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Creating a National Spirit: Celebrating New Zealand's Centennial

8: Commemorating other Places and Days

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8: Commemorating other Places and Days

The government, on the recommendation of the National Centennial Council, approved the holding of seven national events to commemorate the beginnings of British settlement and government in New Zealand. Soon after the beginning of the war, however, one of these was abandoned and another transferred to a different venue when the Auckland Provincial Centennial Council cancelled most of its centennial programme. The national gathering of Maori planned for the Auckland anniversary weekend at the end of January was not held. That cancellation, as Russell Stone notes, saved Auckland the embarrassment of not being ready to unveil the as-yet unfinished Sir John Logan Campbell Memorial to the Maori Race on the summit of One Tree Hill. The re-enactment of Hobson's arrival on New Zealand soil, which was to have taken place during the Auckland anniversary weekend celebrations, was transferred to Russell, where he had come ashore on 30 January 1840.1 Also cancelled was the re-enactment of Cook's first landing on New Zealand soil, at Kaiti Beach, Gisborne, which was to have taken place on 9 October.

The loss of the Auckland celebrations left a big gap in the planned festivities. Auckland's location meant that the Maori gathering would have been the largest of the four such gatherings planned and a spectacular prelude to the Waitangi celebrations a week later. What was Akarana's loss, however, became Arawa's gain. The celebrations they were planning for 2 January to re-enact the arrival at Maketu of the Arawa people six hundred years earlier became the first major gathering of Maori people for the centennial year, and it added another layer of historical significance to the centennial year itself.2 Though initially planned as a provincial event, the unveiling of the Maketu memorial became effectively a national celebration. Taking place at the very beginning of the centennial year, it memorialised the beginnings of Maori settlement in Aotearoa and gave prominence to Maori as the country's original pioneers.

As rearranged, the centennial events commemorating the nation's beginnings were: 2 January, the arrival of the Arawa canoe at Maketu; 7 January, the Day of National Thanksgiving; 22 January, the beginning of organised British settlement with the arrival of the first New Zealand Company settlers at Petone; 30 January, Hobson's stepping ashore on New Zealand soil at Russell; 5-6 February, the first signings of page 113 the Treaty at Waitangi; 20 May at Akaroa, re-enacting the assumption of British sovereignty over the South Island; and 16 November at Rotorua, commemorating the date on which New Zealand was formally separated from New South Wales and became a British colony in its own right.

The honour done to Arawa of opening and closing the official celebrations was a fitting climax to their relations with governments which had begun during the wars of the 1860s when some hapu had stood with the governor. Over the years, all royal visitors and most governors, governors general and prime ministers had been welcomed on to Tamatekapua at Ohinemutu and entertained.3 Arawa had long been actively engaged in the local tourist industry. The Maori School of Arts and Crafts at Whakarewarewa had recently become the centre from which Pine and Hoani Taiapa and their teams of carvers and weavers provided expertise for community building programmes in many parts of the country.

One of the Arawa leaders, Tai Mitchell, was, with Ngata, Tau Henare, and Te Puea, well known in Pakeha circles, and was a member of the National Maori Celebrations Committee and various provincial and local centennial committees. He and Ngata worked closely together and were quick to advance Arawa's interests, and the restoration of two meeting houses and a dining room became centennial memorials financed by local effort and the one-for-three pound government subsidy.4 Whakaue, the meeting house at Maketu, had already been restored and, in preparation for the celebration on 2 January, the Rangiaohia dining room standing next to it became a centennial building project, Tamatekapua at Ohinemutu and Wahiao at Whakarewarewa were the two meeting houses that became centennial memorials. The lifting of the tapu and the reopening of Wahiao was celebrated on 16 November 1940. The restoration of Tamatekapua was not completed until 1943.

The Bay of Plenty Centennial Committee were agreed that the unveiling of the memorial at Maketu would be 'a Maori function'. Maori were not 'to be looked upon as entertainers but [would take] an equal part with Pakeha'. Invitations were sent out by Tai Mitchell, as secretary of the Maketu Centennial Committee. The Arawa Memorial, he informed them, would 'commemorate the landing of the Arawa Vikings of the Southern Seas at Maketu in 1340 and the introduction of law and order by the Pakeha Vikings of the Seven Seas, under the Treaty of Waitangi in 1940, 500 years later'.5

