A description of the land known as Paparewa is essential to the understanding of the conflict argued before the courts and placed before Parliament itself.  The stream known as Paparewa debouches on to the beach and runs into the sea about five hundred yards north of the old homestead site, but the stream gave its name to the immediate area, which included the homestead, woolshed, landing place and other station buildings. To the east Paparewa is bounded by the sea, to the west and north by the Pouhokio River, and on the south by a line running almost due west from the point at the southern end of the beach, known as Te Puku.  There were almost 444 acres in this piece of land.  On it stands the modern beach settlement, the earlier built houses occupying the northern end nearest to the Pouhokio, the later closer to the old homestead site.  The homestead itself was burnt to the ground in December 1954 and the woolshed, a magnificent cathedral-like structure of 18 stands, was dismantled, some of the timber being used to construct another woolshed on the property of Mr R.W. Martin, Waimarama Road. It was obvious that should Airini Donnelly be given status as a co-lessor of the whole of

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Paparewa then Gertrude’s days were numbered, her home taken from her.  As her counsel, C.B. Morison, put it, ‘The Paparewa Block includes the homestead, woolshed, dip, garden, and shepherd’s house 17  and the small homestead paddocks which are absolutely necessary for the working of the station.’ 18

The year 1906 ended with the future of the Block and its inhabitants still undecided, but there were indications of developments to come, for in the last month of the year some native owners sold their land to the Crown – in Waipuka 1,343 acres were sold, in Okaihau 805 acres, none in Waimarama as yet.  Apart from a sale of 496 acres in 1884 this was the first step taken towards selling extensive areas to the Crown.

The next stage of the battle was fought before the Native Land Commission, sitting in Napier, in the months of February, March and April 1907.  The Commission consisted of the Chief Justice, Sir Robert Stout and Mr (later Sir) Apirana Ngata MHR. With them were associated Mr C.P. Skerrett, a Wellington lawyer later to become Chief Justice, and Mr A.L.D Fraser MHR, the latter being retained by the Government to watch the interests of the native owners.  The Commission’s order of reference was set forth as follows1:

To find –

(1)   What areas of native lands there are unoccupied or not profitably occupied, the owner thereof, and if, in your opinion necessary, the nature of such owners’ titles and interests affect-the same.
(2)   How such lands can best be utilized and settled in the interests of the native owners and the public good.
(3)   What areas (if any) could or should be set apart –
(a)   For the individual occupation of the native owners and for purposes of cultivation and farming.
(b)   For communal lands for the purpose of the native owners and for purposes of cultivation and farming.
(b)  For communal land for the purpose of the native owners as a body, tribe or village.
(c)   For future occupation by the descendants or successors of the native owners and how such land can in the meantime be properly and profitably used.
(d)   For settlement by other natives, other than the native owners and on what terms and conditions, by what modes of disposition.
(e)   For settlement of Europeans on what terms and conditions, by what modes of disposition, in what areas and with what safeguards to prevent the subsequent aggregation of such areas in European hands.

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(4)   How the existing institutions established amongst natives and the existing systems of dealing with native lands can best be utilized or adapted for the purposes aforesaid, and to what extent or in what manner they should be modified.

The Waimarama Black was a subject, par excellence, for the Commission’s attention.

The interested parties engaged eminent counsel to appear for them.  Mr C.B. Morison, and with him Mr Humphries and Mr J.M. Fraser appeared for Miss Meinertzhagen; Mr H.D. Bell and Mr T.W.L. Lewis for Mrs G.P. Donnelly, Iraia Karauria and Tu Tiakitai; Mr Scannell for Morehu Turoa, Maraea Aorangi, Erena Karauria, Tuahine Renata and the Harawira family.  Proceedings opened on 23 February and were reported in toto by the Daily Telegraph of Napier, which newspaper later published the evidence in booklet form. 19  The stage was set for a public confession of faith by the contending parties and day after day evidence was heard setting out the claims of the contestants, at the same time revealing the unwritten history of Waimarama.  However, a pronounced feature of the hearing, upon which Miss Meinertzhagen’s counsel did not fail to comment, was the failure of either F.P or Airini Donnelly to enter the witness box to support thier case.  As the hearing ran its course the antagonism between Airini Donnelly and Gertrude Meinertzhagen became plain enough for all to see as the real cause of the dispute, although the Chief Justice appeared at one stage, to believe the argument was between two Europeans as witness the following exchange.

His Honour: ‘…it seems to me the whole thing is practically a fight between two parties who want to get possession of the land, one through a partnership and the other through what they call a lease… The fight is practically between two Europeans.’
Mr Bell: ‘Supposing it to be so?’
His Honour: ‘We have only to deal with the matter from the native point of view and do our best for the natives.’ 20

His Honour may have changed his opinion as the hearing progressed.

Mr Morison opened the case for his client by laying before the Commission the original leases to Messrs Meinertzhagen and Campbell, 21 outlining the history of farming the run, describing the terms of the sub-lease to G.P. Donnelly, making much play over the concealment of the £10,000 premium and claiming the readiness of the Maori owners (apart from the Donnelly faction) to lease to Miss Meinertzhagen.  He also gave the full text of the petition already

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quoted and in anticipation of the Donnelly argument that his client had made a fortune out of the run he called an accountant, Mr J.F. Walker, to testify that he had for a number of years made up the balance sheets and audited the accounts in connection with Waimarama for Messrs Meinertzhagen and Moore.  Walker produced a synopsis of accounts of the run made up from 1886 to 1906 inclusive and showed that for those twenty-one years, making no charge for interest and sinking fund for the sunk capital, the profit was four shillings and ninepence per acre per annum. The total expenditure for improvements during the period had been £11,000. 22  Was this ‘making a fortune’? If Meinertzhagen and Moore had made a fortune, had not Donnellys done the same?  Mr Morison put Miss Meinertzhagen in the witness box where she had no hesitation in alleging that had it not been for the Donnellys the natives would never have objected to renewing her lease.  Here Airini interjected: ‘Who would leave their sisters and brothers, uncles and cousins to be robbed?’

His Honour: ‘You must not interrupt ’23
The interjection is significant of the high feelings involved. Continuing her evidence Gertrude made the serious allegation of bribery by the Donnellys and reaffirmed the allegation when questioned by their counsel:
Mr Bell: ’Who did he say offered him (Tuahine Renata) the money?’
Miss Meinertzhagen: ’I am not sure whether it was Mr or Mrs Donnelly.’
Mr Bell: ’You believe anything against Mr and Mrs Donnelly?’
Miss Meinertzhagen: ‘Yes, in reason.’ 24

Mr Morison quoted Mohi te Atahikoia, who had gone over to the Donnelly side, saying in the Native Land Court, ‘I would be pleased if Miss Meinertzhagen were turned out of Paparewa, because it is not well that she remain there.’  As Mr Morison himself put it, ‘Mrs Donnelly’s mastering passion was for vengeance and to her mind Paparewa was valuable as the means to that end.’ 25  During the presentation of the case for Miss Meinertzhagen valuers were called by both sides to give evidence as to their valuations of the Block, as these of course had an important bearing on the rents that were to be charged. As is usual with valuers, opinions differed.  John Chambers, of Mokopeka, estimated £7 per acre – an estimate with which W.E. Griffen, a district valuer, agreed.  But Mr Coutts, a government valuer, suggested a figure of £9 per acre.  More was to be heard of the valuation of Waimarama later in the hearing.

Before he entered into legal argument about the validity of historians

Airini Donnelly with her husband, George Prior Donnelly and their daughter Maud (left) taken on the occasion of Airini’s presentation at the court of St James, June 1904.

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client’s leases and before he summed up his case Mr Morison once again asserted that the key to the whole of the protracted and expensive partition proceedings lay in Airini Donnelly’s opposition to Gertrude Meinertzhagen.  He quoted Mrs Donnelly as admitting this in the Naive Land Court in the following telling excerpt:

Mr Morison: ‘…did you not tell the natives then that you were going to take Paparewa to send Miss Meinertzhagen out?’
Mrs Donnelly: ‘I said everything – what business has she to be there?’
Mr Morison:’ You told them at the meeting that you wanted to take Paparewa so as to turn Miss Meinertzhagen out?’
Mrs Donnelly: I told them that every day. If it had not been for Miss Meinertzhagen there would not have been so many differences between us.’ 26

On 2 March Mr Morison summed up his case in the following words: ‘I would ask that the Commission report ad interim to His Excellency on Miss Meinertzhagen’s position so that in case the Commission’s report be favorable the Executive may do something to protect my client pending the termination of the old lease.’ 27

Replying on behalf of the Donnellys, who did not enter the witness box, Messrs Bell and Lewis reasserted that the lessee had made a fortune out of the run and would continue to do so were she allowed.  They pointed out that Miss Meinertzhagen was now claiming leases over 22,000 acres whereas formerly she had some 18,000 and that the additional acreage would be acquired because she had been working to persuade certain owners to leave the Donnelly partnership.  Counsel doubted, in any case, the validity in law of the lessees on the grounds that 5,000 acres of Maori land were all that a European could hold under the Maori land Settlement Act of 1905.  They rebutted the accusation of bribery and counter-charged by asserting that Miss Meinertzhagen’s payment of rent in advance to the lessors was as much a form of bribery as Mrs Donnelly’s loans.  Their client, claimed Messrs Bell and Lewis, had ancestral rights in the blocks and had right on her side on asserting that Maori lands should be used for the benefit of Maori owners.  Airini, and counsel, had no objection to Gertrude as a lessee, but disapproved of the lease because her people were not getting enough rent. Mrs Donnelly believed that a higher rent could be obtained if the land were to be cut up into sections and put up to auction. 28  Finally, Messrs Bell and Lewis defended the transfer of some 3000 acres from Te Teira Tiakitai to Airini Donnelly ‘for expenses’ as irrelevant and not a matter which concerned the owners of the Block and pointed out the other interests acquired by

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their client were by way of exchange with non-residents only.  So ended the case for Mr and Mrs G.P. Donnelly.

The Commission then permitted Mr Morison to reply to the statements of Messrs Bell and Lewis.  For the most part he covered the ground he had already gone over in the outlining of his client’s case, again, stressed the non-appearance of either Donnelly in the witness box, Airini’s admission that she had worked to turn Gertrude out of her home and reverted to the payment of £300 by Airini to the other lessors in Ellingham Hotel.  ‘If that’, said Mr Morison, ‘be not bribery, the word had no meaning.’ 29  The £10,000 premium, none of which reached the native lessors, the handing over of 3,000 acres to Airini as expenses, and the terms of the partnership agreement were all stressed.  He concluded by denying that the Meinertzhagens had made a fortune out of their tenure of the run and asseverated that by offering to pay five shillings per acre for her new lease Miss Meinertzhagen was erring on the side of generosity to the owners.


