1.Names are important. Study of a number of Māori weapons from throughout New Zealand has revealed that there are in existence a number of items named Paewhenua, and even more named Kaoreore, and they are associated with different tribal areas, historical periods, situations and people – which complicates the issue as far as researching those that acted at Kaiapoi are concerned. It has also led to the publication in secondary texts of inaccurate and impossible interpretations about the life histories, and therefore the perceptions of these weapons, and the roles that they have played in inter-iwi transactions. It is not surprising that both these weapons and their ‘namesakes’ have been given such names, for Paewhenua derives from the words ‘pae’ meaning both ‘the horizon’ and ‘a place for oratory and contested discussion where issues are discussed and resolved’; and ‘whenua’ meaning both ‘placenta’ and ‘land’. Since most famous weapons have been involved in matters where land was implicated– raupatu (conquest); rongopai (peace settlements); alliance formation including takawaenga (interiwi marriages), and the conferring of land with the ‘bride’ – this name seems an appropriate one for the pounamu-as-actor and evidence-of-contract. Having been given such a name, perceptions that the weapon embodies those functions, and has the efficacy to carry them out in similar future scenarios, would be reinforced with every performance in which they were involved. The weapon would have increased its mana and therefore its desirability
and, in these terms, its value. By association it would enhance the mana of its owner, user, or recipient. Similarly, Kaoreore comes from the term ‘oreore’ (to search out, incite, be alarmed or agitated). For it and others with the same name, the issues are very similar. Their effective agency would be enhanced by the way they were viewed, because of the name by which they were known, and, with success in battle, or in other transactions, their mana would therefore be reinforced and further enhanced. Tuhiwai’s name and perceived agentive abilities in helping to ‘read the omens’ have already been mentioned. Therefore weapons may be named for what they do, have done previously or may potentially do. Other weapons (such as the famous mere Kaikanohi taken along with his daughter by Ngāti Rauru as a ransom for the life of Ngāi Tahu chief Tūhuru) may be named for the mythical or other circumstances surrounding the discovery of the stone (Hongi, 1896: 236). Even others, like Te Rauparaha’s taiaha kura28‘Kimihia’ (meaning to seek), are actually named after persons (Kimihia being the name of Rauparaha’s paternal grandfather), but its double meaning would confer extra possibilities for agency and perceptions of efficacy. It too was used to ‘read the omens’, when (reportedly), it used to turn over in response to questions. I would suggest that the inclusion of its name in kōrero would allude polyvocally both to who it was named after, and to its potential for efficacious action. Tiniraupeka has stated that the Ngāi Tahu version of Kaoreore is a different mere than the Te Arawa one given to Captain Gilbert Mair in 186629. By tracing its trajectory
and examining it this is certainly true, and it also raises the issue that weapons are not only named after people, but also after each other. Since the prior name had acquired a certain mana, then some of this might be conceptually transferred to the newer
version, enhancing both its mana and its actions. Another matter arising from this detailed examination of a number of pounamu named Paewhenua and Kaorerore is the issue of whether or not the naming of two objects with the same name might arise from their being cut from the same block of stone. There are precedents for this happening (Nekerangi Paul, pers.comm); however, there are equally records of such objects being differently named. For example, the Te Arawa version of Kaoreore was cut from the same block as the pendant Te Parakore and the adze Tamapinaki (in Tiniraupeka, 1943: 46-64).
2. “ Eyewitness” accounts were written down many years after the events. However there is a surprising concurrence in the accounts. Nevertheless, each account has
failed to mention some issues that are present in others. Whichever historical
documentation one chooses to look at, can be criticised in this manner so this is not a reason to discredit some accounts or favour them over others, especially if they are the only primary sources we have. Cross checking is nevertheless important, and a
comparison of the narratives of Tāmihana Te Rauparaha, Pāora Taki, Mahuika & Tainui, and Te Kāhu has shown that their perceptions of pounamu as social actors, how they acted, and which ones were involved, appear to be in agreement. The interesting part, is what has happened subsequently to the concepts surrounding them and their actions, and what implications these have for discourse in the changing socio-political environment. These issues well illustrate how mistakes and deliberate changes in the discourse surrounding objects change the public perceptions, not only of the objects themselves, but also of their co-actants, the people who ‘bring them forth’ on suitable occasions, and in whose care they reside. This in turn influences the mana of each object and person, and the cultural capital that they embody. It is a fine reason to continuously re-examine the primary sources and interpretations of them, especially as more of them become available.
