Ihakara Gardens

The story of Foxton's oldest cemetery by by I. R.Matheson. Added to Library in 1995.

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INTRODUCTION

At the northern end of Foxton's Main Street,adjacent to the grounds of the Foxton Primary School, lies one of the most historic places in the Manawatu district - the small piece of land known as Ihakara Gardens.

Now owned and maintained by the Foxton Borough Council, this site was originally in use as the cemetery of the village of Te Awahou, the small mission station and trading centre which eventually grew into the township of Foxton. The individual graves which lie within the gardens are a visible link with the early history of Manawatu, while the site as a whole symbolises the foundation of peace which has been laid between Maori and Pakeha in this district.

The aim of this booklet is to give a brief account of the history of Ihakara Gardens and to pay tribute to the memory of Ihakara Tukumaru, the man after whom the site is named.

 

HISTORY OF THE CEMETERY

 

The oldest marked grave in Ihakara Gardens dates from 1850, but it is probable that the first burials took place several years prior to this date. Indeed,- it is likely that the cemetery came into existence during the 1830's, when the Ngati Ngarongo hapu (sub-tribe) of the Raukawa people first occupied the locality of

Te Awahou as a cultivation ground and fishing village.

The earliest written evidence of Te Awahou dates from March 1848, when the Rev. James Duncan (a established his home among Ngati Ngarongo settlers of Manawatu He died at Foxton in missionary of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland) at the village. Mr Duncan worked as a teacher and preacher until about 1857, when he began a ministry to the Pakeha and Rangitikei which lasted until his retirement in 1897. 1907, aged 94 years.

The surviving records of Mr Duncan's ministry do not contain any direct reference to the cemetery at Te Awahou, but it would appear that he regarded the site as a Christian burial ground and that he conducted the funeral service of many of the people who are buried there. These people include both Maori and Pakeha, for during the 1850's and 1860's Te Awahou became the principal trading centre of the Manawatu district and attracted an increasing number of Pakeha settlers.

In 1858-59 the Raukawa people sold the Awahou block of land (some 37,000 acres) to the Crown and in 1865-66 the Wellington Provincial Government subdivided the land for Pakeha settlement and laid out the township of Foxton. Among the pieces of land excluded from the sale to the Crown was the cemetery reserve at Te Awahou (1 acre and 5 perches in area), which subsequently became known as Section 97 of the Township of Foxton. This reserve was used as the public cemetery of the new township for several years, but the land remained in Maori ownership, in the name of Ihakara Tukumaru (the chief of Ngati Ngarongo).

In 1871 the Wellington Provincial Council set aside Section 371 ( the site of the present Foxton Cemetery) as a public burial ground and also enacted The Foxton Burial Prevention Act 1871, which prohibited the burial of any body in Section 97. In theory this Act applied to both Maori and Pakeha, but in practice its requirements were overlooked by Ngati Ngarongo. Ihakara Tukumaru was buried there in 1881 and it is believed that other interments also took place during

the 1880's and 1890's.

- By 1900, however, the cemetery had fallen into disuse and its long grass, dilapidated fences and straggly pine trees presented an untidy appearance to the northern end of the town's commercial centre. After several years of negotiations the Maori owners of the land agreed in 1919 to gift the eastern portion of the site (Section 97B) to the Foxton Borough Council, so that steps could be taken to improve the appearance of the cemetery and to preserve the graves, while the western portion (Section 97A) was sold to the Wanganui Education Board in 1927 as a site for the Foxton District High School. This western portion of the reserve appears to have never been used for burials and was occupied by a house for some years.

Section 97B (containing 2 roods and 21 perches) was given the name of "Ihakara Gardens" by the Foxton Borough Council, who became the legal owners in 1923. However, the cost of improving the site was met by the Foxton Beautifying Society, which conducted a public fundraising campaign and raised sufficient money to place concrete markers on all identifiable graves and to landscape the area with a concrete fence, steps, paths, lawn and ornamental shrubs.

The Maori people who gifted Ihakara Gardens to the Council were three women, Te Aputa Ihakara (Mrs Uruoteao Eparaima of Foxton), Karaitiana Te Ahu also known as Ngareta (Mrs Hone McMillan of Koputaroa) and Rangiahuta (Mrs Pataka Winiata of Otaki). The relationship of these people to Ihakara Tukumaru can be traced in the genealogy on page 5.