On 19 March the Commission furnished its interim report concerning the Waimarama Block. Before the report is considered, it should be remembered that there remained to be heard an appeal to the Native Apellate Court concerning Waimarama 3A No. 6, an area including Paparewa.  The Commission’s report was, therefore, only interim in name, as the Commissioners knew that the Appellate Court would make the final decisions regarding Paparewa, the key to the Block.  In the meantime also, before the Commission brought down its report and before the decision of the Native Appellate Court, the Crown had been buying portions of Waimarama, Waipuka and Okaihau quite extensively.  These purchases were estimated to amount to 5,414 acres and the price paid was 7 per acres – an inflated price in the opinion of the Commission.  Whether inflated or not, it was sufficient to induce the Maori owners to sell and thus they parted with their ancestral lands. Perhaps a factor persuading them to sell was a desire to escape being embroiled in the Donnelly – Meinertzhagen feud (‘from the moment that Mr Donnelly occupied at Waimarama troubles arose’)  perhaps merely a desire for money. 30

Sir Robert Stout and Mr Apirana Ngata first reviewed the history of the leases and pointed out that the sub-leases by Meinertzhagen and Moore to the Donnellys had cost the native owners between £40,000 and £50,000 in lost rent. They criticized the Native Lands






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Administration Act which had prevented such transactions.  They then proceeded to analyse the partnership agreement, being particularly critical of the clause enabling Mrs Donnelly to appoint a manager who could not be dismissed without the consent of all the partners.  ‘It is unnecessary to say that partnerships with such clauses are, so far as we are aware, unknown.’ 31  They concluded that Miss Meinertzhagen had offered a fair rent for the new leases, as on the valuation roll, at the time she was making arrangements to renew her leases, the Block was valued at less than 5 per acre on average.  ‘The questions we have to consider are (1) ought Miss Meinertzhagen to have a lease of the blocks or any portion of them?  (2)  How ought Paparewa Reserve to be dealt with?  (3)  How ought the estate generally to be dealt with?  We are proceeding with this interim report to deal with these three questions, reserving for our general report any recommendations on the question of the general management of native lands which the transactions in this Block may invite.’ 32

In answer to the first question the Commission did not think the law entitled Miss Meinertzhagen to more than 5,000 acres of Maori land, but as she had paid rent in advance and most lessors favoured leasing to her it was thought only fair and just that she should be allowed to lease Waimarama 3a No. 6 to the extent of 5,000 acres.  As to the second question the Commission considered it virtually impossible to run the station without the station buildings sited on the only reasonable flat land and therefore recommended that no papakainga should be created.  Instead they recommended that Paparewa should be so divided that Morehu Turoa, Maraea Aorangi and Erana Karauaia should have 178 acres which included the homestead and appurtenances, while Airini Donnelly, Iraia Karauria, Pani Karauria and Tu Tiakitai should have 124 acres of the northern and western part of Paparewa, nearest to the Pouhokio river.  It is interesting to note that the Commission, in passing, said of Paparewa: ‘It has been said that this reserve is valuable, because it may become suitable for a township site at some future time.  We have examined the land and we doubt if it would be a proper site for a township in the locality.  Where the present native township 33  is seems to us far more suitable in every way.  Most of the land in Paparewa is of small value, being sandy flats and not suitable for building purposes.’  So much for judicial wisdom!

The Commission then went on to the final question as to the disposal of the balance of the Block, considered £7 per acre an extreme valuation, and examined the unchallenged accounts of the working of Miss Meinertzhagen’s run, coming to the conclusion that

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the average net profit, spread over twenty-one years, came to £2,092 per annum.  ‘We are not aware whether such profit is considered extravagant for the risk of an investment of from £15,000 to £31,000 for capital and for personal supervision’ 34  If Miss Meinertzhagen had made a fortune, then what of the Donnellys whose rent worked out at 2 pence per acre on land said to carry two sheep to the acre?   Finally, the Commission admitted its doubts about the wisdom of permitting natives to lease their lands to Europeans and hinted that the subject could well be one for future investigation by the Commission. 35

Before the Commission concluded its enquiry a further sitting of the Assessment Court was held, at which much argument by valuers was heard.  Objections to the valuation of almost the entire Block were lodged at the instance of Airini Donnelly, the Valuer-General Mr G.F. Campbell, being present.  District Valuer Griffen’s valuation of the area held on lease was as follows:

Meinertzhagen and Moore   18,497 acres   £130, 530

GP and Airini Donnelly   15,496 acres   £114910

The Donnellys objected that both areas were undervalued, their purpose being to force Miss Meinertzhagen to pay a rent which she could not afford thereby compelling the natives owners either to sell to the Crown or to remain in partnership with the Donnellys.  Mr T.W. Lewis, for the Donnellys, therefore called in a Taranaki valuer, Mr Coutts, who estimated that the land leased by Miss Meinertzhagen was worth £9 7s per acre and that leased by the Donnellys £9 3s, a considerable advance upon Griffen’s valuation, saying that in the last three years Miss Meinertzhagen had grazed on average 28,063 sheep and 1,169 head of cattle, while on the land the Donnellys occupied there were 20,279 sheep and 2,400 head of cattle.  He counted one cattle beast as the equivalent in value to four sheep, each sheep being worth, in his opinion, £4 2s 6d.  Two further witnesses were called to give their opinions – Mr Hugh Campbell, an experienced Hawke’s Bay farmer and Mr A.A. Kennedy, a surveyor and a land valuer.  The former valued the whole Block at £9 per acre, the latter at £8 12s 6d.  Then a further witness of considerable farming experience was called, the owner of a property adjoining Waimarama.  He was John Chambers of Mokopeka who said that £7 per acre was a fair value.  This, of course was the figure the Crown offered those native owners willing to sell and was close to District Valuer Griffen’s valuation.  There seemed to be a consensus of opinion, in spite of major differences of valuation on two points: (1)   that to pay a rent of

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9s 6d per acres would make profitable farming impossible and (2) that the Meinertzhagen run was under stocked, the Donnelly overstocked.

After the Native Land Commission had ended its hearing the Native Appellate Court delivered judgment re Waimarama No. 3A, reversing the decision of the lower court and awarding to Morehu Turoa and her party the area including the homestead and station buildings occupied by Gertrude Meinertzhagen. These findings were favourable to Gertrude as Morehu Turoa had always been willing to lease to her.  The Appellate Court decided (1) to abolish the papakainga in Paparewa – a step which prevented Airini from interfering in that area and (2) awarded the greater portion of the 444 acres of Morehu and party as owners of 3A No. 6, including, as mentioned, the homestead, woolshed and other station buildings.  Said the Court, ‘the Appellants cannot utilize their property to the best advantage without at any rate a considerable portion of Paparewa or Waimarama 3 No. 2’  However, it was agreed that Airini Donnelly and her party should not be entirely excluded from the area so that the courts awarded her 96 acres at the northern end of Paparewa, next to the Pouhokio River, to be added to form part of Waimarama No 3A. The exact location of the 96 acres is of interest, because it is in the area which was first sub-divided for a beach settlement after Airini’s death.  The land was defined by the Court thus:  The 96 acres of Paparewa now awarded to the respondents to be cut off by a line starting from a point on the foreshore at such a distance south ofthe wash-out of the Pouhokio stream that a line running due west of the Pouhokio steam will enclose the required area with that streams its north west and nor boundary.’ 36  The line referred to in the judgment starts approximately 100 metres south of where the present Moori Road meets the beach and proceeds due west to the Pouhokio, thus enclosing 96 acres on the seaward side of the stream.  Seven years later this land was put up for auction by Airini’s executors and was subdivided to form the site of the earliest beach settlement.

Gertrude’s triumph in the judgment of the Native Appellate Court was short-lived, as the Te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board refused approval of the lease of part of Waimarama No. 3A containing 1,575 acres situated in the south western corner of the run.  The Board’s technical objection to approval of the lease was that the document had been executed before a declaration under Section 26 of the Maori Lands Administration Act 1903.  Thwarted again, Gertrude’s next offensive was a two-pronged one.  Firstly, she proceeded to the Supreme Court and applied for a writ of Mandamus by which she sought to compel the Te Ikaroa Maori Land Board to consent

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provisionally to her lease on the grounds that it could be treated as a contract to lease, although the declaration had been lodged at the wrong time.  This action failed, Mr Justice Cooper delivering judgment in the following terms: ‘I am, therefore, of the opinion that the defendant Board were not bound to enquire into the plaintiffs application for approval of the terms set out in the instrument tendered by her, as she had not prior to the execution of the instrument deposited the prescribed declaration.’ 37  Still in check.

In the same month, October 1907, Gertrude Ellen Meinertzhagen presented her “Humble Petition to the Speakers and Members of the Legislative Council in Parliament Assembled”.  It is unnecessary to recapitulate the details of the petition, setting out as it does the history of the Block described in these pages, but Clause 11 is worth quoting as illustrating the relationship between Fritz Meinertzhagen and the Maori owners.  It is worded: ‘Your petitioner’s father always lived upon terms of personal friendship with the Native owners of Waimarama who looked upon him as their best friend and counsellor.  He could on more than one occasion have purchased portions of the block on terms advantageous to himself but always refused to buy, advising the Natives to retain their lands as a provision for their descendants.  He adopted as his son and brought up with his own children Tame Turoa te Rangihauturu, son of Wi te Maangi and Horiana Tiakitai, two of the leading members of the tribe, and the grandson of Harawira Tatere.  This lad unfortunately died in 1881 in England where your petitioner’s father had taken him with his own children to be educated.’  Even if a certain bias in favour of Gertrude’s father is allowed for, nevertheless, the fact that Fritz Meinertzhagen had been permitted to take a high-born son of the tribe in adoption and to England must surely indicate that he was held in esteem by the local people.  Before her final prayer Gertrude explained the detrimental opposition and interference of persons not directly interested in the leases and complained of the legal expenses she had thereby incurred.  She ended by petitioning for (1) the removal of the technical objection to her leases, (2) an end to litigation and expense for herself and the native owners or ‘to afford to her such relief thereunder as in the circumstances may appear to your Honourable Council to be just and equitable.’

Gertrude must have had powerful friends or perhaps what she regarded as the justice of their case produced such friends.  The petition was presented on 15 October 1907 by the Honourable Mr Samuel. It was referred in the first instance to the Public Petitions Committee

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which reported on 17 October that it had been referred to the Native Affairs Committee. The latter committee reported favourably to the Legislative Council on 8 November in the following terms: ‘Your committee have the honour to report that after careful consideration of the petition they are of the opinion that the petitioner’s case is one of great hardship and they recommend that Government to insert in the Maori Land Claims Adjustment and Laws Amendment Bill a clause to validate, after due enquiry, the petitioner’s leases.’  The report was delivered to the Honourable Mr Thompson who then, without prior notice of intent, moved that the recommendation be agreed to and referred to the Government for favourable consideration.  With remarkable speed the Government acted and passed on 25 November 1907 The Maori Land Claims and Laws Adjustment Act 1907.  Clause 46 of which validated Gertrude Meinertzhagen’s claim to lease Waimarama No. 3A to the extent of 5,000 acres and enabled the Crown to lease to Gertrude areas of No. 3A which it had acquired, both leases to be at a rental of six shillings per acre. The interesting aspect of the petition and its favourable reception is the speed with which the Legislative Council and the Government acted.  Influential friends must have been at work, but whoever they were they certainly did not include G.P. Donnelly who, as noted earlier, possessed influence of his own within the Liberal Party.  Seddon, who had previously snubbed Miss Meinertzhagen, was dead by this time, and A.L.D. Fraser, MHR for Napier, in the debate on the bill in the House of Representatives, described in terms of hyperbole the proceedings as ‘the worst piece of political jobbery in any part of the civilised world.’! 38  Sir Joseph Ward, then Prime Minister, and W.W. Massey, although on opposite side of the House both spoke in favour of the petitioner.  Victory for Miss Meinertzhagen.

It might be thought that having made those Herculean efforts, at great expense, Gertrude and Airini would have retired to their corners or even have left the ring.  But no, more was to come.

