This historical account describes the relationship between the Crown and Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura from 1840 and identifies Crown actions which have caused grievance to Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura over the generations. It provides context for the Crown’s acknowledgements of its Treaty breaches against Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura and for the Crown’s apology to Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura. This historical account covers the following:
The relationship of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura to the Kiingitanga
The relationship of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura to the Raupatu
The loss of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura lands
The incarceration of Tiioriori and its impact
Native Land Court Hearings
The Impacts of the Waikato River Hydro Scheme on Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura
The Waikato River, Tributaries and Freshwater Fisheries
The Economic Loss suffered by Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura
Language and Cultural Loss suffered by Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura
1. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura
Ngaati Korokii descends from the high chief Korokii who is a descendant 16 generations removed from Hoturoa, captain of the Tainui canoe. Ngaati Kahukura descends from the high chieftainess Kahukura, also a descendant 16 generations removed from Hoturoa. Joined together through common ancestry and lineage their descendants are Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura.
The ancestral tribal rohe of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura span from Southern Hamilton City, following the Waikato River to the northern end of Lake Arapuni, inland to western Te Awamutu and through again to southern Hamilton City encompassing Mount Maungatautari and many kaainga settlements. The tribal rohe is both within and without the Waikato Raupatu Claim Area established in 1995.
Korokii and Kahukura had their homes near the present township of Cambridge at the Karaapiro Stream. Korokii along with his allies conquered the Ngaati Kauwhata and Ngaati Raukawa under Taowhakairo taking control of the Maungatautari region and the stretch of the Waikato River from Arapuni northward to Te Parapara.
Maungatautari is the tuupuna maunga and living taonga to the Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura people. His forests offered shelter to the people in hard times and provided foods such as birdlife and native flora and fauna. Maungatautari is a symbol of mana for Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura.
The Waikato River is the tuupuna awa and living taonga to Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura. The waters of Waikato had traditional healing powers; her waters enabled the land to remain fertile thereby allowing the gardens of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura to flourish. The waters of Waikato yielded aquatic foods such as fish and tuna and the Arapuni region was coined ‘te rohe o te tuna – the region of the plentiful eels’. The Waikato River was the principle highway of trade and transport taking Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura wheat, flax and potatoes as far as Auckland to be exported to Sydney and the Americas.
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura has several hapuu: Ngaati Waihoro, Ngaati Ueroa, Ngaati Huakatoa, Ngaati Houruamua, Ngaati Werewere and Ngaati Poorangi. All of these hapuu lived around the base of Maungatautari and beside the Waikato River. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura exercised tikanga to manage, defend and develop their tribal area for the benefit of all its members.
2. The relationship of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura to the Kiingitanga
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura has been faithful adherents to the Kiingitanga from its inception in 1858. Tiioriori convinced his people to adhere to the principles of Kiingitanga attending many hui from Puukawa, Haurua, Paetae and Ngaaruawaahia taking part in the initial discussions to elect Pootatau Te Wherowhero as the first Maaori King.
Pootatau Te Wherowhero is descended from Korokii and had a close association with people of the Maungatautari area. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura attended functions held by Te Wherowhero at Mauinaina in Auckland as they welcomed the first Colonial Governor; they also acted as guard of honour at the tomb of Te Wherowhero at Ngaaruawaahia.
King Taawhiao visited often establishing a Poukai at Taane one of the principal marae of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura. The King also celebrated the first recorded Coronation Celebration at Te Tiki-o-Te Ihingaarangi above Karaapiro. During the Waikato Wars, Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura were called to arms to defend the Waikato and without hesitation fought in the battles of Meremere and Rangiriri under the mantle of the Kiingitanga.
King Mahuta visited Maungatautari often where his younger brother Te Wherowhero took up residence for long periods of time.
Due to the relationship between Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura, Te Rata the eldest son of King Mahuta and future king was arranged in marriage to Te Uranga, the great grand-daughter of Tiioriori. The son of Te Rata and Te Uranga was named Korokii to cement this relationship.
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura has supported the Kiingitanga with food stocks from the mountain and river and her tributaries since the times of Pootatau Te Wherowhero to the present day.
As a result of their adherence to the institution of Kiingitanga, Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura was classed as rebels along with Waikato and was treated with contempt by the Colonial Government and Colonial Troops. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura was not consulted on laws pertaining to Maaori and Land.
3. The relationship of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura to the Raupatu
As a consequence of adherence to the Kiingitanga and the Waikato Wars, Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura were adversely affected. The people were killed or wounded in the battles of Meremere and Rangiriri; and following the battles the incarceration of Tiioriori and others.