Ihakara Tukumaru was born about the year 1813 in the Waikato district, probably in the vicinity of Wharepuhunga, tocthe south of Maungatautari.

He belonged to the principal family of Ngati Ngarongo, one of the many hapu (sub-tribes) of the powerful Ngati Raukawa tribe, who trace their descent from the migrants of the "Tainui" canoe. The particular branch of Ngati Ngarongo to which he belonged was known as Patukohuru.

During the late 1820's Ihakara accompanied his people to Te Rotoatara in the Hawke's Bay district (near the site of Te Aute College), where they resided for several years. However, their presence was much resented by Ngati Kahungunu of Hawke's Bay and after a number of violent clashes the Waikato people were obliged to withdraw. Following a battle in which the famous chief Te Momo met his death, Ihakara moved south to Otaki, where he joined the main body of Ngati Raukawa who had migrated from Waikato by way of Taupo and the west coast.

The Patukohuru people appear to have lived mainly in the Otaki district until about 1835,

when they moved to the banks of the Manawatu River, settling mainly at Te Maire (west of the present town of Shannon) and at Te Awahou (Foxton).

In 1840 Ihakara came under the influence of the Rev Octavius Hadfield, the first Christian missionary (Church of England) to visit Manawatu, but after the arrival of the Rev. James Duncan the Patukohuru people placed themselves under

the care of the Presbyterian missionary, an action which earned them severe criticism from Mr Hadfield. The resulting tension was not eased until after 1857, when Mr Duncan withdrew from Maori mission work and Ihakara and his people were free to renew their association with the Church of England.

Ihakara is credited with organising the erection of two houses of Christian worship in the Foxton district, the first being at Te Awahou in 1850-51 and the second at Matakarapa (opposite Foxton) in 1880. The church at Te Awahou is believed to have stood in close proximity to the cemetery now known as Ihakara Gardens (possibly on the site of the present War Memorial) and was in use until about 1858-59, when it may have been blown down in a storm. The church at Matakarapa was named

"Te Upiri" (The Jubilee), to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in Manawatu, and was in use until the 1940's when the people of Matakarai,a moved across the river to live in Foxton. The church then fell into disrepair and finally collapsed about 1969.

From 1852 until his death, Ihakara held the office of Native Assessor, a Government appointment which carried a salary of 50 pounds per annum. This position involved assisting a Resident Magistrate to dispense justice among the Maori people and court sittings were held at Te Awahou to settle disputes concerning such matters as debts, thefts and assaults.                                                                                                                                                     

In 1862 the Maori people erected a courthouse in the village and the site of this building (on the corner of Main Street and Avenue Road) was later sold by Ihakara to the Government, which continued to use the land for court purposes until recently.

Another of Ihakara's contributions to the development of Foxton was his sale of the site of the Foxton Primary School. This 4 acre site was sold for the sum of five pounds in 1857 to Mr T.U. Cook, representing the local Pakeha settlers, and a school was subsequently erected by public subscription. The school became a public institution in 1867, when control was transferred from the local settlers to the Wellington Provincial Government.

Today, Ihakara is remembered chiefly for his role as a seller of land to the Government, particularly with regard to the Awahou Block of 37,000 acres (1858-59) and the Rangitikei-Manawatu Block of 240,000 acres (1866). Often overlooked, however, is his role as a peacemaker during the 1860's and 1870's. During this period there was violent conflict between Maori and Pakeha in many parts of the North Island and the influence of Christian chiefs such as Ihakara was a major factor „in preventing the spread of such conflict to Manawatu. Likewise, when disputes arose between Ngati Raukawa and other tribes concerning the ownership of land in Manawatu and Horowhenua, Ihakara was among those chiefs who advocated a peaceful settlement by means of negotiation and referral to courts of law. During these disputes the integrity, honesty and compassion of Ihakara and other Christian leaders of Ngati Raukawa was acknowledged in the following words, said to have been uttered by

Hoani Meihana Te Rangiotu, a leader of the Rangitane people of inland Manawatu: "Ko manawaroatanga o Ngati Raukawa, ki te pupuri i te rangimarie, ara i te whakapono." ("The stoutheartedness of Ngati Raukawa, to hold fast to the peace of God by means of the Gospel").