In March 1908 Gertrude brought an action against the Donnellys in the Supreme Court.  Having already successfully obtained an interim injunction to restrain the Donnellys from allowing their stock to stray onto her land she now sought to have the interim injunction dissolved and a perpetual injunction granted.  The case was heard before Mr Justice Edwards and concerned the area known as Waimarama 3A No. 5 and 3A No. 6 – both parts of what came to be called the “southern Waimarama run”.  It was the latter area which Gertrude wished to protect from the Donnellys’ straying stock, it being stated in

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evidence that ‘the plaintiff on the lands she was in possession of carried on the business of a sheep and cattle farmer and her flocks of sheep were of great value as the result of many years of careful breeding.’ 39  Unfortunately for both parties surveys had not been completed following partition orders made by the Native Land Court and therefore, there was no fence between parts 3A No. 5 and 3A No. 6, in the former of which Gertrude had an interest, as well as farming the whole of the latter.  She admitted that her stock, because of the lack of fencing, strayed on Donnelly land in 3A No. 5.  Rather surprisingly then, Mr Justice Edwards in a judgment couched in more than usually obscure (to the layman) legal jargon granted Miss Meinertzhagen her perpetual injunction.  The learned judge held that Gertrude’s leases, though bad as leases were good as contracts and that she was in exclusive and lawful possession under the native owners of part of 3A No. 5, and that where trespass was of a continuing character and was threatened to be repeated the Court could and would give aid.  ‘The order which I propose to make is, therefore, that an injunction to issue restraining the defendants from allowing their live stock to stray on to or trespass upon the block of land now in the occupation of the plaintiff and shown upon the map annex to the plaintiff’s amended statement and marked thereon as Waimarama 3A No. 6.’ 40 However, to obtain this injunction Miss Meinertzhagen was required to agree to the Donnellys being legally empowered to bring action against her in the even [event] of her stock straying on to the parts of 3 A No. 5 occupied by the Donnellys.  A curious situation indeed and it is not surprising that the Donnellys immediately appealed against the decision.

To clarify the situation it is necessary to consult the accompanying map.  On it the Donnellys are shown as having a fence line stretching from a point not far from the coast and a little south of the Meinertzhagen homestead straight across country over the present Te Apiti and Okaihau Roads to a tributary of the Maraetotara River. The area south of this fence and the land between Te Apiti and Okaihau Roads comprised 3A No. 5, land which had been awarded by the Native Land Court to Airini Donnelly Iraia Karauria, Pani Karauria and Tu Tiakitai [Taikitai], the two last mentioned having leased their portions to Miss Meinertzhagen.  However, the injunction applied to 3A No. 6 which lay east of the Pouhokio River and south of the present Waimarama settlement and is shown as consisting of 6,489 acres.  At this time, according to the evidence given before the Native Land Commission, Miss Meinertzhagen owned 32,000 sheep and the Donnellys about 30,000.  There was thus ample opportunity for

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straying and, as there is evidence that the Meinertzhagens had taken pains to improve the breed of their sheep, 41  Gertrude’s concern can be appreciated even if her attitude under the circumstances was unreasonable.

The next round – the Donnelly appeal against the injunction – was heard before judges Williams, Denniston, Cooper and Chapman comprising the Court of Appeal, in April and May 1908.  In an interesting judgement the learned judge affirmed ‘… owing to the surveys not being completed (the land being the subject of partition orders made by the Native land Court) the lands in which the appellants and the respondent were respectively interested could not be fenced and owing to the absence of such fences the stock of each must trespass on the land of the other, in such case neither had an equity against the other entitling the one or the other to an injunction restraining the other party from allowing his sheep to trespass, and there is in such as case no ground for the Court to assist the one or the other.’ 42  The appeal was allowed and the injunction granted by Mr Justice Edwards was dissolved, costs being allowed to the appellants.  The Donnellys’ round. In giving judgement Mr Justice Williams and Mr Justice Chapman made pertinent comments which confirm the bitterness of the Meinertzhagen-Donnelly feud.  Said Mr Williams:

‘ As the case stands at present the appellants have done nothing, but the respondent has been in exclusive occupation of the land of the appellants without shadow of right… the case for the respondent is that the appellants want to get rid of her.  She cannot to suit her own convenience and to enable her to conduct her business as heretofore exclude the appellants from the use of their own land. 43

And Mr Justice Chapman:
‘…I will assume that the respondent has made out a case of great hardship arising out of the peculiar situation in which the parties find themselves, but the law does not in my opinion allow us to find a remedy for this at the cost of the appellants.  As to the suggestion that the appellants were activated by merely malicious motives in seeking to put stock on the land, I do not think either in fact or in law this ground of complaint is made out.’ 44

Here I think it would be fair comment that the learned judge was ignoring the evidence or did not know half the story!  Yet the effect of the injunction granted by Mr Justice Edwards was, in the opinion of the Appeal Court judges, to prevent the Donnellys from using their own land, a situation the law does not envisage.  Even if allowance is made for the fact that ‘the law is an ass’ it seems, to the layman, an eminently sensible judgement.  (During the hearing, statements were

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made by more than one judge that Miss Meinertzhagens’ leases were invalid because no declaration prior to execution had been made, but as an Act of Parliament had validated them to the extent of 5,000 acres the judges’ opinions seem pointless.)

With this victory for the Donnellys the legal conflict came to a halt for the time being. Both parties still remained in possession of considerable areas of land, indeed the greater part of the Block, but time and tide wait for no man and great changes were about to take place, ushering in a new era for Waimarama.

1.   New Zealand Encyclopaedia, Vol. 2, “Land Settlement”, p. 264.
2.   M.F. Lloyd Prichard, An Economic History of New Zealand to 1939, p. 195.
3.   Gertrude Meinertzhagen Petition. Clause 13. The decade selected is not specified.
4.   Gertrude Meinertzhagen Petition.
5.   M.F. Lloyd Prichard, op. cit.
6.   Gertrude Meinertzhagen Petition, Clause 20.
7.   Information from the Public Trust Office, Palmerston North.
8.   Airini supported in the 1880s the activities of some of the leading Maoris in Hawke’s Bay in endeavouring to repudiate sales of Maori land, as did also Mohi te Atahikoia.
9.   Personal account from F.B. Logan of Napier.
10.   It was estimated that 1,700 acres of bush still stood. For a few years, from approximately 1913 to 1918, Brown Brothers operated a sawmill on property now owed by Mr A.G.H. Parker.
11.   By a Deed of Partnership signed on 13 May 1901, the following became partners:
Wi Rangirangi, Hapuku te Nahu, Raina Paora, Wiremu Ngaika, Tiripa Hoani, Anataneta Akuhata.  By a Deed signed on 15 March 1902 the following became partners: Airini Tonore (Donnelly), Horiana Tiakitai, Iraia Karauria, Pani Karauria, Erena Karauria, Maraea Aorangi, and Morehu Turoa.
12.   The signatories were : Horiana Tiakitai, Morehu Turoa, Wi Rangi Rangi, Maraea Aorangi, Matiu Whitiki, Hiromina Te Orenga, Wiremu Ngaika, Pita Mohi, Pahemata Matiu, Ihaka Paora, Miratu, Keita Tanatiu, Kani Hori, Te Wahanga, Hinerohe, Ataneta Akuhata, Ripeka Tokaanu, Tu Tiakitai, Tiripa Hoani, Tuahine Renata, Raima Haronga, Ema Tiakitai, Pani Karauria, Ekengarangi Hapuku, Erena Karauria, Te Nahu Watene, Tiopira te Huango, Erena Kingi, Atareta Wharekiore, Henare Erueti, Hami Peri, Maremare Eria, Matiwai Pera, Wiri Erueti, Haromi Pahi, Tareha Kingi, Wirimina Pahi, Paora Pahi, Ruihi Pahi, Mereana Hori, Wiremu Erueti, Akenihi Tomoana. It will be noticed that among the petitioners are all those who signed the partnership deeds, with one exception.
13.   Clause 3.
14.   M.D.N. Campbell, “Hawkes Bay Politics 1890-1914”. Unpublished thesis (M.A.), Victoria University of Wellington.
15.   The Paparewa stream runs out to sea a few hundred yards north of the old homestead site, near the newest part of the Waimarama beach settlement and near the Kuku Rocks from which landing and loading operations were conducted before the road to Hastings was completed.

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16.   The homestead, which the Donnellys did not occupy on a permanent basis, was known as Rangitoto and was burnt down in 1901. The site is at present occupied by Eru Smith’s house.  Some of the old station buildings remain and the foundations of the Donnelly woolshed can be seen on Mr Donald Stewart’s property.
17.   The shepherd’s house was on Mr T. Chesterman’s property. Stables and a store house, now occupied by Mr A. Little, also remain.
18.   Report of Proceedings of the Native Land Commission.
19.   The summary given here is taken from The Daily Telegraph account.
20.   Ibid, pp.16 and 17.
21.   It is interesting to compare the acreages of Waimarama, Waipuka, and Okaihau with those given by Campbell in his diary. According to the documents, Waimarama was 18,077 acres, Waipuka 11,580, Okaihau 5,554.
22.   Ibid., p. 12.
23.   Ibid., p. 14.
24.   Ibid., p. 20.
25.   Ibid., p. 21.
26.   Ibid., p. 22
27.   Ibid., p. 32.
28.   Ibid., p. 43.
29.   Ibid., p. 45.
30.   Petition of Horiana Tiakitai and others. Clause 7: vide p. 33.
31.   Ibid., p. 56.
32.   Ibid., p. 57.
33.   The Tau Punga marae.
34.   Ibid., p. 58.
35.   Ibid., p. 60.
36.   Ibid., p. 70.
37.   Meinertzhagen v. Te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board. GLR Vol. X.
38.   Hansard, Vol. 142, p. 268,
39.   GLR, Vol. X. 1907-08.
40.   Ibid.
41.   Reports in The Hawke’s Bay Herald show that as early as 1879 and 1880 F.H. Meinertzhagen was importing merinos from Australia and exhibiting them and their progeny with success.
42.   GLR, Vol. X. 1907-08.
43.   Ibid.
44.   Ibid.


While the bitter and expensive litigation described in the preceding chapter was running its course, a development was occurring which was to hasten the end of the old order.

Waimarama has already been described as a unique block of land, because unlike other Hawke’s Bay country it has remained so long in the hands of the descendants of the original inhabitants.  The Maori owners, it is true, had leased to Europeans, but they had not parted with their birthright permanently. The failure of Commissioner Cooper’s attempt to buy Waimarama for the Crown in 1862 has been related and the reasons which moved the owners to refuse a sale have been speculated upon.  It bears repeating that apart from 496 acres of Okaihau No. 1D sold to the Crown in 1884 the Waimarama land was still in the hands of its owners, that is as far as the freehold was concerned.  But in December 1906 and November and December 1907 the Government, true to its policy of opening up land for settlement by the small farmer and urged on by its supporters, began to purchase land in Waimarama, Okaihau and Waipuka.  The question naturally arises, ‘What made the owners willing to sell now, when they had been unwilling before?’  The answer seems to lie in the bedevilment and divisions caused by the Donnelly-Meinertzhagen feud – group set against group, kindred against kindred and rent money so tied up that the solution to their problems offered by a sale on advantageous terms to the Crown appeared attractive to them. Accordingly, 3,267 acres were sold in Waimarama, 4,186 acres in Okaihau and in Waipuka 3,124 acres. 1  In other words nearly 10,500 acres of the whole area became Crown land, ready to be subdivided for the first time for paheka settlement.  The purchase price for the land bought was £7 per acre, apparently regardless of its state, some parts being much rougher than others.  Most of the land acquired by the Crown, but not all, lies along the western and south western side of the Block and comprises the holdings on either side of the Maraetotara Road

Loading the wool.

