Author Archives: Paulrexroberts

About Paulrexroberts

Born in New Plymouth, New Zealand. I now live in Orewa, New Zealand

John Morgan 1829-1916


John and his brother William Morgan emigrated from North Dorset to Taranaki in January, 1850, with their first cousins, (Harriet) Matilda and William Honeyfield.

I was contacted by my fifth cousin Andrew Morgan in March 2022 offering a sample of John Morgan’s diary for this website. Andrew and I share the same great-great-great-great grandparent, Hannah Morgan. Andrew and I had not known each other: it was only after Andrew recognised the Honeyfield name in this website while doing some Morgan ancestry research that he got in touch with me. I was so pleased to hear from Andrew! Incredibly, Andrew then revealed that he knew my first cousin from the other side of my family, Brian Roberts, very well. Small world!

I had already been given some of John’s recollections for inclusion in the posting on the Honeyfield siblings emigration from North Dorset. However, on receipt of Andrew’s material, I decided to more fully record selected extracts from John’s diary notes here because John’s record of his life is so interesting.

John’s notes date from his early days as a school child in the 1830’s in a small rural village in North Dorset, through to his initial working years as a tenant farmer/farm worker. The circumstances in which the Morgan & Honeyfield cousins decided to emigrate to New Plymouth and their first experiences in Taranaki, including establishing the farm at Tataraimaka are described in fascinating detail.

The Morgan brothers were leaders and pioneers. It was John Morgan who made the decision to emigrate to the new colony of New Zealand. His brother William and his Honeyfield cousins Matilda and William, being in similar circumstances with limited choices for jobs and career advancement, decided to join him. Not having travelled far before – even to Salisbury some 45 miles from Gillingham – the prospect of travelling to the other side of the world must have been a mind-boggling situation for them. It was John and William Morgan who were the first to purchase land at Tataraimaka and establish a farm. As will be noted below, John went on the become a leading politician in the colonial Government.

The notes as represented here as recorded by John’s great-grandson in the first decade of the 20th century.

My observations as editor are in square brackets.

Extracts from John Morgan’s diary

Source: John Morgan 1829-1916: a history of his life and times, taken from his notes and recorded by the great grandson of his brother William Morgan:- Robert R Morgan in 2002


I was born on a farm in Dorsetshire called Gutch-pool in the parishes of Gillingham and Motcombe, situated in the extreme north of the County bordering on Wiltshire. In fact the boundary of the farm is the boundary between the Counties. My Father, who was a well to do farmer, had another farm adjacent, called Longmoor, in the parish of Gillingham [Ed. Tenant farmers paid a fixed rent for the land. They often owned their own stock and kept the profits from their agricultural and horticultural farming, except for a 1/10 tithe on gross value of the farms annual produce paid to the Church or tithe owner]. Both these farms belonged to the Crown, and were under the Commission of Her Majesty’s “Woods and Forest”, supervised by a Steward – of which I have to speak more further on.

When I was about three years old, we shifted from Gutch-pool to Longmoor, and here I spent the early days of my childhood, much in the same way in which County children are brought up, suffice to say, that previous to my attaining the age of 7 years I had gone to a Dame School [Ed. Dame schools were often run by women with little or no qualification who charged a small fee for teaching reading, writing and other skills … often serving as a child-care service than a school] where I had learned my alphabet and to sew. Shortly before reaching my 7th year, I was placed at a school in Gillingham – under Daniel Cave, where I boarded, going home on about an average of once a quarter [Ed: amazing that John only went home once a quarter even thought the distance from home to school was not that great]. At this school I remained for six years – but I find I made little progress in my learning – being always regarded as a dull scholar – in those years.

During these school days, I well remember hearing the church bell toll, at the death of King William the IV [Ed.1837]. Also the merry peels that rang at the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne. I also have a very distinct recollection, of being in the procession of children that marched through the village, with a rosette of blue and white ribbon on my breast, preceded by the band, celebrating her late Majesty’s Coronation. These and subsequent events are impressed on my memory. There was the children’s Fete with the attendant ringing of bells, and village merrymaking, at Her Late Majesty’s Marriage. It was also during my school days, that the century of Wesleyanism was celebrated, in this I also participated. I also remember the introduction of gas into our village, the gas works being in the vicinity of our school; this was in the years 1837-8 …

[Ed. John finished his education by attending a day school in Mere in the years 1842/43 after which, from the age of 14, he worked on the family farm]

I had to attend to a flock of 300 ewes. At this I was engaged until I left England in 1849. Not withstanding my engagement with sheep, I had to do much other work, such as milking in the mornings, and at every opportunity, when the sheep did not require my constant attention – that is, if they were in an enclosed field, with good fences – then I had to assist at harvesting or any other work that was going on. At harvesting and haymaking my chief engagement was in loading, that is when that operation was in progress. But in a general way I may sum it up that I had engaged in nearly every work that is done on a farm, and before I had attained the age of nineteen, could take my place in whatever situation I was required.

After I had attained my nineteenth year, I began to get dissatisfied with my position, I could not reconcile myself to the daily round and as a consequence turned my attention to what I had better do …

[Ed. Through his father, John tried to get the lease for a small farm whose tenant was in arrears. The Crown Steward mislead the Morgan’s and assigned the lease to another farmer.]

I must say this treacherous action on the part of the Crown Steward and in the general way in which my father as a Crown Tenant was treated, assisted greatly to influence me in seeking a home in a distant colony. The question now was to what Colony should I emigrate?

Just at this time I had been reading in the Chamber’s Journal [Ed. at that time published as Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal] a description of New Zealand and in that description was shown that the land was good and the climate excellent, in fact it appeared that there was no winter to provide for, to me this was a great inducement from home experience. I contrasted a country where we would keep our stock on the fields all winter, with our way of keeping stock housed so many months of the year, considering also that with us in England the summer must be devoted to preparing for winter as well as providing for Rent, taxes and Tythes [sic]. I thought of a Colony where we should be free of taxes and that obnoxious impost Tythes. To me in my then position it certainly did appear a perfect Haven of Rest, to be a New Zealand Colonist.

To add to my decision, just at that time an old friend of my father’s visited us, he had been to New Zealand and had just returned. He confirmed all that I had read and more, his personal experiences and that of many he could mention, that had gone to the Colony previously under the N.Z. Company. Again another account came to my hand, this was a book by Mr C. Hursthouse, “Hursthouse’s Account of New Plymouth” [Ed. hyperlink inserted. There is no reference to the Barrett whānau in Hursthouse’s book other than a brief mention of two whaling stations at Moturoa in ‘friendly competition’ with one another. There is extensive information in the book about the colonial economy and conditions at New Plymouth, including trade between Māori and settlers]. This book, explained by the experiences of my father’s friend (Mr J.B. White) duly decided me to make New Plymouth my choice. I told my father that I had fully made up my mind to go to New Zealand as I could not see a chance of ever getting a farm in England. My father agreed that was right but added that he would not agree for me to go alone – that if I went he should propose that my brother William should go also. Of course for a long time previous to this we had many discussions on the matter and my brother William was as anxious as I was to go to New Zealand, although he was some fourteen months younger than I was.

It soon became noised abroad amongst our family circle that J. and W. Morgan were going to New Zealand. At “Park Farm” in Gillingham my uncle John Honeyfield lived – renting under the Marquis of Westminster. They had a large family and similar circumstances to ourselves – that is could not see room for all to attain farms in England. Cousin William and his sister Matilda [Ed. Harriet Matilda] quickly made up their minds to emigrate with us … In the course of time my father and uncle Honeyfield went to London and secured passages for us on the Barque Berkshire … My father, in visiting the ship was persuaded to take for us boys a steerage passage, arguing we could merit in thrift as well as others and the few pounds extra that would be needed in an intermediate passage thus saved would be better in our pockets on landing in the Colony … Uncle Honeyfield secured an intermediate berth for cousin Matilda thinking that she may find it too uncomfortable in the steerage.

… As “Time and Tide wait for no man” so time passed in getting ready and the say arrived when we were to say “Good Bye” to our dear Parents, Brothers and Sister and to all relations and friends and to the old place of our Birth! We all bore up as well as young people full of hope and enterprise can do. On the Saturday the 29th day of September 1849, I, together with my Brother William, left dear old Longmoor where we left poor dear Mother and my aged Grandmother in tears, as well as the servants engaged on the farm – both within and without. By all if was thought that we were going out amongst savages and that our doom was sealed!

Migration to New Zealand

[Ed. The Morgan’s and Honeyfield’s first stage in their migration to New Zealand was to travel by horse and cart to Salisbury, some 45 miles from Gillingham, where they boarded a train to London.]

[Salisbury] was the first Railway Station I had seen, all seemed new and curious to me, in fact to us all as we had not travelled far before taking this journey. Salisbury I had not visited, being green from the country.

We took our seats in a second class carriage [of the train] which was entirely a new mode of travelling to me … I cannot attempt a description of the journey to London, it was all so different to what I had been accustomed to, that I could scarcely realise my position …

I confess that London at the time had no attraction for me. I cared little about what I saw and was anxious to get away … [Ed. two days later they boarded the Berkshire bound for New Zealand, eventually departing two days later and soon after they began …] I felt the movement of the vessel, and quickly I went to lay down to it! I never can forget the feelings of my first sea sickups! Oh, that I could get ashore! … I did not think at this time that I should live to see N.Z. and little did I care, for sometimes I felt that I should be glad if the whole lot of us went to the bottom … after the sea sickups passed away I really thoroughly enjoyed the sea … Although we in steerage lived far better than many did in the intermediate, we, the four of us (Matilda having arranged with the Captain to allow her a whole cabin in the steerage that was vacant and draw on her Intermediate rations and mess with us) messed together, having provided ourselves with many little things which became luxuries on board …

The first view we saw of New Zealand was on the eve of the 13th Jan 1850. Just before sunset we saw Mt Egmont, standing in all its glory, the setting sun giving to it’s snow-capped top, a beautiful appearance. I shall never forget with what feelings of joy I looked at that snow-capped mountain, associated as it was with hope of our voyage being ended in a few hours … we arrived at the roadstead of New Plymouth, after a passage of 101 days, on 16 Jan 1850 … Cousin Matilda and I went on shore to secure a house, if possible, to live in and store our belongings until such time as we could turn ourselves about and get something to do or somewhere to go.

First days in New Plymouth

The landing at that time (and for years afterwards) was effected by boats – large surf boats of about 5 tons each … To my surprise there was a large crowd of people on the beach to welcome us and I can truthfully say that the hospitality that I and my companions received was bountiful in the extreme …

Cousin Matilda and myself took up temporary quarters at the Masonic Hotel [Ed. Soon after the cousin’s rented a house at Devonport along with the Gudgeon family from the Berkshire] …

We were now quite settled at New Plymouth, and expenses had begun, in rent and living, so that I, my brother and cousins were not going to hang about doing nothing. Money must be earned, and I felt anxious to commence making my fortune, which I was foolish enough to think, I should soon do, as labour at harvest work was paid 3 schillings 6 pence per day and found. To one who had just left a country where labour was paid 1schilling per day and not found! I thought I should soon be independent. This I know now was “counting the chickens before they were hatched”.

As I mentioned, harvest was in full swing. I went to assist Messrs Clare and Bassett for two days to get in their wheat, which was near the town, after which I thatched the stack with toi-toi, all quite new to me, and I didn’t cut my hands!, and there was the supplejack (karewa) to fasten it on with. I managed it after great exertion, and particularly as it was very warm weather. To me, it seemed warmer than I had ever felt, in the Old Country, however I soon got used to it.

