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No. 7 (Summer 1954)
– 39 –


The Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, visited New Zealand three times, first in 1869, again early in 1870 and lastly in December of that year. It was in the summer of 1870–71, that he made his historic visit to Rotorua and saw Te Arawa in their own thermal homeland. He was much loved by these Maoris who knew him as ‘Te Tamaiti o te Kuini’ (The Son of the Queen) and he seemed to return their regard. Te Arawa had been disappointed in 1869 because the Duke had been unable to visit them. On that occasion they had constructed the first road linking Rotorua to the Bay of Plenty, built especially for the Duke and his party.

When the Duke did come, he brought with him, as gifts, a marble bust of the Queen, a sword and a tribal flag. These were presented to chiefs on the marae at Ohinemutu on December 18, 1870, and still to-day, the visitor can see England's great Queen under her carved canopy on the spot where the company assembled.

Mr A. S. Graham tells us that the Duke was taken to see various sights, in particular the Pink and White Terraces. On the Pink Terrace, the Duke carved his name, and almost immediately the great chiefs of Te Arawa proclaimed this terrace tapu. Some even feared that the Duke had placed a claim on the land by this act. This tapu remained until it was lifted to enable Mr Graham's father, Robert Graham, formerly Superintendent of the Auckland Province, to visit the spot some ten years later.

The marble statue was held in a place of honour inside the then newly erected house, Tama te Kapua; but some few years later it was decided that a carved canopy should be erected on the marae, and that the statue, mounted on its own pedestal, be placed beneath. This was done. There is some doubt as to who was employed on this work. One account states that Rotohika did the carving of the upper borders. Others mentioned as having assisted were Rukingi Haupapa, Anaha te Rahui, and Tene Waitere.

The tall post seen in the illustration was named Houtaiki after an old and distinguished ancestor. It was carved by Taupua te Whanoa, and erected as a symbol of peace, or Mau Ngaronga, in the hope that the Maori King would attend the opening of the old Tama te Kapua in 1870 or 1871. Part of this pole may yet be seen inside the new Tama (1949).

To the left of the pole is the little Anglican church of St. Faith. It stands on ground once occupied by Ruapeka pa, which became partly submerged during an earthquake a little over 100 years ago. After such a catastrophe the ground became strictly tapu; so about the year 1884, when the Ohinemutu Maoris decided that a church should be built, they called in the assistance of the last old-time Te Arawa tohunga, Tuhoto, who then lived at Wairoa, Lake Tarawera. He was regarded as the one man who could life the tapu from the land on Muruika Point where the great pa once stood. Tuhoto exorcised the tapu spot, and the church was built, to be followed by a larger church which stands there to-day.