(1) This historical account describes the relationship between the Crown and Ngāti Manawa between 1840 and 1992 and identifies Crown actions which have caused grievance to Ngāti Manawa over the generations. It provides context for the Crown’s acknowledgements of its Treaty breaches against Ngāti Manawa and for the Crown’s apology to Ngāti Manawa. This historical account covers the following topics:
(2) The Ngāti Manawa rohe is a vast geographical area bounded by the Ika Whenua ranges in the east, the Taupo/Napier highway to the south, the western edge of the Kaingaroa plains and the southern edge of Rerewhakaaitu to the north.
(3) Tangiharuru journeyed from the Waikato to the Bay of Plenty with a group that included his uncle Wharepakau and conquered the Marangaranga, the original people of the Rangitaiki valley. Tangiharuru lit a beacon fire at Hināmoki to signal their victory. Ngāti Manawa subsequently established many kāinga, moving seasonally within their rohe to use the resources of the Kuhawaea and Kaingaroa Plains to sustain their people. The climate ranged from very cold, wet winters to extremely hot, dry summers. Ngāti Manawa learned to survive in this environment by maintaining a fine balance of use and regeneration of resources for both their own use and for trade with other hapū and iwi.
(4) The Rangitaiki River is the tipuna awa and living taonga of Ngāti Manawa. Its eel fishery was and remains vital to Ngāti Manawa’s traditional economy and the river provided a valuable transport and trading route.
(5) Ngāti Manawa had a number of hapū, each under the leadership of its chiefs. They were in turn led by an ariki selected by all hapū to lead the iwi. The role of the ariki was to safeguard the social, economic, and political welfare of the people and to defend its mana whenua. Chiefs had authority over the lands they managed and defended under traditional land tenure arrangements in which lands were utilised for whānau and hapū benefit. Ngāti Manawa held and managed their rivers and lands in accordance with tikanga.
(6) Ngāti Manawa had little contact with the Crown until the early 1860s and the Crown did not try to exercise authority in their region during this period. The Rangitaiki Valley was the easiest route inland to and from the Urewera, Hawke’s Bay and the Bay of Plenty. By the early 1860s Ngāti Manawa were engaged in negotiations with settlers who wished to lease land from them. Ngāti Manawa chiefs had a clear preference to retain ownership of their lands while deriving a cash income.
The New Zealand Wars and Ngāti Manawa
(7) In 1856 Ngāti Manawa attended a hui with other Māori at Pūkawa at which a number of matters were discussed including land issues and the possible establishment of a Māori King. This eventually led to the establishment of the King movement or Kingitanga. Māori could choose to place their lands under the protection of a Māori King. The Crown considered the Kingitanga to be a challenge to its sovereignty. While sympathetic to the Kingitanga, Ngāti Manawa took a neutral approach.
(8) War broke out between the Crown and Māori in the early 1860s in Taranaki and later in the Waikato. In early 1864 Rewi Maniapoto, a chief from the Waikato region, appealed to Ngāti Manawa for assistance. Takarua Korakaitoki and his wife Rawinia travelled to the Waikato and were wounded at a battle at Ōrākau.
(9) In late 1864 prophets of the Pai Mārire religious movement (which was popular among Kingitanga Māori) arrived in the eastern Bay of Plenty. They met with Ngāti Manawa and others at Tauaroa and got a mixed reaction.
(10) Actions by some Māori from other iwi, associated with Pai Mārire, alarmed the Government. In April 1865 the Government proclaimed that it would use all the means in its power to suppress the fanatical doctrines it associated with Pai Mārire and called upon all “well disposed” persons to assist them.
(11) Ngāti Manawa considered that the conflict between the Crown and Pai Mārire adherents was likely to spread to their lands and would force a response from them. They met with Ngāti Whare at Whatatara to decide what to do. It was agreed that some would join Pai Mārire and others would join the Government. Ngāti Manawa decided to support the Government. They and their allies fortified a pā at Te Tāpiri. It became known that Pai Mārire emissaries were intending to move through the Rangitaiki region towards the Waikato. Ngāti Manawa warned them against crossing through their rohe.
(12) In May 1865 the Pai Mārire group and their allies laid siege to Te Tāpiri. The defenders were led by Peraniko Tahawai. Other prominent Ngāti Manawa involved in the siege were Rewi Rangiamio, Te Wiremu Enoka, and the prophetess Hinekou, the wife of Mānuka Te Mauparaoa. The defenders exhausted their ammunition and food supplies and broke out of the pā on 7 June 1865. They were pursued to the Wheao River by the Pai Mārire group, before a relieving column of Government troops and allies drove the pursuers off.
(13) The engagement at Te Tāpiri had significant consequences for Ngāti Manawa’s relationship with the Crown. It also began a period of conflict with neighbouring iwi with whom they had close whanaunga ties.
(14) After Te Tāpiri Ngāti Manawa had to abandon their pā and cultivations in the Rangitaiki Valley. They were cut off from their traditional economic resources for more than a year while living as refugees in Rotorua.
(15) Ngāti Manawa lived in exile for more than a year during which time their lands were plundered. They returned to the Rangitaiki Valley in September 1866, and built a new meeting house and a number of whare at Motumako. They also had to replant their cultivations.
(16) After their return from exile Ngāti Manawa began negotiating to restore their relationships with their neighbouring iwi who had fought against the Crown. In recognition of Ngāti Manawa’s military service, the Crown awarded them land near Matata and presented them with a flag
“Te Aroha o Kuini Wikitoria”. Ngāti Manawa knew that the land at Matata belonged to another iwi.
