LEFT OF VENUS
Photograph from Tairawhiti Museum Collection Gisborne. Circa 1880s.
all family members. If your name has not been included and you are connected to
these families, you need to be aware that as more information was unearthed,
this project took on a life of its own and became far more extensive than was
first envisaged. As the descending generations widened, it has been necessary to
keep focused on the direct descendants to our son-in-law Chris, as was
originally intended. In so doing, you will still be able to trace your family
history, but we have not been able to record all the branch line names and we
have had to produce four booklets to contain all the material. You will be able
to obtain, from us, those ones relevant to your own family. We have tried to
avoid embarrassing anyone and have only been able to include material to hand.
Should you see any errors please send us the correct information and if you have
material to add to the history we expect that this will be the First Edition!
is Chris Metcalfe and you are of
Opotiki descent from the hapu of Whanau-a-Muriwai.
Compiled for Chris
family somehow lost an irreplaceable photograph of your Great, Great,
Grandmother, a beautiful young Maori woman with a moko on her chin.
It seemed sad that we would never know who she was or what she looked
like, but miraculously a picture was found in a locket now owned by Betty
Schroder and so this project was begun. A huge contribution has been made to
this history by Olive and Camarita Hartog, who have generously shared
information painstaking researched in Maori Archives. Thank-you to Jan Smith for
rescuing documents from June Smith's knitting bag! Other members of the family
including your Mum & Dad, Dallas, Paul, Clive and Jim Peapell (with helpful
records from Daphne’s Bible) Robert & Lynn Stevenson, Hazel McDonald and
Wendy Webster have contributed old photographs or documents and recorded their
The series covers a period of 6 centuries and reaches from Northern
Ireland, Scotland and England to
Tahiti and New Zealand.
By Bob & Jill. 17th July, 2002
From Tahiti during
the 14th Century.
Muriwai (female) is
the Eponymous ancestor of the
Your Whakapapa begins 8 generations BEFORE the arrival of the Mataatua Canoe!
( the sister of Toroa also on the Mata-atua Canoe)
The Great Migration.
Since Kupe returned to his homeland of Tahiti after
discovering Aotearoa over 1,000 years ago,
there had been many migrations to the new land, navigating by the stars
as he had instructed. Many must have perished undertaking the voyage but by
the fourteenth century tribes were well established through out the country.
People returned from time to time with stories of this new land and a great
migration was planned. The account below gives us a glimpse of history and the
amazing journey undertaken by these courageous ancestors of yours.
Mataatau your Ancestral
Traditional oral history says that during the Great
Migration undertaken during the fourteenth
century, the Te Arawa,
Tainui and Mataatau canoes
along with others
of the fleet, sailed for Aotearoa.
They left from Havaii, an island situated on the lee side of Tahiti and
known today as Raiatea. At that time the island was the religious and cultural
center of Polanesia; and at Opoa, on its southern end, the center of
Government was established. There too stood the celebrated temple of
Taputaputea. It appears that the reason for the migration was over-population
and increasing tribal warfare.
For this particular migration two giant trees were chosen for a double canoe that was to take selected representatives of the tribe to the “ land of Kupe covered in the mist in Tiritiri o te moana, the great open sea that lies to the south." Special rites were performed, tapu lifted and the work began. The two hulls, roughly shaped, were hauled into the open for finishing off and the addition of fittings. In the course of time, the craftsmen with their rude and blunt stone axes produced a masterpiece of art, carved and beautifully inlaid. It was a two masted vessel with a thatched deckhouse built amidships. This is similar to the Te Arawa, a magnificent double canoe.
Bailer Stone Anchor
The vessel was equipped with paddles, bailers (left) and stone anchors, painstakingly drilled. Triangular lateen sails were made of woven coconut fibre. When the sails were required, each was rigged with the apex towards the bow and the yardarm slung from the mast. At the appropriate time, invocations were offered up to Tane to endow the sails with strength to endure fierce gales.
Prayers of protection and blessings were offered over every part of the preparation, down to the most minute detail. Everyone was involved in contributing their skills to the work. When the canoe was ready for launching, special skids were laid down and the warriors of the tribe assembled to haul it to the sea with chanting and prayers. After more ceremony the vessel slid quietly into the sea and was tested until the crew were satisfied with its seaworthiness. It was drawn up onto the beach and the ceremonial feasting began. What celebration!
