Waikato leaders Te Moanaroa and Te Awaitaia

Waikato leaders Te Moanaroa and Te Awaitaia

Te Moanaroa (also known as Te Amoahanga and Amoanaroa) of Waingaroa or Raglan Harbour (left), with Te Awaitaia or William Naylor, 1844. Both men are described as chiefs of Waikato.


Community contributions

26 comments have been posted about Waikato leaders Te Moanaroa and Te Awaitaia

What do you know?

Tony McCracken

Posted: 01 Jul 2009

Kiaora Maata Wharehoka. He mihi nui kiakoe. I would like to contact you by email, but I do not have your email address. Perhaps snailmail will have to do. na Tony McCracken

Maata Wharehoka

Posted: 30 Jun 2009

Kiaora ra Tony and Robyn-Jane Te Moanaroa is my great great grandfather. I am the daughter of Nainai(Rapana Matekino) Moanaroa. We were brought up in Tauranga however my father kept close contact with all the whanau back home. Sporadic as it was he kept us connected but since his passing nothing has been done to keep his memory alive nor that of our whanau. So if you want to contact me I live at 249b Parihaka Rd, Taranaki. Email me and I can send you my other details. I do like learning about our whanau. No reira he mihi tenei ki a koruatahi i whakapiri ki te korero e pa ana ki to tatou whanau Moanaroa. Hope to hear from you soon Na Maata

Tony McCracken

Posted: 08 May 2009

Hullo. I'm pleased to see my ancestor's image on this website (te Moanaroa). My distant cousin Robyn-Jane Wren may have contributed the accompanying history, but she is not its author! I am. Robyn has been a bit naughty. While I was happy to give her a copy of my family history write-up, I did not authorise the use of the material in this way. True, she does not say that she wrote the history. I do not object to seeing my work on the web. However, I think proper attribution should be made. Regards, Tony McCracken 8A Chivalry Rd North Shore 0629

