Volume 51 1942 > Volume 51, No. 1 > [Front matter] p i-viii
THE JOURNAL OF THE POLYNESIAN SOCIETY
CONTAINING THE TRANSACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY.
VOL. 51. 1942.
Wellington, N.Z.: THE POLYNESIAN SOCIETY (INCORPORATED) 1942.
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CONTENTS OF VOLUME 51
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PREPARATORY NOTE WITH GLOSSARY
In my short article on Maori Religion in the recent (1941) volume of the Polynesian Society (Memoir 17), Polynesian Anthropological Studies, I expressed a hope that sympathetic studies might be made of the various Maori religions which now have adherents in considerable numbers. At that time this present study must have been well on its way, and was nearing completion. It was submitted to me, among others, and I was at once taken by the fact that here was not only a sympathetic study of the Ringatu religion, but also a presentation of historical facts which largely explained, not only the religion, but its emergence from a fanaticism about which a great deal has been written, more in condemnation of its dreadful character than in explanation of the reasons for its sudden birth and savage nature. It was a religion of despair, its character corresponding with its pitiless environment of blood and fire and sword and war-engendered hate.
Much has been made of the barbarity of the decapitating of the unfortunate Captain Lloyd, the preservation of his head, and its use in the debasing rites of the Hauhau ceremonials; but even the present author does not say that this action was primarily utu for an action of the Pakeha. Let this quotation speak for itself:
“We have it on good authority that on the final attack and capture of the Kaitake pa (Oakuru), 11 March 1864, that the Company to which the doctor (Webber) was attached, in approaching the pa from its rear, or Koru side, along a spur of the Patua range, found the body of an aged Maori just expired from wounds. This rangatira was fully tattooed, not only his face, but a beautiful rapa, or spiral pattern over his buttocks. The temptation was too great for the surgeon to resist, who then and there performed a ‘minor operation,’ skinning off the rapa, which rumour declares was cured and made into a tobacco pouch. The mutilation of the old chief, rumour further says, was amply revenged a few months later by the surprise attack, or ambush, of Ahuahu, when a Company of the 57th regiment was badly cut up and Captain Lloyd and others shockingly - ii mutilated. In accord with the ancient custom of the Maori, utu, or revenge or reprisals for the mutilation of their tribesmen, could only be redeemed or satisfied by a bloody recompense from the enemy.”
—W. H. Skinner, Pioneer Medical Men of Taranaki (1933) 94.
It must be remembered that, though this was less than a hundred years ago, the times were more crude and savage then than now, and that on both sides. But alas! I am brought up short by the thought of what is going on at the present moment, when reputedly civilized nations are destroying hostages, fifty for one, in sheer revenge and the hope of intimidation.
Wonder is often felt at the apparently savage vindictiveness of Kereopa and his fanatics in their treatment of Rev. Volkner, while at the same time his companion, Rev. Grace, got off free. This was explained afterward by the Tauranga correspondent of the Auckland Herald, who wrote:
“Some ten years ago I was on a visit at Mr. Walker's house at Port Awanui. I asked him if he was one of the Opotiki Walkers, to which he replied he was not; and, he added in his graphic style: ‘The last time I was in Opotiki was the day before the Rev. Mr. Volkner was taken prisoner by the Hauhau Maoris, before they hanged and beheaded him. I then kept a store in Opotiki, and I had a Maori boy in my service. Things were then, 1865, in a disturbed state; for Kereopa, the truculent Hauhau rebel, had lately arrived, and was inflaming the Opotiki Maoris against the Government. My faithful boy told me he thought it would not be safe for me to remain at Opotiki. He said he was going that evening to one of the Maori meetings, and that if things looked sulphurous, he would return to my house and throw some pebbles on the window. I busied myself in packing up my portable valuables, and by the time the pebbles were thrown I was ready to start. Following my boy's advice, I made tracks along the beach for Whakatane, taking care to walk close to the tide, so that the incoming waves would obliterate footmarks. I made good my journey, reaching Whakatane early the following forenoon. Here Father Grange asked me if I had met the two missionaries—Volkner and Grace.. I replied that I had not, and that I understood they had not returned to Opotiki from Auckland. Father Grange replied that they had passed through Whakatane the previous day, on their way to Opotiki, and that he had warned them not to go on, but that they had persisted. It would thus appear that when I passed by Mr. Volkner's house the previous evening the two missionaries must have been there. Had I any idea that they were there, I should - iii certainly have called in and urged them to leave Opotiki with me.’ I asked Mr. Walker what was the reason the Maoris killed Mr. Volkner and allowed their other prisoner, Mr. Grace, to live. He replied, ‘The Maoris had no quarrel with Grace, but they had a very distinct grievance against poor Volkner. They blamed him for the loss of their priest, Father Garavel, to whom they were much attached. Garavel had somewhat indiscreetly carried a letter from the Opotiki Maoris to the Waikato Maoris. Volkner, hearing of this, reported the matter to the Governor, Sir George Grey, who referred Volkner's letter to Bishop Pompallier. The bishop found the complaint well founded, and, on the Governor's suggestion, removed Father Garavel from Opotiki. In fact, I believe he was sent to Sydney. It being reported at the Maori meeting, above alluded to, that Mr. Volkner had arrived at his house, the wretch Kereopa exclaimed, “God has delivered your enemy into your hands; go and secure him.” That was the offence for which poor Mr. Volkner was hanged on his own ground, and his remains desecrated.....”