Ihakara died at Matakarapa (opposite Foxton) on 18 January 1881 and was buried in the old Te Awahou cemetery six days later. Hundreds of mourners, both Maori and Pakeha, followed his body to its final resting place and all the shops were closed, with blinds drawn, as the funeral procession passed along Main Street.

 

IHAKARA

Today, the Maori people of Manawatu look upon Ihakara Tukumaru as a symbol of family identity and Maori presence in the Foxton district. This feeling is well expressed in the following waiata (song), which was composed by Motu Te Peeti of Shannon for the opening of the meeting house "Turanga" at Paranui in 1982.

The song refers to the kinship which exists between the people of Paranui (Ngati Turanga) and the other hapu (sub-tribes) of Ngati Raukawa who reside in Manawatu and Horowhenua and is told in the form of a journey from one marae to another.

E   kimi noa ana i te timatatanga Te ihi te wehi

Te mana o aku tupuna

Whakina mai kei Turanga, Paranui Kei raro iho ki Motuiti whanui Te papatuanuku o Ngati Rakau.

Ka hoki nga mahara ki Moutoa Te moengaroa o te tini te mano

E   aku iwi o Raukawa nui tonu. Titiro au ki a Poututerangi

E   to mai na i.runga Whakawehi Te hikoinga o Te Atairangikahu Tere nga waif o Manawatu

Ki te teina o Whakatere a Takihiku

E   noho mai na i runga Ngarongo. Piki atu au ki runga Tararua Heke whaka raro ki a Kuku me Wehiwehi.

Ka tae an ki te tupuna Raukawa Te upoko o nga hapu o Tainui. Ka huri te kanohi ki a Kikopiri

Ki a Ngati Huia nga uri o Ngatokowaru.

E   hoki ana au ki taku taumata Ki a Thakara e moe mai ra i Te Awahou.

E   ko...ko is

ko e.

I begin seeking

The spiritual strength of my ancestors

Which lies with the Turanga people of Paranui.

I travel down to Motuiti

The ancestral ground of Ngati Rakau. Memories turn back to Moutoa

The sacred resting place of many hundreds, many thousands

Of my Raukawa people.

I look towards Poututerangi

Who stands on Whakawehi

Where treads Te Atairangikahu.

Gently flows the waters of Manawatu

To the younger brother of Whakatere, to Takihiku

Now residing at Ngarongo.

I now climb Tararua

Then descend to Kuku and Vehiwehi. Finally I reach the ancestor Raukawa

The meeting place of all the sub-tribes of Tainui.

I turn and gaze back to Kikopiri

And Ngati Huia, the descendants of Ngatokowaru.

Now I arrive back on my own sacred ground At Te Awahou where lies Ihakara.

It is so

It is so.

MARKED GRAVES

 The inscriptions on the seven memorial stones in Ihakara Gardens are as follows:

1.   SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF JOHN MAITLAND BEST, SURGEON, WHO DIED NOVR. 3RD. 1850. DEEPLY REGRETTED. AGED 32 YEARS.

Note: Dr Best came to Manawatu about 1845 and was the first medical practitioner in the district. He was also a cattle farmer.  

2.   IN LOVING MEMORY OF ANN, DAUGHTER OF THOMAS & FLORA KEBBELL. DROWNED IN MANAWATU RIVER 6TH MARCH 1854. AGED 2 YEARS & 2 MONTHS.

(At the foot of this grave is a small stone with the inscription "A.K.1854").                  

Note: The Kebbell family resided at Paiaka, some 10 miles upriver from Te Awahou, where Thomas Kebbell and his brother John operated the first sawmill and flourmill in the district  (1842-1855).

3.   SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF JAMES HENRY, SECOND SON OF FRANCIS AND ELLEN ROBINSON, WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE 30TH AUGUST 1855 AGED 7 YEARS.

Note: The Robinson family arrived in Manawatu in 1843 and their descendants are still farming the original property.

4.   HE WHAKAMAHARATANGA KIA PAORA TAIKAPURUA, I MATE I TE TAU 1858 ME HOKEPERA RANGIIRI, I MATE I TE TAU 1870.

Translation: A memorial to Paora Taikapurua, who died in the year 1858 and to Hokepera Rangiiri',who died in the year 1870.

Note: Paora was a chief of Ngati Ngarongo (see genealogy on page 5), but the identity of Hokepera is unknown.

