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Maori Te Aroha before the opening of the goldfield (mostly through Pakeha eyes)

The various names of the peaks of the mountain and the legends concerning it reflected a violent past. As proof, several pa have been located, both at Te Aroha and at Waiorongomai, and the names of some of the streams indicate the nature and consequences of the battles fought in this contested area. Ngati Rahiri was subdivided into three hapu: Ngati Tumutumu, Hgati Hue, and Ngati Kopirimau, descendents of these ancestors. In the nineteenth century, when the population was small, Hou was the senior rangatira, with Tutuki being the subordinate rangatira of the plains. A pa (later known as Tui pa) was constructed at Omahu, to the north of the hot springs, which were prized by Maori and increasingly enjoyed by Pakeha. Some of the land was cultivated, though visiting Pakeha considered that settlers could do much more to develop the agricultural potential. Most Ngati Rahiri were regarded as being ‘friendly’, welcoming (and benefiting from) visitors. Elaborate welcoming ceremonies were held for officials and rangatira, and a hotel operated by a rangatira’s son provided basic accommodation. Under Maori auspices the first race day was held in January 1878. Also in 1878, negotiators obtained an agreement to make a road to Paeroa, using Maori workers, and as the benefits of such improvements became apparent there was increased willingness to permit the construction of more roads, a bridge, and the snagging of the river, over the objections of a minority. Pakeha disapproved of how money raised through land sales in particular were wasted on extravagant displays of mana, which were not possible after the end of the 1870s because of lack of money, necessitating seeking paid employment. Friendly contact increased steadily, apart from occasional worries prompted by such events as the shooting of Daldy McWilliams, and a football match in May 1880 reportedly revealed ‘the utmost friendly feeling’ existing between Maori and Pakeha.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). Maori Te Aroha before the opening of the goldfield (mostly through Pakeha eyes). (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 26), Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart