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Neighbours at Puhoi River: A cross-cultural dual biography of Te Hemara Tauhia(1815-1891) and Martin Krippner(1817-1894)

This thesis seeks to re-construct the biographies of two relatively obscure, yet fascinating and controversial players in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. Both historical figures were initiators and leaders of neighbouring settlements: the rangatira, Te Hemara Tauhia (1815 – 1891), in his role as chief of the Te Kawerau/Ngāti Rongo hapū of the Ngāti Whātua iwi, re-occupying ancestral lands after living in captivity with Ngāpuhi, and the former Austrian captain, Martin Krippner (1817 – 1894), organiser of an Austrian-Bohemian settlement made possible under the Auckland Provincial Government land grant scheme. Despite their efforts for each community, both men were accused by their own people of misusing their positions for personal gains. Te Hemara Tauhia was blamed for selling off tribal lands to cover personal debts. Martin Krippner was never forgiven for promising his Bohemian compatriots a ‘land of milk and honey’ while leading them to near starvation and struggle within dense New Zealand bush, and subsequently into war in the Waikato where Krippner was commissioned captain in the Waikato Militia. Focussing on three main objectives, this cross-cultural dual biography provides an original contribution to historical scholarship: Firstly, it looks behind the myths that have been created around Te Hemara Tauhia and Martin Krippner; it thoroughly examines what both men did and how social, economic and political circumstances influenced their motivations and choices at that particular time. Secondly, placing Tauhia’s and Krippner’s biographies side-by-side provides a novel view of a range of historical phenomena from both Tangata Whenua (indigenous peoples) and European settlers (Pākehā) perspectives. Looking at the same events from different angles and perspectives, a cross-cultural, dual biography can act like a prismatic tool, revealing the complexity of a shared history. The third aim of this research encompasses my intention to contribute to and to participate in a dialogue between ethnic groups in Aotearoa New Zealand, especially between Māori and Pākehā, in order to challenge stereotypes and generalisations based on lack of knowledge of historical and cultural contexts.
Type of thesis
Eddy, A. (2017). Neighbours at Puhoi River: A cross-cultural dual biography of Te Hemara Tauhia(1815-1891) and Martin Krippner(1817-1894) (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/11359
The University of Waikato
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