Robyn-Jane Wren

Posted: 03 May 2009

Te Moanaroa is my Great Great Great Grandfather - Here is some history on him: SUSAN McNEISH'S MAORI ORIGINS Kaaterena's tribe was Ngati Tahinga, a Waikato sub-tribe of the Tainui confederation. Ngati Tahinga's traditional lands extend from Whaingaroa Harbour north up the coast to the Waikato Heads and, inland, are bounded on the east by the Waikato River and its tributary the Waipa River. A tradition exists among her Pakeha descendants that Te Ani was the daughter of Potatau Te Wherowhero, the first Maori King. This tradition is quite without foundation and is just one of those oft-heard stories one hears about ancestors from people wishing perhaps to ennoble their family history. However, the tradition can be shown to have some foundation in a wider interpretation of kinship as it is revealed in Maori renderings of their genealogy. It can be shown that Te Ani had lateral kinship with Potatau. Both are third or fourth generation descendants of Hokakaimatangi, Potatau from the senior wife, Puna, and Te Ani from the most junior wife, Kahupeka.1 What can be asserted is Te Ani's descent from crew members of most of the vessels which feature in New Zealand's celebrated canoe migrations. Te Ani's parents were Te Moanaroa and Kiwi-e. Angas leaves us some interesting diary references to Te Moanaroa. There is little else about him in the conventional records. Of Kiwi-e there is even less recorded. Only one diary entry has been found that refers to her. Her son, Hohua, Te Ani's only known sibling, became an Anglican minister. As a deacon he accompanied the Reverend Vicesimus Lush on his journeys through the lower Waikato region - Lush's parish extended from Waiheke Island to the Waikato. Lush's journals refer to a visit to Rangikako, "the largest village (Lush had) ever seen". There, on 14 March 1866, Hohua had a reunion with his mother.2 Rangikako was one and a half days horseback ride from Te Kohanga (near Port Waikato) and was situated on the overland trail between Port Waikato and the harbour of Whaingaroa, perhaps about 25 kilometres from the harbour. In 1866 Kiwi-e had outlived her son-in-law, David. If Te Ani, her daughter, was a teenager at the time of the celebrated wrestling match, then Kiwi-e at the same time could have been as young as 30. So Kiwi-e was probably well over 60 when Lush and Hohua passed through Rangikako in March 1866. Only one other possible reference to Kiwi-e has surfaced, in the diary of George French Angas, as we shall see. Rather more can be gathered about Te Moanaroa. It is reasonable to assume that he was present at the wrestling match. Several years later, in 1844, George French Angas recorded an encounter with Te Moanaroa. As in the Auckland encounter, Angas alludes to the relationship by marriage between Te Moanaroa and David McNish. It was the 9 October. Angas was in the company of a Mr Forsaith, a government agent. They had both just attended a major hui (gathering) at or near Raglan. After departing from there, they paused briefly... "at the house of the chief Te Moanaroa, or Tepene (sic) which is situated on the banks of one of the branches of the harbour. Here we remained for half an hour, that our lads might get some food, and the chief's wife boiled some eggs for us to carry with us on our journey. Te Moanaroa is related by marriage to the government interpreter, whose native wife I have previously alluded to. Before we entered the courtyard at the back of the house, we were almost suffocated by the violent stench of kaanga, or stinking corn, arising from a large pot over the fire in the yard, filled with a sort of gruel prepared by boiling the putrescent maize. Two slave women sat stirring it round with sticks, inhaling with evident delight the odour that to us was indescribably disgusting. My companion, looking across the mudflats left uncovered by the tide, remarked that we should have a difficulty in crossing. 'Oh, no,' says Tepene, 'you shall have my horses, and ride over like Rangiteras'(sic). 'But you have no horses,' replied Forsaith. 'They are there,' responded the chief, pointing to some of his men who sat near the door of the house, 'and on the tops of their shoulders you shall ride across the flats.'"3 It is clear that Te Moanaroa was a hospitable host and was possessed of a keen sense of humour. The reference to his wife boiling eggs for Angas and Forsaith is possibly a rare reference to Kaaterena's mother, that is assuming this wife was the mother of Kaaterena. For tradition has it that Tipene had at least two wives.4 However, at the time of Angas' visit, Te Moanaroa was a Christian and went by his baptismal name Tipene (Stephen). It is probable, therefore, that the woman mentioned was, from that time, his only 'actual' wife. It is also likely that the slave women tending the 'stinking corn' were no longer slaves in fact. Liberation of slaves had been the consequence of conversion to Christianity which had accelerated in the late 1830s.5 However, most ex-slaves would have chosen to remain in their communities of former bondage. This was all that was left to them. To have returned home from slavery was out of the question for most of them. There would have been more to lose by going back to tribal homelands because enslavement had stripped them permanently of their mana. Only the ex-slaves imbued with a sense of Christian missionary zeal could go back confidently to their turangawaewae (tribal home territory), as was the case in Waiapu, on the East Cape. Of interest too is the existence in Angas' work of two sketches of a slave woman stirring a pot. Only once in his diaries did Angas refer to slave women stirring a pot. And this once was in the context of the visit to Te Moanaroa's home. The origins of these women can only be guessed at. They could have originated from Taranaki, where Waikato warriors, including Te Moanaroa presumably, had waged wars of utu some 15 or more years earlier. Certainly the most clearly depicted woman in Angas' sketch is not young. Had they been concubines in Te Moanaroa's household? This is a possibility before Tipene's conversion and baptism. An earlier speculation by the writer6 that Te Ani might have been a daughter of one of them can now be discounted, in the light of the tradition passed down by Maori descendants about Te Ani's arranged marriage. The sketches of the slave women are in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Art Section. Also in that collection, and of even greater interest to descendants, is a copy of the original 1847 publication of Angas' paintings done during his travels in the upper North Island. The publication, entitled The New Zealanders Illustrated, includes a magnificent lithograph of Angas' painting of Te Moanaroa.7 The lithograph shows Te Moanaroa standing, wrapped in a cloak. His tattoo is revealed in fine detail and tells us something about his genealogy. The double forehead rays on the right-hand side indicate that his senior line of descent was through his mother, who was of a