Mobile Unit. Otago history

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Tono kōrero mai

G. B. Stevenson [a local historian of Oamaru] discusses the Māori history of Otago, including the surveying and sale of land by Walter Mantell, a Māori legend about the giant Kopuwai and the arrival of the waka Te Arai Te Uru.

G. B. Stevenson first talks about Walter D. B. Mantell's 1848 trip to Dunedin with Mr Wills and their crossing of the Waitaki River. This talk seems to be drawn from Mantell's diary, which Mr Stevenson says was "recently accessioned by the Alexander Turnbull Library".

Mantell arrived in New Zealand in 1840 and straight away became involved in native affairs. He founded the Whanganui settlement for the New Zealand Company and was Minister of Native Affairs under the Fox government. He reached the Waitaki River on a historic visit to Otago, and was engaged in surveying Native Reserves, having being appointed commissioner to settle native affairs in the South Island in 1848.

Mr Stevenson describes Mantell's dramatic crossing of the river on reed rafts or mokihi, and his journey to Dunedin and Port Chalmers, via Waikouaiti, Kakanui, Herbert, Hampden and Moeraki. He mentions local Māori Mantell had interactions with, or who were members of his party[all names transcribed as heard]: Taiaroa, Huruhuru, Topi, Paetu, Solomon Pohio and Rakitauini, Matiaha Tiramorehu.

Mantell's negotiations with Māori about the size of land reserves being set aside for them are detailed. The survey was completed in December 1848. [incomplete - ends abruptly.]

Mr Stevenson then retells a southern Māori legend. He says it was collected by Reverend James West Stack from the Māori Mission at Kaiapoi.

The first is about Kopuwai, a giant who lived in a cave in the Remarkable Mountains near Queenstown. He captured a woman named Kaiamio but she managed to trick him and escape to her people who then killed the giant. Several of the giant's two-headed dogs were also hunted down by her people and killed in various locations around the South Island.

He also tells the story of the waka Te Arai Te Uru and its arrival in New Zealand.

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Year 1948

Reference number 5536

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Oral histories
Interviews (Sound recordings)
Sound recordings

Credits Stevenson, G. B. (Gilbert Buchanan) 1884-1953, Speaker/Kaikōrero
New Zealand Broadcasting Service. Mobile Recording Unit, Broadcaster

Duration 00:23:07

Date 19 Sep 1948