MAG!I) NAMES OF PLAGES IN THE PROVINCIAL DISTRICT OF MARLBOROUGH.
Bt W. H. Sherwood Roberts.
[Revised and Edited by the Venerable Archdeacon Grace, of Blenheim.]
Note.—The notes and comments by the Yen. A r dick aeon Grace, are signed < 4T.5,G." Thosaby S. Percy Smith, Esq., "S.P.S." The Op^wa River runs out of Iho Wairau River about fifteen miles from the sea, and rejoins it at the inlet inside the Boulder Bank forming what may be termed an island some fourteen miles in length. They have a joint bar near the end of tb.e Boulder Bank, with only six feet cf water at high tide. The orthography of Opawa is undoubtedly wrong. It is a common error to spell paua, the Haliotis, or; mutton shell fish with •w1 in place of' v', so O-paua may be correct; but Archdeacon Grace says, " Opawa cannot be but a misspelling for O-paoa, meaning, the locality or river of teal ducks." An ancient pa situated at. the mouth of the Wairau River, built by the Ngai Tahu, was O-te-Kaue (the place of the outside curtain in the defences of a pa), or O-te-Kauae, meaning the place of the jaw (bone). The earth works were traceable in the eighties. A pa near the mouth of the Wairau was known as Kowbai (the sojrfiora tetraptera tree). It was seized by Te Rauparaha in 1828, and the chief Te Ruaoneone a brave Rangi Tane, was carried captive ko Kapiti, or Entry Island as Captain Cook named it, and his pa taken possession of by his enemies the Ngati Toa tribe. (It is right to spell all tribal names, that take their designation from ancestors with a capital initial, indicating the ancestor's name, the prefix Ngati signifies descendants of., S.P.S.) The town of Blenheim has been built on both banks of the Ornaka River, on a flat where it joins the Opawa, about nine miles by the latter river from Cloudy Bay. (Omaka is doubtless the South Island Maori orthography for 0-manga. Manga means either a river tributary or^tbe branch of a tree. In this connection it means that the Omaka is a tributary of the Opaoa into which it empties, T.S.G.) Blenheim was named in memory of the decisive battle that was fought and won by the Duke of Marlborough on August 18th 1704, near the village of Blenheim in Bavaria. " 'Twas then great Marlbro's mighty soul was proved." (Addison.)
Blenheim is 18£ miles from Picton, its sea port, with which it is connected by a railway via Tua-marino Pass, which was opened for public traffic on'November''. 17th 1875. When I first saw its present site on June 9th 1855, there was one hotel and two stores, then known as " The Beaver," which when other settlers came was changed to Beaverlown. In 1855 one of the stores was kept by Mr Wynen, the other by Mr James Sinclair. Both stores were well supplied with a multifarious stock of goods, but the prices cf all were exceedingly high. The track to the stores forded the Omaka at a deep narrow catting, the river being fordable ,pnly when the tide was out, and even then the water was fully four feet deep. Luxuriant flax grew along the banks of both river?, and in the extensive swamps between there and the sea.
Mr John Godfrey had an inn at what is now Benwicktown, called the Wairau Hotel. Mr Brydon had a dairy farm on the Delta Hills. Tbe country was mostly grassed with the brown tussock Vanthonia, and was principally occupied as sheep and cattle runs. Houses were far apart, and there were no made roads or bridges, only trasks slightly marked by the occasional passage of bullock drays and horses. Wool was carted to the Beaver and taken from there in boats to the Boulder Bank, where email vessels took it on board for Wellington, distant about fifty miles across Cook Strait, returning with stores and provisions. It was considered impossible to travel through the swamps between the Beaver and the mouth of the Opawa, especially on the south side of the river.
