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No. 54 (March 1966)
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A Trip to Australia: 1874

Ropata Wahawaha, the famous leader of Ngati Porou on the East Coast, visited Australia in 1874 at the age of 67. He described his experiences in a series of articles published in the Maori newspaper ‘Te Waka Maori’ (vol. 10 nos. 9–16).

Here are some excerpts from his account of his travels.

Hirini, Poihākena.

Āperiria 14, 1874.

E hoa, tēnā koe. He tuku atu tāku i āku kōrero whakaatu i taku haerenga mai ki tēnei kāinga, me ngā mea i kitea e au ki kōnei.

I tūpono noa ahau ki te tira haere mai o te Mākarini41 ki kōnei. Ahakoa, nō te 4 o ngā rā o āperira, i te Hātarei, i te 5 o ngā hāora o te ahiahi, ka rere mai mātou i ākarana i runga i a te ‘Rangatira’ tīma, he rākau toru. Ao rawa ake, i te 6 o ngā hāora o te ata, i te takiwā o te Pei-o-whairangi e haere ana. Kātahi ka rere, ka paepae rāpea te haere, he hau waho hoki. Ka mahi rā koe e te matangirua; ko te ahi, ko te komaru — ēhara i te hanga! Ahiahi rawa atu, i te 6 o ngā hāora, kua mahue te Rerenga Wairua ki muri, ka haere i te pō. Ao rawa ake, tirotiro kau ana, kei hea rā Niu Tīrani?

Heoi, ka mutu te whakaaro mō te kite i te whenua. Pō noa, ao noa te rā, me te pā tonu o te hau. I kī te Kāpene hei te Taitei te kite ai i te whenua, hei te 10 o te karaka o te ata ka tū ki Hirini; ā, ka pau te parakuihi, i te 9 o ngā hāora (i te Taitei), ka tapoko atu i te wahapū o Poihākena. Kātahi ka mātakitaki; koia rā anō hoki te take i haere mai ai au—he mātakitaki i te ao. Anā! E koru atu ana tērā wāhi me tērā wāhi atu, me ana kaipuke atu, me ana kaipuke atu, ki roto ki tōna taiapa ki tōna taiapa. Ko ngā kaipuke nui, rākau toru, e mataku nei te haere i ngā tahataha o tō tātou moana, e haere rā i whea? I tawhiti noa atu …

Ao ake te rā, i te 12 o ngā hāora ka haere mātou ki te mātakitaki purei hōiho. I haere mātou i runga i te pāhihi; kātahi ka whakarongo ki te waha o te pāhihi. Me te rangi pāwhaitiri tōna rite. Kāore e rangona, he tāturi taringa. E rere ana e toru maero te mataratanga atu i te tāone. Ka kite i tōna tini o tēnei iwi o te Pākehā. Ananā! Me te kāhui pī. Ana

 

Sydney, Port Jackson.

April 14, 1874.

My friend, greetings. I send, for insertion in the ‘Waka’, some account of my visit to this place, and the things which I have seen here.

My coming hither with Mr McLean* was quite accidental. However on Saturday the 4th of April, at 5 p.m., we left Auckland in the steamer ‘Rangatira’, a vessel with three masts. At 6 o'clock next morning we were off the Bay of Islands. The wind was on our beam, blowing from seaward. Under steam and canvas our progress was astonishingly rapid. By 6 o'clock in the evening we had left the Rerenga Wairua [the place of the spirits' departure, North Cape] behind us, and we advanced in the night. Next morning we looked about us in vain; there was no sign of New Zealand.

And so we gave up all thought of seeing land. The days and nights passed, with the wind blowing steadily. The captain said that we would see land on Thursday; and would enter Sydney Harbour at 10 o'clock in the morning; and at 9 o'clock, after breakfast, we entered the Heads of Port Jackson. Then I looked about me, for indeed this was my purpose in coming — to look at the world. Behold! there were bays and coves on every side, each with its shipping in separate berths. Large three-masted vessels, which would fear to navigate our waters, pass an immense distance into this harbour …

Next day we went to see the races, about three miles out of town. We travelled by omnibus, and the rumbling of the wheels of the ‘busses was deafening; it was like the sound

 

* Sir Donald McLean, at this time Minister of Native Affairs, had a close association with the Maori people for many years, and had earlier been employed by the Government as native secretary and land purchase officer.