3. Con-sequences: The mere Paewhenua was recently (2010) on show at the
Canterbury Museum in the exhibition “ Ngai Tahu: Te hokinga mai”, after its lengthy display over several years at Te Pāpa o Tongarewa. Paewhenua is described in the museum database as being part of the Grey Collection at Auckland Museum, having formerly belonged to the esteemed Southern chief Tūhawaiki at Ruapuke Island. We know that this distinctive mere, before it entered the Grey collection, was last heard of in Murihiku, being offered to Te Rauparaha at Cloudy Bay in about 1834 30 “with
various other weapons” by Te Whakataupuka and Taiaroa’s envoy Ihu. It was thus in the hands of Murihiku Ngāi Tahu at that time. Tāmihana Te Rauparaha has described this incident (1980: 72). He also described Paewhenua at the first raid on Kaiapoi, as being a “greenstone block… yet to be cut”, and requested from Tamaiharanui by Te Pēhi (in Butler, 1980: 25). It was either a greenstone block or a mere at Kaiapoi in 1828, and it was presented in 1910 to the Grey Collection at Auckland Museum as a mere. However, the Te Ati Awa chief Ropoama Te One is famously reported to have presented Paewhenua to land commissioner Donald McLean in 1856, as evidence of a land sale contract, saying:
Now that we have forever launched this land into the sea, we hereby make over to you… this
adze named Paewhenua, which we have always highly prized, from having regained it in battle, after it was used by our enemies to kill our two most celebrated chiefs Te Pēhi and Pōkaitara. Money vanishes and disappears, but this greenstone will endure as a durable witness of our act as the land itself… which we have now transferred to you forever.” (Skinner, 1907, JPS, Vol. 16: 226; McKay, Compendium of official documents relative to native affairs in the South Island, 1856, Vol. 1.)[my emphasis]
Clearly the land commissioner believed this to be true, and Te One stated that the pounamu being given, was the same item used by Ngāi Tahu to kill Te Pēhi and Pōkaitara; ie. it was the same Paewhenua that was present at the Kaiapoi battle, where it was seized from Ngāi Tahu in battle. Now it cannot have been an uncut block (described by Tāmihana Te Rauparaha) if it was an adze (given by Te One), or a mere, available in 1834 or thereabouts, when Ihu offered it to Te Rauparaha on behalf of Whakataupuka (again, described by Tamihana). Clearly it never was captured in the circumstances described by Te One. Nor could it have killed Te Pēhi and been captured, because eyewitness Pāora Taki stated that Takatahara killed Te Pēhi with a pātītī (hatchet) and Ngāi Tahu were still using it after Kaiapoi because otherwise Whakataupuka’s envoy Ihu could not have offered it as a tohu of peace in 1834.
Thus, there are restrictions upon the accuracy of accounts because people writing or dictating them may contradict themselves, as Tamihana did in regard to Paewhenua. People remember aspects of events that seem important to them at the time, and they forget other things. Alternatively, they might accidentally or
deliberately silence information, or misrepresent it for effect, or to enhance their own mana or that of others. Te One’s famous oratory does not appear to represent the ‘facts’ as eyewitnesses described them, but it does, however, recall how Māori people at that time regarded their lands, and also how they perceived the ability of tāonga to mediate and commemorate transactions. The complication of inaccuracies in the kōrero now enters the discourse surrounding the life trajectory of Paewhenua. These inaccuracies then enter secondary texts and become magnified, contributing to further discourse about land and mana, as in the quote from Mitchell & Mitchell (2004: 119- 121):
In 1848 ‘Paiwhenua’ was given to the Land Purchase Commissioner, Donald McLean, by Ropoama Te One as a symbolic gesture to mark the sale by Te Atiawa of Waitohi (Picton) to the Crown” (2004: 119):
“ Among the spoils taken at Kaiapoi were a number of famous greenstone mere. One fine weapon, named Te Rauhikihiki31was given to Te Rauparaha by Te Koreke as a ransom for his life and Paiwhenua became the property of Puketapu Te Atiawa of Queen Charlotte Sound.”
