Tuesday, November 29, 2011

More on US Civil War vets at Waikumete


CSS Alabama, from Wikipedia.

Cemetery historian Matthew Gray in his latest column to appear in the Western Leader today, appears to have fallen foul of, primarily, newspaper space requirements for most of the anomalies in his piece on Juan (John) Ocho and Andrew Andrews St John.

Firstly, regarding John Ocho, who was according to Gray, "captured ... when his own ship was sunk during a battle outside Verbourg in 1864."

The battle was the battle of Cherbourg.

Gray: "It [the CSS Alabama] was caught there by the armour-clad USS Kearsage ..."

I contacted Terry Foenander, an experienced researcher into the naval history of the US Civil War. He advises "the USS KEARSARGE was most definitely not armour-clad, as indicated, but had chains hanging down the side, during the battle, to deflect the cannon shots.   Armour clad, as the true definition of the term will show, means that the entire vessel was clad in a sheeting of metal."

Terry confirms that Juan Ocho was born in Balboa, Spain, around 1843.

Then Gray writes: "An article published in the Observer newspaper shortly after his death suggests his life [in Auckland] began to unravel after he fell in love with a Hindu woman who he showered with gifts ..."

No, the woman wasn't Hindu. I hunted up the Observer article, which reads:
LOVE AND LUNACY.
Ocho-nerie. John Ocho, a Spaniard, died at the Lunatic Asylum the other day, and the cause of death was certified to be acute mania. The newspaper accounts added that he was a Spaniard, and had no relatives in the colony and that was all. Yet I believe that John Ocho was no ordinary individual. He could have told a thrilling life story. He was a seafaring man, and, besides having been one of the crew of the celebrated American cruiser Alabama, had seen many adventures in many lands. His Auckland experiences as handcart man, etc., were uneventful; but there is a world of pathos in the incidents which brought on his acute mania and death. John Ocho's troubles, like most other men's, can be traced to a woman. His life was happy until he encountered a woman who, though she had a husband of her own race, appeared to have a fondness for foreigners. She had been engaged in a love intrigue with a Hindoo, and had been separated from her husband, when John Ocho met her and fell in love with her. She was not unattractive, and as she represented herself to be single, the trusting Spaniard lavished presents upon her. After some months of courtship, a friend brought him the cruel tidings (which he soon verified for himself) that his charmer was a grass widow, and a designing one at that. The shock of this disillusion was too much for John his mind became deranged he was consigned to the Lunatic Asylum, and he now fills a. nameless grave, all because of a false woman's deceit. Moral: Beware of grass widows who have a fondness for foreigners.
Observer 1 June 1889

There's also this small obituary-of-sorts in the Auckland Star.
A Spaniard named John Ocho,aged 45 years, died in the Lunatic Asylum yesterday. An inquest was held before Dr. Philson later in the day, when evidence was adduced showing that the deceased was committed to the Asylum last April, when he was suffering from acute mania and had to be put into a straight waistcoat. He gradually sank, and died yesterday. Deceased was not known to have any friends or relatives in the colony. A verdict was returned that death resulted from acute mania. 
Auckland Star 17 May 1889

Matthew Gray also refers to the Auckland Lunatic Asylum as "Avondale Lunatic Asylum." Now, I don't really worry about folks trying to give us in Avondale the asylum, a historic place of national note -- but as it was actually in Pt Chevalier, it's more accurate (and correct) to call it as Auckland rather than Avondale.

The only bit about the Andrew Andrews St John story Gray briefly touched on, was where he termed him "American Consul to Indonesia." Seeing as Indonesia didn't exist by that name until the latter half of the 20th century, this is a bit of a howler. Correctly, he was consul to the Dutch East Indies, at Batavia, the colonial name for what is now Jakarta. But -- that error, I blame on the need to conserve space in those newspaper columns.

Suiter's Hotel in Newmarket


"Looking up Khyber Pass Road from Broadway showing the Carlton Club Hotel, left, and the premises of George Kent and Sons and the Royal Cord Service Station in the Premier Buildings," ref 4-1886, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Council Libraries.


The building on the left of the image above, taken 19 September 1929, was then known as the Carlton Club Hotel. It had been known as that from 1888, and would so remain until 1992. But it had an earlier name, that of the Jubilee Hotel -- and several names after. 

The hotel started out under construction in 1887, with good foundations for success: a well-known architect (Edward Mahoney), a local builder of some note and reputation, William Edgerley; and a brewer to bankroll the whole project, one William J Suiter, who was at the time the first mayor of Newmarket Borough. The project, though proved to be a stormy one.

William Suiter arrived in Auckland in 1865, and by 1873 had set up the Eden Brewery along New North Road as W J Suiter & Co.
The new establishment, called the Eden Brewery, commenced business yesterday on the New North Road, but the event was less effective on the intellect of the people than was the opening of the new Market. On the day of the opening of the Market fifteen drunken persons were taken to the lock-up, while on the launch of the first barrel of Eden brewed of paradisaical flavour, only one drunkard was found in the streets. 
Auckland Star, 3 July 1873

The wooden buildings at the brewery caught fire on 16 March 1878, but were replaced by a brick version by July that year.
The new Eden brewery of Suiter and Company in the new North Road is so far complete as to enable the proprietors to recommence brewing on a more extensive scale than heretofore. The old building, as our readers will remember, was destroyed by fire which reduced it to ashes. The new brewery, erected nearly on the same site, is built of brick and stone, and consequently of a much more durable character, on a plan designed by Mr Suitor, in which every precaution has been taken to prevent a similar recurrence. 
 Auckland Star 23 July 1878

The thing that intrigues me about Suiter is that at this time he was an ardent member of the Newton Presbyterian Church, as well as being a brewer -- something which, I would have thought, would surely have caused more than a stir in the local kirk. He was also a steward at the Henderson's Mill Turf Club. Apparently involvement in the Sport of Kings did not preclude him from his faithful duties either. He was Chairman of the Eden Terrace Highway District in 1878 -- apparently always a busy man. He was nominated (successfully) for a seat on the Eden County Council that same year ... but in 1879 was declared bankrupt.

He bounced back from this, selling his Eden Brewery lock stock and barrel, clearing his debts, and setting up a new brewery on Khyber Pass called the Park Brewery with Duncan McNab in 1881-1882. He took over completely by late 1883. By December that year, he was taking on Hancock & Co in something of a price war, making sure his beer per gallon cut 3 shillings off the Hancock rate. An intriguing state of affairs, as the Park Brewery was set up on an acre of land leased on a 40 year term from Thomas Hancock (the Hancock & Co. brewery being adjacent). Part of the mortgage agreement for the brewery site was that McNab & Co could deal only with Hancock and partner C Sutton for supplies of malt. Sutton & Co. had already threatened to wind up McNab & Co in May 1883. (Auckland Star 10 July 1888)

During the next three years, the business was profitable, with the brewery buildings on Khyber Pass extended. It may have been during this period that rumours started as to the building of another hotel in Newmarket. In May 1886 Suiter sold 1/3 of the Park Brewery business to Frederick L Protheroe and used the proceeds to pay advances to several hotels.