My next adventure was fern cutting at Peachtree Farm, across the Waiwhakaiho river … it was at this time … I was offered the farm to rent. This was in Jan 1850, and we were to take possession in March … We fairly knew there was little to be made on the farm, if anything, after paying the rent etc, still we could live at less cost in the country, than in the town, at the same time it was giving us opportunity of gaining knowledge of agriculture and colonial life …

Before proceeding further, I should mention this farm was on the boundary of the district that settlement was then allowed by the natives … before we arrived, but during 1849, the Maoris had met and determined that the settlement in New Plymouth should not extend beyond (what is known as Smart Road) the road leading to Peachtree Farm. They had erected a very large staff on the Waiwhakaiho flat, the the junction of this road! This was erected as a protest against further settlement!, and as a Tapu!, so that all settlers beyond this boundary (with the exception of two families) were to vacate their land!, and come inside the prescribed Block.

Consequently, all those that had previously occupied land in the Mongareka [sic] District had to leave; it was just at this period that Messers Flight and Devendish removed their flock from the district, to the Mangorei, where they had felled a quantity of bush, and prepared a place for their stock. I think I may state that this was quite the first attempt made at subduing the forest for settlement, at any rate to any appreciable extent. I am very pleased to acknowledge that these attempts proved successful, and good results were obtained. But it must be admitted that it was the action of the Natives that forced the settlers into the bush at this early period of settlement. The Pioneers in bush settlements had hard times to encounter! there were no roads! no bridges! And speaking of bridges, reminds me, that at my advent into New Plymouth the only bridge east of the town was the Te Henui bridge and that bridge was unsafe for traffic! Carts and heavy traffic had to go through the river, and many a time have I driven through the river, before the bridge was repaired, as as to be safe to drive over!

First land purchase

During this time (1 year) we were on this farm we were on the lookout for a piece of land of our own; our means were very limited so that were obliged to restrict our ventures to within narrow bounds … It so happened that there was a section, (50 acres) in the Omata Block open for sale, forced by foreclosure, and this section we succeeded in purchasing for the sum of 80 [pounds].

It was whilst we were a Peachtree Farm, we had about 20 acres of our section at Omata cleared of fern and ploughed, so as to prepare for a wheat crop. This section was adjoining the section owned and occupied by J.L. Newman, (Matilda Honeyfield’s husband) a relative, he having married by cousin … We took possession of our land [Ed in March 1851] and lived with Mr and Mrs Newman, working the two sections together, suffice to say, that the wheat crop was a failure! not producing more than 5 bushels to the acre. This to young beginners was a great blow! It so happened that compensating circumstances came to our aid.

Purchase of land at Tataraimaka

At this period in the history of New Plymouth, there was a large influx of immigrants arriving, and as land was scarce, on account of the course taken by the natives. In fact there was no open farmland in the market. Consequently the price of land rose rapidly …

It was now that demand for land had become so urgent, that the authorities determined to put the Tataraimaka Block on the market. This Block was 15 miles from town and at that time in the occupation of Messrs King and Cutfield as a cattle run … our cousin was willing to buy our two shares [Ed. in the Omata section] at 200 pounds … and [we] purchased 212 acres … bounded by the sea, and the Timaru river; this was all fern and flax land. We soon commenced operations; there was no timber or bush of any kind on the land, we had to go about 3 miles up the Block to get a few poles to frame a small ‘whare’. We got the frame work and dragged it down through the fern on a hand cart, to our land, and soon had the frame work up … Our first ‘whare’ was about 12 feet by 8; divided into two, a sleeping room, and a general living room; cooking was done outside. To this Block at the time was no road! and very little prospect of being able to get a road through the Native land! It was all Native land the whole distance from the Omata Block to the Tataraimaka, occupied by Maoris that were determinedly opposed to settlement by the Pakeha!

The only path (by land) was, after leaving the Omata Block, to go by the nearest cut we could to the Taupuae river, passing by Poatoko Pah, whose chief (if I remember rightly) was ‘Tamati Wiremu’, he was more friendly than the others, and did not oppose us. [Ed. I confirm this was Tamati Wiremu of Te Atiawa. He lived for a time at Te Aro, Wellington and died in 1860 and is buried at Corbett Park, Oakura. His gravestone reads ‘He whakama harataroa Enei mo to tatou Hoa Mo Wiremu Tamati Rangitewhaiha haepaia, I mate i te 2 onga ra i hema 1860 (in memory of our friend called William Thomas … died 2 Nov 1860.]

When at the Taupuae river, we had to cross and keep to the beach, then crossing the Oakura river, if the tide was out, at the mouth. If the tide was in we had to wait, or go a short distance up the river where an Indian (called Black Davis) had a boat, and he would sometimes put us over for a trifle. Having got over the Oakura, we had to travel on the beach, which at high tides was an arduous task as it was chiefly shingle, then we had to cross the Timaru river at the mouth at all times, and to do so in safety, had to await the tide. Once across the Timaru we were at home.

It was by this route I attempted to describe that we got our bullocks and plough down to Tataraimaka, the bullocks dragging it all the way, except at one particularly rocky place on the beach just after crossing the Taupuae; here we had to carry the plough and drive the bullocks as best we could. In this way we got our bullocks and plough to Tataraimaka.

Now our troubles commenced! There were no fences, as I have stated before, and the difficulty was to keep our bullocks. No grass! and the only feed was rough native grass growing among the fern and toi-toi. As our bullocks had been fairly well fed at Omata, they had a natural inclination to return there, whenever the opportunity presented itself. This often occurred after being unyoked from the plough, we had to watch them until dark.

I was always about early in the mornings, and my first care was to look for the bullocks! My brother employed himself in preparing breakfast, such as it was. Should it be that I could not see the bullocks, I had to go to the beach and look for tracks! Ofttimes I could see that they had crossed the river! There was nothing for it but to get across and follow as fast as I could, on foot (we had no horse). Our real fear at all times was that they would turn into the Maori land, and perhaps break into a garden which was not securely fenced, in such case we did not know what would be the result! The Maoris had no idea of conscience; the most exorbitant demand might be made! and be paid! as there was no protection to be obtained by an appeal to the Court!

However, this did not occur, as when the bullocks found themselves on the track, they generally went ahead. I have many times had to go as far as Taupuae, before I could get up with them. From the description I previously gave you of the path, it will be seen that I had to cross 2 rivers … in the cold early morning; and walk say a distance of 4 or 5 miles to catch the cattle, and then drive them home. On such occasions I would walk and run from 8 to 10 miles, crossing these icy rivers than run direct from Mt Egmont, and all this before breakfast! after partaking of breakfast, we had to yoke up and go to the plough all day.


In 1853 John Morgan moved to Wanganui, where he leased land from Imlays at Balgownie. In 1861, after visiting Gabriel’s Gully he bought Newtonlees, a property of 700 acres near Wiritoa Lake, which he worked till 1907. He represented Wangaehu in the Wellington Provincial Council, 1868-1875. He was a member of the first Wanganui Harbour Board, and a member of the first Wanganui County Council. Morgan was a founder of the Wanganui A & P Association and the Okoia Dairy Company. He was also something of an artist with pen and ink (Dictionary of NZ biography / Scholefield). See obituary – Wanganui chronicle, 2 May 1916, p 6.

More details of John Morgan’s life can be found here, including that ‘Morgan was involved in local and national politics, serving as the Whangaehu Member of the Wellington Provincial Council from 1868-76. He also served on the first Agricultural Association, the first Wanganui Harbour Board, and helped to have the tolls on the Town Bridge abolished in 1882, which was beneficial to the region’.


Arthur Huia Honeyfield, 1903 – 1996

The following are edited extracts from Arthur Huia Honeyfield, Max Avery, 1916 (with permission from Arthur’s son, John Honeyfield).


It should have been no surprise that a great-grandson of the adventuresome and enterprising Richard (Dicky) Barrett, trader, whaler, interpreter and hotel owner, would in his own field become an entrepreneurial leader in agricultural commerce and marketing.

Arthur Huia Honeyfield stepped beyond Dicky Barrett in that he demonstrated unique ability to excel both in private enterprise and as a bureaucrat. He was a pioneer aviator, he was early on the scene in exotic afforestation, he had qualifications in law and accountancy, he established the second commercial planting of avocados in New Zealand, and he was the “money man” behind the development of New Zealand’s largest export port.

Yet, when he died in Tauranga in 1996 aged 93, his name had faded from central government and local body politics. Few remembered the extraordinary abilities he displayed in organising the supply of food to 400,000 American servicemen in the Pacific during the second world war, and his strategies for the raising of massive loans to finance the development of the Port of Tauranga. Perhaps he was little remembered because he was little honoured, and perhaps he was little honoured because in stepping beyond his great-grandfather and making a success of the huge tasks entrusted to him, Arthur Honeyfield, genial and sociable though he was, had no compunction in stepping on toes when necessary to get the job done.

Early career

Arthur was educated at Tataraimaka School followed by the New Plymouth Boys Hight School. After leaving school to help his father with mixed farming, at the age of 21 Arthur successfully applied for a job with Wright Stephenson at its Wellington head office.

Arthur studied law and accountancy after work by attending night lectures at the Victoria College. Even while studying Arthur gained rapid promotion with Wright Stephenson. At 24 he became the managing secretary of the Kiwi Bacon Company, becoming general manager in 1933. By 1935 he held positions not only with Kiwi Bacon, but Amalgamated Dairies and Anchor Products Ltd, distributing butter, cheese, milk-powder. bacon and eggs.

The bureaucrat

With the election of the Labour Government in 1935 and takeover of agricultural marketing, Arthur’s private sector roles were lost and so he joined the Internal Marketing Division of the Primary Products Marketing Board based in Auckland.

Pioneer Aviator

Arthur obtain his aircraft pilot certificate during the very early days of aero clubs forming in New Zealand. Arthur was motivated by the potential to utilise flying for business trips, as well as getting some fun out of it. He put it this way:

As a young business man with a lot of travelling to do I dreamed up the idea of flying around the country rather than use the slow metalled roads. Tauranga was then not much more than a fishing village and returning from there on one occasion I decided to take a closer look at Kauri Point, landing the Gypsy (sic) Moth on a little beach down from Hugh Moore’s place. I remember tying the plane to a fence and walking up to meet the only inhabitant, a Mr Jenkins”.

Katikati Advertiser, August 3, 1993

According to Land Title Records Arthur purchased 246 acres at kauri Point on September 10, 1934, a property that he subsequently named ‘Tatara’ no doubt in memory of the Honeyfield family property at Tataraimaka.

One of Arthur’s early solo flights was to Tataraimaka on 6 March 1932, undoubtedly demonstrating his new means of transport to his family in taking a couple of flights from there, cruising over New Plymouth.


Arthur’s political boss (and soon to be Prime Minister) the Rt. Hon. Walter Nash, Minister of Marketing, sent a telegram message on the occasion of Arthur’s wedding to 27 year old Edith Cecilia Scheele in 1938: “Hearty congratulations and good wishes. I hope that your marriage will be as happy and promising as your association with me since you joined the staff”.

Edith was born at Killara on Sydney’s upper North Shore and came to New Zealand in her late teens.

Arthur was then aged 35, with the marriage taking place four years after purchasing the property at Kauri Point. Another 50 acres at Tahawai Peninsula was purchased in 1938.

Arthur and Edith had two children, John and Elizabeth.

The couple and their children spend many years enjoying Tatara. Honeyfield house parties were events of some consequence. The annual Christmas party was an opportunity for them to entertain business and local government acquaintances as well as friends and neighbours.

Second World War

The outbreak of war in September 1939 had a major impact on the Internal Marketing Division. Arthur Honeyfield joined the New Zealand branch of the United States/United Kingdom Joint Purchasing Board (JPB) established to share resources for the war effort.

