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Mohua

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Journey of the Ngati Tumatakokiri to the South Island

Journey of the Ngati Tumatakokiri to the South Island

Diary. To Arapaoa

We sailed down the coast, always close enough to see it, but well clear of the reefs and breakers. Where we were going we would should never be out of sight of land.

As we went south, we kept the main land on our left and headed to the gap between the land and the big island they call Kapiti. Past kapiti we could see high land to the south west. That was where we were going.

We kept going until this land was to our west and then turned to it. It wasn’t too far across, but we had been warned to be careful. The water between the main land and Te Tau Ihu could be very dangerous. It was called ‘Te Moana-a-Raukawa’.

It would only take a few hours to cross, but the water could get very rough with a strong current, and the weather could change quickly, taking all land from sight and sweeping us away.

The men said it was a good day to cross, and soon enough we were looking up at steep tree covered hills and along a rocky shoreline. We sailed on for a while along a narrow passage, before seeing a good landing place where we beached the boats.

The men scouted the land while we prepared food.

We unwrapped and dried our Kumara, then carefully re-wrapped it. They still looked good. The weather here is warm, and there is plenty of sheltered north facing land. Soon we will burn some fields and plant the seeds.

We have found that we are on a big island, Arapaoa. The land beyond is very big indeed.

The earliest settlers in the top of the South Island were the Hāwea and Waitaha, and they had their roots in antiquity, counting the ‘fairy people’; Tūtūmaiao, Maeroro, Tūrehu, and Patupaiarehe among their ancestors.

The Ngati Mamoe, another Kurahaupo group left Heretaunga and settled the northern areas of Te Tau Ihu beginning a slow migration drift south for these original peoples. They were displaced by incoming tribes.

First came the Ngāti Wairangi, from the Whanganui district, who lived in western Mōhua. Then came the Kurahaupo people; first the Ngati Mamoe, then Ngai Tara, Ngati Tumatakokiri, and Rangitane. At each new wave of settlement the original tribes were pushed further south.

Tribes from the North Island were attracted to this region because of its minerals such as Argillite, and Pounamu, premium resources for tools and weapons. The area was also rich with local foods; seafood, sea birds, water fowl, eels and up the rivers; moa.

The history of the top of the South Island reveals a continuous series of invasions from tribes from the North.

Not all tribes were completely displaced. The Ngāti Kuia remained and integrated with successive immigrant groups; Ngāti Wairangi, the Ngāti Kopia, the Ngāti Haua, the Ngāi Tawake, the Ngāti Whakamana, the Ngā Te Heiwi and the Ngāti Tumatakokiri.

Diary. Leaving Arapaoa

We have stayed here a long time but must move on. Our cousins the Ngai Tara claim this land is their Rohe, and we are not strong enough to fight them for it. To the east are our other cousins from the Kurahaupo, the Rangitane… so we will go west. There are only a few people there. Some are Ngati Mamoe, also of the Kurahaupo and Heretaunga, and there are some others. The Waitaha have been there longer.

There is plenty of room for us there, and we are many and strong. There is a big bay there called Mohua that has good kai moana, it is warm with a fertile plain behind it and beyond that are big forests full of moa.

In Mohua we will have the fruits of the sea, and good land for our crops. It will be a good place.

Journey of the Ngati Tumatakokiri to Mohua (Golden Bay)

Journey of the Ngati Tumatakokiri to Mohua (Golden Bay)

The Ngai Tara had held some presence in the Marlborough sounds from soon after their arrival in Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington Harbour); it was close, and lay in plain sight of their southern coast.

Over time they asserted their occupation right over the Ngati Tumatakokiri, and this appears to have been resolved without conflict. There is no record of fighting between the Ngati Tumatakokiri and either Ngai Tara or Rangitane; indeed they all acted together against enemies in the Blenheim area.

