Section 3: 1851-1855


May-July 1851. Manawapou. Missionary William Woon writing that Ngāti Ruanui were working hard to buy cattle and sow wheat at Manawapou, building a third mill (Parsonson 102).

Late 1851. A new (Pākehā) flagstaff erected at New Plymouth, 98 feet high. Parsonson recounts: ‘Ngati Ruanui held a large meeting at Waimate to discuss the flag, and their fears that it was connected with a Pakeha plan to take the land’ (101).

20 Oct 1851. Letter from Hori Kingi and Te Rei to Te Atiawa chiefs expressing their concern.

Ha ere ra e tenei pukapuka kinga rangatira pupuru i te whenua, kia Iharaira, kia te waitere, kia Raniera, kia Arapata, kia Wiremu Kingi, kia Paturoi, kia Koutou katoa e pupuru ana i tetahi wahi o to tatou waiu.’ The Pakeha might have the land they had already purchased, but that was enough for them: ‘one side of the blanket has been torn off for them; let that be enough for them, the side that remains to us, let us hold fast’. And they suggested that Te Ati Awa might like to consider whether the flag should be ‘pushed down’; for had not God erected a flag for New Zealand, namely Mount Egmont ‘ships can see Mount Egmont.’ (‘Kua kite ano ratou kua wakaturia he kara mo Nuitireni e te Atua ko Taranaki; kei te kite mai nga kaipuke i Taranaki. (Quoted in Parsonson 101).

2 Nov 1851. Letter from Katatore to chiefs of Ngāti Ruanui warning that cutting the flagstaff could lead to bloodshed. It stood on Pākehā land. It would have been cut down right away if it stood on his land (Parsonson 101).


August 1852. McLean and G.S. Cooper (esquire to the Colonial Secretary) have daily meetings with Puketapu people (Parsonson 106).

30 August 1852. Waiwhakaiho. McLean paid chiefs of Ngāti Te Whiti and Ngāti Tawhirikura for land near Waiwhakaiho, between the southern bank of the river and the Manganaha stream (inland of the Devon Road). McLean then paid Puketapu leaders for (adjoining?) land, leading to a dispute with Ngāti Te Whiti and Ngāti Tawhirikura. Parsonson recounts: ‘Poharama threatened to rub out the boundary on the map – and then on the ground, taking it further north from Smart’s farm to Cooke’ s. Clearly his people were angry that the Puketapu had been paid for land on the south side of Waiwakaiho.’ Later when Puketapu offered some land for sale, Te Puni of Ngāti Tawhirikura opposed. (Parsonson 108-110)

September 1852. Patea. McLean goes to visit the Patea people thinking they wanted to sell some land. They denied this, saying they had heard that Ngāti Ruanui ‘had made a solemn compact not to dispose of any land to Government.’ (Parsonson 103)

September 1852. Hard time for Puketapu – death of Puketapu leader Parata Te Huia. Death of another important Puketapu man, Paora Horoatua.

20 October1852. Taranaki Herald published part of a letter by Woon.

The natives of my district are altering fast, and are certainly taking leave of their senses. They try me to the utmost in my endeavours to lead them in the right way. They are continually holding meetings to prevent the land being sold to the Europeans. The greater part of the Ngatiruanui met at Whareroa on the 27th ult. to adopt measures to secure it… (Quoted in Parsonson 103)

18 December 1852. Letter from Poharama Hautere Te Whiti to the Governor. He says:

we do not consider it fair that the Natives of ‘Te Hua’ should have the selling of our Land, while at the same time they are carefully reserving their own portions; therefore we are determined that Te Hua should be included within the sale of the land, over which, in reality, they have no voice… (quoted in Parsonson 110)

End of 1852. Disputes surrounding Mangaoraka land sale. Ngāmotu and Puketapu people involved. Raniera of Puketapu opposed. Whaitere te Katatore also opposed, and threatened death to the ‘first man who cuts a fern stalk’ on the boundary (Parsonson 111).


10 January 1853. Bell Block opened.

1853. Te Atiawa cultivations increasing, crops of wheat, oats, maize and potatoes. Selling more and more to local exporting firms (Parsonson 105).

February 1853. Large settler meeting about ‘the Land Question.’ Pressure mounting amongst settler community (Parsonson 105).

May 1853. Manawapou. A large meeting house, called Taiporohenui, is being constructed at Manawapou (Parsonson 126).

24 August 1853. Signing of Waiwhakaiho block deed. Reserves weren’t finalised because negotiations with Te Atiawa ongoing.


16 January 1854. Signing of absentees [Waiwhakaiho block deed]. Te Puni’s son Henare Te Whare did not sign. Parsonson recounts:

He had already been sent back home months before [to Taranaki] to lead a group of his relatives in occupying and maintaining possession of first the seaward part of the block, and then across the Devon Road – some 500 acres. […] Te Whare, charming and amicable to the last, stayed where he was, reinforced by new arrivals from Wellington. By 1856 he was reported to be ‘successfully withholding’ land.

