Connection to land through whakapapa is premised on mana inherited at birth from the atua. These fundamental principles have supported land claims in the Native Land Court since 1865 and were of importance to Ngāti Kahungunu women in the late 19th century. Yet, exactly how whakapapa and mana informed cases for wāhine Māori has been difficult to examine, due to the omnipresent patriarchal workings of the Native Land Court and its comprehension of customary principles. This article highlights the interconnected relationship between whakapapa and mana, wāhine Māori and the Native Land Court in Hawke’s Bay and adds to a more balanced gendered scholarship of the Native Land Court.
The history of Māori miners at the Aorere gold rush in 1856–1858 is well documented in research by Hilary and John Mitchell. Philip Ross May examined the multi- layered history of Māori in the goldfields of the Buller and Westland, and the full story of the convoluted machinations of government agents and miners and their dealings with the Māori of the Coromandel are becoming known as Treaty of Waitangi hearings examine the past.