Meanwhile, Newmarket Road Board had decided not to amalgamate with neighbouring Auckland City, and voted to become a borough in its own right. William Suiter, successful brewer and businessman in the area, became the first mayor of the borough from 1885-1887. In his term of office, he instigated the first local fire brigade. (Considering his fire at the Eden Brewery back in 1878, hardly surprising).

Apparently at this point -- he decided upon building a hotel in Newmarket.


Newmarket in the mid 1880s had three pre-existing hotels: the Royal George, newly rebuilt after a fire in 1884, just across the Manukau Road from the site Suiter had in mind for his new edifice; the Captain Cook, owned by Hancock & Co on Khyber Pass Road; and the Junction Hotel further along Manukau Road, where it forks away to the south. Newmarket was also well-known for brewing interests in the area, such as Hancock's, and John Logan Campbell and his Domain Brewery.

There were also those among his constituents on the side of temperance. The temperance movement in the area was a rising tide, manifested during the annual licensing committee elections in a sharp demarcation between two parties: the moderates in favour of continuance, and the total abstinence party. In 1886, both parties agreed on 10 o’clock closing, no extra hotels or bars in the district, and no Sunday trading. However, Newmarket Borough councillor William Edgerley was on the committee from at least 1886 – and it is ironic (and controversial at the time) that he was later, the next year, to be the builder of Newmarket’s new hotel. At the 1887 poll for local option, only 16 voted: 9 in favour of an increase in licenses, 7 against. A narrow win for the wets.

The hotel’s story began in earnest with a May 1887 meeting of the Newmarket Borough Council, during which the Mayor “gave notice of motion proposing that the Council should erect a £300 statue of the Queen on the top of the front corner of the proposed Jubilee Hotel, at Newmarket, with a suitable inscription underneath.” (NZ Herald, 27 May 1887) Well, the statue idea was eventually altered to that of erecting a town clock -- but the proposed hotel retained its Jubilee name, in honour of the Queen's 50th anniversary.

The Jubilee Hotel is unusual in that it had its first license granted when, really, it didn’t exist except as a muddy hole in the ground with foundations. Following their own interpretation of a sub-section of the Licensing Act of the time, the Committee granted a provisional licence to Frederick L Protheroe (on behalf of Suiter & Co) on seeing the plans for the building at the application approval meeting in June 1887. (Star, 8 June 1887)  Despite the low turnout at the local option poll, 125 signed a petition against granting a license for what was later described as “a large pit at the corner, which had been excavated a few days previously, and which contained about three feet of water … it was playfully remarked at the time that the only accommodation it could afford would be to bury the people in the neighbourhood.” (NZ Herald 6 June 1888) The licensee of the Royal George Hotel also appeared in opposition to the granting of the license for the Jubilee Hotel (NZ Herald 8 June 1887) (Suiter had tried to buy that hotel from Mr. Warnock prior to purchasing the corner site across the road, but was declined - Star 10 March 1888) but it was raised at the meeting that Warnock had been warned that his license would be revoked the previous year if he didn’t raise the standards of his establishment. It would appear that the Committee viewed the grandly-styled Jubilee Hotel as a good replacement for the Royal George (the latter, however, did keep its license anyway). Of course, the awarding of the building tender by architect Edward Mahoney to William Edgerley caused a stir -- seeing as Edgerley was one of those who had granted Suiter his hole-in-the-ground license.

The building was described as being “half up” in late August when a ratepayers’ petition was presented to the Supreme Court to ask that the licensing committee’s decision be overturned. (Star, 10 March 1888) This indeed did happen, because it was found that the committee’s interpretation of the Act was incorrect. (Star 31 August 1887) William Edgerley denied any impropriety on his part in a letter to the Auckland Star published the day after the decision.


Sir,—His Honor Judge Ward, in his decision yesterday re the Jubilee Hotel case, made a sweeping accusation with regard to myself that I am sure he will very much regret when he hears the real facts of the case stated before him. The facts are these:

I am one of the Licensing Commissioners of Newmarket, and in that capacity adjudicated upon license for the proposed Jubilee Hotel. As a builder and contractor I was subsequently the successful tenderer for the hotel against 14 others in Mr Mahoney's office, being £45 below the next lowest tenderer. The time that elapsed from the granting of the license until tenders were opened would be about three weeks. The work, on foundations referred to by Judge Ward, was done by Messrs Suiter and Protheroe previous to the granting of the license and was done with a view of ascertaining the depth the rock lay from the surface, etc. so as to give some data for contractors to tender on. For Judge Ward to even hint that there was the slightest attempt at collusion is unjust both to myself and Messrs Suiter and Protheroe, as neither they nor anyone on their behalf ever held out any inducement to me to tender for the job or, in fact, tampered with me in any shape or form.

I wish I could say as much for the parties who are working behind the scenes, in opposition to the Jubilee Hotel.—l am, etc., William Edgerley, Builder. 

Auckland Star 1 September 1887

William Suiter thus had a grand establishment he was bound by contract to complete and to pay both the architect and the builder, and an extra rates bill on top of that – but was not allowed to sell a drop of beer therein. His business venture was proving to be a disastrously expensive one. It was felt by some that Suiter had faced during the whole affair “a combination of brewers [Samuel Jagger, of Hancock & Co], the hotelkeepers, and the Good Templars against another brewer.” (Star 10 March 1888) Having faced a total cost of £4,700 for both the land and the construction of the hotel, now without any real chance of having an association, excellent for trade, with the Queen’s Jubilee, Suiter fought back via local politics by backing a list of candidates for the licensing committee of 1888 that were in favour of increasing the district’s licenses, and would look favourably at granting one for his hotel. He published a circular detailing the issues of the previous year, where he stood, and how he felt hard-done by in terms of the legal debacle over the hotel. (Star 10 March 1888) On the 13 March 1888, there was a return of a majority of those in favour of Suiter and his hotel to the licensing committee (with J C Seccombe of the Great Northern Brewery entertaining Suiter, several Committee members and Suiter’s supporters at one of his hotels to celebrate.) (Star 14 March 1888) On the 5 June that year, the new committee granted a license to the now re-named Carlton Club Hotel. (Herald 6 June 1888)



By then Suiter had already sold the hotel to a Mr. Griffiths in April 1888 at a loss, and soon after was yet again declared bankrupt. 

But, of course, William Suiter had got his way in the end, despite that set-back -- a hotel erected where once there had been just a licensed hole in the ground, and in the face of seething local temperance supporters.

