Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rua Kēnana - Māori prophet

Rua Kēnana (1868/1869 - 1937), who was also know as Ruatapunui, was a Tūhoe prophet. He called himself the Mihaia / Messiah and claimed to be Te Kooti Arikirangi's successor Hepetipa (Hephzibah) who would reclaim Tūhoe land that had been lost to pakeha / European ownership. Rua's beliefs split the Ringatū Church, which Te Kooti had founded in around 1866/1868.

Ref: George Bourne for Auckland Weekly News, Rua Kēnana, c. 1900-1909, no location, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A3324
In 1907 Rua formed a non-violent religious community at Maungapōhatu, the sacred mountain of Ngāi Tūhoe, in the Urewera. By 1900, Maungapōhatu was one of the few areas that had not been investigated by the Native Land Court. The community, also known as New Jerusalem, included a farming co-operative and a savings bank. Many pakeha believed the community was subversive and saw Rua as a disruptive influence.

Ref: Auckland Weekly News, the settlement of Maungapohatu, April 1908, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A3313