These are only some of the ways that kōrero and re-configuration of
relationships reflect the socio-political agency of weapons and ‘other things’ in the inter-iwi and inter-cultural transactional world. It also shows that for the reason that kōrero surrounding objects changes with the assemblages that they inhabit, they cannot therefore be regarded as stable circulating referents, unless all the kōrero are transparently available for perusal. They are only temporarily stable when their circulation is interrupted, and there is then room for reflection and re-examination by all concerned.
There also is some pertinence in discussing here the previously mentioned Ngāi Tahu tāongaKaoreore, now displayed in the Southland Museum. It reveals that misunderstandings and mis-representations of things and events may also happen within iwi on a very small scale indeed, and that even then may provide potential for raruraru (small troubles/ disputes). It should also be noted that I am not arguing that this is unique to Māori, for the capacity to misunderstand is a universal human phenomenon! What I shall argue, though, is that this capacity increases when one’s understanding is informed only by a different knowledge and value system, such as the European one.
This Kaoreore has a plaque stating that it too belonged to the chief Tūhawaiki – given by his first wife32 in connection with the tangihanga (mourning ceremonies) on
the death of their eldest son Wharawharateraki (www.maori.org.nz/papapanui). Since Tūhawaiki is described by Boultbee as being of a similar age to his uncle,
Whakataupuka (c. 34 years in 1827)[in Stark, 1986: 78], Wharawharateraki could have been a youth at that time, and could have died any time between 1827 and 1834. These dates, and the prior history of Kaoreore may possibly be clarified, if one could establish with some certainty the identity of Tūhawaiki’s ‘first wife’, the mother of Wharawharateraki. Unfortunately several whakapapa (genealogies) appear to differ on this point – and there are multiple contenders – which may be a reflection of the high esteem in which Tūhawaiki was held. It is thus possible for ‘mistakes’, omissions or gaps in whakapapa (including those of objects which I have previously called ‘life trajectories’) to complicate the interpretation of their meanings, whilst simultaneously exposing issues of power, mana and socio-political positioning. Moreover, these matters are not confined to inter-iwi social transactions like those involving
Paewhenua, previously described. They also happen intra-iwi, and even between close whanau (family) – a fact that formerly could result in the item concerned being secretly buried (Chapman, 1891: 508). These days it might have them deposited in a museum, whilst the contentious issues are sorted out and clarified (Wesley-Evans, 2008, pers.com). Like Paewhenua, Kaoreore was present at the first battle of Kaiapoi (1828), and Tamihana Te Rauparaha said that it was offered to his father [c. 1834]33
by Whakataupuka’s envoy, Ihu:
When Te Ihu arrived at Karauripe [Cloudy Bay] a messenger was sent to bring Te Rauparaha across to listen to his message. So Te Rauparaha came… he heard what Te Whakatau Punga had said: ‘Oh Ihu, go to Te Rauparaha and say to him: do you not agree that you should change your plan to come here, as has been rumoured? Tell him what I say that if he still comes there is waiting for him the greenstone patu-mere called Paewhenua; also Kaoreore
and various other weapons.’(1980 in Butler: 72)
Yet Tāmihana had also stated that Te Rauparaha had obtained this mere by trading or exchange for a gun at Kaiapoi, and had given it to a taina (nephew):
Te Rauparaha went only into the outer ramparts of the pa, and on the thither side of the palisading to look on at the bargaining proceeding for guns in exchange for greenstone. One weapon was acquired by Te Rauparaha – Te Kaoreore. Being asked for by one of his younger relatives (taina) to carry about – he gave it. Then the taina went into the pa to Te Peehi and others (Tamihana Te Rauparaha, G.Graham trans., in Tiniraupeka, 1943: 57).
