Pihoihoi Mokemoke i Runga i te Tuanui masthead

1863


Available issues

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Background

Region National
Available online 1863
Alternative title(s) Te Pihoihoi Mokemoke i Runga i te Tuanui

Te Pihoihoi Mokemoke i Runga i te Tuanui (A Sparrow Alone on the House Top, 1863) was edited and published by John Gorst (later Sir), Civil Commissioner of the Waikato, on behalf of the government. It was produced by the government to counter the Maori King's newspaper, Te Hokioi.

The newspaper's title alludes to Psalm 102, verse 7: ‘I watch and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top’.

There were five issues published, the last on 23 March, 1863.

Governor Grey personally edited the first issue:

‘E taku hoa, kowai ranei koe te kai titiro i tenei nupepa nohinohi, kauaka au e hengia, ae, he Hokioi ahau. Ehara au i te Hokioi, horerawa. E rere ana tena manu ki runga riro, mahue noa, iho te kapua; ko au ia, e rere kupapa ana i te mata o te whenua. Ko taua manu e tangi tioro ana, he whai tohu, whakaatu i te pakanga i te whakahekenga toto:– tena ko au, kahore aku tangi tioro; noho mokemoke ai au ki te tuanui o te whare, korihirihiri kau ai’ (2 February 1863: 1)

(My friend, or whoever reads this small newspaper, make no mistake for I am a Hokioi, but not Te Hokioi, not at all. That bird flies high in the heavens beyond the clouds; while I, fly close to the ground. That bird's screech is an omen, predicting warfare and bloodshed:–I, on the other hand, do not screech; I sit alone on the rooftop, singing merrily).

An article entitled ‘Te Kino o Te Mahi Kingi’ (ibid.: 2) (The Audacity of Setting up a King) resulted in Rewi Maniapoto threatening to expel the press from Te Awamutu. In March 1863 a party of warriors with firearms arrived at the printing office, sacked the building and carried off the press, the type and all the printed sheets (Gorst, 1864: 336–343). According to the editor of Te Hokioi, not all King Movement supporters agreed with Rewi's action; amongst those opposed were Wiremu Tamihana and Patara Te Tuhi.

For further information about the newspaper, see: P Parkinson and P Griffith, Books in Maori (Auckland: Reed, 2004), S15, pp. 763–764; and Gorst, J E, The Maori King (London: Macmillan, 1864)

The National Library would like to thank Gail Dallimore for providing information used in essays about Maori newspapers.

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