The man the JOB looked to in anticipation of making all this possible was Arthur Huia Honeyfield, and he did not disappoint it. It was then that Honeyfield’s multi-tasking abilities came to the fore, and for the next five years he was to exploit them to the full.

Max Avery, 2016 page 21

Public Service

In 1956 Arthur entered a new sphere of public service, representing his fellow Tauranga County ratepayers on the Tauranga Harbour Board. The 1950’s were a dynamic time for the Board due to extensive investments upgrading the port to handle exports of pine forest products. Arthur went on to chair the finance committee for eight years and then becoming deputy chair in 1969.

In 1971 Arthur travelled to Japan with fellow board member R.A. Owens to examine progress being made in the shipping and handling of cargo units. They talked containerisation with port authorities, shipping and industrial executives and returned to lay the ground work for the development of Tauranga as a major container port.

Fellow board member Tony Grayburn recalled that Arthur:

… made me very welcome, and was so helpful at board meetings … His business experience and contacts were invaluable to the Port of Tauranga, particularly so in the case of dairying and horticulture. His advice was always sound and given with good humour and a loud laugh”.

Max Avery, 2016: 41

Arthur stepped down as deputy-chairman in 1972, and after 18 years of service, did not offer himself for reelection in 1974.

Arthur was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in 1975.

The Bay of Plenty Times editorialised on Honeyfield’s death in 1996:

The status of the Port of Tauranga as the leading export port in the country and a catalyst in the economic activity in the region owes much to the talent Mr Honeyfield demonstrated during his long years as finance committee chairman. The real power base of the developing public utility lay in his hands. His years as a public servant had prepared him for working the system with the powers-that-be in Wellington to the benefit of the board.”

Max Avery, 2016: 41

Pioneering Avocados

Arthur first became interested in the avocado when he visited the United States in the course of his wartime food production activities and saw avocados being grown and marketed in California.

By 1969 Arthur had sold his dairy farm and relinquished his position as chairman of the finance committee of the Harbour Board. He was 66 years of age. What better time to start developing his remaining 52 acres, and perhaps start a new industry! He build a small grafting shed and set about learning how to propagate avocados. Grafting was a matter of trial and error, and progress was slow.

Arthur preferred to do his own marketing, drawing on his experience and contacts from earlier years. He preferred to lead, rather than to follow.

By 1987 many horticultural industry leaders believed that Arthur was responsible fo pioneering the local avocado industry.

Last years

Edith died in her 83rd year after 56 years of marriage. Arthur died in January 1996 at the age of 93.

The end came quickly. Arthur Honeyfield became ill in January, 1996 and was admitted to Tauranga Hospital and he died on the 21st.

The squire and lord of the manor of Tatara, the avocado advocate, the harbour board money man, the innovative and persevering public servant of World War II days, the dairy and pork industry leader, the pioneer aviator, had gone and Tatara was empty.

Charles and Mary Honeyfield, 1874 – 1929

Charles (Charlie) Edward Honeyfield was the youngest son of James and Caroline Honeyfield, and grandson to Dicky and Rāwinia Barrett.

Charlie married Mary Alice Harrison in 1902. The Harrison family were part of the New Zealand Company emigration scheme, arriving at New Plymouth in April 1841 on the first ship, the William Bryan (Puke Ariki). Dicky Barrett and his crew were on hand to assist the passengers onshore and to house them in temporary accomodation.

Charlie and Mary farmed for many years on one of the Honeyfield holdings at Tataraimaka before selling in 1916, eventually settling on a farm on Cambridge Road, near Te Awamutu in 1925. Charles managed the property on behalf of a partnership between himself and his brother-in-law.

In the early hours of 10 February 1927, Charlie meet with a horrible demise through being burned in his motor car. Charlie left his farm at about 3.00 a.m. to meet the Main Trunk Express at Te Awamutu. Motoring experts advanced the opinion that Charlie struck a match causing an explosion and the vehicle’s benzine flames enveloped him before he could get clear.

Charlie was described as a well-known and highly respected settler (The Honeyfields of Taranaki, 2014).

Charles Edward Honeyfield

Charlie and Mary had two children:

Arthur Huia

  • Born 31 July 1903
  • Educated at Tataraimaka School
  • Married Edith Sheele in 1938
  • Died 1996

Winifred Harita

  • Born 22 February 1905
  • Married Robert Hughes
  • Died 1985

Winifred and Robert settled in the Waikato.

Richard Barrett and Florence (Loveridge) Honeyfield

Richard was the first born Honeyfield in New Plymouth in 1853, to parents William and Sarah Honeyfield.

Richard married Flo Loveridge in 1876

According to the 1892 electoral roll, Richard was a stablekeeper owning freehold land at Fitzroy, New Plymouth. However, Richard also owned a property at 49 Whiteley Street that is still standing.

Former home of Richard Barrett Honeyfield, 49 Whiteley Street, New Plymouth

Richard and Flo had five children:

Gertrude Blanch

  • Born 1870
  • Married William Duffin in 1907
  • Nine children
  • Died in 1968.

Laurence Hugh

  • Born 1881
  • Married Rebecca Whiteside
  • Died in 1953.

Ethel Mary

  • Born 1883
  • Married Archibald Hodge
  • Seven children
  • Died in 1974.

Jessie Eliza

  • Born 1885
  • Married Edward Thomas (Tom) Petty in 1906
  • Jessie was educated in New Plymouth and became a milliner. She was was a keen croquet player and was President of the Kawaroa Club. She was said to have great enthusiasm and great organising ability. She also helped out at the West End Bowling Club. Sadly she suffered a long illness and passed away at the age of 1929, just short of her 44th birthday. Her husband Tom was a top Taranaki bowls player and was a member of the West End Bowling Club for 50 years, eventually becoming a life member. He served at various times on the Ngamotu Beach, Kawaroa Park, Centennial Park and Paritutu Reserve committees.

Gladys Sarah

  • Born 1892
  • Married Gordon Mexted
  • Four children
  • Died in 1942.
Rebecca (Whiteside) Honeyfield and her husband Lawrence (Laurie) Hugh Honeyfield and Ellen Caroline (Honeyfield) McLean
Jessie Eliza (Honeyfield) Petty
Ethel Mary (Honeyfield) Hodge
Galdys Sarah (Honeyfield) Mexted

Family Histroy of North Dorset Honeyfields from 1680

Extract from Francis Toogood’s research:

Many Honeyfields were tenant farmers who in the early days spoke in the Dorset dialect. In those days they did not read or write so the name was written as it was spoken – F was pronounced V. There are many variations of the spelling in the early records: Honeville, Honnevil, Hunneval, Honeywel, Honevil and Hunnifield are some examples. By the time the family settled at Gillingham the spelling of Honeyfield is constant (1800 until the present day).

Research goes back to a marriage at Kington Magna in 1704 when Robert Honeywell married Jane Parsons. Kington Magna is a small village four miles from Gillingham overlooking the Blackmore Vale. At least three to four generations of Honeyfields lived in the village and were baptised, married and buried there.

Robert was born about 1680 in the reign of Charles II. We don’t know where he was born. He lived through the reigns of James II, William and Mary, Queen Anne, George I and George II, and he died in 1766 in the reign of George III at Kington Magna.

Robert and Jane had three children. The eldest, Jane, appears to have been a cripple as the Church Warden’s Accounts refer to her being in distress repeatedly from 1741 to her death in 1767 at the age of 62, when the Parish paid for her coffin, digging her grave and tolling the bell at a of cost 10s 6d. The second child Robert, born 1706, married Anne Beaton in 1735 at St. Peter’s Church in Shaftesbury. Anne was born in 1714. They produced eight children, all recorded at Kington Magna.

Kington Magna is an isolated village four miles from Gillingham. The church of All Saints is in a beautiful position on the escarpment overlooking the Blackmore Vale.  Below the church is a large medieval fish pond and in the churchyard an ancient yew tree. There are no Honeyfield gravestones. In the village there are farmhouses and cottages of the 17th and 18th century. We do not know where they lived. The church records reveal Honeyfields from 1704 to 1793. The Enclosure Act around 1780 was most likely to have been the reason for the family leaving Kington Magna to settle in the Gillingham area. 

James, born in 1761, married Mary White at Sturminster Newton, on 1st February 1790. They went on to live at Huntingford, a hamlet near Gillingham. James and Mary brought up their eight children at Huntingford, a hamlet with a few farms and cottages.  It would have been a long walk to Gillingham yet all the children were baptised at St. Mary’s Church. They did not go to school.

One of their sons, James, married Charlotte Coombes and stayed in Gillingham farming 150 acres and employed three men in 1851. Their daughter, Miriam, married John Goddard and emigrated to Clinton, Iowa, USA in 1880, followed by another grandson of James who was born at Cole Street Farm, Gillingham.  

The gravestone of James is one of the few around St Mary’s Church and inscribed on it are the names of some of his children. It reads: ‘In memory of James Honeyfield who died 26th March 1836 and of Mary his wife who died July 21st 1835 aged 66; also of Ann their daughter who died January 1807 aged 10 years; also of Jane Langley the daughter of James Honeyfield who died May 15th 1881 aged 82 years. Also of William Honeyfield her son who died September15th 1880 aged 74 years. Also Jane wife of the above who died June 8th 1892 aged 75 years.’

Some members of the family were leaving Gillingham by 1825 to find work. William, a woolstapler, married Elizabeth White at Glasbury on Wye.  Others went to find work away from Dorset and agriculture in the Somerset coal mines, Bristol and South Wales.

Much of North Dorset was owned by large estates. The Morgans rented from the Duchy of Cornwall and the Honeyfields from the Duke of Westminster. These wealthy landowners were never very interested in the local people or their welfare, only in the income derived from ownership. They employed unscrupulous agents who controlled the tenants. In 1847 The Wilts and Dorset Banking Company closed their office in Gillingham following acute agricultural depression and so at that time our ancestors began to consider emigration to find a better life where the climate was more agreeable for dairy farming with no tithes to pay and less taxes, where they could acquire land and eventually be their own masters. Many of our family (the Honeyfields) emigrated.

John and Hannah Honeyfield

Between 1849 and 1856 four sons and one daughter of John and Hannah Honeyfield left Gillingham for New Zealand to be followed by a granddaughter in 1875, a grandson in 1876 and three great grandsons in 1910. In 1875 Miriam (Honeyfield) Goddard left Gillingham for the USA followed by James Benjamin Honeyfield from Cole Street Farm in 1880. John and Ellen Honeyfield, grandchildren of John and Hannah, left Park Farm in 1910 and settled in Manitoba, Canada.

They all hoped for a better life and were prepared to work hard. They never returned to their homeland and made a new life in New Zealand and North America.

John and Hannah Honeyfield were also tenant farmers just out of Gillingham, Dorset. John was born in Gillingham in 1795. James was the son of James and Mary Honeyfield and great-grandson to Robert Honeywell and Jane Parsons.

Hannah Morgan was also born in Gillingham, in 1803. Hannah grew up at Gutchpool farm near Matcomb, part of the Duchy of Cornwall estate.

Gutchpool Farm House

As tenant farmers, John and Hannah moved farms on several occasions. John and Hannah’s eldest child, Harriet, was born at Malt House Farm in 1824. Henry John Honeyfield was born in 1830 at Longmoor Farm, near Gillingham. James and Edmond were born at Park Farm. Longmoor Farm is now part of the Duchy of Cornwall and is tenanted by Colin and Stuart Rogers.

John and Hannah proved to be successful farmers. The census return of 1851 states that John was employing 12 labourers.

John and Hannah Honeyfield
John and Hannah Honeyfield
Park farm
Park farm, Gillingham

The Census Return of 1851 states that John Honeyfield, farmer of  Park Farm (300 acres), was employing 12 labourers. 

