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Pai Marire — a new hope

Opinion Piece

Porini hoia! Teihana! (Fall in soldiers! Attention!)

As Te Ranginui once said to Tamatea-moa, “He Tangata Haerere noa ahau, ma te mate e kawe au i konei” (I am a wanderer across the land, it was trouble that brought me here).

William Fox pointed out, “Ministers believe that nothing has been or can be more pernicious to the native race than the possession of large territories under tribal titles which they neither use, know how to use, nor can be induced to use.”

Bishop William Williams was told by a rangatira of Ōpōtiki, “Kua kitea tetahi taonga hou a mau ai to matou whenua” (We have seen a new treasure by which to retain our lands). The Pai Marire faith provided a new hope, but any belief which allowed “savages” to arrogantly attempt to retain their land was too much for colonisers to take — especially when it impeded their ability to take land. They were then branded as fanatics. George Grey then issued the order to “. . . resist and suppress, by force of arms if necessary, and by every other means . . .”

Arriving on the HMS Brisk in 1865, Donald McClean was dispatched to make an ultimatum. “What you are doing is trying to drive the Europeans from the district, and is just the step to have your entire region over-run . . . Now I warn you that you will lose your lands — you will lose everything, and the Europeans will settle upon them, and I give you this note of warning that this is the result of your action.”

There is no plural word for sovereignty within the English legal language; there can only be one.

In 1868 Hugh Carleton explained the tactic: “This is called in common parlance ‘begging with a bludgeon'. He holds the Confiscation Act over the heads of the Natives, and says, ‘If you do not cede the land to us, we will take it'.”

Anaru Matete, a rangatira of Rongowhakaata, said in August 1865: “We have joined the Hauhau because we think by doing so we shall save our land and the remnant of our people. We have no quarrel with the settlers. We are not bringing trouble on you . . . all our chiefs . . . say the settlers shall and will be protected. If trouble comes let it be through the governor.”

The rangatira refused McClean's demands so strike-force-Ropata was called back from the Coast and ordered to assault Te Waerenga-a-Hikairirangi. Peace was being smashed deliberately.

With no supplies, the Pai Marire improvised and used zinc and lead from the Bishop's house to make bullets. The pa fell and over 800 prisoners were captured. Te Kooti was accused of being a spy and arrested. These charges were never proven but he was still arrested again three months later and without trial or rights to appeal, deported to Wharekauri on Biggs's orders. During imprisonment Te Kooti would form the Ringatu faith.

A tatou korero hoki ra e aue! E nui o rangi ra, He mea ki a mahue, e aue, Ka kitea rikiriki e, Ka ngaro hoki ra e aue e. Nga waha ki, nga hautu o te waka, e hoea i te moana. (Of our speeches given, in greater times. I have been abandoned and watch everything smashed to pieces. Gone forever are the orators and leaders who once paddled the oceans).

To be continued

Tanith Te Waitohioterangi