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Ancestral Voices Maori Prophet
Leaders - Judith Binney
in The Oxfored Illustrated History of New Zealand 1990, Sinclair, Keith (ed.),
Oxford Univ. Pr., Auckland. ISBN 0-19-558209-8
In the oral traditions from the East Coast of New Zealand, Te Toiroa is still remembered as the seer who it is said, three years before the advent of James Cook, predicted the coming of white men to the land. A direct descendant of Ngatoro-i-rangi, the tohunga who guided the Arawa canoe and called up the fires of Tongariro, Toiroa stands in a continuous line of the prophetic leaders of the pre-European Maori world. As a very old man in 1865, it is known that he witnessed the onset of the wars in Poverty Bay which he had foreseen. From the start of European settlement, other prophetic leaders would emerge in different parts of New Zealand. They were both men and women, and they sought to direct the history of their particular followers in rapidly changing circumstances. This form of leadership, which derives from the belief that the matakite (seer) is able to communicate with the ancestral spirits, is common in many oral societies. The wisdom of the ancestors is received either in dreams and visions, or in cryptic oral pronouncements spoken in a trance-like state. These are thought of either as experiences undergone by the soul in communication with the dead spirits, or as spirit possession. The strange spoken voices, often whistlings, are those of the ancestors. Such visions have stood, as the Bible once did in Western societies: they contain the unchallengeable (although often equivocal) truth, and the knowledge they convey is believed to stem from divine authority. The role of the prophet in colonial Maori society would be reinforced rather than undermined by the introduction of Christianity. The Old Testament prophetic tradition was an integral pan of the early Protestant teaching, while the situational parallels between the Maori and the Israelite tribes became imaginatively potent as conflicts over land and sovereignty developed in the mid-nineteenth century. Maori leaders often took for their baptismal names those of the Old Testament visionaries - Moses, Zerubabbel, Daniel. Living in a pre-Darwinian world and needing to explain their different appearance and culture from that of the settlers, they chose to associate themselves with the early Israelites, probably because they shared a tribal history of migration.
Papahurihia (Te Attua Wera), naked except for a small white loin cloth, his buttocks and thighs tattooed, at the centre of a hari (war dance) performed for the arrival of visitors at Waima, Hokianga, 1847. Auckland Public Library
This identification appeared in the first of the visionary movements that grew in the new world of cross-cultural fertilization, the Papahurihia faith (which originated in the Bay Islands in the early 1830s), and it would continue in all the subsequent movements. The Israelite tradition became embedded in Maori history, and shaped the actions and the understandings of many of its participants. In situations of tension or conflict, it led to a defiance of the Christians and their crucified saviour. Papahurihia was the name of both the visionary leader and the god whom he worshipped. The name has been variously translated. It possibly derives from papa (a medium) and the Reverend Henry Williams in 1834 commented upon the name Papahurihia as meaning one 'who relates wonders'. It could also mean to turn the earth (Papa) right over. Papahurihia, the man, taught his followers that they were Hurai (Jews) and thus they worshipped on Saturday, assembling at night. From the beginning Papahurihia claimed the power to be able to converse with the dead. He held seances where he spoke with them in the whistling voice. He was undoubtedly a ventriloquist, like his father, the matakite 'Te Whareti, from whom it is said he derived many of his skills including the power to transport himself over vast distances in an instant. But equally important was his line of direct descent from his ancestress Taimania, remembered as a famous 'sorceress'. Papahtirihia was a traditional Maori matakite, but his specific teachings were a response to the changing circumstances of the lives of the northerners. He was particularly hostile to the Protestant missionaries, whose earliest mission station had been founded among his people, Te Hikutu of Rangihoua and Te Putia in the northern Bay of Islands. He called them 'He kai Kohuru' (deceitful intruderers) of New Zealanders, and attributed the high number of Maori deaths to their practising mdkutu (witchcraft). He warned against the Prostestants' heaven: it being, he said, little better than their hell as it contained 'nothing but books to eat'. His teachings consciously rejected the written Scriptures, but he had also absorbed some of their- precepts. The arid (manifestation) of his god was the biblical serpent, nakahi. Nakahi was not simply the serpent of Genesis; it was also the fiery serpent on the rod of Moses, which gave the promise of life to the Israelites in the wilderness. Nakahi became the active intervening agent summoned up by Papahurihia in the manner of previous Maori tohunga, and in shape he was not dissimilar to the ngarara (lizards) called upon by such men. His was the voice that spoke through Papahurihia in seances. The Papatiurihia movement spread rapidly upon its emergence in 1833 and attracted many of the chiefs froni the notihern and central Bay of Islands, and subsequently the Hokiaiiga. It provided a focus for opposition to the newly developing Wesleyan and Anglican communities there. later the Roman Catholic missionaries encountered its teachings and found that their doctyines seeined to be more acceptable to Papahurihia - or Te Atua Wera (the Fiery God) as he was known to them. Catholicism, because of its later arrival in New Zealand, often opposed the dominance of the Protestant community leaders in the politics of inter-hapu feuding. Papahurihia may have seen it in a more sympathetic light for this reason. But he had absorbed some of its basic metaphors as early as 1834, four years before the arrival of its missionaries. He taught that the judgement tree, which his followers climbed to the sky, was the true trunk - a recurrent image used by the Catholics, for whom the Protestants were the twisted branches. The Protestants, Papahurihia said, fell from the thin branches of a curved tree into the burning abyss below. Nakahi ignited the fires into which they tumbled. Papahurihia was originally a yoting chief in the hapci which had protected the Anglican missionaries from 1814. As he turned against the Anglicans, so he also instigated the killing of two Wesleyan converts preaching in the Mangamuka district in January 1837. He gave a cask of powder and a musket (which he had inscribed in hieroglyphs made of red sealing wax, thus rendering it tapu) to a Hikutu chief, Kaitoke, to be 'medicine' for the missionaries and their followers. It was said that the gun would assure victory to the attackers while making them invulnerable to their enemies' fire. The war he had incited would quickly escalate to involve all the segments of Ngapuhi, and peace was only re-established after the deaths of several major chiefs.
Papahurihia was still only about thirty years old when he became Hone Heke's chief tohunga in the Northern War of 1845. But by then he was the major prophet leader of Ngapuhi, dominating all others in influence. He had acquired considerable wealth - in guns, cattle, horses. He had emerged from the shadows cast by the high-born chiefs of Ngapuhi, and in so doing revealed a pattern of alternative leadership to the senior chiefs, a role which some of the later prophets also established for themselves. Heke consulted him on the eve of battle at Puketutu, and the most famous account of Papahurihia's advice derives from this occasion:
"the Ngakahi spoke in the night to Heke and his people, by the mouth of the Atua Wera. 'Be brave and strong, and patient. Fear not the soldiers; they will not be able to take this fort - neither be you afraid of all those different kinds of big guns you have heard so much talk of. I will turn aside the shot, and they shall do you no harm; but this pa and its defenders must be made sacred (tapu). You must particularly observe all the sacred rites and customs of your ancestors; if you neglect this in the smallest particular, evil will befall you, and I also shall desert you. You who pray to the god of the missionaries, continue to do so, and in your praying see you make no mistakes. Fight and pray. Touch not the spoils of the slain, abstain from human flesh, lest the European god should be angry, and be careful not to offend the Maori gods. It is good to have more than one god to trust to."
Heke's defeat came when he forgot the warning words. At Te Ahuahu in June, he seized a cartridge box from a fallen man. As he ran he saw the prophet, his mere raised, trying to rally the fleeing defenders of the pa. When Papahurihia noticed the bIood on the box, he knew that the Maori atua, the spirits of the dead ancestors, were now aligned against them. All he could do, when Heke fell wounded, was to make the chief's bearers invisible so that they might carry him safely from the field of war. This was an ancient skill of tohunga known as tumatapongia. Later, at Ohaeawai, he was able to predict victory, and the hari he then composed terrified the retreating enemy with its open hatred of Christ:
|Ka whawhai, ka whawhai, e
Ka whawhai, ki roto ki te awa, e
Puare katoa ake ilei, e |
Kihai koe i mau atu, ki to kainga.
