Takarunga and Whare Toi
Since occupying Whare Toi in 2003, Depot Artspace has honoured its special relationship with maunga Takarunga. On the lower slopes of the maunga, and close to the walking path to the tihi, Whare Toi appears as gateway to Takarunga.
The kaitiaki of Whare Toi ensure it is cared for and treated with respect by those who take part in creative activities, and that it continues to reflect the mutual kaupapa of Depot Artspace and Tūpuna Maunga Authority; that is, the maunga is sacred and its wairua is cherished.
Takarunga: The History and Use of the Maunga
Takarunga is elevated 81 metres above sea level and is the most elevated of the three cones of the Devonport Peninsula.
Takarunga is associated in tradition with Maori occupation extending over nine centuries. Archaeological evidence is found in the terraced pa site.
North and east slopes show terracing and storage pits associated with dwellings and kumara storage.
Fertile volcanic soils at the bases of land between Takarunga and Maungaika were swampy and supported cultivation of ti and taro.
The Maori history of Devonport involves a complex web of successive occupation, migration, and conquests so that today a number of iwi have associations with the area. The Maori occupation of the area predominantly concerns tribal groupings of Tainui descent.
Occupation Time Line
13th C 1200’s – (Modern) Devonport occupied by descendants of: Taikehu and Taihaua of the Tainui Waka.
Devonport was originally named Takapuna by Tainui in C. 1350AD.
Late 16thC – Taikehu and Taihaua of Tainui, “suppressed” by the Kawerau people then in occupation of the Tamaki area.
From the Tainui: (Taikehu and Taihaua) and the Kawerau peoples, a tribal grouping known as Ngati Kahu emerged.
18th C early 1700’s – Ngati Whatua occupied: Kaipara, Northcote, Onewa. Ngati Tai occupied Birkenhead. Ngati Kahu occupied land east of the main ridge between Takapuna and Orewa. Ngati Tai and Ngati Kahu were in occupation of these sites when Pakeha first arrived in the district.
Mid 18thC – Ngati Kahu “came under pressure” from Ngati Whatua.
Mid 18th C – Ngati Whatua had “conquered and then settled” the southern Kaipara and Tamaki isthmus.
Mid 18th C – Ngati Kahu was able to remain on their ancestral land. Peacemaking “compacts” and inter-marriage with Ngati Whatua facilitated this.
Late 18th C – Ngati Kahuwho had remained in occupation of the Takapuna and Orewa areas came under pressure from Marutuahu confederation of tribes who settled in these areas during shark hunting season.
Late 18th C – The northern hapu of Ngati Paoa occupied Takapuna-Orewa area alongside Ngati Kahu. Both shared Tainui descent.
1827 – D’urville climbs Takarunga to survey surrounding district.
1841 – Mahurangi Block (including Devonport)is purchased by crown from Ngati Paoa. This sale was not concluded until 1853 by which time payments has already been made to Ngati Whatua, and the Kawerau hapu groups still in occupation.
1850 Devonport area was subdivided into small-holdings. Parts of Mt. Victoria/Takarunga were reserved for sale. South east slope of Takarunga was reserved for education use.
1870 – Common School for Boys opened – now Devonport Primary School.
1873 – Signalman Thomas Duder acquired grazing rights and cleared Takarunga of native vegetation: manuka and flax.