Our understanding of the timeline for the migration of the Ngati Tumatakokiri is in some respects incomplete. We don’t know exactly when they left the Taupo area, descended the River Road and moved on to the Marlborough sounds. Nor do we know how long they stayed at Arapaoa before moving to Mohua (Golden Bay).

We do however know that they were firmly established in Mohua in the Sixteenth century. But they may have been in the region a lot longer.

A drawing by Isaac Gilsemans, on the Zeehaen, shows Maori boats in Golden Bay; one in significant detail. These were double hulled vessels in the Polynesian tradition. Abel Tasman’s journal text records that two of these multi-hull boats hoisted sails.

These are important details. It shows that the Ngati Tumatakokiri still retained Polynesian sailing knowledge, and still used their boats rigged in pairs on the sea.

If the move between Heretaunga and Whanganui had taken longer than a generation, then this knowledge, and the ability to sail these boats, would have been lost at Taupo; there is no need for ocean sailing skills or technology there. It would not have been practised and therefore couldn’t be passed to the next generation. So the journey from Heretaunga to Whanganui must have occurred within a generation. At least one person who knew how to build and sail multi-hull boats must have reached the west coast, because these skills survived into the 17th century in Golden Bay.

Regarding the time spent in the Marlborough sounds there is another indicator. Tumatakokiri (Whatonga’s son) had a grandson called Nukuwaiata, and this name is memorialised as an island between D’urville Island and Arapaoa.

The Ngati Tumatakokiri could have been at the north of the South Island as early as three generations after the arrival of the Kurahaupo.

Mohua bird

The area ‘Mohua’ takes its name from this bird that was abundant in the top of the South Island until the 19th Century.

Diary. Mohua

Here in Mohua we have a good life. The mountains behind the plains are very high, and shelter us from the bad westerly weather. The bay is full of kai moana, and our Kumara grow well here.

The men used to chase moa out of the forest onto Onetahua (farewell spit) where they were trapped, but now they have to go up the rivers to find them.

There is always great feasting when they return.

Our people are spread out a long way now, south, east and west. They are up the valley, out to the ocean side, south to Katawiri and well beyond. The people in the south visit us by boat, or on foot, as there is a way to the west coast through the mountains.

When they come to trade they bring Pounamu… it is a wonder to look on and very hard. It is better than our pakohe for some things. Our pakohe fractures to a very sharp edge, but it is brittle in comparison to Pounamu and difficult to work. Often, just as the tool is nearly finished the stone will fracture the wrong way, and has to be thrown away.

Pounamu is beautiful and a good stone for working wood, but it takes a long time to grind a good edge.

We trade them Pakohe and Kumara for the green stone. They can’t grow Kumara south of this valley.

Working with Pounamu

From Te Papa. Dante Bonica, an expert in stone tools, demonstrates the shaping and polishing of pounamu. Auckland, July 2009 (Click to run the video).

This video shows Pounamu being worked. It includes demonstrations of the tools used for shaping the stone. These are similar to the tools used for cutting and drilling timber. The video also shows a piece of Argillite being fractured to create a cutting edge.

Rohe of the Ngati Tumatakokiri

Rohe of the Ngati Tumatakokiri

In Golden Bay, the Ngati Tumatakokiri flourished. By the time Abel Tasman arrived, the Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri, commanded a huge territory from the north-eastern Tasman Bay, to Cape Farewell, and down the West Coast to beyond Greymouth. Inland their range included the land up the Buller river to Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoroa and in the south, Lake Brunner.

The Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri were dominant for approximately two hundred years, but around 1810 they eventually fell to attacks from surrounding tribes; Ngāi Tahu from the West Coast, Ngāti Kuia and Rangitāne from the east and Ngāti Apa from the north.

The Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri was finally conquered after battles in the Parapoa Range. The surviving members were either taken into slavery, or dispersed… and with that their oral history was mostly lost.

