For Europeans during the nineteenth century, the Urewera was a remote wilderness; for those who lived there, it was a sheltering heartland. This history documents the first hundred years of the ‘Rohe Pōtae’ (the ‘encircled lands’ of the Urewera) following European contact.
After large areas of land were lost, the Urewera became for a brief period an autonomous district, governed by its own leaders. But in 1921–22, the Urewera District Native Reserve was abolished in law. Its very existence became largely forgotten – except in local memory.
Recovering this history from a wealth of contemporary documents, many written by Urewera leaders, Encircled Lands contextualises Tūhoe’s quest for a constitutional agreement that restores their authority in their lands.