Fish Hook Maori Paddle
But there was more yet to be done to be
prepared for any eventuality that may arise during a long, strenuous ocean
voyage. Stowed in the vessel were long necked gourds filled with drinking
water; fish dried in the sun; poi wrapped tightly in leaves to protect it from
heat and salt water. Fishing gear, lines of fibre and woman's hair; shell
hooks for bonito; wooden hooks
tipped with shell, for shark; fine nets for flying fish and sea birds; fishing
spears and much other necessary equipment were all loaded and safely secured,
including caged birds and dogs. Each man was carefully chosen for his strength
and power to endure with little to eat and less water to drink under the hot
sun of the day and cold of night. Not only had these men to possess such
stamina but also had to prove themselves skilled in the handling of a craft,
adept at snaring seabirds and fishing; expert at mending sails, joining and
splicing ropes, sewing together of planks. Months were spent in practicing and
preparing for the numerous tasks each was responsible for. Typically there
would be about 52 oarsmen or more, 4 to prepare food, 2 in
charge of the anchor, 4 for the ropes, 2 for steering and 2 appointed
to keep the fire smouldering (no small undertaking in a wooden boat without
the aid of any metal container and
contending with wind and water)
until at last the day came when the weather gods smiled, the wind and
tide were right and all the stars were aligned correctly. One can only begin
to imagine the great ceremonies for protection and guidance (including human
sacrifice) performed as time drew near for the perilous voyage to begin.
Amongst the leading men who sailed from Hawaiki on the Mataatua
where Toroa the Araki (Superior Chief) son
of Hikaroa (Irakewa)
and his brothers Puhi and Taneatua. Tama-K-Hikurangi was appointed Tohunga and
Navigator. The women included Tora’s sister Muriwai and
his daughter Wairaka. The fleet sailed south west
and after many days arrived at Rarotonga in the Cook group, where their
food and water supplies were replenished and minor repairs affected. It is
said that they left from the mouth of a stream called Waitekura.
The Navigator, to quote tradition, "understood the language of the
stars” and kept the prow pointed
in the direction that was a little
to the left of the setting sun. He
was acquainted with the prevailing winds of the seasons and the stars that
were visible each month. He knew that when his ancestors had sailed from the
north to Hawaiki new constellations appeared over the horizon; and that when
they reached the Pito-o-watea (equator) they lost sight of the north star.
Then the south star, with the constellation of Humu would appear as their
guide. He also knew that the voyages to the south of Hawaiki were carried out
between December and March when the north west trade winds were strongest.
Kupe's sailing instructions were that from Rarotonga the course to Aotearoa
was a little to the left of Venus in the month of February.
Navigators where schooled with
a wealth of knowledge, knowing the
names of more than 200 stars and heavenly bodies and understanding prevailing
currents or wind direction with
amazing accuracy. The canoe would leave in the day, setting a course by aligning
two prominent land features (hills, tree or headlands) that were appropriate
for the particular trip. At sea, the stars were the Tohunga’s principal
tool. He would identify one star near the horizon ahead and near the horizon
astern, using these positions to keep
the canoe on course. During the day he resorted to less accurate methods such
as observation of the sun and the direction of wind and waves. Nearing
journey’s end he kept watch for tell tale signs of land, noting differences
in wave patterns, phosphorescence and the color of the water; the presence of
birds and coastal fish, seaweed, floating leaves and driftwood; land cloud,
smoke and even the smell of land. With these signs he could detect land 40 or
50 kilometres away. Without written
was memorized in word
pictures, chant and song of the stars to navigate by.
In the years since
Kupe’s discovery, many
tribes had migrated to Aotearoa and some had even made the return voyage back to
Hawaki in search of Kumera and Taro; men like your ancestor Hikoroa
(Irakewa) who’s family then made the journey back
to Aotearoa in the Mataatau
The Te Arawa, Tainui and Mataatau canoe
and others of the Main Fleet,
rendezvoused at Great Mercury Island and there decided plans for settlement in
the new land. As a result, the island was called Ahuahu, meaning “to shape a
course.” It is recorded that the Te Arawa canoe, amongst others, also touched
in at Cuvier Island and released two birds.
Tradition says that this was done to forecast the winds for future
voyagers. They also encountered
a severe storm during the voyage and lost cargo and were in peril of
their lives. This was of course “the wrath of the gods for someone’s wrong
doing!” It is thought that the
Tainui and Te Arawa canoes where in fact one double canoe lashed together with a
platform connecting them and people living under shelter. Before arriving in New
Zealand the canoes were un-lashed. Much traditional history is common to both
canoes. Between November and February, when the red Pohutakawa tree was
Chief Toroa was a Tohunga with extraordinary powers and he was asked to assist the Te Arawa canoe, with over 100 men and women aboard, which had landed before them and become stuck. Toroa accompanied them to where it was stranded and recited this incantation:
is the slanting ray of the sun.