The estuary of the Kaituna at Maketu had great spiritual importance for Arawa. Among Maori, Tai Mitchell wrote in historical notes for the ceremony, 'the bow of the Arawa is at Maketu and stern-piece is Mount Tongariro'.6 The monument to be unveiled was a twenty-foot high obelisk built from stone from the estuary and named for Ngatoroirangi, the tohunga of the canoe. On the seaward side of the obelisk stood Tamatekapua, the canoe leader. The top of the obelisk was a page 114 navigation light to assist sailors making a landfall at Maketu at night.7

About 4000 gathered in front of Whakaue for the welcome and speeches that preceded the unveiling. All branches of the Arawa confederation were there, as were tribal leaders from the Bay of Plenty and East Coast tribes. Among the Pakeha were some old settlers from Tauranga who had arrived 60 years ago on the Lady Jocelyn.8 Hon Frank Langstone, as Acting Minister of Native Affairs, and Hon P.C. Webb, Minister of Labour, represented the government in a large official party of parliamentarians and civic leaders.

Langstone spoke before the unveiling and his thirty minute resume of Maori history gave full vent to his oratorical ability. The unveiling, he said, 'touched the very dawn of our Maori history in Aotearoa'. He recounted the exploits of Toi and Whatanga and their reunion in Whakatane. New Zealand, he said, was at the time peopled by the Morioris whom the newcomers referred to as 'Tangata Whenua'. They 'married these simple folk, and this was the origin of the mixed tribes'.9 Here Langstone reflected Buck's account of the earlier presence of Moriori but his reference to them as 'simple folk' seems to have been a residue from Percy Smith's view of their Melanesian origins.10

Vikings of the Pacific. The memorial to Arawa at Maketu. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 10 January 1940, p34, C-27621-1/2.

Vikings of the Pacific. The memorial to Arawa at Maketu. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 10 January 1940, p34, C-27621-1/2.

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The visits of Toi and Whatanga, Langstone continued, were the prelude to the great migration of 1350 and the arrival of Tama Te Kapua and his Arawa people at Maketu, where they 'married and multiplied and have remained in possession of this land as their ancestral home'. Centuries of adaptation followed. 'The tribes were anything but idle. They had stamina, intelligence, fighting qualities, and outstanding ability. They did not have schools and colleges in the pakeha sense of the words [but] these children of Nature learned the rule of life'.

Then came the pakeha, who 'superimposed a new economic order within these shores'. 'Unsophisticated' Maori became easy prey to traders, land speculators, and liquor merchants. Only when Britain intervened to establish law and order was it possible to 'check the swindle'. The Treaty of Waitangi was 'the Maori Charter', 'It reserved the food supplies and fishing rights and the proper legal disposal of lands by way of approved sale, and full legal and national protection against molestation by individuals and invading powers.' Relationships between Maori and pakeha had not always been 'harmonious'. '[B]ut it can be truthfully said that wise administration has brought about a very high and sincere regard between the races' who in peace and war, in good times and bad, 'stand together ... as a united people'.

Langstone then praised famous men. Those in positions of authority had from the beginning 'been high-minded, capable, and humanitarian administrators'. Sir George Grey, 'beloved by Maori and pakeha alike', headed a list that included Edward Fitzgerald, Maning, Fenton, Marsden, Selwyn, Williams, Kendall, Busby, Hobson, Wakefield, Martin, Featherston and McLean. Many Maori 'gifted with great understanding of the new era' had also used their influence to 'weld together' Maori and Pakeha interests. He mentioned Tamati Waka Nene, Pokiha (forebear of Hemana Pokiha, one of his hosts), Ropata Waha Waha, Kemp, Carroll, Pomare, Te Rangihiroa, Ngata, Henare, Bennett, Ratana, Tirikatene, and Paikea.

Langstone lauded the Arawa land development schemes, whose 'glory', he said, those present could see all around them. Native land was no longer being sold but was being 'utilized and made productive'. He invoked the spirit of the Maori warriors in the first world war 'who were baptized in the blood of supreme sacrifice that this nation might live' and then brought his speech to a resounding close. Young Arawa men had spontaneously responded to the country's call in its 'hour of travail'. 'And so as the years pass along in civic life and culture, in sport and pastime, in work and industry, in marriage and worship, we unite in one indivisible whole. Be it yours to hold high this great heritage we are proud to own.'

Ngata was prevented by ill-health from being at the celebration and did not hear Langstone's reference to Maori and Pakeha joined together in one indivisible whole. But he was well aware of Langstone's assimilationist views and would respond to them at Waitangi a few weeks later.