The Waimarama Station woolshed – in existence by 1884.

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and between that road and the Maraetotara River.  The Crown did not waste too much time in putting the sections up for ballot, for in March 1909 an attendance of 90 people at the Princess Theatre, Hastings, watched the balloting for 8,489 acres 2 roods 20 perches. According to the Hastings Standard of 26 March 1909, ‘Not one cash application was made, thus the desire for obtaining the freehold was not in evidence.’  Having regard for the average New Zealander’s well-known preference for the freehold it seems more likely that the lack of ready money was the reason for the freehold not then being taken up. Of the thirteen sections allotted at this ballot (three sections had no applicants, but were taken later) seven were taken by lessors classified ORP, i.e. occupation with the right of purchase, and six on renewable lease.  The smallest holding comprised 190 acres at a rent of £80 10s per annum, while the largest was of 739 acres at 303 per annum – both, therefore, at a little over eight shillings per acre, which was considerably dearer than Gertrude Meinertzhagen’s six shillings per acre.

The listed occupations of some of the lessees tend to confirm the impression that comparatively large amounts of capital would not have been available for, among the successful ballotees were three described as farmers, one labourer, one farm hand, one storekeeper, one mail contractor, one shepherd, two married women and one spinster – a good cross section of occupations, but not people likely to have the amount of capital possessed by the Meinertzhagens and the Donnellys.  Although the leases have changed hands in the intervening seventy years and some sections have been freeholded, it is of historical interest to record the names of the first ballotees.  They were: Doris Glazebrook, D.J. Riggir, Mary Jane Baker, Patrick Keys, John Robertson, Thomas Kennedy, Agnes Whatman, Josephine McQuilkan, William Keates, James Adams, John Priest, Thomas Priest and Donald Nicholson.

From 1909 onwards the situation was one where Maori owners, the two big lessees Donnelly and Meinertzhagen, and the new Crown tenants farmed side by side.  Surveying and fencing proceeded apace, roading was begun and new bridges were planned.  Still the greater portion of the Block was farmed by the Donnellys and Miss Meinertzhagen, but complicated exchanges of leasehold were taking place between them and the exact situation of both parties is not always clear. 2  At the end of 1908 Gertrude still held 12,613 acres of Maori leasehold and 5,370 acres of Crown leasehold, giving a total of 17,983 acres situated in Waimarama and Okaihau, but holding nothing in Waipuka.  G.P. Donnelly, at the same date, held 17,012

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acres of Maori leasehold.  These acreages account for virtually the entire Block and do not, therefore, give an accurate picture of the position which was beginning to change rapidly, the result of the Crown purchases being to deprive the two big lessees of a great deal of their leasehold.  A somewhat puzzling question arises when it is considered that under the Maori Lands Settlement Act 1905 no person was entitled to hold more than 5000 acres of Maori Leasehold; similarly the Maori Land Claims Adjustment and Laws Amendment Act 1907, which validated Gertrude’s claim to her lease of Waimarama No. 3A, specifically stated that no validation should apply to any area of over 5,000 acres.  The answer appears to lie in a legal evasion practiced by both Miss Meinertzhagen and G.P Donnelly which consisted of leasing parcels of land under 5,000 acres in extent and for no more than 21 years.  Furthermore, leases already in being with some years to run appear not to have been affected by the legislation.

Another event which was to hasten the subdivision of Waimarama now occurred.  On 6 June 1909 Airini Donnelly died.  A large tangi befitting a woman of such high rank, was held at Omahu where she was buried.  Many tributes were paid by the leaders of her own race and by pakehas, recognising the part the strong-willed chieftainess had played in trying to preserve the lands of her people.  Her concern for them was genuine, even if tinged with a marked streak of self-interest.  On Airini’s tombstone are engraved the appropriate words: ‘The noblest of her race, the shelter tree of her people.’  Her husband and one child, her daughter Maud, survived her, a son having died at an early age.  An obituary notice appearing in the Hastings Standard of 7 June said, inter alia, that Airini Tonore, as she was known to her own people, ‘was closely allied with the leading chiefs of the Ngati Kahungunu, including Tiakitai, Te Moananui, Tareha, Renata Kawepo and others, which gave her mana, prestige, and standing unique in Maori history.’  An appreciation of Airini, written on the same date, in the florid style of the times, presents an interesting point of view not entirely in accord with the facts as related in this history: ‘No one’s title was safe.  Inglorious Europeans cajoled, intimidated and bribed the susceptible Native to repudiate 3  his legal obligations in the sale of land.  The temptation was a great one, but Mrs Donnelly and her husband and her Natives joined the ranks of the Europeans and successfully frustrated the machinations of the designing blackguards and assisted in saving from possible ruin many of our most estimable citizens.’  If it were Airini’s object to preserve the lands of her people, it may be asked

Airini Donnelly in her court presentation dress.

Otatara, the home of Airini and George P. Donnelly during the early part of this century.


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how it came about that so much of it passed into her own hands?

By her will Airini bequeathed all her estate and interests in the Waimarama, Waipuka and Okaihau Blocks to her husband. 4  G.P. Donnelly declined to accept his wife’s bequest of these lands and at a meeting of her trustees it was decided to sell all Airini’s interests in them.  What was the reason for this decision by G.P. Donnelly?  It must remain something of an enigma.  Together with his wife he had steadily acquired land in the Waimarama Block, (his being leasehold) and in other parts of Hawke’s Bay, endeavoring to thwart Miss Meinertzhagen at every turn.  From the beginning of the century he had played a leading part in persuading the Crown to purchase Waimarama or pieces of it.  His motives in declining his wife’s bequest were perhaps altruistic – he may have sincerely believed that the Maori owners should retain their land – but were more likely complex.  He was by this time a successful and wealthy farmer; he had publicly opposed the leasing of Maori land to Miss Meinertzhagen and professed to be a supporter of those of his wife’s relatives who did not wish to lease to Gertrude.  Is it not likely that he feared public opinion if he became the owner of 5,000 acres of land which he had often proclaimed should not be held by Europeans?  Whatever his reasons, decline he did, and in due course Airini’s land was to be put up to auction, the sale taking place in the King’s Theatre, Hastings, on 30 November 1911, when Messrs C.B. Hoadley and Son ‘acting on behalf of the executors of the late Mrs G.P. Donnelly submitted for auction 6,698 acres of the famous Waimarama Estate.  About 250 people were present and bidding was fairly brisk.’ 5  The area was subdivided into 17 sections ranging from 7 acres to 1,676 acres in extent and was described by the auctioneers in their sale notice as ‘suitable for dairying, grazing, fruit farming and mixed farming.’  The land auctioned lies to the east and south-east of the Waingongoro Steam and the Okaihau Road, between that road and the Te Apiti Road and extends from within half a mile of the coast to Maraetotara, with the exception of a 738 acre lot lying to the north of the main area sold. 6  Two sections, one owned by Tu Tiakitai, the other by Pani Karauria, were excluded from the land auctioned.  The prices ranged from £9 per acre to £18 per acre, which price was paid for Lot 6 by Tuahine Renata, the only Maori buyer.  The largest piece, Lot 11 comprising 1,676 acres, was passed in, but later purchased by J.A. Guild. 7  Other Europeans buyers at this auction were J. Baker, L. de Pelichet, W.J. Stratton and F. Powdrell, none of whom now occupies the land they purchased, transfers to other pakehas having taken place. Hence, in

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spite of the avowed aspirations for G.P. and Airini Donnelly, the bulk of Waimarama 3A No. 5, which had been Maori land for centuries, became the freehold property of the pakeha from 1911.  The total price realized was £74,800 7s 6d.  The sale evoked considerable criticism, because it did not satisfy the Liberal Party supporters’ criteria for the breaking up of large acres into small sections available at a reasonable price to the man of little capital, as had been done in the case of the 1909 subdivision of Waimarama land by the Crown.  The Hawke’s Bay Tribune of 5 December 1911 gave voice to the general dissatisfaction in a blistering leading article entitled “The Absence of Sincerity”.  After preliminary remarks chiding the Liberal Government for not buying land for settlement when offered at reasonable prices, for example at Raukawa at £8 per acres, at Whakatu and at Tautane, the leader writer continues:

‘Sir Joseph Ward lifts his hand on high in pious gratitude and thanks God that he is not as the Opposition Leader is and that he had no great landowners on his side.  Yet we in Hawke’s Bay know that one of our landed gentry occupying as large an area as any, six years ago was exultant in being the means of returning our now retiring member.  We may, therefore, take it that he makes a profession of sympathy with the policy of close settlement and prevention of aggregation. Let us see how he backs this up in practice.  He is intimately interested in the far-famed Waimarama Estate, which, according to his own advertisements has capacities almost beyond expression. In ordinary hands this property, being Native Land, could have been sold only in areas of 4,000 acres or under and the market for it would have been confined to those not already holding land, which, with the area bought, would make up more than 400 acres.  Did the Government preserve this desirable property for close settlement? Listen! In the last hours of the session of 1908, just before the election, a Maori Land Act was brought down among protests from the Opposition, and into this professedly public Act is spirited, with Mr Dillon’s strongest approval, a section enabling the Waimarama lands to be sold by public auction in any areas to any person.  During the session just closed, again immediately before an election, another measure was passed authorising private sale.  As a result the property, some 6,000 acres in all, sold for something in the proximity of £70,000 falls into the hands of some six or seven buyers, one of them a large landowner in the South Island, taking over some 2,100 acres at a cost of £23,000. Now this affords some explanation of one

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man’s loyalty to party, but what is to happen if all our big land holders elect to turn Liberal?  There will then be no one to squeeze and no land for close settlement.’ 8

Strong stuff compared with today’s milk and water editorials! The finger is pointed directly at G.P. Donnelly and (less pointedly) at the Liberal Member for Hawke’s Bay.  It will be noticed that there is no lamentation over the fact that the land had passed out of the hand of the Maori owners; in the first decade of the century the complacent European was convinced that the Maori was a dying race.

The Beach Settlement

For the sake of continuity the first sales of Waimarama land, those of 1909 by the Crown and those of 1911 by Airini’s executors, have been traced.  It is now necessary to return to a period prior to Airini Donnelly’s death when considerable interest was being taken in Waimarama as a beach resort eminently suitable for use by the citizens of Hastings, a town with a population of 5,000 in 1908.  A number of prominent local men backed by the Hastings Standard began an agitation to have the land near the beach opened up as a “watering place”, as the phrase then ran.  It is more than likely that G.P Donnelly instigated this demand, as he is to be found taking a leading part in meetings held to discuss the suggestion.  Also, since the undoubted effect of subdividing for beach sections would be to deprive Gertrude Meinertzhagen of the use of some land close to the homestead or at the very least cause her annoyance and inconvenience, the scheme would almost certainly have Donnelly’s support.  Credence is lent to this view by the promise of Airini, before her death, to sell the northern end of Paparewa, which had been allotted to her by the Native Court, for sections which could be subdivided for beach cottages.

