Ngāi Tahu – Cultural Mapping Project

Māori place names of Akaroa Harbour

Teone Taare Tikao, c.1908

Teone Taare Tikao (c.1850-1927) drew this map of Akaroa Harbour for the Akaroa Postmaster Henry Walter Dawson around 1908. Tikao was a well-known Ngāi Tahu leader, scholar, and authority on Ngāi Tahu place names. Dawson sent the map and an extensive list of place names collected from Paurini Hirawea, Rahera Tikao, and Teoti Rapatini to ethnologist Johannes Andersen at the Department of Lands and Survey in Christchurch in 1908. At the time, Andersen was compiling material for a proposed topographical history of the Canterbury Province.

While this volume never came to fruition, Andersen later used the map extensively in his 1927 publication Place-names of Banks Peninsula: A topographical history. The map was only recently rediscovered among Andersen's papers at the Auckland War Memorial Museum and has proven an invaluable source for Kā Huru Manu.

Map maker: Teone Taare Tikao 

Teone Taare Tikao was born on Banks Peninsula around 1850. Tikao claimed descent from twenty-one Ngāi Tahu hapū but was principally of Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāti Irakehu. At an early age he was placed by his father in the charge of two noted tribal tohunga of Ngāi Tahu, Koroko and Tuauau, from whom he gained an encyclopaedic knowledge of Ngāi Tahu natural lore and history of the Canterbury area. Tikao lived at Wainui and Koukourarata (Port Levy) before finally moving to Rāpaki with his family. Biculturally competent leaders able to manage the relationships with the rapidly expanding Pākehā world were in high demand, and his skills marked Tikao for recognition. He was an influential figure, heavily involved with the Ngāi Tahu claims, and with Te Kotahitanga, the movement for an independent Māori parliament. He gave generously of himself and was, above all, a source of traditional learning for succeeding generations.

Tikao became an informant of James CowanJames Stack and James Herries Beattie, who recorded and published Ngāi Tahu history and traditional information. He also generously provided information to many others including Henry Dawson. The map Tikao drew for Dawson is a little larger than foolscap and includes more than one hundred place names along the shoreline of Akaroa Harbour neatly written in black ink. The harbour features a French ship, 'Kai Puke Wiwi' and a whale boat manned by a crew poised to harpoon a whale. 

Teone Taare Tikao, c.1896. Canterbury Museum, 19XX.2.4182

<p>A meeting of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Māmoe representatives at&nbsp;Te Hapa o Niu Tireni, Arowhenua, in 1907, which regenerated tribal efforts to advance Te Kerēme (the Ngāi Tahu Claim). Teone Taare Tikao (seated in the front row third from the left) represented Rāpaki at this important tribal hui.&nbsp;</p>
<p>Christchurch City Libraries, photo CD 7, IMG0010</p>
<p>Click&nbsp;here&nbsp;to view this image in Kareao.</p>

Images of Teone Taare Tikao

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Henry Walter Dawson

Henry Walter Dawson (c.1854 – 1939) was Postmaster at Akaroa from 1880 – 1908. He was a popular and esteemed member of the community who was recognised as a generous man and a hard worker. In 1908 he was relocated to Onehunga Post Office where he worked for a further five years until his retirement in 1912. When Akaroa residents gathered to farewell him in January 1908, the Mayor noted that ‘the zeal’ Dawson had shown in the performance of his duties, and his ‘many quiet kindnesses made him a splendid example for the younger generation.’

Dawson was interested in local Māori place names as evidenced by his collection of information from several Ngāi Tahu individuals including Teoti Rapatini (George Robinson), Paurini Hirawea, Rahera Te Hua Tikao and her son Teone Taare Tikao. Dawson also knew the amateur historian Howard Charles Jacobson well. Jacobson was the author of Tales of Banks Peninsula (1883) and may have influenced Dawson in terms of his pursuit of Ngāi Tahu subjects.

In 1928 and 1929, long after he had left Akaroa, Dawson published information in the Akaroa Mail about the Māori names for the peaks and hills around Akaroa. His deep attachment to the Akaroa area and its toponymy is perhaps best summed up by the fact that he named his family home in Auckland, ‘Onawe’.

The view south from the old post office at Akaroa where Henry Walter Dawson lived and worked for twenty-seven years when he was Postmaster. 

Muir & Moodie studio, December 1906, Gift of Patricia M. Mitchell, 1989. Te Papa Tongarewa, PS.000593

'It is hardly necessary for me to say that I shall never forget the Peninsula and its people. Akaroa has been my home for the greater part of my life – and the happiest as well as the longest portion – and to leave so many friends, whose confidence and esteem I value so much is keenly felt. I am sure, that however favourable my future circumstances may be, “Lovely Akaroa” and its people will ever hold the first place in my regard.'

