Home' Auckland City Harbour News : March 6th 2013 Contents Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Don't run for
Ports of Auckland
Round the Bays
candidate and stripper --
the late Carmen Rupe
was certainly a well
known drag queen.
Thanks to the APO she
is returning to the stage
Albert Au's specialty
coffee -- a twist on the
traditional beer -- is
taking him to the New
Championships -- P7
Grafton took on
Papatoetoe on Saturday
-- go to aucklandcity
click on Latest Edition
to check out all the
Haka or no haka? Ben
Rogers says no to Owen
Glenn's latest Warriors
plan in today's Out of
his League column. Go
news.co.nz and click
Local Blogs to see what
he's on about and to
have your say
Key bits of history
Historian: Paul Moon's latest book
Turning Points looks at events that
changed the course of New Zealand
Photo: JASON OXENHAM
Executed: Maketu Wharetotara, 17, was
the first person judicially executed in New
Image: ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY,
WELLINGTON. REF: E-216-F-141
By DANIELLE STREET
TOMORROW marks the day the first
person in New Zealand was legally
executed under British rule, 171
The face of downtown Auckland
was markedly different as about 1000
people gathered to watch the hanging
of a son of a Maori chief, an event
that would become a turning point in
New Zealand's history.
Maketu Wharetotara was found
guilty by the Supreme Court a week
earlier for murdering several Euro-
pean settlers and a Maori child on a
farm in the Bay of Islands.
On the dawn of March 7, 1842, car-
penters worked at the corner of
Queen and Victoria streets building
the gallows that would be used to
The 17-year-old prisoner was
brought out in front of the crowd of
mostly white faces at noon.
As the prison bell tolled he was led
to the scaffold and hanged, dying
The event is one of 20 critical junc-
tures in New Zealand's background
identified by historian and AUT lec-
turer Paul Moon in his latest book
Turning Points. Dr Moon makes a
case for events that he argues
changed the course of the nation's
history in a significant way.
Others include women getting the
vote in 1893, the 1981 Springbok tour
and the Homosexual Law Reform Act
The book is not a definitive list of
important events but each listing had
to result in consequences for society
in order to make the grade, Dr Moon
Hillary's ascent of Everest, for
example, isn't included.
It was a hugely spectacular event
with lots of international media
coverage, but it didn't really change
the country at all.
So it's not a turning point as such,
but more of a punctuation point in
British authority was established
in 1840, but before the execution of
Maketu there were two separate jus-
tice systems in operation.
It was the first time that British
law applied to Maori anywhere in the
country,'' he says.
That's the turning point. That's
when British law jumped the fence
from only applying to settlers in the
country to applying to Maori, but at
that stage it was only for major offen-
ces like murder.''
The professor of history at the fac-
ulty of Maori development at AUT
University has more than 20 books
under his belt.
He says Turning Points has been
years in the making while he sifted
through an immense amount of infor-
You can't just rely on what other
You have to go to the original
documents and that's what I've tried
to do as much as possible for this.''
Dr Moon dredged up information
from the national archives, news-
paper articles and pamphlets pro-
duced by organisations.
Diaries from people who attended
the historical hanging helped him set
the scene for Maketu's execution.
He says many people noted the dis-
tinct lack of Maori presence at the
Some people thought there was
going to be a revolution, one of their
own group getting killed by the colon-
On the day very few Maori turned
up. But 1000 settlers did.''
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