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Maori Sites of Te Whanganui a Tara

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Oterongo Kainga
Oterongo Bay
Opuawe Kainga
Pirihia Kainga
Waiariki Kainga

Oterongo Kainga

Location: Oterongo Bay - now spelt on maps as "Oteranga Bay"
Type of site: Kainga
Known Iwi/Hapu: Ngati Ira, Te Atiawa
Condition: Considerably altered by works associated with the Cook Strait cable.

One of three important Te Atiawa kainga on the south coast in the Terawhiti district. Before any customary title was extinguished and a Maori title raised in the Native Land Court this reserve was taken by proclamation in 1882 Oterongo was originally set aside as a reserve for the Ngäti Waipongo hapu of Te Atiawa The hapu moved to the kainga after Ngäti Mutunga and Ngäti Tama migrated to the Chatham Islands in 1835 Waipongo effectively took over Oterongo, Waiariki and Rimurapa reserves and many other areas along the south coast. Not all Ngäti Mutunga went to the Chathams. Evidence of this is found at Waiariki where the kainga named Pirihira is in fact named after Pirihera Tia of the Kaitangata hapu of Ngäti Mutunga.

Legal title to Oterongo was issued in the Maori Land Court on 19 June 1911. Prior to this the Native Land Court issued a succession order for Paro Tamarua on 14 December 1908 It appears that in doing this they left out Kimi Matenga who objected by letter and requested to be included in the succession order. At that point the Court discovered that there was no Mäori title to the reserve, Kimi Matenga was informed that a succession order made by Judge Rawson for the interest of Paro Tamanua was of no effect as it had not yet been proved that Paro was an owner The title to this block appears not to have been investigated.(1) What followed was the investigation of title which led to the issue of a freehold order on the 19 June 1911 (2) to eighteen related people for a 20 acre reserve. It was discovered that the land under investigation ceased to be Mäori land by proclamation and gazette notice in 1882 when the land was taken for the Cook Strait cable station.(3) The court still treated as Maori land despite its known status issuing succession orders in 1912 and 1923 and maintaining an active file until the title records were consolidated in 196l. (4)

Tacy Kemp in 1850 recorded the Oterongo Census return .

Best noted that "many signs of occupation are still seen on the shores of the bay and on the banks of the stream. A number of implements have been found here. At other places on the coast small middens betoken native occupation." (6)

Several archaeological records from the 1960s and early 1970s provide evidence of the Mäori occupation here. Middens, evidence of ovens, pits and artifacts including an adze have been found It is also alleged that a significant urupa lay in the area with rebunials taking place in this century. Some of these may however have been associated with a shipwreck. (7)

The Cook Strait Cable comes ashore in this bay.

I . Parata to E A Welch Internal Memo 13/9/1909 in Application File, 1908-1923, cancelled, Wgtn 181, Oterongo, MLC Aotea District
2. Wtgn 374-375, 380-382, MLC Aotea District
3. NZ Gazette l882 p11
4. General Land file, Wellington 181, MLC Aotea District, Wanganui
5. GBPP 1851 [1420] vol XXXV p 231
6. Elsdon Best, "The Land of Tara", Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 26, vol 27, vol 28, Pt 6, p9
7. NZ Archaeological Association N164/l11, N164/84, N164/87, N164/91, and see Peter Adds "Maori and Archaeological values at the Fighting Bay and Oterongo Bay Cable Terminations" 1988 and Beckett P "Some Notes on the Western Wellington, Cook Strait Coast" NZ Archeological Assoc Newsletter Vol 6 No 3.

