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Pipitea, and Kumutoto

Maori Sites of Te Whanganui a Tara

wellington tara symbol

Pipitea Precinct

Pipitea Pa

Kumutoto Kainga

Pipitea Precinct

The Pipitea area (Thorndon) is historically significant as the "fulcrum" on which control of Te Whanganui a Tara has see-sawed.

The area was not regularly inhabited or extensively used by the Ngai Tara or Ngāti Ira peoples. These earlier iwi came to the harbour from the East Coast, and settled mostly along the eastern and southern coastal areas of Te
Whanganui a Tara. (1)

They probably regarded the western harbour as a dangerous area. For centuries, Ngai Tara and then, from the mid-eighteenth century. Ngāti Ira feuded with Muaupoko and Rangitane people from Rangitikei. Both invaders evidently tended to affack from this western side of the harbour, coming down the Coast and then overland to the harbour from Owhariu (Ohariu) and on to Pipitea. (2)

Similarly, Pipitea served as the "beachhead" position for the northern taua in their exploratory raid against Ngati Ira in 1819-1820. (3) Shortly after, Ngāti Toa (with Ngāti Mutunga and Te Atiawa contingents) returned to settle the coast, first securing a stronghold at Kapiti Island. In the great battle of Waiorua in 1824, the migrants established dominance over Muaupoko and Rangitane (and probably Ngāti Ira) on the Kapiti Coast. Shortly after this battle more Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama arrived in a migration called Nihoputa and peacefully settled at Waikanae and Owhariu respectively. (4)

Probably that same year, 1824, Ngāti Tama extended their Owhariu settlement into the harbour itself, once again choosing Pipitea (specifically Tiakiwai) as the focal point of initial settlement. (5) Ngāti Mutunga soon followed. This Nihoputa migration established most of the kainga and cultivation areas in what is now Wellington city.

The Minute Book evidence suggests that Ngāti Tama used Pipitea, especially Taikiwai, more as a point of departure than of settlement. Ngāti Tama were in the taua of 1819/20 and they would have been familiar with the region and aware of the potential in the Wairarapa. Their peaceful relations with the tangata whenua may have encouraged them to move on to Mukamuka in Palliser Bay, which became the iwi beachhead into the Ruamahanga Valley. Movement for Ngāti Tama was between Owhariu (which was settled with Ngāti Toa support) and the southern Wairarapa. Although Ngāti Mutunga followed, this probably did not occur until Te Pehi Kupe returned from England in 1827. (6)

According to Elsdon Best, they settled at:

"Owhariu, Wai-ariki, and other places on the coast, others came over to... Te Aro , Kumutoto, Nga Pakoko, Pipitea, Te Rae-kaihau, Kopaeparawai, Tiakiwai, Raurimu and Pa-kuao, all of which places [were]... between Te Aro flat and the eastern end of Tinakore Road. Other settlements were at Kai-wharawhara, Nga-uranga, Pito-one, and at Hikoikoi and Ohiti on the other side of the Hutt River...(7)

At the time, Ngāti Ira still occupied coastal sites at Waiwhetu, Te Maau, Whiorau, Okiwi, Paraoanui and Kohanga-te-ra (the lagoon at Turakirae), and from Owhariu to Porirua.

Ngatihinetuhi, who were led by Te Poki, Patukawenga, Raumoa, Pomare and others with Ngatata-i-te rangi (who later settled his Heke Paukena relations at Te Aro - see below) arrived and occupied the inner harbour, then proceeded to eject Ngāti Ira (or more precisely Ngāti Kahukura-awhitia and Rakaiwhakairi) from the eastern side of the harbour and the Hutt valley.

Over the next three to five years, in a series of "short sharp clashes," they drove Ngāti Ira out to Wairarapa, via Turakirae and then, in a last stand, Tapu Te Ranga island. (8)

In 1832 another 2000 Te Atiawa, of the Ngāti Te Whiti, Ngāti Tawhirikura, Te Matehou hapu - including prominent rangatira Te Wharepouri, Te Puni, and Wi Tako Ngatata, came to Waikanae in the migration called Tama te uaua. In 1834, roughly another 1000 Te Atiawa under Te Rangitake (Wi Kingi), and Taranaki and Ngāti Ruanui under Te Hanataua, Pakuahi and Te Mira, came to Waikanae in a migration called Te Heke Paukena to help fight Ngāti Raukawa at the Haowhenua battle. Large numbers of the former soon moved to Petone and Waiwhetu at Ngāti Mutunga's invitation,(9) and the latter to Te Aro flat at Ngatata-i-te-rangi's invitation. Ngāti Tama struggled with Te Rangihaeata, and ended up firmly settled at Owhariu.

