PALE HISTORY:   : : : : :

Te Puhe Kupe


In 1824, Te Pe¯hi Kupe, Paramount Chief of Nga¯ti Toa, paddled out into Cook Strait to intercept the trading vessel Urania, which was sailing for England. He had vowed to travel to England to see King George IV to procure muskets and other arms, realising the advantage this would afford Nga¯ti Toa.

Once on board the ship, he sent the canoes away and seized two ring bolts on deck, refusing to be moved. Efforts to land him on parts of the coast proved to be impossible, so the ship sailed for South America with him still on board. However, he quickly won the respect of the seamen and became close friends with Captain Richard Reynolds, whom he saved from drowning on their way to England.

When they reached Liverpool, Te Pe¯hi was the focus of considerable public interest, becoming the darling of Liverpudlian society. He received many gifts that he later traded for weapons in Sydney, on his homeward journey.

Meanwhile, from 1827, armed and ready, Te Rauparaha, Fighting Chief of Nga¯ti Toa with a large army of Nga¯ti Toa, Nga¯ti Ra¯rua, Te A¯tiawa and Nga¯ti Tama, and a flotilla of canoes, descended on the Wairau in the South Island where they established their grip over Rangita¯ne.

The return of Te Pe¯hi Kupe and his armoury of new weapons was the beginning of sequential attacks, first on the east coast to Kaiko¯ura, then on the west, attacking Whakatu¯ (Nelson), Motueka and Mohua (Golden Bay).

Because of this, the lands of the top of the South Island had large areas cleared of people, which is how the New Zealand Company was able to gain such a foothold.


Te Pehe Kupe

Te Pehi Kupe

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