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Te Karauna Hou: the senior Ngati Rahiri rangatira

Te Karauna Hou, the principal Ngati Rahiri rangatira living at Te Aroha in 1880, had a distinguished whakapapa linking him to several hapu. Before settling permanently at Te Aroha in the 1870s he lived in several places, especially at Kaitawa, on the southern outskirts of Thames. One of the principal rangatira in Hauraki, he was loyal to the Crown during the Waikato War, and later assisted Pakeha settlement. To emphasize his mana and that of his hapu, he held big festivities at Kaitawa and at Omahu pa at Te Aroha. In 1871, when Ngati Haua won a (temporary) victory in the land court over the ownership of the Aroha Block, Karauna took control of it on behalf of the Marutuahu confederation, and subsequently kept Ngati Haua at bay. For a time he opposed road-making on this block, but later agreed to it, for financial reasons. Like all rangatira, he sought to maximize his ownership of as many blocks of land as possible, sometimes having his lies exposed through his contradicting his earlier evidence. He also denied receiving money for land when his denials were easily disproved. Despite leasing and selling land, selling timber and gum, and opening his land to miners, he often struggled financially. Karauna claimed to have found gold in Hauraki in 1852, and was willing to open his land at Thames to miners, but did not invest in any claims before the Te Aroha rush, when he attempted to extract a bonus of £1,000 from the government for opening the field. After his death in 1885, Pakeha remembered with gratitude his friendly attitude to them, but they also remembered his drunkenness, which meant he lost the respect of both Maori and Pakeha in his latter years.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016) Te Karauna Hou: the senior Ngati Rahiri rangatira. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 30), Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart

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