Crown Campaign Against Te Kooti and the Whakarau
(17) In July 1868 Te Kooti Arikirangi led an escape by Māori who had been imprisoned by the Crown on the Chatham Islands without trial for over two years. The Crown set out to apprehend Te Kooti and his followers (known as the Whakarau) and was soon engaged in war on the East Coast against them. Early in 1869 the Whakarau retreated into the Urewera and forged a covenant with some iwi leaders there.
(18) The Whakarau and their allies attacked Ngāti Manawa at Motumako in March 1869. Ngāti Manawa were again forced into exile at Rotorua as their rohe became a war zone and was once more too unsafe for them to remain. In May 1869 the Crown renewed its campaign against the Whakarau. The Crown established a number of redoubts in the Rangitaiki region, including an important base, Fort Galatea, near Kāramuramu in the heart of Ngāti Manawa’s rohe. A number of Ngāti Manawa were enrolled in companies of the Armed Constabulary which used Fort Galatea as a base. The Ngāti Manawa troops were not well provisioned by the Crown.
(19) For the next four years Ngāti Manawa were disconnected from their homes, cultivations and traditional resources and many of their men were away from their whānau while on military duty.
(20) The return of warfare to their rohe again forced Ngāti Manawa to act. They generally allied with the Crown between 1868 and 1872. However, the war situation posed difficult choices of allegiance for Ngāti Manawa. Harehare Atarea recorded that he had unsuccessfully attempted in 1869 to protect his whānau from an iwi fighting on the other side of the conflict at Te Harema by positioning himself at the front of the Crown’s attacking forces. He stated that he felt great shame that he was unable to prevent the killing of his close relatives. Although they generally maintained their alliance with the Crown, it is a Ngāti Manawa tradition that Harehare scouted for Te Kooti at one time.
(21) Several neighbouring iwi surrendered to the Crown forces in May and June 1870. Te Kooti remained at large and Ngāti Manawa warriors played an active part in the Crown’s pursuit of him until he found sanctuary in the Waikato in 1872.
(22) The war years had significant long-term economic, social, and other consequences for Ngāti Manawa. Because they generally allied with the Crown they were labelled, by some, as kūpapa.
(23) Both sides of the conflict had lived off the land and used a
“scorched earth” policy of plundering its resources in order to stop the other side using them. One impact of the scorched earth campaigns was that it wiped out seed stores and destroyed agricultural equipment. When Ngāti Manawa returned to their rohe in 1872 they had to again begin replanting their cultivations and re-establishing their eel weirs and other resources. The Crown did not compensate Ngāti Manawa for the damage to their lands. In 1873 and 1875 Ngāti Manawa had to ask the Government for flour, grape seed, and other supplies because they were in economic difficulty.
(24) The damage inflicted on their food sources by Crown forces and others upset the fine balance of Ngāti Manawa’s traditional economy and left them with little option but to engage with the newly emerging cash economy to improve their economic circumstances. In the years after the war they adopted a strategy of leasing rather than selling land to try to generate a regular cash income.
The Native Land Laws and Ngāti Manawa
(25) Ngāti Manawa could not, however, 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 Land Acts of 1862 and 1865. Its role was to determine the ownership of Māori 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 Ngāti Manawa to sell and lease land in the same way that Pākehā 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 Māori within its processes, because it assigned permanent ownership. It was expected by the Crown that changes to land tenure would eventually lead Māori to abandon their traditional tribal and communal approach to land holdings. The Crown did not consult with Ngāti Manawa on the Native Land Acts.
(26) An investigation of title could be initiated by any Māori. In most cases the land was surveyed, and then the Court would hear the cases of the claimants and counter-claimants. Ngāti Manawa first attended Native Land Court hearings in 1868 when another iwi made an application for what became the Kaingaroa 2 block. However, the warfare and political turbulence of the region delayed significant Ngāti Manawa engagement with the Court for another decade.
Ngāti Manawa Leases
(27) In the 1870s and 1880s the Crown employed several land purchase agents to negotiate with Māori in an attempt to open the central North Island to Pākehā settlement. One of its agents, Gilbert Mair, had led Crown forces based at Fort Galatea during the war with Te Kooti, and already had a close relationship with Ngāti Manawa leaders.
(28) In 1873 Ngāti Manawa began negotiating to lease the Kaingaroa 1 block to a Crown official (acting in a private capacity). They received a £400 deposit, but the Crown was also interested in this land, and objected to its officials competing against it. The official relinquished his private lease, and helped Crown purchase agents secure a lease for the Government. The Crown paid an advance of rent of £250 in February 1875 when 89 Ngāti Manawa signed a deed to lease it an estimated 136,000 acres.
(29) In 1874 Ngāti Manawa decided to lease the Kuhawaea block to a private party. In March 1874 the Crown paid advances of £100 each to secure Ngāti Manawa agreement to lease Pukahunui and Heruiwi. Deeds of lease were signed in February 1875.
(30) The Crown preferred to purchase land outright rather than lease it. However, it was prepared to lease land in order to prevent private parties from establishing interests in land the Crown wished to purchase. By entering into lease agreements with Ngāti Manawa the Crown established the sole right to purchase their lands for a period. The lease agreements provided that Ngāti Manawa could not alienate any interest in the leased land to anyone other than the Crown.