Glossary:

Onetahua: Farewell Spit, means ‘heaped up sand’.
Te Tau Ihu: The top of the South Island.
Katawiri: Westport.
Pakohe: Argillite, a hard stone that fractures to a sharp edge.
Pounamu: Nephrite jade, also commonly called ‘Greenstone’
Kai moana: Seafood.

How to read this Blog

SEQUENCE:

In this blog I am reporting on six different journeys; Abel Tasman’s, the four Waka’s and my own. In my journey I travel to all the key locations present in the others. I tell each story, up to the point that they co-incide. Abel Tasman’s story is told sequentially, through his diary, but this is not always possible with the other journeys… there would simply be too much driving involved.

coinciding paths

The journeys of Abel Tasman and the people of the Kurahupo, to the point of their co-incidence.

Take Abel Tasman’s 18th December 1642 for example. He was in Golden Bay, inside Cape Farewell at the top of the South Island. On that day he met some Maori. They were descendants of the Kurahaupo, who had traveled from Tahiti, then Rarotonga and then to New Zealand. They had landed at the North Cape (northernmost point of the North Island), then sailed down to Mahia (mid way up the east coast of the North Island), then overland through Hastings, Taupo and down the Manawatu River. From there they had moved to the Marlborough sounds at the top of the South Island, and finally, west into Golden Bay.

I simply can’t travel to all the places in that journey AND follow Tasman’s path simultaneously; he is traveling north, they are going south. For me to visit the places in a sequence that explains the story well I would have to travel alternately between the far North and the South for each post. This blog is therefore, of necessity, not in the best order to build up the stories sequentially and have them coincide at a set day and location in Tasman’s journey. I can only do that in book form.

This blog is presented in the order that I visit the locations. I will do my best to get as close as possible to a comprehensible order, but on occasions I have to leave it to the reader to assemble the parts into their correct chronological sequence.

categories

The ‘categories’ selection bar.

THE ORDER OF THE POSTS:

Entries in this blog are normally presented ‘newest first’. This will work well for anyone following the blog regularly,but is not so good for someone joining the journeys part way through. To help new visitors, setting the post order to ‘Oldest first’ allows them to view the posts in the order that they were published; that is, ‘Oldest post first’. This panel appears at the very foot of the page.

 

categories

The ‘categories’ selection bar.

THE INDIVIDUAL STORIES:

Entries in this blog are organised into ‘categories’. There is a category for each journey. If you want to follow just a single journey, then clicking one of the category headings “Abel Tasman” “The Waka’s” or “My journal” will present you with only the posts relating to that track. The Category “The Waka’s” is further divided into four; Kurahaupo, Tainui, Mahuhu and Matawhaorua. Picking ‘All posts’ removes the filter, and shows everything. On desktop computers and laptops the categories are shown in full just above the main pictures. On mobile devices they are found by touching the bar marked ‘categories’.

 

category banners

Category banner for ‘Kurahaupo’ posts

In order to help the reader understand the relevant position of each post in the overall story-line, each post is headed with a banner indicating which journey it is a part of.

categories

Tasman’s journal, as it appears in this blog.

THE JOURNALS:

Abel Tasman left us a daily Journal, and I quote this in full before exploring the events of the day. His journal entries are presented like this.

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The Maori ‘diary’ as it appears in this blog.

Unfortunately, we have no equivalent daily record for the Maori/Polynesian travelers, so I have devised one. The daily ‘events’ of the Polynesian/Maori travelers are also presented in diary form. The detail of the diaries are a fiction, we simply don’t know precisely what happened every day, but the generality is correct, and it is presented wrapped in supposition based on our understanding of the Maori and Polynesian social forms. The Maori/Polynesian ‘diary’ looks like this.

categories

Words with a green background can be clicked to hear their pronunciation

NAMES, PLACES AND PRONUNCIATION.

Many of the words used are Maori and Old Dutch. To help you understand these correctly I have joined an audio track to important words, so that you can hear them pronounced correctly. Click on a word that has a green background to hear it spoken.