When Ngāti Mutunga and some contingents of the 1824 Nihoputa migration left for the Chatham Islands in 1835, they burned the whare, fences and flax warehouses around Kumutoto and Pipitea, and by panui (formal announcement) made at Matiu (Somes Island), gave their Te Whanganui a Tara lands to their migrant relations. (10)

1. Elsdon Best, "The Land of Tara", Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 27 Pt 2 p 5
2. See Muaupoko raid on Ngai Tara (5-600 years ago) in Best, ibid, Pt I p166 raid on Ngāti Ira in mid eighteenth century, Best Pt 3 p 56. The same sources indicate that Pauatahanui was a similarly vulnerable spot
3. Best, Pt 3 p 66. Also A Ballara "Te Whanganui-a-Tara: Phases of Maori Occupation of Wellington Harbour c. 1800-1840" in The Making of Wellington, ed D Hamer, R Nicholls 1990, p15
4. Ballara, pp16-18
5. Best Pt 4 p103; Ballara pp l8 and 25. Note Ngāti Tama soon established other settlements at Kaiwharawhara and at Mukamuka (at Palliser Bay). Neither sefttlement was opposed by earlier inhabitants. Ibid p18.
6. P Kou te Rangi, Ngarara hearing, Wellington 21/2/1890, 10 Otaki Minute Book, 300-301 MLC and Pomare, evidence of, OLC 1022, David Scott, Case 439 Box 53, 1842 National Archives, Wgtn
7. Best Pt 4 p 103. Best, Pt 5 p170, places Nga Pakoko at the junction of Mulgrave and Sydney streets, Te Rae-kaihau overlooking the south-eastern end of Thorndon Quay, and Kopaeparawai at the junction of Molesworth and Murphy streets. Nothing is known of the historical or social significance of these places.
8. Best, Pt 4 p1 03; Ballara, ppl8-20. Note, at the same time, Ngati Toa drove Ngati Ira from Porirua.
9. Ballara, pp 23-25
10. As to the burning of whare see IA 1/43/1929 p112 National Archives Wgtn.

Pipitea Pa

Pipitea Pa Courtyard | Pipitea pa properties

Location: From the old shoreline at the bend in Thorndon Quay at Davis Street, west to about Pipitea Street.
Type of site: Kainga
Known Iwi/Hapu connections: Te Atiawa (1)
Condition: Built over

One of Wellington's earliest pakeha settlers, David Scott, reported that when he arrived here in March 1831, there were "a great many [Maori], principally living at Pipitea and Kumutoto." (2) Two more large migrations soon swelled the ranks of Taranaki folk on the coast and in Wairarapa: in 1832, the Tama te
uaua migration of Te Ati Awa hapu (Ngāti Te Whiti, Ngāti Tawhitikura, and Te Matehou), and in 1834, Te Heke Paukena of Taranaki and Ngāti Ruanui people.

Before the 1835 migration to the Chathams, the senior Ngāti Mutunga rangatira at Pipitea were Patukawenga and Te Poki. They gave their land to Moturoa, Wairarapa, and Matoha, who apportioned it amongst their hapu Te Matehou. (3) By 1842, various accounts listed six, twenty and thirty-three 'land-owning' rangatira at Pipitea, among 134 residents (59 men, 43 women, 13 boys and 19 girls)(4).

None of these 'landowners' participated in the 1839 'sale' of Te Whanganui a Tara to the New Zealand Company. Hence, when the Company moved to Lambton Harbour from Petone, Pipitea (along with Kumutoto and Te Aro) became the centre of Maori opposition.