(31) Aside from its initial deposits the Crown refused to pay rent on the leased land until the Court had determined title because of the risk the Court would decide the owners of the land were not those who agreed to the lease. The operation of the Court was, however, suspended in the Bay of Plenty region between 1873 and 1877 in response to growing Māori dissatisfaction with it. One Crown land purchase agent later testified that it was also done
“to discourage the interference of private individuals with Government negotiations”. The suspension of the Court meant that ownership of land could not be judicially determined and land titles issued.
(32) Ngāti Manawa’s leases would have generated an annual income of £850 had all the lessees begun paying rent as soon as they had signed their lease agreements. However, the Crown’s policy meant that Ngāti Manawa only received £400 from the private lease of Kuhawaea until land title was confirmed by the Native Land Court.
(33) Floods destroyed Ngāti Manawa crops in 1877. The same year a newspaper reported that the Government had refused to help its 1860s ally Peraniko, a
“well known rangatira of the Ngāti Manawa”, by refusing to grant him a pension and
“permitting him to die like a dog for want of medical aid and nourishment”. Infectious diseases hit Ngāti Manawa hard and by 1878 their population was in serious decline.
Native Land Court Hearings
(34) In March 1878 the Crown issued a proclamation declaring that Kaingaroa 1, Pukahunui and Heruiwi were under negotiation for purchase or acquisition by the Crown. All other parties were prohibited from acquiring any interest in these blocks. The Native Land Court was about to conduct title investigations into these and other lands in which Ngāti Manawa claimed an interest.
(35) Ngāti Manawa wanted the Native Land Court hearings into the Kaingaroa 1, Kāramuramu, Pukahunui and Heruiwi blocks to take place at Karatia to minimise disruption and expense to them. The Court opened there in June 1878, but other iwi objected to this choice of venue and for a number of reasons the Court was adjourned to Matata (60 kilometres away) despite strong protests by Ngāti Manawa.
(36) The three months of title investigations at Matata strained Ngāti Manawa resources and greatly disrupted their home routines. There was insufficient food for those attending the hearings. In August 1878, during the hearings for Kaingaroa 1, Ngāti Manawa told the Court that, as the Government had brought them to Matata, it ought to provide them with food now that they had exhausted their supplies.
(37) The Court’s processes also imposed a considerable economic burden on Ngāti Manawa. The land surveys that had to be performed before the Court would investigate titles were expensive. The cost of the surveys for Heruiwi, and Kaingaroa 1 exceeded a year’s annual rent and that charged for Pukahunui was more than five times the annual rent.
(38) Ngāti Manawa were awarded title to the Kaingaroa 1, Kāramuramu, Pukahunui and Heruiwi blocks. They sought the listing of more than 300 individuals on the title to Kaingaroa 1 including people from other iwi they recognised as also having interests in the block. Crown agents, however, endeavoured to persuade Ngāti Manawa to reduce the number of people on the list to make the lease easier to complete. The matter was deferred as Ngāti Manawa could not agree who should be on the list. In 1879 the Native Land Court approved a list of 31 owners handed in by Ngāti Manawa.
(39) Ngāti Manawa also participated in the 1878 title investigation into the Kaingaroa 2 block but their claim was rejected by the Court. Ngāti Manawa’s request for a rehearing was refused. While dissatisfied claimants could make such requests there was no provision for appeals against Native Land Court decisions until 1894.
Crown Purchases of Ngāti Manawa Land 1878–1881
(40) At the end of the 1878 Native Land Court hearings Ngāti Manawa offered Kaingaroa 1 for sale to the Crown. The proclamations prohibiting alienations to private parties of this and the other Ngāti Manawa blocks brought before the Native Land Court remained in place, and gave the Crown the advantage of negotiating in a monopoly market position. The purchase negotiations took some time and in June 1879 Harehare Atarea and others wrote the Government that all Ngāti Manawa agreed to the sale of Kaingaroa 1. The Government had paid nearly £500 in rent and survey costs by the time Kaingaroa 1 was first offered for sale. It now treated these payments as a deposit on the purchase.
(41) Once the Crown was in purchase negotiations with Ngāti Manawa it was prepared to pay advances of purchase money to Ngāti Manawa so they could meet the costs of attending the Native Land Court hearings. It is not clear whether Ngāti Manawa accepted or understood the basis of these payments. The Crown paid an additional £1,837, including at least £339 for food consumed at Native Land Court hearings.
(42) In late October and early November 1880 the Native Land Court held a rehearing of the Kaingaroa 1 block, and confirmed Ngāti Manawa’s title. Following the rehearing Ngāti Manawa wanted to submit a list of 120 owners but agreed to a Crown agent’s request to submit a list of 28 owners to make the purchase easier to complete. The Crown’s purchase of 103,393 acres was completed in December 1880. The purchase price was £7,754. The Crown’s purchase agent found the accounts detailing what had already been paid
“confusing and complicated”. An entry in the Native Land Purchase Department ledger account records that £5,650 was paid at the time the deed was signed. In 1926 Harehare Atarea testified at an inquiry into Ngāti Manawa reserves. At that time he stated that he remembered receiving £2,000 as did Rawiri and that they distributed this to everybody. Rewi Rangiomio received £500 and distributed this also. Nine hundred pounds was distributed by three others. Ngāti Manawa’s oral traditions are silent regarding this significant event.