The paramount chiefs of the tribe, Te Naera Te Houkotuku and Hemana Pokiha, lifted the tapu. Bishop Bennett dedicated the memorial in Maori. The national anthem page 116 was sung. Langstone and Webb were presented with beautifully carved paddles as mementos. The party then moved back to Whakaue and were welcomed 'with songs and hakas and attendant ceremonial' before being seated in the Rangiaohia dining room for a hangi of 'one bullock roasted whole, eight sheep, three pigs, twenty bags of potatoes, [and] twenty bags of cabbage'.11

The National Thanksgiving Day, designated by the National Centennial Council to be held on the first Sunday of the centennial year, was organised by church communities and celebrated in religious services throughout the country. Anglican, Presbyterian, and non-conformist denominations combined in services held in mid-afternoon in the four main centres and elsewhere. Ten thousand gathered at the Auckland domain, 5000 in the southern band court of the Centennial Exhibition in Wellington, 3000 at Lancaster Park in Christchurch, and 1000 in the Dunedin town hall. The Wellington service was the most broadly representative, with Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, Churches of Christ, and the Salvation Army taking part. There and elsewhere the Salvation Army band provided the music.

Roman Catholics gave thanks separately. Their main contribution to the centennial, Zealandia reported, were the Catholic pavilion at the Exhibition, which was being used 'as a medium of catechetical instruction', and the National Eucharistic Congress which would be held in Wellington in early February and would do homage to the paramountcy of the Blessed Sacrament. For Thanksgiving Day, Bishop Liston celebrated Pontifical High Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral at 9 am, and other Roman Catholic services were held in cathedrals and churches throughout the country.

'As we look back over those 100 years', Bishop West Watson said in Christchurch, 'what a marvellous vista of progress and development opens up. Would that the pioneers could stand with us today and see many of their dreams come true.' The principles that had 'so powerfully influenced our national past', Archbishop Averill said in Auckland, 'would be essential for its future progress and real welfare'. This generation would be 'the pioneers of the next century'. Wellingtonians were awakened by an earthquake at 6.20 am on National Thanksgiving Day but that event was unlikely to have influenced the choice of text for the address at the Dunedin service: 'Things which cannot be shaken', from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Although Roman Catholics congregated on their own, Bishop Liston spoke of the sense of unity that they had with other New Zealanders. 'A united day of thanksgiving like this,' he said, 'expresses and deepens the joy, the comfort, and the hopes of hearts that love New Zealand.' He emphasised, too, that, unlike millions of 'our co-religionists' in other countries, New Zealand Catholics were able to 'practise our holy religion freely and openly'.12

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Heenan and his colleagues in his centennial branch made new discoveries about the country's history as they prepared to celebrate it. Heenan himself had a moment of revelation when the Prime Minister passed on to him a letter he had received from Ivor Te Puni of Waikawa pa, Picton. Ivor Te Puni was a direct descendent of Te Puni who, with Wharepouri, was one of the two Atiawa chiefs with whom Colonel Wakefield negotiated for land in August 1839. Ivor Te Puni wrote his letter in December 1937, at an early stage in the planning of centennial events. To Heenan it was a 'remarkable' letter and it 'reorientated' his ideas about the part Maori should play in the centennial.13

Te Puni urged the Prime Minister to raise memorials to the Maori as well as the Pakeha leaders through whose efforts the British established themselves in New Zealand. New Zealand was about to follow the example of all other 'English speaking countries', he wrote, by erecting memorials 'to the memory of Great Empire Founders'. But they were the people who 'received'. Should there not also 'be some token of appreciation to those wonderful warlike people of my race who gave?' He then instanced his great forebear who gave a great 'parcel of land . . . for a value which seems paltry in the eyes of Christianity'. Ivor Te Puni knew that the 'transaction' had taken place because he had documents that proved it. What would have been the outcome, he asked, if he and other Maori leaders had refused to 'to give his land?' The 'hardship' and 'bloodshed' had been forgotten and Maori and Pakeha were now 'locked together "Tatou,Tatou"'. Te Puni appealed to Savage to erect a centennial monument to his 'worthy forebear the late Chief Te Puni, the head and representative of his tribe'.

