History

The following timeline shows some of the known and clearly recorded and acknowledged history of Moriori.

There may be some that would disagree with some of the facts as presented here. Generally those that do disagree do so for one of the following reasons:

  • uninformed and possibly ignorant of the details
  • bought up to believe the myths that Moriori never existed
  • they stand to gain from the continued disenfranchisement of Moriori
  • lack of cultural sympathy for others (bias/racism)

All of the data and facts presented here are available in numerous places in the public domain. To provide a complete bibliography of all sources used would be pointless.

Migration

January 1, 1301

Migration

Approximately 800 years ago, the ancestors of today’s Moriori arrived at Rekohu. Moving down through the Pacific via Rapanui (known today as Easter Island) these sea-going explorers were escaping ongoing inter-tribal warfare in their homeland of Hawaiki. Researchers might tell you that Moriori stopped for a period in New Zealand, before heading East and landing on the shores of Rekohu. Moriori tribal tradition tells a different story. Hokopapa (oral genealogy, passed down through careful re-telling in each generation) tells of the voyages of Kahu in his canoe, the “Tane,” and of his landing at Tuku on the South Western coast of Rekohu. Much is known of Kahu and of his explorations. Details are provided of his travels around the island…

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Discovery

November 29, 1791

Discovery

On November the 29th, 1791, Lieutenant William Broughton (in command of the Chatham)’discovered’ the island group now commonly known as the Chatham Islands. There is some speculation around whether he was naming them after his ship or after William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham. While Lieutenant Broughton was officially in charge of the voyage, it was actually a crewman that sighted land first. Ironically, the Chatham Islands didn’t need “discovering” as the population at that time, some 2-2500 people did not consider themselves or their island home ‘lost.’ This discovery was by pure accident. The Chatham had left Fiordland some days earlier, along with the leader of the expedition, Captain Vancouver, in the H.M.S. Discovery.

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Population 1835

August 13, 1835

The official Moriori Population in 1835 was 1663. At the time of the invasion by Ngati Mutunga and Ngati Tama at the end of that year, there were some 1561 Moriori living.

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Invasion

November 12, 1835

Invasion

In November and December 1835, the brig Rodney carried two shiploads of Ngati Mutunga and Ngati Tama Maori from Port Nicholson to Chatham Island: around 900 men, women and children in all (with 78 tonnes of seed potatoes, 20 pigs and seven canoes). They landed at Whangaroa, took time to recover from the voyage, being nursed and fed by local Moriori, and then began to formally takahiwalk the land—to claim it according to their tikanga or custom. They ritually killed around 300 Moriori to confirm this claim. “We were terrified,” a survivor, Minarapa, told a government agent thirty years later. “We fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape . . . It was…

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Population 1840

August 13, 1840

The official Moriori population in 1840 was 392. Just 5 years after the invasion by Ngati Mutunga and Ngati Tama the population had reduced by over 76% of that in 1835 or to just 19.6% of the pre-contact population.   

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Annexation

August 13, 1842

In 1842, Rekohu was officially annexed by the colony of New Zealand. Prior to that date it was formally part of the colony of New South Wales (Australia).

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Population 1860

August 14, 1860

The official Moriori population in 1860 was 101. It should be remembered that these figures were recorded and corroborated by Pakeha and Moriori sources.

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Tame Horomona Rehe

May 7, 1884

Tame Horomona Rehe

Tame Horomona Rehe was born on 7 May 1884 at Waikaripi, on the West Coast of Chatham Island. Tame’s father, Rangitapua Horomona Rehe was born about 1852 on Rekohu. He was the son of Purehe (born around 1830, on Rangiaote, died about 1880) and Nakahu (born around 1830 at Ouwenga , died around 1880). They were married arouind 1850. As a result of an arranged marriage between Moriori families, Rangitapua married Ihimaera Te Teira around 1880. Rangitapua was a leader of his people until his death in 1915. Both Ihimaera and her husband Rangitapua had connections to Pitt Island, the second largest island of Rekohu. Ihimaera passed away in 1903.

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The Passing of Tame Horomona Rehe

March 19, 1933

The Passing of Tame Horomona Rehe

Tame Horomona Rehe (Tommy Solomon) died of pneumonia and heart failure at his home in Manukau on 19 March 1933. Reported to be the last of his ‘race’ Tommy was a well-known personality throughout New Zealand and had considerable mana on his home-islands of Rekohu. Tame (Tommy) Solomon formerly Horomona Rehe Born 7 May 1884 in Chatham Island, New Zealand Tommy was the son of Rangitapua Horomona Rehe and Ihimaera Te Teira He married  Ada (Fowler) Solomon (13 Jan 1903) on Rekohu, Tommy became a sheep farmer in 1903, soon after the death of his mother and his marriage to Ada Fowler of the Kai Tahu Iwi. By 1915 Tommy was running 7000 sheep and a herd of cattle. After…

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Statue

July 1, 1986

Statue

On this date, the statue of Tommy Solomon (Tame Horomona Rehe) was unveiled by descendants of his and of other Moriori Karapuna (ancestors) in what was to become  the beginning of a renaissance of Moriori culture and identity. The following picture highlights how this statue has become a focal point and a beacon of hope for moriori retuning to Rekohu and those that are beginning their own personal journeys of discovery about their moriori heritage.

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Marae Opening

January 22, 2005

Marae Opening

In January 2005 Kopinga marae was opened by the  Prime Minister Helen Clark, at a ceremony attended by the Māori queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, MP’s, Iwi leaders, dignitaries and local elders. A source of inspiration to contemporary Moriori, Kopinga is the only Moriori marae on Rēkohu (Chatham Island). The pou that stands in the centre of the house is dedicated to Moriori ancestors and to the sacrifices they made holding fast to the covenant of peace, despite the heavy price paid when the islands were invaded in 1835.

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