Ngāti Porou leadership : Rāpata Wahawaha and the politics of conflict : "Kei te ora nei hoki tātou, me tō tātou whenua" : a thesis presented for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Māori Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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The primary focus of this thesis is to explore the reasons for Ngati Porou participation in the wars in New Zealand during the 1860s. Early writers sunnised that the alliances between tribes like Ngati Porou, Te Arawa and the lower Whanganui iwi and the settler governnent were due primarily to a sense of loyalty to the crown. Repetition by later historians has reinforced this notion in New Zealand folklore and historiography. While recent retrospective histories reveal a growing awareness that the motivation behind the alliances was more complex, no analysis of tribal motives worthy of the confidence of Maori has yet been recorded. This thesis initially sets out to detennine whether the historical orthodoxy is founded at least for Ngati Porou. It presents evidence showing that significant aspects of the Ngati Porou story have been misunderstood and misrepresented by writers who have been unable to source or who have felt it unnecessary to properly canvass Ngati Porou views and records. To date, tribal historians have on the whole refrained from presenting a tribal perspective, not because the infonllation does not exist, but from a desire to keep such knowledge in the tIibal arena where it is most relevant. Continued irritation, however, caused by historical publications that fall short when trying to comprehend the nature of Maori participation, has resulted in a freeing up of infonnation by those who jealously guard their family 's manuscripts, and others who retain the oral testimonies within the tribe, so that a re examination is made possible. This thesis also generally seeks to link Ngati Porou 's involvement in war with leadership pattems that emerged within the tribe during the period 1865 - 1872, though this dimension of Ngati Porou history is not canvassed exhaustively here. In times of crisis existing leadership patterns were challenged and as often as not new leaders emerged to lead the tribe. Perhaps the finest military leader produced by Ngati Porou during the Hauhau encounters was Major Rapata Wahawaha. His role in shaping Ngati Porou's modern identity is a major theme running throughout this thesis. It is argued that his leadership and philosophy characterised the contribution by Ngari Porou to theatres of war that followed the 1860s. It is proposed that such a contribution was both strategic and calculated to achieve gains for Ngati Porou. Moreover, the wider question is raised: why, since the 1860s, has Ngati Porou been so ready to join the battlefront and to stand alongside the Crown? The thesis contends that far from being motivated solely by loyalty to the Crown, Ngati Porou entered into an alliance with the Crown in order to protect and to advance tribal interests.
New Zealand wars, Maori tribal history