“ TE ANA O
The Te Ararwa canoe then moved on to Maketu and the
Mataatua to Whakatane. Chief Toroa’s father, Hikoroa [Irakewa] had
visited New Zealand on a previous expedition and married a chieftainess
from the Bay of Plenty and taken her back to Hawaiki. As the canoe was
departing for Aotearoa he called to Toroa,
“When you reach your new home, watch out for a place on the east
coast where the waterfall cascades down a high cliff near the sea, where
the mouth of the river gives good anchorage and where a cave in the cliff
provides good shelter, establish your people there.” He was of course
referring to Whakatane, the Wairere falls just above the township and the
cave which is known as Te Ana
O Muriwai..” This ancient
landmark has been preserved at Whakatane and has been “Tapu” (sacred)
for many generations. Muriwai, the sister of Toroa the Chief of the
Mataatua canoe, was a woman of
great mana (prestige.) She occupied this cave after their waka
(canoe) arrived from
Hawaiki in the fourteenth century. It bears her name to this day:
After the voyage from Hawakii, when the Mataatau canoe arrived in Whakatane, in the excitement of landing only its stern was brought up on the shore. Next morning the waves were washing over the vessel and Wairaka called a warning but the men were intent on exploring their new land and they took no notice. Wairaka had to secure the waka herself, having first remarked, "Oh, I must make myself a man!" (E, kia whakatane au i hau!) This, it is said, is how Whakatane gained its name.
A Legend says that still preoccupied with exploration,
Toroa forgot to perform the ritual to mark their safe arrival. Muriowai
had to do this herself, though it was the wrong thing for a woman
to do. Back in Hawaikii their mother, Waiakewa, sensed
that something was
amiss and set out for Whakatane. She
made the voyage on the trunk of a Manuka tree, and on her safe arrival she
planted the tree on a mound on the foreshore. It became a “mauri” of
the Mataatua peoples, a potent force referred to in songs and healing
rituals. Toroa and many of his family remained at Whakatane but one of his
brothers, Puhi, sailed north with others and became an important ancestor
in the far north. Meanwhile,
another brother Taneatua, set out to explore the hinterland with his wife
Hine-Mataroa. (Some say it was
Muriwai and not Wairaka who saved the canoe and spoke the words that gave
Whakatane its name.)
Descendants of the chiefs and chieftainesses of the
Mataatua canoe eventually formed themselves into three main tribes and
those tracing descent from Muriwai (F.) became known as the Whakatohea.
Some historians say that it should be Waka- to- hea and they
attribute the origin of the name to the strife that took place between
Toroa, Muriwai and Puhi-Kai-Ariki when
they were arguing whether the canoe should remain at Whakatane or go
north. “Te waka tohea” means "the canoe contended for.”
The contention over the canoe was a result of the youngest of the
three brothers, PuhiI-KaiI-Ariki, neglecting to recite incantations during
the planting season of the Kumera and taking charge of the work himself,
ignoring the specific instructions given by Hikoroa (Irakewa) before they
left Hawaikii. The three brothers argued and when PuhiI-Kai-Ariki
saw that they sided
against him he stood up in anger and sang the following song, the
interpretation of which is:
The song contained jeering remarks intended for
Taneatua and the insults to Toroa the
Ariki (chief) of the tribe. Toroa
retaliated by belittling his youngest
In anger the jealous Puhi seized the canoe. With his followers he sailed to the northern parts of the island and settled there. The vessel was finally taken to Matauri Bay and paddled up the Takou stream about three miles from the mouth.
There it was put away. The other two tribes becoming
Tuhoe and Ngati Awa. The Whakatoea settled on the coastal lands from Opape
(your ancestor’s land) to
the eastern shores of Ohiwa harbor. There is a saying of the Ngati Awa
which defines the limits of the Mataatua canoe territory, " It is
“Mai Tikirau ki nga kuru a Wharei." (From Tikirau to the dogs of
Wharei.) Tikirau is a point
near Cape Runaway and Nga Kuri is a crop of rocks outside the Tauranga
harbor which in some respects resemble dogs, and when the waves
break against them the noise is like the barking of dogs.
At Whakatane there is a flat rock opposite the
Pohaturoa Rock where the City Council Offices are at present situated.
Before the land was reclaimed, this rock was by the water's edge and was a
place where councils of war were held. Grave issues of life and death were
decided there. When the Treaty of Waitangi was taken around New Zealand in
1840 for the signatures of the chiefs it was signed by the Ngati Awa
chiefs on this rock. It is a sanctified spot and any covenant made under
the shadows of Pohaturoa was binding and not lightly broken.
Intermarriage between the Mataatua immigrants and the aboriginal
people of the land commenced soon after the canoe landed.
The Kumera became a staple part of the
diet of the Maori and there was much ceremony around its cultivation.
