RC2009/2/07/16 - Wiremu Nera Te Awaitaia

Wiremu Nera Te Awaitaia.

Known as William Naylor

Head chief of the Ngatuwahanga and Ngatihourua tribes of Raglan and Waipa Waikato. He was a famous general and warrior; he took part in the Waikato war with the Taranaki tribes in 1830 and assisted in the siege of the Pukerangiora pa (subsequently the site of General Pratts celebrated sap in 1861) when the starved out holders of the pah attempted to escape they were captured in hundreds and brought to Te Wherowhero (afterwards King Potatau 1st) and Te Awaitaia to be killed; their worthies then proceeded to club the unfortunate prisoners with their greenstone "meres". After about three hundred had been thus butchered, Te Wherowhero said "they had better cease as his hand was tired". The remainder of the prisoners were then retained as slaves. The Waikato tribes continued fighting the Taranaki tribes, but on attacking the pa at Moturoa (near the present breakwater) which was held by Barrett and Love the whalers and the Ngatiawa chiefs Te Wharepouri and Te Keha and their people the assailants to the number of about 200 were mowed down by the fire of the six pounders and muskets which the two chiefs above named had procured at Sydney and brought to New Zealand in the schooner "Adventure" early in 1830.

Wiremu Nera Te Awataia on his return from the Maori war at Taranaki, joined in


Some smaller raids. But he became one of the early converts to Christianity, and quietly resided at his settlement at Raglan and Waipa. When hostilities commenced at Taranaki in 1860 Te Awaitaia armed his people in defence of the Raglan settlers, and he gave valuable assistance to Major McGregor and other Imperial Officers during the Waikato war. When the Waikato rebels [ ] Mr Gorst's place at Te Awamutu and captured and destroyed the Government printing press. They sent an insulting message to Te Awaitaia daring him and his Europeans to cross the Maungatawhiri Stream- to which the old warrior replied "Are you not aware that I am a descendant of Muriwhenua, who was a constant eater of men in the olden time". The old chiefs attitude and the presence of a portion of HM 12th Regiment at Raglan effectually prevented any hostile movements on that flank of our forces. Wiremu Nera Te Awaitaia was a very honourable man, of quiet disposition, but when aroused he was brave and a good general. He must have been nearly 90 years of age when he died.


James Mackay.

Late Civil Commissioner N.Z.

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