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roroa o te tangata, ana popoto; ana nunui, ana whāiti; ana pai, ana kikino; ana tamariki, ana kaumātua, me ana wāhine … Kātahi ka omaoma ngā hōiho. Ko ētahi i tino tere, ko ētahi he hanga noa. Ka tīmata anō he purei pekepeke taiapa. I te tuatahi o ngā taiapa ka hinga tētahi o ngā hōiho ka taka hoki te tangata; ka haere ko ētahi, tae noa ki te tuatoru o ngā taiapa ka hinga tokorua. Te marangatanga ake, whakamatikatika kau ana ngā tāngata, he tangata kē nāna i ārahi. E rua anō ngā hōiho i puta. Ka haere rāpea aua tawhiti rā, anā! Tē pā iho ngā waewae i aua taiapa, he aha …

Ao ake i te 12 o ngā rā (te Wiki) kātahi ka whakarongo ki te tangi a te hanga nei a te pere i te tāone katoa, me te rango e tamumu ana. Ao ake i te Mane ka haere ki te mātakitaki ki taua whenua. Kātahi ka titiro, kei hea rā ngā maunga me ngā pukepuke me ngā awaawa i Niu Tirani nei? Kāore kau. Heoi anō tōna maunga ko te paewai o te rangi; kōrehurehu kau ana te tiro atu. He hanga whakaaroha; me te mea ko te whakapaewaitanga o te rangi i te moana e tirohia atu nei i Niu Tīrani nei te rite o taua whenua ki te titiro atu. I kite anō au i ētahi o ngā mōrehu o ngā mokopuna a Kahukura Māmangu e whakahanumi ana i roto i te Pākehā.

I te 16 o ngā rā kātahi mātou ka haere i runga i te rerewē. Ka mātakitaki haere rāpea ki te pai o tēnā whenua, me te tupu o ngā mahinga kai a te Pākehā. Ka pai ai anō hoki te whenua, me te marae pōtaka tōna rite …

Ka pāhi te 9 karaka ka tae mātou ki tētahi tāone i te puihi, ko te Maunga Wikitōria te ingoa, e toru tekau māero. Kātahi ka whakahaua e te Minita o taua whenua kia taka he tina mā mātou, kei hoki rawa mai ai mātou i te tekau mā tahi o ngā hāora ka hemokai. Kātahi ka rere taua autaia nei. Aehā! Me te aha? Me te uira ka hiko i te rangi tōna rite o te haere. Kīhai i mau i te kanohi te hopu te āhua o ngā otaota me ngā rākau o taua whenua i te tere o te haere o taua rerewē …

Ko te whakaaro o te Kāwanatanga i mea ai kia haere mātou kia kite i te haerenga o te rerewē i runga i ngā wāhi pari kohatu o tō rātou whenua, kia kite ai mātou, ā, ka waiho hei tauira mō ngā rerewē o Niu Tīrani; arā mō ngā wāhi pari, hāunga ia ngā wāhi raorao. Tērā anō hoki e meatia ki tō tātou nei ‘hāwhe koata’ moutere ki Niu Tirani. Otirā e kore pea tātou nei e kite, tēnei ka ngongo nei ngā pāpāringa. Engari mā tēnei pea e tangi nei ki te kai e kite; ka ngaro ake hoki tātou nei, te

 
 

of thunder. There we saw in very truth a multitude of the Pakeha race. Amazing! They were like a hive of bees! Some tall, some short; some large, some small; some well-favoured, some evil-favoured; children and old men and women … At last the horses commenced to run. Some were very fast, others were nothing special. Then there was a hurdle-race. At the first hurdle one horse and rider fell; the others passed on to the third hurdle, where two more came to grief. The riders rose from the ground and were led away. Two horses out of the lot got through all right. They flew over the hurdles in splendid style, without touching them at all.