Tradition credits the Te Arawa canoe with bringing the first Kumera to
Aotearoa, but it was also brought in the Mataatau canoe. The tribes fought
much amongst themselves and practiced their ancient religion, with much of
their time spent in harvesting food from land and sea, preparing shelter,
clothing themselves and fashioning implements. They made kites, spinning
tops and swings, swam, fished, snared birds, played games, danced, sang,
carved and did weaving; loved and laughed,
experienced new life
and death, tragedy and tears; honoured heroes and produced some villains;
but always there were
songs and stories, the love of family and land and the typical Maori
Note digg ing sticks (Ko) and bag (Kete.)
ing sticks (Ko) and bag (Kete.)
Bird life was prolific and birds like Tui had to fight for landing place on a branch, the noise was deafening at times. It is an amazing mimic and Maori trained some to have a vocabulary of more than forty words Maori loved to scare each other (and themselves) with stories of taniwha and other mythological creatures. Life revolved around the four main aspects of Maori culture: spirituality (everything-from trees to lightening had a spirit) land, hospitality (taro was difficult to grow and was kept for important guests, not their own leaders) and ancestors. Genealogies were recorded in song and children were trained to recount them from a young age.
The Tui. A Bird Snare.
These designs below are from a Meeting House at Muriwai, Poverty Bay and are known as “Kowhaiwhai.” Each area produced patterns distinctive to them. The first example is named “Patiki,” the second, unnamed. The colours were red, white & black.
From a Meeting House at Muriwai
A.W. Reed writes: The game of Knuckle Stones, known to
peoples all over the world, was popular with Maori children under the name
of “ruru.” A rough square was traced in the ground and stones are
placed in the corners. The player tosses the remaining stone in the air,
picks up one of the corner stones and catches the first before it touches
the ground. As the game proceeds, it becomes more difficult as two, three
or four stones must be picked up before the first stone is caught.
Ngahiraka and her sisters would have played this many times. Note raupo
walls, traditional dress (the young worn nothing if it was warm.) and a
hanging on right. A water gourd
is on the
This very early photo taken of a Marae in the
Gisborne area shows women collecting fresh rushes used for bedding. Fleas
and Kooti’s (nits) were a problem and bedding was changed regularly when
weather permitted. The healing properties of plants had been used for
generations and were adapted to their new environment.
AM. 117. An anonymous note in the
collection, probably based on information supplied by Mair: Large Kumete
or Upi carved out of Matai. In 1865 Sir George Grey gave the noted carver
Patoromu Tamatea of the Arawa tribe, permission to carve him a large bowl.
The war prevented him from completing it before the end of Sir George
Grey’s term of office. The carver then went to Opape, Opotiki to live
(your ancestral land) and in February 1870 he was taken prisoner with all the
Whakatohea tribe (over 300) by Te Kooti. His captor had heard of the bowl
and insisted on its production. By his order it was taken to a place
called Tohora. While there,Te Kooti was attacked by natives loyal to the
Crown under Major Ropata, Kemp and Wiremu Kingi and nearly 100 of the
enemy were killed. When the Whakatohea returned to their homes, the bowl
was recovered from its hiding place in a hollow Totora and some time later came into the possession of Captain Mair, whose collection is now
housed in Auckland Museum.
Below left: There is a story traditional to the Whakatohea tribe concerning twins who were playing with their kite when it strayed into a garden becoming snared in a tree. They were subsequently killed. This famous carving depicts the incident and was part of the decoration in one of a Meeting House in the area. “Utu” (revenge) was the outcome.
Twin Statues Rakau Whakapapa.
This intricately carved stick
(right) was used as aid to learning names
of ancestors, each one was represented
by a carved knob.This was collected by
Gilbert Mair circ 1863 from the Bay of Plenty. Auckland
Institute and Museum.
of ancestors, each one was represented by a carved knob.This was collected by Gilbert Mair circ 1863 from the Bay of Plenty. Auckland Institute and Museum. (114)
Although cannibalism was practiced before the
Missionaries brought Christian teaching with its concept of forgiveness
and reconciliation, it was only done in times of war, when it was
customary to eat your enemy! Huge feasts were prepared
after some big battles, when
were cooked and eaten. Usually the fighting was to repay another
tribe for an insult or injustice incurred. Cannibalism was not practiced
to supplement a shortage of meat, as some incorrectly assume.
It is important to realize that in little more than 150 years the
Maori have gone from being a “Stone Age” people to the computer age!
No other native peoples have ever progressed as fast.
But Changes Came.
Bought with them metal implements, guns and European
items to trade with the Maori and introduced them to tobacco, alcohol,
prostitution and infectious diseases. Animals, which were to become
noxious pests, where released into the bush as a future source of meat.