Heenan took the point. The literal meaning of 'Tatou,Tatou', he informed Parry, is '"us, us", or in the liberal sense, "working together"'. That was exactly the national spirit in which he hoped that the centennial would be commemorated. Heenan summarised Te Puni's record of steadfast support for the Wellington settlers until his death in 1870 'when he was granted practically a state funeral'. He 'heartily supported' Ivor Te Puni's call for a monument to honour his great ancestor. He proposed to the Wellington Provincial Centennial Committee that 'the original Te Puni be featured in one of the memorial windows to be placed in the Wellington Provincial memorial to be erected at Petone beach'.14

For Wellington, the arrival of the first New Zealand Company settlers on Pito-one beach on 22 January 1840 was the founding moment despite the fact that they had come in defiance of the British government. The flag they flew that day had pointedly not been the Union Jack but the flag of the confederation of northern tribes. Aucklanders had long disputed Wellington's claim to primacy, claiming Hobson's arrival in the Bay of Islands on 29 January 1840 as the definitive day, although he did not visit Auckland until October. But Wellingtonians would not have been surprised when the Evening Post reported the re-enactment of the arrival of the first of the company settlers under the banner headline: 'Centennial of New Zealand.'15

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Under threatening clouds, 5000 assembled for the unveiling of the Wellington provincial memorial, the work of the Auckland architect Horace L. Massey, and in Heenan's opinion a model of what an architectural memorial should be. It was a monumental hall of memories set in lawns and rock gardens on the Petone foreshore, incorporating, in answer to expectations of practicality, changing rooms for bathers. The official party was comprehensively large: the Governor General, the Marquess of Willingdon, the representative of the British government, the British High Commissioner, a representative of the Australian government, the Deputy Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, representing the ailing Prime Minister, several cabinet ministers, the Chief Justice, and mayors and representatives of local bodies in the Wellington province. Descendants of Gibbon Wakefield and Te Puni had honoured places. Before the memorial service began, Walter Nash, the local MP laid a wreath in honour of Te Puni's memory on behalf of the New Zealand government. An image of him would become visible when the memorial window was unveiled. Hapi Love, one of Te Puni's great-grandchildren and other members of the Love and Barrett families were present and played important roles in the festivities. Maori and Pakeha, the Evening Post commented, 'foes a century ago, joined as one in gratitude for the past, hope for the present, and hope and steadfastness for the future'.16

That hope was also tinged with anxiety. Only a fortnight earlier the harbour had been filled with troopships embarking members of the First Echelon for the European war zone. It was army greatcoats that members of the haka party took off as they prepared to challenge the official party. It was a military band that played the national anthem and 'God Defend New Zealand'.

The absent guest of honour was Gibbon Wakefield. Some of the younger historians associated with the centennial historical publications harboured sceptical thoughts about the great systematic coloniser. J. C. Beaglehole had floated the idea in a letter to a fellow imperial historian in Oxford that a debunking essay might be timely. But in Pakeha popular memory Wakefield was the one person mainly responsible for the colonisation of New Zealand by British people. His portrait had pride of place in the entrance hall of the Centennial Exhibition. His name was regularly linked with Hobson's in centennial speeches. David Hall, another of the sceptical younger historians, had recognised the folly of trying to resist the tide of public sentiment. Anyone rash enough 'to disparage the character and attainments of Edward Gibbon Wakefield', he wrote in 1940 in the first number of Historical Studies Australia and New Zealand, was likely to be challenged 'to a duel with rapiers'.17 The Governor General pointed the moral in his speech at the Wellington celebration. All the emigrants were people of good character, they had been carefully selected for their suitability, and, he noted, perhaps for the information of the Australian representative at the function, they came as 'perfectly free emigrants'.

Galway unveiled the monument. Parry presided over an official luncheon. In the afternoon 10,000 assembled in the Petone Recreation Ground for a pageant re- page 119
Settlers come ashore. The stained glass window in the Wellington Provincial Centennial Memorial at Petone. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, New Zealand Freelance Collection C-11703-1/2

Settlers come ashore. The stained glass window in the Wellington Provincial Centennial Memorial at Petone. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, New Zealand Freelance Collection C-11703-1/2

enacting the sale of land to the New Zealand Company. A representation of the Aurora was the backdrop for the three scenes that told the story. The sale of Whanganui-a-Tara on board the Tory in September 1839 was followed by the hoisting of the flag on Pito-one beach, and the last scene depicted friendship between Maori and 'the white man'. The pageant ended with Wharepouri's injunction to his people to 'care for my Maori and European people when I am gone' and the singing of 'God Defend New Zealand'. Before the last scene the spectators were treated to a feast in the 'old Maori manner' prepared from two bullocks, two pigs, and half a ton of potatoes.
It was not to be expected that the pageant would give an exhaustive account of the arrival of the first New Zealand Company settlers. A note in New Zealand Centennial News some months later provided the important additional bit of information that the flag flown at Pito-one in January 1840 had 'no connection with the present New Zealand flag'. It was the flag of a 'rebel government', and it had been one of Hobson's first acts when he heard about the British settlement at Port page 120
Captain Hobson lands at Kororareka (Russell). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 7 February 1940, p36, C-27622-1/2.

