Section 4: 1856-1861


April 1856. Ngāti Ruanui taua returned to Puketapu, casualties. Ngāti Ruanui leader Piripi killed, along with 7 others.

June 1856. Larger Ngāti Ruanui party (500 men) arrived.

July 1856. Major fight, ten men killed.

August 1856. Ngāti Ruanui destroyed the pā they had taken and went home. They didn’t return to fight in Te Atiawa territory again.

October 1856. Parsonson recounts how at this time

Te Ati Awa were beginning their own peacemaking. Katatore sent presents to the Hua. Hone Ropiha Te Kekeu, a Puketapu assessor, and elder of Karaka’s party, made an unexpected visit to Kaipakopako. Heni, wife of Wiremu Kingi, made a ceremonial visit to Ihaia, who had built a new pa at Ikamoana’ (135).

November 1856. Reconciliation continued. According to Parsonson

In November Kingi and his people visited Kaipakopako pa; and Roka, widow of Rawiri Waiaua, with her son Rameka, was also escorted to Kaipakopako. Arama Karaka, who was very ill, was reported to be anxious for peace; Katatore had raised a white flag at Kaipakopako to indicate that he felt the same way.’ (135)


15 January 1857. Death of Arama Karaka Mitikakau.

5 February 1857. Peace concluded between Rawiri’ s and Katatore’ s people (Parsonson 135). Ihaia and Nikorima held aloof.

5 May 1857. Written offer to the Provincial Government in which Ihaia and Nikorima said that Ikamoana must be settled for, before offering land at Waitara and Turangi.

April 1857. New Plymouth. Ihaia goes to New Plymouth town to offer the Ikamoana for sale. (Parsonson 156)

July 1857. Ikamoana. District Land Purchase Commissioner John Rogan met with a hui at Ikamoana. Also met Mahau who supported Ihaia’s sale. Mahau stated intention to offer Waiongana, once Ikamoana settled (Parsonson 157).

August 1857. New Plymouth. The Mahoetahi people headed by Mahau, Aperahama and others came into New Plymouth town and offered the land at Ikamoana and Waiongana to Robert Parris (who would soon be appointed the district land purchase agent) (Parsonson 157). Tension surrounding Ikamoana as Te Whaitere Katatore refused to add Ikamoana into the land he offered to sell. Dispute amongst Te Atiawa.

October 1857. New Plymouth. Big meeting, Puketapu people came to New Plymouth to offer land formally to Parris. Also opposition from Mahau at the Waiongana boundary. Halse offered Ihaia money to abandon the Ikamoana pa. This irritated Katatore (Parsonson 159).

November 1857. Parsonson recounts how ‘Henry Halse was able to report a new move at Waitara – a meeting convened by Teira and others who wished to sell land on the south side of the river. But most people at the meeting remained silent’ (159).


January 1858. Katatore killed. Parsonson recounts:

In January 1858 Katatore was killed along with his close relation Rawiri Karira as he rode home from New Plymouth, by a party of several men led by Ihaia’s brother, Tamati Tiraurau. Ihaia told Parris that the plans for the ambush were his own. It was Rawiri Karira however who was wounded and killed first, and Katatore had time to dismount from his horse, and led it off down the road while his three companions rode with him. A party from the Ikamoana pa then arrived, and Ihaia himself; and after a haka near Rawiri’s body they all returned to the pa. In the meantime three men had followed Katatore, and he was overtaken and killed. At the time, according to the Pakeha who watched the whole episode, Katatore was about 800 yards from the place where Rawiri was killed. (160)

Skirmishing among the Te Atiawa in the months that followed.

February 1858. Waitara. Ihaia withdraws from the Ikamoana to take up a position on the east bank of the Waitara River. (Parsonson 161) Others followed Ihaia, abandoning the Bell Block.

June 1858. Waitara, Urenui, Te Kaweka. Parsonson recounts

But by June an agreement had been reached, through the assistance, it appears, of Ngati Maniapoto leaders who had come from Mokau. Ihaia and Nikorima both withdrew from Waitara, and went in peace to Urenui. On 25 June Parris reported that he thought the feud might be considered at an end. By July Ihaia’s people were building a pa Te Kaweka, close to Mimi, and were getting ready to plant crops. (163)

12 July 1859. Puketapu people told Parris that they wished to renew negotiations for the sale of Katatore’s block. (Parsonson 164)

December 1859. Two Puketapu leaders, Karipa and Te Haeana of Ninia pa, had secretly approached Taranaki people ‘to get support to oppose any land sales’ (Parsonson 165).


4 and 10 January 1859. Deed for Tarurutangi signed and payment distributed amongst Puketapu pā. (Parsonson 165) Kaipakopako people gave their share to Rawiri’s relatives at the Oropuriri pa, because it was the land on which Rawiri Waiaua had met his death.

April 1859. Surveying began after block published in the Government Gazette 9 April and land given to settlers. Meanwhile peace negotiations among Te Atiawa had been continuing. During April the Ngāmotu and Puketapu people visited one another.

July 1859. Waitara. Ihaia returned to Waitara.

27 August 1859. Runanga held at which peace was formally made between Ihaia, Nikorima and ‘the men of Waitara and Kaipakopako.’ Both Ihaia and Nikorima returned to their homes. (Parsonson 168)

March 1859. Te Teira Mānuka, a ‘minor’ Te Atiawa chief, offered 600 acres of land at the mouth of the Waitara River for sale (He Reo Wahine 82). Government ignored the opposition of tribal leader Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke and determined Te Teira and his people as sole owners. See 24 February 1860.


Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke wrote to Governor Gore Browne: ‘I will not agree to our bedroom being sold … for this land belongs to the whole of us; and do not you be in haste to give the money.’ (My Hand Will Write 104, quotes from Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1860, E-3, p6)

January 1860. Grey sent troops to re-occupy Tātaraimaka and Taranaki Māori retaliated by attacking a small group of soldiers (He Reo Wahine 153).

24 February 1860. Waitara River land deed, signed by Te Teira Mānuka, leading to a year of war. ‘Other Taranaki iwi and warriors from the Kīngitanga came to assist Te Ati Awa in the fight to keep their land.’ Te Rangitāke did not make peace. He withdrew to live with Ngāti Maniapoto. The tribe’s ‘fighting chief’ Hapurona left in charge of bringing hostilities to an end (He Reo Wahine 83-84). See 15 May 1861.

17 March 1860. Following the surveying of the Waitara block in early March, ‘Kingi and seventy or eighty of his warriors threw up a pa, Te Kohia or the L-pa, at Waitara, and refused to evacuate it’ (Belich 82). The Taranaki War begins as shots are exchanged.

24 March 1860. British operation against Wiremu Kīngi broken off as ‘Taranaki raiders’ advanced towards New Plymouth. Note: Belich talks about this strategy used by Māori:

…the maintenance by the Maoris of a war on two fronts, together with a credible threat to New Plymouth. Whenever the British moved against the tribes south of New Plymouth, a threat to the town from Te Atiawa (and later the Waikatos) in the north could draw the troops back to its defence and vice versa. (104)

He highlights another strategy used, ‘an offensive against settler property—raids to remove or destroy houses and household goods, stocks, crops, and agricultural equipment.’ Farmers in outlying areas into the increasingly crowded confines of New Plymouth. The removal of cattle and crops meant that British dependence on New Plymouth town grew. Belich comments ‘A little known effect of the war of 1860-61 was the creation of a pastoral boom against the South Taranaki Maoris’ (105).

28 March 1860. Conflict at Waireka. More on the ‘Waireka myth’ or ‘legend’ see Belich pp. 84-88.

Early May 1860. Ngāti Maniapoto taua led by Epiha Tokohihi makes their way to Taranaki as peaceful escort (Belich 91). Throughout 1860 and 1861 Kingite parties come and go from Waikato to Taranaki to support the local effort against the British. Belich writes that

A few of these men came from Tauranga, Rotorua, and Taupo, but most were from the Tainui tribes of the Waikato area. In sum, though 800 was the probable peak at the scene of action at any one time, it is difficult to believe that less than 1,200 different Waikato warriers fought in Taranaki, at one time or another, and 1,500 seems more likely. This probably represented between a third and a half of the total strength of the Waikato or ‘core’ Kingite tribes. (103)

Early June 1860. Te Atiawa and Ngāti Maniapoto begin building a pā at Puketakauere, in sight of the British field base at Camp Waitara (Belich 91).

27 June 1860. Battle of Puketakauere. Imperial troops defeated. See: Belich 91-98.

[28 July 1860. Corbyn Harris, brother of Emily, ambushed and killed on the beach at Waitara.]

August 1860. Pā built within two miles of New Plymouth town. Alarms heard frequently. Settler fear of an attack on the town by Māori. Attempt to contract town perimeter leads to overcrowding and disease within settler community (Belich 105).

Late August 1860. Many Māori returned to their homes from more advanced positions such as Puketakauere to plant crops (Belich 100).

11 September 1860. Conflict at Huirangi. Imperial party ambushed when destroying empty pā. This happened again 29 September. ‘…the British were unable to take advantage of the Maori planting season to strike any heavy blow’ (Belich 100).

6 November 1860. Conflict at Mahoetahi between Ngāti Haua and British troops. Ngāti Haua defeated (Belich 101).

1 December 1860. Letter written for publication by chiefs of Waikato and Ngāti Haua concerning law and governance in Waikato.

4. The arrangement about Taranaki, where we are going for the purpose of fighting, is, that there is nothing wrong in our doing so, inasmuch as that place has been opened, in these times, as a battle ground for Maories and Pakehas.

[4. Ko te tikanga ki Taranaki, I a matou e haere nei ki reira whawhai ai, kahore he he ki reira o ta matou whawhai, no te mea hoki kua marama a reira i enei takiwa hei whawhaitanga ma te Maori ma te Pakeha.]

The arrangement for Waikato, and stretching to Auckland, is, that it is to be sacred [lit. placed under tapu], so that there shall be no fighting there. These laws are by

Matutaera Potatau,

Wiremu Tamihana Te Waharoa,

And all the Chiefs of Ngatihaua and Waikato.

(The Maori Messenger – Te Karere Māori 31 December 1860 p6)</>

29 December 1860. Matarikoriko pā attacked. Māori evacuated 30 December (Belich 108).


22 January 1861. Huirangi pā attacked (Belich 109).

[March 1861. Emily Harris accepted an offer by her employer Charles Des Voeux to accompany his family to Sydney and then to Hobart, where the Des Voeux settled in Macquarie St and later in Holbrook Place in the new suburb of South Hobart.]

18 March 1861. Ceasefire (Belich 108).

15 May 1861. Te Atiawa chief Hapurona signed the terms for a truce with the Crown to end the first Taranaki war, claiming to represent 64 individuals. ‘Ko au ko Hapurona e korero nei moku mo enei tangata katoa e mau nei nga ingoa ki raro nei, mo nga wahine, mo nga tamariki.’ ‘I, Hapurona, speak for myself, for all these men whose names are here unto subscribed, for the women and children.’ (Te Manuhiri Tuarangi 15 May 1861 p4).