Emma Elizabeth was the 7th child of John and Hannah, born on the 20th March 1835 at Park Farm. Hannah wrote in her note book that Emma Elizabeth died on 19th April 1839 aged 4 years.

Hannah died in 1865. The next year John married Sarah Miles, a widow and 24 years younger. By this time five of the family were settled in New Zealand; Robert and John had farms of their own and only Charles and George were at home and they did not marry for another ten years.

John and Sarah retired to Peasemarsh. John made his will in 1872 and he died the same year leaving his house and some land in trust for his children. Sarah lived another 32 years so that his estate was not settled until 1904. By this time only John, James and George were living.

There is a grave stone to John and Hannah in the old churchyard, now a garden, in Cemetery Road, Gillingham.

Francis Toogood

History of Gillingham

While there is evidence of early Roman settlement, the town of Gillingham, situated in North Dorset, was established by the Saxons. A Saxon Cross shaft in the church of St Mary of the Virgin dates from the 9th century.

Saxon Cross shaft

According to a British History Online article, Gillingham parish lies within the area of the mediaeval Royal Forest of Gillingham. More historical information about Gillingham is provided in the article, including that Gillingham was mentioned in the Doomsday Book (a census completed in 1086 ordered by King William the Conqueror), and that the Parish Church of St Mary’s dates back to the 14th century.

Gillingham has been a site of human habitation from earliest times. Today it is a small bustling industrial town on the edge of the Blackmore Vale in North Dorset at the confluence of three rivers over which pass five town bridges.

There is evidence of Roman Settlement. Later in the 12th century there was a royal hunting lodge which by 1300 had become redundant. Medieval period records mention 130 dwellings and a population of several hundred. In the 17th century the enclosure of Gillingham Forest began. The land was cleared and divided into large fields and isolated farm houses were built. A fire swept through the town in 1694 which explains why so few early buildings survive.

Industry first came to the town around 1769 with the establishment of silk spinning. The rivers provided power for the mills that came in the 18th century.

All through the ages the largest employer has been the land and until recent times the work was done by hand. The workers had a very hard life and were poorly paid, life expectancy was not good as food was not plentiful, medicine was hard to come by and smallpox outbreaks were frequent. In 1710 there were 19 deaths. In 1740 there was another outbreak and again in 1769 there was a severe outbreak. Scarlet Fever often occurred and was a killer. In 1843 there were 41 deaths. In 1859 Robert and Rhoda Honeyfield buried four little sons aged 4, 3, 2, and an infant. In 1830 farm workers became very dissatisfied as many had no work and were on ‘poor relief’ and riots followed. 1840 was the time of the Irish Famine and many thousands emigrated, some to New Zealand. In 1848 the church overseers gave £40 followed by £150 for poor people to emigrate.

From1783 to well into the 20th century there were many Honeyfields in Gillingham: 40 in the 1841 census and 31 in 1901, but now there are none. All that is left to remind us is an estate of houses in Peasemarsh named Honeyfields.

In the summer of 1820 Constable stayed with his friend, John Fisher, in the close at Salisbury. They visited Gillingham during their stay. John Fisher was also the vicar of Gillingham. It has been established that Constable was at Ecliffe on Saturday 29th July, and made a drawing in Common Mead Lane on Sunday 30th July and next day he sketched a farm cart. By 1823 Archdeacon Fisher and family had taken up residence in Gillingham and Constable was encouraged to visit. In August 1823 he travelled to Salisbury, thence to Gillingham. He completed two works during his stay including Parhams Mill. The view is not so recognisable today as the mill burned down in 1825 but the surrounding countryside accurately portrayed.

Constable painting of Parhams Mill at Gillingham

Te Puke Mahurangi and Kuramai-i-tera

Updated 31 December 2021

Te Puke Mahurangi and Kuramai-i-tera were Wakaiwa Rāwinia’s parents. Te Puke and Kuramai had two other daughters, Hera Waikauri and Herata Waikauri and a son, Hoera Pare Pare.

Hera married Ihaia Taiwhanga but had no issue of her own. Hera and Ihaia were given a Crown Grant of 8 acres of land ‘Moturoa F’ in 1887. Interestingly, a Maori Land Court order dated 17.7.1914 ruled, with the support of the Honeyfield’s, that the interests of Hera Waikauri in Moturoa F should go to her grandchildren Te Kauri Paraone and Kararaina Paraone (Hodgson, 2018).

Some time following the siege of Otaka Pā Herata Waikauri was taken by the Waikato as a slave. Following her release she did not marry and she died in Auckland in 1887.

Hoera married Mere but had no issue, but they adopted Eruera Kipa (Skipper), son of Hoera’s cousin, Neha Te Manihera. Hoera and Mere lived at the Kainga at Ratapihipihi. Hoera died in 1876 and left his interest in Ratapihipihi land to his wife and his sister, Hera (ibid). There is no evidence of Hoera and Mere having a close relationship with Rawinia’s family (i.e. the Honeyfield’s).

Little is known about Te Puke’s background. We do not know of his parents or when or where he was born although what information is available is that he is of Te Atiawa of the Ngamotu hapū (Ngati Te Whiti).

Some researchers have referred to him as a leading Ngāti Te Whiti rangatira. Evidence that he belonged to Ngāti Te Whiti is also in the results of a census organised by Donald McLean in 1847.

Te Puke was identified as one of the Ātiawa rangatira who gave some support to the Tainui/Ngāpuhi amiowhenua taua in 1819-20 when they were under siege at the Pukerangiora Pā (Smith, 2010 p362-363). That may indicate that Te Puke shared some kinship ties to the northern tribes as did Kuramai-i-tera.

Kuramai-i-tera’s whakapapa in contrast is well-established and very impressive. Through her father, Tautara, Kuramai’s whakapapa traces back to seven of the great waka that arrived in Aotearoa around 1350 (see Wakaiwa Rāwinia’s whakapapa in the family tree links page), and to several other iwi to the north and east of Taranaki. Tautara was a leading Atiawa chief (Ariki) and was known to belong to the Puketapu and Ngāti Rahiri hapū. He also lived for a time at the Rewarewa pā of the Ngāti Tawhirikura hapū.

Te Puke and Kuramai appear to have lived within or close to the area now known as Rotokere/Barrett’s Domain, probably at the nearby Ratapihipihi Pā or Manahi Kainga. They allocated use of land in that area to Dicky Barrett for following his marriage to Rāwinia in 1828 (later known as Barrett’s Reserve C & D). Members of the Ngāmotu hapū were recorded as living at Ratapihipihi at the 1878 census of the Māori population.

Te Puke and Kuramai were part of the 300 or so who choose to remain at Ngāmotu to maintain ahi kā as opposed joining the Atiawa migration south in 1832 after the seige of Otaka Pā. Their lives from then until the return of Barrett and his family eight years later can only be described as being utter misery from subsequent raids by the Tainui. Their bravery and perseverance deserve to be remembered.

Kuramai-i-tera was also taken as a slave by the Tainui in a follow-up attack in 1833 and was not released to return to Ngāmotu until late 1839, joining her husband again at the time the Barrett’s were once more resident at Ngāmotu. Kuramai was probably in the party of former Atiawa slaves returning from the Waikato in the company of Edward Meurant, agent of the Wellesley Missionary Society (WMS), on his way from Kawhia to purchase land for the WMS (Mullon, p11).

Conditions for those who had remained in and around Ngāmotu were very harsh. Ernst Diefenbach estimated only about 20 people remaining near Ngāmotu in November 1839, and that they ‘… lived a very agitated life, often harassed by the Waikato, and seeking refuge on one of the rocky Sugar Loaf Islands, at times dispersed in the impenetrable forest at the base of Mt Egmont, sometimes making a temporary truce with their oppressors, but always regarded as an enslaved and powerless tribe’ (B Wells, Chapter 12).

One can imagine emotions being high at the sight of Dicky Barrett, Rāwinia and family at the time of their return to Ngamotu. Dieffenbach observed that, ‘On our arrival being known, they assembled around Mr Barrett, and with tears welcomed their old friend. In a singing strain they lamented their misfortunes and the continual inroads of the Waikato. The scene was truely affecting, and the more so when we recalled that this small remnant had sacrificed everything to the love of their native place’.

Given his brave perseverance in maintaining ahi kā at Ngāmotu it is hardly surprising that Te Puke was initially opposed to selling land to the NZ Company (Caughey, 1998:134). As noted in the posting covering Barrett’s role on land sales, it was not until Barrett threatened to leave Ngāmotu once again with his family that Te Puke was coerced into signing the deed of sale.

However, prior to doing so, maybe in part in response to the perceived threat from Europeans wanting to purchase land; in part due to his conversion to Christianity following the arrival of missionaries to Ngāmotu and that Kuramai had already converted while being held as a slave by the Waikato, Te Puke and another Ngāmotu hapū rangatira, Poharama, jointly signed a deed of sale of 100 acres of land to the WMS on 13 January, 1840. That was several weeks prior to Barrett transacting the ‘Ngā Motu’ sale to the New Zealand Company that included most of the Te Ātiawa rohe.

Ngamotu Deed of Sale to Wesleyan Missionary Society, January 1840

The first mission house stood at the foot of what is now Bayly Rd and what is now the Wahitapu Urupa. In time the urupa was administered by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Minister of Maori Affairs.Some of the land sold to the WMS came under Railways ownership. Later, as a result of William J Honeyfield’s efforts, a Wahitapu Trust was formed including representatives of the Love and Barrett families (Mullon, p24).

As was common practice for Māori in becoming christian, Te Puke took the European first name of Edward, or Eruera in Te Reo: hence he signed the WMS deed of sale as ‘Edward Puke’. Te Puke may have chosen ‘Edward’ in honour of Edward Meurant.

Eruera and Kuramai saw out their years living near the Hongihongi stream, close to the Barrett family at Ngāmotu. They had seen so much change following the arrival of Europeans, the consequences from the musket wars and from early colonisation. They had no doubt witnessed much joy and happiness as well as indescribable horror and hardship in their lives. For me, their great-great-great grandson, their courage, honour and dignity remain as an inspiration.

We do not know when Kuramai died. Eruera appears to have outlived Kuramai, Barrett and Rāwinia given that Poharama Te Whiti noted in his letter to Donald McLean dated 16th February 1851 that: “our elder, Eruera, who has died, and will not return as friend or guide for me and our good friend, Hone”. Both Eruera and Kuramai are likely to be buried at the Wāitapu urupa, Ngāmotu, close to the Barretts.

Te Whānau o Wakaiwa Rāwinia Barrett: Nga Tūpuna

Updated 3 April 2021


In traditional Māori society whakapapa describe the relationship between humans and their tātai (families) inclusive of kōrero (stories) about their inter-relations and relationships with the rest of nature (Te Ao Mārama – the natural world, Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal, Te Ara). I will endeavour to capture some of that in this posting.

Hilary and John Mitchell drew on whakapapa research of their own and others to include Rāwinia Barrett’s whakapapa in their publication: Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka: A History of Maori of Nelson and Marlborough, Volume 4: Nga Whanau Rangatira o Ngati Tama me Te Atiawa: The Chiefly Families of Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa (2014). While Rāwinia and Dicky Barrett only lived at Te Awaiti in the Tory Channel for about five or six years, and moved on to Wellington and then New Plymouth, the Mitchell’s stated that:

… her inclusion in this book is justified by the roles she played as rangatira wahine whaimana [female chief of highest seniority and standing]- respected by both Maori and European – in establishing and consolidating Te Atiawa in the Marlborough Sounds.