A small township near the Wairau River six miles from Blenheim, on the road to Pioton, is Tua Marina, which should be Tua-marino (rather calm). It was near there that the unfortunate Wairau Massacre occurred on June 17th 1843, when 21 Europeans were killed and five wounded. . A monument has been erected to their memory. The bill near the spot is called Massacre Hill, the Maori name of it being Whiri-« ngatau, which may mean " to twist the strings of garments." Stachan Peak, 2004 feet high, is Hine-koareare (girl-root of the bulrush, most likely named after the daughter of some chief). A mountain three miles west of it, 2380 feet above sea level, is Whiti-ao (shining day). A road has been formed via the Kaituna valley to Havelock (28 miles), then up the Pelorus and Rai Valleys, over Brown's Saddle, 1100 feet high, to Nelson, 78 miles, by which the coach now travels over country where was formerly a dense forest. lam doubtful if Rai is a true Maori word. It perhaps should be Rae, a promontory or headland, but more likely Rie (two) as in the following extract. (These conjectures are unsafe. T.S.G.)
The possibility of the route that way to Nelson was discovered in 1865. The Marlborough Press of March 18th 1865 stated, " A new track has been discovered between Nelson and Marlborough by Mr James Mackay. It starts from the Happy Valley, Wakapuaka, ascending a very easy fern ridge at the back of Lyford's farm, thence it runs to the saddle (400 to 600 feet high) between Wakapuaka and Wangamoa rivers, and thence down the Wangamoa, a level bush valley five or six miles long, to the foot of Mount Duppa. From this last point, the track foliows a large stream which falls into the Wangamoa, and is earned Rierie, or Collins River. This stream takes its rise from the saddle between Mount Duppa and Mount Castor known as Brown's. The Rierie Pass: is about six or eight miles long, and about four chains wide. ,
11 The saddle between the Rierie and the Rie Rivers is about 80 or 100 feet high, with very easy ascent. At the back of Mount Duppa and Mount Castor, there is also a large basin of level pine bush land, bearing towards Wonga-Rie, a river falling into the Croixelles Harbour. The land is auriferous in the Wonga-Rie valley. This large basin of hitherto unexplored bush land extends from the Rierie to the Rie River which latter falls into the Pelorus River. The Rie Valley is ten or twelve miles long and about half a mile wide. Its bush shows some fine timber, consisting of Pine, Rimu, Totara, etc , and the valley is comparatively level." In the above extract the common error of omitting the letter h has been followed, showing how the Maori names were mutilated in the early days. Wanga-moa should be Whanga-moa (Moa Bay); WongaRie, Wbanga-Rie (two bays) or Wbanga - Rae (Headland Bay); Wakapuaka, Whaka-pu-aka (the bay of the Aka heap). (Wakapuaka ought to be written Whangapu anga, the inlet of the heap. If the letter k is retained, Whangapuaka, it would mean, the inlet of the Aka heap. The Aka is the Metrosidcros Scandens. T. S.G.) Mr Mackay who discovered the route was the son of one of the first members of the House of Representatives fer Nelson in 1854. Mount Duppa was named after a very early settler and runholder, George Duppa, who landed in New Zealand in 1839.
The old track, before the discovery of the Rie Valley route, followed the Maitai Valley from Nelson, orossing the range between Saddle Hill and Kai-tuamauma (a name of very doubtful orthography) to the Heringa River; then following the Pelorus River to Havelock. The track from Brightlands to Rie Valley passes Tawhiu-nui (big drive together, or big hunt). Wakamarina should be Wakamarino (calm . canoe), or Whanga-murino (calm bay). It is a tributary of the Pelorus. Gold was found in'the Wakamarino Valley on April 4th 1864 by Wilson and Rutland. As it was the first reported gold discovery in the Province of Marlborough they obtained a bonus of £500 from the Government. All the district was then dense forest.
It has been claimed that the Wairau country was purchased from the Maoris by Blenkinsopp with a cannon. He was called Psringatapu by the Maoris. They maintained that all the rights he purchased with the six pounder gun, was the right to obtain wood and , water (Rusden Vollp. 204). It was also said that the cannon was given by Blenkinsopp to Te Rauparaha (called Robuller by the whalers) in 1840, but was afterwards claimed by Captain Guard, so Rauparaha cent it to Port Underwood and bad it thrown on the beach in Guard's Bay. A few years later Guard was murdered by the Maoris.