John Kennedy.(Your grt, grt, grt
Kennedy Bay on the east coast of the
Coromandal peninsular of New Zealand,
is named after an early Trader, John Kennedy. It is thought he
transferred from HMS Rattlesnake, to be Wheelwright on H.M.S. “Buffalo,” when
she sailed to Trial Bay, on the northern tip of the peninsular, to collect
Kauri spars (tall, straight trees for use as masts on sailing
Crest Badge: A Dolphin naiant, proper.
This ancient clan is found associated with the
south-west of Scotland from the 12th century, and the history of the
Carrick district of Ayrshire is substantially the early history of the
Kennedies. They are claimed to have descended from the Earl of Carrick.
The Kennedys of Dunmure acquired Cassillis, and later one of the family
married Mary, daughter of King Robert 111. Their son was created Lord
Kennedy in 1457, and in 1509 the third Lord Kennedy was created Earl of
Cassilles. While the family had many illustrious men, Gilbert, 4th Earl,
earned an infamous reputation for his dreadful deed of “roasting the
abbot of Crossraguel” in the black vault of Dunure, to obtain possession
of the lands of the Abbey. Archibald, 12th Earl of Cassilles was created
Baron Ailsa in 1806, and in 1831 Marques of Ailsa. Culzean Castle was
built between 1775 and 1790 by the 9th and 10th Earls. It was designed by
Robert Adam. After World War 11 President Eisenhower was presented with a
flat here, as a residence in Scotland. Note the New Zealand Cabbage trees
in the garden.
The Maori Ancestry of
John Kennedy’s wife Rangirauwaka
of Ngati Parou of
Harataunga ( Kennedy Bay)
John - Paku - Nathan - Joseph Bond - Katarani (sic)
Consider the problems of living in such a remote corner of the globe, having no communication with home and family, with his survival depending on his own resourcefulness; trading with the local Maori, whose confidence needed to be won and language, culture and customs understood. It is evident that he succeeded in so doing, as he became a successful businessman, starting the first Trading Post in the bay and supplying goods to the local Maori, whalers, timber mill workers, bushmen and those who worked in the brick-works. There was an abundance of fish and shell fish and well stock gardens cultivated by the local Maori. John Kennedy purchased land from local Maori (see "Haretaunga" by Colin Wilson delow) and milled many of the Kauri trees in the area, in preparation for the return of Admiralty ships.It has been rumoured he also traded timber to Australia. It was inconceivable for him to imagine that is less than 100 years, the kauri would be gone, he himself would have been murdered, his wife taken into slavery and probably murdered, his children orphaned and their land ineritance (belonging to John by right of purchse) and their mother by birthright) lost to them. It was both a great tradgedy and injustice. John Kennedy was hard working and enterprising with the opportunities which presented him in providing for his family. The orphaned children (four boys and one girl) were looked after by a white man in the area. One of the sons, Puku, died in his teens about 1868.
This diagram about Joseph Kennedy by his Grandson Edward written in 1942 was attached to the letter below.
John Kennedy and another man, remained
behind in New Zealand, when the ship returned to England. John Kennedy
took a native wife and purchased land, on 23rd April 1839, at a bay
(Harataunga - Kennedy Bay) just
north west of Mercury Bay Whitianga.)
He was later was obliged to seek government recognition of his title under
the Crown Land’s Act.
Bond Kennedy’s grandson Edward wrote:
My dear George,
Please accept my apology for not answering your favour at an
earlier date but in view of the most innumerable questions set up by the
nature of your enquiry you will naturally realise what an important &
vital personal matter to me
your enquiry has occasioned - so I will briefly as possible try to
1. John Kennedy arrived in N.Z. about 1834 –35 and set up his
head quarters now known as
Kennedy Bay Coromandel. Just after arrival he married according to Maori
tribal custom, my Grandmother Katerina Taurangi. As a result of this union
there were four boys and one girl [ all born prior to 1943] the
youngest son being my father the late Capt. Joseph Kennedy founder of the
firm Kennedy & Evans. Shipowners and Lightermen for the port of
Briefly the four boys & 1 girl are now deceased and
I am the only surviving grandson of
the original Kennedy- Taurangi union. However due `to some of the members
of Katerina Taurangi's tribe having fought the Europeans, the bulk of the
land at Kennedy’s Bay was confiscated by the Crown but due to some
arrangement between my grandfather John Kennedy and his Maori wife’s
tribe to purchase approx 1250 acres known as Haetaunga Block situated on
the right hand side as you enter Kennedy Bay
this land was allotted to the Kennedy Bros later by the Crown i.e.
to John, Puku, Nathan & Joseph—the girl having previously died.