Mitchell, 2014, p347

In the whakapapa the Mitchell’s prepared for Rāwinia’s second cousin, Huriwhenua, we can see that Rāwinia’s whakapapa traces back to the earliest origins of Te Atiawa to the birth of Awanuiarangi (from the union of Rongoueroa and Tamarau-Te-Heketanga-A-Rangi – see more information about that union here: Te Atiawa ) and to the Kāhui people and the beginning of the world with Ranginui (Rangi, sky father) and Papatūānuku (Papa, earth mother) (‘Tautara’s book’, Waitara Districts History & Family’s Research Group, and Table 9.1, page 171 in Mitchell, 2014 – a photo of which is on the Family Trees/Whakapapa page). The name ‘Kāhui Ao’ implies a tribe descended from Rangi and Papa. Tamarau’s celestial whakapapa shows his decent from Ranginui and Papatūānuku down to Ao Tatai (Marsh 2010: 31).

According to Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck) the first Maori to arrive at Ngā Motu, long years before the so called great fleet, were three waka called Kahutara, Taikoria, Otoki and their commanders wer Maruiwi, Ruatamore adn Taikoria. Descendants from this early migration subsequently were called Tini O Taitawaro. They occupied the Taranaki coast from Oakura to Mokau. One of their villages was Otaka, the pā at Ngamotu that was the site of the battle between Te Atiawa and the Waikato in 1832 (Mullon, page 1).

Another inter-relationship between Te Ātiawa is the connection to the Ngāti Awa. Originally from the far north of Aotearoa, Ngāti Awa migrated to the East Coast (Whakatane) and to northern Taranaki. Once in Taranaki they intermarried with the descendants of the Tokomaru waka, establishing them as part of tangata whenua of Taranaki and even more so through the marriage of Parenui-o-Te-Rangi to Maramata-Hae-Hoe of Te Kahui Tu (Marsh 2010: 32) around 1375. Ultimately the iwi adopted the name Te Atiawa, possibly to differentiate themselves from their origins with Ngāti Awa.

One of Rāwinia’s Tūpuna was Korotiwha, an ariki of Te Atiawa who resided at the Kairoa pā (inland from Lepperton) and was of the Ngāti Taweke hapū (Percy Smith, 1910). Kairoa pā is an historic site for Māori and an entry point for the Waikaahurangi track to Ketemarae pā, that linked northern Taranaki to southern Taranaki for hundreds of years in pre-European times. Korotiwha led Te Atiawa in the eventual defeat of the Nga-Potiki-taua of the Taranaki iwi some 20 years after Nga-Potiki-taua’s conquest of Te Atiawa. According to Percy Smith the small remnants of Te Atiawa who survived the earlier Nga-Potiki-taua conquest were scattered in small groups in the bush where they hid to evade capture (page 218). It took Te Atiawa 20 years to build up their numbers in order launch their reconquest. Korotiwha led the battle that took place at Omaru pā situated at the bend in the Waiongana river. The triumphant Atiawa chased and killed the retreating Nga-Potiki-taua all the way to Waiwhakaiho, completing the first stage in the reconquest of Nga-motu. It was said that so few of the Nga-Potiki-taua survived that the once powerful hapū ceased to exist (page 225). Percy Smith estimated the reconquest took place around 1760, but the whakapapa shows that Korotiwha lived 10 generations before Wakaiwa Rawinia’s grandfather, Tautara, so he would have been born around 1600. That would place the timing of the battle at around 1660, not 1760. That timing is more consistent with the population regrowth of Te Atiawa that had occurred by the 1820s.


More of Rāwinia’s whakapapa is shown in Table 19:1 (Mitchell, 2014: page 333) tracing back hundreds of years and 29 generations to the seven great waka from Hawaiki, the legendary Pacific homeland of the Māori people thought to be Rarotonga and the Tahitian region. The great waka were:

  • Aotea
  • Kahuitara
  • Tainui
  • Takitimu
  • Horouta
  • Kurahaupo
  • Matahoura

A copy of Table 19:1 can be downloaded from the Family Tree links page of this website.

To that list we can add the Tokomaru, the waka that Te Atiawa and Ngāti Tama claim as theirs through earlier kinship connections in Taranaki. On one account Tokumaru beached at Mohakatino, just south of Mokau. The anchor stone of the Tokomaru is now held at Puke Ariki museum.

Turi captained the Aotea waka, with the journey starting from Rai’atea, Tahiti. Likely driven to seek new lands due to the growth of the population within Tahiti and the consequential demands on resources, Turi and his people set sail for Aotearoa. They landed at Aotea Harbour on the west coast of the North Island and then travelled overland to Patea, South Taranaki where they settled (Smith, 1910).

Hoturoa captained the Tainui waka, whose final resting place was in Kawhia Harbour in about 1350. The Tainui people went on to form two divisions, the Waikato to the north, and Ngati Maniapoto to the south.

The captain of the Matahoura is said to be the legendary figure of Kupe who features prominently in the mythology and oral history of some iwi. Claims about the timing of Kupe’s arrival from Hawaiki differ between tribal regions, but according to the Taranaki accounts he is regarded as a contemporary of Turi, the captain of the Aotea waka. Kupe’s wife, Kuramārõtini is said to have devised the name Aotearoa after having seen the North Island for the first time. According to Te Atiawa source, Kupe travelled down the west coast from the Auckland region, then on to the Cook Straight region.


As noted in the posting about Dicky and Rāwinia Barrett, Wakaiwa Rāwinia was a high born woman of Te Atiawa with whakapapa links to several other iwi including Tainui (Ngāti Maniapoto/Waikato), Ngāti Ruakawa (South Waikato), Kahungauru (Hawkes Bay), Ngāti Ruanui (Taranaki), Ngāti Tama (North Taranaki), Ngāti Toa (Kawhia) as well as Ngātiawa on the west and east coasts of the North Island.


Rāwhinia’s mother, Kuramai-i-tera, was a daughter of Tautara, an ariki of Te Atiawa. Tautara’s whakapapa traces back to the Tainui waka, and through to Maniapoto, eponymous founder of Ngāti Maniapoto.

Rāwhinia’s whakapapa also connects to the first Māori king Potatau (Te Wherowhero) who was descended from Uruhina, grandson of Te Kaha-iri-rangi (ibid). More distantly in the same Tainui line, Rakamaomao’s son Tuihaua was the great-grandfather of Toa Rangatira, the eponymous ancestor of Ngāti Toa (ibid).

Maniapoto lived in the 17th century and established numerous powerful tribes. Maniapoto’s great-grandparents, Tūrongo and Māhinarangi brought together both the Tainui and East Coast tribes, something that is still celebrated today. Tūrongo and Māhinarangi’s son Raukawa was the ancestor of the Ngati Raukawa (Te Ara, Encyclopedia of NZ and here). Raukawa is an ancestor of the Māori King. There is a carved meeting house named after Māhinrangi at Turangawaewae.

The marriage of Maniapoto’s great-grandparents, Ruaputakanga (Ngāti Ruanui, South Taranaki) to Whatihua (Tainui) brought together the ariki ancestral lines of the Tainui and Aotea waka (NZETC).

Ruaputahanga, named the Whaikaahurangi track. Returning to Patea from Kawhia about 1560, Rauputakanga rested at a spot she termed Whaikaahurangi (Whaikaahu – to turn upwards; rangi – the heavens).

Maniapoto’s son, Te Kawa-iri-rangi (Te Kawa), visited the chief of Tamaki Makau Rau (Auckland) at Maungakeikei (One Tree Hill) and married his two daughters. By one, Maroa, he had a son, Tukemata. Te Kawa went to on to Taranaki where he killed a Taranaki man, and was consequently killed by Ngāti Tama. Tukemata went on to avenge his father’s death and defeated Ngāti-Tama at Taranaki. This in turn led to Ngāti Tama defeating Tukemata at Maungakeikei, killing Tukemata. Joining forces with the Waikato, Tamaki avenged his death by defeating Ngāti Tama. Out if that victory came the saying, ‘Mokau ki raro, Tamaki ki runga’ (from Mokau to the south, to Tamaki in the north) signifying they were a united people (A “Tainui” Whakapapa).

Ngāti Tama

Ngāti Tama’s whakapapa goes back to Tama Ariki, the chief navigator of the Tokomaru waka.

Tukemata’s daughter, Puraekorau, in an initiative probably designed to set aside the family feud with Ngāti Tama, married a Ngāti Tama man, Kauparera. Unfortunately the period of goodwill was short lived. In the course of a visit, Puraekorau’s uncle Runga-Te-Rangi was killed by Ngāti Tama. His body drifted away in the tide and was subsequently found by Tainui people at Hakerekere beach. It was from that unfortunate death that Puraekorau prophesied that her northern relatives would avenge the death and ‘tread the sands of Hakerekere’ (ibid) … a prophecy that came true in the 19th century.

Te Atiawa

Rawinia’s whakapapa links from Maniapoto/Tainui, to Ngāti Tama and then to Te Atiawa seems to have occurred with the marriage of Tamakura and Ko Hine Te Wiri-Noa (Ātiawa). Their son, Rehia, married Wha-Kie-Kie. They were the great-great grandparents of Tautara on his mother’s side. Interestingly, Rehia had a second wife, Korekia Kino and their son was Potaka Taniwha, Tautara’s grandfather through his father, Te Puhi Manawa (Mitchell, 2014, page 171, Table 9.1).

Potaka Taniwha

Potaka Taniwha was Rāwinia’s great–great-grandfather and his wife, Arataki was her great-great-grandmother.

Potaka is said to have belonged to the Puketapu hapū and he resided at the Nga-puke-turua pā – near Sentry Hill to the north of New Plymouth (Smith, p180). Around 1770 Potaka (who would have been elderly by then) was said to have successfully gone to the rescue of his kin of the Ngāti Tuparikino hapū who were being attacked by Rangi-apiti-rua (who was related to the Taranaki iwi and Te Atiawa, and who at that time resided at Puke-ariki) seeking utu over recent strife between the two sub-tribes.

Te Rangi-apiti-rua was apparently related to Potaka as well (possibly through Potaka’s Ngāti Ruanui ancestry), and the two went on to successfully launch an attack on the Nga-potiki-taua hapū (Taranaki iwi) who at that time occupied the land around Ngāmotu.

Although well advanced in years at the time, Potaka was also well known for the way he went about getting his second wife, Uru-kinati. Daughter of Kau-taia, chief of the Pari-hamore pā of the Ngāti Tuparikino hapū, Uru-kinati was well known for her beauty. Potaka was said to be living at Para-iti at the time, just inland from Bell Block. Para-iti was one of the reserves set aside for Māori as part of the Bell Block land purchased by the Crown (Aroha Harris, 1991). Although gauged to be an unlikely suitor for Uru-kinati due to his age, Potaka was adamant that he would posses her. With that aim he staged a siege of Pari-hamore and succeeded in having Uru-kinati turned over to him (Smith, page 187). Rāwinia was related to the Te Keha whānau through Potaka’s second wife, Urukinaki of Ngāti Tuparekino (ibid, page 430, Table 26.1).


Rāwinia’s grandfather, Tautara, lived at the Puketapu pā, but also resided for a time at the Rewarewa pā of Ngāto Tawhirikura. He was a warrior who had a reputation of being magnanimous in victory. He participated in what became known as the Battle of Motunui in 1822 when Ngāti Toa (from Kawhia) joined forces with Te Ātiawa and defeated the Tainui invaders. Matiu Baker noted that :

Tautara was closely related to many of the leading Waikato chiefs, and out of aroha (sympathy) advocated on their behalf to ensure their safe retreat from the affray. Such considerable and sympathetic conduct was considered tika [doing the right thing] and commensurate with his rank and station.

