G H I J
Q R S
T U V W X Y Z
- The Maori
and Early European Settlers Lake Transport
In 1831 Andrew Powers was the first European to sight Lake Taupo.
He was a prisoner taken by the Maoris at Whanganui and brought up to
Lake Taupo. Eventually he was ransomed to a Rotorua Trader, Mr
Tapsell, for 20 kg of tobacco. An early missionary, a Reverent
Taylor, heard of this story and set out to find Lake Taupo which he
did. The earliest European settlers in Taupo were the few that lived
in Maori villages. They were known as the "Pakeha Maoris" and were
mainly either deserters who had jumped ship or convicts and others
fleeing from the law. They found refuge in the Lake Taupo area.
- During the 1840's and 1850's the missionaries built settlements
around Lake Taupo. An example was the Rev Grace from the Church of
England who settled down with his family near where Turangi is
today. When the mission station was set up the Maoris from a wide
area tended to converge there and build a settlement around it. The
missionaries bought the good things of life, cattle, corn, potatoes,
blankets and other useful items, in other words the knowhow of
European way of life which was a lure for them. A missionary
enhanced their status and well being and there was an occasion in
1849 when Sir George Grey had to come through and mediate because
the Maoris at the bottom end of the lake threatened to burn down a
mission station that a missionary, the Rev Spencer tried to set up
at Jerusalem Bay.
- The only transport between these stations was by foot or canoe.
The eastern side of Lake Taupo could be easily traversed by foot but
elsewhere all the travellers depended on the Maoris to transport
them by canoe. By the 1850's the tourists were starting to come
through, not to settle, but mostly on their way to the thermal
attractions in Rotorua. They used the old Maori walking tracks which
were well defined bridle tracks In 1847 Colensco had these
tracks mapped out including the trails from Whanganui & Hawkes Bay.
- These tourists Could walk up the eastern side of Lake Taupo but
to travel down the to Whanganui necessitated a trip by canoe between
Tokaanu and Waihora. It took the travellers 3 days to complete
this trip. For a traveller in those days time was a prerequisite as
he would have to wait until the conditions on the lake were right
before he could get transport by canoe. The small totora canoes
carried about a dozen people and usually hugged the coastline. They
were not very manoeuvrable and were unstable in rough
conditions. This was the reason for the caution with the weather
before setting out. Apart from the missionaries there was no
European settlement before the land wars. The pakeha Maoris had been
useful to the Maori because they stopped the European traders from
swindling them. The missionaries were were antagonistic to the those
people because they wouldn't encourage the Maoris to
convert to Christianity. The Pakeha Maoris taught the Maoris to
trust the white man. The missionaries criticised the Pakeha Maoris
and emphasised the importance of religion instead of material goods.
This re-instated in the Maoris a mistrust of white people who
weren't missionaries and made it difficult for travellers to
communicate with the Maoris.
- After the land wars and with the arrival of the settlements at
Opepe and to a lesser extent in Taupo together with the Armed
Constabulary to have its own transport, the use of canoes for
transport ceased to be the prominent way of transport around the
Early Maori Boats - Pre European Times
When the first tourist boat, the Tongariro started on Lake Taupo Darby
Ryan, the captain, used to outline to tourists the traditional Maori
marks on the side of the lake as part of his tourist and fishing trips.
He took an interest in Maori tradition and was able to narrate accounts
and point out various features such as pa sites. One prominent landmark
he usually pointed out were the ochre marks in Kawakawa Bay where it is
reputed that the legendary Te Repo Repo canoe lies.
- The first people to settle in Taupo
were the Maruiwi, the gentle people in 900AD. The next settlers were
the followers of the great explorer, Tia who came over from the Bay
of Plenty in the 14th century. Finding no one living on the eastern
side of Lake Taupo, both he and his companions settled in the
Western Bays among people called the Ngati Hotu. During the 16th &
17th centuries the Tuwharetoa fought with them. With the coming of
the musket, other tribes invaded the Taupo area in the early 19th
century. Peace finally came with the arrivals of the Europeans.
- In pre-European times the Maoris
relied on the lake for much of their food supplies. There was plenty
of aquatic life available like the shags, various ducks and
300-400 years ago, native geese which are now extinct. They also
fished for kokopu at Popoa-nga-oheohe on the Horomatangi Reef and
gathered flax from the Omoho Stream in Kawakawa Bay.
- For transport they relied on their
canoes which were about 20ft long and made of Tototoa. They could
carry up to a dozen people with 6-8 paddlers. The paddlers rowed in
unison and would swap with the idlerswhile they had a rest and
caught their wind. The boats were quite fast but the Maoris never
travelled unless the waters were very flat and calm. The largest of
these canoes were up to 50ft long but there were not many this
length as access to the lake was difficult and there was a limited
size of log that could be dragged down to the shore. Massive canoes
have been found inland around Taupo but these appear to be boundary
marks and also in tradition were used after battles where the dead
were taken back & buried with a canoe placed over them.
The 1886 Tarawera volcanic eruption was enormous causing much
devastation in the area where it occurred near Rotorua. The volcanic
activity also affected Lake Taupo at that time.
Tupara Maniapoto was about 15 when it occurred. He could remember a
sudden rise in the level of Lake Taupo at this time which brought
the level of the lake up by six or seven feet and covered what is
now the boat yard area.
- In 1934 there were two small thermal
eruptions in the Taupo area. One was at the back of where the
Tauhara Golf course now is and the other where the road now leads
down to the Spa hotel The one near the golf course was spectacular
rising nearly 1000ft. It was a steam eruption and at the same
time Lake Taupo again had an increase in its level but not as great.
- Ernie Taylor's father owned the
boatyard at this time and Ernie used to row acrossthe river on his
way to scholl in the morning & back at night. His father made him
use a two rope bridle to allow slack when he tied the boat up should
the lake level rise. Conventionally tying the boat up with a single
rope could have led to the bow being swamped. It was while crossing
the river one day while these fluctuations were occurring that the
now elderly Tupara Maniapoto told Ernieabout the large rise in the
lake level at the time of the Tarawera eruption.
- Taupara was a well known identity on
the lake. He regularly would go out fishing in his 12ft round
clinker boat with its flatish stern. If he wasn't out fishing the
boat would be tied up o the gum trees near the boat yard. A sream
ran into the river then from Nukuhau and Tupara kept his boat up
- Taupara was a big strong man. He had a
small 3 H.P. Johnson outboard motor for his boat which je used when
he got older. However he much preferred to row and was a good
oarsman. He would go out regularly on the lake and sometimes
disappear for days on end usually going around to the Western Bays.
He would sleep in the open with a piece of canvas for shelter. Once
he rowed around the Western Bays and ended up in Tokaanu where he
stayed with some friends. Getting up early one morning he rowed
straight back to Taupo from Tokaanu. The trip took him nine hours
and and he even managed to catch 2 fish on the way back trailing a
line trailing a line from his rod as he rowed.
- Taupara grew up in the early days of
Taupo. He would have known all the early boats that sailed on
the lake and the early pioneers that crewed them.