The campaign opened some three months after the legislation validating Miss Meinertzhagen’s lease of 5,000 acres with a leading article in the Hastings Standard strongly critical of the lease and the Government’s failure to divide Waimarama into small sections.  The tenor of the leader writer’s argument was that the 5,000 acres leased by Miss Meinertzhagen would have been suitable for cutting up into smaller farms, supporting a number of families.  The article ended, ‘…we may observe that it cannot be suggested that the Waimarama lands are not suitable for close settlement inasmuch as

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no one – except the lessee in whose favour there has been special legislation – can acquire more than 666 acres.’  The article contrasted this unfortunate decision with the earlier acquisition of land by the Crown in Maraetotara part of the Waimarama Block, which had resulted in the placing of a number of buyers on the land.  A few days later the same newspaper followed up its opening shot with another editorial headed “Waimarama, the Future Watering Place and Health Resort of Hawke’s Bay”. 9  Councillor G. Roach was reported to be the moving spirit; he was said to have interested G.P. Donnelly in the project.  Among the party organized by Councillor Roach to visit Waimarama and to inspect the foreshore were G.P. Donnelly, J.T. Thompson (Mayor of Hastings), the Honorable W. Carncross MLC, A. Dillon, M.P., C.H. Greenwood who was Mayor of Westport (how the matter should concern that dignitary is not explained), Mohi te Atahikoia, W.J. Stratton who was later to be concerned with the subdivision of the beach sections, and several others.  Speeches were made by Messrs Dillon, Mohi te Atahikoia, Roach, Thompson and Greenwood.  Councillor Roach referred to Waimarama as the future Sumner (!) of the North Island and Messrs Dillon, Carncross and Mohi te Atahikoia lamented the locking up of 5,000 acres on one lease.  Councillor McLeod then moved ‘that the Mayor of Hastings be requested to call a public meeting at as early a date as possible with a view to inducing the Government to secure the seashore frontage at Waimarama as a public watering place for the benefit of the people and a further area for close settlement and that invitations be sent to a further area for close settlement and that invitations be sent to the Prime Minister and Minister of Lands to visit Waimarama at an early date to inspect.’  The Mayor of Hastings thereupon arranged a public meeting for 24 February, but before the meeting was held he received a telegram from Sir Joseph Ward in answer to one of his own, in which the Prime Minister undertook that the Government would give due consideration to representations concerning the sea front at Waimarama.

A week later the Hastings Standard carried a report of the meeting convened by the Mayor of Hastings, under the following headlines:


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Fully 200 were reported to have been present, including two Members of Parliament, Fraser and Dillon, Miss Meinertzhagen, G.P Donnelly – the old foes unreconciled but together on the same platform – and members of the Hastings Borough Council.  One cannot help but admire Gertrude’s spirit, determinedly opposed as she was to parting with any land in the homestead area.

After various eulogistic references to Waimarama beach Councillor Roach moved ‘that steps be taken to acquire sufficient land near Waimarama beach for the purpose of a public watering place and health resort’.  This was carried.  Councillor McLeod followed the first motion with another to the effect that a petition should be got up and circulated in the town and country asking the Government to take land adjacent to the Waimarama foreshore.  This motion also met with approval as did a third motion asking the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers to inspect Waimarama.  The committee appointed to draw up the petition referred to in the second motion must have busied themselves without delay, because on 9 March the Hastings Standard reported that the petition had been ‘largely signed’.  The same issue, however, mentioned an interesting new development: Airini Donnelly had offered to set aside a portion of land in Paparewa for a beach settlement and at the same time promised to have surveyed in small holdings a large part of her Waimarama estate which would be thrown open for early selection as soon as it could be arranged.  An unexpected development indeed.  Unfortunately as had been related, Airini’s death caused a check to these plans.  It may well have been that Airini fully intended to sell the northern end of Paparewa as an effective means of annoying Gertrude Meinertzhagen, but the sincerity of the offer to cut up 3A No. 5 into small sections must be doubted when the effect of the 1911 sales by her executors is considered.  Nevertheless, by this time Gertrude Meinertzhagen must have realized that although her lease had been validated, the possibility of keeping people from Waimarama was vanishing.  Arrayed against her were the Press and the public – a powerful combination.  But it was to be several years yet before the subdivision of part of Paparewa occurred and longer still before people began to build seaside cottages there.  In the first place, the Government allowed Miss Meinertzhagen to retain her lease of 3A No. 6 and stalled on the question of taking land along the foreshore.  In the second place, the death of Airini delayed action. It is true that before his wife’s death G.P. Donnelly called on the Minister of Lands and the Minister of Native Affairs to acquaint them with his wife’s plans, at the same time notifying the

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former of his wife’s intention to vest in trustees, for the citizens of Hastings and Hawke’s Bay, a suitable area of foreshore adjoining the Pouhokio River for a public domain. 10  Lastly, Gertrude continued to try to block the subdivision of any part of Paparewa by appealing first to the Native Land Court against the judgment of 1909 which apportioned some of Paparewa to Airini and her relatives, and then to the Native Appellate Court.  It was not until January 1911 that the case was finally decided against Miss Meinertzhagen who had left New Zealand in the first part of 1910.  Before giving judgement Chief Justice Jackson-Palmer and Judges Rawson and Wilson of the Native Appellate Court visited Waimarama ‘to inspect a block of 50 acres fronting the seaside, which it is proposed to convert into a watering place and over which a dispute exists between the executors of the late Mrs Donnelly and Miss Meinertzhagen…’ 11  As the learned judges found against Miss Meinertzhagen, it is obvious that they disagreed with the opinions of Chief Justice Stout and Mr A.T. Ngata as to the suitability of northern Paparewa as a site for a settlement. In any case, before the passing of three years the land was put up for auction.

At this juncture what is known of Miss Meinertzhagen’s movements must be recorded.  When the judgment of the Native Appellate Court was delivered, Gertrude had already left the country (the exact date of her departure is unknown).  Whether she left New Zealand because she realized her hopes of keeping Waimarama beach from the public were vain, or whether she had other motives – or for both reasons – it is not clear.  In anticipation of her possible departure she had appointed in 1909, as her manager, Mr Gerald Kennedy, an Irishman who had come to New Zealand in 1874 and had considerable farming experience. From New Zealand Miss Meinertzhagen went to Switzerland and from there to England, the home of her forebears.  At some time before 1923 she became Mrs G.E. Murray and the mother of three children, two sons and one daughter.  One son, Frederick Walter Murray, and the daughter, now Mrs Isobel Williams, are both living, but not in New Zealand.  Letters extant from Gertrude to her manager reveal her, as would be expected, to be a keen farmer and shrewd businesswoman.  No detail of farm management was too unimportant for her to advise upon.  Interspersed are animadversions against G.P. Donnelly.  In a letter to Kennedy dated 11 November 1912 and written in Hastings, England, thoughts of Waimarama being overrun by day trippers are apparent: ‘I hear the township has not been proceeded with so far, but that Donnelly is agitating for a bridge over the river… it is

Gertrude Ellen Meinertzhagen.

Riding party at Okaihau.

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better for us to have nothing to do with it, as it would only be a nuisance and bring trippers to our homestead paddocks on their way to the beach and callers to the house.  No doubt it will come one day and we can lock and barricade our gates, I expect.’ 12  The intransigent landowner to the last.  But did she intend to return to New Zealand eventually?

With the great antagonists removed from the scene, the one dead, the other out of the country, and the litigation ended, the history of Waimarama from this point on consists of a story of further fragmentation – firstly, with the sale of beach settlement land, and secondly, with the cutting up of Gertrude’s leasehold when her leases expired in 1927. 13  The development of roads and the provision of other amenities go hand in hand with these subdivisions.

On 5 February 1914 nearly 300 acres of land at the northern end of Paparewa, and adjacent to it, were put up to auction at the King’s Theatre  Hastings.  The auctioneers, C.B. Hoadley and Son, under instructions from the trustees of the late Mrs Donnelly to sell, described the property as consisting of rich flats and easy hills situated on the coast, 18 miles from Hastings by good road, some of the richest and healthiest country to be found in Hawke’s Bay.’ The terms of payment were a quarter to be paid in cash at the time of the sale, a quarter within twelve months and the balance to be paid within five years of the date of sale, all unpaid purchase money bearing an interest rate of 5%.  The area destined to form the beach settlement lay to the south and east of the lower reaches of the Pouhokio River, extending from its mouth as far south as a point in the vicinity of the Waimarama Surf Club headquarters, but excluding the reserve vested in the Hastings Borough Council.  It is shown in the plan of sale as Block 12, comprising 51 acres 3 roods 2 perches, and was sold to Mr E.S. Luttrell at £29 per acre.  However, as the buyer did not comply with the terms of sale, Airini’s executors eventually offered Lot 12 to Mr W.J. Stratton who accepted and soon began to subdivide his purchase into sections for beach houses. 14  So began the modern township of Waimarama.  The remaining lots which are still farm land containing the best flats were bought by W.G. Stead, Tuahine Renata, E.S. Luttrell and Mohi te Atahikoia. Neither Stead nor Luttrell completed his purchase and their lots were taken by W.J. Stratton and J. Barker.

Prior to 1914 G.P. Donnelly had begun relinquishing his leasehold property in Waimarama, Okaihau, and Waipuka by transferring them to Maori owners, but in 1911, before the sale of blocks in Waimarama 3A No. 5, he was still leasing 13,910 acres.

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However, during World War I, Donnelly got rid of leashold steadily, until at the time of his death in 1917 he no longer leased any land in Waimarama, Okaihau and Waipuka. 15  Therefore, the pattern of development during and since the 1914-18 War has been one of transfer of freehold land between Maori and European, between Maori and Maori and between European and European, together with Maori leasing considerable area – a complicated mosaic.  In these transactions the tendency, as elsewhere in New Zealand, has been for the Maori owners to part with their land, but in the whole Waimarama Block the percentage of Maori ownership is a good deal higher than the average for New Zealand.  Approximately 22% of the Waimarama land remains in Maori ownership as against an average of 5% for the rest of New Zealand.

George Prior Donnelly died at Otatara on 9 August 1917 at the age of 69.  He lies buried beside Airini in the cemetery at Omahu.  At a tangi at Omahu Pa Maori chiefs ‘eloquently spoke to the great solicitude the deceased had always evinced towards the Maori people, how he had strived though many years to protect their ancestral land and had endeavored to encourage them to make the best use of their heritage.’ 16  Strange that both he and Fritz Meinertzhagen should have the same aims but quarrel so bitterly about them.  The results too, have not been quite that he professed to desire.  Donnelly died a wealthy man 17  survived by his daughter, Maud, who had married F. Perry and had one son and two daughters.  Only one of the Donnelly grandchildren survives; she is Mrs A.L. Lewis of Wairoa.  To envisage Waimarama without a Donnelly or a Meinertzhagen must have been difficult for those who lived there with them.

The end of the last portion of the original station was in sight.  Kennedy continued to manage the 5,000 acres of Waimarama 3A, No. 6, or the southern Waimarama run as it was sometimes called, until March 1927, when the lease expired.  Evidence that Gertrude was contemplating buying the freehold of the homestead section of 43 acres is confirmed but the existence of a plan of the area prepared for her by J. Climie.  However, as already stated, this piece of land which included the homestead, the woolshed, the shepherd’s house, stables and their appurtenances as bought by Kennedy himself from Morehu Turoa in 1923 for £2,076, or £50 per acre 18  – a substantial rise in the value of the land.  Whether Kennedy was acting on behalf of his employer is not certain, but by July 1927 Mrs G.E. Murray (Gertrude’s married name) was the owner of this same

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section, 19  so that whether he was a dummy purchaser or not Kennedy did not remain long in possession.