Ki Oropi, e.
I te ainga mai a wharewhare.
Ki a lhu Karaiti,
Me te pukapuka,
Ki taka ki tua,
Ki taekaukau o taku kumu kei raro. - i, i.
Fight in the valley,
They are all exposed there,
You will not return to your village,
Because of the driving force of the fighters.
To Jesus Christ,
And the Book,
I will turn my back,
And empty my bowels upon them!
Papahurihia's religion has been described as millennial, and he was the first in the Iine of such leaders in New Zealand. There is, in fact, no evidence that he offered a millennial vision of salvation. However, his 'heaven' was filled with the material goods that the Europeans had brought and whose supply they largely monopolized: guns, ships, flour, sugar. The Papahurihia movement was a cargo cult, promising the tangible wealth of the Europeans to its followers in the afterlife, but it saw no need for an imminent new world. Millenarianism was to grow from the seed-bed of war and land confiscations in the 1860s.
In the late 1840s and early 1850s a primary concern of Maori visionary leaders was the high mortality of their people. Many local healers emerged, claiming the traditional ability to heal the sick, but now their powers derived from two cosmologies. Some adopted the Christian notion of sin, and, following the Protestant missionary teachings, used it as the explanation for the recurring epidemics.
An old woman, Te Hura, from Hawke's Bay became an influential medium in 1850, with the voice of her dead child speaking through her. The dead child (a common spirit medium) was accompanied by thejewish prophet and lawgiver Moses when it visited her on a high hiil. The spirit came in the form of a thin sharp hau (wind). It told her that the Natives, who had hitherto died in such numbers since the introduction of the Faith, were now about to be pitied, and that she was henceforth appointed to heal the sick & diseased'. She was instructed to seek out the local Maori Anglican teacher and be washed in hot water to remove the tapu of the old gods from her. This done, she took up her mission to cleanse others. She used a bed of heated stones and steaming herbs, while reciting over the sick person the words,'O Lord 0 Lord steal away out of this person his stink & rottenness for Jesus Christ's sake Amen', uttered in a 'very peculiar and rapid manner'. The steaming remedy was traditional, as was the appeal to divine forces, for sickness in the Maori world was believed to be supernatural in origin. Missionary teaching reinforced such views, although now God was the source of all ills. Te Hura was acting as a spiritual healer, but she had violated her Maori tapu (the state in which the gods are present) in order to make her eligible, as she understood it, to seek out the mana (power) of Christ.
The flying dragon (tarakona) 29 Nov 1855. Webster Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library
A similar- movement, which may have been derived from Papahurihia but which did not reject Christ as saviour, appeared in the Bay of Islands and Hokianga in 1855. The prophet is unknown by name, but he resided at Waimate. The winged dragon, which seems reminiscent of the nakahi, was his guardian aria. It was to be the protector of the people from a new 'deadly malady', which would descend on them shortly. Talismanic drawings of the dragon were found in homes among most of the local tribes. The tohunga, who had distributed these 'books', communicated with the spirits from the top of a high hill near Waimate. He taught that he was the Maori brother of Christ. He explained the deaths and depopulation of the north as due to the neglect of the old gods and sacred places. He urged as the solution the destruction of tapu in all those perilous places. The power of the old had to be negated so that the new god could reign. The problems with which these early visionary leaders wrestled were similar: the conflict of two universes and the apparent triumph of the Christian god over the Maori deities. The solutions they offered to temporal problems were inevitably conceived in spiritual terms: mana, life, and death had always been dealt out by the gods. In the new world of two peoples, it was no longer possible for Maori to believe solely in the old gods. Whether to appease them, or to negate them (if possible) was to remain a continuing dilemma. How to make the new god smile on the tribes was a funher problem. When war was forced upon many tribes in the 1860s, it became a matter of acute urgency to discover how this god belonged to them.
The earliest of these movements was the Pai Marire or Hauhau faith, whose roots lay in the land conflict in Taranaki. The prophet Te Ua Haumene Tuwhakararo (originally baptized as Zerubbabel, the Seed of Babylon) was from the Taranaki tribe. In 1861 he became a leader there in the Kingitanga movement for Maori autonomy. In 1862 he experienced a series of visions. The Archangel Gabriel was his messenger, atid the annunciation he brought was the special relationship between God and the Maori people, for this land 'is Israel'. Atua Marire (the God of Peace) promised to I tana iwi wareware, tu-kiri-kau, motu tu-hawhe' ('his forgetful, naked-standing people in the half-standing land') that they would be restored in their land. Te Ua equated the Maori people with the Israelites in their Babylonian exile. He reminded them of the promises given to Abraham that Canaan would be returned. In September 1862 he drew on the vision of St John in Revelation when he wrote:
|i kitea hoki e ahau i kohiwi ko Tamarura ko nga ingoa kei a ia hoki te Hiiri o te Atua ora. K-a karanga ia ka mea, kaua e whakakinoa te motu kaua te iwi ka hiiri hoki ahau i nga pononga a te Atua ki o ratou rae.||I saw a figure whose name was Son-Ruler, having with him the Seal of the living God. He called out saying, do not hurl the land or the people till I seal the servants of God on their foreheads.|
While the basis of the new faith was scriptural, many of its practices were bizarre to European recorders. The faithful frequently worshipped on the Jewish sabbath, called themselves Tiu (Jews), and like Papahurihia's followers erected tall flag-poles for their rituals. The poles they called 'niu' and they resembled ships' masts. Indeed, the earliest was said to have come from the vessel, the Lord Worsley, whose wreck instigated Te Ua's first vision. On the ropes of the niu, the faithful hung many flags as statements of religious identity and, in some cases, of their allegiance to the Kingitanga. The term 'niu' has been variously explained. It may simply be the 'news' pole, for the hau (breath of wind) moving on the ropes was believed to bring messages from God. It was also probably a deliberate adoption of the name of divinatory sticks traditionally used by tohunga. Gabriel had first instructed Te Ua to build a niu. From it the 'Spirit of God passing with the winds' would teach the people the 'gift of languages', together with all the different forms of religion.
A drawing of a niu pole at Te Putahi, from the pages of a notebook which recorded the teachings of Te Ua. The flags indicate the community's loyalty to King Potatau,'Ingiki Potatau', the second Miiori King. 'Ingiki Mene'is less certain but probably it is 'King of Men'. The fallen club (taken from playing cards) refers to scriptural texts concerning the promised restoration of the kingdom of David on ear-th. The three diamonds represent the three islands of Aotearoa, the name recently given to the entire land by the Kingitanga. Auckland Public Library
The services around the poles were therefore conducted in glossalatia, a mixture of tongues, filled with purposeful references. Recurrent ritual phrases were derived from English military jargon (seen as phrases of power) and Protestant and Catholic religious services. This was a form of Pentecostalism, which consciously rejected the 'religion of England' and its missionaries. The two names by which the faith became known were derived from phrases reiterated by the worshippers in their prayers. 'Pai Marire' means 'Goodness and Peace', and describes the attributes of God. 'Hauhau' refers to the winds, and also to the breath of life, the spark of spirituality given by God to humans. Central to the teachings of Te Ua were the mediating archangels, Gabriel and Michael. Te Ua called Gabriel Kaparierarura (Gabriel-Ruler) and he appeared to Te Ua as he did before the prophet Daniel with his vision of the end of time. Anahera Ariki Mikaera (Angel Lord Michael), who also appeared to Te Ua in his first vision, similarly served as he had for Daniel. He is the angel of war, predicted to defend 'the children of thy people'. The fighting flags of the Pai Marire, which were named Riki, probably represented Aliki Mikaera. Te Ua created a religion which was intended to serve in both peace and war.