Captain Hobson lands at Kororareka (Russell). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, Weekly News, 7 February 1940, p36, C-27622-1/2.

Nicholson to despatch an armed contingent to proclaim sovereignty over the entire country, haul down the offending flag, and hoist the Union Jack.18

Hobson's arrival on New Zealand soil was re-enacted with a pageant at Russell on 29 January. The Hon H.G.R. Mason, Minister of Justice, represented the government and played the role of Hobson. It was a beautiful, calm morning, the Northern Advocate reported, and music played by the Whangarei Pipe Band and the church organist gave the town an 'air of commemoration'.

Hobson and his party were rowed ashore in a whaleboat and were welcomed by singing 'Maori maidens' who rushed into the water to greet him and by a haka party of 'stalwart Maori warriors' on the shoreline. He was escorted to the historic church where 800 Maori and Pakeha were assembled for a service in the open air. There, with the Maori welcoming party seated at his feet, the Lieutenant Governor recited the Letters Patent extending the boundaries of New South Wales to include New Zealand and the Commission appointing him Lieutenant Governor. He then read two proclamations: one declaring that he had entered into his duties as Lieutenant Governor; the other that Her Majesty's Government would not acknowledge titles to land in New Zealand that were not purchased from or confirmed by the governor. There were three cheers for Hobson. Archbishop Averill gave an address and the service was over.

In the afternoon, Mason led the pipe band and 500 people up the hill for a service at the flagstaff from which were flying the Union Jack and the flag of the United Northern Tribes. He ordered the flags to be lowered, addressed the crowd. The ceremony was concluded with Maori doing haka and poi dances around the flagstaff, and the flags were raised again. Festivities went on into the night with a dance in the town hall and the crowning of Russell's carnival queen.19

But there was more to this celebration than met the uninstructed eye. Members of the public enjoyed the pageantry but constitutional lawyers and historians page 121 disagreed over the import of Hobson's proclamations in the acquisition of British sovereignty in New Zealand. Dr N.A. Foden of the Crown Law Office provided the Centennial Historical Committee with a summary of the views he was about to publish in his book New Zealand's Constitutional Development in the Decade 1839-1849.20 Foden differed sharply from Buick on the status of the Treaty of Waitangi in the acquisition of sovereignty and from those who argued that 'sovereignty was proclaimed3 on 30 January. 'Sovereignty/ he argued, 'must first be created before it can be proclaimed/ Various dates ranging from Cook's act of discovery in 1769 to 15 June 1839, 30 January, 6 February, 21 May, and 2 October 1840 had been proposed as the date when sovereignty was created.21 Foden held that the correct date was 15 June 1839 when, by Letters Patent, the territory of the colony of New South Wales was extended to include the islands of New Zealand. Everything that followed 'was merely evidential of the main fact—namely the decision itself'.22

In Foden's view, the Treaty signings at Waitangi on 6 February 1840 and elsewhere had no constitutional status. Buick, he argued, was in error in his Treaty of Waitangi and in his advice to the Centennial Historical Committee in referring to 6 February as the date for the acquisition of sovereignty.23 More to the point, in his view, 'no lawyer who had given the matter any deep consideration would argue that British sovereignty "rests on the Treaty of Waitangi".' By signing the Treaty Maori acknowledged British sovereignty, but that was a distinctly different matter.24 Foden then rehearsed the legal orthodoxy of the day that the Treaty had no status either in international law or in New Zealand municipal law. That remained the legal position until the landmark Court of Appeal decision in New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney General in 1987.