Before Gertrude’s lease expired the Crown too had been active in buying portions of 3A6B6A from Morehu Turoa and others in preparation for subdivision of the southern Waimarama run for smaller farms.  March 6 1927 was the date of the expiry of Gertrude’s lease, marking the extinction of the Meinertzhagen interest except for the ownership of the 43 acre homestead area.  A final balance sheet, in the possession of Kennedy’s daughter, gives some interesting figures relating to farming operations in the last year of the old station.  A large clearing sale of stock was held and the balance sheet of the year ending 30 June 1927 shows that 13,754 sheep were sold at an average price of 21 shillings 7 pence per head and 659 head of cattle at an average of £4 18s 3 d per head – satisfactory prices at that time.  There was also a sale of station equipment and household effects.  Finally, the balance sheet shows a net income for the year of £6,926 2s 11d, but included in this amount was a sum of £2,429 being interest on money lent on mortgage, so that the actual income from farming was approximately £4,500.  It would seem that the remainder of Gertrude’s leasehold had been efficiently farmed by her manager.

A little short of two years after the Meinertzhagen lease expired the Crown held a ballot for 3,899 acres of what had been the lease-hold land, which it had acquired in pieces between 1907 and 1927.  These farm sections lie along both sides of what is now known as Te Apiti Road and vary in size from 463 acres to 882 acres. There was great interest taken in the ballot.  Originally there were 200 applicants who were seeded down to 94 before the ballot was conducted on 13 February 1929.  There were six sections available and the successful applicants, who had to be married with one or more dependents and discharged soldiers who had competed unsuccessfully in ballots during the last two years, were Mrs M.J. Allen, Mrs B.F. Ward, J.A McNeill, Mrs H.V. MacIntosh, E.E. P. Edgcumbe, D.M. Gilray. 20  Most of the descendants of the successful ballotees are farming the area today.  The average price was about £10 per acre and the tenure was Crown Lease, renewable or with a right of purchase.

The year 1929 brings the history of Waimarama up to date in the sense that little change in the general pattern of occupation has occurred since that year.  It is true that changes of ownership, both of freehold and leasehold, have taken place, but the Maori owners having sold approximately 80% of their land to the Crown and to the

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individual pakeha have held on to the remainder of their heritage except for comparatively small parcels of land sold since 1929.  However, as some of the larger Maori owned pieces have been leased to the Europeans, there has been, in common with the situation in other parts of New Zealand, a marked decline in the Maori rural population. 21  The Maori descendants of the original owners have drifted to the cities and towns, many to Hastings and Havelock North.  Such is the position today – from the Maori point of view, tragic, from the European, inevitable.

1.   Information from the Waimarama, Okaihau, Waipuka files held in the office of the Te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board, Palmerston North.
2.   It must always be borne in mind that Land Transfer records were destroyed in the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. The estimates of holdings given in this chapter are taken from the Valuation Rolls for the Havelock Riding of the Hawke’s Bay County 2/38, 1907-12, Vol. I.
3.   A reference to the Repudiation Movement of the 1870s and early 1880s. Airini lent her support.  Vide John Williams, Politics of the New Zealand Maori, p. 36.
4.   At the time of her death, Mrs Donnelly was the owner of 42,329 acres in all, 5,822 of which were in the Waimarama Block. The areas were: Waimarama 3A No. 2, 3A No. 2B, 3A No. 5, No. 1B, No. 2A. Okaihau No. 1B, 2E, 3A.  Waipuka No. 1A, 3C No. 2.
5.   Hawke’s Bay Tribune, 30 Nov. 1911. It will be noted that the area mentioned is some 800 acres larger than that mentioned as being in Airini’s ownership at the time of her death.
6.   Waipuka 3C No. 2E, now owned by Mr Boyd Wilson.
7.   Guild sold to F.C. Twigg, who in turn sold to S.M. Palmer in 1915. The property is now farmed by his son, Mr J.J. Palmer.
8.   Hastings Standard, 13 Feb. 1908.
9.   Ibid., 18 Feb. 1908.
10.   This is an area comprising 3 acres 12 perches given to the Hastings Borough Council by Airini Donnelly to be used as a reserve for the people. It lies close to the mouth of the Pouhokio and has been little used, but recently the Hawke’s Bay County Council has provided road access.  In the middle of the reserve is a deep, irregular hollow thought by J.D.H Buchanan (The Maori History and Place Names of Hawke’s Bay) to have been a borrow pit from which sand was taken for the cultivation of the kumara.  Recent “improvements” have resulted in the pit being filled in.
11.   Hawke’s Bay Tribune, 12 January 1911.  The same issue, keeping up its campaign, remarked on the great popularity of the beach as a camping ground for the citizens of Hastings.
12.   Letter in the possession of Mrs G. Ross, only daughter of Kennedy.
13.   It is a curious circumstance that Miss Meinertzhagen did not own the freehold of the homestead block while she resided there. After Gertrude’s departure it was occupied by her manager and her aunt, Miss Jane Moore, until Mr Kennedy married.  Kennedy himself bought the freehold from Morehu Turoa.

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14.   The first house was built by Mr Tennant and is still standing, but it was not the first holiday home as Messrs F.L. Bone and G. Ebbett had built houses on the northern side of the Pouhokio in about 1908.
15.   Valuation Rolls, 1911-12-15.
16.   Hawke’s Bay Tribune, 9 August 1917.
17.   For the purpose of probate, G.P. Donnelly’s estate was valued at £223,000.12.2d. ($446,000) and included properties at Mangaohane (then 31,604 acres) and land in Hastings on the Heretaunga Plains, Mangaroa, Te Awa-o-te-Atua, Waipiropiro, Pirau, Taradale, Redcliffe and elsewhere.
18.   Document in Te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board Office.
19.   Certificate of Title HB Vol. 69 Folio 112, dated 14 July 1927.
20.   Hawke’s Bay Herald, 13 February 1929. It is assumed that where the sections were allotted to women, the women named were either wives or widows of returned soldiers.
21.   The New Zealand Census 1971 shows 35 Maoris living at Waimarama as against 135 Europeans.


There have been several detailed accounts of station life in New Zealand in the 19th century 1 and that of Waimarama Station did not differ greatly from life on other New Zealand sheep stations.  Work was hard for owners and employees and amusement infrequent and simple.  For men like Meinertzhagen, Campbell and Moore who were all well educated, the station library and papers from England provided interest and relaxation in their leisure hours.  As has been related, Campbell enjoyed pig hunting and shooting, whereas Meinertzhagen had more studious tendencies, being something of a collector of shells, Maori artifacts and interesting examples of flora and fauna.  He was also an ornithologist, a member of the Hawke’s Bay Philosophical Society, the Hawke’s Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Association and the Acclimatization Society when these bodies were formed in early Napier.  But what of the station hands?  What were their conditions?  Life was rough and the pay low.  The head shepherd, McKenzie, was paid £100 a year and “found” and had a cottage provided, but the average farm hand was paid 10 shillings per week with his keep.  Sometimes a man might “work for his tucker” without any cash wage, but this was true of the passing swagger rather than of the regular employee.  One W.J. Cox who carried his swag through Hawke’s Bay in the 1890s kept a small diary containing brief notes concerning his stay at Waimarama, 2  where he worked from September 1892 to January 1893.  When he first arrived at Waimarama, Moore had no work for him but the cook was able to employ him.  Cox sawed firewood, dug a potato pit and cut raupo to cover the potatoes and helped the cook in the kitchen.  For a mattress he filled two sacks with hay. Amusements consist of fishing, boat racing, horse racing on the beach, wrestling and an occasional woolshed dance.  A spartan life by today’s standards.

T.R. Moore, partner of F.H. Meinertzhagen, after the death of W.L. Campbell.

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A description of the station layout at the turn of the century is not without interest.  The feud existing between the Donnellys and Meinertzhagen and Moore gave rise to an extraordinary situation where the homesteads and station buildings of the feuding parties confronted them across the Pouhokio River, separated by a few hundred metres of flats.  It is true that the Donnellys seldom lived in their homestead, known as Rangitoto at the foot of the hill where Tiakitai Road now meets the main road. 3  On the Meinertzhagen side of the river lay the homestead, 4  on the slopes of the hills at the southern end of the beach, and the stables and outhouses, some of which are still to be seen, and close to the Kuku Rocks, the grand woolshed, a magnificent structure of 18 stands, equipped with Wolseley shearing machines and a combined press and dump capable of turning out 50 to 60 bales per day. 5  There were also quarters for the shearers and a dining room.  Further north was the head shepherd’s cottage and close to the Pouhokio, on land which was awarded later to Airini Donnelly by the Native Land Court, was the station dip, the remains of which can still be seen behind a house owned by Mr H.B. Popplewell [Poppelwell].  Across the river, a few hundred metres away from the Meinertzhagen appurtenances were the Donnelly woolshed, men’s quarters, and dip.  Concrete remains of both the dip and the woolshed can be seen on Mr Donald Stewart’s property, while some of the houses occupied by the station hands are still standing on the southern side of Tiakitai Road.  Extending across country from near the sea shore westwards to the Maraetotara was a long fence line separating the enemy and their stock from each other.  This fence had, of course, been erected after the litigation concerning the injunction against allowing stock to wonder. Not far from the Donnelly homestead and next to the burial ground stood a small wooden church, known as the Church of Hoani.  There are no records in the office of the Diocese of Waiapu of the date of building this church – not the first place of Christian worship, because Colenso caused a chapel to be erected as early as 1847 – but a painting in the possession of Mrs Boyd Wilson, bearing the date 1894 shows the church on the site described.  The early church was dismantled and the recent church which is known as the Church of St Mark was erected on a site given by Morehu Turoa and vested in the Waiapu Board of Diocesan Trustees by order of the Native Land Court on 9 September 1917, with the following proviso: ‘members of the Maori race or their descendants shall have full free and equal right of ingress and egress at all reasonable times to the said land or

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to any place of worship which is now or may be erected thereon’.  The church is in the Waipatu-Moteo pastorate and is in that sense a Maori church, although now the congregation is predominately pakeha and Anglican.  However, other denominations also worship in St Mark’s.  The burial ground next to the former site of the church has been used exclusively for those of Maori ancestry with the single exception of one Philip Sparling, who was once the storekeeper of Waimarama and was drowned there in 1916.

Across the road from St Mark’s and alongside the main road the Tuapunga marae upon which Maori life must have centred for several centuries and long pre-dating the arrival of the pakeha. Behind the marae is the Waimarama school.  Early in the century attention was turned to the provision of a school in the district, both Maori and European being conscious of the need for the education of their children.  In 1905 building began on a site adjacent to the marae and the following year the school, erected at a total cost of £720 10s, opened with a roll of 31 pupils, Mr H. Godwin being the schoolmaster. [6] The school was a Maori school, administered by the Education Department until 1963, when it was transferred to the control of the Hawke’s Bay Education Board.  The roll numbers have varied from a minimum of 26 in 1926 to a maximum of 58 in 1958.  At first and for many years Maori pupils outnumbered pakeha, but the increasing marked urban drift of the Maori has caused the balance to be tilted in the opposite direction.  The  change in the composition of the school was at least one reason for the transfer to Hawke’s Bay Education Board control, for at a meeting of 24 householders, four of whom were Maori held on 5 December 1962, Mr Winitana speaking on behalf of the Maori people of Waimarama said it was their desire to change to Board control and a motion in favour of this move was passed unanimously. 7  Only four years prior to the date of this motion being passed an ornamental gateway carved by the senior pupils had been erected, depicting well-known mythical figures and emphasising the Maori character of the school. 8

A second school on the Waimarama Block was opened at Maraetotara in 1912 to serve the children on the western side of the block.  The roll numbers have varied from a minimum of 4 pupils to a maximum of 35, but because of lack of pupils the Maraetotara school was closed in 1936 and not re-opened until 1940 and again closed during 1949 until the beginning of 1954.