This land was sold later by my Dad and
three brothers to a man name Wild who later resold it to a settler named
Matthews whose family I believe still farming the original 1200 odd acres
for sheep farming purposes. However I am the sole male grandchild
of the Kennedy Taurangi union still surviving.
My father fought on the side of the Crown in the Maori war I myself
have nearly four years active service in the great war while my three
eldest children 19 - 18 - 17 years old are serving in His Majesty's
forces. Consequently I feel I have a perfectly legal & moral claim to
have land previously by the Crown at Kennedy Bay returned to the Kennedy
In respect of the Harataunga Blk. I do not know how this land was
obtained by the Kennedy Brothers i.e. by way of Crown Grant O.L.C. or
Native Title through the Maori Land Court. Now you have requested
particulars of John Kennedy’s connections.
He had a brother Named Alexander who landed at the Bay
of Islands in 1839 and founded the N.Z. Banking Coys. first bank at
Russell which opened its doors in Feb. 1840. He then established a second
branch in Bank St. Auckland just below the Grand Hotel and later helped to
establish the present Bank of N.Z. & in 1861 being its first General
Manager from 1861 to 1868. From this onwards I have no particulars except
this—in 1894 then a very old man he was appointed by the N.Z. Home Govt.
to reconstruct the Bank of New Zealands position following the issuance of
2 million National Credit which was placed behind its judicial position at
the instigation of the Seddon Govrt. Alexander married a Miss Sairs who
landed in Auckland in Oct. 1842 in the first of the immigrant ships
“Duchess of Argyle”. There were a number of children resulting from
the Kennedy—Sairs union but I have never met even one of their
Bond Kennedy (father
of the above) married Ngahiraka
a beautiful half Maori woman of Ngapuhi (Whakatohea & Ngati Porou)
and the daughter of Commander James Wood (HMS Buffallo.)
Under Command of James Wood,
in May 1840 the H.M. S. Buffalo, while
returning for a further shipment of timber from Mercury Bay, struck
disaster in atrocious weather, when the easterly gale parted the anchor
cables of the ship, driving it onto the shore where it stuck fast. All but
two of the crew were saved. (John Kennedy had
previously left the
ship circa 1834/35) Commander Wood stayed on his ship for 7 days, in the
most dangerous conditions imaginable, in an heroic attempt to save both
men and property. Word of the
catastrophe spread. Maori arrived from near and far, to assist the
stricken vessels and share in the spoils. The great prizes were the
cannon, which had been pitched overboard in order to try and keep the
vessel afloat. Four were recovered, loaded aboard canoes and whisked away,
one to Pukorokoro Pa near Miranda and the others to Mangatarata,
Kauaeranga and Rau-whiti-ora. Members of the local tribes retrieved most
of the planking which was used to palisade their burial grounds.
Since this publication, many of the Log Booksof “H.M.S. Buffulo,” have been located in the Mercury Bay Libray Archives. and I have transcribed them into a separate booklet. It includes some personal insights regarding Commander Wood and his son James Wood Jr. also on HMS Buffalo. Interestingly, Commander Wood had a close relationship with local Maori, including the chief from Mayor Island, Jackey Worra. Several Maori were on board at the time of the disaster, one bravely swam to shore with a life line. We are almost certain that Commander Wood was Ngahiraka’s father. It is difficult without the usual birth certificates. Camarita Hartog sighted a document in the Maori Land Records where by Edward Kennedy refers to his grandfather as being ‘Admiral’ Wood,’ [Commander.] ‘Wood’ is recorded as on Ngahiraka’s death Certificate as being her father.
Below: This sketch from the title page of the
journal, kept on board the Buffalo in 1836 by passenger Young Bingham
Hutchinson, is the only known portrait of the ship and gives a valuable
guide to aspects which cannot be deduced from written records: Steps down
the side gangway, the double leechlines fitted to the courses, the form of
dolphin striker, the lead of braces, and details of spanker brails. It can
be deduced that since the square sails are shown extending to the top of
their yards, they were bent by robands to jackstays, rather than around
the yards themselves, as was the earlier practice, even though the topmast
rigging was set up in the old style with futtock shrouds secured to the
lower rigging rather than to the mast in the manner introduced to East Indiamen in 1811.
Commander Wood sent to the Bay of
Islands requesting a ship willing to be hired, on the Admiralty’s
behalf, to take men and goods from the wreck, back to England. The Bolina
was hired and fitted out with what could be salvaged. After returning to
the Bay of Islands to give
account of an account
Meanwhile, John Bond Kennedy,
had became a timber merchant employing European and Maori laborers to fell
and square the Kauri logse so desirable for the masts of sailing ships.