The formal annexation of the South Island dates from Hobson's proclamation of 25 May 1840 asserting British sovereignty. Captain Stanley raised the Union Jack at Akaroa on 11 August, eight days before the arrival of the French and German settlers of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company. The Centennial Council's thoughts turned not to 25 May as the centennial of the annexation of the South Island but to 19 August and the French connection. It decided, however, that the possibility of bad weather in Akaroa at that time of year would deter people from travelling there in large numbers. It began planning for a ceremony on 30 March, but Savage's death forced a postponement until 20 April. The celebration before the largest crowd ever seen at Akaroa was followed by two more days of festivities. Five hundred Maori, including 100 from the North Island, took part in the welcoming ceremony. This made it the largest and most representative Maori gathering ever to have taken place in the South Island. For most of the Pakeha present it would have been their first experience of an official function hosted by Maori. The important part played by the Maori people, The Press reported, gave the celebrations 'an unusual and memorable character'.25 The conduct of so large an event at Akaroa—more than 200 official guests page 122 attended—raised even greater logistical problems than the ones Heenan's centennial branch faced at Waitangi. The Maori communities on Banks Peninsula were small and scattered and had nothing like the depth of leadership that Nga Puhi had been able to call upon when preparing their welcoming ceremonies. Eruera Tirikatene, the member for Southern Maori, ensured that all hapu of Ngai Tahu would be present. Ngata, Paikea and Ratana ensured that there was a strong representation of North Island tribes. Kingi Tahiwi was released from his duties as a 3ZB announcer to work up a programme of haka, poi, and waiata. The local people were joined on the day by the Ngati Poneke cultural group from Wellington, Ngati Otatautahi from Christchurch and Pipiwharau from Tuahiwi.

The ceremonial of the day went well. Tirikatene challenged the large official party who were led on by the Governor General and then accompanied them. As the host tribe, Ngai Tahu were there in numbers, and they hoped that the Prime Minister would make announcement about their land claim. Their negotiators had recently held a round-table conference with Langstone, the Acting Minister of Native Affairs, and believed that they had an agreed basis for a settlement of their grievance over the Kemp purchase of 1848.26 They found a way of reminding their audience of that grievance during the first pageant of the day re-enacting the first exercise of British sovereignty in the South Island. This recounted Captain Stanley's arrival, his banter with local Pakeha and peaceful reception from two local chiefs, and the hoisting of the British ensign to a bugle call. Then came an unrehearsed addition: 'Maori elders,' the Akaroa Mail reported, 'assembled on the edge of the ground and did not repress
The Govenor General, Lord Galway, has picked up the rakau wero, and Eruera Tirikatene leads him and hsi official party on to the Akaroa Recreation Ground. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ,, NZ Centennial News, No 14, 15 August 1940, C-27762-1/2.

The Govenor General, Lord Galway, has picked up the rakau wero, and Eruera Tirikatene leads him and hsi official party on to the Akaroa Recreation Ground. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ,, NZ Centennial News, No 14, 15 August 1940, C-27762-1/2.

page 123 their feelings. "Way goes the land," one of them murmured. Another said, "Now the pakeha's got the place."'27

That set the stage for the speech of welcome by Temairiki Taiaroa, the paramount chief of Ngai Tahu. After courteously acknowledging the presence of the Governor General, the Prime Minister, and others, he said that he was an old man and he had been waiting since he was a boy to see the claim attended to. All Ngai Tahu were present and wanted a reply, whether for or against them.

All that Fraser could say in response was that the government was considering the matter: it wanted to 'smooth away all differences' so that both races could 'march forward together on a greater scale than ever in the past'. That could not be other than disappointing to Ngai Tahu. Then H.T. Armstrong, Fraser's cabinet colleague and MP for Christchurch East, made matters worse when he spoke. Was the Maori claim to the land any greater than that of the Pakeha? he asked. Who were the original owners of the land, and did they really own it? What the government wanted was for 'Maori and pakeha to live side by side as brothers', and it would always 'treat Maori and Pakeha in all problems on an equal footing'. Nothing could be fairer than that, he said, and on that basis 'the claim would be given all the consideration it was entitled to'.28

Ngai Tahu were deeply hurt. They conferred after the ceremony and made a statement to The Press which the newspaper reported. In that statement, P. H. McDonald, who had led Ngai Tahu deputations to ministers, deplored Armstrong's remarks, rehearsed the long unsettled history of the claim, and said that Ngai Tahu were disappointed and desperate.

No unexpected incidents marred the enjoyment of the dedication of the memorial to the French and German settlers during the afternoon ceremony. The French Consul M. Andre Pouquet hailed the good sense of the rival British and French captains a century earlier as the beginning of the entente cordiale between Britain and France; Oscar Natzke, returned to New Zealand for the centennial music festival, sang the Marseillaise, and the Governor General unveiled the monument.