A depiction of the Archangel Gabriel was found in 1867. It is one of a series depicting Gabriel-Ruler (as Te Ua called him). Here the winged angel wears a Pai Mafire flag around his body. The horse presumably represents one of the four horses of the Apocalypse. Alexander Turnbull Library
By 1864 he had, in fact, set up not only a theology of defence and deliverance but also an evangelizing mission which was to reach out to the four corners of Canaan. The first attempts to spread the word, however, caused his message to be interpreted as instigating war. In April a party of soldiers in Taranaki, on a crop-destroying expedition, was ambushed by a group of Pai Matire, among whom was Te Ua. According to their views, they acted in the legitimate defence of their tribal lands. In the ambush the captain, Thomas Lloyd, was decapitated and then, on instructions from Kaparierarura, the head was preserved. The head uttered the tenets of the new faith, and was taken first to upper Whanganui by Matene Rangitauira, whose kinsmen had helped the Taranaki people at the renewal of the war there in 1863. Its arrival served to provoke old inter-tribal rivalries, leading to war in Whanganui. Te Ua later wrote that Matene had misused the head. It was meant to be circulated 'properly' through the four quarters of the land - Whanganui, Taupo, Urewera and ultimately reach the East Coast and the ariki there, Hirini Te Kani a Takirau, whose lines of descent were said to bring together all the tribes. The purpose was to make a ritual circle to'kia kati katoatia nga tatau o te motu kenana' (bind up all the doors of the land of Canaan) and unite the tribes. The emissaries sent out by Te Ua to the other corners of the land also became the harbingers of war. It was not that Te Ua preached a war of liberation against the Pdkehd, nor that his message of peace was distorted by local politics, as has been argued. Te Ua was a religious leader in thejudaeo-Chiistian tradition, who preached deliverance from oppression in apocalyptic terms. God's messengers were the sword-bearing angels. Te Ua turned these scriptural stones to Maori ends at a time of land confiscation. His emissaries brought the message of deliverance to the regions, where almost inevitably it took on different forms. At Tauranga, the millenriial aspects manifested themselves immediately. The emissary Te Tiu Uew) Tamihana arrived in December 1864, telling of immediate temporal salvation. The year, which had begun with a military invasion and had brought massive land seizures, would, he prophesied, bring the end of Pdkehd control. Ngai Te Rangi flocked from their homes to hear the message of hope. They stressed to the local Pakeha authorities that there was 'no design on their pan to provoke hostilities', but those authorities invariably saw the Pai Marire faith as a seditious doctrine. The Ngai Te Rangi chief Hori Tupaea, who had quickly adopted Te Ua's idea of setting up aukati (territorial lines of separation) between Mdori and Pdkehd so as to retain some Maori autonomy, was seized and held prisoner. An uneasy local peace held until the land surveys began in earnest in 1866. At Opotiki, conversely, the two Pai Marire emissaries sent by Te Ua in February 1865 were direct catalysts of war. Patara Te Raukatauri and Kereopa Te Rau fired the anger of the Whakatohea people against their Anglican missionary, Carl Volkner, whom they knew had acted as a government spy. Volkner paid with his life, and the eastern Bay of Plenty tribes paid with much of their land.
Similarly, on the East Coast Patara and Kereopa were to become the catalyst for a civil war among Ngati Porou, which paved the way for armed European intervention and subsequently, as the war spread, further land confiscation in Poverty Bay and Hawke's Bay. The Pai Marire doctrines were invariably divisive, as are all apocalyptic visions. At its height in 1865, about one-fifth of the total Maori population accepted Te Ua's gospel. From the noiih, however, Papahurihia (now a Wesleyati convert and government assessor) wrote condemning its fanatical teachings. At Turanganui (Gisborne), Hirini Te Kani a Takirau refused to assume the leadership. Nevenheless, he allowed Te Ua's missionaries to preach, seeing no sedition in their words. The converts there stressed that their religion did not mean a commitment to war. Anaru Matete, a leading chief of Ngati Maru who adopted the faith in 1865, told the oldest established European settler at Turanganui:
"Stay. Why leave your places? We have joined the Hauhau because we think by so doing we shall save our land (te Ao) and the remnant of our people. We have no quarrel with the settlers. . . All our chiefs ... say the settlers shall and will be protected."
But civil war came to Turanganui with an invasion of Ngati Porou fighters, together with European reinforcements, seeking out Pai Mafire refugees from the nofth. The protracted siege of the Pai Mafire at Waerenga a Hika pd in November 1865 marked the onset of a war which would last for seven years. The Pai Mafire prisoners captured there and elsewhere would be shipped off to Wharekauri, one of the Chatham Islands. They would become the followers of the new prophetic faith born on the island, the Ringatu. Te Ua himself surrendered to the government in February 1866, having become convinced that the expanding wars were disastrous for the Mdofi. He had developed a religious doctrine of deliverance from suffering, which had become a part of the active politics of war. He taught that Atua Hau (God-Wind) and his angels would restore the 'undivided holy soil of the Canaan' to the Maofi. Until that day of deliverance he urged that the tribes separate themselves behind their own aukati. As a Kingitanga leader and warrior, he certainly accepted the legitimacy of their defensive wars. But he did not seek to instigate 'a final war at the end of the world'. He handed himself over in a vain attempt to stop the fighting. ln July just before his death, he wrote to those whom he had earlier seen as his spiritual successors, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi, renouncing the faith itself.
The Pai Marire doctrines were the fount of many of the new religions which followed. Some of the most direct connections were derived from the early spread of the faith within the Kingitanga. In August 1864 the second Maori king had come to southern Taranaki where he was rebaptised by Te Ua with the name, Tawhiao (Hold the World). Te Ua composed the 'Lament for King Tawhiao', which sealed their compact under God, called Rura (Ruler). He taught Tawhiao and the Waikato chiefs who accompanied him that New Zealand is Canaan. The Maoris are Jews. The books of Moses are their law. 'These teachings were taken back to Waikato. The very concept of the Rohe Potae itself (the encircling boundaries of the King Country) stemmed directly from Te Ua's notion of placing aukati, seen as lines of peace, between Maori and Pakeha. As Tawhiao said in 1865, the bloodshed arose from Pakeha's hands. It will not be right to bring that blood hither, leave it where it is.'As a consequence, until 1883 no Pdkehd could enter the Rohe Potae without Kingitanga permission. After his re-baptism, Tawhiao himself became known as a prophet, the mana being considered as bestowed from Te Ua. Later, he developed his particular form of the Pai Marire teachings, which in 1875 he called Tariao, a name he used for Venus as the morning star (or Tdwera). The Resident Magistrate in the Waikato commented that Tariao was a revival of the Pai Marire forni of prayers, first introduced by Te Ua but subsequently abandoned. In so doing, he added, Tawhiao was stressing the 'promotion of peace'. The adoption of the ti ame Tariao was a conscious statement of a new dawn, a new and peaceful era. It was also a delilberate reference to the Book of Revelation, asserting Tawhiao's lineage as the son of God in the line of the Jewish kings: 'I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. The faith centred on a message of deliverance foreseen by Tawhiao's prophecies. It remained aii integral pan of the Kingitanga rituals, and would be actively revived again I)y Princess Te Puea in the early twentieth century.
