September 05, 2023
Lost prophet eater of tapu
A new book has delved into the story of the little-known Taranaki prophet Tāmati Te Ito Ngāmoke.
Author Jeffrey Sissons, a former associate professor of cultural anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington, says his Kaingārara movement was hugely influential in the area during the 1850s, starting courts and a school.
The staunch Christian convert was able to lead a group of 30 horse riders from several Taranaki iwi on a mission to destroy tapu objects in a series of coastal bonfires.
“They were a demon-eating movement if you like, trying to free Taranaki from the malign influences of atua and tapu, because they were all Christian. They were looking forward to a time when they could live at peace in their land, as christians.
Mr Sissons says Te Ito is an important part of Taranaki history – like Tohu and Te Whiti of Parihaka, where he ended up.
The Forgotten Prophet: Tāmati Te Ito and His Kaingārara Movement will be published this month by Bridget Williams Books