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Like most coastal stations of New Zealand in the 19th century Waimarama was dependent upon shipping for bulk transportation of goods to and from the station.  In W.L. Campbell’s diary there are frequent references to the loading and unloading of supplies on the beach after they had been brought by the little ships of the Richardson line, as well as details of the loading of wool.  The frustrations caused by adverse weather frequently added to the difficulties of the station owners, but the lifeline provided by the coastal ships was of supreme importance not only to Waimarama but also to other stations along the East Coast.  The dray or wagon drawn by either oxen or horses taking the wool out to the whaleboat or lighter to be transferred to the waiting ship was a common sight, the method laborious but effective.  The bullock teams and pack horses also played their part on cross country transportation, well recounted in more than one work, in bringing supplied from Havelock or Napier and later Hastings.  Bullock drivers Dick Lamb, Jack Diamond and his wife were well known and valued throughout the district, their teams slow but sure.

As to the transport of passengers and mail, the beach road was the main thoroughfare for some five miles of the journey from Havelock.  The earliest mail carrier was a man named Sutherland whose route lay along what is now known as Tauroa Road, though the Chambers property, across the Tukituki River near Horseshoe Bend, to Mokopeka, Taurapa, following the line of the Maraetotara River and then down to Waipuka (Ocean Beach) near where the present road descends steeply, and along past Pututarunui to Waimarama.  At low tide the hard, wide stretch of sand made for excellent travelling, but beach conditions were not always of the best and the tide could not always be judged correctly.  ‘Beach bad’ is a frequent comment in notes of the times.  One needs only to think of Colenso on foot, plodding along the beach in the teeth of a southerly, high water or low, to envisage the difficulties.  It may not have been so unpleasant for the mail carrier on horseback, but wearying enough.  Sooner or later however, the growth of the district and closer settlements would create a demand for the roads and bridges which have played such an important part in bringing country and town closer together, and even more essential, enabling the farmer to transport his products to the nearest railhead or port.



NOTE – (1)   Bare Island is customary Maori Land.

(2)   Within Waimarama township there is a small portion of Maori owned land not shown on this map.

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With the abolition of the provincial system and the passing of the Counties Act on 1 November 1876 Hawke’s Bay County was born, Waimarama being part of Havelock Riding, one of the nine ridings of the Hawke’s Bay Country.  As a district sparsely populated by Europeans (there were reported, in 1908, to be only five Europeans living between Waimarama and Porangahau) Waimarama attracted little attention from the landed gentry who virtually controlled the Council.  Their eyes were fixed upon the Heretaunga Plains.  We therefore find the coastal ship, the bullock team and the packhorse still being used as the principal means of conveyance in the first decade of this century and the beach road still of prime importance.  But with the subdivision of the Maraetotara land in 1909, Airini’s land in 1911 and the popular demand for a beach resort, the Council began to see the necessity for building roads and bridges.  Unfortunately, the County Council records, like so many other Hawke’s Bay documents, were lost at the time of the 1931 earthquake, but some indications of progress in roading may be gathered from newspaper files which reported meetings of the Council.  In 1904 a bridge was built over the Tukituki River, virtually upon the site of the present structure. 9  This was the first  and most important link on the Havelock North – Waimarama road.  From there the original road to Ocean Beach and Waimarama zig-zagged up the hill near the Craggy Range limeworks – its route can still be seen.  Yet by 1906 the road could not have progressed very far, as it will be remembered that Mr Seddon himself took the beach road when he visited Waimarama to attend the wedding of Miss Tiana Karauria and Tu Teira in February of that year.  However, from early 1911 there are reports in the Hawke’s Bay Tribune of County Council meetings held monthly or sometimes bi-monthly, when both the building of a bridge over the Tukitiki [Tukituki] and roading were discussed.  For example, on 12 April 1911 the County engineer outlined the cost of a proposed suspension bridge and contrasted the expense with that of a bridge built upon piles.  The same newspaper reported in May 1911 that the Maraetotara Road had reached ‘the 13 mile peg’.

In June there was a discussion of a deviation to ‘Miss Meinhertzhagen’s place’ and on the 13th of the same month the district engineer reported the following terms: ‘The engineering survey of Waingongoro Road is now completed and the work of construction will be pushed on immediately.  When the work is completed it will finish the system linking up the Waimarama settlement and the beach.  It is now possible to reach the Waimarama settlement with wheeled traffic by what is known as the

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inland road. There are seven men at work on the Maraetotara Valley Road and it is expected that in a week or two this road will also be open.’  In 1912 there is mention elsewhere of a road having been taken through the Waipuka Block. 10  On 20 February 1913 the Hawke’s Bay Tribune printed an item concerning the deplorable state of the road from Hastings to Waimarama, which taxi drivers refused to use.  Car owners were said to have suffered serious damage to their tyres because of the broken limestone used as filling.  In considering all the available evidence we must arrive at the conclusions that the Hastings to Waimarama road was completed in the second half of 1911 or early 1912, as was the Hastings to Maraetotara road.  The construction date of the second Tukituki bridge remains something of a mystery, but the present structure was opened in 1949.

The Ocean Beach and Okaihau roads are not as well documented, but it is probable that the former ante-dated the latter.  The Te Apiti Road is shown as a formed road on the plan of the sale of the Waimarama beach sections in February 1914. 11  Two other roads in the district are named Tiakitai Road and Tawa Road, the former leading from the corner of the main Hastings-Waimarama Road to the beach near the mouth of the Waingongoro and the latter a short extension westward of Okaihau Road.

An increasing demand for sections on or near the beach some years after the end of World War II was met by the subdivision at the southern end of the beach of land owned by Mr W.R. Harper, which he had bought from Mr A. Little in 1958. 12  At the northern end of Paparewa and near the Pouhokio the owners of the Gillies property sold land for a similar purpose in 1960.  The roads necessary to service these subdivisions are known as Harper Road and Gillies Crescent respectively.  As further development is taking place at the time of writing, it seems obvious that one day most of Paparewa, about which there was so much litigation and which learned judges of the Native Land Court regarded as of little value, will be covered with houses.  In the further it may well be that some of the owners of these houses will be permanent residents of Waimarama commuting to Havelock North, Hastings or Napier daily.  Thus, some 60 years after her departure, what Gertrude Meinertzhagen feared has happened – the public are camped or rather housed at the spot where her front gates were.

All roads have been appropriately named after local place names or people connected with the district, but in this writer’s view Ocean Beach Road (there must be hundreds so named in New Zealand)

Building the first bridge over the Pouhokio Stream about 1912.

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would be more fittingly called Waipuka Road, as it forms the northern boundary of the Waipuka Block.  It is also to be regretted that no roads commemorate either Mohi te Atahikoia or Meinertzhagen, both intimately connected with the history of Waimarama.

Over the newly or partly formed roads travelled the early mail carriers or coach drivers, maintaining a useful service for the farmers of the district.  Sutherland, the first mail carrier, has already been mentioned.  He was followed by Billy McKay and then Bill Cook who was the first of the carriers to use the Waimarama road.  The first driver to commence a service embracing Maraetotara as well as Waimarama was Mr A. Little who carried both passengers and goods, using a Cadillac, but later a solid-tyred Dennis.  His service ran twice weekly, the fare for passengers being 15 shillings return.

Like all country districts Waimarama has suffered its floods with consequent damage to roads and bridges.  To obviate slipping and a difficult climb, a deviation round the hills near Tukituki bridge was engineered.  This part of the road is still known to older residents as “The Deviation”.

Telephone communication has also proved a boon to the country dweller.  There is evidence that one or two private telephones existed between home and home early in the century, but the Post Office records are almost non-existent and it seems unlikely that there was any direct connection with Hastings exchange before 1913.  In 1908 for example, when there was a general election, voting results for Waimarama were conveyed by carrier pigeon to Hastings. 13  The pigeon was brought out to Waimarama by Bill Cook and homed on the Grand Hotel, Hastings.  Progress on installing telephones was reported by the Hawke’s Bay Tribune on 20 February 1913: ‘An extension of the Hastings telephone system to Waimarama has been authorized and the erection of wires will be commenced as soon as the poles arrive from Australia. The Government has undertaken to carry out the work for the first nine miles to a point near the Tukituki bridge and the cost of completing the connection 14 miles will be borne by the settlers and residents of Waimarama.  Six subscribers have been guaranteed and it is expected that several others will join the system when the work is finished.  Bearing part of the cost of linking up has been standard practice for the residents of country districts.

A water supply for the beach settlement was first suggested by 21 owners in 1924, at which time Waimarama was still part of the Havelock Riding.  A plentiful supply of water was found in two

The Waimarama homestead in 1884 with the woolshed in the background. The view looks northward along the beach to Pututaranui, Cape Kidnappers in the distance.

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springs in the hills above Waimarama and the total cost of reticulation was estimated at 740. Since 1924, of course, the system has been considerably extended.

One of the last and most valued amenities to come was electric power.  It seems that one or two farmers had installed their own plants and of course, the power house constructed on the Maraetotara river by John Chambers in order to serve Mokopeka is widely known and dates from 1892.  The Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board records are incomplete, but fortunately the Waimarama School Log records the great day when the power was switched on – 18 November 1937.  Henceforth the residents of Waimarama lived in an earthly paradise – roads, telephones, a fine climate, a superb beach.  All that was needed to ice the cake was good prices for the farmers’ stock.

In November 1927 Waimarama ceased to be part of the Havelock Riding and became a separate entity, the Waimarama Riding. 14

As Waimarama beach because more popular with the people of Hastings and Havelock North and later of Napier and further afield, it was natural that there should be developments to assist with swimmers and holiday makers.  The Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club, the oldest in Hawke’s Bay, was founded in 1950 as a breakaway from the Heretaunga Swimming and Life Saving Club.  Mr H. B. Popplewell, who was the President of the Heretaunga Club, formed a committee with the assistance of Mr  J. Durand and others, to organize a Surf Life Saving Club at Waimarama.  During the 24 years of its existence the Club had given valuable service on the beach and carried out many rescues of swimmers in difficulties.  It has suffered set-backs ranging from erosion of the foundations of the club house to vandalism and loss of membership, but has soldiered on and today has a watch tower, club house, rescue gear, loud speaker system, telephone lines along the beach and a beach wagon.

As the beach became increasingly popular, the question of the control and administration of recreational reserves arose.  An Order in Council of 10 November 1937 appointed the Hawke’s Bay County Council to be the Waimarama Domain Board having jurisdiction over two reserves, the first comprising 2 acres 2 roods 27 perches being the area upon which the Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club has its headquarters, 15  the second consisting of that piece of land given by Airini Donnelly to the Hastings Borough Council and comprising 3 acres 16 perches. After a time the Hawke’s Bay County Council handed over its responsibilities to a Domain Board

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composed of local residents.  This Board then became responsible for the maintenance and administration of the two areas mentioned, but the arrangement does not appear to have been entirely satisfactory, largely because the Board lacked the funds necessary to maintain and improve its reserves.  Eventually on 31 May the authority of the Domain Board was cancelled and the Hawke’s Bay County Council was once again appointed the Waimarama Board under the Reserves and Domains Act 1953.