(43) Ngāti Manawa continued their strategy of trying to generate a regular cash income by leasing land. They wanted to complete the leases for Pukahunui and Heruiwi but the Crown required the signing of new deeds with those recognised as the owners by the Native Land Court. It took some time to secure Ngāti Manawa agreement to those deeds.
(44) By the early 1880s the Crown was withdrawing from nearly all of its lease agreements. The Heruiwi owners signed a new deed of lease by mid-1880, but the Crown declined to pay any further rent. Crown officials disregarded Ngāti Manawa’s wish for the lease to continue and instead tried to purchase the block in 1881. Ngāti Manawa received an offer for this block, from a private party, that was several thousand pounds greater than the Crown was willing to pay, but the Crown refused to lift the 1878 proclamation prohibiting alienation of land to private parties.
(45) A Crown purchase agent met with several groups of Heruiwi owners before trying to purchase the interests of as many individual owners as possible. The Crown agreed to pay £500 back rent in the final purchase negotiations. On the basis of the Crown’s acquisition of individual interests the Court awarded it nearly 20,910 out of the 24,394 acres in the block in 1881. The Crown did not continue leasing the remainder of the block.
(46) Most of the owners of the Pukahunui block signed a new deed of lease but in 1881 the Crown decided to try to purchase the block. Ngāti Manawa did not wish to sell all of Pukahunui to the Crown and instead offered to refund the Crown’s earlier advances of rent. The Crown insisted on having land for the rent and survey costs it had paid before it would lift its proclamation prohibiting private parties from negotiating for the block. In 1881 Ngāti Manawa agreed to the Native Land Court awarding the Crown 5,500 acres in Pukahunui. This included the best land in the 46,470 acre block.
(47) By the end of 1881 the Crown had purchased approximately 130,000 acres of Ngāti Manawa land that it had originally agreed to lease.
Ngāti Manawa and the Native Land Court 1882–1893
(48) The title investigation for Kuhawaea took place at Whakatāne in September 1882. Attending Native Land Court hearings a long distance from home continued to create difficulties for Ngāti Manawa. In 1884, when requesting a hearing for Whirinaki, Rawiri Parākiri wrote the Chief Judge of the Native Land Court that Ngāti Manawa had suffered greatly from earlier hearings at Matata and Whakatāne. The impact on Ngāti Manawa was the burden of food and accommodation costs at hearings as well as disruption to their harvesting and cultivation work at home.
(49) As with Kaingaroa 1, Ngāti Manawa attempted to accommodate the interests of neighbouring iwi in the title they and their close kin were awarded for Kuhawaea. Another iwi who claimed interests in this block declined, on principle, to participate in the Native Land Court hearings. Nevertheless Ngāti Manawa included several from this iwi on the list of owners.
(50) The challenges facing Ngāti Manawa in the 1880s were exacerbated by the depression which afflicted the New Zealand economy at this time. One impact of the depression was that the Government scaled back its land purchasing. After completing the Heruiwi and Pukahunui purchases the Government did not purchase any additional Māori land until the 1890s.
(51) Ngāti Manawa agreed to several large sales to private parties in 1882 and 1883. Ngāti Manawa hoped that these sales would lift the iwi out of poverty. The balance of the Pukahunui block that the Native Land Court had not awarded to the Crown was sold in 1882. The 21,694 acres of Kuhawaea were sold to the lessee of the land in 1883.
(52) In the early 1880s Ngāti Manawa were farming a flock of 2,000 sheep at Kāramuramu. Despite this, Ngāti Manawa were still in distressed economic circumstances in 1885. At this time a school inspector described the circumstances of the children at Galatea as
“anything but cheering” and urged the Government to give them any help possible.
(53) The Court investigated the title to the Pohokura block in Hastings in March 1885 on the application of another iwi. Ngāti Manawa were not aware of the proposed hearings before they started and did not participate in them. They sent a list of four Ngāti Manawa names to the Court, but these were not included in the list of owners awarded title. Ngāti Manawa successfully applied for a rehearing and in November 1885 the Court directed the addition of the Ngāti Manawa names to the Pohokura title. Ngāti Manawa sought some financial relief by selling their interests in the Pohokura lands in February 1886.
(54) The June 1886 Tarawera eruption forced Ngāti Manawa to abandon their main settlement at Kāramuramu and seek shelter and food in the forests of Heruiwi.
(55) The Whirinaki and Heruiwi 4 blocks were the only large blocks claimed by Ngāti Manawa that did not pass through the Native Land Court before the end of the 1880s. In the mid-1880s Ngāti Manawa chiefs requested that title investigations for these blocks take place at Te Teko and Kāramuramu but both were heard at Whakatāne between October and December 1890, in the middle of the planting season and during an influenza epidemic. Some years later a Crown official reported to the Government that it was his opinion that Ngāti Manawa had spent
“many thousands of pounds through being forced to attend the Land Court at Whakatāne, to say nothing of sickness and death caused by want of proper food and accommodation.”
(56) The Court divided Heruiwi between Ngāti Manawa and other iwi. Ngāti Manawa were unhappy that an urupā had not been included in their award and applied for a rehearing. The Court declined on the basis of its belief that another iwi had more dead buried in the urupā. The Court awarded Whirinaki to Ngāti Manawa and a related iwi. There was a rehearing and the Court confirmed its original decision.
Crown Purchasing in the 1890s amid Continuing Ngāti Manawa Poverty
(57) In 1889 Harehare Atarea offered to sell interests in more land
“because I am in debt and have been served with a writ from the Supreme Court” (a promissory note which was about to be called in). This offer was not taken up immediately, but Ngāti Manawa poverty led to further offers to sell land in the 1890s. During this decade the Government renewed its commitment to buying Māori land.