. Another version of the cannon transaction is the statement of an early settler, from the Marlborough Press, October 19th 1864:—" In or about the year 1837, Captain Blinkinsop (not Blenkinsopp as it is sometimes spelt) anchored his vessel in Port Underwood, to try his luck with the rest among the whales, which were then more plentiful on the coast than they are now. At that time we had the native chiefs Rangihaeata, Raraupura and Kaikoura living here, and a host of Maoris who were the slaves of those chiefs. If I remember clearly, there was some fighting going on, and Captain Blinkinsop happened to have a twelve pounder carronade on board. Rangihaeata asked him. what he would take for it. A deal was made in due form, —the chief taking the gun, in exchange for which he transferred to Blinkinsop all the land as far as he could see, comprising the distance from Cloudy Bay to what is now called Top House.
" After the whaling season was over Blinkinsop cleared out, and we heard nothing more of the affair, until the barque Hope landed here, in 1840, four men with their wives and families, having with them bullocks, ploughs, and other necessaries to settle on the land. It appears that after Blinkinsop died, his wife transferred whatever right and title she had to the Wairau Valley to Mr Urwin, a lawyer in Sydney, and it was by him the Hope was sent to Cloudy Bay.
" Some time after Blinkinsop's departure Rangihaeata considered he did a foolish thing in giving up the land for a gun he could not make use of, repudiated the transaction, and carried the gun to Guard's Bay, where it lies to this day (1864). The men sent over by Unwin had built themselves tvhares, and had set to work clearing the land. However,
they v.erG in continual dread of the Maoris, who dispututed their right to possession, and one day the four mm were missing, and the Maoria gavo it out that they were drowned by the upsetting of their boat." A third version of the cannon episode appeared in the Mablboeough Daily Times of January 16ch 1901, written by C.W.A. and headed " The True History of Blenheim's Only Cannon." I take the liberty of copying it as it will bo of great interest to have the correct version at hand to compare with the other:l, especially as the bis!ol7 of Marlborough would be very incomplete without its cannon.
" Mr John Guard states that ib 1833 his father brought the cannon from Sydney and arrived at Port Underwood on a wbaliog expedition. As Kakapo Bay took his fancy as a desirable whaling station, he entered into negotations with the reputed Maori owner, a chief named Nohorua, (commonly known among the whalers at that period as " Tom Streets.") To show the Maoris the power of the cannon, it was loaded and fired off, making a tremendous report. It was at once christened Tby tbo Maoris " Pu-huri-whenua," which being freely translated means "the gun that causes the earth to tremble."
The result of this display was that Nohorua consented to accept the cannon in full payment for the exclusive right to occupy Kakapo Bay as a whaling station. The gun was landed at Kakapo Bay and loaded and fired off occasionally, in order to astonish the natives, Nohorua keeping guard over his newly acquired treasure. ',-
"Cap am Blinkinsop, in his whaling vessel the Caroline, now appears on the scene, and, presumably taking advantage of the temporary absence' of Nohorua, he sent a foraging party on shore who seized the cannon and took it away without "leave or license." This was in 1834, and again the gun was bartered away for landed territory. About this time the blood thirsty Eauparaba (broad leaf or Convolvulus leaf), and Rangihaeata (streak of dawn) were walking up and down the earth seeking fresh tribes to conquer, when Captain Blinkinsop pointed out to Rauparaha what a powerful weapon the cannon would be, with which to assault his enemies. The result was that Rauparaha agreed to cede Ocean Bay, the whole of the Wairau plain and the intervening coastal country to Captain Blinkinsop for the cannon. The exchadge was duly made and Rauparaha departed with his new possession. But it is not recorded that he ever did any great execution with the gun, probably he found it too unwieldy (and not nearly co handy as tbe modern pom pom), as some years afterwards he brought it back again to Kakapo Bay, and presented it to old Mr John Guard, (the father of Mr John Guard, now residing at Oyster Bay). Mr John Guard, sen, was gathered to bis fathers, at a ripe old age, and the possession of the gun vested in his widow. The gun having now acquired an historical reputation, it was though desirable to remove it to Blenheim, to be preserved as a curiosity, but Mrs Guard declined to give it up. The local authority, however, represented by Superintendent Eyes and Mr James Sinclair, sen, took a short method to obtain possession of the old cannon. They sent Captain Scott in the Lyttelton, with Montagu Adams, policeman (to represent the majesty of the law) and they siezed the gun in the same manner that Captain Blinkinsop took possession of it on a former occasion."