Earlier accounts of the French at Akaroa had told it as a race to claim sovereign possession but Lindsay Buick's The French at Akaroa had relegated that to myth. The doyen of the French descendents, E. X. Le Lievre, had agreed. There had been no race for Akaroa, he wrote in New Zealand Centennial News. That, however, was not how M. Pouquet put it in his speech at the unveiling ceremony. Rather it was that by getting there first Stanley had made no race of it! There was, he said, 'not the slightest doubt that from the outset, the French Government shared the hopes of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company and encouraged the settlers.' A recent New Zealand historian has reached the same conclusion.29

Wahiao, ten feet longer and with all its original carvings installed, was officially opened by the Governor General, Lord Galway, before a very large crowd at page 124 Whakarewarewa on 16 November. The festivities expressed Maori and Pakeha unity of purpose and drew public attention to the beauty of the new house and the creative skills of the carvers and weavers who had built it. Wahiao, after whom it was named, was an illustrious Tuhourangi ancestor who was said to have lived some 340 years earlier and to have been a brother of Hinemoa. The plaque unveiled by the Governor General said that Wahiao had been built as a mark of 'grateful recognition' of British 'trusteeship and protection granted to the Maori race by the Treaty of Waitangi'. The house itself was dedicated to the memory of Mita Taupopoki, 'a great chief and leader of the Arawa Confederation'. Wahiao had been Mita's house and even before his death in 1935 had been a tribal meeting place.30

Hon Frank Langstone, who by then was Minister of Native Affairs, led a widely representative official party which included, as principal guests, the Governor General, Lord Galway, Lady Galway, and members of their family, and leaders of all the tribes of the central plateau, Hawkes Bay, East Coast, and Bay of Plenty. A contingent of Maori soldiers and a party of returned soldiers from the first world war were present. Te Hatu Pirihi, speaking in Maori, welcomed the visitors. Sir Apirana Ngata explained the significance of the occasion. Mita Taupopoki, for whom Wahiao was dedicated, was a chief who was second to none in his time for what he did for the Maori people. 'No one,' he said, 'had had a greater part in welcoming distinguished visitors to the Dominion.'31

Langstone, in what by now was a well-rehearsed speech, reviewed Maori history from Kupe and Toi to the renaissance of the present day. Tn a hundred years,' he said, 'they have kept the best of their culture and discarded the worst. Now it is not a matter of Maori versus pakeha, but New Zealand as a whole. We will be able to hand down to posterity the best of both cultures.' His speech was reported under the heading: 'Fair treatment for the Maori now.'32

Te Hatu Pirihi presented the Governor General with a Loyal Address to the King on behalf of the Maori race. It was, the newspaper report commented, 'an eloquent message'. There was no doubt, it said that, despite 'difficulties and misunderstandings', the Maori people would 'have been broken and destroyed' but for 'the protecting mantle of the Sovereign powers'. The Maori soldiers now in England, 'the very flower of our race', were a sign of the loyalty of the Maori people and their preparedness to make sacrifices in defence of civilisation. 'God Save Your Majesty, Your People, and the World.' 33

It had been thanks to the combined political skills of Heenan, Ngata, and Mitchell that the whare runanga at Waitangi, Rangiaohia at Maketu, and Wahiao at Whakarewarewa had become centennial building projects. Pressing on with the restoration of Tamatekapua and ensuring its continuing upkeep was their next challenge. Wahiao and Tamatekapua, furthermore, were two of many Arawa meeting houses in need of restoration or rebuilding.

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The final centennial event. The Governor General, Lord Galway, opens the reconstructed Whahiao meeting house. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, New Zealand Herald, 18 November 1940, N-P 946-4.

The final centennial event. The Governor General, Lord Galway, opens the reconstructed Whahiao meeting house. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ, National Newspaper Collection, New Zealand Herald, 18 November 1940, N-P 946-4.

Heenan could not persuade the Native Affairs Department or the Tourist and Publicity Department to take responsibility for this work so he took his own initiatives. His department was responsible for the programmes of distinguished visitors to the country, and Rotorua was regularly on their itineraries. His department also administered the Dominion Museum, which had an ethnographer, Dr W.J. Phillips, on its staff. Heenan arranged for Phillips to undertake ethnographic surveys of historic Arawa meeting houses, and for John Pascoe to compile a photographic record of their carvings and tukutuku panels.34

Heenan also persuaded the government to fund Arawa restoration projects. Soon after Tamatekapua was opened in 1943 he negotiated an arrangement under which Arawa District Trust Board, with an annual government grant, became the custodian and provided guides for distinguished vistors to Wahiao and Tamatekapua. That placed them on a similar basis to the Waitangi Trust Board, and these arrangements became in their turn precedents for Pompallier House and other historic buildings when they were restored.