 He settled up his debts, sold the Park Brewery -- and moved to Melbourne.
Friends of Mr W. J. Suiter, formerly Mayor of Newmarket and well known in town, will be pleased to hear that he is doing remarkably well over in Melbourne. Through the influence of Mr Jesse King, of this city, he was given the position of second brewer in one of the largest breweries in the Victorian capital—the West End brewery in Flinders-street. There are between 70 and 80 hands employed by the company, and the weekly output goes over 840 hogsheads a week, besides a large quantity of bottled ale and stout. Shortly after he received the appointment Mr Suiter was raised to the position of first brewer, a position he now holds, and has every probability of continuing to hold for some time. He has two of his sons over with him, and has now sent for the rest of his family. 
 Auckland Star 23 January 1889

Hancock & Co eventually obtained the hotel in 1935, then transferred to Lion Nathan in 1989. As I said before, it kept the name of the Carlton Club Hotel until 1992 -- then was renamed the Carlton Tavern and Brasserie, with an exterior paint job of yellow and blue. When I first came upon it in 2005, it was known as the Penny Black. Which might have pleased Suiter -- finally, for a while, Queen Victoria's head was on his hotel, in the form of the Penny Black stamp.


Auckland City Council scheduled the building as category B -- but today, after around 120 years, it is no longer a hotel. 489 Khyber Pass now a Nood store in pristine gleaming white livery -- a name (although quite respectable and innocent in reality) that would have raised more than a few eyebrows among the Newmarket temperance party.



I think Suiter might still get a chuckle out of that.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An anthem of a mural


It's already been featured on a local real estate agent's blog, and pressures of commitments at the moment meant I didn't post this back on 16 November when I took the shots. But here it is, better late than never: the St Michaels Ave, Pt Chevalier, telly mural: God Defend New Zealand. A media mural used as a backdrop for a TV3 production which screened in October here, regarding the story behind our national anthem.

These media murals are forming a sub-species all their own, I think. See also the Federal Street work of art.


 Featuring John Joseph Woods (music) ...

... and Thomas Bracken (lyrics).

'God defend New Zealand' is rather a dreary dirge for a national song however, it will be ready if the Russians come.
Nelson Evening Mail 10 November 1877

We have received from Mr J. J. Woods a copy of the music and words of the National Anthem, "God Defend New Zealand." The words are by Mr Thomas Bracken, of Dunedin, and the music by Mr J. J. Woods, of Lawrence and the piece has been published by Messrs Hopwood and Crew, of Bond street, London. The anthem is so well known to most of our readers that it is not necessary for us to say a word in its praise. The title page of the copy before us has been beautifully illuminated, and in the centre is a good portrait of Mr T. Bracken. 
 Otago Witness 15 June 1878

There was a rival ...

A very successful rehearsal of the children who are to assist in singing Zealandia and God Defend New Zealand" was held yesterday afternoon. It is intended to request the audience to join in the ohorue of these anthems. 

Christchurch Star 11 October 1895 

Might have been "All Hail Zealandia!" as seen in this post on the Hocken blog. Here's another ...


Dear Percy Flage,—

Looking through an old music book just now I came across "New Zealand's National Song." I've never seen it before. The music has no composer and is an unknown melody to me. The words are as follows, and I wonder whether any of your readers can identify either words or music, and state how it came to be called the National Song, when "God Defend New Zealand" has that honour:— 

God girt her about with the surges
And winds of the masterless deep, 
Whose tumult uprouses and urges 
Quick billows to sparkle and leap: 
He fill'd from the life of their motion 
Her nostrils with breath of the sea, 
And gave her afar in the ocean, 
A citadel free! 

G.H. 

Evening Post 18 April 1945 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another MOTAT mural


Spotted this last Friday at MOTAT, just opposite the Pioneer Victorian Village.




After Ravensbourn in Upper Symonds Street

Image ref 4-2235, Sir George Grey Special Collections.

Almost like something caught out the corner of an eye, a reader named Lilli spotted where she lived in an image from one of the City Library photos I use on the blog, from the post on the Edinburgh Castle:

Hi Lisa,
I have just discovered your blog and I am really enjoying reading all the posts you have made on the upper Symonds Street area. In fact my residence actually features in the top photo as "the cabin" which backs onto the historic Stable Lane. If you were up for it I would love to know more about the history of my building and also the lane and how it has been used over the years as it has always intrigued me. Hope you can help, Cheers Lilli
Actually, when I did some photographs of the Upper Symonds Street area back in June this year, I almost missed the building in one of my shots, because (yes, I admit this) it seemed much drabber than its neighbours, with less architectural detail. It's the mauve one, and quite utilitarian.


This is 207-209 Symonds Street, according to the Council website. It is part of Allotment 3, Section 7, Auckland Suburbs, a farm purchased by Crown Grant in December 1844 by one who is referred to as the first Jewish businessman in the colony, Joel Samuel Polack. He subdivided the purchase in two the following year, and sells both parts, so that's the extent of his presence in this story.

Over the course of the period from 1848-1850, a man named Fairburn reunited the subdivided area. This may have been Rev. William Thomas Fairburn, of the Christian Mission Society, and his name certainly comes up on the sales ad for the property in 1885:


NZ Map 4497-10, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

The size of the building at 207-209 Symonds Street was determined by the size of the lot, Number 9, from this sale.

Before then, though, it was called Ravensbourne apparently, and looked quite different from off Symonds Street.


The trees on the right are on the Fairburn land, then there's Newton Road, and the Edinburgh Castle hotel. Date: 1880. Ref 4-1537, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

The Fairburns lived there from the 1850s.
BIRTH.
At Ravensbourne Cottage, near Mount Eden, on the 7th inst Mrs. W. T. Fairburn of a son.
Southern Cross 13 February 1855

William T Fairburn died in 1859, and in March part of his property adjoining his residence on Section 7 was sold off. But, it appears his widow remained at Ravensbourne, at least for another 18 years.
WANTED, a General Servant; good references required-—Apply, between 10 and 3.—Mrs. Fairburn, Ravensbourne, Symonds street.

Auckland Star 10 December 1877

Then, the property, through a series of mortgages, came to be owned by one Mr Ami Bennett.

LARGE PADDOCK to be Let for Pasturing at top of Symonds-street, known as Fairburn's Estate. Applications made to Ami Bennett, 44 Insurance Buildings.

Auckland Star 15 April 1878

WANTED, a General Servant; good wages given.—Mrs Bennet, Ravensbourne. Symonds-street.

Auckland Star 31 May 1879

£1 10s REWARD for information leading to Conviction of the person who broke down fence and took some timber off Fairburn's Paddock in Symonds-street., H. E. Brabason, builder, on the ground. July 23, 1883.

Auckland Star 23 July 1883

But Jane Fairburn seems to have still been living there.