To quieten Pipitea's dissent, the Company's armed survey team laid out Pipitea pa as a mixture of Public Market Reserve and Native Reserve. The cultivation areas immediately behind the pa were selected as Military Reserves and Native Reserves. The gaol and stockade were placed immediately behind the pa, and the police office, court and government office were built within the kainga itself. (5)

Dissent continued. until in 1844 another 200 pounds compensation paid, and the kainga, cultivations and wahi tapu were excluded from the sale. Prior to this, settlers estimated the kainga covered five or six acres of land. (6) In April 1845, though, Assistant Government Surveyor T.H. Fitgerald surveyed the award of the kainga according to a definitfion agreed upon by Land Commissioner Spain, Governor FitzRoy, Colonel Wakefield, George Clarke (jun), and Superintendent Richmond in January 1844. This secured between three and four acres in Native Title, later laid out as a Native Village with 23 individual sections apportioned to Pipitea residents and their descendants. (7)

The cultivations and wahi tapu excepted in 1844 were given up in 1847, and a total of 7,436 acres of land at Orangi-kaupapa (M54), Wiremu-taone (Johnsonville), and Orongorongo assigned in Native Title instead.

In the 1850's and 60's, the Pipitea people nearly all moved out to the Hutt. In 1862, G. F. Swainson became Commissioner of Native Reserves in Wellington, and encouraged Maori to bring the pa lands into the Land Court for investigation of title. (8) Each of the hapu allotments was issued a certificate of title. In the 1870s and 1880s, many of the pa allotments were sold. In at least one instance, Lot 4 belonging to Mere Pawa and her son Here Parata, the sale was made in 1886 to repay a £250 debt to a Hutt storekeeper, Robert Cleland. (9)

In 1887-1889 and 1898, four of the allotments were partitioned into smaller areas to facilitate sales. By 1972 all allotments had been sold. The one striking presence at Pipitea is the marae which lies on parts of section 542 and 543. This marae has strong associations with Te Atiawa, but is the marae of Ngāti Poneke, bringing together Maori of many iwi.

1 . General: Adkin, Leslie, The great harbour of Tara, (1959), p 65; Elsdon Best, "The Land of Tara", Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 26, p 170
2. Ev. of David Scott, 6 June 1 842, in Archives OLC 1/1022
3. Archives OLC case 229, Robert Tod, pp 87-88, and lAl /43/1929 p 102
4. Rangatira lists: Wi Tako's at IA 1 /43/1929, p 102; Moturoa's at OLC case 229 pp 57 & 72-73. Population: Halswell's census in Waitangi Tribunal Wai 145 Doc:CO 208 extracts pp 57-59
5. Wakefield, E.J. Adventure in New Zealand, , pp 43 & 63; Felton Mathew map and Gazette notice, 1841
6. Ev. of G. B. Earp, 13/6/1844, Minutes of Evidence to Select Commfttee on New Zealand, GBPP 1844 (H.C. 556) p 119
7. Plan WD 3140
8. 1 Wairarapa Minute Book Pipitea MLC Takitimu Registry
9. Gilmore, N "Kei Pipitea taku Kainga - Ko te Matehou te ingoa o taku iwi The New Zealand Company Native Reserve Scheme and Pipitea, 1839-1888," MA Thesis, La Trobe University, 1986, p 58

Kumutoto Kainga

Location: From Lambton Quay to Bowen Street, along Woodward Street.
Type of site: Kainga
Known Iwi/Hapu connections: Ngāti Mutunga, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Te Whiti(1)
Condition: Built over

Kumutoto Stream met the sea at approximately the intersection of Woodward Street and Lambton Quay. Adkin records "numerous traces of former cultivation and of cooking ovens with midden material" on the sides of the Kumutoto Gully, below Everton Terrace.

Together with various kainga from Pipitea to Kaiwharawhara, Kumutoto was established around 1824-25 by the Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama Nihoputa migrants. Around 1830 Kumutoto became a flax-collection centre. In March 1831 one of the flax traders David Scott bought three and a half acres of Kumutoto land (from Woodward Street north to about Bowen Street) from Pomare. He fenced the site and built warehouses and European-style dwellings and for about three years Kumutoto served as the central flax-collection point in a network of flax stations up and down the east of the North Island. (2)

The Te Atiawa/Taranaki rangatira Ngatata-i-te-rangi had also come to Kumutoto with the Nihoputa migrants. In 1832, Ngatata's son, Wi Tako, came to Waikanae in the Tama te uaua migration, along with Te Puni, Te Wharepouri and about 2000 other Ngāti Te Whiti, Ngāti Tawhitikura and Te Matehou folk. The influx brought conflict - an 1832-34 push into the Wairarapa, combined with the 1834 Haowhenua battles with Ngāti Raukawa - which in turn brought further Taranaki folk down (a war party called Te Heke Paukena) under Te Rangitake/Wi Kingi. (3)

The war disturbed Kumutoto's flax operations, and Scott left for Sydney. Many of the new migrants moved to various kainga around the harbour (mostly Petone, Ngauranga and Te Aro). (4) When Ngāti Mutunga left for the Chathams in 1835, about fifly people under Wi Tako Ngatata moved to Kumutoto (probably mostly Ngāti Te Whiti).

