ki te Upoko o te Ika
History » Dispossessed Ngati Tama seek sanctuary
By 1842, the Ngati Tama people were forcibly removed from their lands by Crown-assisted settler occupation and had to seek refuge in the Hutt Valley where there was more land and the land was of better quality and more productive than the reserve land that they had been awarded. But this was short-lived as the Hutt occupation ended in February 1846, when Governor Grey evicted Ngati Tama from the Hutt under the threat of military intervention. Ngati Tama's cultivations, their sole means of survival, were plundered. The Ngati Tama chief, Te Kaeaea was exiled in Auckland. The remaining Ngati Tama people had to seek sanctuary with other Iwi and hapu in Wellington or elsewhere, suffered high levels of sickness and mortality, and had to sell reserve land out of necessity. When the Crown had finished its land acquisition programme, Ngati Tama had virtually no land left. By the 1870's Ngati Tama had largely moved from the harbour rim and had been evicted.
The Ngati Tama experience was not unique. The same thing happened to Ngati Whatua, another urban Iwi, as outlined in the Waitangi Tribunal's Orakei Report. Crown policies also led to their being landless, the Iwi dispossessed, and marae and kainga destroyed. The Report said that the Crown's duty extended to Ngati Whatua retaining land to live, and to afford support, maintenance, and sufficient endowment for themselves.
The impact on Ngati Tama's Iwi infrastructure was significant. Ngati Tama people were scattered. Some individuals survived, many in whanau groupings, living with other Iwi and hapu. But there was an absence of a contemporary, organised formal Ngati Tama Iwi presence in Wellington. Ngati Tama's land base and visible identity in Wellington as local Iwi was lost.