Te Ua Haumēne

Photograph of the founder of Pai Mārire, Te Ua Haumēne.

In 1862 Te Ua had a vision in which the archangel Gabriel instructed him to lead his people in ‘casting off the yoke of the Pakeha’. The birthright of the Israelites (the Māori people) would be restored in the land of Canaan (New Zealand), and following a day of deliverance the unrighteous would perish.

Pai Mārire disciples travelled around the North Island in the mid-1860s. Against a backdrop of war and land confiscation, the founding principle of Pai Mārire – ‘goodness and peace’ – was often subverted by violent elements. Pai Mārire was drawn into armed conflicts and civil wars broke out as factions within iwi opposed its spread.

When Te Ua died in 1866, Tītokowaru (Ngāti Ruanui) and Te Whiti o Rongomai (Ngāti Te Whiti) were seen as his likely successors. Tītokowaru developed a religion that blended together aspects of Pai Mārire, Christianity and traditional Māori faith. Traditional religion was more important for Tītokowaru than it was for either Te Ua or Te Whiti.

Te Kooti, founder of the Ringatū faith, was also influenced by Pai Mārire. In 1875, King Tāwhiao adapted Pai Mārire to his own beliefs; Tariao (morning star) became the faith of the Kīngitanga.

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