In Mitchell, 2014 p154. In Baker, M: Tautara. In Nga Tupuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara Vol 3, p65; quote from Wiremu Nero Te Awataia, Rangatira of Ngati Mahanga

About ten years later in 1832, Tautara, as the ariki of Te Atiawa who were at that time besieged by the revenge seeking Tainui under Te Wherowhero (and again in the position of being closely related to the leading ranks of the northern invaders) was able to meet the leaders on common ground. Tautara tried to induce his cousin, Te Kanawa to withdraw from Ōtaka but without success. In the final repulse of the enemy, when they were badly beaten and suffering loss, Te Kanawa called out to Tautara to stop the slaughter and spare them, but Tautara replied:

No! It is now too late for that; you should have listened to me earlier. You must take your well-deserved punishment.

S. Percy Smith. Incident related to the author by Tai-ariki of Pukerangiora, November 30, 1899. In History and traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast, North Island of New Zealand, prior to 1840.

Te Kanawa survived the Battle of Ōtara Pā and went on the sign the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiri) at the Waikato Heads in late March or early April 1840. Widely known as a fighting chief, Te Kanawa actually accompanied Te Wherewhero on many taua during the 1820s and 1830s. In 1857 he was one of the rangatira present when Ngāti Maniapoto confirmed their support for Te Wherowhero as the first Māori King. By all accounts Te Kanawa was quite a character, as for example:

When the geologist Ferdinand Hochstetter visited Aotea Harbour in 1859, he asked what had happened to the other tribes who had lived in the area [eg. Ngati Toa]. The chief’s response was ‘we have eaten them all up’.

There are various references to Tautara being either of the Puketapu hapū, Ngāti Rahiri or Ngati Tawhirikura. In a report commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal, Lou Chase had Tautara down as being Tawhirikura and Puketapu (Table 11, page 50). Interestingly, the same source had Te Puni and Te Wharepouri down as being Tawhirikura.

In another report for the Waitangi Tribunal, Tony Walzl had the following to say: ‘Tautara, described by W H Skinner as an ariki and principal chief of Ngatiawa [sic], was staying at the Rewarewa pā [on the north bank of the Waiwakaiho River] when the [Amiowhenua] taua arrived (in 1821-22). His usual place of residence was Puketapu Pā, a few miles to the north’. The taua went on to stay at the Ngapuketurua pā, that had been occupied by the Puketapu and was said to belong to Rauakitua and his nephews, Te Puni and Te Wharepouri.

The taua was about 600 strong and comprised warriors from a number of iwi including Ngāti-Whatua of Kaipara, Waikato, and Ngāti–Maniapoto (History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast, Chapter XIV – continued, Journal of the Polynesian Society).

Tautara was initially opposed to the presence of the Amiowhenua taua and arranged a siege of Ngapuketurua Pā. Differences of views within Te Atiawa eventually led to Tautara changing his mind and he went on to assist the taua to make their way back to their northern homelands.

According to a National Library record, Tautara was a chief of the Ngāti Rāhiri. Tautara had a son called Epiha Karoro (Wairauheke) who married Ruhia Pote (Te Ātiawa). They had two children, a daughter called Heni Karoro Wairauheke and a son, Epiha Karoro Wairauheke. Heni married Ihakora Te Ngarara of Waikanae. Epiha (2nd) married Katene who took her husbands name and became known as Katene Epiha Karoro. Epiha and Katene had two children; Hone Epiha Karoro (aka Hone Ngatai, Hone Keko) and Hamuera Epiha Karoro. Hone Ngatai married Roka Te Uira of Mokau (Ngati Rakei) and had one child Kohi Katene Epiha Karoro (aka Kimihangaroa, Kimi Ngatai, Kimi Matenga) who married Matenga Winara Southey Baker (Ngati Toa, Te Ati Awa, Ngati Raukawa) of Otaki. Epiha (1st) was a known correspondent to Colenso and lived at Mokau, Taranaki, where he died about 1887.

Epiha Karoro corresponded with Donald McLean (a government official involved in land negotiations between the government and Māori) in February 1851 asking that certain lands belonging to Ngāti Rāhiri be held over from sale by the government pending an inquiry into the justice of the case.

Rāwinia’s first cousin, Tuarau (son of Rāwinia’s aunty Hineone), who was a rangatira of the Ngati Tawhirikura hapū, also signed Te Tiriti at Port Nicholson in April 1840.

Dicky and Råwinia Barrett

While Rāwinia’s husband, Dicky Barrett, was employed as an agent and interpreter by the New Zealand Company’s land sale negotiations with Māori, her family ties were also of crucial importance. The Mitchell’s stated that:

[Barrett’s] success of behalf of the Company possibly had very little to do with Barrett’s “translations’, but derived more from the genealogical ties of his wife, Wakaiwa Rāwinia, the the leading rangatira in Taranaki, Waikanae, Port Nicholson and Queen Charlotte Sound.

H & J Mitchell, 2014, p345

Indeed, it has been noted elsewhere on this website that the New Zealand Company’s decision to engage Barrett was in not small part due to Rāwinia’s family ties.

On the subject of Rāwinia’s family ties during the early period of colonial settlements, the Mitchell’s also noted that:

Through the siblings of her mother Kuramai-i-tera, Wakaiwa Rawinia was related to a number of prominent chiefs of the colonial period on both sites of Cook Strait. Her Uncle, Epiha Te Korokoro (a.k.a. Waireweke) represented Wellington hapu at the Kohimarama Conference called by Governor Thomas Gore Brown in 1860; Waireweke’s first wife was Hana Te Unuhi, sister of Merenako, senior rangatira wahine at Motueka in the Nelson district. The descendants of another uncle, Paruka, also had close ties to Motueka through Paruka’s daughter, Oriwia (i.e. Wakaiwa Rawinia’s first cousin), who married Hoani Kitakita. Their daughter, Pare (Mere) Kitakita was the wife of Huta Pamriki Paaka of Motueka. Pare and Huta were founders of the large Park dynasty.

Through her grandfather’s brother, Tuhangaira and his wife Te Haunga, Wakaiwa was second cousin of both Huriwhenua, paramount chief of Ngāti Rahiri ki Te Tau Ihu who lived at Moioio and Kaihinu in Tory Channel, and his sister Wharemawhai who was wife of Nohorua, eldest brother of Te Rauparaha of Ngati Toa.

H & J Mitchell, 2014, p346

Huriwhenua signed the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti at Queen Charlotte Sound on 5 May 1840. He orginally lived at Te Taniwha pa at Turangi, near Waitara (NZ History).

Early European settlement at Tataraimaka and the Land Wars

The following is an extract from If walls could talk … Succession.

Ngā Mahanga sells 3500 acres of Tataraimaka, May 1847

Seven years after the New Zealand company purchased the Ngamotu block, now known as New Plymouth, many European settlers had arrived with over 2000 acres under cultivation between both Māori or European.

The new Governor, Sir George Grey, started negotiations to acquire more land for the increasing numbers of European immigrants and turned his endeavours to the south west of New Plymouth, This land belonged to the Taranaki iwi. Two blocks were purchased, the Omata block which was adjacent to the newly evolving New Plymouth town and 3560 acres at Tataraimaka which was sold by Ngā Mahanga, a hapū of Taranaki.

The land at Tataraimaka had largely been deserted by Ngā Mahanga since the musket wars and the devastating invasion from the northern tribes 29 years earlier.

It was described as “beautiful shrubbery” as the majority of it up until the 1818 invasion from the northerners had been extensively cultivated for kūmara and taro. The land had reverted to small scrub but was not in heavy bush as other areas were.

The Tataraimaka block was isolated from New Plymouth with no roads or access other than crossing Māori lands.

Negotiations appeared favourable to both sides with good land suitable for agriculture for the settlers and cash for Ngā Mahanga to aid development of their own land and people with the new technologies and opportunities that arrived with the settlers.

The following is taken from the book Tataraimaka 1847 – 1993, The 1st 146 years composed by Larry Charteris & Anne Marie Ngan.

Sir George Gray, in his first term of office as Governor, visited New Plymouth in February 1847 and started negotiations for acquiring more land, much to the relief of the harassed settlers. In May 1847 Mr MacLean, the Land Commissioner, and Mr Wicksteed for the New Zealand Company, were able to negotiate the purchase of 3,560 acres (500 being added later) of the Tataraimaka Block. Negotiations with 150 members of the Nga Mahanga, the local hapu of the Taranaki tribe, took place daily for a whole week and were finally sealed for 150 pounds when Mr MacLean presented brightly-coloured blankets and other gifts to the leading chief, receiving a Maori spear and a Kaitaka (a bordered mat) in return. These gifts from the chief were the Maori form of surrendering their right to the land sold.

It was stated at the time that government officers had been scrupulous in obtaining the consent of every individual concerned, with the title deeds in Maori signed by men, women and even children. In fact, the conveyance of the block was dated May 11th 1848.

First cattle run holder at Tataraimaka, 1848

George Cutfield was employed by the New Zealand company on their first ship that sailed to Ngamotu, the William Bryant. He was the Immigration Officer and store keeper and effectively the leader of the settlers and was involved with Dicky Barrett in allocating the raupo huts and make shift accommodation that Barrett had built. This was in March 1841. In the years to come, Cutfield had many leadership roles including, Superintendent of the Provincial Council, (similar to the role of a mayor), 1857 to 1861.

The following is taken from an early newspaper in May 1848:

The frequent occurrence of arrears in payment of Government salaries and other monies in this settlement is again the cause of great inconvenience and disappointment to nearly all classes. And as respects the natives, it is to say the least unlucky, for the period limited in the deed for payment of the second instalment on the land at Tataraimaka now occupied by Mr. Cutfield, J. P., as a cattle run, is past.

Papers Past, May 15, 1848

It would appear that the Crown was slow in paying for the Tataraimaka block due to cashflow, although other publications imply that the slow payment was to ensure the payment went to the correct owners. Full payment however was eventually made.

Tataraimaka and the Taranaki Land Wars

At the start of the land wars, 1860, George Cutfield was farming and living on his property at Tataraimaka. Cutfield, like the other settlers, had to move off their land for their own safety with their houses burnt in their absence.

In a court reports newspaper article “Taranaki Herald 4th July 1858”, It was proven that some Tataraimaka settlers had shot a heifer belonging to Māori.

Wild cattle lived in the bush around Tataraimaka. They had been introduced to Tataraimaka by Captain Henry King and Cutfield soon after the Tataraimaka land sale was secured. Captain King had imported cattle from Sydney to New Plymouth in July 1842, and along with the cattle that Dicky Barrett had help drove up from Wellington meant the cattle population had bred up both in the domestic herd and the wild escapees by 1858. The wild cattle at Tataraimaka, and indeed all about New Plymouth created problems for the farmers, both Māori and Pakeha, who were attempting to grow crops and did not need wild cattle helping themselves to the potatoes.

This court case between Māori and the settlers was civil and mature according to the article.

The rebel Māori land reoccupation of Tataraimaka was part of the wider political scene during the land wars and was not a localised Ngā Mahanga / Settlers argument.

Robert Greenwood, land owner at Tataraimaka, 1850 – 1869

Robert Greenwood purchased his first block of land on Timaru Road, exact date unknown, but directly from the New Zealand Company. He added more land when he purchased some of his neighbours, the Morgans in 1853. His obituary can be read here.

Greenwood was 53 when he arrived in New Plymouth to take up land at Tataraimaka. Nineteen years later, at the age of 72, he was forced by the mortgagee to auction his 442 acre Tataraimaka farm. It must be presumed that the financial burden resulting from the Māori land wars in the early 1860s had some part of the forced mortgagee sale. The purchaser would be James Honeyfield.