The Kauri trees grew tall and straight with no side branches until the
canopy at the top. The whole of the Coromandel was a huge Kauri forest and
it was a lucrative business with a ready market. With
the arrival of H.M.S Tortoise under command of James Wood, at
Tairua, John Kennedy loaded spar he had prepared onto the ship.
He later built himself a Cutter, which he named “The Three
Bees,” after a wayside Inn in his home town in Scotland. He sailed
between Russell in the Bay of Islands (then the
Capital and largest
and Opotiki. and married a local Maori woman from Kennedy Bay, Katerina
Taurangi, and they had four sons, John, Paku, Nathan Joseph Bond and a
daughter Katarani (sic)
Joseph Bond Kennedy was born
in 1841. (The middle name of Bond was a family name which has continued
through some of the contemporary branches
of the family.)
In 1843, the “Pelorous,” arrived for
spar for the Admiralty and
John Kennedy loaded her at Tairua, under the Shoe and Slipper Island.
After paying for the Spars delivered, he left for the Bay of Islands in
“The Three Bees,” with a large sum of money - over
in his possession, which he
was taking to deposit in the new Bank at Auckland.
The crew mutinied, murdering him, threw his body overboard and
scuttled his boat somewhere off the coast. His crew had consisted of three
timber workers from New South Wales, Australia. The culprits landed at
Tauranga, traveled overland to the Hokianga, then shipped a vessel
carrying spars to Sydney and committed
other murder in N.S.W.s. One of them, when arrested, confessed to killing
John Kennedy and nine other men and was
hanged (Maoris were also
implicated as being part of the gang.)
All details are fairly sketchy.
It would be interesting to have the full version of the trial, but
searches have been made in of records in the Mitchell Library in Sydney
have failed to throw any more light on it.
The youngest son, Joseph Kennedy was
only two years old at the time of his father's disappearance
and he was left at Kennedy Bay with Rangirauwaka, his mother.
Shortly thereafter he was taken to Auckland but at the age of nine years
ran away to sea. He visited the Poverty Bay area for the first time in
1851, when he was 10 years old, in a vessel called “The Fly.” For some
years he was employed at
Opotiki as a sailing master by George Read, a very prominent local
business man and in his
connection with coastal traders was in command of the “Tawera.” Nine
years later he became a Captain and was
known in the community as “Captain Joe.” For some time he was trading
from Melbourne. Captain Read had a ship built which he named after his
first wife, “Little Nuku,” (Noka?) which Captain Kennedy ran as the
first steam tender to link Gisborne to the outside world, also an old
schooner “Rosina,” to Opotiki, Tauranaga etc. Other vessels Joseph
commanded were “Tawera” and “Julius Vogel.” In 1867 he married
Naghiraka Woods (a half caste Maori belonging to one of the Opotiki
tribes.) Evidence seems to
suggest the fact that Ngahiraka (his future wife) descends
It was reputed that Captain James Wood married
a Maori woman of great beauty.”
Although it is impossible absolutely confirm there are clues:
a death cert of their
daughter Ngahiraka giving fathers’ name as “Wood—Trader”, and a
grandson referring to his grandfather as being “Admiral “ Wood - a
case of error of rank perhaps. This seems to indicate that Commander James
Wood’s wife was Materena Waitangi (sometimes
referred to as Waitangi Rangiwheu.)
Materena is a derivative of an English name Madeline possibly given to her
by her husband. Other names connected to her were Takato and Mareta.
However, these may also refer to
he land inheritance. She and
her people of the Whakatohea tribe, owned land in Opotiki
which included the wharf area, the block where the Masonic Hotel
now stands and the area including and surrounding “Hiona,” St.
Stephen's Church. (This is the Church) where the Missionary Rev. Carl
Sylvius Volkner was
tragically murdered many years later in 1865 when he was hanged on the
willow tree in the church grounds.) This very early photograph of a Raupo
hut used as a church in 1839 is on the same spot and shows the young
Raupo hut - the original "Hiona" St Stephen's Church. Opotiki. Kinder Library Collection.
Waitangi and her people gave the land for the church and would have
worshiped there, but un-fortunately the
photograph is not clear enough to see individuals. The tribe begged
the church leaders at Russell to send them
a missionary. The Rev. William Williams recorded in his Journal
28th August 1839, “I learned today from one who has been trading in the
Bay of Islands that at Opoiki where no missionary has yet been, he
witnessed the Natives assembling for Christian worship in a regular and
orderly manner. Demand for Mission Prayer Books has been so great he could
have purchased a cargo in exchange for them only.”
The trader referred to may have been George Read or John Kennedy.
No doubt these men and others brought
their Christian faith with them and influenced the local Maori before
there was even a missionary.