On the morning of the 12th, a Sunday, we were surprised at the number of bells ringing all over the city, like the buzzing of bowflies. On Monday morning we went to take a look at the country. Where were the mountains and hills and valleys of New Zealand? Not here. The only mountain to be seen was the dimly distant horizon. The sight gave rise to feelings of sadness, calling to mind the far-off watery horizon seen from the shores of New Zealand. I also saw, scattered amongst the Pakehas, some of those who are left of the race of Aborigines.

On the 16th April we went on an expedition in the train. We were greatly interested in look-at the fine country through which we passed, and the cultivations of the Pakehas. Indeed it was a pleasant landscape, the land being as flat as a place where people spin tops … By 9 o'clock we reached Mount Victoria, a town thirty miles further on in the bush. Here one of the Ministry ordered dinner to be prepared for our return at 11 o'clock, lest we should be hungry. Then again onward sped that wonderful train. Prodigious! To what shall I compare it? It was like the lightning darting across the heavens. The eye could not catch the likeness of the trees and objects upon the ground, such was the velocity of that train …

The object of the Government in proposing this excursion was to afford us an opportunity of seeing the construction of the line through rocky and precipitous districts, as a model, if thought desirable, for the formation of our railways in New Zealand through similar precipitous country. There are no engineering difficulties to be encountered in level country. No doubt works of this nature will be carried out in New Zealand, our insignificant country; but it is doubtful whether we of the present generation, who are dying off, will live to see

 
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hunga e whakararuraru ana i ngā tikanga katoa … nā te tohe tonu o te Māori ki te raruraru i kore ai anō hoki e nui he tāngata ki tō tātou nei motu.

Otirā hei āwhea rawa ka nui ai he tāngata ki tō tātou nei motu ki Niu Tiran? Hei āpōpō, hei te ata tū, kia oho ngā manu kāwainga o te ata; kia mōrunga anō hoki te rā; kia rangona te rireriretanga me te tīorotanga me te kūītanga o ngā manu o te tau rangimārie; kia whakarongo anō hoki rātou ki te reo o tētahi manu paihau popoto e tangi haere noa ana i roto i ngā pārae toetoe, nā reira nei tōna ingoa i huaina ai he ‘toetoe’, ko tana kōrero tūturu i ngā takiwā katoa e mea ana, ‘Tīkore, Tīkore’.43

Otirā meāke wera i te ahi ngā pārae e tupuria ana e te toetoe, ā, ka keria he awa wai hei mea e maroke ai ngā wāhi e tupuria ana e te toetoe, ā, ka ngaro atu taua pōrearea ki te kōrero i taua kōrero ‘Tīkore, tīkore’, ā, ka whakatōkia anō hoki aua wāhi ki ngā rākau mōmona o ia wāhi o ia wāhi, a ka ruia anō hoki ki ngā tarutaru mōmona o ia wāhi o ia wāhi. I kite anō hoki au i te āhua o aua rākau me aua tarutaru e tupu ana i roto i te kāri o te Kāwana o tēnei whenua. Ko te āhua o aua rākau me aua tarutaru he mā, he whero, he paka kōrito, he pango. Ko ngā rau he rau toro, he rau whakamenge, ko tētahi me te huru hipi nei te āhua, ēngari, aua te huruhuru mā, ēngari te huruhuru pango nei, me te tini noa iho o ngā mea hei mātakitaki mā te kanohi, hei mimingotanga anō hoki mā ngā pāpāringa o te kaimātakitaki. Kei reira anō hoki ngā manu papai katoa o te ao, me ngā manu kikino.

