Kupu Whakataki


Te Pihoihoi Mokemoke i runga i te tuanui

The ground-lark that sits alone upon the roof

Kōrero Tā    He Whakamārama    Kaupapa    Nohoanga

Kōrero Tā

Published: February 2, 1863 - March 23, 1863. Otawhao, Te Awamutu.

260 x 190mm., mostly 4 pages, single and double columns, all Maori, issued weekly, no illustrations or decorative masthead, no advertisements, probably distributed free of charge. In issue No. 1 the imprint at the end reads "Otawhao:-I taia ki te perehi o te Kura"[Otawhao:-Printed at the school press], in issues 2, 3, and 4 "I taia ki te Perehi o te Kura kei Otawhao" [Printed on the school's Press at Otawhao], and in the last issue "I taia ki te perehi kei Otawhao"[Printed on the Press at Otawhao]. Otawhao was a mission settlement just north of present day Te Awamutu. Sir George Grey established a technical school there for Maori boys in the 1850s with Gorst as the principal teacher (Cowan, 1922 Vol. I: 236-7).

The newspaper was edited and published by John Gorst (later Sir), the Resident Magistrate for Waikato, on behalf of the Government. It was produced by the Government to counter the Māori King's newspaper, Te Hokioi (Item 14).

There were five issues published, the last on March 23, 1863. For further physical details refer to Herbert W. Williams, A Bibliography of Printed Maori to 1900, Item 368

This paper is written in Maori.

He Whakamārama

The newspaper's title alludes to Psalm 102, verse 7 "I watch and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top" (Grayland, 1969: 11).

Governor Grey personally edited the first issue:

  • E taku hoa, kowai ranei koe te kai titiro i tenei nupepa nohinohi, kauaka au e hengia, ae, he Hokioi ahau. Ehara au i te Hokioi, horekawa. E rere tena manu ki runga riro, mahue noa, iho te kapua; ko au ia, e rere kupapa ana i te mata o te whenua. Ko taua manu e tangi tioro ana, he whai tohu, whakaatu i te pakanga i te whakahekenga toto:- tena ko au, kahore aku tangi tioro; noho mokemoke ai au ki te tuanui o te whare, korihirihiri kau ai (February 2, 1863: 1)
  • My friend, or whoever reads this small newspaper, make no mistake for I am a Hokioi, but not Te Hokioi, not at all. That bird flies high in the heavens beyond the clouds; while I, fly close to the ground. That bird's screech is an omen, predicting warfare and bloodshed - I, on the other hand, do not scresch; I sit alone on the rooftop, singing merrily].

An article entitled "Te Kino o Te Mahi Kingi" (ibid. : 2) [The Audacity of setting up a King] resulted in Rewi Maniapoto threatening to expel the press from Te Awamutu. In March 1863 a party of warriors with firearms arrived at the printing office, sacked the building and carried off the press, the type and all the printed sheets (Gorst, 1864: 336-343).

According to the Editor of Te Hokioi, not all King Movement supporters agreed with Rewi's action; amongst those opposed were Wiremu Tamihana and Patara Te Tuhi.


Contents of this newspaper include:

  • Governor Grey's visit to Waikato in 1861
  • speeches of the chiefs and Grey at these meetings
  • the audacity of setting up a Maori King
  • the dispute at Te Kohekohe
  • ailments and diseases affecting Maori people, by Rata Rahona (Dr. Larson)
  • the liquor laws
  • news of Te Awamutu, Waimate and Auckland
  • the wreck of the steamer Orpheus
  • an article on schools
  • letters to the Editor.


This newspaper is on microfilm and microfiche. Original copies are held at:

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington:

1863Feb. 2 - March 23

Auckland Public Library:

1863Feb. 2 - March 23

Auckland University Library:

1863Feb. 2 - March 23 (all on microfilm)

Canterbury Public Library, Christchurch:

1863Feb. 2 - March 23

Hocken Library, Dunedin:

1863Feb. 2 - March 23

Victoria University, Wellington:

1863Feb. 2