KARANGAHAKE the years of the gold 1875 -1935

Interpreter, reading

John Williams, Interpreter, reading "Deed of Cession" at Re-enactment, 1975.

KARANGAHAKE the years of the gold 1875 -1935
Interpreter, reading "Deed of Cession"
At Paeroa, on 17 February 1875, the Governor of New Zealand (the Marquis of Normanby) was represented by Dr Daniel Pollen (Acting Prime Minister), Sir Donald McLean (Native Minister), and James Mackay (Land Purchaser). They had come to meet the chiefs of the Ngati-Tamatera for a final discussion prior to the signing of the "Deed of Cession". The document, in true legal form, provided that the native chiefs and people "did demise, lease, grant and assure" unto the Governor for gold mining purposes, within the meaning of the "Gold Fields Act, 1866" all that piece of land containing an area of 132,175 acres or thereabouts, known as the Ohinemuri Block, together with the coal and other metals, and all rights of way and water courses. (The Block was defined in terms of land marks not easily followed today.)

The Deed provided that any person mining for gold should be the holder of a Miner's Right costing $2, and must pay a rent or royalty. (There were also dispensations concerning cutting of trees.) All rents and royalties, other than registration fees, were to become the property of the native owners of the land. But first, provision was made for repayment to Colonial Treasury, the sum of $30,000, which had already been advanced by James Mackay.

Holders of Miner's Rights who desired to acquire Goldmining Leases or Agricultural Leases, could do so on terms and conditions prescribed by regulations. Residents of townships that were anticipated to rise, were under obligation to pay annually or for business purposes $10, and for residence $2. Certain areas, however, were not subject to the terms of the Deed, being Reserves for native occupation.


One of the most important events during the 1975 Centenary Celebrations of the Opening of the Goldfields, was the re-enactment of the signing of the Deed of Cession on the Pae-o-Hauraki Marae. A tremendous amount of preparation by the Historical Society, the Paeroa Drama Club and the local Maori people, resulted in a spectacular and authentic presentation based on the original records from the Turnbull Library. Miss Barbara Weedon, who prepared the script, and Mrs Tui Murdock, who was wardrobe Mistress, were ably assisted by Messrs H. Tukukino and V. Nicholls who represented the Maori people, together with a strong committee: Chairman, C. Hirawani; Secretary, Piki Raihana.

The Official European Party comprised:

Sir Donald McLean, Native Minister - Arthur Fletcher

Mr James Mackay, Land Purchase Officer - James Thorp

Hon. Dr Pollen, Acting Premier - Joe Weedon

Mr C.H. Davies, Clerk, Native Office - Alistair Buchanan

Mr C.W. Puckey, J.P., Native Agent - Max Murdock

These people arrived by boat and were met by Mr T.G. Wilkinson, Native Interpreter (John Williams) who escorted his guests to the Pae-o-Hauraki Marae where they were challenged by a warrior, Doug Paraku.

After further ceremonial, they moved to seats in front of the Meeting House, with the Maori group to one side. For the next 30 minutes there were speeches and bargaining and explanations, followed by the signing of the Deed of Cession.

Eleven direct descendants of over 100, who originally signed or made their witnessed mark, came forward one at a time to repeat the historic performance.

1875 CHIEFS             DESCENDANTS
Mataia             V. Nicholls
Te Hira             B. Paraku
Hohepa Te Rauhiki P. Hirawani
Mere Kuru             Mrs N. Hirawani
Hopihona             T. Paraku
Wi Koka             T. Wickliffe
Te Moananui             R. Te Moananui
Tukukino             H. Tukukino
Rewai              J. Clarke
Harata Patane Mrs J. Williams
Te Kepa Rahuruhi W. Kepa

Traditional Maori hospitality concluded an event which was a great credit to all concerned.