Mataora Bay Native School : cross cultural perspectives in a rural setting, 1903-1930.
Abstract:The white sands of Mataora Bay stretch between headlands, and remain as a resting place where the hills meet the sea. Nestled within these hills lies a valley that is the tuurangawaewae for those Ngaati Porou people whose tuupuna tended and lived upon this land. This community of people are now scattered but the care for the land continues by those managing the Mataora Block for the Tribal Incorporation. Beds of lilies and old rose bushes may be the only evidence of the Ngaati Porou settlement that lived here from the 1880s to the late 1950s but the wairua of these tupuna still sing to their mokopuna, who return at Christmas to camp beneath the shade of the pohutukawa trees.It is words of those who were involved in this community, and those who visited, that convey best the sense of how this place once lived. Te Kani Poata brought Michael King to Mataora Bay, and together their voices bring Mataora Bay to life:"Close to the beach was a collapsed meeting house. As we walked among these ruins, Te Kani spoke of his early life there: who had lived in which house, where the vegetable gardens were, the routines for fishing off the beach, where in the bush behind they had taken pigeon and kiwi for the pot. He also pointed out an enormous pohutukawa halfway along the beach which covered the burial site of an earlier people. 'There's taonga there. And bones,' he said, 'And if anybody touched them they drowned. Or suffered some other catastrophe."'Over a period of five years, from 1903 to 1908, different people from this community wrote to the Department of Education or members of parliament, requesting a Maaori school (or Native school as they were called then) to be built in this valley at Mataora Bay. There were many delays but finally, in 1905, Inspector of Native Schools, William Bird, made a surprise visit to Mataora Bay to survey the lie of the land and to check on how many school-aged children resided at Mataora. This is a description he gave to the Inspector General of Schools:"Mataora Bay is a small inlet in the Bay of Plenty Coast and is reached by road to Whangamata for some distance, and by a narrow, and in worst weather, dangerous track for the rest. The settlement is not a large one, there being only eight or nine houses. Further north, about one mile and a half away is another small settlement called Whiritoa. The people are Ringatus (Hauhaus) and were at a religious service when I arrived."Bird also enclosed a map he had drawn of the area (Figure 3)According to Te Kani Poata and Agnes Ainsley, who have both lived and spent time at Mataora, this block of land was gifted by the Hauraki tribes on the peninsula to those Ngaati Porou people who wished to use the land as a resting place for their canoes, during the nineteenth century. King adds also, that this land was gifted to Ngaati Porou by way of thanks for their assistance in fighting Ngaa Puhi and as a place of call to trade. In the wider picture, these gifts of land at Mataora Bay and at Kennedy's Bay assisted the settlement of other East Coast Maaori on different parts of the Coromandel peninsula and provided homes for those Arawa survivors of the eruption at Tarawera during the 1880s. Mrs Agnus Ainsley recalls that a chief called Ngaati Hako, had two daughters and one daughter wished to marry a Ngaati Porou man. In order for them to have a home together, Ngaati Hako gave them Mataora Bay to settle on. Mrs Ainsley does not know of any others who remember this story but as part of the progression of East Coast settlement, this incident has significance. According to the title looked at on 26th July, 1906, the Memorial of Ownership was held by Ropata Ngatai and 79 others, dated 23rd June, 1880.
Degree Name: Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Degree Discipline: History and Art History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Dissertation
68 leaves :ill., ports. ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 63-66). Typescript (photocopy).