Oterongo Bay

Location: Oterongo Bay - now spelt on maps as "Oteranga Bay"
Type of site: Kainga
Known Iwi/Hapu: Te Atiawa
Condition: Natural feature.

district plan map excerpt

This site is where the Cook Strait Cable comes ashore. Best says "Oterongo. The small bay just east of Tarawhiti. Site of a village of Ngati-Awa. A taniwha or water monster is said to have abode here in former times." (1)

Adkin spells it "O-te-rongo bay" and quotes Best, then states "S.P. Smith, also, refers to the monster that once lived at 0-te-rongo and describes it, from information handed down by tradition, as 'a famous ngarara or taniwha who, however, was not of the man-eating variety. Whenever any traveller lit a fire near its abode, the monster came up from the sea and extinguished the fire and always directly afterwards, arose a great tonga or south-easter [gale]' (51 p 411).(2) Adkin notes that this was in Ngati Ira times and thought that the taniwha might be a personification of "spindrift produced by the succession of on-shore gales that assail this coast."

1. Elsdon Best, "The Land of Tara", Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 26,vol 27, vol 28, Pt5, p. l76
2. Adkin, Leslie, The great harbour of Tara, (1959), p56

Opuawe Kainga

The Opuawe kainga lay in what was later designated Sec 93 Terawhiti District. Location: South Makara road
Type of site: Kainga
Known Iwi/Hapu: Te Atiawa - Ngati Waiponga
Condition: A 1987 archaeological report noted a distinct depression in a loop in the Karori stream but otherwise no firm evidence of the kainga site (1).
It was a small hamlet on the flats just south of the junction of the Karori Stream and the South Makara Valley. At this point the kainga lay astride the meander of the Karori Stream and was at the northern end of the reserve made for the Waiariki people by Col. McCleverty in 1848 (2). In addition to the kainga there were cultivations which included plantings of peaches and figs and burial sites, some of which held greenstone. According to Brodie, as late as the 1870's huts were still in existence at the kainga (3).

On 18 July 1853 Opuawe was sold with the rest of the Waiariki reserve along with reserves at Ohaua, Te Ika a Maru, Oterongo and Karore to the Crown. The whole of the Waiariki reserve of 400 acres went for 2 pound 10s. Despite this sale the Crown eventually reserved land for those who claimed a continuing interest and had neither sold nor received money from the sales in 1844, 1848 or 1853. This is clearly the line of policy taken because at survey in 1861 the drawn plan shows McCleverty's original reserve as 'reserved from sale' (4). In May, this policy was carried into effect at Opuawe. The Native Reserves Commissioner, Major Heaphy, noted the following in his Native Reserves Minutes of Transactions: "10 acres granted to Tupara te Maru under 'the Crown Grant Act No 2, 1862's." This Crown grant covered the small area that was the Opuawe kainga which Tupara te Maru sold to Sam Monaghan (6).

Best wrote that Opuawe was "A place on the Karori stream near the junction of the two headwaters. A small forest hamlet of the Ngati-Awa folk was situated here (7)."

Adkin wrote that the two headwaters are "the Wai-kohu and the present Karori, formerly named Wai-pahihi", and that "The exact spot was within the upstream loop of the peculiar S-bend in the main course of the Karori... 15 chains below the head-waters junction referred to above. A number of depressions, probably whare sites, still mark the spot."

1. NZ Archaeological Association, R27/155
2. Wellington District Registry, Deed Vol 1 fol 456
3. Brodie, J., Terawhiti and the Goldfields.
4. Roll Plan 380, 50 10647, Swainson and Anderson, Terawhite District, DOSLI Wellington
5. NR Minutes of Transactions, p 162, May 1873, Charles Heaphy
6. Wellington District Registry, Crown Grant Vol 9a folio 120
7. Elsdon Best, "The Land of Tara", Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 26, vol 27, vol 28, Pt5,p l77
8. Adkin, Leslie, The great harbour of Tara, (1959), p 53, map on p 123

Pirihia Kainga

This site was also part of the Waiariki reserve (see Opuawe)
Location: Near mouth of Waiariki Stream
Type of site: Kainga
Known Iwi/Hapu: Te Atiawa, Kaitangata
Condition: Not known.

district plan map excerpt

The kainga lay within land designated after European settlement as sec 94 Terawhiti District, Waiariki Reserve at full survey totalled 538 acres 1 rood 14 perches. (1) On 14 April 1882 a Crown grant issued to Sec 94 in favour of Pirihira te Tia. The grant was for an area of 60 acres on the eastern side of the Waiariki stream to the north of the Waiariki kainga, urupa and beach. Pirihia te Tia, a woman of the Kaitangata and Ngäti Tupawhenua hapu, was closely related to Ngati Ngäti. In evidence for the investigation of title to the New Zealand Company 'Tenths' before Alexander MacKay on 4 April 1888, she stated that she was long resident and present at the sale to Colonel Wakefield.