When Scott returned in May 1840, Wi Tako Ngatata befriended him, acknowledged his earlier purchase, and built new houses for him (which Dicky Barrett and Johnny Wade demolished for Col. Wakefield). (5) Scott and Wakefield fought for years over their share of the kainga's lands. The Town Acre at the mouth of Kumutoto Stream was selected in July 1840 as a Native Reserve, and was reserved in Native Title for the Kumutoto people in September 1847, along with about 53 acres in the Town Belt that contained about ten acres of cultivations. The 53 acres were assigned in exchange for cultivations in Karori, Ohiro and Upper Kaiwharawhara.

From 28 March 1845, Wi Tako Ngatata leased a part of section 487 to a Mr. Rhodes. (6) During 1847 Wi Tako leased another 15.427 perches around and including his own house as a barracks for the Armed Constabulary. This was a 3-year, 30 pound/year lease. Wi Tako sought a Crown Grant of section 487 during the early 1850s, when Francis Dillon Bell was awarding grants of lands claimed under the New Zealand Company's purchases.

By January 1852, the Congregation of Independents had evidently leased the neighbouring section, accidently built on to Ngāti Te Whiti's section 487, and now sought to buy the encroached-upon part. Initially Wi Tako favoured offering a lease, but after discussions with Dillon Bell, by September 1852 had decided to sell. On 23 October 1852, he accepted 50 pound plus 10 pound back-rent for 6.75 perches.

In the same month, on 11 October 1852, the 53 acre cultivation reserve was reconveyed to the Crown for 160 pound. (7) Sixteen days later this land was Crown Granted to the Superintendent of the Wesleyan Mission for the establishment of a school. No school was built in Wellington; the land instead was sold to the Provincial Government in 1865 at 50 pound per acre (a 1600% increase in 13 years). It is now the largest portion of the Wellington Botanical Gardens. (8)

On 19 July 1853 a Crown Grant finally issued to Wi Tako and eight others for 3 roods 8 perches of section 487. It does not appear to have been registered until 4 July 1874. (9) A long period of leasing followed. (10)

In 1888 section 487 was brought before the Native Land Court. (11) Hohepine Love sought title as successor to her father, Wi Tako, who prior to his death in 1887 purchased the interests of the remaining live co-grantees, Hakarau and Paratenete Au for £200 each. The award to Hohepine followed the configuration of the section laid out in the Crown Grant, ie, subdivided into three sections: Part I with 2 roods 9 perches, Part 2 with 15 perches, and Part 3 with 13 perches.

The orders were registered under Hohepine's husband, Tamiora Love, who was also executor of Wi Tako's will. (12) As late as 1950, part of section 487 (the east corner of Woodward and Lambton Quay) came before the Land Court for confirmation of a sale to lvor Te Puni. However, none of the section remains in Maori ownership today. (13)

1 . General: Adkin, Leslie, The great harbour of Tara, (1959), pp 33-34 & Maps lV-2, V; Elsdon Best, "The Land of Tara", Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 26, p 170
2. Ev. of David Scott, Pomare, and Wi Tako Ngatata in Archives OLC I/I 022.
3. Ballara, pp 18, 22-25
4 Petone see Ballara pp 22 23 Te Aro and Ngauranga see Ballara p 25 and Archives IA 1/1843/1929,pp109-110
5. Archives OLC 1/1022, pp 4-10
6. Wellington District Registry, Deeds Vol 1 fol 62
7. See Wellington District Registry, Deeds Vol 2 fol 153 and Deeds Vol 1 fol 306
8. 1866 AJHR D-16 p 3 Item No 8
9. Wellington District Registry Deeds Vol 29 fol 808 also DOSLI Wellington District Office WD 899 and 865
10. See Wellington District Registry Deeds Index Vol 12 fol 642 and 161
11. 1 Wgtn Minute Book, fol 282-83, 24/2/1888, MLC Wanganui Registry
12. Wellington District Registry, Deeds Index Vol 12 fol 161
13. Wgtn 185 General Land File We

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