(58) Ngāti Manawa offered to sell the Crown 40,000 acres in Heruiwi 4 immediately after the Court awarded them title in 1890. The Crown agreed to purchase this land in 1892. By the time negotiations had concluded Ngāti Manawa had offered the Crown an additional 6,200 acres which was also purchased.
(59) Disastrous floods destroyed their crops in mid-1892 and again in January 1893. In January 1893 Harehare Atarea pleaded with the Government to send Ngāti Manawa food, and offered to pay for it out of the purchase money for land. He offered to sell
“Heruiwi or Pohokura, or any block of land in this district owned by us”. He continued that,
“What is the use of the land if the owners die of starvation?”.
(60) Harehare received no reply and again wrote the Government in March 1893 of Ngāti Manawa’s desperate food shortage. This time he specifically offered some of Ngāti Manawa’s best remaining land in Heruiwi 4 so that his people could buy food.
(61) The Government began acquiring the signatures of individual owners to a purchase deed for Heruiwi 4B in July 1893. The Native Land Court had recognised the importance of this land to Ngāti Manawa’s ability to sustain themselves and had ordered that the block should be inalienable. However, the Governor exercised his power to lift such orders. The Crown’s purchase of individual interests continued until November 1895 at which stage it had acquired more than 16,000 acres in Heruiwi 4B.
(62) The Crown prohibited private purchasing of Māori land in 1894. In January 1895 the Government began purchasing individual interests in the Whirinaki block. The Court had also ordered that this block should be inalienable. Notwithstanding that, the Government purchased nearly 21,500 acres from 178 individuals by November 1895. Just over a fifth of the purchase money was consumed by the cost of surveying the land. A further block of 350 acres in Whirinaki was acquired by the Crown in satisfaction of survey costs in 1899.
(63) In 1897 Ngāti Manawa were afflicted by a harsh influenza epidemic. Frosts destroyed all their crops between 1898 and 1900, and created near famine like conditions. Early in 1899 a committee of owners was appointed by the different iwi interested in Pohokura to arrange a large sale to the Crown. The Crown completed the purchase of 40,000 acres that year from Ngāti Manawa and other iwi.
The Establishment of the Urewera District Native Reserve
(64) Ngāti Manawa land interests extended into the western edges of Te Urewera. Ngāti Manawa and other Māori had not sold any land in this area by the 1890s and it was one of the last areas of the country to be
“opened up” for land leases or sales. Māori in Te Urewera were focussed on retaining their land by ensuring that none was brought before the Native Land Court or taken by the Crown for roading. They also wanted to ensure the protection of native birds and waterways.
(65) In 1895 Premier Richard Seddon, James Carroll, and other government representatives met in Wellington with leaders of iwi with interests in Te Urewera to discuss how their land was to be governed in the future. The Crown wanted the iwi to allow their land to be surveyed and have land title determined. Iwi leaders sought self-government and protection against land alienation.
(66) Harehare Atarea and Te Marunui Rawiri represented Ngāti Manawa. They were reluctant to be involved in a project primarily being negotiated with other iwi, but finally agreed to the establishment of a special 656,000 acre Te Urewera reserve. The Crown agreed to introduce a special system to exempt the lands in the reserve from the Native Land Court system by allowing land ownership to be determined by an
“Urewera Commission” comprising two Pākehā commissioners and five from the Tūhoe tribe. Hapū and iwi were to retain control over their land. Land was only to be alienated with the approval of a General Committee elected by Māori with interests in the Urewera Native District Reserve. Local Government was to be left in Māori hands through elected committees. The Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 was to give effect to this agreement.
Implementation of the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896
(67) In the first two decades of the twentieth century the Crown took a number of actions which were counter to the agreements it had reached with Ngāti Manawa and others and had given effect to in the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896. A number of the protections Urewera leaders had secured as a condition of submitting their lands to survey and title determinations were not given effect to and the local governance provisions were weakened.
(68) In 1908 a General Committee of 33 people, including Harehare Atarea and Te Marunui Rawiri from Ngāti Manawa, was elected to administer the Urewera reserve. Later that year, however, the Government made itself responsible for appointing the General Committee, and restricted it to twenty members. Te Marunui Rawiri was one of those appointed by the Government in 1909.
(69) In 1909 legislation was enacted empowering the Government to declare individual blocks in the reserve subject to the jurisdiction of the Native Land Court. A government adviser suggested that Te Whāiti be subdivided in 1910 to end disputes between Ngāti Manawa and the other iwi with whom they shared the block. A partition hearing took place in 1913. Despite concluding that there were no internal boundaries between Ngāti Manawa and their co-owners, the Court split Te Whāiti in two. Ngāti Manawa were awarded Te Whāiti 2 on partition, being 26,292 of the 71,340 acres.
The Urewera Commission Determines Titles
(70) The determination of land titles by the Urewera Commission was a drawn out process. Ngāti Manawa claimed interests in the Te Whāiti-nui-a-Toi block. In May 1901 the Commission awarded Ngāti Manawa 3,370 acres in the Tāwhiuau section of Te Whāiti-nui-a-Toi. Most of the block was awarded to other iwi.