In Taranaki itself, the faith was transmitted directly to several prophetic leaders. The visionary Titokowaru of Ngati Ruanui had accepted Te Ua's message that the wars must end. He declared that 1867 was 'te tau tamahine, tenei te rau o te Rameti' (the year of the daughters, the year of the Lamb). But the reality was a confiscation of land that rendered Ngati Ruanui virtually homeless. Titokowaru's war of 1868-1869 in southern Taranaki was fought to create adequate boundaries for their survival. But his support collapsed when he violated the strict codes of the Pai Marire and Kingitanga fighters against puremu (adultery). As a religious leader his crime was doubly great and it stripped him of his tapu. His successful fighting forces simply melted away, bringing the war to an unexpected end. In 1866, Te Ua had seen his nephew Te Whiti as standing in the light of God. He regarded Tohu, Te Whiti's brother-in-law, in the same manner. They in turn named 1867 the 'year of the Lamb' in the Pai Marire tradition, and with this message founded a new community at Parihaka, at the foot of Mount Taranaki. From its beginning it was committed to the path of peace. As Te Whiti specifically said, 'The wars of the past even unto the present shall not be renewed', and the people wore white feathers in their hair as a statement of their peaceful ways. For this reason the Parihaka community did not give its support to Titokowaru (any more than did Tawhiao). But the once disgraced Titokowaru would take his shelter at Parihaka and there erect his meeting-house.
Te Whiti making his monthly address on 17 Jan 1880 Canterbury Museum
The Parihaka community was founded in the midst of confiscated land. Te Whiti never recognized the legitimacy of those confiscations. There were many specific aspects to his objections, not the least being that the confiscations were justified on the grounds that the Maori tribes had rebelled. This he rightly denied. From 1869 he began preaching the ultimate return of all confiscated Maori land, and repudiated the authority of the laws over the Maori. That year he named 'te tau o te takahanga' (the year of the trampling underfoot), the year in which he initiated the tactics of peaceful non-co-operation. His objective was not simply the restoration of the seized lands. As the Reverend TG. Hammond observed in 1880,'Land he wants, but a recognition of his independence he wants more.' In 1878 the surveying of the disputed land in Taranaki began. Te Whiti and Tohu opposed the action, calling it the theft of land that had been promised to them. And indeed in the official confiscation map of 1873 the Crown's claims there had been marked 'Abandoned'. Under the direction of Tohu, the Parihaka challenge began in May 1879. The men went out in small groups to plough the land to assert their ownership. Day after day they were arrested, and day after day they were replaced by others. The population of Parihaka grew rapidly as tribes from other palls sent their representatives: from Patea, Whanganui, and Waikato in particular.
The Parihaka Community, 5 November 1881. The people are crowded together on the marae (centre right), where they had been waiting since midnight for the assult. Te Whiti and Tohu were sitting together in front of one of the small raupo whares which looked directly into the marae. The wooden gabled building at the top left is Te Whiti's new meeting-house, Miti Mai Te Arero, begun in 1881. Photograph probably by WA. Collis. Alexander Turnbull Librayy
Te Whiti made the issues plain in his monthly speeches to the Parihaka community: 'The Government is attempting to keep the chieftainship (rangatiratanga) from Israel and I am striving to prevent the Government from becoming our masters for ever and ever. . . . No law of the Europeans shall govern the Maories. . . . Do not let us think the Europeans can make laws to rule us, they cannot; nothing can stand that they make.' He also made clear his plan for the lands: 'The settlement to be by Europeans and Maories, the Maories on their reserves and the Europeans on the remainder but the Maories being owners of the soil to receive "takoha" (tribute) from the Europeans'. He sought to make Parihaka, Israel, the new kingdom of the Maofi. He hoped to make a binding covenant with the government, replacing the Treaty of Waitangi (which Taranaki and Ngati Raunui had never signed), recognizing the Maori as the owners of the soil and their right to take tribute. As Hammond, who left an account of the monthly meetings, observed,'Should we consent to all this, truly the chieftainship will have returned unto Israel.' It was the extensive links which Parihaka had established with other tribes which led the government to seek its destruction in 1881. On 5 November Parihaka was occupied by force. All the 'outsiders' were subsequently expelled (about 1600 people) and their homes destroyed. Te Whiti, Tohu, and Titokowaru were arrested, and all three spent six months in jail in New Plymouth awaiting Supreme Couil trials. But Titokowaru's case - the charge, unlawful obstruction by sitting still on the Parihaka marae on 5 November - was considered by thejudge to be absurd. As a consequence, the government abandoned the prosecution, and rushed through special legislation to allow them to keep Te Whiti and Tohu imprisoned indefinitely without trial.
This legal chicanery did not destroy Parihaka. Released after two years, Tohu and Te Whiti returned to Parihaka in 1883 and began its reconstruction. The community was born again as the new Jerusalem in Canaan. The conflicts over the land and the laws did not cease, and nor did Te Whiti's terms change. Both he and Tohu would be arrested again. Parihaka remained a centre of conscious non-violent resistance to the yoke of the settler's manipulative legislation until the deaths of the two leaders in 1907. Te Whiti had called himself variously the 'mouthpiece' of Jehovah and 'a small Christ', the messiah for the days when it was prophesied that 'the small people should rule the island'. This emphasis on the ordinary people (or the 'shoemaker', the 'carpenter' and the 'blacksmith' as Tawhiao put it) would be sustained by Te Whiti's successors. But Te Whiti also claimed to be the sole ruler: 'It is all to be left to me, the judgeship and ordering of the earth so that all people may see that I am the son of God.' He had turned the Pai Marire teachings of deliverance into a statement of Maori Christianity under his authority.
A separate faith, but one which had also been influenced by the Pai Marire teachings, was that led by the South Island prophet, Hipa Te Maiharoa. In 1877 he lead a heke (migration) of over a hundred followers back to their ancestral lands at Te Ao Marama (Omarama), in north Otago. The people called themselves Israelites. They denied the validity of the vast South Island land purchase of 1848, and claimed the interior as their own. It was their promised land. But the wealthy runholders protested and in 1879 the Ngai Tahu exiles were expelled by an armed police expedition. Te Maiharoa's ideas were shaped by the spread of Te Ua and Te Whiti's teachings. Among Te Maiharoa's followers in 1879 was a Taranaki man, Tuaha Matenga, while at least one Ngai Tahu kinsman was among those arrested at Parihaka. The religious practices were resonant of the Pai Marire beliefs. In particular, the Ngai Tahu Israelites adopted the ritual of circling the places of worship as the Pai Marire had circled the niu poles. Tapu-lifting rites were an imponant aspect of Te Maiharoa's teachings and they derived, in pan, from the Israelites' codes of ritual cleansing, directed against the presence of dangerous M5ori ancestral spirits. Te Maiharoa also insisted on the circumcision of male infants, contrary to Maori practice. He claimed to be a prophet but not a messiah; he predicted that his work would be completed by another, 'a little child', who would 'come forth from under Mount Taranaki'. After his death in 1885, his school of learning at Korotuaheka was razed by his followers so that it should never be desecrated.
The only faith which was born out of the wars but which rejected its association with Pai Marire was Ritigatu. Its founder was Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki, who was first arrested by the government 'on suspicion of being a spy' at the siege of Waerenga a Hika in 1865. Te Kooti was born within the chiefly ranks of Ngati Maru of Poverty Bay, but had been known mostly for his youthful trouble-making. Caught up in the civil wars at Poverty Bay, he had fought for the government with reluctance, like most of the Turanganui 'loyalists', who believed that the war had been forced upon them unnecessarily. Released for want of evidence, he was rearrested in March 1866. He had been picked out as a potential source of disturbance when the land was confiscated. Despite his request for a trial, he was sent with the Pai Matire prisoners to the island of Wharekauri. There, in the 'Wharepononga '('House of Bondage'), the message of deliverance was brought to him. Te Kooti recorded the visitations of 'te Wairua o te Atua' (the Spirit of God) in a diary which he kept on the island. The first entry was on 21 February 1867: 'Ko te marama tenei ' i nui ai toku mate 21 o nga ra ka hemo au' (This was the month in which my sickness increased, on the 21st day I became unconscious). But the spirit, he said, raised him up in order to make his name known 'ki tona iwi e noho whakarau nei i tenei whenua' (to his people who are in captivity in this land).