It works like this. Any text highlighted in green has a sound clip attached to it. For example if you wanted to hear how to pronounce , then you would just click on it.

CONTACT ME.

Please feel free to use the “Contact me” form or “comments” to ask about any particular aspect of any of the journeys. I will try and respond to your inquiries and address missing information or errors. The ‘Contact me’ form is found under the ‘About’ category. It also includes a map indication of where I am at the moment.

Six Boats: An Introduction

Video: Introduction to Six Boats Video posted by Six Boats on Thursday, April 30, 2015

I’d often heard people saying how wonderful these e-book reader things were, and I felt a bit silly that I hadn’t used one. So about a year ago I loaded an e-book reader onto my iPad and searched around for a free book to install. Scrolling through lists of books looking for something interesting, my attention was grabbed by a particular volume, which I downloaded, and dived straight into. I had come across James Cook’s journal of his first voyage across the Pacific. In no time at all I was transported to 1769 and shared his daily experience of his landing in New Zealand, progress around its coastline, and his meetings with the local people; the Maori.

On that visit, James Cook circumnavigated both the North and South Islands… and an idea began to form. Wouldn’t it be interesting to follow his journey, going to the all places he did, except doing it from the land?

The idea began to take hold. I started to think about the practicalities of doing it; where would I need to get to? what type of vehicle would I need? … and I started to think about writing it up as a book as I went.

Studying Cook’s journal further it became obvious that he already knew of the existence of New Zealand. He was not only aware that Abel Tasman had visited it (indeed, he had named it), but he quite clearly had a copy, not only of Tasman’s chart (I didn’t know any such existed), but also of his journal (this was also news to me). I soon realised that any book about Cook’s ‘discovery’ of New Zealand would also need to include a section about Abel Tasman, and I began researching his journal. I soon found an English translation of the journal, and also a copy of his chart…

Abel Tasman's chart of New Zealand

The chart of New Zealand included in the Hague copy of Abel Tasman’s journal.

I became absorbed by Tasman’s voyage, and as I read further into it I found that I was increasingly picturing his voyage, not just from the landward position, but also from the viewpoint of the people occupying that land.

Tasman's journal for the day Dec 13th 1642.

Tasman’s journal page for the day Dec 13th 1642.

Abel Tasman saw the West Coast of New Zealand, 13th December 1642, around halfway up the South Island. From there he followed the coast to its northern extremity, and then departed, sailing onward to discover Fiji and Tonga. As he passed, he was seen by, and had encounters with, the local Maori population… but these people too, like Tasman, were not ‘native’… they were immigrants. So what was their story? Where had they come from? And how had they come to be in the place where they could see him go past?

Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand, for the Europeans, in 1642. However, the Polynesians had discovered it at least seven centuries earlier, and had settled the country in a wave of deliberate migration around the 1300’s. The stories of the journeys of these Polynesians was just as compelling as the journey of Tasman, and as I began to plan a trip along Abel Tasman’s path, I realised that I should also understand how the populations that could have seen him go past had come to be there… and that was the seed of this blog.

I am going on a journey. I am going to follow Abel Tasman’s voyage, day by day, through his journal and his chart; except I am going to follow him from the landward position.

Shoot locations

Places I am going to visit. Abel Tasman’s course is in light blue. The movements of the Kurahaupo people is in purple, Tainui in green, Mahuhu in ochre, and Matawhaorua in red.

As I travel to the places and features that he reports, I am going to also tell the stories of the people that could have observed him… their journeys over ocean and land, from their Polynesian origins, to the places from which that they could have seen him pass.

Abel Tasman had two ships, the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen. All of the Maori that could have seen Tasman pass, could trace their origins back to just four Polynesian voyaging vessels; the Kurahaupo, the Tainui, the Mataatua and the Matawhaorua. These are the Six Boats of the title of this blog.

This blog is the journal of my journey as I follow the movements of these six boats, their occupants and descendants, to the places that their journeys coincide.