This was confirmed in a letter from Archdeacon Hadfield, dated 10 May 1865:
“You will perhaps hear the reason why they murdered Volkner. About a year ago a Roman Catholic French priest brought a letter to Opotiki from the Waikato Kingites inviting the people there to join them. Volkner spoke to him about it, and subsequently called the attention of the Government to the fact. He was sent back to France (probably with the consent of the bishop). However, the Opotiki natives were told that he had been put to death, and they professed to have killed Volkner as a set off against that.”
The hanging is in part accounted for by a rumour apparently current among the Maoris that though Father Garavel was said to have left the country, he was supposed to have been privately hanged by the Government.
In June, 1897, the willow upon which the Rev. Volkner was hanged, and which had been dead for some time, was set on fire by some loyal subjects during the record reign, but it burned only sufficiently to bring it to the ground.
The author shows how great a change was wrought in the spirit of the Hauhau fanaticism—in the Hauhaus themselves—by Te Kooti during their captivity on the Chathams; shows how it was possible for a religion of peace to emerge from a fury of war.
The name Te Kooti is a Pakeha name in Maori guise. Mr. James Cowan has put it on record that he was told by - iv Captain Preece, N.Z.C., who was one of those who fought against Te Kooti Rikirangi, that that leader took the name from a Government notice signed by Mr. Coates, the Maori translation being signed ‘Kooti.’ The name is usually mispronounced by the Pakeha: the ‘oo’ has the sound of ‘au’ in the word ‘caught,’ so that ‘caughtie’ gives the pronunciation of Kooti.
In Mr. Cowan's article, “The Facts about Te Kooti.... How Injustice made a Rebel” (article in New Zealand Railway Magazine, 1 December, 1938, 17 on), bears out the contention of the author, which is also the contention of others, that the deportation of Te Kooti to the Chathams was without justification. In this article is an illuminating story, which Mr. Cowan has given me permission to use here:
“There was a poetic touch about the old war-hawk (Te Kooti) in his later days. Captain Gilbert Mair, one of the officers who had led the Arawa contingents in chase of him in many expeditions, and who more than once took a hasty shot at him in a bush skirmish, told me this incident of the 'eighties, after the General Amnesty. Te Kooti was peacefully touring the country addressing the Ringa-tu or Wairua-tapu flocks and practising his often-successful faith-healing. Mair was in Matata, on the Bay of Plenty coast, when the chief came riding in, with his bodyguard of about thirty men and a couple of his wives. Te Kooti was the guest of the Maoris in their large village. When he heard that his old antagonist was in the township, he assembled his men, marched them over to the Horse-shoe inn, where the captain was staying, and paraded his now peaceful squad in front of the place. They were armed with shot-guns and a rifle or two, mostly borrowed for the occasion from the local people. He put them through a bit of drill, and when the captain appeared they presented arms. Mair solemnly inspected the guard of honour, and then Te Kooti approached him with a fine korowai flax cloak, and placed it around his one-time enemy's shoulders.
“‘This garment, ’ he said, ‘is my token of regard for you, Tawa, from whom I escaped only by the breadth of the black of my finger-nail’ (Maori idiom for ‘by the skin of my teeth’).‘Wear this korowai in memory of me, and if it be not large enough to cover you, let me clothe you with my love.’
“So saying, he gave the orders, ‘Teihana! Pat te rewhi!’ (Attention! By your left!) and quick-marched his men back to the kainga.
“‘He clothed me with his aroha,’ said my friend. ‘Pretty good for the old war-horse, that bit of sentiment, wasn't it?’- v
“Later on in the day a messenger from the kainga came to the Horse-shoe inn with a request from Te Kooti. Would his fighting friend the captain be good enough to send him a bottle of rum? Mair sent it, and thus did the two old warriors exchange their pledges of aroha.”
The last paragraph is included to show that the old Adam was still dormant, or more than dormant, in Te Kooti. If there is one thing that may retard the higher development of the Ringatu religion it is this old-Adam spirit with all it brings in its train; it should not be allowed to be even dormant, but should be extirpated in its dormancy.
Besides complimenting the author on the work as a whole, with its evidence of minute care, I wish to congratulate him on having been able to secure the extensive genealogy which is included in the essay. This is useful and valuable not only as showing the wide connections of Te Kooti, but also the connections of so many well-known names in Maori history and their origins in the famous men of the long-ago.
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Lest it be supposed that no portraits of Te Kooti are known, three pictures purporting to be portraits, published at various times, are reproduced here, though all are as unlike Te Kooti himself as they are unlike one another. They are reproduced as a record, however, to show how his person has been misrepresented as well as his personality; also in the hope that they may bring a true portrait to light.