Propaganda wars

Hokioi languished in a paddock until it was recovered in 1935. It is now been part of the Te Awamutu Museum's collection.Te Hokioi languished in a paddock until it was recovered in 1935. It has been part of the Te Awamutu Museum's collection for more than 80 years.

This cast iron press is part of the Te Awamutu museum collection. It was manufactured in England in the mid-1800s and was involved in a series of Waipa events pivotal to the Waikato Wars.

The tale involves an Austrian geologist, Dr F.R. von Hochstetter, who surveyed New Zealand for nine months in the late 1850s. During the Waikato leg of his travels, von Hochstetter met Hemara Te Rerehau of Ngāti Maniapoto and Wiremu Toetoe of Ngāti Apakura. In recognition of their hospitality Te Rerehau and Toetoe were invited to Europe in January 1859 as guests of the Austrian government.

There they learned the printing trade and returned to New Zealand in May 1860 with a printing press gifted by Austrian Archduke Franz Josef. The press was probably set up at the Hopuhopu mission station, close to Ngaruawahia and was used to print the first issue of the pro-Kīngitanga​ newspaper Te Hokioi i Rere Atu Na (The Soaring War Bird) in late 1861. Its principal writer, Patara Te Tuhi, argued on behalf of the Kingitanga movement - often at the expense of the colonial government.

In response, Governor George Grey ordered an opposing paper, Te Pihoihoi Mokemoke, be set up at Te Awamutu by John Gorst. Only four issues were printed. Rewi Maniapoto of Ngati Maniapoto confiscated the Pihoihoi press along with the fifth issue of the paper. The press – along with its editor – was shipped back to Auckland.

The Hokioi press however, continued to print until the invasion of the Waikato in June 1863 when it was shifted to Te Kōpua for safekeeping. What happened next is unclear. It seems the Hokioi press languished in a paddock near the Waipā River. As the land surrounding it was converted to farmland, the press served a variety of purposes: as a cooking-pot stand for the Searancke family and as a tobacco press by locals.

The press remained largely forgotten until 1935 when members of the Te Awamutu Historical Society went to the farm to inspect it. It was dilapidated, with several components missing. It has been on display at the Te Awamutu Museum since 1954.

Page reviewed: 15 Feb 2018 2:46pm