The spirit, a voice, visited again when he became unconscious with fever on 21 March. Then on 21 April he appeared in the likeness of a man. He was clothed in white, and wore a crown girdle like the rising and the setting sun. His fan was like a rainbow and his tokotoko (staff) was of colours never before seen. This spirit of God, probably derived fr Revelation, told him that he would teach him, warning him not accept any books, as they were written only by mortals. He also gave him two signs, which he was to reveal. One was ngarara in a form he had never before seen. In the traditional Maori cosmogony, the ngarara is a lizard that travels between the worlds of the gods and humanity, bringing either life or death. The other was a flame which did not burn, and this he showed to the prisoners in a service he held on 18 June 1867. By July accounts of the new religion had reached Maori in Turanganui, while it was this iticendary act which finally caught the attention of the Resident Magistrate on Wharekauri. He reported that Te Kooti was deceiving the prisoners with phosphorus from matches. Te Kooti was therefore prohibited from holding services and placed in solitary confinement injune 1868. The oral traditions of the Ringatu narrate how he escaped every night to hold prayers secretly amongst the whakarau (the prisoners). He also planned (and predicted) their escape from the island in July. On Wharekauri, two religious traditions had been transformed into one as the culmination of many years of predictive history. As the old Ringatu tohunga Eria Raukura put it:
"In the year 1766, three years before the arrival of the pakeha in this land, Ariki-rangi was disclosed by Toiroa, and all the conditions of life in this world. He it was (Toiroa) who renewed the covetiant, and conducted it according to the guidance of the Spirit. It had been maintained quite differently by the ancestors during the lengthy years which had gone by in between. More than 1000 years had passed since that migration out of Canaan. . . . At Wharekauri the Angel of the Lord appeared to him. There the Ringatu Covenant, and all the prophetic sayings were revealed; the first prophetic sayings, and the pattern also of the prophetic sayings of the creation of the World, and also the savings from Abraham right until Christ. At the very time of Te Kooti, only then was it made very clear, the joining of the first things of the past, that is the Maori's hold on to, and the pakeha's hold on the gospel of Jesus Christ."
In this manner the most distant ancestral past was specifically yoked to the earliest Christian teachings. Toiroa had predicted the coming of Arikirangi, and the times of trouble that this child portended, with the ominous song, 'Tiwha tiwha te po (Dark, dark is the night). He had performed the tohi (naming ceremony) over him, recognizing him as Arikirangi, the one foreseen, and dedicating him to Tu-matauenga, god of war and of man. From his prophetic ancestors, Te Kooti inherited his visionary powers. But it is also believed that when the Maori left Canaan at the last dispersal of the children of Israel they brought with them the knowledge of lo Uehovah). It was in Aotearoa that the 'first things of the past', the Mdori relationship with lo, were married with the Christian faith. The full significance of this covenant for the Mdori was revealed to Te Kooti. In the oral traditions, it was the warrior angel Michael who appeared before him to tell him of the covenant. Through this association, Te Kooti becomes the leader of a war for liberty. On 4 July 1868 the whakarau - 163 men, 64 women, and 71 children - escaped their bondage by capturing a supply ship. They landed on the 10th at Whareongonga, a stony beach south of Turanganui. Here they gave thanks for their deliverance by God, raising their right hands in an act of homage instead of kneeling in submission. From this deliberate gesture the name of the new faith was born: the Ringa-tu, the Upraised Hand. Their purpose was to go inland. Te Kooti said that he sought no fight with the government, although they had all been kept imprisoned without trial and for longer than had been originally determined. He intended to go into the Rohe Potae and there challenge Tawhiao for the spiritual leadership of the Maori. But because the whakarau were armed, they were to be inexorably pursued by the colonial forces, who thus created a formidable guerrilla leader, and a war which lasted until 1872. It was because Tawhiao rejected Te Kooti, warning him formally on 29 October that he would be repelled if he attempted to enter the Rohe Potae, that Te Kooti turned back to attack the settlements in Poverty Bay. This decision, which gained him his particular notoriety, derived from the fact that he had nowhere else to go. He was being pursued by the militia. Ahead lay the Urewera, but the Tuhoe, whose
Tokanganui a Noho 1887. Te Kooti initiatied the style of paintings on the doorway.
permission to enter their lands he had similarly sought, would wait until March 1869 before they fully committed themselves. He disguised his need for a sanctuary with the prophecy that'God would give the Turanganui country, and all the best places of the Europeans, I)ack to him and his people.'Once there, the killing of ordinary Maori and Pakeha, and the taking of large numbers of Maori as prisoners, meant that from this point oii he would be hunted as a wild beast, and that his pursuers would now include many Maori. The Tuhoe finally supported Te Kooti because they saw him as the leader of those (like themselves) who had been dealt with unjustly. In turn, their remaining lands were subjected to a ruthless scorched earth policy. To clitiail these attacks on homes and crops, in July 1869 Te Kooti crossed into the Rohe Potae, seeking out King Tawhiao. His aim now was to be conciliatory. Again lie was rejected. As Tawhiao's chief advisor, Tamati Ngapora, said plainly, Te Kooti's 'purpose in coming amongst them was to lower their chieftainship, and to destroy their Atua; and that they would not bow down to his Atua'. Nevehheless, when he left he would be accompanied by some of the major Kingitanga fighting chiefs, including Rewi Maniapoto. But his losses in the Taupo district in September (observed by Rewi) ended any possibility of an alliance. Eventually he would take his sanctuary in the Rohe Potae, living under the protection of Ngati Maniapoto from May 1872. But it was not until September 1873, wlien he accepted Tawhiao's doctrine of pacifism, that he was reconciled with the King. From that date, he said, 'I ceased strife. . . . I came into the presence of Tawhiao, and will not withdraw myself from it. 'In that month, Te Kooti supervised the carvings and decorations in the great meeting-house Tokanganui a Noho which was being erected for Tawhiao in Te Kuiti. This house became his gift to hay). Tawhiao formally established the Tariao faith in 1875 and it is probably not coincidental that in the same year, while he was living at Te Kuiti, Te Kooti began to lay down the rituals and the structure of the Ringatu. He initiated the First of January as a major celebration then, and from 1876 celebrated the First of July as the second 'pillar' of the faith. January marked the beginning of the year; July the beginning of pi the seventh month, the sabbath of the sabbath. In 1879 he introduced the huamata (planting rites) and the pure (harvest rites) as annual rituals, thus completing the four 'pillars' of the year. Then, in 1888, after he had left Te Kuiti, he set up, in addition to the Saturday sabbath, the Twelfth of the month as a holy day. It celebrates, among other aspects, the passover, or the safe return of the Exiles from Wharekauri. From these beginnings the church would grow.
The Ringatu, unlike any of the earlier movenients, was able to transform itself into an institutionalized faith, partly because it was structured for survival by its founder. It was Te Kooti himself who composed its songs, its prayers and hymns, and its scriptural texts. These were taught orally; I)ut oti his instructions, they were also written down. So were his prophecies. As a consequence, the Ringatu possess a large body of doctrine. Further, just before his death, in 1892 he devised the organization of church officers. Although there have been (and still are) regional differences, together with rivalries over leadership, the local church structure has remained intact in the areas where the faith is still practised. The covenants of the faith today recount the histories of the Jews and state that the faithful believe in the promises made to Abraham, to Moses and to David, which shall be fulfilled at the time when Christ shall appear for a second time on earth. Te Kooti's task had been to Iiiik all the prophesies. The Ringatu also believe that the fallen tabernacle of David shall be re-erected, and that his house shall be confirmed for ever.