A new era of government involvement in the restoration of old meeting houses and the building of new ones was being inaugurated. Once the Japanese entered the war there was a steady stream of overseas visitors. High-ranking Americans in particular were taken to Rotorua and it is probably from that time that distinguished guests received formal marae welcomes. Arawa's role as a provider of hospitality had entered a new reciprocal phase as they welcomed government guests as well as page 126 their own to their marae. Scarcely noticed at the time, it was the beginning of a slow process by which more Pakeha would come to have their first experience of marae as the spiritual heart of Maori culture.

1 Unsigned, undated memorandum, late 1939, Internal Affairs IA 1, 1, 62/50, National Archives (NA).

2 Maori participation in Centennial, undated memorandum [1939], IA 1, 62/50.

3 Historical sketch by Tai Mitchell, C.M.G., Rotorua, [1943], IA 1, 62/10/283.

4 Bay of Plenty Times, 19 December 1938.

5 Times, [Te Puke], 8 August 1939; Bay of Plenty Times, 13 December 1939.

6 Handwritten notes, Tai Mitchell, [November 1939], IA 1, 62/10/38.

7 Morning Post, Rotorua, 12 December 1939.

8 New Zealand Herald, 3 January 1940, p.9.

9 New Zealand Centennial News, no.13, 1 April 1940, pp.41-42.

10 Peter H. Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), Vikings of the Sunrise (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1938), p.270; M. P. K. Sorrenson, Manifest Duty: The Polynesian Society Over 100 Years, Memoir no.49 (Auckland: The Polynesian Society, 1992), pp.50-1, 65, 75.

11 New Zealand Centennial News, op. cit., pp.42-43.

12 Zealandia, 11 January 1940, p.4.

13 Ivor Te Puni to Rt Hon M.J. Savage, 18 December 1938; Heenan to Parry, 8 February 1939, p.2, IA 1,62/50/6.

14 Ibid.

15 Evening Post, 22 January 1940.

16 Heenan to Leicester Webb, 23 July 1940, Ms-Papers 1132-250, Heenan Papers, Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL); New Zealand Centennial News, no. 18, 1 April 1940, pp.12,16; Evening Post, 22 January 1940.

17 D. O. W. Hall, 'New Zealand Centennial History', Historical Studies Australia and New Zealand, 1 (April 1940), p.21.

18 New Zealand Centennial News, no.13, 1 April 1940, p.17.

19 Northern Advocate, 29 January 1940; New Zealand Centennial News, no. 13, 1 April 1940, p.40.

20 N. A. Foden, The Constitutional Development of New Zealand in the First Decade 1839-1849 (Wellington: Watkins, 1938).

3 Historical sketch by Tai Mitchell, C.M.G., Rotorua, [1943], IA 1, 62/10/283.

21 J. Rutherford, The Treaty of Waitangi and the Acquisition of British Sovereignty in New Zealand 1840, Auckland University College Bulletin no.36, History Series no.3, 1949,pp.5-8.

22 Foden, p.190

23 T. Lindsay Buick, The Treaty of Waitangi: How New Zealand became a British Colony, 3rd edition (New Plymouth: Thomas Avery, 1936).

24 National Historical Committee. New Zealand Centennial 1940, Tentative list of Dates, Department of Internal Affairs. [1937], pp.17-8 and, for N. A. Foden's Memorandum of 19 March 1937, p.25.

25 The Press, 22 April 1940.

26 The Press, 22 April 1940.

27 From the Akaroa Mail in New Zealand Centennial News, no. 14,15 August 1940, p.5.

28 The Press, 22 April 1940.

29 T. Lindsay Buick, The French at Akaroa; An Adventure in Colonization (Wellington: Book Depot, 1928), pp.325-52; 'Old Days at Akaroa Recalled. An interview with Mr E.X. Le Lievre', New Zealand Centennial News, no.5, 20 January 1939, p.11; Peter Tremewan, French Akaroa: An Attempt to Colonise Southern New Zealand (Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 1990); John Dunmore, Visions and Realities: France in the Pacific 1695-1995 (Auckland: Heritage Press, 1997), chapter 8.

30 New Zealand Herald, 16 November 1940.

31 New Zealand Centennial News, no. 15, 6 February 1941, p.5, quoting from a report in the Rotorua Morning Post.

32 Ibid., pp.5-6.

33 Ibid., pp.6-7.

34 IA 1,158/19/3, passim; IA 1,158/19/1; WJ. Phillips, Carved Meeting Houses of Arawa, Dominion Museum Records in Ethnology, vol.1,1946; W. J. Phillips and J. M. McEwen, Carved Houses of Arawa, Dominion Museum Records in Ethnology, vol.1, no.2,1948: Ms-Papers 1132-180 Heenan Papers, passim, ATL.