FAIRBURN.—On June 8, at her residence, Ravensbourne, Upper Symonds-street, Jane, relict of the late W. T. Fairburn; aged 70.— Warwick papers please copy.

Auckland Star 21 June 1884

After her death, the remainder of the Fairburn estate went up for sale in March 1885, with the remainder from that sale (Symonds Street and Newton Road) advertised again in December that year. This is when the Bennetts were leaving for England.



Auckland Star 1 December 1885

This is just about the last reference I've found so far to Ravensbourne in Upper Symonds Street:


LOST. Liver and White Setter. Reward will be given hy A. G. Howard, Ravensbourne, Symonds-strcet.

Auckland Star 24 August 1896

 After this, the name was used for a boarding house on Hobson Street.

In November 1894, Thomas Elijah Webb purchased lot 9, the site of the mauve building. He was a painter by trade, born on the island of Jersey in 1851 according to this family history site. A son of his, also named Thomas Elijah, also became a painter. Not much else is known about him, but he appears to have had a 2-storey building on the site. It was there when the 1908 City of Auckland Plan was prepared by Auckland City Council, and in both 1905 and 1915, Wises Directory tells us Thomas E Webb, painter, was there.

Then, by 1919, Webb started to alter the building. That year, when the 1908 plan was updated, a 2-storey brick addition was noted.  He died in 1920, and his son and widow leased the building in 1922 to Collinson & Williams Ltd.  In the mid 1920s, a Mrs Clare Odds ran tearooms from there, while by 1930 the business was run by a Miss Delia Carr. Collinson & Williamson transferred the lease to Haymarket Stores Ltd in 1929 (they were next door, at 203 Symonds street), while in 1946 the Webbs sold the freehold to boot and shoe repairer Jack Leslie Murt. A number of owners followed from 1948 until today.

Now, why is there Stable Lane at the rear? In April 1882, the Winstone Brothers purchased land immediately to the north of Ravensbourne, and set up their stables and yard there. The main access was off Symonds Street but by the time Thomas Webb senior purchased his section, a right of way had also been put in place across the back of the Symonds Street sections on the old Fairburn estate, possibly as rear access to the sites as shops. Winstones used the stables until 1932.  

According to the Auckland Library's streets database, Stable Lane is a:
 ...service lane dedicated 16/12/1954, part abandoned land. Private road. The land is owned by the Auckland City Council. It is technically 144 Newton Road.
It led towards what was stables, so I suppose the name came up, and it stuck.

A mural at the wrong speedway?


This might be a case where, whoever the artist was who did this mural, didn't do enough research.

I came upon it in its formative stages some weeks back, and then spotted that it had been completed, so took a photograph last Friday. This is situated on Great North Road, close to the Housing Corp flats at Tuarangi Road corner, and is quite near to Stadium Road, the access to Western Springs Speedway. You'd think, therefore (I would, for example) that this relates to that particular attraction.

Because I know nothing about speedway at all, but my friends Bill and Barbara Ellis do, I sent the images to them. Their comment?
What was the artist thinking?  These are stockcars or production saloons that  race at Waikaraka Park Onehunga not at Western Springs. Western Springs has midgets, sprintcars, TQ s etc.


Fair enough comment, I think, when you compare images from Western Spring's Speedway's website to those from Waikaraka.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Te Toki a Tapiri


In the relative dimness of the Maori Court in the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where a projected image of a silver fern flutters on the floor, and tourists either stand around perplexedly searching for the exit, or pose smilingly beside ancient artifacts for the camera – there you will find a great waka taua, Te Toki a Tapiri, the Adze (or axe) of Tapiri.
One of the greatest attractions in the Auckland Museum is a very fine example of a Maori war-canoe, and without a doubt the finest specimen in existence of a Maori war-vessel. The fact that she was built in the Wairoa district should call up the interest of all my readers. Her builder was a Wairoa man, Waaka Tarakau, a chief of Ngati-Matawhaiti, a hapu of the Ngati-Kahungunu … The tree (a totara, of course) from which the canoe was fashioned grew at the back of the present-day Clydebank special settlement, and it was cut there in the laborious manner of the Maoris before the days of the axe and the saw. It was hauled down to the coast, so the late Sir James Carroll informed the writer, by thousands of men in relays, to the inspiring incantations and songs of the old tohungas.

When the log reached Matawhaiti many hundreds of men were engaged in fashioning the craft, but the chief builder and architect was Tarakau, and he named the vessel Te-Toki-a-Tapiri (the axe of Tapiri), after one of his ancestors. The canoe was eighty-four feet long and had a beam of six feet. The ruawa, or topsides, were added by Tamati Parangi and Paratene Te Pohoi, and the canoe was presented by the builder to Te Waaka Perohuka, of the Rongo-whaka-ata tribe at Poverty Bay, and he received in return, as was the custom of the Maoris, a celebrated historical garment called "Karamaene." The carving of the canoe was carried out at Te Angaparera, on the left bank of the Waiporoa river, nearly opposite the Orakaiapu pa. The principal tohungas engaged in the work were Te Waaka Perohuka, Timoti Rangitotohuihura, Wiremu Te Keteiwi, Patorounu Pakapaka, Natanahira, Taumata, and Mahumahu.

In 1853, Perohuka presented the vessel to the great northern chief, Tamati Waaka Nēnē, and his brother, Patuone, who sent to Perohuka a pie-bald stallion called "Taika" (Tiger). The horse was later given to Tarakau, the builder of the famous canoe.

After the arrival of the canoe in Auckland waters, where she appeared among the fleet surrounding the Pandora, she was sold for £400 to chiefs of the Ngati-te-ata tribe (Waiuku) and taken to Manukau. The price in reality was £600. 



According to Mere Whaanga, in A Carved Cloak for Tahu, 2004, the extra £200 purchase price was for two greenstone mere at £100 each.

In 1863, with war breaking out between Waikato tribes and the colonial government, it was ordered that all waka in the streams leading to the Manukau Harbour be seized. The paddle steamer Lady Barkly, crewed by Onehunga Naval Volunteers under one Captain Thomas Parnall, was originally, so it is said, (image from Nelson Photo News, March 1962), via  the private yacht of Governor Sir Henry Barkly of Victoria in Australia. It appeared in Dunedin in January 1862, and was purchased for commissariat service on the Manukau Harbour in July 1863. The intention had been for the Lady Barkly to be used to trade between Onehunga and Drury, supplying both provisions and munitions. She did strike a bit of initial difficulty with the ways of the Manukau streams.
 
The Lady Barkly is still stuck on a rock down the stream between here [Drury] and the Manukau. She will I presume have to wait for the spring tides. I think it would be wise to have stakes driven in down to the Manukau, indicating the course of the stream, so as to avoid these long detentions from which much loss must ensue.
Southern Cross 7 September 1863

Then came orders for all waka along the Manukau shoreline and streams to be confiscated or damaged, so as not to be a threat during the war. The Waiuku Maori were peaceful toward the Crown – but this didn’t mean that they were not included in the blanket operation.