After his reconciliation with Tawhiao, Te Kooti committed himself to the paths of peace. His teachings emphasized his acceptance of the law. Only the law, he said, can be set against the law. After his governmental pardon, on 12 February 1883, he was able to leave the Rohe Potae, and he sought meetings of reconciliation with his former enemies. But increasingly he spoke out against his rival prophets, particularly Tawhiao and Te Whiti, or the 'whare whakakeke' (houses of resistance) as he called them. Shortly after his pardon, he directly intervened to assist in the arrest of Te Mahuki Manukura, the Ngati Kinohaku prophet who had founded a community at Te Kumi within the Rohe Potae.
Te Mahuki and (right) Paru Kau, a follower of Te Whiti, at Te Kumi 4 june 1885. The community, imitating Parihaka, had raupo houses facing directly into the marae. Photograph by Alfred Button. National Musuem
Te Mahuki was a staunch follower of Te Whiti, and had been driven by the troops from Parihaka in 1881. He had returned home to recreate there its replica. He and his followers called themsclves the Tekaumarua (the Twelve) after the twelve apostles and the twelve evangelists whom Tawhiao had created in 1866 to proselytize the Pai Marire faith and had sent to give support to Patihaka. In March 1883, Te Mahuki seized the surveyor Charles Hursthouse, who was then working within the Rohe Potae by permission of the senior Maniapoto chiefs. Hursthouse had earlier been directly involved in the charges brought against Te Whiti and was distrusted. Te Kooti, accompanied by some of the Maniapoto, broke into the whare where Hursthouse was being held prisoner, Te Kooti announcing himself first, 'It is I! it is I! my children'. This was his confirmation of the agreement he had reached with the government. He named it the 'maungdrongo' ('the long abiding peace').
Commitment to peace was an essential component of almost all the later religious movements because fighting had led to bitter defeats. Stemming from Tawhiao, it became intrinsic to the Ringatu from 1873. It was at the heart of Pai Marire teachings under Te Whiti. It was fundamental to all those who would claim the succession to Te Kooti. One of the least known movements in this tradition was the Pao Miere faith. It developed as a rejection of the opening of the Rohe Potae to surveying in 1883, 'Pao Miere' meaning 'Refuse Honey', or the sweet taste of land money. In 1887 two tohunga, Te Ra Karepe and Rangawheiiua, directed the construction at Tiroa of a cruciform-shaped house, which became their centre of teaching.
Te Miringa Te Kakara, about 1905. Photograph by Leslie Hinge. Auckland Institute and Museum
It was called Te Miringa Te Kakara, the name being taken from an older house of learning, dedicated to the worship of lo, which had been built on the same site in the 1860s. The movement combined elements of the worship of lo, the Mdori supreme deity accepted by the Kingitanga, with some Pai Mai-ire beliefs. It is said that the four doors were to admit the four winds of the world to iiiiity. Niu poles were erected outside the four doorways. The area is regarded as a place associated with peace and according to the oral traditions of Ngati Rereahu (who have always been closely associated with the schools of learning of Te Miringa Te Kakara) it was there in 1869 tilat Te Ra Karepe rejected Te Kooti's original message of war. After his death in 1894, Te Ra's book of teachings were placed under one of the pillars of the meeting-house Tokanganui a Noho when it was shifted to its present site in Te Kuiti. In this maniler the prophetic traditions of Tawhiao, Te Kooti, and Te Ra concerning peace were ritually joined.
In the Hokianga in the 1880s, three women prophets emerged. Woinen taking this role were relatively unusual, but there was scriptural (as well as Maori) precedent. Miriam (also known as Maria), the sister of Moses, was a prophetess. In 1885 Maria Pangari, granddaughter of Pangari, a leading chief from the Waihou river, founded a settlement near Kaikohe into which Ngati Hao of the upper Waihou poured in the expectation of the destruction of the world at the end of March. After the failure of her prediction most returned home, but the movement continued in the Waihou. Upon Maria's death, the leadership passed, in 1887, to her father, Aporo (Apostle) Pangari, and her sister, Remana, but their authority was challenged by a rival, the prophetess Ani Kaaro. Ani, as the granddaughter of the Ngati Hao senior chief Patuone, was the tribe's political leader. Ani had visited Te Whiti, and claimed to possess his spiritual mana, but Remana contested it with her.
The interior of Te Miringa Te Kakara, 1983. Photograph by Gillian Chaplin.
At Remana's camp near Okaihau, the people only wore white. Inside the fenced enclosure, which they named Mount Zion (the predicted place of deliverance), stood two flagpoles from which fluttered small white flags. All who entered within this tapu place, be they man or beast, had to be clothed in white as a statement of peace. The colours red or black, said Remana, were signs of danger, and they seized and bound the local Araturi storekeeper when he blundered in in the fog, burning his clothes and boots. As a consequence of his complaints, combined with the feuding with Ani Kaaro, the coniinunity was invaded by an armed police force on 22 July 1887. Remana and her father were among those arrested and subsequently imprisoned for assault and resisting the police. The issue at stake between the women was ttie leadership of Ngati Hao at a time when the upper Hokianga was being reopened for extensive timber milling and settlement. It was a particularly unsettled period in the political history of the north, as the Treaty of Waitangi Kotahitanga (Unity) movement took its origins from there. Ani Kaaro had persuaded Ngati Hao into a compact with the Kingitanga in 1885, whereas other local tribal leaders wished to keep the initiative in the north.
The arrest of the Waima leaders, 6 May 1898. Hone Toia stands with his arms folded.
Ani and Remana disputed for both the mantle of Te Whiti and the most effective way to hold the land closed. However the government-assisted settlement of Hokianga continued, and by 1896 the Mdori there had become outnumbered by Pdkehd. The centre of protest shifted to Waima, where the prophetic leader Hone Toia claimed to be communicating with the nakahi. Papahurihia had died in 1875, but his and returned in the form of the serpent's whistling voice, summoned by the new seer. He created a separate community of followers drawn mostly from the Omanaia and Waima river valleys, where Papahurihia had lived. Hone Toia led a movement directed against the new rating laws on Mdori propeny near public roads, and the tax on dogs. The dog tax was imposed locally in 1896, and fell heavily on rural communities like Waima, impoverished by the decline of the gum-digging industry. Mdori also argued that they had owned dogs long before the Pdkehd had arrived. A number of men chose imprisonment (rather than payment) in 1896 and in 1897. Under their new leader, they sought the advice of Te Whiti and Tohu, who in 1897 were themselves sending the Parihaka ploughmen out, also protesting against the dog tax and a law of 1892, which had asserted Crown control and leasing rights over all the Maori reserve lands in Taranaki. In 1898 about fifty Waima and Omanaia families again refused to pay their taxes, and prepared themselves for a siege.
Te Kooti Arikirangi, 1887. Pencil sketch by Reverend Richard Laishley. Alexander Turnbull Library
Hone Toia said directly, 'We will never pay taxes. We will not obey your laws. 'The government responded with artillery and a gunboat. In the end, Waima surrendered unconditionally, the men being persuaded by the northern Member of the House of Representatives, Hone Heke, to give up their few guns. Although it is not certain whether they had ever intended to fight, Hone Toia had told the local settlers that he had no quarrel with them. He had also sent a message to those stalking the approaching soldiers not to fire. Te Whiti's message of peaceful resistance was adhered to at Waima, but sixteen men, including Hone Toia, were charged and subsequently imprisoned for levying war against Queen Victoria.