He was still ‘successfully withholding’ land in 1858 (Parsonson 114).

Early 1854. Settler Provincial Council set up. Cooper’s salary cut and he was demoted to Sub-Commissioner. Sought loans for land buying.

7 February 1854. Letter by McLean speaking of a

league which has been entered into by the Ngatiawa, Taranaki, and Ngatiruanui tribes, by which they have solemnly bound themselves and each other to put a stop to all sales of land to the North of the Bell Block, or South of Tataraimaka; and so much political importance do they attach to this, that, […] a copy of the Scriptures was buried in the earth with many ceremonies… (quoted in Parsonson 121)

3 March 1854. Hua Block deed. Over 120 people of both Puketapu and Ngāti Te Whiti signed. Tension mounting, settler impatience with land surveying, Government pressure, and divisions among Te Atiawa (Parsonson 124-125).

April 1854. Manawapou. Meeting held at Taiporohenui at Manawapou hoping to unite tribes and sell no more land to the settlers. Present were 500 Ngāti Ruanui, as well as Tamihana Te Rauparaha, Matene Te Whiwhi, and a small number of Ngāti Raukawa. Boundaries discussed were Okurukuru and Kai Iwi (Parsonson 126).

May-August 1854. Tarurutangi land dispute. Parsonson recounts:

Rawiri [Waiaua] and [Te Whaitere] Katatore did not agree about the extent of the land to be offered to the Government, and a dispute erupted between one of Katatore’s relatives named Topiha and Rawiri over planting rights to a small piece of the land. Topiha burnt Rawiri’s wheat crop, and Rawiri, in anger, went to Cooper and offered the entire Tarurutangi block for sale, extending inland of the Mangaoraka river. (Parsonson 130)

June 1854. Death of Te Huia’s son (Puketapu).

3 August 1854. Mangaoraka. Parsonson describes a conflict taking place over Tarururangi:

Cooper arranged with Rawiri that they should meet on the ground on the morning of 3 August 1854. Katatore, learning of the plan, sent a warning to Rawiri: his boundary must not cross the Mangaoraka. He sent a second warning; as he put it later, he ‘made up [his] mind for death; I then took the gun and spear which I gave to Karipa [his messenger] for Rawiri to shoot me with.’ Rawiri, however, apparently decided to ignore the warning. Next morning Katatore’s party, 28 strong, went out to intercept Rawiri on his way to Mangaoraka; Rawiri arrived at 8 a.m. with 25 men. Katatore fired one barrel of his gun into the air and one into the ground, as a final warning; then fighting broke out. It was over quickly. Four men were left dead, and twelve injured. Rawiri and his brother, Paora Te Kopi, were mortally wounded, and both died soon afterwards. (131-2)

November 1854. Waitara dispute erupts. Parsonson recounts:

The immediate occasion of it was an accusation against Hariata, wife of Ihaia te Kirikumara of Otaraua, that she was having an affair with a young man named Rimene, who was living at Waitara. […] [Rimene] was then shot dead by one of Ihaia’s relatives. […] several hundred Ngati Ruanui men arrived, led by Tamati Hone Oraukawa. They surrounded Ihaia’s pa, demanding the surrender of Ihaia, which his people refused. In the fighting that followed 11 people were killed (six from Ihaia’ s party, including a woman Makareta who was among the toa, and five from Ngati Ruanui); and “15 to 20” were badly wounded, about the same number from either side. (133)

Tension rising amongst Te Atiawa by end of 1854.


January 1855. Eight Puketapu people wounded in confrontation. (Parsonson 134)

June 1855. Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke occupied a ‘stockade’ adjacent to Katatore’s. Arama Karaka Mitikakau, leading Rawiri’s people, summoned his allies. Fighting beginning of July, Topiha killed (Parsonson 134).

July 1855. 76 men under Te Rei Hanataua joined Katatore. Skirmishes through August.

28 July 1855. Wynyard ordered 250 troops to Taranaki to protect the settlers. (Parsonson 141)

19 August 1855. First troops arrived, 200 men of the 58th Regiment.

September 1855. Ngāti Ruanui expressed their fears about the land to their missionary Riemenschneider, after hearing that Government intervention against Kīngi and Katatore might happen. They explained that the Government had no right to interfere on Māori disputes and if Government did step in, it might start a general war between Māori and Pākehā (Parsonson 145). In that case they would support Kīngi and Katatore.

Around this time, settlers beginning to refer to a Māori ‘Land League.’

October 1855. Letter from Wiremu Kīngi to Wynyard asking about the rumours that Katatore might be sent to Waiheke (Parsonson 148).