Kāore au i kite i tētahi rākau o Niu Tirani i roto o taua kāri. Engari kei tētahi wāhi kē atu, kei roto anō kei ngā kāri a ētahi Kāwana o tēnei motu, e ai tā rātou e kōrero ana. Ka nui te whakamoemiti o te Pākehā ki taua rākau; ko te ingoa, kia mōhio ai koutou, he mamaku; he kino rawa tōna āhua ki Niu Tirani, he pai rawa ki tēnei motu. Tērā pea ahau e kite me ka tae au ki ērā wāhi atu o tēnei motu. Mei kitea e au ki kōnei tērā ahau e tangi mārire ki te rākau o te kāinga aroha nui …

I te 25 o ngā rā ka whakawhiti mātou ko te Mākarini mā ki tētahi tarawāhi o te awa o te tāone. Te take o tā mātou haere, nā te Kāwanatanga i mea kia kite mātou i ngā

 
 

them. Doubtless the young children amongst us, those who are now crying for food, will see that time; but we, the obstructors of all progress, will then have disappeared from the scene … owing to the persistent obstruction of the Maori people, our country has not kept pace with others in population.

But when shall we have a numerous population in New Zealand? Tomorrow when a new day dawns, when the birds, precursors of light, appear; when the sun rises high in the heavens; when the pleasant songs of many birds, harbingers of peaceful times, are heard; when men heed the cry of the bird with short wings which, from frequenting the toetoe plains, is called the toetoe, and which cries without ceasing ‘Tikore, tikore’ [i.e., ‘Nothing, nothing’].*

These plains, now overgrown with toetoe, will in due time be cleared by fire; channels will be cut to drain the land, and then that tiresome bird with his cry of ‘Tikore, tikore’, will disappear, and the land will be planted with fruitful trees and plants brought from far and near. I have seen such trees and plants in the Botanical Gardens here. They are of various colours: white, red, light brown, and black. The leaves of some are straight and open, others are curled up, and some are like wool; but they are like black wool, not white. There is a great variety for the eye of the beholder to observe, and to pucker up his cheeks with laughter. There are also numerous beautiful birds from various parts of the world, and many ugly ones.

I did not see any New Zealand trees in this garden, but I was told that they have them in gardens elsewhere in the country. There is one. I am told, which the Pakehas admire greatly; although, let me tell you, it is merely a mamaku (tree fern), a thing which in New Zealand is thought to be of no beauty what-soever, yet here it is highly prized. If I visit any other part of this country I shall probably see this tree; and if I do, tears will flow from my eyes at the sight of the familiar tree of my own much-loved country …

On the 25th we crossed the harbour to the Heads, on the invitation of the Government, to inspect the fortifications and batteries for the defence of the port … After we had seen the fortifications, dinner was laid for us within the stone fortress connected with the batteries.

 

*When the cry of this bird was heard, people setting out to hunt pigs or birds would return home at once, believing that it was useless to continue—they would catch nothing.

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pāraki tiaki mō te wahapū o tō rātou kāinga … Ka mutu tā mātou mātakitaki kātahi ka whakatakoto te tina mā mātou ki roto anō ki ngā whare kohatu tiaki o taua pāraki nei. Kātahi anō te kawanga o taua pāraki. Kāore he tangata i tāmene ki taua hākari; he iti noa nei, ko ngā tāngata anake o te Kāwanatanga, me ngā āpiha hoki. Engari ngā mea i nui ko ngā wāhine. E kai ana, e kōrero ana te Pākehā, whakarongo kau ana te taringa Māori. Ou hanga rā e te kūare! E tama, te puku ki te kawe mai ki tēnei whenua, ā, kite ana i te wahangū! Nōku nei anō te tupuna o mua kua mōhio ki te reo tawhiti. Taka mārire ki a au tōna tukunga iho, anā ō mahi rā e te whakatoi! Riro kē ana te mātauranga o te poropititanga a te tupuna o tēnei tangata i rau o iwi kē. I kī hoki rā a tērā, a te Rangitauatia, i te mea e ngaro ana anō a Kāpene Kuki ki tōna kāinga ki tawhiti, kia toro rawa te pakiaka hinahina i runga i a ia ka whakarongo ake a ia e kihi ana e hoihoi ana; ā, e kihi nei hoki, e hoihoi nei hoki, ā, kua ‘tokomaha e kopikopiko ana, kua nui haere anō te mātauranga’.