Some events from Robert Greenwood’s time at Tataraimaka

April 19, 1857

Robert Greenwood was elected to represent the Omata / Tataraimaka district on the New Plymouth Provincial Council. (equivalent to the New Plymouth District council in 2019). Fellow Tataraimaka farmer George Cutfield JP, was Superintendent of the Provincial Council.

October 1858

The schooner Martha anchored off Tataraimaka and 18 local farmers, including R Greenwood, and T Oxenham, loaded potatoes directly to the vessel instead of the awkward task of transporting the potatoes to New Plymouth with no suitable roading (Papers Past, October 1858).

Oxenham had bought the remaining Morgan land by the river mouth and was Greenwoods brother-in-law.

March 11, 1859

Tataraimaka district of the Taranaki Volunteer Rifle Co had training drills at R Greenwoods farm every Tuesday at 10.00am. Greenwood was an inaugural member of the volunteers.

March 28, 1860

Battle of Waireka where settlers and soldiers fought against rebel Māori from the Taranaki iwi and Ngāti Ruanui, who came from further south. By this date all the Tataraimaka settlers had deserted their farms for the refuge and presumed safety of New Plymouth.

April 6, 1860

The following is an account after the arrival of the Rev. Mr. Riemenschneider and family, from Warea, as given in The Herald. They were escorted safely to New Plymouth by armed Maori from Warea, nine days after the battle of Waireka.

The destruction of property on the Tataraimaka block is immense; Mr. Greenwood’s house is described as being sacked, and the sides pulled down. Cattle, sheep, and pigs have been shot indiscriminately. All kinds of household property have been carried away chiefly by the Ngatiruanui, who not content with the plunder from the settlers, sacked every Taranaki pa on their way home. The Taranakis [sic] say they cannot quarrel with Ngatiruanui at present, as they will be important allies either in the great struggle they expect to have with the Government or in another expedition to the town. After annihilating us they will have a tone to pick with Ngatiruanui. Both tribes are busy erecting pas.

April 24, 1860

Four weeks after the Battle of Waireka, troops from the 65th regiment marched to Tataraimaka to harvest R Greenwood’s wheat and potatoes. This helped secure food for the sieged New Plymouth, instead of leaving the crops for the rebel Māori (Papers Past).

June 27, 1860

Taken from “The Herald”

A large force of artillery started early this morning to take up position at Omata, to check the onward movement of the rebels. They were seen last night at Wairau, on the beach this side of Tataraimaka, and are believed to be 1000 strong — including women and children who have accompanied this expedition to attack New Plymouth. No less than 10 pas are erected on the Tataraimaka block, 1 on Oxenhams farm and 9 on Greenwood’s farm. These pas are to be occupied in case of retreat, and each is capable of holding 100 men — the pas are all near each other.

Oxenhams farm is the land closest to the Timaru Stream mouth that was formerly half the Morgan land.

September 19, 1860

Troops deployed south. At Tataraimaka they destroy eight of the rebels makeshift pa on Robert Greenwoods farm (Papers Past).

October 22, 1860

Fires were seen coming from R Greenwoods farm. In all, 30 Tataraimaka houses were burnt to the ground by the rebel Māori.


Although short lived, a peace treaty was signed and some settlers returned temporarily.

The following is taken from memories of the Pierce family.
(Where the cemetery is with the farmland owned in 2019 by the Brophy family)

As a young boy John went with the women and children to Nelson for a few months during the Māori uprising in 1860. Back home in 1861 and still amidst troubled times, John as an 11 year old, had the duty to hold a gun while his older sister milked the cow. This was to protect her should Māori come out of the dense bush.

Memories of Hilda

January 1862

The Māori, who have regained occupancy of Tataraimaka, and have claimed it by conquest, have cut out of seeding pasture, a race track on R Greenwoods property. They have invited Europeans to race their horses should they dare (Papers Past). The authorities strongly advise not to trust the Māori or encourage engagement with a race meeting that would imply acceptance of Māori ownership of the land.

January 1863

Robert Greenwood was an advocate for government support to help the farmers rebuild their lives. He appeared to of received some funds earlier than he should have as the conflict in Tataraimaka was not yet over. Scotch thistles had become a major problem weed and the governor had set up a thistle fund to combat it. Whilst settlers were still fighting over the land with the rebel natives, (not all the natives), the scotch thistle was invading the land the settlers had already ploughed. The joke was that the government had paid Greenwood funds to reduce the thistle population but the settlers could not because the rebel Māori still had control of the land, Tataraimaka had in fact become a large scotch thistle nursery funded by the government (Papers Past).

110 years later, on the same land, Kevin Honeyfield can recall grubbing 300 thistles to the acre, no laughing matter.

June 4, 1863

Battle of Katikara, this was a major defeat for the rebel Māori. Troops had positioned themselves at the crows nest and with naval canon support defeated the rebels on “Johnnys Flat”. This is the flat land west of the Katikara river that the Lawn family own in 2019.

March 1864

The Kaitake Pa was stormed and captured. This Pa was a major stronghold that had prevented safe, easy passage from New Plymouth to Tataraimaka.


Progressively the settlers returned to their land in Tataraimaka to rebuild houses and to restock their farms.

January 23, 1869

At a mortgagee sale, Robert Greenwood sells his farm, including a new house, to James Charles Honeyfield.

It is worth noting the impact of war on the financial fortunes of different settlers.

  • Robert Greenwood had his buildings burnt, stock stolen or slaughtered and no farm income for many years with debt to service. Bankruptcy followed.
  • James Charles Honeyfield had fought in the same battle ground on the same side as Robert Greenwood.
  • James Charles Honeyfield was a farmer and a butcher in New Plymouth. He had the use of the Barrett legacy land. Up to 2000 troops needed feeding over many years. The suppliers to the army reaped the financial benefits.

Octavia Lavinia Johns (nee Honeyfield)

The following was written by Julie Adele Johns (Octavia’s great granddaughter) as a contribution to the, ‘If walls could talk … the Stories’ document prepared for the Honeyfield 150 celebrations.

Octavia Lavinia Johns (nee Honeyfield)

‘Octavia Lavinia Honeyfield, the eldest child of James Charles Honeyfield and Caroline ‘Kararaina’ Honeyfield (nee Barrett), was born on the 17th December 1865 at Moturoa, New Plymouth and baptised on Boxing Day that same year by the Reverend John Whitely who had also married her parents earlier that year on 2 January, 1865. James and Caroline later moved to Tataraimaka where Octavia grew up with her younger sister Sarah and brothers Barrett, William and Charles.

On the 19th January 1884 Octavia, aged 18 years, married Thomas Edward Johns aged 21 years at her parents’ homestead on their Tataraimaka farm. Thomas was born in Liverpool, England and had been living in New Zealand for about 18 months before their marriage. Their first child Edgar was born later that year.

That same year on the 19th June 1884 Thomas filed for bankruptcy and on the 16th June 1884 a meeting of his creditors was called. Prior to Thomas’s bankruptcy he had been farming on a large scale without any previous experience and had suffered many losses, also having had the misfortune of a house fire on 22 June, 1883. According to a court hearing on 22 January 1885 Thomas was at that time living with his father-in-law James Honeyfield and no doubt along with Octavia and baby Edgar too. As reported in the newspaper his father-in-law had offered to pay Tomas’s creditors 10 shillings in the pound, but they declined this. Later that year on 22 October, 1885 an order was made for Thomas to be discharged from bankruptcy.

On the 29th July 1886, as reported in the newspaper, Thomas was farming at Moturoa. He and some natives had exchanged a pair of working bullocks and the Maori had returned to revoke the transaction – all ended peacefully.

Octavia gave birth to twelve children, six of who survived into adulthood and six who sadly did not which unfortunately wasn’t uncommon in those times.

Besides Octavia suffering the heartbreak of the loss of five of their children during her lifetime she also had grief and strife in her marriage too. On the 27th November 1894 her husband Thomas appeared in the New Plymouth District Court for drunkenness and as reported in The Taranaki Herald with the likelihood of another charge being laid, that of inflicting grievous bodily harm on his wife. On the 3rd December 1894 Thomas once again appeared in court no doubt as a consequence of what had taken place earlier. This time a prohibition order was issued against him, to which it is reported Thomas himself had no objection. It was suggested that the order should take effect throughout the provincial district, to which James Honeyfield, father-in-law of the defendant, also expressed that this was his wish also. The court granted the order accordingly for twelve months.

A year later Octavia gave birth to their tenth child, a son who was named Thomas Edward James after this father and grandfather James Honeyfield. Octavia then went on to give birth to Ronald who sadly passed away two weeks later. A month after Ronald’s death Thomas was again adjudged bankrupt on the 28 October 1897. His occupation was given as butcher and that he was residing in Blagdon at the time. Lastly the twelfth child of Octavia and Thomas was born who they named Bernard. Sometime after this Octavia’s husband Thomas Johns was paid by James Honeyfield to leave New Zealand so I was told by my grandmother Daisy Johns who had married Edgar Johns (the eldest child of Octavia and Thomas) and that Thomas was what they called a Remittance man. Thomas went to Australia where he remained for the rest of his life.

Sadly approximately 18 months after James’s wife Caroline Honeyfield died on the 12th November 1899 he was again having to write an obituary this time for their beloved daughter which read:

“Death of Mrs Thomas Edward Johns. Octavia Lavinia died in New Plymouth Hospital Tuesday, 14th May 1901 aged 35 years. Mrs Johns had been suffering from typhoid and the complications that followed the dread disease for some considerable time and her death was therefore not unexpected”.

Octavia’s death certificate stated she had been ill for eleven weeks. The surviving children’s ages were listed as five males aged 16, 13, 9, 5 and 2 years, two females aged 11 and 8 years at the time of her passing. From the newspaper at the time it reports that:

“… the deceased was well known and esteemed by a large circle of friends and that her relations will have much sympathy in their sad bereavement. The internment will be private.”

This now left the Johns children without their dear mother, it is unknown whether Thomas had already left for Australia or not.

Tragically Octavia’s last-born child Bernard died at the age of seven years at Moturoa four and a half years after this mother had passed away and it is known Thomas had left for Australia by then.

Octavia’s only sister Miss Sarah Honeyfield (who never married) helped bring up her nieces and nephews. It was history repeating itself as Caroline and James Honeyfield had also helped Sarah Mary Honeyfield (nee Barrett) raise her children when their father William Henry Honeyfield had died also of typhoid fever thirty-seven years earlier. ‘Aunt Sarah’ as she was called remained living on the Bell Block farm with the Johns’ whanau until shortly before she passed away having been taken prior to her death on 3rd March 1932, aged 64 years, to the Tataraimaka farm where she had grown up. Octavia’s children loved their Aunt Sarah very much and even Octavia’s grandchildren remembered her and spoke of her with deep affection which is how she is still remembered to this day.

According to New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) burial records permission was granted for Bernard to be buried in the same large James Honeyfield plot at Te Henui cemetery where his grandmother Caroline had been interred earlier. Although Bernard has no headstone to mark his grave neither can a headstone be found for his mother Octavia or any of her young deceased children. The NPDC has a receipt for 10 pounds having been paid for Octavia’s grave to be dug at Te Henui cemetery. Octavia and her young children are all listed as having been buried there but unfortunately other records have been destroyed by mould (such as plot numbers) plus the undertaker’s records have long since ceased to exist. Along with the NPDC burial staff we can only presume, since they are nowhere else to be found in Te Henui cemetery, that they are all buried together in the James Honeyfield plot as the NPDC believed it was purchased around the same time as William Henry Honeyfield’s plot was bought when he died in 1864. The reason for Octavia and her six young children having no headstones remains a question and any answer is conjecture. Unfortunately, my grandfather Edgar Jules Barrett Johns, Octavia’s eldest son, would have known the answers to many of our questions, but he died when my father Montague Honeyfield Johns (known as Monte) was only eight years old so any information concerning their graves was not passed down. It is my heartfelt desire being one of Octavia’s great grandchildren that it only be fitting that a small plaque be placed in their memory at the James Honeyfield site, so Octavia and her young children are not forgotten through time.