(71) Ngāti Manawa lodged five appeals against this decision. One of these was lodged by Hohepa Poia and others, and another by Harehare Atarea and 194 others. The Government appointed a second Commission to hear appeals in 1906. The three Commissioners who heard the Te Whāiti-nui-a-Toi appeal included two Pākehā, and a Māori from outside the Urewera region. In 1907 the second Commission enlarged Ngāti Manawa’s award of the Tāwhiuau block to 5,064 acres. It also included 188 Ngāti Manawa among the 506 owners of Te Whāiti block.
(72) In a similar manner to their approach to lists of owners given to the Native Land Court, Ngāti Manawa included some members of other iwi on the title of Tāwhiuau. It also appears that a few Ngāti Manawa may have been among the owners of Otairi and Maraetahi which had been part of the larger Te Whāiti-nui-a-Toi block.
Continuing Crown Purchasing in the Twentieth Century
(73) The Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 was amended by subsequent legislation that changed its structure and provisions. The effect of these changes made it much easier for the Crown to purchase land inside the Urewera Reserve. The land inside the Urewera District Native Reserve, and nearly 25,000 acres outside it, was all that remained in Ngāti Manawa’s ownership at the start of the twentieth century. Despite this, the Crown continued purchasing Ngāti Manawa land.
(74) In November 1914 the Government began acquiring interests in lands from individual owners without complying with the legal requirement set out in the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 to first seek the approval of the General Committee. This requirement was intended to ensure communal rather than individual control over land alienation. In May 1915 the Government decided to purchase Te Whāiti, but had still not obtained the General Committee’s consent. These illegal actions were retrospectively validated by legislation in 1916 that also empowered the Government to continue purchasing inside the reserve without the General Committee’s consent.
(75) The Crown wanted to acquire valuable timber on Te Whāiti. After 1905 it was required to have Māori land valued before purchasing it. Most of the timber was located on the Ngāti Manawa portion of the block and when valued the Ngāti Manawa portion of Te Whāiti was given a much higher valuation than the other parts. Nevertheless in 1938 and 1944 some Ngāti Manawa petitioned the Government complaining that the price finally paid for the timber land was less than market value.
(76) The law required the Crown to hold a meeting of the assembled owners of a land block, before beginning negotiations to purchase individual interests in the land. The Crown did not hold such a meeting in its negotiations for Te Whāiti. Instead the Crown pressed ahead with the purchase of individual interests. It had some initial success but negotiations dragged on for a number of years as the Crown’s agent travelled far and wide trying to persuade individual owners to sell.
(77) Ngāti Manawa’s economic circumstances contributed to their willingness to sell. Pera Te Horowai offered the Government his interests in Te Whāiti in 1915 because his people were facing starvation due to heavy frosts having destroyed their crops, and the high price of flour. Some Ngāti Manawa land was offered for sale to raise development capital. In 1910 W. H. Bird wrote that the owners of a Whirinaki section wished to sell to raise development capital for other land that they retained. In 1914 Bird suggested the Government purchase the Ngāti Manawa section of Te Whāiti because
“they want money to work the Hikurangi blocks now being subdivided by the Native Land Court in Whakatāne”.
(78) The Crown also began purchasing undivided shares from individual owners in the Otairi, Maraetahi and Tāwhiuau blocks. By March 1921 it had acquired the majority of interests in these blocks. However, the Crown had been purchasing undivided shares. It was not clear where the boundaries between the interests acquired by the Crown, and those retained by non-sellers, should be drawn.
The Urewera District Reserve Consolidation Scheme
(79) This circumstance affected a number of Urewera Reserve blocks. Crown officials were reluctant, however, to have the Native Land Court subdivide out its purchases in the Urewera Reserve. They were concerned the Court would not award the Crown the parts of the blocks that officials wanted to make available for settlers. They also believed that a Court partition would disadvantage the non-sellers as they would be left with widely scattered interests among a number of blocks. The Crown proposed a scheme to consolidate interests that would give the Crown the land it wanted, and provide the non-sellers with larger more economically viable landholdings.
(80) The Crown began holding meetings with Ngāti Manawa and another iwi in 1921 to work out arrangements for the consolidation of interests in the Te Whāiti, Maraetahi, Otairi and Tāwhiuau blocks. The Government did not acquire all the land it wanted in Te Whāiti, but still secured the block’s valuable timber resources. One whānau group exchanged their shares in Te Whāiti for Crown interests in Whirinaki.
(81) The Urewera Lands Act 1921-1922 repealed the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896 and gave effect to the consolidation scheme. It provided for some Ngāti Manawa owners exchanging their interests in Te Whāiti for Crown land in Whirinaki. The former Te Whāiti 2, Maraetahi, Otairi, and Tāwhiuau blocks all but disappeared. Ngāti Manawa non-sellers found their interests grouped into new blocks including a Te Whāiti series of 24 blocks.
(82) The non-sellers from Ngāti Manawa and another iwi were entitled to 14,366 acres at the end of the consolidation scheme, but substantial deductions were made from this to cover the costs of roading and surveying. Their entitlement was reduced by nearly a quarter to 10,840 acres.
Ngāti Manawa Reserves
(83) By the 1920s Ngāti Manawa retained ownership of only a small fraction of their rohe. The Crown’s officially stated policy in the nineteenth century was that sufficient land for Māori to live on should be reserved for Māori from purchases of their land. The Crown believed that three reserves were created from the 1880 Kaingaroa purchase of 1,644 acres at Karatia, 417 acres at Ōruatewehi and 670 acres at Rangipō. All the land in Ōruatewehi and Rangipō was, however, purchased by private parties or the Crown between 1892 and 1928. In 1894 and 1921 the Crown compulsorily took 37 acres in Karatia for public works without paying any compensation.
