opotiki

Biography

On 2 March 1865 Carl Völkner, a German-born missionary, was hanged from a willow tree near his church at Opotiki. Followers of a new religion, Pai Marire, who suspected Völkner of spying for the government, were held responsible.

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Articles

Pai Marire

  • Pai Marire

    Pai Marire (goodness and peace) was one of several new Māori faiths to emerge in the 19th century. Like many others, it was closely tied to issues of land and politics.

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  • Page 3 - The death of Carl VölknerThe ritual killing by Pai Mārire followers of missionary Carl Völkner in 1865 shocked the colony. The government used the event to justify taking harsh action against Pai

The death penalty

  • The death penalty

    The first execution in New Zealand was that of a young Maori named Maketu, convicted at Auckland in 1842. Walter Bolton became the last to be executed when he was hanged at Mount Eden prison in 1957. In total there were 83 verified executions for murder and one for treason in New Zealand between these dates.

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  • Page 3 - Mokomoko and VölknerThe Te Whakatōhea chief Mokomoko was one of five Māori executed on 17 May 1866 for being implicated in the murder of the missionary Carl Volkner at Ōpōtiki in 1865. The

Town in the eastern Bay of Plenty, 60 km south-east of Whakatāne in the centre of the traditional tribal area of Te Whakatōhea. A Church Missionary Society (Anglican) station was established in 1840. The settlement was also the site of a significant incident in the New Zealand Wars: the missionary Carl Völkner was executed there by Māori on 2 March 1865. The reason given was that while under their protection, he had been acting as a government agent. In the aftermath much Te Whakatōhea land was confiscated. Military settlers were allocated land in the district and Ōpōtiki became a government centre in the Bay of Plenty.

Meaning of place name
Ō: place of; Pōtiki, the ancestor of the iwi that bears his name. In full it was Pōtiki-mai-tawhiti (tawhiti signifying that he came from afar, namely Hawaiki). A nearby spring was called Ō-Pōtiki-mai-tawhiti, the name eventually being transferred to the township. There is no clear historical record of Pōtiki, and it is likely he was a very early settler in the area.