Not all Ngäti Mutunga and Ngäti Tama went to the Chathams in 1835. In the notes on Tiakiwai, Raurimu and Pipitea this is reinforced where it is clearly shown that quite a number of Kaitangata and some Ngati Mutunga people remained at Whanganui-a-Tara. These people were included in the list of original owners of the 'Tenths'. Pirihira is listed among three from Oterongo. (2) The evidence given about the basis of her rights centering on the residence and cultivations of her father at Te Ika a Maru was ignored because the proposed 40 acres that was acknowledged as hers could not be found at Te Ika a Maru but was accommodated rather in Sec 4 Terawhiti District at Waiariki. (3) In 1890 Pirihia asked the Land Court to remove the restriction on the alienation of Section 94. This was granted on 13 May 1890. (4)In the same year Pirihira te Tia sold the land to the McMenamen estate.

Another piece of land associated with the kainga was Sec 96 Terawhiti District. This 460 acre section of the original Waiariki (1848) reserve was sold to the Crown in 1853 and became Crown Land. (5) It was allocated to the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company in December 1894 under the Railways Construction and Land Act 1881, and sold to the Terawhiti Estate five months later. (6)

Best referred to "a Ngati-Awa village" at the mouth of the Waiariki stream called Pirihira." (7) Adkin noted that it was "A former Te Ati-Awa village located on the outer south coast of the area, ie, on Cook Strait, on the left bank of the Waiariki Stream, about 12-15 chains inland from its mouth." (8)

1. SO 11840, DOSLI Wellington
2. 2 Wgtn 261-62, 11 April 1888. MLC Aotea District, Wanganui Registry
3. NR Minutes of Transactions, pp 152-56, 168-162, C. Heaphy, 24 October 1872- 24 April 1873.
4. General Land File, Wgtn 113, Terawhite 93-94, MLC Wanganui Registry
5. See CL 88/1166, Sept 29 1886
6. Brodie, J., Terawhiti and the Goldfields.
7. Elsdon Best, "The Land of Tara", Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 26, vol 27, vol 28, Pt5, p l76
8. Adkin, Leslie, The great harbour of Tara, (1959), p 65, notes this is the position on Best's 1916 map; see Adkin's map p 123

Waiariki Kainga

Location: Mouth of Waiariki Stream
Type of site: Kainga
Known Iwi/Hapu: Ngäti Waiponga
Condition: Not known.

This site is in the area of the principal kainga in the Waiariki reserve. The name Waiariki comes from the mountain which lies just beyond the headwaters of the stream and now known today as Mt Misery. In 1861 the huts of the kainga area were shown by Swainson and Anderson on the eastern side of the stream along the beach in an area near where there are said to be burials. (1) The title to this land was not determined until 25 November 1908. Its utility and ownership is best expressed by Pene te Hiko on whose testimony the title was ordered in the Native Land Court. Pene te Hiko stated:

This urupa is the only part of Waiariki reserve still in Maori ownership. It is 8 acres 1 rood 14 perches (3.374 ha) in extent and has not been further alienated beyond succession orders to the three original owners.

Tacy Kemp in 1850 reported on Waiariki in his Census return.

Archaeological reports provide evidence of an extensive oven area on both sides of the Waiariki stream mouth. Shells and charcoal have been found. (3)


1. S0 10647 - RP 380
2. GBPP 1851 [1420] vol XXXV p 231
3 NZ Archaeological Association N164/109

Korero o te Wa I Raraunga I Rauemi I Te Whanganui a Tara I Whakapapa