Whanganui spelled Wanganui, is a city on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The Whanganui River, New Zealand's longest navigable waterway, runs from Mount Tongariro to the sea. Whanganui is part of the Manawatu-Wanganui region. Like several New Zealand centres, it was designated a city until administrative reorganisation in 1989, is now run by a District Council. Although the city was called Wanganui from 1854, in February 2009, the New Zealand Geographic Board recommended the spelling be changed to "Whanganui". In December 2009, the government decided that while either spelling was acceptable, Crown agencies would use the Whanganui spelling. On 17 November 2015, Land Information New Zealand announced that Wanganui District would be renamed to Whanganui District; this changed the official name of the District Council, because Whanganui is not a city but a district, the official name of the urban area as well. Whanganui is located on the South Taranaki Bight, close to the mouth of the Whanganui River.
It is 200 kilometres north of Wellington and 75 kilometres northwest of Palmerston North, at the junction of State Highways 3 and 4. Most of the city lies on the river's northwestern bank, due to the greater extent of flat land; the river is crossed by four bridges – Cobham Bridge, City Bridge, Dublin Street Bridge and Aramoho Railway Bridge. Both Mount Ruapehu and Mount Taranaki can be seen from Durie Hill and other vantage points around the city; the suburbs within Whanganui include: Northeast: Wanganui East, Bastia Hill, Aramoho East: Durie Hill South: Pūtiki West: Gonville, Tawhero Northwest: Springvale, St. Johns Hill, Otamatea The area around the mouth of the Whanganui river was a major site of pre-European Māori settlement; the pā named Pūtiki is home to the Ngāti Tūpoho hapū of the iwi Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi. It took its name from the legendary explorer Tamatea Pōkai Whenua, who sent a servant ashore to find flax for tying up his topknot. In the 1820s coastal tribes in the area assaulted the Kapiti Island stronghold of Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha.
Te Rauparaha retaliated in 1830 slaughtering the inhabitants. The first European traders arrived in 1831, followed in 1840 by missionaries Octavius Hadfield and Henry Williams who collected signatures for the Treaty of Waitangi. On 20 June 1840, the Revd John Mason, Mrs Mason, Mr Richard Matthews and his wife Johanna arrived to establish a mission station of the Church Missionary Society; the Revd Richard Taylor joined the CMS mission station in 1843. The Revd Mason drowned on 5 January 1843. By 1844 the brick church built by Mason was inadequate to meet the needs of the congregation and it had been damaged in an earthquake. A new church was built under the supervision of Taylor, with the timber supplied by each pā on the river in proportion to its size and number of Christians. After the New Zealand Company had settled Wellington it looked for other suitable places for settlers. Edward Wakefield, son of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, negotiated the sale of 40,000 acres in 1840, a town named Petre – after Lord Petre, one of the directors of the New Zealand Company – was established four kilometres from the river mouth.
The settlement was threatened in 1846 by a chief from up the Whanganui River. The British military arrived on 13 December 1846 to defend the township. Two stockades, the Rutland and York, were built to defend the settlers. Two minor battles were fought on 19 May and 19 July 1847 and after a stalemate the up river iwi returned home. By 1850 Te Mamaku was receiving Christian instruction from Revd Taylor. There were further incidents in 1847 when four members of the Gilfillan family were murdered and their house plundered; the name of the city was changed to Wanganui on 20 January 1854. The early years of the new city were problematic. Purchase of land from the local tribes had been haphazard and irregular, as such many Māori were angered with the influx of Pākehā onto land that they still claimed, it was not until the town had been established for eight years that agreements were reached between the colonials and local tribes, some resentment continued. Wanganui grew after this time, with land being cleared for pasture.
The town was a major military centre during the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s, although local Māori at Pūtiki led by Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui remained friendly to settlers. In 1871 a town bridge was built, followed six years by a railway bridge at Aramoho. Wanganui was linked by rail to both New Plymouth and Wellington by 1886; the town was incorporated as a Borough on 1 February 1872, declared a city on 1 July 1924. Wanganui's biggest scandal happened in 1920, when Mayor Charles Mackay shot and wounded a young poet, Walter D'Arcy Cresswell, blackmailing him over his homosexuality. Mackay served seven years in prison and his name was erased from the town's civic monuments, while Cresswell was praised as a "wholesome-minded young man". Mackay's name was restored to the foundation stone of the Sarjeant Gallery in 1985; the Whanganui River catchment is seen as a sacred area to Māori, the Whanganui region is still seen as a focal point for any resentment over land ownership. In 1995, Moutoa Gardens in Wanganui, known to local Māori as Pakaitore, were occupied for 79 days in a peaceful protest by the Whanganui iwi over land claims.
Wanganui was the site of the New Zealand Police Law Enforcement System from 1976 to 1995. An early Sperry mainframe computer-based intelligence and data manage
Māori mythology and Māori traditions are the two major categories into which the legends of the Māori of New Zealand may usefully be divided. The rituals and the world view of Māori society were based on an elaborate mythology, inherited from a Polynesian homeland and adapted and developed in the new setting. Few records survive of the extensive body of Māori mythology and tradition from the early years of European contact; the missionaries had the best opportunity to get the information, but failed to do so at first, in part because their knowledge of the language was imperfect. Most of the missionaries who did master the language were unsympathetic to Māori beliefs, regarding them as'puerile beliefs', or even'works of the devil'. Exceptions to this general rule were J. F. Wohlers of the South Island, Richard Taylor, who worked in the Taranaki and Wanganui River areas, William Colenso who lived at the Bay of Islands and in Hawke's Bay. "The writings of these men are among our best sources for the legends of the areas in which they worked".