She was an high ranking and well respected young Maori woman, being a direct descendant of the paramount chief who had come from Havaii with the great migration. She lived near the wharf and in the days before European settlements, was entrusted with information on the trading ships which visited Opotiki, to transport crops grown by the WHAKATOEA tribe to the markets and always knew when a trading ship was due or had departed. This information was available to her people. Matarena Waitangi had four daughters to different fathers, quite usual for a person of her high rank. Namely, Maupunarua, Katerina Takato, Ngahiraka Wood (born about 1842) and Kawhaio. The three other girls took after their Maori mother, in skin and eye colouring, but Ngahiraka was blue eyed, fair skinned and very beautiful. Her name means “many silks.” Imagine just how luxurious and soft the silk clothiong appeared to the Maori Cheif Takato and his wahine (women.) This Chief, from Mayor Island, gave Matarena to the Commander James Wood, from H.M.S. Buffalo, as a "comfort wife." From this union Ngahiraka was born in 1842.
Commander James Wood had a wife and family in England. There is extensive information about the man's ancestry in South To The Left Of Venus. Conatct details below.
.James Wood, would have given gifts as silk clothing etc. to Matarena.
The name “Wood” also appears on one of her children’s marriage certificates as their father’s surname and there is a whakapapa (family tree) with his name in the Moari Land Records.
Ngahiraka was raised by missionaries in Opotiki and then Auckland.
She had a liason with Dr. Arthur Saunders Thomson in Auckland and two children were born from this union.
Sadly the doctor died and soon after she married and had a daughter - Mary Reid.
Ngahiraka had a
Christian faith, and her 2ndbecause she and her first husband John Reid, a Boatman,
were married at St Andrew's Manse in Auckland
on 9th Dec. 1862. The
marriage was witnessed by Henry P. More, a Brick Maker from the North
Shore and Sarah Von Sturmer of Coromandel. Ngahiraka could not
write she signed her marriage certificate and Will with a “X” .
a widow by 1865 but no record
of her husband's death have been able to be found - a boating mishap or
illness are the most likely cause of his death. It is also possible that
her first husband was the son
of George Read, a prominent trader in Opotiki and his Maori wife Noko.
Should this ever be confirmed much has been written about this man in an
Early New Zealand Encyclopaedia available in most
libraries. From a newspaper article in the New Zealand Herald it
was found that widowed Ngahiraka had re-married to Doctor Thomson of
Auckland. She was well used to
socializing in the upper class circles and was a lady of dignity, beauty
and grace. Unfortunately, further
tragedy came her way with the
death of her second husband also, when she was still in her twenties. We
have been unable to find any death certificate or records about Dr.
Ngahiraka spoke Maori but could not
write. She had a “Moko” (tattoo) on her chin. This was usually done
when a young woman reached pubert but was
restricted to women of high birth and done only with the consent of the
tribal elders. It was a very painful and sacred ceremony, done in a
specially erected outdoor shelter where the Tohunga could concentrate on
the day long process. Cuts, which bled profusely,
chiselled into the skin with a sharp instrument of bone.
Dyes were made from a
mixture of water or fat mixed with ground charcoal from either
Rimu, Kauri or Kapara trees. (Sometimes burned dog excrement or
caterpillars were used instead of charcoal.) When rubbed into the
incision, it left a blue
colour under the reddish transparency of the skin tissue.
The recipient was not permitted to wash her face or look at herself
for a week. Once healed, the tattoo or “Moko” was worn with pride and
showed that she was ready to adopt the responsibilities of womanhood and
establish a family of her own. There
was a saying, “You may loose your house and treasures but your Moko
cannot be deprived of you except by death, it will be your ornament and
companion until your last day.” It was usual to do the upper lip on a
separate occasion as it was too painful a process to endure at one time,
but Ngahiraka did not have her upper lip done. Tattooing was later done
with a needle.
Joseph Bond Kennedy 1841 - 1913
Left : Photo from the Early New Zealand Encyclopaedia.Circa late 1890's.
Right: Circa 1880's taken by America Photo Company. Gisborne from Tairawhiti Museum Collection Gisborne.
Joseph and Ngahiraka Kennedy had a substantial home in Peel Street, Gisborne complete with tennis court and a Parlour large enough to hold balls, dances and large functions in. Through his business associated in the shipping and importing industry the couple lead a very active social life and mixed in the best of social circles. The Balls must have been wonderful occasions, with the decorations, musicians, musical items and recitals, beautiful gowns and late Victorian etiquette that accompanied such occasions. Two of their children, Mary and Edward, were privately tutored by William Lysar who it is recorded received payment of One Pound six shillings for his services in 1872.
on Page 2 of the Whakatohea ki Opotiki