Mobile Unit. John Houston, Hawera history

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Tono kōrero mai

Local history of Hawera read by John Houston. Story of Turuturu Mōkai Pā, local Māori history and early conflict over land.

Turuturu Mōkai Pā was a fortress constructed 400 years ago. Remains of the steep 3 line trenches can still be seen today. Tribes and sub tribes almost continuously warred amongst themselves. Then came a time when there was peace between the two hapu.. This peace lulled the people of Turi into a false sense of security while the old enemy secretly sought revenge. The chief of the old enemy tribe offered their tattoo expert to visit Turi Pa and tattoo young warriors. Whilst warriors were recovering from their tattoos, (i.e were at their weakest) the enemy attacked. Most of the Turi people were killed and the rest were made slaves. To further insult the Turi people, the enemy took the dried heads of the dead warriors and impaled them on stakes so as to insult the dead. Hence came the name: turuturu = stakes, mōkai = dried heads. The earlier name of the pā has been lost. This massacre occurred 12 generations earlier.

John Houston then outlines some of the old landmarks around Hawera including the earth-works, Te Raumanui, ancient moa hunter pā sites and remains of old Māori forts which were desecrated by the British.

Houston gives a brief background to Hawera and how it got its name. The settlement was burnt down by a group of warrirors wanting to take revenge from an insult, hence given the name "Hawera" which means "the burnt place".

Hawera developed from a blockhouse which was built in the 1860's where the library now stands [in 1946.] This lead to the set up of several stores which turned into a town and eventually became Hawera.

He refers briefly to Parihaka and the proclamation of the Hawera Republic. He finishes by opining that both races now exist in harmony.

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Reference number 4562

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits Houston, John, 1891-1962, Speaker/Kaikōrero
New Zealand Broadcasting Service. Mobile Recording Unit

Duration 00:15:04

Date [1946]