On the 19th July 1933 a letter was sent by Thomas Edward Johns senior to solicitors in New Plymouth, copies of which were handed to the Johns children. Thomas expressed his sadness at having recently received a letter from the Public Trustee informing him of his son Bernard’s death which had taken place 28 years earlier and the recent death of Miss Sarah Honeyfield. Thomas expressed his desire to hear from his children and wanted to see them again since he was now nearing 73 years of age, and in his own words, “But like Johnny Walker am still going strong”. He especially wanted to know how Bernard had died, asking after Effie, Vera, and Edgar although he supposed he would never see or hear from them again. Thomas finished his letter with a postscript, asking the solicitors to oblige him by letting him know how the children were, saying “… you will do me a great kindness”. When this letter was written unbeknown to Thomas his eldest child Edgar had passed away two years earlier aged 47 years. Two of Thomas’s other sons known as ‘Charlie and Tommy’ had gone to live in Australia as adults but to our knowledge never contacted their father. According to Thomas Edward Johns senior’s death certificate which lists his first marriage to Octavia and names their five surviving children it also says that Thomas went on to marry a second time to Anne Fanny Williams who already had a daughter but there were no children from their union. Thomas senior lived out the rest of his life in Australia dying in Murrurundi, NSW on 9th June 1943, aged 80 years. To this day no photo survives of Thomas senior that has been passed down through the Johns whanau which speaks volumes!

James Charles Honeyfield died on 21 February 1911 aged 71 years. In his will he remembered the children of his late daughter Octavia Lavinia especially making provision for his grandsons Edgar, Charles, Oscar and Thomas Johns.

This has been a sad story to write and reflect on, not only because it is true, but Octavia and Thomas are also my ancestors/tupuna, so it is very personal to me along with the rest of the Johns whanau. We exist today because of these people who are our direct heritage line/whakapapa. I have been both factual and fair in giving this account.

Should you wish to find out more information regarding the court cases, Google search ‘Papers Past’ using the dates I’ve given for reference.’

Children of Octavia Lavinia Johns (nee Honeyfield) and Thomas Edward Johns

  • Edgar Jules Barrett Johns
    • Born: 30.09.1884 /30.11.1884
    • Married: Daisy Amy Fuller 09.11.1916
    • Farmed at Bell Block
    • Died: 19.12.1931, aged 47 years
    • Buried: St Lukes cemetery, Bell Block 21.12.1931
  • William Charles Johns
    • Born: 08.12.1885
    • Died: 29.01.1886, aged 7 weeks
    • Buried: Te Henui cemetery 30.01.1886
  • Lina Hannah Johns
    • Born: 08.01.1887
    • Died: 21.03.1887, aged 9 weeks (at Blagdon farm)
    • Buried: Te Henui cemetery 22.03.1887
  • Charles Barrett Johns (known as Charlie)
    • Born: 08.12.1888/28.04.1888?
    • Migrated to Australia
    • Married: Cecilia (known as Sis)
    • Died: 21.03.1951, aged 64 years? Queensland, Australia
  • Victor Barrett Johns
    • Born: 04.02.1889
    • Died 06.09.1892, aged 3 years 7 months
    • Buried: Te Henui Cemetery 07.09.1892
  • Effie Hilda Johns
    • Born: 03.02.1890/ 24.05.1890?
    • Married: John Ambrose Heskett
    • Died: 17.12.1963, aged 72 years Headstone inscription reads 1890- 1963
  • Oscar Harold Johns
    • Born: 02.09.1891
    • Married: Kathleen Doris Mace 02.05.1921
    • Farmer, furnace man, businessman, soldier – Private in Wellington Infantry Regiment. WW1 Service no.69491 NZ Expeditionary Force
    • Died: 19.12.1960, Huntly, NZ
  • Vera Sarah Johns
    • Born: 20.01.1893
    • Married: George Victor Weir 26.03.1913
    • Died: 1952? 12.1957?
  • Doris Octavia Johns
    • Born: 26.03.1894
    • Died: 21.06.1894, aged 3 months
    • Buried: Te Henui Cemetery 22.06.1894
  • Thomas Edward James Johns Junior (known as Tommy)
    • Born: 30.11.1895
    • Migrated to Australia
    • Married:
      • Ist wife, Ruby Elizabeth Fitzgerald
      • 2nd wife, Olive Edna Ellan Archer
    • Labourer and clerk
    • Died: 19.08.1964, aged 68 years, Queensland, Australia
  • Ronald Edward Johns
    • Born: 13.09.1897
    • Died: 28.09.1897, aged 2 weeks
    • Buried: Te Henui Cemetery 30.09.1897
  • Bernard Edgerley Johns
    • Born: 04.01.1899
    • Died: 15.11.1905 at Moturoa, aged 7 years
    • Buried: Te Henui Cemetery 17.11.1905. Funeral left from Mrs Ellen Caroline McLean’s (nee Honeyfield) residence at Moturoa. Recorded permission given for Bernard to be buried in the James Charles Honeyfield plot.

Pre-European Tataraimaka: of fishing, gods, great waka and musket wars

Tataraimaka first became home territory to the Honeyfields close to 170 years ago when William Honeyfield purchased a farm there in 1852. William joined his cousins, John and William Morgan, who made their first purchase in Tataraimaka in 1851. While William and his wife Sarah sold up to farm the Barrett Reserve land in New Plymouth, there has been a permanent Honeyfield presence at Tataraimaka for 150 years, since James and Caroline purchased their farm in January 1869.

Of course, for centuries before the Europeans arrived at Tataraimaka that land had been the home of the tangata whenua. The following captures a little of that story,

(The following is an extract from ‘If walls could talk … Succession’ written by Kevin Honeyfield as part of the Honeyfield 150 celebration)

According to an ancient Maori story, Tataraimaka was a giant who fished with an enormous black net. His black net was magic and had been woven from flax.

One day, a mother said to her little fishes, “Now listen carefully, dear children, be sure you keep close in to the rocks. Do not venture out into the open sea. Today Tataraimaka goes fishing”.

Tataraimaka fishing

On this day however the sea was smooth, the sun was at its brightest. Rainbow colours danced about the little fishes as they played their games. They were having so much fun they forgot their mother’s words.

Without warning disaster struck. The big black net of Tataraimaka hit the water and all seven fishes were caught. They cried, making the sea salty with their tears.

Tane the God of forest and light heard their cries and felt sorry for them. He took the net away from Tataraimaka and hauled it up into the high heavens.

There the seven little fishes were turned into stars. Look to the west, you can see them in the evening above the horizon. Six of the stars have names – but one star remains nameless.

The constellation known as Matariki to the Maori, is known as Pleiades to the Greeks on the other side of the world. 
Maori used this group of stars to help navigate their way to Aotearoa (New Zealand)

It has been left for all the children of the world. Just before going to bed, you may put your name on this star, and in this way you will be among your friends as you sleep.

Possible reasons why our home farms are called Tataraimaka include:

  • Did it come from Tataraimaka, the Giant fisherman in the ancient Maori story?
  • Was it the name used by “The people of the land” the tangata whenua as suggested by Roy Komene at the Tataraimaka Hall Jubilee in 1994? Roy spoke of the people that resided in Tataraimaka years before the Maori arrived, the Kahui-maunga.
  • Its been recorded in many publications that Tataraimaka means “to toss the garment”. Is this simply the feeling given to Tataraimaka after the northern tribes conquered Nga Mahanga?
  • Twenty years before his death Alan Fisher informed Kevin Honeyfield that many years ago some elder Maori had claimed the full name of Tataraimaka was in fact Tataraimaka-moana. Loosely translated meaning a “Beautiful place by the Sea”.

Today, in the year 2019, the families that live in Tataraimaka are less concerned about the meaning of the name. There is more concern about retaining the name and the depth of heritage that Tataraimaka offers.

‘The Broken Canoe’

Laden with people and stores, a fleet of waka that had woven sails set off from Tahiti to make Aotearoa their new home. Three hundred years earlier, Kupe had told his people about his discovery of a vast new land in the South west Pacific, until now only a small number of waka had tried to make this journey.

One of the wakas was the Kura-haupo, this is the canoe that the Maori who later lived at Tataraimaka set sail on. Te Moungaroa was the leader of this waka that had a 5000 km journey to make.

The fleet got separated in the great ocean but three of the waka met at Rangi-tahapa Island, just 1000 km away from Aotearoa. Here the waka Kura-haupo was smashed by the big surf. Te Moungaroa and some friends joined the other two waka, leaving others behind to try and fix the broken canoe.

Te Moungaroa and his followers reached Aotearoa and eventually settled at a beach they called Oakura. They landed by the mouth of the Wairau Stream where the surf club is today.

Here they made their new home, amalgamating with the Kahui-maunga people. These were the people living in Aotearoa before the fleet of waka arrived.

Five hundred years later, some Taranaki Maori still referred to the Kura-haupo as the “Broken Canoe, the canoe that Nga Mahanga from the Taranaki iwi originated from, but a canoe that never arrived in Taranaki.

Another canoe from the fleet, Tokomaru, settled a little further north, forming the Te Atiawa iwi. This is the main blood line that Rawinia, wife of Dicky Barrett, ancestors that the Honeyfields are descended from.

Nga Mahanga

With good land and plenty of food the Taranaki iwi flourished. Two hundred years and seven generations after the landing at Oakura of Te Moungaroa and his friends around 1350, twin boys were born and they named their sub hapu Nga Mahanga, the name for twins. They lived in a pa called Matai-whetu and this was not far from the main Tataraimaka Pa site.

The twins were great warriors and had the following saying which refers to their courage and likens them to the mussels that adhered to the rocks, for they could not be removed from their pa by their enemies.

E Turi’ a Tai! E Hotua Tai! Mara a Tai! Te toka i tauria e te kukwpara, araio mimingo. Kit tu matou ko aku tama, he whetu kau;

Nga Mahanga become the dominant hapu in the Tataraimaka and surrounding area. Sometimes friction arose between them and the iwi to the north, Te Atiawa.

This friction continued for many generations although there were also peaceful times with marriages between them, especially around the Ngamotu area.

Nga Mahanga rohe at Tataraimaka

The Northern Invasion, Summer of 1818

For many generations the hapu of Nga Mahanga flourished at Tataraimaka, with fresh water from the mountain streams, an abundance of sea food and kind forgiving land to grow kumara and taro.

Little did they know, a large war party had come by waka from Kaipara and Tamaki and were resting north of Waitara, hosted by their allies Ngati Tama, who were foe of Nga Mahanga.

Muru-paenga was one of the most feared chiefs of this, the ‘Musket war’ years. He was an ally of Te Rauparaha but an avid enemy of the infamous Honi Hiki.

Overland the war party marched on to Tataraimaka. Nga Mahanga had not encountered the musket before. The hostile northern maori, led by Muru-paenga, advanced towards the Tataraimaka Pa in a wedge shape formation. Some Te Atiawa also accompanied the attackers, pointing out Nga Mahunga chiefs, making them the first casualties to fall to Muru-paenga’s muskets.

If Te Atiawa had not helped Muru-paenga they could of been his next meal, and this is exactly what happened to many of Nga Mahanga.

Great slaughter followed with the spoils of war being flesh, kumara, woven garments and slaves going to the northern attackers.

The surviving Nga Mahanga left Tataraimaka, never to return as residents.