On Monday the steamer Lady Barkly landed at Awitu a party of the Onehunga naval brigade under Captain Parnel [sic]. They proceeded to the native settlement there, but the rebels had decamped, leaving in the hut the fire still burning, and the remains of a hasty breakfast of corn. It is thought they had been notified of the approach of the naval brigade, as three shots were heard by the brigade as they were approaching the settlement. The Lady Barkly then proceeded to Waiuku, where she arrived on Tuesday morning. The object of the visit being to remove any canoes lying in the creeks. The same day the brigade, assisted by a party of the Waiuku force, under Captain Lloyd, secured a number of canoes belonging to the Waiuku natives. This step the natives do not object to, but they allege that their whares were entered by the men, and clothing and other property carried away. It is certain that other articles besides canoes came under the inspection of the men, and that Captain Lloyd ordered the men under his charge to leave the articles in their places. The civil and native authorities intended to institute a search on board the steamer to-day, in order to ascertain if the allegations, of property having been carried away, were true but the very gusty afternoon has, I believe, delayed their intention. The natives have not made any unpleasant demonstration on the matter, but they are apprehensive that if the distinction between their property and rebel property becomes overlooked, the distinction between their persons and those of rebels will be overlooked next.
Southern Cross 6 November 1863

The Lady Barkly, steamer, returned to her anchorage at Onehunga, yesterday morning, at about ten o'clock, bringing in tow eleven canoes, the smallest of which is 35ft. long. These canoes alone would transport 1,000 men. They were captured in a few of the creeks on the Western arm of the Manukau, from Tuesday morning until Thursday …

A large war canoe, 94ft. long, for which £600 was paid by the natives to the late chief John Hobbs, was discovered roofed in at a place half way between Awitu and Karaka, As there was some question raised by the gentleman who acted as interpreter about the propriety of removing this canoe, the lower stern-post only was taken away, and brought up by the Lady Barkly. Since then, we believe, orders have been given by the authorities to fetch this canoe up to Onehunga. We understand this is one of the best finished canoes in New Zealand. The single planks along the sides are 83ft. long, and well carved from stem to stern.
Southern Cross 7 November 1863

Later Henry Alfred Home Monro would relate how he, as appointed native interpreter, was aboard the Lady Barkly at the time the stern post of Te Toki a Tapiri was removed and confiscated by the naval volunteers.
At a place called Rangatira, if I remember aright, we found this large canoe Te Toki-a-Tapiri drawn up under a shed. Looking at the fine canoe, I felt it would be a pity to take her to Onehunga, where for a certainty she would be destroyed or otherwise so damaged that the Government would be required or otherwise so damaged that the Government would be required to pay the £600 which, I understood, was the price given for her by the Ngati-Te-ata. I directed, therefore, that the ‘haumi’ or stern portion, alone should be taken, as when that was unlaced and removed the canoe would be practically useless until replaced. The Naval Volunteers were rather sulky at this, as they especially wanted this canoe to grace our triumphal return to Onehunga. The canoe was at this time in excellent condition, nothing being wanting except the ‘puhipuhi’ (feather decorations), which the Volunteers had unluckily discovered in a whare at Waiuku containing the belongings of the deceased chief Katipa. This they had cut up into lengths to adorn their heads. On our return to Onehunga the haumi was placed in the Customhouse store for safe keeping.

From Lambert, The Story of Old Wairoa and the East Coast, via A Carved Cloak for Tahu, p.226.

For the next four years, Te Toki a Tapiri was to remain on the beach at Onehunga. There is a story that crew from the HMS Harrier tried to blow the waka up at one point – I haven’t found a contemporary report about that, as at the time of writing.

How long the waka taua would have remained on the beach under ordinary circumstances, I couldn’t say. In 1867, the Ngati Te Ata had started proceedings for compensation, but were getting nowhere. However … 1868 was to be a significant year for Auckland. The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred, was due to come, and the city fathers were determined to put on as fine a show of British imperial pomp and splendour as their city in our far-flung colony could muster.
A meeting of the Native Committee was held at the City Board Room en Saturday forenoon. Mr. Swanson stated that he had gone to Onehunga on the preceding day to see if the large canoe lying there, the Toke-a-Tapiri, could be made available on the approaching visit of his Royal Highness. This canoe, we may state, was bought by the Ngati-teata, of Waiuku, from a southern tribe, for the sum of £500 cash which, we believe, was considered a moderate price. At the beginning of the war, a party of Naval Volunteers went out on the Manukau and, finding the Toke-a-Tapiri in the creek, seized her.
Mr H Monro, now Judge Monro, accompanied the expedition as interpreter, and told the volunteers on no account to touch the canoe, as she belonged to friendly natives. His remonstrances were, however, unheeded; the volunteers wanted a trophy of their valour, and brought the canoe in triumph to Onehunga. There she was drawn up in the Customhouse yard, and being carelessly placed, and exposed to all weather, has received considerable damage. The Ministry of that day offered the canoe as a present to Sir George Grey, who said that if they would put her in order he would give her back again to the Waiuku people, from whom she ought never to have been taken. Nothing was done by the Government, and the Waiuku people have now a claim of £500 before Mr. Beckham's Court for the canoe, and there can be no doubt they are entitled to the money.
In the meantime Paul, on behalf of the Ngatiwhatua of Orakei and Kaipara, says that if the cracks in the body of the canoe are repaired so that she can float, he will decorate her so as to be available for the approaching visit of the Prince. But the committee feel a difficulty in the matter. The General Government lament that the canoe was ever touched, and will not hare anything to do with her. His Excellency says, we believe, that he never accepted her. The Waiuku people state that the Government took the canoe, and that now they have nothing to say in the matter. However, the Native Committee will take steps to ascertain what it would cost to have her brought over to the Waitemata and repaired.
Southern Cross 16 December 1867

A meeting of the Regatta Committee was held yesterday at Messrs. Cochrane’s rooms. The chairman intimated that the Government had placed £150 at the disposal of the committee for Maori races, and it was proposed to have the large canoe lying at the Custom-house yard, Onehunga, put into good repair for a Wakataua race.
Southern Cross 10 March 1868

The large wakataua canoe which has lain at the Customs, Onehunga, since it was taken by the Government from the natives, was brought into town last evening in order to be placed in the hands of Mr. Duthie, shipwright, for repair, when it will be placed at the disposal of the natives for the regatta to be held on the arrival of his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

Southern Cross 11 March 1868

This was Alexander Duthie, a shipwright who operated from Customs Street.

