To the Editor,
Sir, —Some cariosity having beers expre s?d as to the origin of the name of the settlement at the Mount, I, in response to a request by one of your staff, beg to submit the following facts bearing upon the subject:— Some five years ago when I cut up and dispo:ed of my lot near Pilot Bay,, the Survey Department, before approving of the plan, called attention to certain regulations bearing upon the matter, which provide, among other things, that if a certain number of allotments are cut up of an acre in extent or! es?, the land so. treated-con-stitutes a township, and must have a namt; and I was invited, according to regulation*, to submit three names for the consideration of his Excellency the
I accordingly submitted the name Maunganui—the name the locality has always borne, never dreaming that any other could be considered. In reply, the Survey Department informed me that Maunganui was inadmissible, one place of that name being already registered and there were several other places the names of which were so nearly alike as to cause confusion, and also that I had omitted to send three names.
Somewhat puzzled I, then fell back on "Te Maire," the name of the locality near the sandhills marked on the chart as "Maketu Mound," explaining that if a townshiip sprang up it would eventually spread a* far as that place, and that being an old Maori name for the locality it was wise and fair to use it.
Feeling pretty certain that Te Maire would be accepted, I regarded the filling in of the ofcher two as of minor importance. I suggested "Tamure,'" out of respect to our old friend the scbnapper, as a second; and, being bankrupt for a third, suggested "Raka-taura," and added a few words of explanation regarding it. Greatly to.my surprise and not a little to my amusement. I wa9 informed that his Excellency had been pleased to accept .Rakataura as the name of the new township: I was not aware then—neither do I at present knowhow far thi3 name is intended to cover, but I am told that it has been used by the Survey Department and isupplied to othar blocks in the vicinity. Now a word of introduc,titm to the gentleman himself. .He* appears to have been a distinguished chief at Ha-wai-iki, where he resided twenfy-five generations ago. According to tradition, he was of semi-divine origin and exercised supernatural powers and was a.ways held in great awe by his descendants. He stayed at Hawai-iki after the main fleet of the emigrant canoes had Failed, but being probably prompted by the discovery of the fact that the Tainui people had abducted his wife,, he was seized with a violent desire to go after them and rettle matters. He thereupon besought his friends, the gods, to help him. They considerately sent him a great fish or taniwha, called Pane-ira-ira, which means speckledhead. Astride of this fish he rode safely to Aotearoa—New Zealand—where he landed at Kawhia before the Tainui put in an appearance. History is silent as to the denouement of the social arrangements made with regard to Mrs Rakataura.
We hesCr of Raka again on an excursion trip in the Tainui in our own Bay of Plenty, paying "marked attentions to a fellow passenger, a Miss Torere; in fact, so persistently he pressed hia suit, which was not reciprocated, that the lady took advantage of the dusk to slip overboard unobserved and swim ashore, where she hid in the bush in a valley, the stream of which still bears her name. The next morning, when her flight was discovered, Rakataura landed and searched along the shore, but failed to fmdher. Torere afterwards became tj^ancestress of the Ngaitai tribe^s^" Rakataura's degtJendants are closely connected with Hoturoa's of the Tainui, and number amongst them the heads of the Ngatimaniapoto, Waikato and Hauraki triibes.
Thus, Mr Editor, by a mere chance the name of this hero has been revived. If the Postal Department accepts it, as I suppose it will, the name will become incorporated in our annals. If the township of Rakataura spreads and grows, as we all wish it may, who knows but that some day we may stroll along Pane-ira-ir:i Avenue—as it ought to be called—to the botanical gardens-by Mount Drury to witness the unveiling of a statue by some rising artist dedicated to the tutelary deity Rakataura astride of his fish.
I may add that I am indebted to publications by Mr James Cowan, the late Judge Wilson, and to records from the Native Lands Court for the above information. —I am, etc.,
JNO. C. ADAMS Taiparoro, May sth, 1912.