C.W.A. informs me that ♦' the cannon is at present mounted on a gun-carriage, having been scraped free from rust inside and out, painted, a new touch-hole drilled in it, and is in the custody of the Blenheim Borough Council, and is fired off on state occasions." ■ *
White Bluff, about half way between the Wairau and Awatere Rivers, was Pari-nui-o-whiti, meaning the great shining cliff, but it was named after the sail of Kupe's canoe. It is composed of gravel conglomerates, and is partly the source of the material forming the large Boulder Bank at, the mouth of the Wairau, which commences a short distance north of the Bluff.
A small stream running from Maxwell's Pass towards the Wairau Estuary is Ota-wai (green water) or O-tawai (the locality of the Beech tree). The next river south of White Bluff, 18 miles from the Wairau, is the Awa-tere (river moving swiftly). It rises in Barefell Pass, and Cairn Mountain, on the western boundary of Marlborough, It is a much smaller driver than the Wairau, and has a bar at its mouth with five feet of water at high tide.
The plain through which the Awatere runs before reaching the sea is generally named Kai-para-te-hau, which may mean, "eat barracouta fish in the wind " ; but probably the correct name is Ka-para-te-hau (Ka used for Nga) meaning wind sports, which might arise from the dusky colour, or appearance of the water as seen when the wind ruffles it. (S.P.S.) The name is sometimes spelt incorrectly, Ka-pare-te-hau (the wind will change). The plain is also called The Wakefield Valley, after Edward Gibbon Wakefield who was instrumental in forming the New Zealand Company in 1839.
A range of" mountains some distance inland, between the Awatere and Waihopai Kivers was Maungatare (Hanging Mountains). Blind River was O-tu-where (the place to stand inactive).
Lake Grassmore, a shallow sheet of salt water, 4000 acres in extent, near Cape Campbell, was Roto Ka~ para-fce-bau, or Parera-fce-hau (the north west wind). Cape Campbell was Te Karaka (the tree Corynocarpus l&vigata.) Te Hau, a chief of the Rangi-Tane tribe, had extensive cultivations near Te Karaka. A lighthouse of timber was erected at Cape Campbell in 1869. It shows a white revolving light. The bill 500 feet high at Cape Campbell is Mount Tako, meaniug tbe common he-use of resort in a , kuika for the tribe, especially for young men. A small bay immediately south of Cape Campbell is G-rna moa (place of the moa's pit, or of two mea's). A mountain about five mihs further south was Ke-winiwini (.■orange disturbances), but the spelkvg is doubtful. Flaxbourue River was Wui liarekeke (flax waler), which has been translated in the English name. A stream six miles south of Fla-xbourne station is Ure (a stone axe). A fcaika a few miles south of the river Ure was Pari-kawokawa (the cliff with the shrub Piper cxcelsum on it.) [To be continued.]
Permanent link to this item
Marlborough Express, Marlborough Express, Volume XXXVII, Issue 222, 19 September 1903
MAORI NOMENCLATURE. Marlborough Express, Volume XXXVII, Issue 222, 19 September 1903
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