Na, e ngā uri o tēnei tupuna, whakarongo mai. Ka riro te mātauranga o te poropititanga o tō koutou tupuna ki tētahi iwi kē, mātau atu ai, mōhio atu ai, rangatira atu ai, nui atu ai, tiketike atu ai, pono atu ai, tika atu ai, rawe atu ai. Erangi e te whānau, kia wawe koutou te kite i ngā mātauranga katoa; me tomo ki roto ki te puna o te mātauranga, koia ia ko te kura. Mā reira e whakakite ki a koutou ngā mātauranga katoa, me te mea anō hoki ka rarua nei au e te reo Pākehā. Otirā me mutu mai i tōku takiwā nei te kūaretanga; aua ki tō koutou, nō te mea kei te ngāwari ō koutou nā taringa. I whakatūria ai e au tōku kūaretanga hei tauira ki ā tātou tamariki; kia whakamutua tā rātou noho i roto i te kūaretanga, pēnei me tāua nei. Otirā ērangi pea koe, ko tāu pahunga rawa anō: e ai hoki …

I te 30 o ngā rā o āperira, ka tapoko māua ko te Mākarini ki roto ki tētahi whare whakakitekike i ngā mea katoa o te ao, arā o ngā whenua katoa, o ngā moana katoa. Kei roto i taua whare ngā kurī ngau tangata nei, te pea rāua ko te taika. Te kino o tōna ata ki te titiro atu, mau ana te wehi. Kei reira anō hoki ngā ika horo tangata nei, me ngā mea whakamate tangata katoa, e kore e taea e au te tuhi ki tēnei pukapuka. Kei reira anō te

 
 

This was the opening ceremony to mark the completion of the building. There were but few people assembled there; none but Government officers and people connected with the Government. There were, however, a great number of ladies. During dinner the Pakehas were talking and conversing with each other, but the Maori ear listened in vain. Such is ignorance! What boldness, to come to this country and be dumb! Mine was the ancestor who understood distant tongues, yet I, his descendant, have to suffer mortification and annoyance. The prophetical knowledge of my ancestor has passed away to other strange races. While Captain Cook was still in his own distant country, my ancestor Te Rangitauatia said that when the roots of the slow-growing hinahina tree had spread over his grave, he would hear the clattering of a foreign tongue, and the noise of many people. And so it is: we have the hissing clatter of a foreign tongue, and ‘many run to and fro, and knowledge has increased’.

Now, you descendants of that ancestor, behold! The knowledge of which he prophesied is in the possession of a strange people; with them are wisdom, knowledge, prosperity, greatness, power, truth, advancement, and all that is excellent. But, my friends, make haste to acquire knowledge; dip into the fountain of knowledge — that is to say, attend the schools. There you will be taught all manner of things and you will obtain a knowledge of the English language, ignorance of which has so embarrassed me. Let the time past suffice for ignorance; let the future be improved by the young, who are by nature easily moulded, and capable of being taught. I am setting forth my ignorance as a warning to our children, that they may no longer abide in the ignorance of their elders. Your children at all events will obtain some, crumbs of knowledge.

On the 30th of April Mr McLean and I visited a building wherein are exhibited things from all parts of the world, of all lands and of all seas. There were the bear and the tiger—wild, man-eating animals. Their faces were most hideous looking, enough to frighten anyone. There were reptiles which swallow men, and a variety of things destructive of human life, too many of them to describe here. There is also that monster the snake. It has a head and neck somewhat similar to that of the ground shark, and its length is extraordinary. It was taken out by the keeper so that

 
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autaia nei a te neke. Pēnei me te ūpoko teretere nei te ūpoko me te kakī. Erangi ko te roa o taua autaia nei, ēhara i te hanga. I tangohia rawatia e tō rāua rangatira ki waho haere ai, kia kite māua ko te Mākarini. He taru tere te haere. He mangu tōna arero, huhua noa atu ōna koropewapewa …

Nō te otinga o ngā raruraru o te Mākarini ki Poihākena kātahi anō ka puta tana kupu kia haere mai mātou whaka te hau tonga, kia kite i ngā whenua o Wikitōria, me ōna tāone hoki o tērā whenua … Nō te taenga atu ki te tāone nui, ki Merepana, kātahi ka mātakitaki. Anā! tā te paparite pai hoki!

