Kirikiri Toa Ledger + the Amaria Weir Collection

April 4, 2024

Today little remains of what was the small settlement of Kirikiri, just south of Te Kauaeranga | Thames in the Kopu area. At one time, the area was home to a church, a local toa (store), two hotels, a sawmill, and a native kura (school) – now used as part of the Matai Whetū Marae. It is said that the nearby Tikirahi Pa was abandoned after the Waikato Wars (1869) but the urupā remains adjacent to Kirikiri Stream.

Little documented heritage is available about this area. However, in our collection we have an original logbook of the Kirikiri Toa from 1878 to 1889 including details of purchases and maps. The logbook was saved from a rubbish firepit by Amaria Weir and donated to us for safekeeping, along with her grandmother’s - Hapatapu Matene - will.

The logbook was in a very fragile state when received and with funding from Te Paerangi | National Services we were able to restore this precious document.

It is significant for a number of reasons. First, as a non-published document it is written entirely in Te Reo Māori. The reo used is a much older style than current.

The logbooks are also a link to prominent tangata whenua. Hapatapu Matene is believed to be the daughter of Matene Rutatenga (Matene Te Nga) who was said to be the sole survivor of Hongi Hika’s attack on Totara Pā in 1821. Hapatapu married Rihara (also known as Richard, Dick and Tiki) Reihana who owned a hotel across from the golf course at Kirikiri around 1877 and store owner.

The author of the Kirikiri Store logbook, Hoani Nahe was also a prominent local who advocated strongly for Māori living within a colony of new settlers. With others he championed the establishment of the Kirikiri Native School.

Well-known colonial settlers made an impact on the tiny settlement of Kirikiri. Robert Comer, an early settler of Thames who became wealthy through mining at Moanataiari in 1877, purchased hundreds of acres of land at Taratu, Kirikiri from 1869.  

View the Amaria Weir Collection here.

Subscribe to our news

Support us