Henry Dawson, farewell speech to the Akaroa community, January 1908.


Henry Walter Dawson is pictured in the photograph above with Paurini Hirawea (c1806 – 1902)  and two unidentified children. The photograph was probably taken around 1900 at Ōpukutahi, the Māori kāika on the western side of Akaroa Harbour, north of Wāinui. At that time, Paurini was one of the oldest survivors of the Ngāti Toa raids in Akaroa. Paurini was one of several Ngāi Tahu who provided information to Dawson about Māori place names. Courtesy of Akaroa Museum.

Dawson to Andersen, 15 June 1908

Six months after leaving Akaroa for Onehunga Henry Dawson sent a letter to Johannes Andersen at the Department of Lands and Survey enclosing the detailed 'Place names of Akaroa' map drawn by Teone Taare Tikao accompanied by a fifteen-page printed list of Māori place names collected by Dawson from Ngāi Tahu sources. At the time, Andersen was gathering material for a proposed 'topographical dictionary' of the Canterbury district. He had requested information from numerous contacts including elderly surveyors, former staff of the Department of Lands and Survey, and local history buffs. Andersen and Dawson had a mutual friend in Howard Jacobson (author of Tales of Banks Peninsula) so it is possible that he put the two men in contact. 

In his letter Dawson advises Andersen to consult Teone Taare Tikao in person regarding the plotting of the list of names on the map, noting Tikao's intimate knowledge of Banks Peninsula. However, it seems that Andersen never took up this opportunity. Indeed it is well-known that while Andersen had an avid interest in Māori toponymy, he rarely had any contact with Māori communities.

When Andersen's Place-names of Banks Peninsula: A topographical history was eventually published in 1927, it referred to 'John Tikao' and 'Charles Tikao' as two distinct sources however they were in fact the same person, Teone Taare (John Charles). This error was eventually pointed out to Andersen by Rahera Tainui (Tikao's daughter) in 1930.

While Dawson requested that Andersen return the map and other papers to him, this never eventuated. The material remained part of Andersen's personal collection and is now held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Click here to see the list of Māori place names provided by Teone Taare Tikao in Kareao.

Johannes Andersen (1873 – 1962) started working for the Department of Lands and Survey in Christchurch in 1887 and remained there until 1915. During this period he acquired a wealth of topographical knowledge and developed an avid interest in toponymy – the study of place names, both Māori and Pākehā. 

Johannes Andersen. Photograph by Stanley P. Andrew, Alexander Turnbull Library, 1/1-018551;F

'I enclose a map prepared by Mr Charles Tikao of Rapaki, Lyttelton, which may be useful and would suggest that he should be consulted. He has an intimate knowledge of the Peninsula. The natives from whom I obtained my information, Teoti Rapatini of Little river, Paurini and Tikao’s mother of Opukutahi are now dead and I do not know of anyone but Charles Tikao who could be of service to you. '

Henry Walter Dawson to Johannes Andersen, 15 June 1908
<p>Cover letter Henry Walter Dawson to Johannes Andersen, 15 June 1908.&nbsp;Auckland War Memorial Museum, MS7&nbsp;</p>

Dawson to Andersen, 15 June 1908

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<p>Teoti&nbsp;Rapatini (George Robinson) (c.1840 - 1906) was the son of Puai Tuhaewa of Ngāi Tahu and the European whaler, James Robinson Clough. Robinson spent part of his childhood at Homebush, the Deans family estate near Darfield where his father was manager.&nbsp;He&nbsp;later made his living on Banks Peninsula as a stockman and shearer. He settled at Wairewa (Little River) and was a champion wrestler and athlete. He&nbsp;provided Māori place name information to the Akaroa Postmaster Henry Walter Dawson who later shared this with&nbsp;Johannes Andersen.&nbsp;In 1894 the Chief Surveyor also consulted Robinson about the place names of Banks Peninsula, asking that he confer with reliable kaumātua in the area regarding place names and then mark them on a series of maps.</p>
<p>Teoti Rapatini (George Robinson), n.d.&nbsp;W.A. Taylor photograph, Canterbury Museum, 1968.213.6265</p>

The Ngāi Tahu informants of Henry Dawson

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<p>Timutimu Head is the western headland of the entrance into Akaroa Harbour.&nbsp;Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Collection, Ngāi Tahu Archive, 2018-0311</p>

Selected Māori place names of Akaroa Harbour

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