I tae māua ko te Kāwana ki te whare whakatangitangi o te Kāwanatanga, me te whare mātakitaki āhua. Kei roto kei tērā o aua whare ngā tipua e noho ana, he whakapakoko. Taukiri koe, tēnā iwi, te Pākehā, e! E kore e makere te pātene noa o te kakī o te hāte, kua mataku ia kua mea, ‘Ha! Ha! te pātene o tōu hāte, ka makere! Ka kitea e te wahine Pākehā tō kakī!’ Kāore, tēnā anō ia kai te hanga mārire ki te pohatu he tangata kiri tahanga hei whakaatu māna ki te tangata haere! Ko wai ka mōhio ki ana tikanga!

Kāore i taea e mātou te nui o ngā mātakitaki ki taua whenua, me te nui hoki o ngā manaaki a ngā hoa Pākehā o Merepana, i te tata tonu o te raruraru o te Pāremete o Niu Tirani. Na, he kupu whakaatu anō tēnei ki a koutou. E aku hoa o te motu, ahakoa nui noa ngā tikanga a te Pākehā, kotahi anō tikanga i nui ake, ko te mahi anake. Mā te mahi tonu ka whiwhi; mā te māngere, he aha māna? E mōhio ana koutou ki te whakatauākī Māori nei, ‘Ko mahi ko kai; ko noho ko iri’.

… Heoi, kua roa aku kōrero whakaatu ki ngā hoa i aku haerenga, otirā kia maha rāpea he reta te taea ai te whakaatu i ngā mea katoa i kitea e au i ngā whenua i haerea nei e au.

nā Meiha Rōpata

o Ngāti Porou

 

we might see how it moved, and it travelled along very fast. Its tongue is black, and it has a number of rings round its body …

When Mr McLean had completed' his business in Melbourne, he informed us that we were about to proceed south, where we should have an opportunity of viewing the towns and districts of Victoria. When we arrived at the main city, Melbourne, we beheld it with admiration. What a fine thing the level country is.

I accompanied the Governor to a Government Music Hall [i.e. the Town Hall, with a large organ], and also to a building for the Exhibition of Arts. In this latter building there are some very strange things — images. Really, the Pakehas are a most extraordinary people. They are shocked if a button fall from a man's shirt collar, and they exclaim—‘Mind! Mind the button of your shirt! It has fallen off! The Pakeha women will see your throat!’ And yet they manufacture naked images of stone, and exhibit them to travellers! Who can comprehend the mystery of their ways!

We were unable to see all the sights of the country, or to avail ourselves of all the invitations and kindness of the people of Melbourne, owing to the near approach of the session of the New Zealand Parliament. And here, my friends, let me say that of all the features of the Pakehas' character, their industry is the most important and the most valuable. Industry will produce wealth, but what will idfeness produce? You know the Maori adage—‘Industry produces food: indolence produces nothing.’

… I have given your readers a somewhat lengthy account of my travels, but it would require many letters to tell them about everything I saw in the places which I visited.

from Major Ropata

of Ngati Porou

The chairman of the Kahungunu Maori Committee, Sir Turi Carroll, has announced that £15,000 is to be spent on the Takitimu marae at Wairoa, the central marae of Ngati Kahungunu.

A large part of the money will be spent on a new dining hall and kitchen facilities. The dining hall will be of modern design but will including traditional Maori features, including tukutuku work on the walls.

Twenty-three members of an Anglican youth club in Feilding recently became the first Pakeha party of official guests ever to visit the Pakaraka Pa at Maxwell, north-west of Wanganui.

The leader of the group was the Rev. Broughton, who lived at Maxwell until his ordination in 1964. The visitors slept in the meeting-house and learnt Maori traditions and etiquette.