The Secretary [of the Regatta Committee] intimated that the wakataua canoe, for the repair of which £30 had been set aside by the Regatta Committee, had been brought into town, and was in the shipwright's hands.
Southern Cross 14 March 1868

Come the day of the regatta – all went ahead as planned. Except that the Duke wasn’t there. He’d been shot in Sydney, and had had to head back home to England early. The regatta day in April 1868, though, was to be the second-to-last documented occasion where Te Toki a Tapiri was to be afloat.
Fifth Race.
Wakataua (War) Canoes.
Prize, £80.

At half-past eleven o'clock the Maoris gathered at the firewood wharf, where were the only two canoes that had put in an appearance. If the weather had been finer one or two more would have come, but it was quite unsafe to be outside the Heads in a canoe on such a day as yesterday. Another reason for non-arrival was the fact that the Prince was absent. When the natives heard that the Prince was not coming, they took it for granted that the whole celebration would be dropped. The two canoes were the Toke a Tapiri, brought up from Orakei by Paul, and manned by the Ngatiwhatua, who boast of their power and skill as paddlers. The other was the Akarana (Auckland), from Waiwharariki, the native settlement at Shoal Bay, which was entered by Te Hemara, and manned by a mixed lot of Ngapuhis, Waikatos, and other tribes. Both canoes were finely carved, and decorated with albatross feathers, and the paddlers all wore white feathers in their hair. About this time, a large canoe was seen coming up from Taupo, Firth of Thames, and truly the men on board must have had a rough and dangerous morning's work. This canoe was Ngapuhoro, belonging to Ngatipaoa. The Toke a Tapiri was manned by fifty-eight paddlers, and the Akarana, which is considerably smaller, hid twenty-six on board.

Onboard the Toke was not so disagreeable as we had expected, having former canoe trips in mind in calmer weather. She rode over the waves like a duck, and only those near the bow were wetted by the spray. It was most desirable that the three canoes should start, so as to ensure a good race, but Ngapuhoro was seen to go into St. George's Bay, and it was pretty obvious that, after pulling up from Taupo against wind and sea, the men would be in no condition to contest for the prize. Captain Guilding went off in a waterman's boat to bring them up, but in the meantime it was determined to start the two, giving £50 instead of £80 to the winning canoe. At the firing of the gun, off they rushed, through the stormy waters, towards the flagboat moored off Freeman's Bay. The men were all stripped to the waist, and plied their paddles with, energy. Of course, in each canoe were what Europeans would call fuglemen, gesticulating with energy, and timing the paddle strokes. The course was right in the teeth of the wind, and before the flagboat was reached every man on board both canoes was thoroughly drenched. It was pretty soon evident that the Akarana was no match for her more powerful antagonist, and that the Toke would come in an easy winner. The course was to round the Bella Marina hulk, and back to the flagship, but, on the canoes passing the Tauranga, they were called on to pass round the Brisk, so that his Excellency the Governor might see them.

The Toke rounded the Brisk all right, and came up to the Tauranga swiftly, the men shouting a ngeri. All those on board gave a cheer, and were so busy looking at the demonstrations of triumph made by the Maoris that they never noticed that the unfortunate Akarana, which had reached about halfway between the Brisk and the Tauranga, was settling down in the water, and almost covered by the waves. She was scarcely moving, in spite of the energetic exertions of those on board. From the waves breaking over she bad get almost water-logged, and, the strain being too much for her, she cracked in the centre. The natives on board the Toke were the first to notice the danger, and, letting go the ropes which held them to the Tauranga, the canoe was let drop down swiftly to the rescue. But before the Toke got to the place, the Akarana, in the midst of a fierce squall, went down, leaving the men struggling in the waves. Most of them leaped into the water, and then they turned the canoe bottom up, so that part of it was above water to hold on by. A few got shoved down below the canoe, but came up again by-and-by. It was an anxious spectacle to those who witnessed it, for although the capsizing of a Maori canoe is considered usually to be quite a trifle, still after the men had pulled a long distance, and in such a sea, there was a chance that some of them would be quite exhausted, and sink amidst the angry waves. Joseph Cook's boat was alongside, and was let go; the boat belonging to the Tauranga was let down with all expedition indeed, in about five minutes four boats were nearing the scene of the accident. Spectators are naturally impatient when they think that life and death may be in every moment, but on this occasion we are bound to say that no time was lost when it was evident that there was danger. Possibly the men might have righted the canoe, which they often do under such circumstances, but the Akarana was too far gone for that treatment. The Maoris scrambled off the canoe, or were hauled out of the water where they were bobbing about pretty thickly, and finally,with the exception of one or two who were picked by the boats, they all got safely to the Toke, which had then about ninety men on board. This was too many considering the weather, and it looked as if we were to have another case of swamping. However, thanks to Mr [Swanson] and Mr Duthie, the Toke is now a good seaboat, though lately lying in pieces in the Custom-house-yard, Onehunga.

It had been arranged that after the race the natives should go on board the Brisk and have a war dance, but the accident interfered with that, as the men were in no humour for dancing after getting such a ducking. The Toke therefore was paddled ashore, and the boats picked up some of the paddles and the clothes of the natives. Apparently the accident had not been noticed from the Brisk, for it was not till all danger was past that a boat put off, which, however, took in charge the broken canoe. If the same number of Europeans had been thrown in the water, we should have had a score of men drowned.
 Southern Cross 30 April 1868

The last documented time Te Toki a Tapiri was on the waters of the Waitemata, or any other waters for that matter, was for the special Maori welcome to the Duke, who finally made it here in 1869.
THE MAORI WELCOME.
Early yesterday morning a party of natives proceeded down to Orakei for the purpose of bringing up the large war canoes to Auckland. They returned in time to take part in the welcome to the Prince, and at about 9.30 o'clock two large canoes fully manned put off to the Galatea from the Wynyard Pier. The first was the wakataua known as Toke-a-Tapiri, which was manned by 60 of the Ngatiwhatua and Rawara, under their chiefs Reihana and Taiawhio. The second was the canoe Ngapuhoro, which contained 50 of the Ngatipaoa, under Hetaraka Takapuna and Hoera te Wharepunga. A third canoe also put off named Te Tuatara, which was manned by 70 of the Ngatipaoa under their chief Te Ngohipaka. The heads of the natives were decorated with feathers, and as they paddled out towards the Galatea their appearance was picturesque in the extreme. The Ngatipaoa canoes bore British Ensigns at the bows and stem, and the figure-heads were effectively decorated with feathers. The sternposts were highly carved and embellished in true Maori style. After going out between the Wynyard Pier and the Challenger, the canoes approached each other, and after paddling round the Commodore's vessel went off to the Galatea. They lay under the stern of the vessel until the time arrived for the Prince to land, when they accompanied his Royal Highness's gig to the landing steps. The following song of welcome was sung by the natives while escorting the Royal gig:-
Haere mai, e te manuhiri tua rangi.
Nga taku potiki koi tiki atu
Ki tahutu o te rangi,
Kukume mai ai- haere mai.