(84) Ngāti Manawa may have agreed to sales at Ōruatewehi and Rangipō due to confusion between themselves and the Government over what land had actually been reserved in 1880. The reserves provided for by the text of the Kaingaroa 1 deed did not precisely correspond to those represented on the plan accompanying the 1880 deed. These reserves also differed from those earlier agreed upon out of the Crown’s 1875 lease. Ngāti Manawa kept using land at Motumako and Kiorenui within the boundaries of Kaingaroa 1 until 1920 when the Crown began to develop these blocks for the Kaingaroa state forest.
(85) Ngāti Manawa soon petitioned the Government that they believed Motumako and Kiorenui had been reserved in 1880. This led to an investigation of the 1880 purchase by a Native Land Court Judge in 1926. His conclusions placed some reliance on the recently published memoirs of the ex-Crown official who negotiated the purchase. Ngāti Manawa disputed the accuracy of this account, and in certain respects their evidence was more consistent with the contemporary documentation of the 1880 purchase. The Judge appears to have seen only some of the contemporary documentation. He rejected Ngāti Manawa’s argument that it had been intended to reserve Kiorenui but accepted that they had intended to reserve Motumako. The Chief Judge of the Native Land Court advised the Government not to accept these findings on the basis that it was unwise to upset a sale that had stood for 46 years.
(86) Ngāti Manawa began a long campaign for the return of Motumako. In 1927 the Native Affairs Committee referred a Ngāti Manawa petition to the Government for favourable consideration. The New Zealand Forest Service was determined to retain Motumako, however, as it was in the middle of one of its forests. It considered there was a risk fires might spread from privately owned land to its forests.
(87) In 1931 Ngāti Manawa proposed exchanging their interests in Motumako for 315 acres in Karatia. The Crown, though, maintained that Motumako was only worth 100 acres in Karatia. The Crown and Ngāti Manawa were unable to agree how much millable timber was in Motumako. Negotiations spread over 30 years could not resolve this disagreement.
(88) The Motumako dispute eventually became entwined with the Crown’s attempts to purchase some remaining Ngāti Manawa land at Whirinaki. This began in the 1950s and lasted until 1967 when Ngāti Manawa asked the Crown to stop. In 1969 Ngāti Manawa proposed to provide the Crown with Whirinaki lands in exchange for Motumako. The Crown did not immediately agree but in 1973 offered to exchange Whirinaki for Motumako. The Crown and Ngāti Manawa finally agreed in 1981 that the Crown would exchange 1,490 acres in Whirinaki 4B2 for Motumako.
(89) Despite the small amount of land remaining in Ngāti Manawa ownership by the middle of the twentieth century, the Crown compulsorily acquired 136 acres at Karatia in 1954 to use as a log yard and rail head to service the forestry industry.
Rivers and Freshwater Fisheries
(90) The rohe of Ngāti Manawa includes the bed and waters of the upper Rangitaiki River, Ngāti Manawa’s tupuna awa, and its tributaries, including in particular the Wheao and Whirinaki rivers. Other important streams for eels and fishing places were the Pokairoa, Kopuriki, Horomanga and Mangamate Streams. Apart from being a vital part of the traditional economy of Ngāti Manawa, these waterways are taonga that are critical to Ngāti Manawa’s spiritual sustenance and wellbeing.
(91) Ngāti Manawa and neighbouring iwi had their own maramataka (fishing calendar). The fishery was managed according to tikanga.
(92) Numerous varieties of eels were formerly caught by Ngāti Manawa, including black eels (mataamoe), silver-bellied eels (paewai), blind eels (piharau), and yellow-bellied eels. All were taonga to Ngāti Manawa. Certain individuals and families had special knowledge of fishing methods and had the responsibility to pass their knowledge on to the next generation. Places where specific varieties of eels could be caught were well-known and were often named. There were a number of traditional fishing methods, including hīnaki, retireti, rama tuna, fern beds or boxes, and line fishing.
(93) The Government took control of the Rangitaiki and other rivers from the late nineteenth century. The Water-power Act 1903, and subsequent legislation, gave the Crown sole control of these rivers to use for electricity generation. The beds of all navigable rivers were vested in the Crown by the Coal-mines Act Amendment Act 1903. Otherwise, title to rivers was governed by the ad medium filum aquae rule. Ngāti Manawa state that this is inconsistent with their tikanga. There was no consultation with Ngāti Manawa over the coal mines legislation. Section 21 of the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967 vested all rights of management, use, and authority over natural water in the Crown. There was no consultation between the Crown and Ngāti Manawa about this legislation either.
(94) The Rangitaiki River and its tributaries have been affected by the construction of the Matahina, Aniwhenua, and Wheao power schemes. The dams have assisted New Zealand’s economic growth, but at the cost of a decline in the health of the rivers. The eel fisheries and other resources that Ngāti Manawa rely on for cultural and physical sustenance have been severely affected. The Matahina scheme caused a significant section of the Rangitaiki to flood between Matahina and Murupara. Ngāti Manawa say that the mixing of the waters of the Rangitaiki and Wheao shatters the tapu and sanctity of these rivers. They cannot identify whether the re-channelled river was the Rangitaiki or the Wheao.
