1900

KO NGATI KOROKI, NGATI HAUA, NGATI WAIRERE

With the purchase of the Pukekura Block, there was no longer Māori occupation of the Karapiro area. During this century Ngāti Koroki have drifted away in search of employment. But hui such as tangi, weddings, 21st birthdays and land meetings draw large numbers of whānau who call Maungatautari home. Ngāti Haua are still concentrated around Matamata and Ngāti Wairere around Hukanui. Both Ngāti Haua and Ngāti Wairere continue to have strong associations with the area.

The Ministry of Works’ decision to build a hydro dam at Arapuni in 1924 helped to reinforce the relationship between Ngāti Koroki, Ngāti Haua and Ngāti Wairere when men from these hapū came to Arapuni seeking work. Work on the dam was completed in 1927. Horohora had been built before 1920 privately for the Waihi Gold-mining Company.

Karapiro was started in the late 1930s, but work on the dam was suspended in 1942 because of the Second World War. The dam was finally completed in 1947.

Taupua Winikerei, Tewi Tairi, Temera Heke Te Tirewi Tairi, Wina Tante, Tewha Winikerei Tuwhakaraua Taute, Percy Taute and Piiwhi Pouaka from Ngāti Koroki; Kingi Taui from Te Arawa; Tekira Davis from Whanganui; Pop, Harry, Peter and Bob Flavell, from Ngapuhi; Frank and Walter Smith from Tauranga, are some of the men who worked on the dam construction. They, along with their families, lived at the village specially constructed to accommodate the workers. After the dam was completed, many moved on to work on the next dam project. Maraetai (first generated power in 1952), Whakamaru (1956), Atiamuri (1958), Waipapa and Ohakuri (1961) and Aratiatia (1964) were all hydro dam projects on the Waikato River.

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