If this was so, then the weapon must have been re-taken by Ngāi Tahu, for them to have still had it to offer at Karauripe, and therefore, like Paewhenua it never left Ngāi Tahu territory. Kaoreore is a partly worked but uncut block and could not be described as a weapon. Yet in 2003, Ngāti Toa Rangatira quoted their acquisition of this mere amongst evidence to support their case for grievances regarding the lands at Wairau.34 This raises another issue: the creation of secondary sources (such as the
Waitangi Tribunal evidence) using primary reports in isolation from the object itself. It also reinforces the argument about Paewhenua and the Te One case, but as in that case, it highlights again the importance of objects as mediators and embodiments of land ownership. As Ropoama Te One and Teone Wiremu Metehau have both shown, and as the earliest written records of Tuhiwai demonstrate, it was common that land could be represented symbolically by pounamu objects, and also by people:
Money vanishes and disappears, but this greenstone will endure as a durable witness of our act as the land itself… which we have now transferred to you forever (Te One, 1856)
“A Rakaia kiuta e kaiaka wakataki weka i utua kia Rakiihia e rua rakau pounamu. Ko Tuhiwai tetahi Ko Tunoa tetahi. Ko te timata mai o te utu tae noa mai kia te Aritaua raua ko
“te take i utua ai tera wenua e urihia kia Rakiihia mo te taeka o te Hinekaro kireira”
(The mere, together with another called Tunoa was given to Rakiihia as utu for weka-hunting lands in the Upper Rakaia. It was the beginning of the purchase which is to Aritaua and Tuhakararu…) [Teone Wiremu Metehau (1876)MS:1-2]
Cloaks also could be seen in the same light, for they too are noted as having been captured during a war aimed at conquering land. In yet another example of the perceived agency of certain objects that embody the mana of persons and historical actions, a letter by the Kāwhia chiefs to Governor Grey describes in one and the same sentence how a cloak and a greenstone weapon were captured along with their owner. This was partly as utu for his previous actions at the battle of Waiorua, in challenging their authority over the land in Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka (northern South Island):
... Haere atu; Motu-eka, ka hinga toona rangatira ko Pakipaki, ka mau te mere pounamu ko Kokopu. Haere atu Te Whanganui, ka hinga toona rangatira, ko Kootuku, ka mau a Te Rarawa, he kahu…
[Going on to Motueka its chief Pakipaki, was killed and the greenstone club called Kokopu35 was taken. Going on to Te Whanganui and its chief Kōtuku was killed and a cloak called Te Rarawa was taken ](1852, trans. in Biggs, 1967: 263-276)
As “Te Kōtuku”36 was formerly an ally of Te Rauparaha, it is possible that this
cloak Te Rarawa is the same one that was worn by Te Rauparaha’s wife Ākau, in the defence against Ngāti Maniapoto at Mokau river mouth. Te Ākau donned a dogskin mat of the same name. Tiaia, Te Pēhi’s wife did the same with another cloak, Hukeumu. The women stood up and pretended to be men when their party were outnumbered. Usually, only men wore dog-skin cloaks (Te Rauparaha, in Butler, 1980: 16). Thus the cloak was used in war as a deception, and its agency was being used to get them out of a difficult situation – a strategy that ‘worked’.
Metehau’s manuscript also mentions cloaks ‘in the same breath’ as pounamu being given – not by conquest, but by agreement as utu for land:
E Whenua utu tenei kia…e rua utika e kakahu ka utu I utua ai, kotahi Rakau Paraoa e torua Putea 4 kakahu o tetahi Putea, he Parawai Taniko. No to muri ka utu e rua Putea tekau ma rua kakahu me te Rakau Paraoa
[…this is a land paid for to… two payments of mats were made, one Club of Whale’s Bone.. 3 baskets, 4 mats in one basket, Parawai taniko mats [cloaks] of the latter of the two payments, 2 baskets, twelve mats and the club of Whales Bone] (Metehau, MS, 1876: 5)
Unfortunately it is not possible to follow the trajectories of many cloaks from the early nineteenth century because their fabric is too vulnerable to wear and tear, the action of light bacteria, fungi, moisture and chemicals, and they generally disintegrate over time (Ngarimu-Cameron, 2008: 23). However, some valuable cloaks have