[Translation.]
Welcome, stranger, from the distant land.
My youngest and most beloved child drew thee hither
From the other side of the heavens. Welcome!

The movements of the canoes were directed by Paora Tuhaere.
Southern Cross 11 May 1869

Mere Whaanga said that the tauihu had been presented to the Duke of Edinburgh. Thomas Cheeseman of Auckland Institute believed this as well, as the prow was said to be missing on presentation to the Auckland Institute – but when H E Vaile visited England in 1925 and found a prow said to have been brought to England by the Duke of Edinburgh, measurement comparisons between Te Toki a Tapiri’s bow and the prow carving, then in the Sciences Museum at South Kensington, showed that there was no relationship between the two. That prow was presented originally to the Duke in Wellington in 1869. So, whether the prow went to the Duke, or simply disappeared while on a beach at Orakei between 1869 and 1881, remains uncertain. The image of the prow in the Kinder photograph (below) on display in Onehunga, said to be taken at Mechanics Bay during the 1860s (as was this photograph of the stern) ...


... certainly shows a carving of similar pattern and size to that presently on the waka today (my photo below).


Compare with this image from the Museum's photo collection, said to be a prow for Te Toki a Tapiri, but showing marked differences in design. Was this an early attempt to copy the prow? If they were going by the Kinder image, for example, that seems to show that any arms on the figure are missing. Therefore -- perhaps, in organising or finding a replacement, the pattern for the arms was guessed at. It seems to have continued into the 20th century, when this photo (below) was taken. Note the "arm" of the figurehead, which appeared to have 4 or 5 digits, compared with the more abstract representation of the limbs today.


Reference 2-V1503, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

This photo in Flickr, said to date from 1963, shows that the prow's arms are still in a different position compared to today's carving. At some point after 1963, it seems, the tauihu carving at the prow was altered.

Compensation to the Waiuku hapu for the confiscation of Te Toki a Tapiri took another 10 years after they initiated action through Judge Beckham's compensation court in the 1860s.

Nos. 15 and. 37.—Petitions of Hori Tauroa and 4 Others, and Henare and Aihepene Kaihau. Petitioners pray for compensation for losses suffered during the Waikato War, and particularly for compensation for the loss of the great canoe Te Tokiatapiri.
I am directed to report as follows
That, the war canoe having been captured by the Colonial Forces during the war in Waikato, the Committee cannot recommend any relief or compensation be granted the petitioners. 14th August, 1878. I—l. 3.
AJHR 1878
Native Committee 1879 voted £200 compensation.
AJHR 1880, B2A p. 82

Financial Year 1880-1881 – £200 compensation paid for canoe Tokiatapiri.
AJHR, 1881, B1 p. 36

No. 8 of 1882.—Petition of Hori Tauroa. Petitioner states that a sum of £200 was paid to the children of Kaihau for the canoe Tokiatapiri, whilst he had got nothing. He says he was entitled to a part of the price, and prays it may be paid to him.
I am directed to report as follows
That the Government has fairly met all just claims in regard to this canoe, and the matter ought not to be reopened. 15th June, 1882 
 AJHR

So now, the Government owned Te Toki a Tapiri outright, considering that a purchase had effectively been made, for £200, for the waka taua.  Soon after this, the remains on the Orakei beach were offered to the Auckland Institute and Museum in Princes Street. Four years later -- it was still lying, rotting, on the beach.
[Annual Meeting, Auckland Institute]
Mr Fenton said it was 4 years ago since, through his exertions, a very beautiful war canoe had been presented to the Institute, but it was still lying rotting on the Orakei beach, and this being so he thought Dr. Moore arid Mr Stewart were over-rating the interest taken in Maori antiquities by the Institute, He had offered the use of the Choral Hall for its storage, but nothing had been done.

Mr Stewart thought that as they now had funds they should get the canoe. The Chairman said that if they had no room for the canoe they had room for Mr Fenton's vast stock of Maori lore. The resolution was carried, and the meeting adjourned.
Auckland Star 17 February 1885


 Reference 4-2543, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

To be fair to the Institute, they seriously had no room for the waka at all. The second brick building was too compact for something of Te Toki a Tapiri's dimensions; they probably had to wait until 1892, when the new extension was added, to put the waka on display. Hopefully, before then, they had  it under some kind of cover to arrest the deterioration.

Pre-1928, reference 4-4902, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries
THE AUCKLAND MUSEUM.
NEW ETHNOLOGICAL HALL.
A VALUABLE COLLECTION.
The Auckland Museum, carried on under the auspices of the Council of the Auckland Institute is now in possession of perhaps the finest display and most valuable ethnological collection in the colony. The new annexe to the building in Princes-street, which has just been finished and tilled with exhibits, ready for the approaching formal opening, will when thrown open to the public be a source of great attraction, as being an exceedingly extensive and varied collection of Maori curios, carvings, weapons, and utensils, besides those illustrating the life and customs of South Sea Islanders and other uncivilised races …

A HISTORIC CRAFT. 
The large canoe which is known as the Toke-a-Tapiri, is an excellent specimen of Maori architectural art, now virtually a lost accomplishment amongst the natives. It is a waka taua or war canoe of the largest class, 82 feet in length from figurehead to sternpost, carved out of one large totara log, totara being a timber famed for its durability. When fully manned in the olden time the canoe would hold considerably over a hundred warriors. The big canoe has quite an interesting history. It is at least thirty years old, having been built in the Manukau by the Maoris prior to the year 1863. It was one of the Maori canoes seized by the troops at the outbreak of the Waikato war, the craft belonging to the natives resident at Waiuku. The Manukau Navals, a militia corps under Captain Lloyd, were ordered in 1863 to capture and destroy the Maori canoes lying in the creeks falling into the Manukau Harbour, in order to cripple the power of communication amongst the hostile natives. Many canoes were seized and destroyed. At Waiuku the militia found hundreds of Maori women and children, who calmly watched the work of destruction of their little fleet, the able-bodied men being all away at the war. It was found very difficult to remove the big canoe, the Toke-a-Tapiri, and it required the whole strength of the force to haul it from the canoe shed to the water. It was then towed up to Onehunga by steamer. This canoe was the only one which escaped the destroying axe, it being such a fine craft that it was thought a pity to break it up. It was left lying on the beach at Onehunga for many years, until it was eventually placed in the Auckland Museum. Its topsides, figurehead, and stern-post are carved very elegantly after the Maori fashion, and are ornamented with the iridescent paua shell. The canoe is still in an excellent state of preservation.
Auckland Star 14 October 1892


Pre-1928, reference 4-4901, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

Compare the stereoscope image above, with mine taken now (below). The arms of the prow carving do appear to have been replaced.



