Hutt City Libraries Online Heritage Collection > Texts

Lower Hutt Past and Present (1941)


Maori Wars

Our God and soldier we alike adore
When at the brink of ruin, not before;
After deliverance both alike requited
Our God forgotten, and our soldiers slighted.

Trouble in the Hutt Valley.

With the arrival of additional settlers, more and more demands were made for sections for clearing and development. Disputes arose with the Maoris regarding the boundaries of the land they had sold, and these led to the arrival of Commissioner Spain, who held his first Land
page thumbnail

Captain Compton's Cottage, River Hutt, December, 1843.

(Reproduced from the original sketch by W. Swainson, F.R.S.).
—Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library.
Captain Compton's house was near the eastern end of the present Hutt Bridge.
Court in Wellington in 1842. Here the Maoris challenged the right of Te Puni and Wharepouri to dispose of the land.
Unfortunately, it was claimed that it was not made clear to the Maoris
page thumbnail

Maraenuka Pa, 1846.

Brees.—Courtesy Wellington Harbour Board.
This pa occupied the site of the Power Board's Sub-station near the River off connolly Street. Mr. Hapi Love records that this was a temporary pa, and Maraenuka means the "Courtyard of the Humbug." Taringa Kuri frequently used this pa during his disputes with Mr. Swainson concerning the ownership of the adjoining land.
This pa was built about 1841 and was burnt down in 1846.
page thumbnail

The Taita Stockade, 1846.

(Redrawn from the orinigal sketch by W. Swainson, F.R.S.)
—Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library.
The exact position of this stockade is not known except that it was near Mr. Mason's original house at Taita. All traces of this disappeared about 1900.
at the time of sale that they had given up all their rights to make use of any part of the lands they had disposed of.
This led to trouble between Taringa Kuri and Te Kapara Te Hau, with Mr. William Swainson, who had purchased the land adjoining Mr. Boulcott's southern boundary, on which these two chiefs had been in the habit of growing their potatoes. The Maoris lived in Kaiwharawhara, where there was no land suitable for this purpose.
In 1843 the Maoris again became troublesome. At this time the main road had been finished for about a mile above the Taita Gorge, and the settlers were doing increasingly well when their prosperity excited the jealousy of a number of wandering natives acknowledging no authority, but claiming that the white men were occupying land belonging to them. These Maoris attempted to resume possession by terrifying the settlers and destroying the crops. Governor Grey was convinced that these overt acts were winked at, if not openly encouraged, by Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, whose headquarters were at Kapiti and Mana respectively.
Meantime other and more serious claims were being made impugning the title to all the lands in the Hutt Valley, and animosity arose between Colonel Wakefield, as Agent for the New Zealand Company, and the Commissioner, Mr. Spain. The more matters were investigated, the more the issues were clouded until, in 1846, even the friendly Te Puni complained that the Ngati Awa tenths of land were being occupied by white settlers at Taita. A payment of £400 to Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata, as a second purchase of the Hutt Valley land, instead of mending matters, only further complicated them.
Encouraged by these events, Taringa Kuri and his followers occupied Maraenuka pa on the banks of the river near Boulcott's, and were joined there by some men under Te Kapara Te Hau.
In view of possible contingencies, and to protect the settlers in the district, troops were under arms in a camp on the same bank but further south, and Fort Richmond was built and the bridge guarded. In an attempt to avoid bloodshed, the Government sent a missionary, the Rev. Richard Taylor, as a mediator, and Te Kapara Te Hau agreed to the terms of settlement, but ignorant of this, the troops had advanced and the native pa, including their church, was destroyed by fire. The Rev. Taylor reported to Rangihaeata that the burning was an accident due to misunderstanding, but the Chief replied: "This is the end of peace."

The Fight at Boulcott's Farm.

On the 1st March, 1845, the hostile Maoris plundered nearly all the settlers at Wai-whetu, and two days later further robbery and violence at Taita resulted in Martial Law being proclaimed.
On the 2nd April Andrew Gillespie and his son were murdered on the banks of the river.
On the 20th April, 1846, Martial Law was again proclaimed, and on the 16th May, fifty men, under Lieutenant G. H. Page, stationed at Boulcott's Farm, were attacked by some 200 Maoris.
Two memorials of this gallant fight, in which the immortal Bugler Allen and seven soldiers were killed, were presented to the people of Lower Hutt by the Early Settlers' and Historical Association, one, a marble slab, now rests in St. James's Churchyard, and the other, a huge stone, is situated at the entrance to Old Military Road.
Later, another settler, Richard Rush, was found murdered, and further fighting and several skirmishes took place at the Taita.
The troops and the Militia, assisted by the friendly Ngati-Awa, under the faithful Te Puni, drove the marauders through to the West Coast. Quiet reigned once more, and the Militia was disbanded. The capture of Te Rauparaha by Sir George Grey at Taupo pa, Plimmerton, marked the end of hostilities in the Valley, and the settlers returned to their despoiled property and began life anew.
For the part played by the friendly Maoris during these troubles, a handsome silver cup was presented to Te Puni by Alexander Currie, a member of the New Zealand Company, no behalf of the English people. In addition to this, land was made available to the Maoris for settlement in the Taita District, and much of this property is still in their possession.

Old Hutt Families.

The following list of names includes those of many families who arrived in Wellington before the end of 1842 and settled in the Valley. As the roads were opened to Taita in 1843, Upper Hutt in 1844, Wairarapa in 1847, and Wainui, several of these went further afield. Again in 1872 others migrated to the Rangitikei District, where they founded Sanson.
Most of the names, however, will be familiar to the older residents of the Valley and adjoining districts, whilst a large number of the descendants of these pioneers still reside in the Valley.
Acourt, Allen, Barb, Barton, Bell, Benge, Biddle, Boulcott, Brown, Bryant, Buck, Buick, Burcham, Burnett, Burt, Clout, Cole, Collins, Collett, Cook, Cooper, Copeland, ottle, Cundy, Cudby, Deans, Daysh, Detcham, Dick, Downes, Duppa, Ellerm, Fairweather, Farmer, Fitzherbert, Frethey, Futter, Galloway, Gillespie, Hall, Harris, Hayward, Hill, Hollard, Holmes, Hooper, Hughes, Hunt, Hunter, Jackson, Johnston, Judd, Keys, King, Knight, Lockett, Lockwood, Ludlam, Lyon, Mabey, Mason, McEwan, McGurk, McHardie, McKain, McKenzie, McLaggan, Milne, Molesworth, Moreing, Mudgway, Norris, Park, Parker, Partridge, Pearce, Peck, Petherick, Petre, Pike, Pilcher, Poad, Poole, Prebble, Prouse, Renall, Reynolds, Riddiford, Ridler, Rush, Russell, Saxby, Sellers, Shepherd, Sinclair, Speedy, St. Hill, Swainson, Swan, Sykes, Tannerhill, Taine, Tocker, Udy, Walsh, Walters, Welch, White, Whiteman, Whitewood, Wilkie, Williams, Wood.

All images and text on this website are for personal use only. No material may be reproduced, communicated or copied other than for the purposes of research or study, criticism or review, or reporting the news without the Library's permission. Use and referral of material for these purposes must include full and proper acknowledgement. Reproduction of material for other purposes may incur a fee. For more information see our contact details