(95) Ngāti Manawa now need permits to cross Crown owned forests to fish in their rivers. Ngāti Manawa continue to regard themselves as kaitiaki of the rivers.
Land Development Schemes
(96) In the 1920s Ngāti Manawa were concerned at how their remaining land interests were scattered across many blocks. William Bird wrote the Government in 1929 requesting a further consolidation scheme involving Ngāti Manawa and other iwi that would amalgamate approximately 25,000 acres of land with more than 1,800 owners into larger and more economically viable sections. Some preliminary work was done, but there was no further consolidation of Ngāti Manawa interests, despite further requests being made in the 1940s.
(97) In 1929 the Government began providing funds for development schemes to establish viable farms on Māori owned land. Ngāti Manawa would have preferred that their interests be consolidated first, but lobbied the Government in 1933 and 1934 to establish a development scheme on their land. In January 1937 a development scheme was established on Ngāti Manawa land at Karatia and Whirinaki. By March 1939, approximately 1,700 acres had been developed and 35 men had been employed. While some owners were allocated land, the Ngāti Manawa community of owners generally had little control over their land once it was in the scheme.
(98) Some 6,000 acres were put into the Ngāti Manawa development scheme. Work began well converting the undeveloped land into dairy farms with William Bird as foreman. However, progress soon slowed. Much of the scheme’s land was unsuitable for dairy farming, and the Second World War between 1939 and 1945 created shortages of labour and materials. In July 1947, the Native Department was instructed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Native Affairs to proceed with a consolidation of Ngāti Manawa interests. The consolidation was delayed so the Crown could acquire the Karatia block for a log yard which the Forest Service required. The consolidation was never completed.
(99) Ngāti Manawa had little ability to control the administration of the development scheme. It lost money, and its costs were charged against the land which became heavily indebted. By the 1950s many owners were asking for their land to be removed from the scheme. It had been reduced to 3,300 acres by 1957.
(100) The Government further attempted to develop the remaining land in the 1960s but the scheme’s debts continued to increase. The owners became increasingly frustrated with the Government’s management of their land. In the early 1970s they sought its return and the writing off, or reduction of, its debt. However, the Crown considered the debt a fair charge against the land.
(101) The owners established the Ngāti Manawa Incorporation in 1972, and the land was transferred to this incorporation. Its considerable debts were re-financed as a mortgage on the land. The incorporation succeeded in making a profit, and paid its first dividend in 1979.
Farms for Returned Servicemen
(102) The Government allocated a number of farms on Crown land at Kuhawaea to returned servicemen after the Second World War. Kuhawaea had originally been owned by Ngāti Manawa, but Ngāti Manawa returned servicemen were ineligible for these farms. Government policy was that Crown land would only be allocated to returned servicemen considered capable of living in wholly European communities. Prior to 1954, applicants had to be certified as able to farm without supervision. All Māori applicants were certified as requiring the supervision of the Department of Māori Affairs.
Further Crown Acquisitions of Ngāti Manawa Land for the Forestry Industry
(103) In the late 1940s the Crown sought land to build a pulp and paper mill to process wood from the Kaingaroa forest. The Crown already owned most of the land in the district, but decided the most suitable site for such a mill was on Ngāti Manawa land at Karatia. The Prime Minister asked Ngāti Manawa to sell the Government the land and told them this project would provide them with employment for generations.
(104) The Crown eventually decided to build the mill at Kawerau but it still sought 136 acres at Karatia for a log yard and railhead. In February 1953 the Crown proposed an exchange of land with Ngāti Manawa. Negotiations broke down due to disagreement over whether the land should be valued at its current or potential value.
(105) The Prime Minister had promised Ngāti Manawa that the Government would not compulsorily take its land but in 1954 a new Government decided to compulsorily acquire the land it wanted. The Māori Land Court ordered the Government to compensate Ngāti Manawa for the potential value of the land. The compensation was paid to the Māori Trustee, and subsequently used to repay the debts on three Karatia blocks arising out of the Ngāti Manawa development scheme.
Forestry and Post 1984 Restructuring
(106) From 1950 the Ngāti Manawa economy was dependent on the Kaingaroa Forest (planted on land Ngāti Manawa sold to the Crown). The New Zealand Forest Service developed
“timber towns” at Murupara, Minginui, and Kaingaroa, and provided work for many Ngāti Manawa. In 1953 more than half the Māori workforce in Murupara was employed in industries associated with forestry.
(107) The New Zealand Forest Service maintained a strong sense of social responsibility into the 1980s. In May 1983 it commenced a new planting programme which was mainly designed to create new jobs. More than 1,000 jobs were to be created before the end of 1987. However Ngāti Manawa’s dependence on the New Zealand Forest Service made the iwi vulnerable to shifts in government policy.
(108) In 1984 the Government decided that the New Zealand economy would benefit from a programme of restructuring and deregulation. By 1987 the Forest Service had been split up and its former functions transferred to the Department of Conservation and the New Zealand Forestry Corporation. Māori Affairs Department officials warned that restructuring the New Zealand Forest Service would have a
“devastating” effect on the Central North Island forestry towns. Many former Forest Service workers were laid off, and the Forest Service office in Murupara was closed.
(109) The Government established a five million dollar fund to assist communities across the country to adapt to the economic changes, but this did not prevent considerable unemployment among Ngāti Manawa. In 1993 65 percent of Murupara’s population were on a welfare benefit. Many Ngāti Manawa families left Murupara in search of work.