special rank awarded for skill8. Her name was Parehuia. Squatting on the ground beside Te Moanaroa is Te Awa-i-taia, alias Wiremu Naera, the renowned chief of neighbouring Ngati Mahanga. Te Awa-i-taia was better known to the Pakeha as William Naylor. He was described by Potatau Te Wherowhero as his (Potatau's) 'right arm'. The future Maori King likened Te Awa-i-taia's conversion and baptism to the actual loss of his right arm. They had shared in some military campaigns in the past. Unanswered questions are: Where did the two chiefs pose? Did they pose side by side? Did the publishers simply consolidate two portraits for the sake of economy? Certainly the two chiefs were neighbours and also they were kinsmen. Angas' half hour stopover at Te Moanaroa's home for food supplies was scarcely long enough for him to complete one so detailed portrait, let alone two. The diary entry for that visit makes no mention of Te Awa-i-taia's presence. It seems far more likely that the painting was executed during the previous day or two during the 'hui' held at or near Raglan. Alongside the painting, Angas described Te Moanaroa as ... "...a chief of Waingaro(sic)...an intelligent and enlightened man, and a friend of the Europeans." The painting has been republished along with others of Angas' works. 9 A quite detailed profile emerges for Te Ani, or Kaaterena as she became known. Maori genealogical traditions from Port Waikato confirm that she was the daughter of Te Moanaroa, a Ngati Tahinga rangatira (chief), and Kiwi-e, his second wife.10 Te Ani's relationship to Te Moanaroa is confirmed too by Angas. Reference has already been made to Angas' observations about Kaaterena in an Auckland setting. We know too that she became agreeable to the arranged marriage. There is hearsay evidence that she was attracted to David's athletic prowess in the wrestling contest with her brother.11 There is every reason to believe that she was also a devout Christian and a devoted mother. Cassie McCracken hands down the story that Major and Mrs McGregor (of the 65th Regiment) had learned in Raglan of the death of David MacNish and had written home to Scotland to advise David's family of the wife and family he had left behind. The reply came to send the boys to college and the "little" girl home to Scotland, "the MacNishes to pay all expenses." Presumably the invitation to send the boys to college was meant for the younger brothers. The older boys would have been in their late teens or even in their twenties by 1863. And Susan was about eighteen at the time. However, the instructions from Scotland were never carried out. It appears that Kaaterena had her own views about where her children belonged. Kaaterena's devotion to her children is attested to by her grand-daughter, Alice Noffke. Alice wrote that... "well-to-do relatives in England...used to send out great hampers of beautiful clothing and books and besought David to send his children home to be educated; but their mother could never bear the idea of parting with them, and the father had not the heart to insist on sending them away from her."12 Kaaterena's opinions about her children's upbringing carried much weight. The reference to "relatives in England" is not necessarily erroneous. The death certificate for David's brother, William, registered his death in London, 1861.13 In any case, it is easy to believe that Kaaterena's wishes were readily acceded to by David given his abiding resentment of his father. Further illustration of Kaaterena's devotion as a mother can be found in a story related by both Cassie McCracken and Alice Noffke. Her... "...children were growing up without any education, so McNeish (sic) sent four of the elder boys to a private school established by Dr Maunsell, near the Waikato Heads, where there were both white and half-caste pupils.The children at the school were sometimes very inadequately fed, for the irregularity of shipping from England sometimes caused a temporary scarcity of food. Frequently there was nothing to eat but boiled rice, and on more than one occasion the result was an epidemic of sickness, of which one or two of the pupils died. There were no means of letting all the parents know when this food shortage occurred, or of returning the children to their homes, so the teachers carried on as best they could, hoping and praying for the arrival of fresh supplies. It was especially hard on the half-castes, and whenever possible messages were sent to their parents asking either that the children be taken home, or that provisions be sent to them. After many delays, word came to Catherine (Kaaterena) McNeish that her children were dying of starvation at school. Her husband was away from home, but after arranging with some relatives to care for her little ones, Catherine set out alone to succour her sons. She carried with her a flax kit of kumaras, and another filled with potatoes, dried fish and pork, and struggled through the bush tracks, loaded with her heavy kits, taking three days to reach the school. She found her children so emaciated that she scarcely recognised them. With loving care she prepared meals of their own native food, and nursed them devotedly for three weeks till they had recovered sufficient strength to be moved to their home at Raglan."14 The reference to "supplies from England" is erroneous, at least as far as food is concerned. But the reference to food shortages is not. Certainly Maunsell's school would have depended on domestic market sources for most of its foodstuffs and not an off-shore market. And so the record attests. At all times Maunsell clung to the hope that the school could be self-sufficient. But this could not always be so. Maunsell remarked that "Often have we been brought very low for supplies: but, as often, donations almost entirely from the natives themselves, come in to our aid".15 Maunsell also describes the enthusiasm of the Maoris when his flour mill arrived in 1849 - this enthusiasm in turn reflected their now entrenched enthusiasm for wheat because of "the failure through exhaustion of many of their potato grounds".16 A year later, "Maunsell was forced to send half his scholars away for a while until he could get more food." This was because the discovery of gold in Australia had caused food prices to rise.17 Clearly the demand in Australia for produce from New Zealand would have distorted prices in the Auckland region. And clearly Maunsell's school could not withstand these distortions. Self-sufficiency at Maraetai (Port Waikato) was an elusive goal for Maunsell. He came closer to that goal after his mission base had been shifted to Te Kohanga, about fourteen kilometres up-river. Nevertheless, hunger was a familiar visitor to the pupils at Maunsell's school. But it is a tribute to Kaaterena's determination that her children survived the hardship. After her rescue mission, Kaaterena virtually disappears from all mention in family tradition. It is clear, however, that she looms larger in the family's history than documentary records would suggest.