In the 1840s Edward Shortland, Sir George Grey, other non-missionaries began to collect the myths and traditions. At that time many Māori were literate in their own language and the material collected was, in general, written by Māori themselves in the same style as they spoke; the new medium seems to have had minimal effect on the content of the stories. Genealogies and narratives were written out in full, just as if they were being recited or sung. Many of these early manuscripts have been published, as of 2012 scholars have access to a great body of material containing multiple versions of the great myth cycles known in the rest of Polynesia, as well as of the local traditions pertaining only to New Zealand. A great deal of the best material is found in two books, Nga Mahi a nga Tupuna, collected by Sir George Grey and translated as Polynesian Mythology; the three forms of expression prominent in Māori and Polynesian oral literature are genealogical recital and narrative prose. The reciting of genealogies was well developed in Māori oral literature, where it served several functions in the recounting of tradition.
Firstly it served to provide a kind of time scale which unified all Māori myth and history, from the distant past to the present. It linked living people to the legendary heroes. By quoting appropriate genealogical lines, a narrator emphasised his or her connection with the characters whose deeds were being described, that connection proved that the narrator had the right to speak of them. "In the cosmogonic genealogies, to be described genealogical recital is revealed as a true literary form. What appears at first sight to be a mere listing of names is in fact a cryptic account of the evolution of the universe"'. Māori poetry was always chanted. Rhyme or assonance were not devices used by the Māori; the lines are indicated by features of the music. The language of poetry tends to differ stylistically from prose. Typical features of poetic diction are the use of synonyms or contrastive opposites, the repetition of key words. "Archaic words are common, including many which have lost any specific meaning and acquired a religious mystique.
Abbreviated, sometimes cryptic utterances and the use of certain grammatical constructions not found in prose are common". Prose narrative forms the great bulk of Māori legendary material; some appears to have been sacred or esoteric, but many of the legends were well-known stories told as entertainment in the long nights of winter. "Nevertheless, they should not be regarded as fairy tales to be enjoyed only as stories. The Māui myth, for example, was important not only as entertainment but because it embodied the beliefs of the people concerning such things as the origin of fire, of death, of the land in which they lived; the ritual chants concerning firemaking, death, so on made reference to Māui and derived their power from such reference". Myths are set in the remote past and their content have to do with the supernatural, they present Māori ideas of people. The mythology accounts for natural phenomena, the weather, the stars and the moon, the fish of the sea, the birds of the forest, the forests themselves.
Much of the culturally institutioned behaviour of the people finds its sanctions in myth. "Perhaps the most distinctive feature of myth, as distinct from tradition, is its universality. Each of the major myths is known in some version not only throughout New Zealand but over much of Polynesia as well"; the Māori understanding of the development of the universe was expressed in genealogical form. These genealogies appear in many versions, in which several symbolic themes recur. "Evolution may be likened to a series of periods of darkness or voids, each numbered in sequence or qualified by some descriptive term. In some cases the periods of darkness are succeeded by periods of light. In other versions the evolution of the universe is likened to a tree, with its base, tap roots, branching roots, root hairs. Another theme likens evolution to the development of a child in the womb, as in the sequence “the seeking, the searching, the conception, the growth, the feeling, the thought, the mi
The Polynesian Society is a non-profit organization based at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, dedicated to the scholarly study of the history and mythology of Oceania. The society was co-founded in 1892 by Percy Smith and Edward Tregear in response to a conviction held at the time, that the Māori and other Polynesian peoples were a dying race. Smith and his friends hoped that it would help to preserve the traditional lore of the Māori before it disappeared and provide scholars with a forum for learned discussion of their ethnographic research; the initial membership of the society was 112, which had grown to 1,300 by 1965. Presidents have included W. L. Williams; the present president is Dr Richard Benton. Until her death in 2006, the society's patron was the Māori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Ata-i-rangi-kaahu. From its earliest days, the society published the quarterly Journal of the Polynesian Society, which became the society's principal means to publish information about the indigenous peoples of Polynesia and Micronesia.
The journal is a rich repository of the traditions of Oceania. Its first editors were Edward Tregear. Smith was its chief contributor until his death in 1922; the list of subsequent editors includes W. H. Skinner, Elsdon Best, Johannes C. Andersen, H. D. Skinner, C. R. H. Taylor, W. R. Geddes, W. C. Groves, Bruce Biggs, Melvyn McLean and Richard Moyle; the present editors are Melinda Allen. In addition to this journal, the society has published many notable monographs, including S. Percy Smith's History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast and The Lore of the Whare Wananga. Andersen, Maori Music. Other major works include A. Ngata and Pei Te Hurinui Jones Nga Moteatea, a definitive four-volume collection of traditional Māori song with translations and commentaries, published in a new, enhanced edition by Auckland University Press in association with the Polynesian Society. A history of the society and its journal, M. P. K. Sorrenson's Manifest Duty: The Polynesian Society over 100 years, a Centennial Index 1892–1991 were published in 1991.
Société des océanistes Brown, Centennial Index 1892-1991. Memoir No. 50. Auckland, The Polynesian Society. Byrnes, Giselle M. "Smith, Stephenson Percy 1840 - 1922". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 4 April 2011. Sorrenson, M. P. K. "Manifest Duty: The Polynesians Society over 100 Years". Memoir No. 49. Auckland, The Polynesian Society. Encyclopedia of New Zealand "Polynesian Society". University of Auckland. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2012; the Polynesian Society website Journal of the Polynesian Society – online issues