The Forgotten Prophet: Tamati Te Ito and his Kaingarara Movement *Ockham 2024 Longlist*
- Author: Sissons, Jeffrey
- ISBN: 9781991033482
$NZ 49.99 Ex Tax: $NZ 49.99
Tamati Te Ito Ngamoke, a renowned Taranaki prophet, played a significant role in colonial New Zealand's political landscape. While some, including most settlers and officials, viewed him as an 'imposter', a 'wizard', a 'fanatic'; others, including major Taranaki tribal leaders, revered him as a prophetic tohunga matakite known as 'Te Kai-ngarara' - The Reptile Eater. Today, overshadowed by religious leaders like Te Ua Haumene and Te Whiti o Rongomai, Te Ito's historical importance remains largely unrecognised. This book uncovers his story and impact on Aotearoa's history. In 1856 Te Ito led the Kaingarara movement, seeking the 'fulfilment of the divine order' in Taranaki when tapu would finally be defeated. Initiating the 'Taranaki iconoclasm', his followers built huge bonfires in New Plymouth and settlements to the south into which treasures, carvings and other tapu objects that had been associated with atua (ancestral spirits) were thrown. The movement established a school and court system and contemplated a religious community before the first Taranaki war erupted in 1860. As the visionary advisor to Te Atiawa chief Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake, Te Ito played a crucial role in the lead-up to the conflict, later orchestrating fires that displaced settlers. Perceived as a rival to Parihaka prophets Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi in the late 1860s-1870s, Te Ito eventually joined Parihaka in 1872 as a respected leader under Te Whiti and Tohu's mana. Jeffrey Sissons' remarkable account, based on extensive research, offers a fresh perspective on New Zealand's past by illuminating the life and contributions of a key religious leader previously unacknowledged.