Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975

[this report is one of several covering the 1975 Centenary Celebrations of the Opening of the Goldfields; see 1975 Centennial Programme for the programme of events, and links to other reports - E]

One of the most important events during the Centenary Celebrations was the Re-enactment of the signing of the Deed of Cession on the Pae-o-Hauraki Marae on Saturday 23-3-1975. The original ceremony on 18-2-1875 was the key to the opening of Ohinemuri, for Goldmining and European settlement.

A tremendous amount of preparation by the Paeroa Drama Club and the local Maori people resulted in a spectacular and authentic presentation based on the Research of the Historical Society. We were fortunate in having copies of original records from the Turnbull Library and many hours were spent in the Thames Library by Greta Locke and Nell Climie transcribing from the 1875 Newspapers the verbatim reports of discussions that took place between the Maoris and Representatives of the Government prior to the signing of the Deed. (Ed.)

THE RE-ENACTMENT OF THE SIGNING OF THE DEED OF CESSION

By BARBARA WEEDON

Messrs H. Tukukino and V. Nicholls (who did translations) represented the Maori people on the Central Festival Committee and spent much time tracing descendants of the Chiefs who took an active and vocal part in the original proceedings. They were assisted by a strong Committee -- (Chairman C. Hirawani, Secretary Piki Raihana) who attended to details of plans. Their minute book proves how extensive these were, especially for large scale entertainment, groups being trained by enthusiasts such as Mrs. Piahana and Mata Owens.

The Drama Club had been asked to sponsor the Production of the Re-enactment so it set about choosing a Cast while I prepared the script for which drastic cutting was necessary to conserve time and maintain interest. Having decided on both Maori and European actors we were ready for Rehearsals on the authentic setting on the river bank adjacent to Pai-o-Hauraki. Daylight Saving assisted us and we enjoyed those lovely evenings and the stimulating experience.

In the adjacent Hall there would often be a group rehearsing Action Songs and other items for later entertainment; ladies in the Meeting House would be making flax Kono (food baskets); so we all felt part of a busy community. Under the leadership of Mr. Pakinga a beautiful Whare puni was erected beside the willow tree on the bank of the River and this made an ideal setting for the Re-Enactment of the arrival by boat of European Officials, the Greetings by their hosts and the Ceremony that followed.

But the river bank presents a very different scene today from what it did 100 years ago when canoes plied its stream and landing was easy. Now the necessary Stop-bank is a protection from floods, but it makes landing difficult, and required clearing in order to accommodate hundreds of spectators on the great day.

We had considerable difficulty in arranging for a suitable "boat" and at one stage even entertained the idea of borrowing a Surf Club canoe but finally the Official party arrived in a clinker built boat to be greeted by the waiting Chiefs and their supporters. Ben Heath had rowed up stream to meet them at a suitable landing place, after which they rowed down to an appointed "bend" and awaited the pre-arranged signal to come into view, and the Powhiri (Welcome) commenced. (Mrs. Tui Murdock was our Wardrobe Mistress and some of the Articles were not easy to come by.) On the day, the Europeans were dressed in frock coats, top hats, gloves, spats& carried walking sticks. (Imagine the difficulty they had in embarking and disembarking without receiving a ducking!

The Official Party comprised Donald McLean, Native Minister (Arthur Fletcher); Mr. James Mackay, Land Purchase Officer (James Thorp); Hon. Dr. Pollen, Acting Premier (Joe Weedon); Mr. G. H. Davies, Clerk, Native Office (Alister Buchanan); Mr. C. W. Puckey, J.P. and Native Agent (Max Murdock).

It was met by Mr. T. G. Wilkinson, Licensed Native Interpreter (John Williams) who escorted his guests to the 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 those who 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. M. Hirawani

Hopihona

T. Paraku

Wi Koka

T. Wickliffe

Te Moananui

R. Te Moananui

Tukukino

H. Tukukino

Rewai

J. Clarke

Harata Patene

Mrs. J. Williams

Te Kepa Rahuruhi

W. Kepa

Note: There were about 100 signatures (or marks) recorded 100 years ago.

Then followed a Combined Thanksgiving Service conducted by Rev. T. Flavell, Rev. D. Manihere with Mr. N. Peke officiating. (The singing of the Hymns in Maori was very beautiful). The Official Party was led back to the Marae where all were entertained with hakas, action songs, and pois by various culture groups till lunch time.

Steaming hot kai from the Hangi met with keen demand, and continued entertainment was enthusiastically received by a large crowd which stayed till well into mid-afternoon. Mr. N.J. Clarke thanked all Maori communities and those connected with the re-enactment for an excellent ceremony, remarking that it further cemented a wonderful spirit of friendship between the Maori and Pakeha of Ohinemuri. The cover of our Programme was designed by Piki Reihana.

I was intensely proud of the work, time, effort, and interest of all involved, and shall be forever grateful for the wonderful experience in participating in such an historic event which gave me closer understanding of the heritage and customs of our friends and neighbours since 1875.


A GRAND MAORI CONCERT was staged in the Memorial Hall on Wednesday evening (26/3/1975) and was acclaimed by all as the "best-ever" in the district. There were over 200 performers from six groups, Te Pai - O - Hauraki, Ngahutoitoi, Thames High School Junior and Senior groups, Te Reo O Paeroa and Coromandel. The capacity-filled House watched spell-bound the shattering hakas, rhythmic Action songs and fascinating poi acts throughout the three-quarter hour programme which went without a hitch ably compared by Mr. John Williams.

Arrival of Official Party

Arrival of Official Party

Herald Photo

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975
Arrival of Official Party
Interpreter - Reading Deed

Interpreter - Reading Deed

Mr. J. Williams as Mr Wilkinson

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975
Interpreter - Reading Deed
Signing the Deed

Signing the Deed

Mr Tukukino and James Thorp (Mr Mackay)

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975
Signing the Deed
Maori Welcoming Party

Maori Welcoming Party

Gazette Photos

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975
Maori Welcoming Party
Stone Cairn in Memory of Joshua Thorp and Family

Stone Cairn in Memory of Joshua Thorp and Family

Paeroa's first settlers 1842

Unveiled by Mr Leo Schultz MP for Coromandel Electorate 27-2-1975

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975
Stone Cairn in Memory of Joshua Thorp and Family
Alfred Thorp (son of Joshua) and Family, 1909

Alfred Thorp (son of Joshua) and Family, 1909

Back Row: Hal, Elsie, Fielden, Jessie

Front Row: Lucy, Mrs Thorp (nee Anna Horgan) with Freda, Mr A Thorp (1842-1912) Mamie and Geoffrey

Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 19, June 1975
Alfred Thorp (son of Joshua) and Family, 1909