5.   HE WHAKAMAHARATANGA KIA PIRIHIRA TUKUMARU, I MATE I TE TAU 1872.

Translation: A memorial to Pirihira Tukumaru, who died in the year 1872.                          6.

Note: Pirihira was a half sister of Ihakara Tukumaru (see genealogy).                            7.

6.   ERECTED BY A FEW OLD RESIDENTS TO MEMORY OF THE MAORI CHIEF IHAKARA TUKUMARU (FOR MANY YEARS A NATIVE ASSESSOR, AND ALWAYS A STAUNCH FRIEND OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE COLONISTS) WHO DIED 18TH JANUARY, 1881, AGED ABOUT 68 YEARS.

7.   HE WHAKAMAHARATANGA KIA HONA TAIKAPURUA, WI ROTORUA, HAPIMANA ROTORUA ME TE WHIWHI TE WHATAKARAKA. 8.

Translation: A memorial to Rona Taikapurua, Wi Rotorua, Hapimana Rotorua and Te Whiwhi Te Whatakaraka.

Note: Hona was a son of Paora Taikapurua (see genealogy) but the identity of the other three people is unknown.

 

UNMARKED GRAVES

It appears likely that the eleven burials recorded on the existing memorial stones are only a small percentage of the total number of interments which took place. The following list contains the names of people who are probably buried on the site, but this list cannot be regarded as definitive (especially for Maori burials):

1. TE AWAHOU;  The aunt of Ihakara Tukumaru (see genealogy on Page 5). Her descendants are resident in the Foxton district and believe their ancestress to have been buried in the old cemetery. The elder sisters of Te Awahou (Raumanene and Mitarina) are believed to have died in the Waikato district.

2. ALFRED COOK.  Drowned in Manawatu River on 18 September, 1865. The infant son of Thomas Uppadine Cook and his wire Meretini, who subsequently gave the name of Alfred to another of their sons.

3. THOMAS POAD. Drowned in Manawatu River, at Manawatu Ferry, 18 November 1866.

4. GODFRIED HEIE. Drowned in Manawatu River when crossing with a mob of cattle, 16 December 1866. Heie was a young Dane, who came to New Zealand with the well-known Bishop Monrad in 1866.

5. WILLIAM LOUDON. Died at Foxton on 1 October 1867 aged 62 years. His name and date of death appear on the headstone of his wife Jane, who is buried in the present Foxton Cemetery, but as that cemetery was not in use until 1871 it appears likely that he is buried in Ihakara Gardens. It is possible, however, that his remains were subsequently removed to the new cemetery.

6. JESSIE DUNCAN. Died at Foxton on 9 August 1868 aged 21 years.

7. MARY DUNCAN. Died at Foxton on 14 November 1869, aged 26 years.

These young ladies were daughters of the Rev. James Duncan, and came to Te Awahou with their parents in 1848. Their names appear on the headstone of their parents in the present Foxton Cemetery, but no dates of death are given, which suggests that they were buried elsewhere.

8. CHARLES REED. A surveyor and farmer, who was found dead in his house, some 8 miles upriver from Foxton, in June 1869. Foul play was rumoured, but the jury decided that there was insufficient evidence to show how, or by whom, death was occasioned.

9. FREDERICK KORNERUP. Attacked by a robber at Ohau and died of injuries at Langley's Hotel at Te Wharangi (site of Foxton Beach) in December 1868. The attacker was subsequently convicted of murder and executed in Wellington. Kornerup came to New Zealand with Bishop Monrad in 1866.

10. FRANCES ELIZA NASH. Died at Foxton 29 March 1869, aged 2 years.

11. JAMES SLYMAN NASH. Died at Foxton on 16 November 1870, aged 1 year.

These infants were children of Norman Nash (ropemaker), who settled at Te Awahou about 1855. Their names appear on the family headstone in the present Foxton Cemetery, but they were probably not buried there.

12. DUGALD HENDERSON. Drowned at bar of Manawatu River on 2 April 1871, aged 29 years. Henderson was the captain of the cutter "Dawn" and was washed overboard from his vessel.

 

RESTORING THE GRAVES

By the 1970's the graves in Ihakara Gardens were showing the effects of sixty years of weathering. The concrete coverings were badly cracked and stained, some of the lettering on the memorial stones was practically illegible and one stone was cracked in half.