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura suffered under the Raupatu Confiscations that followed the Waikato Wars. Lands, traditional Paa and other significant sites were confiscated from Hamilton City through to Te Tiki-o-Te Ihingaarangi including Arikirua, Tamahere, Hautapu, Cambridge, and Pukekura. These were addressed under the Waikato Raupatu Settlement Act 1995.
The Colonial Militia erected a redoubt at Te Tiki-o-Te Ihingaarangi nicknaming it ‘The Crows Nest’. While Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura put up a resistance, the troops had advanced weaponry and drove the people away from the traditional homes at Wharetuurere, Te Wera-a-te-Atua and Taane further into the bush clad ranges of Maungatautari alienating them from their ancestral river and significant waahi tapu.
4. The loss of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura lands
Coupled with the lands alienated under Raupatu, Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura was subjected to ill treatment by the Native Land Court where other hapuu were awarded lands that were once recognised as Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura strongholds for many generations.
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura lands were illegally taken to pay for the imposed compulsory land surveys. In some cases surveyors could select prime lands in lieu of payment for their surveyor fees, whether these lands had urupaa (cemeteries) or significant tribal sites was not considered.
Further land was forfeited to pay for rates and many Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura families vacated blocks of land for fear of prosecution for non-payment of rates.
Original maps consisted of paper roads that allowed access to the few land holdings remaining in Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura control. Later these paper roads were simply deleted leaving Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura unable to access their remaining estates.
5. The incarceration of Tiioriori and its impact
Tiioriori was a direct descendant of Korokii through male lineage. He was born and raised in the shadow of Maungatautari and near to the Waikato River where he was trained in the art of traditional warfare, fowling and oratory. Tiioriori was a keen advocate of education and allowed Rev AKN Brown to establish a church and school at Wharetuurere where he learned to read and write English.
Tiioriori was an astute man that took part in tribal and national politics of his era. Alongside the famous Wiremu Tamihana of Ngaati Hauaa, he attended meeting to discuss the origins of the Kiingitanga; he travelled to Taranaki in the hopes to avert war; Judge Fenton appointed him a land assessor and he held court at Wharetuurere where he built a court house; he was the recognised leader of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura in the 1850’s and 60’s.
Tiioriori welcomed Tauiwi settlers into the region of Maungatautari appointing his nephew Pouaka and his own sons as guides and guardians for these newcomers. When war was inevitable Tiioriori warned Tauiwi in the region to return to the shelter of Auckland to avoid any unfortunate attacks while in his area of influence.
Tiioriori established a school near Te Awamutu while he was living at an ancestral home at Rangiaowhia. The majority of students were Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura and generally young men. On one occasion Rewi Maniapoto seized the government printing press at Te Awamutu and warned Rev Gorst to vacate the area. Tiioriori charged into town and took up residence in the house of Rev Gorst to allay any further attacks. He and his young scholars were willing to take up arms to defend the township.
While fighting at the battle of Rangiriri, Tiioriori noticed a wounded soldier and broke ranks to save him, dragging him to safety. Tiioriori was wounded in the rescue ad was unable to retreat with King Taawhiao, Rewi Maniapoto, Wiremu Tamihana and others, so he simply fought on until the battle was over. Later he was incarcerated on the hulk Marion with others of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura and Waikato. Even after a petition to Parliament by Governor George Grey himself for his release, he was held captive until after the end of the war in 1864. The effect of his incarceration left Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura leaderless and still having to defend their tribal estate.
Tiioriori suffered humiliation caused by imprisonment. He died at Maungatautari in 1866.
6. Native Land Court Hearings
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura could not legally sell or lease their land without a title from the Native Land Court. Neither could they pledge it as security to enable the development of their land. The Crown had established the Native Land Court under the Native Lands Acts of 1862 and 1865. Its role was to determine the ownership of Maaori land “according to native custom”, and convert customary title into title derived from the Crown. The titles provided for by the new land laws gave rights to individual Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura to sell and lease land in the same way that Tauiwi could. This was a significant change from the communal land ownership recognised in customary tenure. The Court was not designed to accommodate all the complex and fluid customary land usages of Maaori within its processes, because it assigned permanent ownership. It was expected by the Crown that changes to land tenure would eventually lead Maaori to abandon their traditional tribal and communal approach to land holdings. The Crown did not consult with Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura on the Native Land Acts.
An investigation of title could be initiated by any Maaori. In most cases the land was surveyed, and then the Court would hear the cases of the claimants and counter claimants.
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura first attended Native Land Court hearings in March 1866 and took part in more than 50 hearings up until July 1901 representing themselves in an effort to cement their mana whenua status as a protectorate of their ancestral estates.