In the Auckland Museum may be seen a huge Maori war canoe 82ft long, with a beam of 7ft, built in or about the year 1835. This canoe has a beautifully carved figurehead, the sides and ends are also covered with artistic Maori carving, such as are seldom to be seen nowa-days; and is capable of accommodating no less than 100 paddlers, besides others.
Manawatu Herald 4 December 1900

Not everyone was impressed by the Museum's growing Maori collection.
AUCKLAND INSTITUTE.
ANNUAL MEETING.
The annual meeting of the Auckland Institute was held in the Museum Buildings last evening, Mr James Stewart, president, in the chair …

Dr. Bakewell said that about £6 had been spent on the Museum proper during the year, while one thousand pounds was being spent on the Mair collection. Why anybody should want to pay all this money for the most hideous object produced by human beings he did not know. If there were any beauty in the things, or if they were even a rude commencement of a higher art, one might take some interest in them, but here was a set of cannibal savages who, in the 20th century, had not reached beyond the stone age, and were very imperfect at that. He had been astonished to learn that the Maori canoe was made with steel tools. He considered such things of no interest at all. They were simply barbarous and hideous—pieces of wood chopped about by a set of savages. He would rather they were buried out of sight, and certainly could not see any reason for starving the beginnings of a valuable educational museum as the Auckland Museum was for these horrid monstrosities. A morbid taste was growing up in this part of New Zealand for accumulating horrible, ugly, and even obscene objects, because they belonged to the Maoris. We had nothing to do with the Maoris, we wished to supplant the Maoris, and he hoped we would in the course of time. He was sorry to hear they were on the increase, because they were a very low type indeed.
Mr Stewart said if Dr. Bakewell knew more about the Maoris he would hardly call them savages. In going into the ethnology of the Maori race they were carrying out one of the declared objects of the Institute. Dr. Bakewell's argument, if carried out, would sweep away nine-tenths of the British Museum.

The Rev. Dr. Purchas said no doubt members of the Council would prefer to have old specimens of Maori art, but with regard to the canoe, there was no canoe in existence which had been carved by the Maoris with their own weapons. As a race the Maoris were fully equal to many of the races that prided themselves on being great races. He would sooner trust the Maoris than a large number of the men who prided themselves on being superior. He thought the less we compared ourselves with the Maoris the better for ourselves.
Auckland Star 25 February 1902

August 1910. Reference 1-W1465, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries

Before the completion of the new museum on Auckland Domain, the great waka needed to be moved from its home of some 36 years. This operation was carried out in July 1928.
HISTORIC WAR CANOE
A HEAVY PORTAGE
Laboriously drawn through Auckland's back streets on Monday, the famous Maori canoe "Tapiri's Axe," now has a new home in the War Memorial Museum in the Domain (states the New Zealand Herald). The transport of the craft called for delicate manoeuvring, but although tedious, it was accomplished without a hitch. For many years the canoe has been housed in the Maori section of the old museum in Princes street, now closed in anticipation of the opening of the new building. A whole day was occupied in jacking the canoe on to a special trolley in preparation for the journey. Then it was found necessary to enlarge an archway in the brick wall in order to reach the street. Hitched to a motor-lorry the trolley bearing the canoe was drawn out to the street without much difficulty, but the journey to the Domain was slow.

The canoe was made secure between two 50ft Oregon beams, each weighing a ton. In addition the trolley weighted two tons and the canoe 4½  tons, so that there was a total load of 8½  tons for the lorry to draw. The trailing of a red flag at the stern of the canoe had no special significance, apart from the fact that the historic craft is 79ft 9in long, and the overhang was therefore more than sufficient to require the observance of the city bylaw dealing with such matters.

Almost four hours were occupied to take the canoe by a circuitous route to the new museum. A special bridge had been built over an excavation to enable the exhibit to be brought into the building by a back entrance. Skidding at that stage caused a slight difficulty, necessitating the services of another motor-lorry. Packing with bags filled with sawdust enabled the canoe to be transported without damage, and it was left on the trolley awaiting final placement. As the canoe entered its final home it had as passenger Mrs T F Cheeseman, widow of the late curator of the museum. Mrs Cheeseman took a similar ride when the craft first entered the old museum, and sentiment prompted her to repeat the performance.
Evening Post 11 July 1928

During World War II, there were concerns that the musem, a clear and prominent landmark, might be targeted during air-raids. This image, also from the museum photo collection, shows sandbagging around the waka in progress.



The interpretive panel that stands beside Te Toki a Tapiri in the Maori Hall today has errors in the last few lines.


"Compensation was paid to Ngati Te Ata at the end of the war."
The sign refers to the Waikato War, which is accepted to have lasted from 1863-1864. Ngati Te Ata received their compensation in 1880, quite some time after the war's end.

"In 1869 Te Toki a Tapiri was the highlight of a regatta on the Waitemata Harbour celebrating the visit of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh."
The actual regatta was a year earlier, in 1868. In 1869, Te Toki a Tapiri was one of a number of waka taua which was used as part of the official Maori greeting to the Duke.

"Ngati Whatua of Orakei under Paora Tuahaere later cared for the canoe until it was presented to Auckland Museum by the Government in 1885."
Turns out, according to the newspapers of the day, the canoe was offered to the Museum around 1881 -- then left on a beach at Orakei until, most likely, 1892 when the Museum's extension at Princes Street was completed.

Te Toki a Tapiri, writes Mere Whaanga, "is a hugely significant taonga of the Ngati Matawhaiti, Ngati Kahungunu and Rongowhakaata. When the Maori galleries of the Auckland War Memorial Museum were to be refurbished in 1999, the people of Ngai Tahu Matawhaiti and Iwitea discussed the implications of the project ... The refurbishment project proceeded apace, and, concerned at the lack of adequate consultation, a deputation of Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa travelled to Auckland for a hui on 1 September 1999 ..."

The representatives expressed concerns over the refurbishment of Te Toki a Tapiri -- new lashings, repainting, decorating the craft with new puhipuhi. It wasn't "acceptable to try to decorate the waka to make it look other than the venerable and aged taonga that it is. Every scratch and crack speaks of its long and turbulent history ... Te Toki a Tapiri resides in an institution devoid of contact with its rightful kaitiaki -- those able to whakapapa to Tapiri who have been appointed by Ngai Tahu Matawhaiti to fulfil that role. However interesting a display may be, it undermines the nature and meaning of taonga if it negates, or even ignores, the relationships that give life to material forms."



Compare the photo above with this image from 1961 (Museum photo collection). Some markings on the cross timbers are now gone, and the lashings renewed and altered since 1999.


Nearly 180 years after the trees were felled, their timbers used to build the craft that was to have a story woven in both war and peace, spanning old days before the coming of European-style government through to the chaos of land wars, into a modern age where trucks shifted it from one home to another...

... I don't think Te Toki a Tapiri's long story is yet over, somehow.