The politics of the prophetic leaders were oppositional because they interpreted their people's colonial history as the recurrence of the cycle of oppression of the Israelites. They understood that the words of Moses were for them and their children. 'The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.' Some of the Maori prophets adopted the millenarian tradition of salvation, which had developed later in Israel's history. Te Ua had taught the belief of the coming of the new Jerusalem on earth, which some of his emissaries expounded in its fullest form, preaching the resurrection of the Maori ancestors and with it, their command of all forms of knowledge, including the English language. It was Te Kooti who, in a series of predictions, specifically developed the expectation for a successor, one greater than himself, who would complete his work. These predictions contained warnings of rivalry, but also the promise of the Maori Messiah. In one recurring vision he saw a star, which would appear in the east, telling the advent of the new leader. By 1880 he spoke of two stars striving against each other; in 1885 he reiterated that the star in the east was the star to consent to. In 1892 he saw a great cloud, whose 'glory is constant', and out of which he heard a voice saying,'This is my beloved son, hear him. 'Thus he predicted Christ's coming in the words of the evangelist Luke. Finally, in April 1893, as he lay dying, he said that the leader would arise within the next generation: in twenty-six years, or perhaps less, depending on the faith of the people.
There would be several claimants to be the promised leader. The first was Te Matenga Tamati, who was a faith-healer from Ngati Kahungunu. He came from Putahi in the upper Wairoa, a region that had given support to Te Kooti in the wars, and took the Ringatu teachings to Te Kooti's former opponents on the lower reaches of the river. In 1894 he revealed that for the children of Israel to receive their blessings and renew the covenant with God, they must first build the tabernacle of David in their land. This became his mission, and the faith Te Kohititanga o Te Marama (The Rising of the New Moon) was born.
The Kohititanga Marama Movement and the Twelve Logs
Twelve great totara logs were cut from the forests of upper Wairoa and named after the twelve children of Jacob, the ancestors of Israel. But Matenga had also said that the final journey of the logs from the milling site to the chosen land on the coast, Korito, must not done by human hands. Faith alone must move the logs, and in 1904 a great flood brought them down river to their destination - all save Joseph', who wandered into a 'distant land' some miles along the coast, and had to be hauled back to join his 'brothers'. Matenga then told the people that the completion of the tabernacle belonged to the next generation and to a new leader. Matenga finally claimed no more power than that of a prophet and the twelve logs still await their destiny at Korito.
The man who claimed the title of Messiah, and who did erect the tabernacle in his own community, was the Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana Hepetipa. His claim was based in the 1885 prediction of Te Kooti that the leader would come from the land lying between Nga Kuri a Wharei and Tikirau, that is, the boundaries of the Mataatua canoe tribes of the eastern Bay of Plenty. He emerged in 1905 after experiencing a vision on Maungapohatu, the sacred mountain of the Tuhoe. The archangel Gabriel appeared before him, and told him he must ascend the mountain. There he encountered the Tuhoe ancestress Whaitiri and, in some versions of the myth, Christ.
The prophet Rua standing at the entrance gateway to his new Jerusalem at Maungapohatu, 1908. The lettering reads 'MIHAIA ('MESSIAH'). The two moving stars are depictions of (left) Kopu, or venus, as the morning star, and (right) Halley's coinet, which represent the two sons of God, Christ and Rua. The standing clubs are eniblems for Rua as the predicted King in the line of David. The four-pointed star above the gateway refers to the prophecy of Te Kooti, telling of the advent of his greater successor from the east. Photograph by George Bourne. Auckland Institute and Museum
It was Whaitiri who revealed to him the sacred diamond, the mauri (talismanic stone and life principle) of the people. Its bright light was concealed and protected by Te Kooti's shawl. Rua is the last to have seen the diamomd; its power still remains to be revealed in the latter days. From its beginning whereby his annunciation was made by both Gabriel Whaitiri, he set out to establish himself as the one foreseen by Te Kooti. Consequently, in 1906, he went with all the leaders of Tuhoe to Turanganui to meet King Edward VII. This act was in fulfiltiient of Te Kooti's prediction of 1884 that the man who would appear -would come to Turanganui in the faith - thus achieving what Te Kooti himself could not, having been permanently exiled from his home by the government. In Gisborne when King Edward failed to appear the inner meaning of Rua's pilgrimage is explained:
"When will the king come to Rua? the people said after three days. He answered "I am really that king. Here I am with all my people".
At Turanganui in the waters of the Waipawa, Rua was baptized by Eria Raukura, with a name that had been predicted by Te Kooti for the leader to come: Hepetipa (Hephzibah), the one who would make the land fruitful again. Rua then moved into the interior, re-enacting the journey into the wilderness before the re-entry into the promised land, Maungapohatu. There, in 1907, the construction of Jerusalem began. The two major buildings were called Hiona (Zion) and Hiruharama Hou (New jerusalem). Hiona was a conscious recreation of the temple of David's son, King Solomon. It was the community's meeting-house and the 'throne of mercy'. Hiruharania Hou was Rua's house, as the King in the line of David, or 'the bloodline of the Lord'. But, as the covenant with God has to be collectively renewed by each generation, so the history of the Israelites (as the people of Maungapohatu now called themselves) would be marked by difficulties and failures, forcing at various times the abandonment and re-building of their Jerusalem at Maungapohatu (like Parihaka before them).
Rua's Council House at Maungapohatu (Elsmore - Alexander Turnbull Library)
Maungapohatu was a community consciously committed to the 'long abiding peace', the compact of Te Kooti with the government. As a consequence, its major conflict with the law would occur in the First World War, when its men refused to volunteer. Rua had actively discouraged voltinteering because Te Kooti had said that 'War won't reach New Zealand. It is a holy land.' Rather, he had reminded that 'My Son who is coming is the man of peace, who will finish what I have started.' This commitment to peace was construed as seditious, but because refusing to volunteer was not illegal Rua was pursued with other charges. Maungapohatu was assaulted by an armed police expedition on 2 April 1916 ostensibly to arrest him for illicit grog dealing. This was an issue about which Rua had protested, because the law in this respect treated Maori unequally. As a consequetice of the police assault, two men were shot dead, one of whom was Rua's son. Rua was tried for sedition but was imprisoned only for earlier 'morally resisting arrest'!
After the assault the belief that Rua was Christ was confirmed amongst his followers. The stigmata of his wounds could be seen; that he had been shot but did not die became a firmly entrenched conviction.
"That's the place where the spear went in Christ. But no bones broken, Nothing. just like Christ. Rua told the policemen, 'Well if you are going to put me to death, I want you people to shoot me, once. One shot. If you don't kill me with one shot, that to let you people know that I am the Son of the living God.' So they shoot him all right."
Maungapohatu was reconstructed after Rua's return from prison in 1918. First, Hiona was demolished, and Rua himself lived apart from the main settlement, to test the people's strength. Then, in 1927, he directed the rebuilding of all the houses in anticipation of the end of the world in a fall of burning stars. When God did not appear, Rua explained to his followers that the failure was of their own making. The millennium was postponed. He died in 1937 predicting his resurrection from the tomb; a few believers still live in that hope. Millennial politics inevitably have a limited life because they focus on the one unobtainable event.