7. The Impacts of the Waikato River Hydro Scheme on Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura was not consulted over the building of the Horahora Power Station in the 1920’s. The River was dammed to allow construction; this changed the way that Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura interacted with their tuupuna awa.
This precedent on non-consultation continued with the building of the Arapuni Power Station and then the Karapiro Power Station.
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura lands were taken under the Public Works Act to allow the construction of these Power Stations.
The changes to the tuupuna awa had dire consequences for Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura. With the damming of the awa came the demise of traditional eel stocks. Eels, which Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura was renowned for, simply couldn’t continue in their traditional life cycle because they could no longer travel to the open sea to spawn. Those down river of the dams then could travel up river to replenish the eel stocks. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura have been catching elvers and physically transporting them up river in an attempt to replenish diminishing eel stocks. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura was sung of for their capacity to provide these eels as a delicacy, on their demise the manaakitanga and therefore mana of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura has been affected.
The flooding of the Pokeno Flats near the Karapiro Power Station gave rise to further transgressions on the mana of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura. In 1830 during the battle of Taumatawiiwii, Te Waharoa ordered the slain bodies of his warriors burnt of special rocks that were in the valley where the Hauoira Stream joined with the Waikato River. These rocks became highly sacred and because of the foul odours emanating from the cremations, the place was called Karaapiro. With the flooding that ensued for the creation of Lake Karaapiro after the construction of the Karapiro Power Station, these sacred rocks were submerged. The Pokeno Stream was submerged. To add insult to injury, the 1975 World Rowing Championships saw the rocks blasted with dynamite to allow for the rowing lanes. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura granted permission for this on the proviso that a monument to their memory be erected at the Karaapiro Domain, after the Rowing Championships these sacred rocks were disregarded and no monument was established until Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura erected one in the 1990’s.
The flooding of the Karaapiro Valley and the Pokeno Flats also saw the erosion of the banks of the Waikato River. The erosion was so severe that traditional urupaa alongside the river were compromised. Taupua Winikerei of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura recalled collecting the bones of our ancestors as they emerged from their graves and floated down the river.
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura have been disadvantaged by the Waikato River Hydro Power Scheme. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura accept that the generation of power is for the national good and feel that Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura have suffered and sacrificed in the interests of the nation.
8. The Waikato River, Tributaries and Freshwater Fisheries
The Waikato River is a tuupuna awa and living taonga to Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura. The health and wellbeing of the Waikato River has steadily declined over successive generations resulting in a degraded state of water quality.
The Waikato River was the highway of trade for Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura who traded wheat, flax and potatoes into Auckland and exported to Sydney, Australia and the Americas.
The food stocks once derived from the river have been severely affected. The once plentiful eel population has declined to much lower proportions particularly due to changes on the river and water quality. The aqua plantations of watercress have been degraded by flooding and water quality.
Limited access to the tributaries of the Waikato River flowing from Maungatautari has impacted the taking of fresh water species such as koura and koaro. This has also impacted the traditional fermentation process of the delicacy Kaanga Wai.
9. The Economic Loss suffered by Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura
Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura was successful entrepreneurs between the 1840’s and 1860’s. They maintained traditional tikanga practices while engaging in business activities. Tiioriori led his people to establish 2 flax mills and 1 flour mill near Wharetuurere. Flax and Flour were transported overland to the river where they were shipped to Auckland for export. After the Waikato Wars and the confiscation, Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura were forced to abandon Wharetuurere and retreat further up the mountain to the bush clad ranges of Maungatautari.
Immediately prior to their participation in the Waikato Wars, Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura were planning a site for a second flour mill. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura was not eligible for Government Grants or Bank Loans as other non-Maaori were, and the establishment of another flour mill was a costly exercise. They proved themselves to be adept at furthering their business skills and acumen. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura suffered economically with the incarceration of Tiioriori and the devastation of their homes and paa sites that supported the production mills.
The confiscation of the Waikato Raupatu Block caused the trade route to also become alienated from the control of Maaori. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura had firm agreements based on whanaungatanga and tikanga with many other iwi entities and hapuu along the river for ease of trade into Auckland. This extended to the carting of their export goods aboard ocean going vessels under Waikato control.
The traditional estate of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura were extremely fertile and many types of produce crops were grown there. Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura also had interests into Rangiaowhia west of Maungatautari near Te Awamutu, this area was extremely fertile and harvests of export produce was rife, this area also became the food source of the Waikato War campaign and Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura assisted in the cultivation, harvest and delivery of these crops. This was used as another cause for the ill treatment of Ngaati Korokii-Kahukura as a people.