It is not the business of the historian to predict the future, but from deductions based on the present situation and trends it would appear that the greater and more important part of Waimarama, the farming land, will continue to graze sheep and cattle until such indefinite time when meat and wool are no longer primary products.  The Waimarama, Okaihau and Waipuka Blocks have proved that they are pre-eminently suited for this task.  The beach settlement however, may, as population grows, become much less of a holiday resort and function as a dormitory suburb of Hastings, workers commuting daily over the comparatively short distance to that city and to a lesser extent to Havelock North and Napier.  That residents and holiday makers will be predominately pakeha seems certain, unless the urban drift of the Maori should be reversed.  In another century or more when just as many New Zealanders will be brown as will be white the distinction will not matter.

1.   For example: Lady Barker, Station Life in New Zealand, 1870; L.S. Rickard, Strangers in the Wilderness, 1967; and for Hawke’s Bay, Miriam McGregor, Historic Sheep Stations of Hawke’s Bay, 1970, and Petticoat Pioneers.
2.   Held in the Alexander Turnbull Library.
3.   The site is now occupied by a house which replaced the one built for the Donnellys which was destroyed by fire in 1901. It is at present owned by Mr Eru Smith.
4.   The homestead, then in the possession of Mr A. Little, was burnt to the ground on 17 December 1954. Trees and some masonry mark the site today.
5.   In 1895 the clip amounted to 700 bales – a station record.
6.   See Appendix A for list of teachers.
7.   Waimarama School log, December 1962
8.   A new school building, replacing the old, was opened in 1951.
9.   Kay Mooney, A History of Hawke’s Bay County, p. 81.
10.   Letter from Lands Department to A.G. Ngata, 3 January 1912, in Crown Lands Office, Napier.
11.   In this plan the road from the Te Apiti Road corner to the township is marked “New Government Road”. What is now Airini Road is marked as Beach Road and Moori Road is not delineated.  These two roads were named after Airini Donnelly and her grand-daughter.

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12.   Mr Little, at the time of writing, still lives in one of the original station out-buildings.
13.   Information from Mr West, formerly of Hastings.
14.   See Appendix B for Riding Members.
15.   In 1974 the County Council bought an area of 4 acres contiguous of the land already vested in it in order to enlarge the domain.

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List of Head Teachers of Waimarama School*

Mr H. Godwin   1906-08
Mrs Horneman   1909-14
Mr W.H. Manning   1915-16
Mr W. Anderson   1916-17
Mr R.G. Kernahan   1918-24
Miss V.M. Ward   1924-35
Mr P.R. Kennedy   1935-37
Mr E. Greensmith   1938
Mr S.M. Keith   1939-49
Mr H. Curnow   1950-56
Mr S.M. Mead   1957-60
Mr S.L. Kerr   1961-62
Mr J. Moeke   1963-

*Information supplied by the Regional Superintendent of Education, Auckland.

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Waimarama Riding Members*

1928-50   S.M. Palmer
1950-65   J.J. Palmer
1965-74   A.F. Mackenzie
1975-   C.M. Gilray

* The Waimarama Riding, once part of the Havelock Riding, was created a separate entity on 25 November 1927.


Aorangi, Maraea, 76, 83n
te Atahikoia, Mohi, attitude to Rhodes, 20; ownership in three blocks, 54; evidence to Native Land Commission, 57; appeals to Seddon, 63
te Apiti, 9
te Aratipi, 14

Bare Island position, 10; Cook’s description, 18; D’Uville’s description, 18-19
Beach settlement, 93-98
Bee, Francis, 33
Birch, W.J., 34

Campbell, W.L., origins, 36; becomes partner of F.H. Meinhertzhagen, 36; his diary, 36; death by drowning, 46
Chambers, John, 43, 71,77
Church of Hoani, 105
Church of St Mark, 105
Colenso, Rev. William, first visit to Waimarama, 21; dealings with Edwards, 12; with Tiakitai, 25-25; with Roman Catholics, 26; his route to Waimarama, 27; his advice to Maori owners, 28; his influence, 29; his dismissal from Church Missionary Society, 29
Cook, Bill, 112
Cook, Lt. James, 10
Cooper, Commissioner G.S., 31, 51
Cox, W.J., 103
Crown Lands, 86, 87, 100

Donnelly (Tonore) Airini, whakapapa, 52; marriage to G.P. Donnelly, 53; share in Waimarama lands, 57; opposition to Meinertzhagens, 53, 62, 73; partnership agreement, 64; litigation with Gertrude Meinertzhagen, 59 et seq.; repudiation, 83n; death, 88
Donnelly, G.P., origins, 53; marries Airini Karauria, 53; interests in Waimarama lands, 54; partnership agreement, 64;  difference with Mohi e Atahikoia, 57; divests himself of Waimarama interests, 91; interest in beach settlement, 93; death, 99
D’Urville, Dumont, 18-19

Edwards, William, 20, 21, 24, 40
Electricity, 114

Fraser, A.L.D., 69, 80

Hakakino, 14
te Hapuku, 25, 29, 52
Hargrave W.F., 32-33
Harrison, H.S., 23-24
Harawira, 23, 44
Huth, 36, 43

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te Ikaroa District Maori Land Board, 51, 62, 78

Kahungunu, 14
Karamea (Red Island), 15
Karauria Family, 52, 76, 81
Kennedy G., 96, 99
Kidnappers Cape, 9, 24
Kinross, J.G. & Co., 39, 43
Kuku Rocks, 14, 44

Liberal Government, 59
Little, A., 112, 115n
Locke, Samuel, 32, 40

Manawarakau (Kairakau), 26
Maraetotara  45, 94
Maraetotara River, 9, 47
te Mata, 32, 47
Matanginui, 15
Maungawharau, 14
Meinertzhagen, F.H., origins, 35; partnership with Campbell, 36; leases Waimarama lands, 37; marriage, 36; partnership with Moore, 47; domestic tragedy, 55; interests, 103; death, 55
Meinertzhagen, Gertrude, birth, 41; partnership after father’s death, 61; opposed by Donnellys, 62; litigation, 59 et seq.; petition to Legislative Council, 79; homestead property, 99; leaves New Zealand, 96; sells up, 100
McLean, Donald, 23, 31, 51
Moore, T.R., origins, 47; becomes Meinertzhagen’s partner, 47; marriage, 61; retires from Waimarama and establishes Trust, 61
Morris, William, 21, 25
Morrison John, 32

Native Lands Act 1865, 34, 51
Native Land Commission 1891, 49, 57, 69
Native Land Court, 34, 51, 67
Ngata, Apirana, 74

Ocean Beach (Waipuka), 9, 11
Okaihau, 32, 37, 41, 42, 54

Paparewa, 67-69, 76, 78, 93, 98
Partition, 54, 57
Pig hunting, 41
Petitions, 65-66
Pouhokio River, 9, 68, 76, 78
Pututaranui, 20

Rangaiika, 20
Rangirangi, Wi, 45, 52
Reignier, Father Euloge, 27, 40, 44
Reynolds, James, 34
Rhodes, Capt. W.B., 20

Seddon, Rt. Hon. R.J., 59, 63
Sheep worrying, 44-46
Stratton, W.J., 98
Stout, Chief Justice, 65, 74
Sutherland, 42, 107

Taingamata, 20
Tatere (Hadfield), 21, 28
Taewha, 14
Takitimu, 13-14
Thomas, J., 23-24
Tau Punga, marae, 9; rock, 1
Tiakitai, paramount chief, 24; differences with Colenso, 24-25; death at sea, 25
Taikitai, te Teira, 20, 37, 52, 54
Taikitai, Tu, 67
Turoa, Morehu, 67, 76, 78, 83n

Valuations, 42, 77

Waimarama Domain Board, 114-115
Waimarama Surf Club, 114
Waingongoro Stream, 33
Waitangi Mission Station, 21
Waipuka, 20, 33, 42, 47, 54, 65
Whaling, 19

To many people, Waimarama is simply a popular beach resort and a prosperous farming area.  But it has a rich and varied history, particularly significant in the Maori and early settler periods when a bitter land struggle developed. Sydney Grant has spent many years meticulously researching the story of Waimarama and of the people who settled it, and has produced a book whose interest extends far beyond the local scene.


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The publication of the full text of “Waimarama” on this web site has been agreed to by Sydney Grant’s literary trustee on the basis that S W Grant, as a local historian, would have appreciated the work that the Knowledge Bank carries out to preserve material for future generations.

Surnames and Maori names in this book –
Adams, Akuhata, Allen, Anderson, Anderson, Angus, Aorangi, Bagnall Baker, Ballance, Beaglehole, Bee, Belcher, Belcher, Bell, Bell, Best, Birch, Birch, Blackmore, Bone, Bone, Buchanan, Buck, Caird, Campbell, Campbell, Campbell, Carncross, Chambers, Chapman, Chesterman, Climie, Colenso, Cook, Cooper, Cox, Curnow, de Pelichet, Denniston, Diamond, Dillon, Donnelly, Donnelly, Donnelly, Durand, D’Urville, Ebbett, Edgcumbe, Edwards, Eria, Erueti, Ewart, Field, Fraser, Gilray, Glazebrook, Godwin, Gordon, Grant, Greensmith, Greenwood, Griffen, Guild, Guthrie-Smith, Hadfield, Hamilton, Hapuku, Hargrave, Haronga, Harper, Harrison, Hart, Hill, Hinengatira, Hitchings, Hoadley, Hoani, Hora, Horneman, Huiteao, Humphries, Huth, Igglesdon, Jackson-Palmer, Kahungunu, Karauria, Karauria-a-Tamia-Whakaitit-i-a-te-rangi, Kawepo, Keates, Keith, Kennedy, Kernahan, Kerr, Keys, Kingi, Kinross, Kinross White, Koinake, Kopare, Kupe, Lamb, Lampila, Lewis, Little, Locke, Luttrell, MacIntosh, Mackenzie, Manning, Martin, Matiu, McGillivray, McGregor, McKay, McKenzie, McLean, McLean, McLeod, McNeill, McQuilkan, Mead, Meihana, Meinertzhagen, Meinertzhagen, Mitchell, Moeke, Mohi, Monro, Mooney, Moore, Morison, Morris, Morrison, Murray, Ngaika, Ngata, Nicholson, O’Kane, Ormond, Pahi, Painblanc, Palmer, Palmer, Paora Miratu, Parker, Paul, Pera, Peri, Poppelwell, Powdrell, Prichard, Priest, Puhara, Pupu, Rakaitihura, Rangirangi, Rangitane, Rawson, Reeves, Reignier, Renata, Reynolds, Rhodes, Richardson, Rickard, Riggir, Ripeka, Roach, Robertson, Rongomaipureora, Ross, Scannell, Seddon, Sharp, Smith, Stead, Stewart, Stout, Stratton, Sutherland, Taewha, Taikitai, Takitimu, Tamaihikoia, Tanatiu, Tangiroa, Tara, Taraia, Tatere, Tauhu, Te Aomatarahi, te Atahikoia, te Hapuku, te Huango, Te Ikareora, te Mangi, Te Moananui, te Nahu, Te Orenga, te Rangihauturu, te Tatere, Te Wakatomo, Tennant, Thomas, Thompson, Tiakitai, Toi, Tomoana, Tonore, Tumapuhierangi, Tunui, Turoa, Turton, Twigg, Waha, Wake, Walker, Wall, Ward, Watene, West, Wharekiore, Whatman, Whatonga, White, Whitiki, Wierz, Williams, Wilson, Wilson, Winitana, Wright


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