The Foxton Historical Society took the initiative in organising restoration work and in 1979 the graves were repaired, at a cost of approximately $1,500. Much of this cost was met by the proceeds of a public appeal, which included donations from both Maori and Pakeha.

THE IHAKARA PLAQUE

Following the restoration of the graves, discussions were held with the Manawatu Regional Committee of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust concerning the possibility of erecting a sign at Ihakara Gardens to draw attention to the significance of the site. The Regional Committee eventually decided to supply a bronze plaque to be placed on the right-hand side of the gateway, to match the existing plaque on the opposite side. The existing plaque records the gift of Ihakara Gardens to the citizens of Foxton by Aputa, Karaitiana and Rangiahuta, while the new plaque draws attention to Ihakara Tukumaru and the burial ground of Te Awahou.

The plaque was executed by Mr P.H. Dibble of Palmerston North and includes a representation of the head of Ihakara, based on a photograph dating from about 1880. This photograph is reproduced in T.L. Buick's book Old Manawatu  (facing page 64) and is also printed on the front cover of this booklet.

On Sunday March 20, 1983 the plaque was brought to Paranui marae, Foxton, and formally presented to representatives of Ngati Turanga, Ngati Ngarongo and Ngati Takihiku, the people with the closest kinship ties to Ihakara. A church service was then held and the plaque was blessed by the Rey. H.H. Winiata, the pastor of the Rangitikei-Manawatu Maori Pastorate of the Anglican Church.

Arrangements were later made for the Foxton Borough Council to attach the plaque to the gateway and on Sunday May 1, 1983 the Mayor of Foxton,

Mr J.L. TitCombe unveiled the memorial.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BUICK, T.L. Old Manawatu, 1903
DUNCAN, James Letters to Donald McLean, 1849-1867
(McLean Papers, 2/1/6, Turnbull Library)
HADFIELD, Octavius Letters to Church Missionary Society, 1838-1868 (Turnbull Library)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Appendices to the Journals

1861 C-1 Reports of Land Purchase Department
(Awahou Block 1858-59)
1862 E-1 List of Native Assessors
1862 E-9 Reports of Officers (Buller's report)
1870 D-46 Return of Persons Drowned (1840-70)
1875 H-37 Return of Persons Drowned (1870-75)

 

McDONALD, R.A.  Te Hekenga, 1929
MANAWATU HERALD Newspaper files (held by Foxton Borough Council)
21 & 25 January 1881 (Ihakara's death)
23 August 1894 (Cook's purchase of school site) MAORI LAND COURT  

MAORI LAND COURT Aotea District Records (held in Wanganui)
File on Te Awahou Reserves
Otaki Minute Books, No. 1-E Himatangi hearing, 1868 (Ihakara's evidence, pp 594-613)
Otaki Minute Book, No 1 Manawatu-Kukutauaki hearing, 1872 (Ihakara's evidence, pp 11-13, 124-135)
 MITCHELL, June  Amokura, 1978
 RAMSDEN, Eric  Rangiatea, 1951

REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Scottish Presbyterianmagazine

(Contains letters from James Duncan, 1843-1857)

(Photocopy held by Turnbull Library
STEWART, J.T. Field Book NZLPD 1717 (Awahou Block survey, 1859)

Plan of the Awa Hou Block, 1859

(Department of Lands & Survey, Wellington)

TAYLOR, Richard Journals, 1839-1873 (Turnbull Library)
TURTON, H.H.  Maori Deeds of land Purchases in the North Island of

New Zealand, Vol. 2, 1878

WELLINGTON INDEPENDENT Newspaper files, 1868-1870 (Turnbull Library)
WELLINGTON PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

Gazette, 1866-1871 (National Archives)

Correspondence, 1868 (National Archives)

WILLIAMS, T.C. A letter to the Right Hon.W.E. Gladstone, being an

appeal on behalf of the Ngatiraukawa tribe, 1873


                               

 

 

             

                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       

                                                   

                                                   

                                                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The compilers of this booklet extend their grateful thanks to Mrs Atarina Winiata of Paranui, Mr Ngarongo Iwikatea Nicholson of Foxton and Mr Te Kenehi Taylor of Foxton for assistance given with historical information and genealogies.

 

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