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Her extraordinary life

Ngāti Whakaue

The respected Ngāti Whakaue woman Hine-i-tūrama Ngatiki was brought up at Ōhinemutu by her Te Amohau whanaunga in the early 1800’s.
When she was still very young, she was betrothed to the Danish trader Phillip Tapsell who, in his mid-50s, was some 40 years older!  The marriage was part of a plan to keep the Tapsell family safe. As a relative of Ngāi Te Rangi leader Tupaea, Hine-i-tūrama and her family (which included the Tapsells) would not be killed by either Ngai Te Rangi or Te Arawa who were at war with each other at the time.  Hine-i-tūrama and her husband even went to Tupaea to try and bring peace between the two parties.
The family were kept safe for a while but soon other fighting put them back in danger.  When Haerehuka of Te Arawa murdered Te Hunga of Ngāti Haua, the chief Waharoa went looking for utu by attacking and destroying the Tapsell house and store at Maketū.  Ngāti Haua tried to take Hine-i-tūrama as a slave but she was saved by Murupara, Tupaea’s  wife.
The family were safely reunited and they quickly fled to Mokoia Island for protection.  Hine-i-tūrama was pregnant at the time and it was a very tough journey to reach safety. It was on Mokoia that her son was born.  He was named Retireti (Retreat) in memory of the family’s terrible flight from Maketū.
Sometime after the attack the Tapsells returned to Maketū and sailed to Sydney to buy a new cargo of trade goods. They settled at Whakatane on their return and it was there that they were officially married by Catholic missionary Bishop Pompallier who also baptised their six children.
Once again, Hine-i-tūrama was involved in an act of peace-making when she refused to take part in the revenge killing of a woman who had been captured by Te Arawa as revenge for an attempted kidnapping by Ngāti Haua.
In 1864 Hine-i-tūrama left Whakatane to visit her daughter Ewa, who with her husband Robert Hooper was with the King movement at Ōrākau in the Waikato.
Hine-i-tūrama and Ewa became involved in the fighting there on 2 April 1864 where they were both killed and were buried on the battlefield along with other Māori casualties.
In 1978 a memorial to Hine-i-tūrama was unveiled at Wharehau Urupā to remember this remarkable woman.

Qualities: relationships, wellbeing

More to read:

From Rotorua Library:

About Hine-i-tūrama’s sons:

Tapihana: a brothers in arms (Russell Caldwell)

Tangata whenua: a history (Atholl Anderson)


More to listen to:

Hear Ngāti Rangiwewehi perform a waiata about Hine-i-tūrama at the New Zealand Polynesian Festival way back in 1981!


This entry is related to these other entries:

Maketū: Te Arawa’s first settlement in a new world



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