The politics of Exodus, or the journey of suffering and liberation through the labours of the people, can be more readily renewed with each generation. Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana was the prophet who understood this best and gained the greatest Maori following. He was of the Taranaki and Ngati Raukawa tribes, and was brought up closely associated with Parihaka. His aunt Mere Rikiriki had lived there, and was considered a faith-healer and 'Prophetess of Peace', in the line of descent from Te Whiti. She founded the Haahi o Te Wairua Tapu (Church of the Holy Ghost) at Parewanui, which Ratana attended, and in 1912 predicted the coming of a child, or chosen man, who will be 'kahore ona whanaungatanga ki te tangata' (more than a man). Later she identified her nephew as the one whom the wairua (spirit of prophecy) would enter. In 1918 the voices began to speak to him. In an early vision, on 8 November 1918, a voice out of a cloud identified itself as the Holy Ghost, and told him that he had appointed him as 'hei Mangai moku' (my Mouthpiece) in order to unite the people. Later that evening, in a blaze of light, the angel Gabriel appeared before him to confirm this task. Ratana based his teachings on two texts: the Bible and the Treaty of Waitangi. Behind him lay the vision of the Te Popoto prophet Aperahama Taonui who, in 1863, told the chiefs of the north:
|... He ra ano kei te haere mai ka kite koutou i tetahi tangata e mau mai ana e rua ana pukapuka: ko te Paipera me te Tiriti o Waitangi. Whakarongo koutoti ki a ia.||... There is a man coming, however, who will carry with him two books: the Bible and the Treaty of Waitangi. Listen to him.|
Aperahama had become a major leader of the Treaty of Waitangi Kotahitanga in the 1880s, and was considered by many of the Hokianga chiefs to be the inheritor of the prophetic mantle of Papahurihia. Ratana claimed to be the man Aperahama had foreseen and, with his acknowledgement of the Treaty, broke with Te Whiti's ideas. Ratana's work had two specific aspects: temporal and spiritual, which he called the ture tangata and the ture wairua, and by delineating these tasks he made clear the political as well as religious goals of his movement.
He emphasized the spiritual side first. He quickly gathered a mass support as a result of his response to the heavy mortality of the Maori in the 1918 influenza pandemic (seven times greater than that of Pakeha). He acted as a spiritual healer - as had most of the Maori visionaries, including Te Kooti and Rua. Lieutenant-Colonel Carmichael of the Salvation Army, who visited the mushrooming settlement at Ratana pd in 1921, claimed that 3147 people had already professed to be cured of their illnesses through Ratana's help. Among those who came in November 1920 were 1000 people from Te Kumi, who returned home to build a Ratana centre. By 1925 Ratana had developed his own form of worship. His creed states that the members of the church accept Ratana as the Mouthpiece of Jehovah (the role Te Whiti had earlier claimed). It asserts that the prophets speak by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and that the Faithful Angels are the workers and messengers of God. The emblem of the faith is a five-pointed star and crescent moon, Te Whetu Marama. The points on the star represent respectively the Father, the Holy Ghost, Te Mangai (the Mouthpiece), the Faithful Angels, and the Son of God. The star also represents the western star seen by Te Kooti, which in the Ratana tradition is accepted as the prediction of their leader. The moon is the maramatanga, or the spiritual knowledge revealed to Ratana. Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, are also marked at its points. The Ratana faith, therefore, wove together many strands of the Maori prophetic tradition and became immediately the largest indigenous church. By the 1926 census nearly 19% of the Maori population said they were believers. This rapid success indicates that Ratana had tapped real needs. He created a common identity, using a name that had already been adopted for the Maori by Te Ua, and thereafter by Te Whiti and Te Kooti, that is, Nga Morehu, or the remnant of the people, on 'whom the Lord shall call'. But with Ratana it took on a particular emphasis: that of the ordinary people and the detribalized, the 'carpenters' and the 'blacksmiths', whom he predicted (following Tawhiao) would come to power. The name rejected the primacy of tribal affiliations. It carried a renunciation of the leadership of the tribal chiefs and the educated Maori parliamentary representatives, who seemed to have betrayed the people. Ratana also worked actively to extirpate the old Maori powers of makutu and tapu, still seen as the two main sources of illness.
Ratana Church panel Hall Raine Studios. National Museum. Centre-top eye of God. Note also the five pointed star and crescent moon paralleling Islamic icons, although the movement is Zionist in perspective.
This was the old dilemma. Rua had set out to destroy all the ancient tapu places in the Urewera, and rejected the practice of ancestral carving. Ratana similarly created new visual symbols for his faith, which were painted and not carved. He placed particular reliance on the guardian angels in the struggle of mdramatanga (knowledge) against mdkutu (darkness). They acted as ancestral ' arid, but were God's messengers. The religion appealed to those who felt they had been left outside the concerns of the powerful. The traditional community leaders were discredited, the Kotahitanga had failed to make any impact on New Zealand society, and the main churches were firmly in the hands of Pdkelid ministers. Ratana's commitment to the two spheres of activity expressed the widespread Mdorl view that the two were interdependent, and that their particular needs, as Maori, were still to be met.
Ratana actively took up the temporal sphere in 1928. As he said then,
"I have admonished you to unite as one before God, and then having done so support the Treaty of Waitangi. You will now be aware that I have descended froni the law of the Scripture to the law of the country created by man. . . . The Temple is now complete, the church is established, the organization surrounding it is secure, [therefore] I wish to state here again that I desire a confrontation with the laws of the country. I repeat again that I wish to divide my body into four quarters."
The four quarters were to be the four seats in Parliament, which Ratana set out to capture. This parlianieiitary strategy finally brought the Ratana political thrust into an alliance with the labour patty in 1935. The Piriwiritua (Campaigner), as he called himself in this capacity, met the new Prime Minister Michael Savage and presented him with four objects: a potato (the ordinary person); a greenstone tiki (the mana of the Maori); a huia feather (the leadership); and a broken gold watch. The watch represented the laws relating to the Maori, and as Te Whiti had first said, only the law can repair the law. Ratana was the first of the visionary leaders to bring the autonomist demands of the Maori into the mainstream of parliamentary politics. He sought recognition of the Treaty as a statement of Maori independent rights. He sought ultimately the establishment of Maori self-government. This desire, the recovery of the autonomy of the people or the power to shape the laws that bound them captive, had been the consistent goal of all the prophets. If Ratana was successful in achieving some social gains (better Maori housing and pensions) through his political alliance with the labour party, he failed in his larger objective.
The Maori visionary leaders all claimed spiritual descent from those who had gone before them. There is a lineage of mana - a family tree - which the oral histories recount. They narrate how, and to whom, the spiritual power was transferred. The mana is seen as a gift of God, held in trust by the leaders of each generation. Through God's direction, it may be transferred to the next. But the oral histories which tell the stories of succession also reveal the problems of rivalry. The prophets challenged each other. As Te Kooti rejected both Tawhiao and Te Whiti as 'the houses of obstruction', so Te Whiti claimed that he alone was God's mouthpiece: 'it is left to my hand alone to heal the sick to weld the broken iron to build the houses and to raise the tree. . . . I will build and complete the house of the world in this generation.' For the Ringatu, the star in the west foreseen by Te Kooti is the star of ill-omen and dispute, but for the followers of Ratana the same prediction serves to confirm that the source of his authority is divine. The prophets often rejected the Maori temporal leaders and most refused to participate in attempts at political unity, such as the Kotahitanga of the Treaty of Waitangi, and thereby helped to undermine their effectiveness.
Of all the prophets, Te Ua and Ratana gained the greatest following, each rapidly breaking through tribal differences to gather in about a fifth of the Maori population. In the 1981 census Ratana remained the largest indigenous faith and the third largest religion among the Maori people, after the Anglicans and the Roman Catholics. All the prophets tried to establish a common identity for the Maori as Israelites, cutting across the tribal divisions while still accepting them historically. They drew on traditional Maori concepts of the cosmology, and particularly on the intervening role of the aria, the spirits of the ancestors, who may appear to the living in many forms. The ancestors were and are believed to speak with the mouth of the gods, and to be able to remember what has not yet happened. These Maori concepts of cyclic history were brought into the framework of the Judaeo-Christian faiths, and created the new religions. The prophets believed, like the Israelites, that God moved with people through time. Only some were messianic in their vision; in other movements, the leaders taught directly that the freedom of God's people lay in their own hands. The politics of Exodus remain an active guiding principle in the world of the Maori today.